The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

Hi, my questions and comments are on the topic of homosexuality.

I am gay and a member of the church of Christ. As a child I've always gotten along better with girls and I've always had a fascination with other boys (now men) and the male anatomy. I've read your material about the claims some make about being born homosexual. I won't make the claim that I was born gay because of my fear of presuming God's wisdom. Before I considered myself gay I was never attracted to a girl. During puberty I started to become physically attracted to other boys, but I didn't consider myself gay until I got my first ''boy crush'' in 10th grade. I didn't want to be gay. No one ever suggested being gay was fun or even acceptable.

I grew up surrounded by women. I was raised by my mother and grandmother and had no significant male figure in my life. I don't know if that was a contributing factor or not. My family members are all vehemently anti-gay and during my childhood so were all of my friends. I just wanted to fit in and be like the other guys and have girlfriends, but I didn't.

Shortly after I started telling people, beginning with my close friends, I tried to change myself. I asked people to pray for me. I prayed every day. I wanted nothing more than to be normal. I've fantasized having a wife, a big family, one day, but I no longer see my life ending up that way. When I went through the time as I was trying to pray the gay away (no pun intended). I felt awful. I honestly felt like I was doing more harm than good. I felt bad because I couldn't accept myself.

After that time I stopped trying to change. I didn't necessarily embrace the ''homosexual lifestyle'' I still haven't and I don't plan to because I'm not exactly sure what the ''homosexual lifestyle'' is. At one point in my life I refused to believe I could change. I don't believe that now. I had started to think that maybe I'm not supposed to, that maybe this was just my cross to bear.

I don't go out having promiscuous sex, doing drugs, recruiting people to become gay, and I'm no gay rights activist. I'm just a guy who is attracted to other guys. My attraction to other men was never a conscious decision I made. I don't have a strong desire to get married, but I do definitely want children. I'd never get married to another man as I know God expressly forbids it as marriage is for one man and one woman. I don't see myself as any different from the average guy. I do have some feminine tendencies but I'm just as masculine as anyone, I think, some of my friends would probably disagree.

I want to try to be ''straight,'' but the idea of having any sort of relationship, other than a friendship, just grosses me out to be completely honest.

After all of this has been said my questions are: Can't I still live a godly life being attracted to men, but choosing not to act on those feelings? What if I met another man in my situation and we fell in love and chose to be celibate? (I know that may sound like a stretch, but I honestly think it's possible, though I don't necessarily need to be in a relationship.) And what do you think about two celibate Christian men raising a child? I wasn't raised in the type of family most people are, but my mother was and is a Christian and always taught me going to church was important and I think that besides the gay thing, I have a pretty solid head on my shoulders.

Also, like I said I won't claim that I was born gay, but I know many people who I can't imagine being anything other than gay. I have a lot of male friends who are naturally extremely feminine and I just couldn't see any of them with women.  What do you make of men who act very feminine and have feminine physical qualities about them? As there are many of them.

While I'm at it, what do you think of people with gender identity disorder or gender dysphoria who may become later in life transsexual or transgendered?

Thanks so much for taking my question. I'd ask my minister but the last time I asked a church of Christ minister about this he told me not to come to his congregation.


Answer

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings" (Jeremiah 17:9-10).

Periodically I receive questions, such as yours, where I really wish we could sit down face-to-face and have some long talks. There are fundamentals which you need to know -- I'll be bring up as many as I can -- but I know these will in turn raise more questions. So this note is going to be long and I'm going to refer you to other readings as well. Many of your conclusions are off because you started out with some missing information. I'm also going to say some things which you are likely to object to, but because you can't see me or I you, it will likely come across differently than I intend. I tend to be blunt -- for some that is a relief and for others it becomes a point of contention.

Is There an External Cause to Homosexuality?

Just recently the American Psychological Association retracted its position regarding a genetic cause to homosexuality. Since you don't seem to be fully convinced about whether a person is born gay or not, please read: "No "Gay" Gene According to the American Psychological Association."

Definition of Terms

I've noticed a trend in recent years. People are encouraged to think of themselves homosexuals even if they never have sex with another person of the same gender. The word "gay," which meant to be happy up until the 1970's was hijacked as an alternative term for homosexuality. Now it is being modified again to broaden the application of the word to more people. A person is supposedly gay if they find males attractive.

