The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

Hi,

I have been longing to talk to you about this for some time now and have decided it's about time I start opening myself up to help. Okay, where do I start? I struggle with homosexual thoughts. You can tell me it's just part of puberty, but I feel that it Is so much more than that. This has been going on since I was in first grade. But it wasn't exactly homosexual thoughts. I realized what was really happening in the fifth grade. It's so hard. I know I'm not gay. I would never want to be in a romantic or emotional relationship with a guy, if that makes sense. I often feel depressed and that I have no life purpose on this earth. I feel no importance in my life. I feel that God has turned a blind eye on me and is just enjoying my suffering.

Please help. I don't know what to do..


Answer

I'm glad you found the courage to write. You are correct that what you remember of first grade could not be homosexual thoughts because a first grade boy would not be aware of sex, barring things like sexual abuse. You had and continue to have a strong case of what some people label "hero worship." You want the love and respect of a man in your life; someone you can look up to and model yourself after. Boys with strong men in their lives don't often notice this because it is just the way their life is. But you are among those who want but don't know how to find it.

Of course, developing sexuality mixes all this up. I've seen boys and girls both getting it into their heads that sex is the way to find what they are looking for -- though they can't really describe what is missing from their lives. They end up disappointed and disillusioned because while it is fun, it does nothing to solve the real problem. The answer doesn't lie in sex.

I try to be careful about my wording. I reject the false claim being spread that wanting to be with someone of the same gender, or even getting aroused seeing someone of the same gender is being "gay" or homosexual. Sticking to the biblical definitions makes things easier. You haven't had sex with another male; therefore, you are not involved in homosexuality. You don't even lust for homosexuality. So you are not involved in either of those sins.

Now, your desire to have a male in your life whom you can admire, respect, and follow can be used by Satan to convince you that homosexuality is acceptable. Satan has done that to thousands of young men. Satan is attacking with temptations, but you are not what you are being tempted with. You haven't gone down that road. You are a man. One day you want to have a wife and children. That is who you are.

To be honest I'm not sure if it was in first grade or not, but I can tell you before third grade I have memories of thinking about a shirtless man hugging women, which as embarrassing as it is to say is true. Not exactly sex but I guess somewhat sexual thinking back. I just remember loving the look of a strong shirtless guy with a six pack when I was younger and up until fourth or fifth grade I thought it was just because I wanted to look like that, not that it was sexually arousing, not that I knew what that was.

I really appreciate your advice, but I just don't see why my dad wouldn't be that strong male figure. I mean he has a bit of a gut but he is a hardworking devoted man. He's smart, kind, has a short fuse, but he's a great role model besides the tobacco addiction. I would've thought I was wanting a female figure in my life as my mom and dad were never married and I only see her a couple times a year.

I grew up very feminine quite frankly and always a bit clingy toward women probably all because I longed for that womanly love. I was never really able to be friends with guys because wasn't compatible with them and to this day most of my closest friends are girls. I always felt the need to have a crush on a girl, otherwise I would have felt abnormal. I started to come to the realization in fourth grade I was forcing myself to convince my brain that I liked girls, and I do. I love a lot of their personalities and their kindness compared to the rudeness of most males around me at the time. But I now know I was never physically attracted to girls.

And now I have a constant loop of homosexual lustful thought. I don't like them. I love them most of the time. I mean I'll enjoy it for the time being. Then afterward or in the middle I'll stop myself thinking how disgusting it truly is. I don't know how much else to say, mostly because I'm tired and my hand is sore.

I apologize for my detail but I want to tell as much information possible to get as much help that God wants out. Thank you for your efforts. I just feel like I'm living in this shadow of homosexuality, even though I'm not gay and never want to be. Thanks again for your time God bless!

Attraction is a state of mind. There really isn't a physical element to it that sets what you find attractive as a fixed quantity.

I wonder how much of your memory is a rewriting of history because you ascribe to yourself thoughts in the fourth grade that would be beyond a fourth grader's (nine year old's) ability to reason in that way since sexuality would not be entering the picture yet, unless you were an early developer and even then at that point it would not be specialized yet.

