Ross Olson's Web Site

Social Issues: Letters

From: Ross Olson [ross{at}]
Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2000 8:43 PM
To: dgrow{at}
Subject: Just Suppose...

Your colleagues of the Op Ed page have repeatedly refused to publish this or anything like it.

There is another side to the story you published, and although the sexual longings that many feel are caused by circumstances beyond their control, behaviors, especially during adolescence, produce self-reinforcing cycles that are powerful and lead to intense rationalizations.

For every story like the one you tell, there are many that end up on the other side and are very grateful to those who were brave enough to be called haters for speaking the message of hope. And by the way, Focus on the Family has never spread a message of hate. That is not only irresponsible journalism, it is pure prejudice.

Ross S. Olson MD
5512 14th Ave. So.
Minneapolis MN 55417

Just Suppose

We are told that it is imperative to reach out to gay youth and children earlier than ever. This is bolstered by articles in the psychiatric and medical literature claiming fixity of sexual orientation by age nine. Heart rending stories are told of the rejection and alienation felt by young people unable to find acceptance, much less affirmation. How could anyone be so heartless as to oppose such a compassionate approach? It seems like a clear case of love vs. hate!

But JUST SUPPOSE that the situation is not as it is portrayed to be.

Just suppose that sexual attraction is a complex phenomenon, based on a wide variety of life experiences and a person's mental attitude towards them. Many male homosexuals speak powerfully of their childhood feelings of rejection by their fathers and the desire for a warm relationship with a father figure not sexual but making them vulnerable to being seduced by adults who either misinterpret the child's response or simply take advantage of it.

Just suppose that sensitive, intellectual and artistic boys are made to feel that these interests are not male and therefore they are not normal. Many have thought of themselves as not fitting in and therefore find themselves curious about other boys -- as being different from them -- much as the other boys become curious about the differences between themselves and girls.

Just suppose that sexually explicit material and sexual behavior, of whatever stripe, has the potential of becoming habit forming because of the powerful pleasure principle to which it attaches. Exposure to these materials or initiation into those behaviors as a "test" of orientation would likely become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Just suppose that the aversion to men felt by many lesbian women is related to sexual abuse in childhood which is reported by a very high percentage of them. How could this be in any way related to the currently popular notion that perinatal hormonal influences account for the direction of erotic attraction? (It is said by some researchers that boys who experience adult child sex were imprinted in that sort of manner and actually signaled their desires to the men who initiated them.)

Just suppose that the adverse physical and mental health effects, seen especially among male homosexuals but also among females, are not a result of societal rejection but are related to something intrinsic about the lifestyle. Clearly many gay men desire a great variety of temporary relationships and reject any notion of monogamy -- even their long term relationships are generally "open." This ought to be clear from the history of consistently finding gays at the vanguard of sexually transmitted diseases.

Just suppose that the emotional attachment that accompanies sexual behavior, generally understood less well by men than by women, is a signal that certain design features in the sex drive ought to point us in the direction of exclusivity and permanence. The connection between broken relationships and either depression on the one hand or violence on the other hand is enough to make thoughtful people reconsider their prejudices.

Just suppose that the scientific objectivity of some investigators in this field is tainted by their own sexual desires and responses. Is it possible that they want to open the options for "willing" partners to the very young for whom some of them undoubtedly feel sexual attraction? This is the stated goal of the North American Man-Boy Love Association who ask families to invite "Boy-Lovers" into the family circle as part of the team raising their sons.

Just suppose this part of the "national debate" actually were allowed to see the light of day. For those who can step beyond anger at a politically incorrect position and at least have the intellectual honesty to investigate the other side, I invite you to visit the website of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality.

Ross S. Olson MD

Dr. Olson is a Pediatrician living in Minneapolis and working in Apple Valley.

Send comments to me at ross{at}

The URL for this document is