From as early as I can remember in my childhood, I didn’t feel like a male. Just to clarify, I didn’t feel like a female either; I never felt like I was supposed to be a girl. I just had trouble connecting with other boys and, later, men. I wasn’t interested in the stereotypical “guy stuff,” like sports. Instead, I played piano and loved it (still do). I’ve also always loved to write. Bottom line: It didn’t seem natural to me, nor did I really know how, to act like a boy was “supposed to” act. Eventually, this led to what I would come to know as a , coupled with a very much unwanted that I didn’t understand.
I didn’t connect well with my dad. He was there, but not there for me emotionally. We did very little together. He didn’t teach me things he knew how to do, like working on cars, or softball (he played in church leagues for years). In his defense, I now realize that I showed no interest in those things, and he did support my cub scout/boy scout activities. Oh, and he did teach me to bowl, which I will admit I did enjoy.
Then came puberty. That’s when it hit the fan. Here I was, longing to be like the other boys (though not realizing that’s what I longed for, just knowing I was missing something and that I felt different from them), and I was thrown into a locker room at school and expected to take showers in a big shower room with no doors or curtains – no privacy at all – at age 12. The thought of that was torture. I wouldn’t do it. I was given a grade of “C” in PE for not showering. In that 12-14 age range of junior high, the boys ranged from no physical development at all, to boys who were already getting hairy, and we were all thrown in together. It was awful.
WANTED THEM, OR WANTED TO BE LIKE THEM?
I soon realized that the boys who were developing physically intrigued me. I liked looking at their bodies. Sneaking looks, that is, for fear of getting beaten up if I got caught (or worse, that my secret would be revealed). I found myself wanting them sexually. What I didn’t realize until decades later is that I didn’t really WANT them that way at all. Of course, I was curious about the physical changes coming in myself, like I suppose everyone is, but most of all, I was looking at them because I wanted to be like them! Unfortunately, I didn’t know that at the time, and when sexual desire kicked in for the first time at puberty, I was attracted to the guys (at least, I thought I was).
I developed an addiction to anything sexual, but primarily anything sexual that involved other guys. I managed to never have a full sexual encounter with another male (in person). But I got involved heavily in porn, chatting and instant messaging, photo sharing, web camming and frequent masturbation. It became so bad that I was frequently doing these things at work, even after getting fired from a job for looking at porn at work. Common sense doesn’t matter to an addict. Consequences don’t matter. The addiction takes over, whether it’s chemical in nature (like drugs or alcohol) or behavioral in nature (like sex or gambling).
I WANTED MY OPPOSITE
What I only very recently figured out (or rather, what God recently revealed to me) is that He created us to be attracted to those who are opposite of — or different from — us. For me, guys seemed opposite of and different from me. So, I was attracted to what was different, since I didn’t feel like a guy. And that began decades of attraction to other males, without me having a clue why, or that I didn’t have to be. You see, by the time we reach puberty, if we’ve had a “normal” childhood, we’ll be familiar enough with our own gender to be ready to explore the opposite one. That didn’t happen for me.
GOD, PLEASE REMOVE THIS THORN FROM MY FLESH!
I prayed for decades for God to remove the from me. But, I’ve finally learned that I was asking for the wrong thing. God generally doesn’t take the attraction to women away from men who pray for deliverance from lust for women, so why would He necessarily take my attraction to men away? Instead, I believe He desires to walk through those attractions and struggles (whatever they are) with us and He desires for us to seek holiness in our lives, regardless of to whom we’re attracted (or with whatever issue we may struggle). But above all else, He desires for Himself to be glorified in our lives, whatever that looks like in each person’s life. So, I’ve learned that the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality; it’s holiness. God may work in us an attraction to the opposite gender after dealing with our same gender attraction, and He may not.
I WANTED INTIMACY…WHO KNEW?
I longed for intimacy. Though, for most of my life, I had no idea whatsoever that intimacy is what I wanted and needed, or really even what intimacy was. I was looking for the approval of a man (something all boys and men crave, whether they realize it or not), which I didn’t really get from my dad. I also didn’t realize most of my life that I was looking for that approval, or affirmation, from men. If I spent time with people while growing up (which I didn’t do that much – a lot of my time was spent alone), it was usually with girls. I finally know now that intimacy is exactly what I craved. Just to clarify, I’m referring to emotional intimacy here – for someone to know me completely, not the fake me I projected for so long, and still love me (and for me to know them completely and love them). It’s something we all need; God created us to need it with Him and with other people. Of course, I wanted physical (sexual) intimacy, too. But that’s empty, meaningless and short-lived without emotional intimacy.
