, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 65-78

Subjective and penile plethysmography responses to aversion therapy for homosexuality: A partial replication

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Forty patients were randomly assigned to receive apomorphine aversion or avoidance conditioning to reduce homosexual impulses. Prior to and following treatment, they were shown a film containing pictures of nude women preceded by pictures of a red circle and of nude men preceded by a green triangle. At 2 weeks following treatment, the patients showed significantly less penile volume increase to the pictures of men and penile volume decrease to the pictures of women, but no penile volume increase to the pictures of women. The changes in penile volume response of each patient correlated with the reduction in homosexual feeling he reported at follow-up 6 months later. There was no weakening of the change in penile volume responses at this time. Some statistically significant relationships were found between various measures of each patient's response to treatment and conditionability, but these were not present both at 2 weeks following treatment and at subsequent follow-up. Also, they differed from the relationships which were found to be statistically significant in an earlier study. It was concluded that they were chance relationships. Approximately half the patients reported possible or definite reduction in homosexual feeling and an increase in heterosexual feeling after 6 months or longer. The results are comparable with those of a previous study using apomorphine conditioning and aversion-relief therapy to treat homosexuality.