I hurt for a long time because of childhood sexual abuse. Now I want to provide a safe place for hurting men to connect with other survivors of sexual abuse. Talk to us. You don't have to use your real name to share your experiences or ask questions.

He Thought He Was Gay: A Comment and Response

(This post appeared on June 13, and Jason B. commented on July 17. I've included his comments and my response below. --Cec)

Blog post from June 13: 

Brian told me about his abuse as a child and said, "For years I thought I was a homosexual." Because he seemed to be a rather well-adjusted heterosexual, I asked, "Any idea what made you feel that way?"

Without hesitation he said, "Because I enjoyed it. From the first time I had an erection and it felt good." When he was a little older, he ejaculated. "If it was that awful, why did I enjoy it? I thought I was gay."

Until he was in his early twenties and after Brian "tried sex with a man once," he spoke of enjoying it and hating it at the same time. He didn't try it again and found it revolting to think about.

"Am I gay or not?" he asked himself.

Shortly after that, Brian visited a group that focused on male survivors of sexual abuse. "The penis responds to stimulation," the leader says. "That feels good, and that's absolutely natural to get aroused. But it doesn't mean you're gay. It means you have responded in a normal, natural way."

That was the day Brian started to say, "I'm a healthy, heterosexual male." It was also the beginning of a new life for him.

Jason's comments: 

Let me first say I love your book Not Quite Healed. It is a wonderful, overall helpful book to survivors of abuse like myself and for that I am very thankful. However in your book you recommended Exodus International for their reparative therapy. Around the same time your book was released they made a statement that they were stopping operations because they realized they were wrong and were causing great harm. Are you willing to make a similar statement recanting your recommendation of reparative therapy?

While I believe some people who were abused can have confusion about their orientation, I don't believe that environmental factors are the "cause" for a person to identify as LGBTQ. I know this story is only one person's experience but are you suggesting that all people who identify as LGBTQ are just confused?

I'm not saying you are not entitled to your beliefs, whatever they may be. But I do think it would be incredibly helpful to be sensitive to the possibility that this issue is more complex than what just one group of Christians wants to define as being biblical. Suggesting that sexual identity is just a learned behavior is incredibly na├»ve and damaging to survivors who have SSA or identify as LGBTQ. 

Cec's response:

Jason, thank you for your good attitude.

I'll do my best to explain. My understanding of Exodus--at the time I wrote--was they they were a resource for people who had been in the gay lifestyle and wanted help to get out. For me, it's that simple. If they want help to change, that was the best resource I knew. (They disbanded after the publication of my book.)

Not Quite Healed was certainly not written to tell anyone they had to change or were rushing to hell if they didn't. I don't think that way.

I confess I don't understand why some people are gay and others not, whether it's nurture or nature (or a combination) that makes them who they are. I've tried to show respect and compassion for everyone, regardless of their sexual status. I'm sorry if that didn't come through in my book.

One of my good minister friends is transgender. I still love Erin as much as I loved Eric before his sexual surgery.

I agree with you that it's a highly complex issue. I'm not smart enough to know the answers; I am smart enough to know that the great command in the New Testament is to love. And Paul says that if we love, we fulfill the laws of God.

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