Let me take you at your word about what you remember and show you a different way of looking at things. You grew up without a mother in your life, but you wanted one badly. You admired pictures of shirtless guys hugging women. Take note that what you focused on was not a homosexual situation. You saw that the buff athletic guy was able to have a woman in his life. And that is what you focused on. Your dad is a nice guy, but he didn't have a woman. He isn't athletic and he couldn't provide you with a mother.

You made friends with girls and in this found a slight bit of mothering among them. But in that stage of life most guys (who have mothers) isolate themselves from girls and girls from boys. During this stage you were different because you were crossing the boundaries, and so you found yourself rejected by your peers. Children can be really cruel to anyone whom they preceive as different.

But you too went through that stage of wanting to be with males, but your peers found you too different. In that mixed up time, you again focused on the studly adult male body. But I suspect now it was in wishing that other boys would accept you from being "manly."

Always your focus was only the visual, which is very much a male trait. As your sexuality began to develop you saw the athletic male as the sexy guy. But it is during this stage of development that young men are prone to obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors -- it has to do with the male brain rewiring itself to adult style of thinking. As you masturbated, it was to images of what you found sexy. It wasn't particularly that you wanted sex with a man, but that you saw the idealize young male with a six-pack as the imbodiment of sexiness.

Somewhere that shifted subtly from wanting to be sexy like what you see to being the focus of your sexual desire. Over time that shifted into you being convinced that you were homosexual and redefining your past to match your current way of thinking.

So, let's reset some things. You admire athletic young men's beauty. You find their form sexy. Because of that when you are tempted with sex, it starts there. But temptation doesn't define who you are. Being tempted doesn't mean you have to follow through with it or even should follow through with it.

Another thing that you don't realize is that anyone can get you sexual roused and technically can even cause you to orgasm and ejaculate. That is because most of the process is mechanical, if you would. It is technically what a guy does when he masturbates. When that happens, you mind follows along supplying imagines that are filed under "sexy."

What you don't realize, because you don't give it a real chance, is that if you allowed yourself to truly fall in love with a young woman, your body would still be getting sexually aroused and focusing on this one person who could be your life's companion. You grew up without a mother, but you have a chance to change that for your children. You can have a loving woman in your life who will be mother of your children.

Yes, I'm really sorry I have a terrible memory, so everything won't be 100% accurate. I don't know why I had the thought of shirtless guys hugging women before fourth grade, which I am certain is accurate.

I don't know if I'm an early developer, I just know I've never been normal. I don't know why I have these thoughts. I mean from your email I have thoughts that maybe I just saw an ad with a shirtless guy or maybe a shirtless guy hugging a women on TV and that led to those thoughts.

Yes, I guess it is true that my dad was never able to provide a mother for me. All I ever wanted for my dad was happiness from a women. I never thought I wanted it because I longed for a mother figure.

I think you're right about wanting to impress guys when I was younger. I grew up with a blood disorder, and I was always kept indoors be cause they were scared I would bleed to death if I got hurt. I think that just led to the fact that I'm not athletic and hate sports now. I had it wired into my brain that I would never be good enough, that I would never be as handsome as the other guys, that I would never be manly. That developed into a good way of thinking, in my opinion. I have found life is so much better when you set the bar low for yourself. Which isn't bad, but I set that bar so low that I have terribly low self-esteem issues and bad shyness, which mixed with my faith makes me feel even worse about my homosexual thoughts. I just feel like there is something seriously wrong with me.

It really is nice to have someone like you around when going through this. I just don't get why I have to go through this. I ask myself if maybe I just haven't served God well enough that He put this burden on me. You must have helped a lot of guys because after just two emails you seem to know a lot about me without me saying anything. You're right though, I want a wife and kids, and I promised myself I wouldn't make the mistake my parents made by having sex before they were ready to have a kid. I promised myself that my kids would grow up with a dad and a mom always there.

I don't know if Satan is attacking me personally as I had been taught at my church not to feel lucky enough to feel that way, but I feel that I am living in so much sin with these thoughts. There is so much I want to tell you, I just don't know how to respond to your powerful emails to tell you the truth, so I apologize for all my random rambling.