I believe what is driving this is that for decades people have been claiming ridiculously high numbers for how many homosexuals there are in the world. As more people are willing to talk about it and information is being recorded, the promoters of homosexuality are being cornered into needing to justify their claims. But by broadening the definition to include more people they can claim there is more need for their agenda items to be considered.

But what should be asked is: Does finding males attractive mean a person is homosexual or gay?

From all my studies on this issue, I believe the answer is "no." What is being ignored (probably purposefully) is the way the human brain learns. Rather than repeat the information, I want you to read, "I'm gay, but I want to be straight, but how?"

When people first hit puberty, their minds initially do not know how to handle the desires awakened. Boys are particularly aware of this as they begin experiencing erections. Initially anything, everything, and no particular thing will trigger erections. The new desire for sex is completely unfocused to the point that even non-sexual things will produce a sexual reaction.

As the brain begins to train itself, many people go through a phase of "hero worship" that involves someone of the same sex. You experienced it yourself but labeled it a "boy crush."

Many go through a phase where they find people of the same sex attractive. If you think about it, it makes sense. Prior to puberty most children find members of the opposite sex unattractive. "Boys are dumb!" "Girls don't know anything!" You noted this yourself when you said you never found girls attractive prior to puberty. There is a missing element in your statement: Children don't think about sex unless it is forced on them. The desire isn't there. Thus there is no sexual attraction. You made it a point of distinction, but it is how every child is.

When sexual desires are first awakened and wide open, there is a pull toward what is familiar. Other people of the same sex are more easily assessable and you are able to talk about and compare experiences. Think back to when you first started having spontaneous erections. Few boys would think about sitting down with girls to discuss how much of a problem it is for them. Just as few girls would think about telling boys about their problems with menstruation. For the vast majority of people, it is just a passing phase. [See the sections titled "Gay," "Gay Fantasies," and "Stories" on the very well done web site called "Boys Under Attack" for details and records of many men's experiences with developing sexual desires.] Sexual attraction moves on to be focused on members of the opposite sex and then narrows down until your attraction is to your spouse. But for a few people, this progression gets derailed.

Every homosexual whom I have talked to and just about every one whose account I have read trace their desires back to their teenage years -- to the days when sexual desire was still wide open. Each one had a sexual experience with a person of the same sex that resulted in focusing their desires too soon. This should be surprising. Sex is a powerful binder. "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For "the two," He says, "shall become one flesh." But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him" (I Corinthians 6:15-17).

When a sexually inexperience boy has his first encounter with sex with another male, it has the strong potential to cause his developing desires to be pulled into the wrong direction. Each successive encounter re-enforces the idea. Today, with pornography easily found on the Internet, it is common to find young men masturbating to male images which also reinforces sexual attractions toward the male image. But this should not be surprising, there are men who have fetishes as well. These are people who have sexual reactions to objects or smells and can be generally traced back to early sexual activity where those objects or smells were present. The male teenage mind is very easily prone to obsessions.

That is the nature of sin: it is deceitful. It presents a false view of reality and soon a person is "hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:13). Physically, every homosexual is capable of having sex with a member of the opposite sex, but mentally they have deceived themselves into thinking that their only desire is for members of their own sex.

No Desire for a Woman

Your concern is not unusual: "But I have no desire for sex with someone of the opposite sex." To address this, we need talk about what triggers our sexual desires. There are two components to sexual desire: 1) the physical need in men to release semen when the seminal vesicles become full, and 2) the psychological attraction to someone. The physical ability to have intercourse with someone of the opposite sex is obviously there. It is the way your body was designed. However, sex doesn't work well without the accompanying psychological attractions.

Allow me to illustrate this with a more mundane example. When I'm hungry, I could eat broccoli to satisfy that hunger. Now I might not like broccoli, yet physically the broccoli would serve the purpose of filling my stomach. So put a plate of broccoli in front and I could force myself to eat it, but I won't enjoy it, and I probably will only eat the minimum necessary. But put something I do like, say fried chicken, and not only will I fill my stomach, but I'll also enjoy it.

So what forms the basis of psychological attraction? Ah, that is the question people have been trying to answer for ages. I might as well ask why do some men seek out skinny women when others prefer a plump woman and still others don't care.

As we have already seen, one part of the problem of attraction is what happens to us or what we do when our sexuality is developing. But it isn't a total picture. You mentioned another aspect and that is the environment we grow up in.

