Jerusalem Report

Wrestling with reversal

Religious men struggle with their same-sex tendencies by attempting a controversial therapy. Critics argue that it is no more than cruel repression of a natural desire.

'I could have remained celibate but that's not what God wants from us, either. I felt totally stuck'
Photo by: AVI KATZ
By the time he was 13 years old, Avi Cohen (an assumed name) knew he was gay. He had always preferred playing with girls, and once he hit puberty it was obvious that he was attracted to boys. By 15, he had a “very active sex life” with other boys.

For Cohen, however, the issue of homosexuality was far from a simple matter. As a student in an Orthodox yeshiva high school in São Paulo, Brazil, he knew that the Torah frowned on gay sex. Furthermore, as the eldest of three children in an observant home, he knew he was expected to follow a clearly defined, traditional life path: He was expected to remain a virgin until he got married, preferably in his early 20s to an Orthodox girl, to be followed by children.

Read More..., the online edition of the Jerusalem Post Newspaper - the most read and best-selling English-language newspaper in Israel. For analysis and opinion from Israel, the Jewish World and the Middle East. offers expert and in-depth reporting from Israel, the Jewish World and the Middle East, including diplomacy and defense, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Arab Spring, the Mideast peace process, politics in Israel, life in Jerusalem, Israel's international affairs, Iran and its nuclear program, Syria and the Syrian civil war, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel's world of business and finance, and Jewish life in Israel and the Diaspora.

All rights reserved © The Jerusalem Post 1995 - 2013