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ritastrakosha

The historical use of diet to treat homosexuality

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In several cultures, during medieval and modern times, fasting has been used for homosexuality. Fasting is defined as “a willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time”, so it is similar to keeping a diet. Fasting has also been used since antiquity as a healing tool for many diseases.

According to historian Caroline Bynum, “Many patristic [early Christian, from c. AD 100 to either AD 451 or to the 8-th century] writers associated food with lust and urged abstinence as a method of curbing sexual desire. John Cassian, writing for monks in the early fifth century, said: ‘It is impossible to extinguish the fires of concupiscence (strong sexual desire) without restraining the desires of the stomach.’ ”

Tertullian (c. 155 – c. 240 AD), Christian author from Carthage, saw a close connection between lust and gluttony:

Lust without voracity would certainly be considered a monstrous phenomenon; since these two are so united and concrete, that, had there been any possibility of disjoining them, the pudenda would not have been affixed to the belly itself rather than elsewhere… First, the belly; and then immediately the materials of all other species of lasciviousness are laid subordinately to daintiness: through love of eating, love of impurity finds passage.

The Penitential of Cummean (c. 650), an Irish penitential, which was much circulated in Europe during the eighth and ninth centuries, described different penances (punishments) for sexual misconduct, including homosexuality. The Penitential calls the penances “medicine for the salvation of the soul”. It begins with a chapter on gluttony, followed by a chapter on fornication. For those who committed sodomy it ordered a penance of 7 years. It does not detail the penance, but in the previous paragraphs it describes the penance for fornication by a priest who has taken the vow of a monk:

He shall ask pardon every hour and shall perform a special fast every week except in the fifty days from Easter to Pentecost. After the special fast he shall have bread without limit and a tidbit smeared with some butter (that is to say a quarter measure) and he shall live like this on Sundays, while on other days he shall have a portion of dry bread (made from a twelve-potentae vessel of flour) and a meal enriched with a little fat, garden vegetables, a few eggs, British cheese, a Roman half-pint (equal to twelve hen’s eggs) of milk on account of the frailty of the body in this age, a Roman pint of whey or buttermilk (equal to twelve hen’s eggs) for his thirst and some water if he does physical hard work. His bed shall be made of only a little straw. During the three forty-day periods he shall increase his penance as far as his strength allows.

The penitential of Columban which dates to around the year 600, says, “But if one commits fornication as the Sodomites did, he shall do penance for ten years, the first three on bread and water; but in the other seven years he shall abstain from wine and meat, and [he shall] not be housed with another person forever.”

John The Faster, Patriarch of Constantinople (582-595 A.D.) in his canon XVIII excludes the sodomist from communion for three years, with the additional penance of fasting and toward evening xerophagy. Xerophagy is a kind of Christian fast in which only bread, salt, water, vegetables may be eaten and meat, fish, milk, cheese, butter, oil, wine, and all seasonings or spices are excluded.

According to Stephen Morris, author of the book When Brothers Dwell in Unity: Byzantine Christianity and Homosexuality,  penance (epitimia in greek) in Byzantine Christianity was considered a therapeutic or medicinal tool-similar to surgery-that might be painful in the short term but was aimed at restoring the (spiritual) health of the patient.

Fasting has also been used in other non-Christian cultures. The Laws of Manu, the most popular Hindu law book of medieval and ancient India, prescribed  food restriction for homosexual acts: “If a man has shed his semen in non-human females, in a man, in a menstruating woman, in something other than a vagina, or in water, he should carry out the ‘painful heating’ vow.” The Painful Heating vow is described as follows, “If one lives one day on cow’s urine, one day on cow-dung, one day on milk, one day on sour milk, one day on clarified butter, one day on a decoction of Kuśa grass, and during one day and night, on air.”