"Masculinity is bestowed. A boy learns who he is and what he's got from a man or the company of men. He cannot learn it any other place. He cannot learn it from other boys, and he cannot learn it from the world of women." [John Eldredge, Wild at Heart].

It appears you realize this since you mentioned that you had no male role models in your life when you were young. Other people have gone through the same problem. There is a natural desire to fill in this gap by seeking out the company of other males. Sadly, some are not very discriminating in whom they pick, which then leads to further problems. One of them is that children are usually quick to label anything different as something wrong. Without an adult male to serve as a measuring stick, things that kids your own age might call "girlie" might not be tempered with reality. For instance, is a love of flowers feminine? But I know many fine men who are artists and their paintings feature flowers and gardens. Or how about gardeners and horticulturists?

My point is that the things you are calling in yourself as "feminine" are most likely not. You are mislabeling yourself because you are looking through a distorted lens.

The Dilemma Between Desire and Knowledge

"For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me" (Romans 7:15-17).

Is Paul saying that sin is stronger than he? Such an idea would led to a contradiction to what James stated: "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded" (James 4:7-8). With God's aid, we can do all things, including overcoming sin (Philippians 4:13).

So what is Paul stating? If you return to the beginning of the chapter you will find that Paul is proving that the Old Law is no longer in effect, having been replaced by a new Law (Romans 7:1-4). It needed to be replaced because it was useless against the powers of the flesh (our desire to sin) (Romans 7:5-6). He then begins to address possible objections to that assertion. Some might wrongly conclude that the Law itself was sinful since it condemned people who sinned (Romans 7:7). Paul points out that the law defined what was sin, but it did not make people sin. Yet, the knowledge that sins existed gave Satan the opportunity to tempt us with things we might not have thought of on our own (Romans 7:8-12). Did this mean that Satan was able to take something good from God and twist it into something evil? No, the law made the contrast between right and wrong distinct (Romans 7:13). The weak point is man, not the law (Romans 7:14).

Paul illustrates that weakness in the Old Law by stating that he (as with others) knows what he would like to do -- he wants to do what is pleasing to God. However, in practice he sometimes does what he knows to be wrong (Romans 7:15). Because he hates the sin that he has committed, he has just proven that he agrees that the law is good (Romans 7:16).

Paul starts out with the assumption that in his mind he agrees with God and desires to do God's will. This is where you are as well when considering the sin of homosexuality. You know it is wrong. You don't like it, yet it seems that your own desires are fighting you. But you made a wrong turn in deciding that homosexuality was a part of your nature. Look where Paul went with his argument.

Paul points out that because intellectually he hated what he did, then the action is not a part of his nature (Romans 7:17). The sin that is within is encouraging him to commit sin, but that sin is not truly a part of him. This is an important point. If we are designed to sin, if sin is a part of who we are, then sin cannot be removed. There would be no chance of forgiveness. There would be no way for man to enter into the presence of God. "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth" (I John 1:5-6). However, if sin is something separate from who I am, then it means it can be removed and I would be free to do what I know to be right (Romans 7:18-23).

The solution to this dilemma cannot be within the individual man because that man has already shown the propensity to do things that he knows are wrong. Nor is the solution in the law because it is only able to prove to man that he has sinned. The answer is that we needed an external savior to break this wretched cycle and God provided just such a savior.

"O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit" (Romans 7:24-8:4).

Notice that Paul did not state that he remained in sin. He stated that Christians do not walk according to the flesh. They are able to do this because Christ has made us free from the cycle of sin and death brought about by the Law and man's weakness. Once again, if we apply this to homosexuality, then if a person agrees with God that it is a sin but because of his own weakness does what he knows to be wrong, the law points out his flawed life. By himself, he can do nothing. He has violated God's law and stands condemned. But Jesus brought forgiveness of sin by paying its awful price. The one who had commit the sin of homosexuality is freed from the debt of that sin. He can now live life without that burden. It doesn't mean God now accepts his continuing homosexual acts. The whole idea is that we are free from our past so that we might walk according to the will of God. The sins, such as homosexuality, must be left behind. "And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:11).

People born with a cleft pallet or clubbed feet can be saved just as they are. A homosexual cannot. He must change and become a new creature. When false teachers tell people that they can remain in sin without changing, they are giving them the false hope just as the false prophets did so long ago. "They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, saying, 'Peace, peace!' When there is no peace" (Jeremiah 6:14). You make them feel good about themselves for the moment, but in the long run you have encouraged them to walk the path of eternal condemnation.