WITH MY WIFE
I’m beginning to understand emotional intimacy and experience it with my wife. We’re talking like we never have before (like we always should have), getting to know each other more closely than ever. We have a long way to go in this area, for sure, but I can see progress and a brighter future. She and I are at the point now where I can tell her when I find a man attractive! What?! I never thought that could happen, as I kept all of this secret from her for the first 20 years of our marriage. She’s now heard about the things I’ve done in the area of sexual sin, which, in my passivity and fear, I admitted to her only after being caught (several times). I never had the nerve to tell her, until forced to do so.
GOD IS MAKING BEAUTY OUT OF THE ASHES OF MY MARRIAGE
I unfairly married my wife with my secret intact, thinking marriage would cure me (it did not). I thought, then, I would never have to tell a soul — I’d be fixed! Marriage does not cure same gender attraction; it only adds another person to the harm it creates. I hurt her so badly. Despite everything I did, which should have torn apart my marriage, my wife is a Godly woman and wants to stay with me, that God would be glorified and that we could be used to help others in our situation or similar ones (same-sex issues or not). And somehow, she loves me, despite all the hurt I’ve caused her. She showed me some time ago that the divorce rate among couples where the man reveals his same-sex attractions is 98%. She and I are determined to be in the 2%! It’s incredible that God has kept us together all these years at all, and even more incredible that He is making out of our relationship what it always should have been, and helping others through their own struggles through us.
THE CHANGE IN ME
By the power of God working in me, I am now able to look at a male who I find attractive and not lust after him. I realize that I don’t want him sexually, but just to be like him in some way. And what I also realize is that I am like him. Maybe not in every outward way (face, fitness level, outgoing personality, etc.), but I am totally male, physically and in the depths of my soul. I am a man because God made me a man, and in doing so, He did not make a mistake! Realizing that, I no longer have to be jealous of other men or allow that jealousy to turn to lust. I no longer have the desire to get affirmed by other men by showing them my body or what I can do with it. I no longer worry about fulfilling male stereotypes created by the world!
A COMPLETE TURNAROUND…PERFECTION?
I still am tempted, just as everyone is. I may always find men attractive. But, through various avenues, God has taught me how to beat those temptations, by taking thoughts captive and exercising accountability. He has taught me how to live for His glory. God certainly has spoken to me through His Holy Spirit, but He has also used two incredible resources to help me get to where He wants me to be. He used an online course at http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com, and the Christ-based 12-step program, Celebrate Recovery http://www.celebraterecovery.com. He has also used revelations to me through His Word and through other people. It’s still a daily battle, but it’s one that I (with Him) am winning. And, just for the record, I do find my wife attractive – extremely so!
WHAT SATAN MEANT FOR EVIL, GOD IS USING FOR GOOD!
One of my favorite Bible stories, since my teenage years, has been the story of Joseph from the book of Genesis. Joseph went through horrible circumstances, none of them his own fault, and God raised him to a position of great responsibility and power, from which he was able (and willing) to save his family. This was after his brothers sold him into slavery over their petty jealousy of him. Now, I made a lot of mistakes. I don’t compare myself to the innocent Joseph, other than the fact that I never asked for the attractions with which I was plagued, as he didn’t ask for his incredible trials. When I was finally caught the last time in my sin on April 30, 2012, I prayed that God would not only heal and change me, but that He would use the garbage in my life to help others. And He is! He has allowed me to be in leadership positions in the Celebrate Recovery 12-step program, sponsoring and providing accountability for other men and helping them find the miracles that God works in the 12 steps and 8 principles from Matthew 5 that drive the program. And, He has given me the opportunity to meet people in other ways and be the conduit for Him to help them. He’s truly amazing, how He can take the worst things I’ve done and use them for good. I have a new man in my life, and His name is Jesus Christ, my Savior and my Lord. Praise God, and to Him be ALL the glory for the great things He is doing with me!