An early medical text where diet is mentioned as a remedy for homosexuality is a medieval medical treatise on passive homosexuality, Treatise on the hidden Illness, attributed to Abū Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariyyā al-Rāzī  (854 CE – 925 CE), a Persian polymath. Among other treatments for homosexuality he mentions fasting and a special diet:

The treatments mentioned by me are right for young and the affluent people. In connection with others, your aim in treating them should be to make them loose weight and diminish the blood. Thus they should be ordered to fast, to give up drinking wine, to use vinegar for seasoning…..They should also stick to foods such as qaris, masus, hulam, hisrimiyah, with gourds and lentils, drink constantly oxymel…

Avicenna (980-1037), another Persian polymath, wrote regarding homosexuality, “Things that break the desire, such as worries, hunger, vigils, detention, and beatings, constitute useful treatment.”

In China, sodomy was first punished in 1790 by the Qing Code. Sodomy with consent was penalized with one month in the cangue and 100 heavy blows. A cangue was a device used for corporal punishment and the person wearing the cangue could not eat, unless he was helped by others.

Fasting seems to continue to be used in different clinics around the world, like in Ecuadorand in China.

Today, https://orthodoxwiki.org (a free-content encyclopedia for Orthodox Christianity) mentions fasting as one of the “spiritual weapons” that should be used for homosexuality. The foods that are not eaten during a fast in Orthodox Christianity include: meat, dairy products, eggs, olive oil (especially where olive oil is not a major part of the diet, the rule is sometimes taken to include all vegetable oils, as well as oil products such as margarine), wine and other alcoholic drink.

George Ohsawa (1893-1966), born in Japan, the founder of Macrobiotic diet, thought that bad diet could cause homosexuality:

Everyone eats, but few know how to eat. Only a person who eats in such a way as to achieve a normal human balance lives a happy life. Misfortune strikes those whose body and minds are not healthy. Such people often evidence sexual deviation as one among their many symptoms. In point of fact, homosexuality is quite common in the West, perhaps a thousand times more so than in the East…You can cure sexual deviation with macrobiotics.

According to Ohsawa (as cited by Michael Barker):

The healthy man is yang, active and strong, while the healthy woman is yin and should be passive in sexual life. If man is too yin, which arises from eating too much yin food (e.g., sugar and fruit) “he will be very unhappy”; if a women is too yang from digesting too much yang food (animal products), unhappiness will result… Women are singled out for a special warning: if you happen to “detest a man’s sexual desire,” then you must have eaten too much yang food, which if not remedied will lead a woman to “become homosexual or love animals to an extreme degree.”

Some other modern time professionals who see a link between diet and homosexuality are Lawrence Wilson, Joel Wallach, Genetiker, Jim McAfee, Delia Maceda-Patawaran, George Malkmus.  

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Interesting perspectives on how messed up many people were in the past. Are you arguing that these views should be taken seriously today? But, perhaps the first question for you to answer is this - do you view homosexuality as a disorder that needs to be cured?

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Surely, I'm not the only one who keeps thinking "sausages" upon reading the thread title?

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6 minutes ago, iNow said:

Surely, I'm not the only one who keeps thinking "sausages" upon reading the thread title?

The only one so far.

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!

Moderator Note

This is a science site (just in case anyone didn't take the previous post as rhetorical), and I don't see science in the OP. As a discussion of (misguided) history there might be some value, but this is not your blog — soapboxing/preaching is not permitted. 

If you have some science to present, please do so with your next post. Otherwise we're done here.

 

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21 minutes ago, Area54 said:

Interesting perspectives on how messed up many people were in the past. Are you arguing that these views should be taken seriously today? But, perhaps the first question for you to answer is this - do you view homosexuality as a disorder that needs to be cured?

Some bisexuals/homosexuals deem homosexual attractions unwanted (for practical reasons, like being unable to have children without medical intervention) and ask for help from science and the medical profession. They should be helped, like it is the case with other persons who ask for fertility treatment for other reasons. If it needs or not to be treated, it is decided by the person himself. 