Can Homosexuals Change?

What becomes more interesting is that there is now evidence that sexual orientation can be changed and typically without harm. "A new report in this month's issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Human Sexuality finds that sexual orientation can be changed — and that psychological care for individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions is  generally beneficial and that research has not found significant risk of harm" [New Study: Sexual Orientation Can Be Changed, by Gary Schneeberger].

See also:

The humorous thing is that this is what Bible believing Christians have always taught. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:9-11).

Are we judged by action only?

You distinguish those who act as homosexuals from those who think they are homosexual. You seem to understand God judges actions, but have you ignored that God judges the thoughts and motives of the heart as well? "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God" (I Corinthians 4:5).

Sin is the breaking of law, but in his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stated, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28). Don't make the same basic blunder the Jews in Jesus' time did by assuming sin only exists in the action taken. Jesus said that sin starts in the desire to commit sin. Thus, the sin of stealing doesn't only exist when an item is taken from a store; it starts when the thief decides he wants to take an item from the store. Jesus further explains, "What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mark 7:20-23).

I suspect you want to be able to claim that so long as someone doesn't act as a homosexual, they are safe from God's wrath, and it doesn't matter what they think. Jesus said our thoughts do matter. A person who wants to do homosexual acts, but either lacks the opportunity or lacks the will at the moment because he fears the consequences, is still lusting after evil.

If a man claims to be a homosexual, but neither acts or thinks like one, is he still a homosexual?

I'm sure some will claim that a person can be homosexual and yet neither act as one or have the desire to have sex with a person of the same gender. I would hope that it is obvious that this is not the definition of homosexuality. I suspect it would be difficult to find anyone claiming to be homosexual without at least the desire for homosexuality.

Let me address this with another, similar sin. If a person does not commit fornication, nor has the desire to have sex outside of marriage, is that person a fornicator anyway? The answer is obviously no. For the same reason a person who neither acts nor desires a homosexual act is not a homosexual. Again, I think you do yourself wrong by branding yourself with a label that doesn't fit you.

Well, I'd like to start off by saying that you weren't quite as blunt as I thought you were. I tend to be a bit blunt sometimes, so I do appreciate it. I'll try to respond to your statements and such in order you wrote them. I don't know how many people homosexuals have been claiming to be gay, but I will say that there are more homosexuals, or gay, or whichever people out there than one would realize. And I'm not so big on titles, but society needs them to put people in places where they think they should be (if that makes sense). I just consider myself a guy who likes other guys.

I've read the articles about the young men in similar situations and I understand them and agree with some of the things they say, but I don't believe that nearly or even half of men once had an attraction to other men.

And I understand the hero worship idea and the fact that brains don't initially know how to handle its new found desires. But I don't think, if I'm understanding correctly, that ''hero worship'' really describes the feelings I had during my first ''boy crush.'' I developed feelings for him because, at least I think anyway, he was intelligent, kind, funny, and handsome. I didn't fantasize about being his best friend or hanging out with him. Before my first ''boy crush'' I had crushes on a couple of girls. I'd consider those more along the lines of hero worship because I developed feelings for them because I just really liked them as friends and wanted to be around them more.

I'd like to note that between the ''girl crushes'' and the first ''boy crush'' several years had passed. I was fifteen when I had my first ''boy crush.'' I was never physically attracted to women, but I've been attracted to their personalities. I'd say that because I was used to females more than males because I grew up around a lot of women. Since I started having sexual desires I had always been physically attracted to males, but not until years later did I start desiring romantic relationships with them. My feelings weren't egged on by someone. I wasn't encouraged to pursue a relationship with a guy by anyone. I was more pressured to be in a relationship with a girl by my friends and even some of my family members.

''When sexual desires are first awakened and wide open, there is a pull toward what is familiar. Other people of the same sex are more easily assessable and you are able to talk about and compare experiences. Think back to when you first started having spontaneous erections. Few boys would think about sitting down with girls to discuss how much of a problem it is for them. Just as few girls would think about telling boys about their problems with menstruation.''

