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.

Same Sex Attraction

(This is an encore post from John Joseph.)

Aside from all arguments on either side over the origins and morality of homosexuality, one of the primary remnants of my abuse is a strong sexual attraction to men. I don’t consider myself gay and I don’t live that lifestyle. I am a husband and a father and I choose to live in a loving marriage with my wife of now thirty-two years. Still, this unwanted same-sex attraction (SSA) shows up in my life often and always in the form of compulsion.

I have come to understand a few things about SSA in my life. First, it is an irrational state of mind. I never decide to have an attraction to a guy and it is never a romantic thing for me. I don’t dream about getting flowers from a man or of being taken to exotic destinations for a getaway with him. For me, SSA is more about feeling insecure or rejected. It happens most often when I am dealing with stress or something uncomfortable in my circumstances.

SSA generally starts with a feeling of discomfort in my mind. It is like a pot on the stove with a lid on it. As the water inside heats up the steam needs an escape valve. If things inside me are heating up, the escape valve can be triggered when I visualize or see an attractive man. I immediately size him up and compare myself with him. If he seems to be bigger, stronger, more successful, or more “together” in his personality I can become attracted. Fantasy takes over and eventually I’m caught up in an irrational state of mind.

The end of this irrational fantasy can be a foray into gay pornography and masturbation, leaving me shamed and depleted. Obviously, SSA is an unhealthy response to life’s normal stresses for me. Part of my recovery work is to recognize that it is irrational and to learn how to interrupt the cycle as soon as I recognize it.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

For the last two days, I have been struggling with old desires and lusts that I hate. I have "cruised" the net to cop forbidden looks. And then I despise what i've done. But the cruising SS places was a source of acceptance when I was stressed in my old life. My road to recovery has been rocky the last few months. I'm sure that living alone makes it worse and it seems to intensify at night. I know I will be a winner because I will never stop fighting the battle. But sometimes I grow weary.

Robert said...

I too am weary, so weary of this. I am praying and reading Psalm 27 this morning wondering why my thousands of prayers to take this residue of my abuse away have not been answered. Maybe He wants me to be shaped by this to be more reliant on His strength. I know the abuse made me more sensitive to His goodness, so i will do as this Psalm reminds: "Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart, wait for the Lord"

Cec Murphey said...

In all the work I've done personally and with others, SSA seems the most difficult for men to face. I applaud both of you for your comments.
As painful and as weary as your journey is, it also means you're moving forward.
Would you have such battles otherwise.

Keep going, guys.

Robert said...

I was reading Isaiah 9 today to prepare for Christmas, verse 4 stood out to me, Jesus shattered the yoke that burdens us, what a great way to welcome Christmas!

Joseph said...

Robert, isn't it a great comfort when the Holy Spirit opens verses to us that fit our situation. As I was grieving over my recent struggles and failure, I talked to both my pastor and my counselor. It amazed me that both men pointed me to Romans 5--a chapter that I very badly needed to re-read. The Holy Spirit directed both men to the Scripture that I needed. Thanks for sharing what you did.