There is a definition of disease in the dictionary and I think that exclusive homosexuality fulfills the criteria: the persons' brain has lost the function of sexual reproduction, one of the defining functions of life. Several psychiatric associations in the world, caring for hundreds of millions of persons (like in Indonesia, Malaysia), continue to consider it a disorder. 

 

 

This is history of sexology. Medieval medicine was mixed with religion. The argument I would like to raise is that fasting has been used for hundreds of years probably because it must have worked. They noticed the connection between nutrition and sexuality. They did not do surveys or proper experiments, but they may have had enough cases to draw rough conclusions. Religions explain religious rituals, orders with God, but most of the time there are practical reasons behind them. 

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More than likely, If you think it should work, it probably will.

Sexuality seems to be a preference.

I like lobster; some people think its disgusting. To each their own.
( I'm Italian so I happen to like sausage also, iNow. Don't read anything into that, and make a pass at me ) :lol:

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54 minutes ago, ritastrakosha said:

There is a definition of disease in the dictionary and I think that exclusive homosexuality fulfills the criteria: the persons' brain has lost the function of sexual reproduction, one of the defining functions of life. Several psychiatric associations in the world, caring for hundreds of millions of persons (like in Indonesia, Malaysia), continue to consider it a disorder.

Dictionary definitions explain how words are used. They are not appropriate for scientific or medical usage.

Now "disease" implies abnormality. There is nothing abnormal about homosexuality. It is common in many species beside humans. It is quite possibly present in the majority of mammals. Something that is normal cannot be considered a disease. Indonesia and Malaysia are strongly influenced by the religious intolerance of Islam towards homosexuality, so there is no surprise their state run institutions reflect that.

1 hour ago, ritastrakosha said:

The argument I would like to raise is that fasting has been used for hundreds of years probably because it must have worked.

Astrology has been practiced for hundreds of years and it is unfounded nonsense whose main "benefit" is to provide income for charlatans.

Since fasting limits one's energy it is likely to suppress all forms of sexual desire. If one views sexual desire as a problem then, by all means fast.

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11 hours ago, ritastrakosha said:

... he shall do penance for ten years, the first three on bread and water; but in the other seven years he shall abstain from wine and meat, and [he shall] not be housed with another person forever.”

... wrote regarding homosexuality, “Things that break the desire, such as worries, hunger, vigils, detention, and beatings, constitute useful treatment.”

... Sodomy with consent was penalized with one month in the cangue and 100 heavy blows. A cangue was a device used for corporal punishment and the person wearing the cangue could not eat, unless he was helped by others.

   These examples are less diet and more along the lines of physical and psychological torture which could alter a person's mental health sufficiently that they might not engage in a decent loving relationship with someone of the same sex afterwards. Which, in a sick way, could be seen as 'treating' their homosexuality - just don't let anyone catch you doing such 'treatments' unless you want to spend time in jail. Frankly the subject's behavior - both sexual and otherwise - after the torture is more likely to be far more disturbing than it was beforehand.

   You'd do a better job of determining if diet has any effect on homosexuality by first surveying people to determine if there is any commonalities between the foods that all homosexuals eat and contrast that with the foods that all heterosexuals eat. However, I speculate that you'd quickly find there is no such commonality or contrast; that diet has utterly no affect on sexuality.

 

 

9 hours ago, iNow said:

Surely, I'm not the only one who keeps thinking "sausages" upon reading the thread title?

   Warning, bad pun:

Spoiler

   I'd think sausages would be the 'wurst' thing to use if you were trying to curb homosexuality.

 

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There are known certain foods to increase desire (aphrodisiacs), like seafood, oysters, especially liked by ancient Romans, Greeks, Irish, Gauls.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphrodisiac

"Raw oysters really are aphrodisiacs say scientists"

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1486054/Raw-oysters-really-are-aphrodisiacs-say-scientists-and-now-is-the-time-to-eat-them.html

Avoiding them, obviously should decrease desire for sexual intercourse.