I do agree. I will even admit that it is very possible the openness my friends had about talking about their ''issues'' with each other. A big reason I liked to go over to my childhood friends house is because there were always some of the other neighborhood boys at his house around the same age as we were. I never felt embarrassed about having spontaneous erections when I went over there. All of my friends were having them too. I don't know maybe that had something to do with my ''development.'' What I disagree with is the idea that same-sex attraction is just a phase. I hated having those feelings. Maybe some of my friends were attracted to members of the same sex growing up as well, but I don't think that if they did their feelings were as overwhelming as mine were.

''Every homosexual whom I have talked to and just about every one whose account I have read trace their desires back to their teenage years -- to the days when sexual desire was still wide open. Each one had a sexual experience with a person of the same sex that resulted in focusing their desires too soon. This should be surprising. Sex is a powerful binder.''

I agree with this as well. I had an experience with someone of the same sex as well, but like I said I didn't like having those feelings. And when that experience happened I didn't consider myself gay and I was still having ''girl crushes.'' I only considered myself gay when I started to have ''boy crushes.'' I wanted and want to be attracted to women always.

''There is a natural desire to fill in this gap by seeking out the company of other males. Sadly, some are not very discriminating in whom they pick, which then leads to further problems. One of them is that children are usually quick to label anything different as something wrong. Without an adult male to serve as a measuring stick, things that kids your own age might call "girlie" might not be tempered with reality. For instance, is a love of flowers feminine? But I know many fine men who are artists and their paintings feature flowers and gardens. Or how about gardeners and horticulturists? My point is that the things you are calling in yourself as "feminine" are most likely not. You are mislabeling yourself because you are looking through a distorted lens.''

As a boy I used to fantasize about having an older brother. I still do to this day which is why I tried to become a member of a fraternity. I wanted to be around a bunch of ''normal'' guys and have a chance to have a relationship with another guy that I wanted so bad as a child. I used to fantasize going out and doing ''guy stuff'' whatever that means and I never felt comfortable talking to my mother about my bodily changes during puberty. The feminine tendencies I mentioned were putting my hands on my hips, having a ''limp wrist'' ( the heyyy girl hand ), the little twang in my voice, and that really girly way I used to run... so embarrassing. I never gave any of these things much attention until someone pointed it out to me. I've since then tried to correct these behaviors. I was actually a bit hurt when that person mentioned these things to me because I had considered myself rather masculine.

Like I mentioned previously I did have crushes on a couple of girls. (Two to be exact.) In fact my ''boy crush'' developed as I still had feelings for a girl. That eventually went away completely and since then I've never had another crush on a girl.

''So what forms the basis of psychological attraction?''

I've always been attracted to masculine men more so than ''feminine'' ones. My very first boy crush that I've mentioned so much was on a heterosexual guy. I've had several crushes on heterosexual men. When one of my guy friends used to put his arms around me I felt great. I felt so safe in his arms. I never wanted him to let go. This friend is completely straight. He was just really affectionate and didn't have a problem with expressing it. It was actually the very same friend who was the first to tell me that homosexuality was a sin when I came out to some of them.

''You distinguish those who act as homosexuals from those who think they are homosexual.''

I distinguish those who act as homosexuals from those who haven't had same sex relations. To be completely honest I am offended by the entire section which you titled 'are we judged by actions only?'. If I'm correct in my understanding you seem to think that I can trick God by not acting on my feelings but still lusting after men. The idea of being judged solely on actions is completely and totally illogical. I may have led you to think that by some of the things I've said. That being said I'll ask this question: Do you think that a man who's attracted to other men can still serve God the way He wants us to by being celibate and keeping his mind pure? If its possible for him to do this then why does he have to change?

I don't care about being called a homosexual or gay. If people need to attach labels to everything to understand life, then its fine by me. I just consider myself a guy who likes guys.

I'd love to be heterosexual. My mom would probably love it more. I've tried to change... even before I was psychologically attracted to boys (men) and I had my first boy crush. It didn't work.

You didn't answer all my questions but I thank you for the ones you did answer. I'd love to sit down with you and talk about this, but this issue is extremely sensitive to me. I could never work up the nerve to talk with a minister face to face or even on the phone. I wrote about this to a minister where I attend a university and he told me that as long I was a homosexual that I couldn't come to his congregation. That desolated me. I thought for a moment that ''well if I can't go to church then I might as well just quit life right now.'' It was a horrible feeling and I know I wouldn't be able to sit down and discuss this with someone. I'd break down into tears.

Thanks for all of the time you've taken to write to me. I sincerely appreciate it.

I know I didn't answer all your questions, but that is because the note was long enough as it was. By the way, if you are curious about the transgender question, see "If a woman has surgery to become a man, does God see her as a male or a female?"

Not knowing the circumstances around your talk with the other minister, I can't comment on what happened. But it is true that not every preacher is well-equipped to handle every situation. Please don't judge all people by the actions of one.

No one has to marry if they have no desire to do so. "His disciples said to Him, "If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry." But He said to them, "All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it"" (Matthew 19:10-12). Paul is probably the most famous of those who chose to remain single because they were too busy. "For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that. But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion" (I Corinthians 7:7-9).

The same rule applies to you. If you can do without sex, then you are welcome to live the life of a chaste, single man. My only concern is that you have given numerous hints that sex isn't totally unimportant to you.

What you stated is that you desire close companionship, which is the primary purpose of marriage. "Yet you say, "For what reason?" Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant" (Malachi 2:14). Like many young people in this world, you judge "love" based on whether you get sexually aroused. Thus, you discounted your attraction to two girls because you saw them only as friends and put emphasis on those whom you found sexually arousing. You were closer to love with the two girls than you have been since then, most likely. It is possible to love other men as friends. In fact I Corinthians 13:4-8, which most people quote, is a description of the love Christians ought to have for each other -- male or female.

Since you admit that you have had "girl crushes," that is sufficient to prove, despite your protests, that you are able to find yourself attracted to girls if you let yourself do so. You also admit that the switch came when you had a sexual experience with a male. Thus, it is clear that your preference was a choice and your sexual arousal is based on how you allowed yourself to be trained. Because the point of those articles I had links to was to show that sexual attraction is a choice and sexual arousal is a trained response to what we choose.

For a fellow who claims not to know what "hero worship" is, you did a great job of describing it. You selected men who had what you wanted to imitate so you could mold your behavior to be similar to theirs. You also describe yourself well as a young man who was missing a father in his life and even lacked male-role models. You sought to fill in the gap, whether you were aware of it or not. You responded to the intimacy, but misunderstand it as being "gay;" instead of what it truly is: a need for male companions and male leaders in your life. Sadly, you don't realize that men typically have both men and women in their lives.

Nothing that you wrote about yourself describes you as being "gay" or a homosexual. That is the label you chose to put on yourself. You are a young man still developing relationships to the world around you. If you want to be heterosexual, then chose that life. Right now you are not interested in marriage, and you might keep that choice for a lifetime. Right now you are busy filling in a gap that you had while growing up. There are heterosexual men who choose not to marry as well, you know (remember Paul?). Right now you are a man who hasn't found a woman interesting enough to capture his interest. But it is way too soon to say whether you might not later change your mind when the right girl comes along.

The problem with calling yourself "gay" and encouraging yourself to think of other men as "sex objects" is that eventually you'll believe your own deception and act on it. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mark 7:21-23). Stop toying around with thoughts of sin. You're going to get burned.

Yes, it hurts to realize that you can't spend your time thinking of sin (having sex with another man), or declare to people that you think of other men in sexual ways, and think you can somehow manage to live on the edge of this cliff, not being effected by it and not effecting other people around you. Homosexuality is a sin (I Corinthians 6:9-11). To lust after a sin (to think about sinful actions) is also a sin (Matthew 5:28). "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren" (James 1:13-16).

I know you didn't answer all of my questions. I had plenty of them. I did not intend for that statement to seem disrespectful or ungrateful. I'm sorry if it did. I'm grateful for the questions you've answered and all of the time you've taken to respond to me.

I will say however that the ''switch'' didn't occur after the sexual experience. I think its more accurate to say the experience happened because of the ''switch.'' I will give say that some of my crushes were ''hero worship'' scenarios, but I assure you that first one was not. I didn't know why I started having feelings for that particular boy. It wasn't until later did I figure out why the feelings I had arose. It wasn't because he was handsome because there were certainly other boys that I thought were more attractive than he was.

I often wonder if I had the male role models, the father figure, the older brother, how my life would've been different or if it would've been different. I don't know why I am this way, but I am this way. Long before I started writing you I decided that I would try to be straight. I decided I wouldn't tell myself that I can't be attracted to a women anymore. The only reason I don't want to get married now is because I can't. If I were straight I'd love to get married and have a big family.