Regardless of heterosexual/homosexual orientation.

 

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If only bigotry could be cured so easily.

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For that, we have to go to the historical use of a large hammer to treat idiocy.

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On 9/5/2017 at 10:59 PM, Area54 said:

Dictionary definitions explain how words are used. They are not appropriate for scientific or medical usage.

Now "disease" implies abnormality. There is nothing abnormal about homosexuality. It is common in many species beside humans. It is quite possibly present in the majority of mammals. Something that is normal cannot be considered a disease. Indonesia and Malaysia are strongly influenced by the religious intolerance of Islam towards homosexuality, so there is no surprise their state run institutions reflect that.

Astrology has been practiced for hundreds of years and it is unfounded nonsense whose main "benefit" is to provide income for charlatans.

Since fasting limits one's energy it is likely to suppress all forms of sexual desire. If one views sexual desire as a problem then, by all means fast.

22% of the world population has nearsightedness. It is normal in the sense that it is frequent in the population, but it is a dysfunction.

Fasting could have a short term and a long term effect on sexuality. The short term effect is a lessening of sexual desire, but the long term effect could be a change in sexual partner preference.  Fasting is used to treat chronic diseases in alternative medicine and it has long term effects on health. 

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7 minutes ago, ritastrakosha said:

22% of the world population has nearsightedness. It is normal in the sense that it is frequent in the population, but it is a dysfunction.

Fasting could have a short term and a long term effect on sexuality. The short term effect is a lessening of sexual desire, but the long term effect could be a change in sexual partner preference.  Fasting is used to treat chronic diseases in alternative medicine and it has long term effects on health. 

So you maintain that homosexuality is a dysfunction? That there is "something wrong" with homosexuals? I just wish to be clear as to your position.

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On 9/6/2017 at 7:45 AM, Damateur said:

     You'd do a better job of determining if diet has any effect on homosexuality by first surveying people to determine if there is any commonalities between the foods that all homosexuals eat and contrast that with the foods that all heterosexuals eat. However, I speculate that you'd quickly find there is no such commonality or contrast; that diet has utterly no affect on sexuality.

 

  Reveal hidden contents

   I'd think sausages would be the 'wurst' thing to use if you were trying to curb homosexuality.

 

There has been an experiment on hundreds of cats with different diets, by Francis Pottenger. He noticed an increase in abnormal sexual behavior among cats eating a less optimal diet. Others have observed that persons eating raw foods with aging do not loose the gender typical body features as fast as the persons eating the mainstream diet. 

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11 minutes ago, ritastrakosha said:

 

Fasting could have a short term and a long term effect on sexuality. The short term effect is a lessening of sexual desire, but the long term effect could be a change in sexual partner preference.  Fasting is used to treat chronic diseases in alternative medicine and it has long term effects on health. 

"The long term effect could be a change in sexual partner preference"

Given how many people are on a diet at any given time , we would have noticed if their preferences changed.

"Fasting is used to treat chronic diseases in alternative medicine"

If a "treatment" in alternative medicine worked, it wouldn't be "alternative"; it would be medicine.

It seems that, on the misguided basis that homosexuality is a "problem", you are putting forward a "solution" which is knpown not to work.

 

Did you not realise that this was a science website?

3 minutes ago, ritastrakosha said:

There has been an experiment on hundreds of cats with different diets, by Francis Pottenger. He noticed an increase in abnormal sexual behavior among cats eating a less optimal diet. Others have observed that persons eating raw foods with aging do not loose the gender typical body features as fast as the persons eating the mainstream diet. 

And the experiment  was pointless.

"At the time of Pottenger's Study the amino acid taurine had been discovered but had not yet been identified as an essential amino acid for cats. "

from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_M._Pottenger,_Jr.