That being said I'm unsure the ''switch'' back will ever happen. I am unsure that this ''behavior'' whether learned or innate isn't going to ever completely go away. I'm not saying that it can't or it won't. I'm just saying I'm doubtful. I think I can only hope to find that woman that just sweeps me off my feet, one that I'm both physically and psychologically attracted to. I met a girl once that I thought I was in love with(I say ''thought'' because I didn't know her long enough to really be ''in love''). She was amazing. She's the kind of girl that if comes will sweep me off of my feet. But as much as I was attracted to her psychologically I wasn't at all attracted to her physically. I fear that in my ''attempts at heterosexuality'' I'll keep finding women that I'm only psychologically attracted to. I know a marriage couldn't work like that and it shouldn't.

Thank you, again, for answering my questions and being patient with me. I wholeheartedly appreciate the answers you've given me and the  time you've taken out of your life to help be in this situation that has befallen unto me. I will continue to write when I have questions.

I don't know if you realize how much you sound like other people caught up in sin. "I know I should give up lying. I really have tried. I told myself I won't lie anymore, but then I do. I don't know why I'm made this way. Other people have it easier."

You know your Bible well enough to know that homosexuality is a sin, but instead of walking away from sin, you've been treading the edges -- excusing a desire for homosexual sex because you aren't actually doing it. In the Bible strongly desiring sin is called "lust," which is just as much a sin as actually committing the actions.

The reason you haven't been successful in leaving this sin is simply because you haven't made up your mind that it is wrong. Because you are of two minds in regards to the issue, you don't change. "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways" (James 1:6-8).

When you do make up your mind to leave this sin, let me know and I'll help in any way I can. Meanwhile, I'm willing to listen and talk any time you need a friend.

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded" (James 4:8).

I'm not excusing my desire for homosexual sex because I don't act on them. Isn't a desire for heterosexual sex just as bad when you're not married? I know what lust is and I know God judges our thoughts just as much as he does our actions. Don't we act based on our thoughts? (sorry for all the questions) I don't want to be homosexual anymore... How do I leave it? The first time I tried it didn't work, so I apparently did something wrong... I don't know.

Yes, it is just as wrong for a young man to daydream about fornication. That is why Jesus stated, "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). To strongly desire anything that is sinful is also sinful. Our actions do originate in our hearts. "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). Therefore, the initial battleground for righteousness is what you allow yourself to fantasize about.

If I wanted the pick the single most critical lesson any teenager must learn, it is the concept of self-control or self-discipline. It is the idea that you -- not your emotions, not your hormones, not your desires, not your body -- controls what you choose to be. As Jesus said, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Mark 8:34). If you are willing to let what is right rule in your life and not confuse your personal desires for justification, then you and I can make progress.

This is no different from what I tell young men who think that because they are hot under the collar for a girl that it is somehow reason for jumping into bed with her. That is letting the body rule instead of the mind. "Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified" (I Corinthians 9:26-27).

God doesn't set goals that are impossible for you to reach. It might take effort, but they are obtainable. It isn't impossible to leave homosexuality. There are thousands of people who have done it successfully, but more important God left us this record: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (I Corinthians 6:9-11). There were homosexuals in Corinth who no longer were homosexuals because of their commitment to Christ. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

That is why I was after you to make up your mind. If you remain double-minded on whether you can or can't leave your sin behind, no one will be able to help you. If you are determined to live righteously, then you'll make it, though the road may be rough for a while.

If I was talking to someone who compulsively lied, I first try to get the person to admit that he has a problem and that lying is wrong. When he is ready to do something about it, I then tell him to stop lying -- to even stop formulating lies in his thoughts. It will be a hard struggle for a while. At first it will seem like an insurmountable task. But eventually he starts telling the truth more often and I make sure he is praised for the progress he makes.

But along with that, I tell him to stop thinking of himself as a liar. When a person defines himself by sin, he has a harder time leaving it because it always remains on his mind. He has to start seeing himself as a Christian who needs to tell the truth at all times. As time progresses, as he thinks he becomes.

The same thing is true for a drug user, or someone who commits fornication. Early in the change, the person has to stopped defining himself by his sin and start thinking about where he is going. If a person keeps thinking about where he was, he won't make any progress. "But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God"" (Luke 9:62).

So, the first thing I want you to do is stop calling yourself a homosexual. You are a young man and like most young men you're high on hormones. I don't care what triggers your erections. From now on just call yourself a young man learning to control his sexual desires.