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2 hours ago, Area54 said:

So you maintain that homosexuality is a dysfunction? That there is "something wrong" with homosexuals? I just wish to be clear as to your position.

Yes. The main functions of a living organism are: growth, movement, reproduction, respiration, nutrition and excretion. Exclusive homosexuals totally lack the function of reproduction. There are several body organs involved in the function of reproduction: the sexual organs and the brain. In the case of exclusive homosexuals the dysfunction is in the brain and in the reproductive function. The person may function totally normally in all other aspects. There is this consensus among American professionals that homosexuality is not a dysfunction, but I do not see how they can circumvent these logical steps and come to that conclusion.

Even if homosexuality is not considered a dysfunction, but just a different behavior from the norm, it can still be subject to therapy. Psychologists do therapy with mentally healthy people as well to improve and develop their potentials. Especially in psychiatry the line between health and disease is very blurry. 

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Let's say you like vanilla ice cream. I like chocolate. Why do you think I then need therapy simply for preferring a different flavor?

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26 minutes ago, ritastrakosha said:

The main functions of a living organism are: growth, movement, reproduction, respiration, nutrition and excretion

You overlook the means by which (successful) reproduction is achieved by humans. Since humans are a social species individuals who are not capable of, or interested in reproduction can assist directly or indirectly in raising children, help provide the nutrition required or even, (if we adopt for a  moment a stereotypical view of male homosexuals) provide a pleasing ambience for the environment in which they excrete.

Even if I were to concede, for sake of argument, that it is a dysfunction why would you wish to correct it if the individual "suffering" from it is quite happy with their condition?

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Sex can also be used to decrease conflict and increase group cohesion, much like we see in bonobos. It's silly to assume sex is only for reproduction. I, for one, enjoy it very much and sometimes even more when it doesn't result in any new children. 

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3 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

"The long term effect could be a change in sexual partner preference"

Given how many people are on a diet at any given time , we would have noticed if their preferences changed.

"Fasting is used to treat chronic diseases in alternative medicine"

If a "treatment" in alternative medicine worked, it wouldn't be "alternative"; it would be medicine.

It seems that, on the misguided basis that homosexuality is a "problem", you are putting forward a "solution" which is knpown not to work.

 

Did you not realise that this was a science website?

And the experiment  was pointless.

"At the time of Pottenger's Study the amino acid taurine had been discovered but had not yet been identified as an essential amino acid for cats. "

from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_M._Pottenger,_Jr.

Single individuals and certain doctors have noticed a change in sexual orientation with changed diet. Many of the ex-gays who claim to have changed their sexual orientation through the help of religious groups have experienced the change while also giving up alcohol, drugs (and probably fasting?).  The most fluidity in sexuality is during puberty. So a good survey would be with adolescents. A % of gay identified adolescents grow up to become heterosexuals, while another % remains gay or becomes even more so. Is there any lifestyle difference between them? 

I see bad diet as a stress source and stress as the main factor in homosexuality. Other sources of stress are alcohol, drugs, sleep deprivation etc. These all combined give a stress load that can bring dysfunction. 

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4 minutes ago, ritastrakosha said:

Single individuals and certain doctors have noticed a change in sexual orientation with changed diet. Many of the ex-gays who claim to have changed their sexual orientation through the help of religious groups have experienced the change while also giving up alcohol, drugs (and probably fasting?).  The most fluidity in sexuality is during puberty. So a good survey would be with adolescents. A % of gay identified adolescents grow up to become heterosexuals, while another % remains gay or becomes even more so. Is there any lifestyle difference between them? 

I see bad diet as a stress source and stress as the main factor in homosexuality. Other sources of stress are alcohol, drugs, sleep deprivation etc. These all combined give a stress load that can bring dysfunction. 

!

Moderator Note

I have warned you once already about this being a science site. You need to be backing up your claims. Peer-reviewed literature is preferred.

 

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