The reason I poke at your view of your past is because I've talked to numerous guys who have done the same thing you are doing. You take the current views of yourself and project them back on your memories. One of my goals is to get you to see that, so that you can start having a rational view of yourself.

Many people have an inflated view of themselves. But the problem is still an inaccurate view of themselves. "For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith" (Romans 12:3). Instead of blaming your current situation as being the result of a past that you can't fully and accurately recall, let's take a more reasonable approach. The past is the past. It cannot be changed, but you can change who you become. "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).

To sum up what we've established so far: You are not a homosexual because you have not had sex with other guys. You don't try to justify having sex with another guy, so you aren't struggling with lust for homosexual sex. The problem you have is that you are being tempted and it bothers you that your body responds to the thought of homosexual sex. The result is that you obsess over the thoughts and the more you think about it, the more you are convinced that this is more than a temptation because the thoughts won't go away.

Unfortunately, I can't just simply tell you "Don't think about it" because that very mental action brings the thoughts back. It is kind of like those little tunes that get stuck in your head. The more you think about it, the more it doesn't go away. So I want you to do what appears to be odd, I want you acknowledge the thought. For the stuck tunes, the trick is to complete the tune by humming it to the end. For this, I want you (in privacy) say out loud what you are being tempted by and why the temptation is not proper. You will find that it quickly loses it appeal when you hear yourself say what is going through your mind and in this way you complete the thought.

Fortunately for you it is males who are visually turned on. Females are attracted to relationships. Therefore, it doesn't matter if you are a hunk with six-pack abs or a skinny kid or slightly overweight. What matters most is finding a woman who likes you and who you like. I can pretty much guarantee that once you cross that hurtle, you are going to find that your body is quite willing to go long with your new found interest.

I know I can change who I become. I know I have the ability to change, but it just seems so far out of reach. I'm not even sure what I am. I'm sure that's just a part of growing up, but I feel a little young to go through all these changes now.

I am in a leadership group at church. I had a sleepover meeting last night, and I was talking about a song I have on my iPod and how it said the f word multiple times in it. A leader said "Then why do you listen to it, if you know its bad? It's something you should think about." So I did. I came to realize that I have gotten comfortable in that sin. It still makes me a bit uncomfortable, but I learned to get used to it. All the songs I listen to that I can relate with are all depressing in some way, and that one song with so much sin relieves me of that.

Another leader told me not to be someone I am not. For some stupid reason that was supposed to be a joke, and all these things started to come together in my mind to make me think harder about my struggles. I know I'm not gay; I'm not emotionally attracted to males. But I just struggle with the lust for homosexual sex, not just enjoying the image of a shirtless man. It's just so confusing. My stupid fantasies are filled with homosexual sex, and eventually I just beat myself up about it when I start to think how disgusting it is, and how disgusting I am. I started to wonder if I'm trying to convince myself that I something I am not.

I do agree that I want a strong male figure in my life, and that Satan, if not just my own selfish desires, is turning that into a lust.

Long story short, I am pondering over the thought if I am trying so hard to convince myself that I am sexually attracted to males that I have convinced myself it is true; instead of a simple admiration gone wrong. I think I might have gotten comfortable enough in that way of thinking that I am denying what you are telling me. To be honest, I want to believe what you are telling me so so much. But there is that nagging voice in my head telling me "NO! It's so much more than that!"

I don't know what going on with me. I feel like I'm in some kind of war with myself, trying to make sense of everything. I have a high hope and feeling that this lust and thoughts will not last forever, but I know it's something I will struggle with for a while.

I want to get married one day, wife, kids, and grandkids maybe. I hope one day I will find a girl that will love for who I am, whatever I look like. My future just seems in reach. Maybe thats just part of growing up. Life isn't going fast enough, but everything seems to have gone by so fast. I believe what you say that my body will go with my "new found interest" and I know the thing that truly matters is finding that one perfect life partner. But it just seems like everyone around me knows where their life is going, but when I think where I will be in the next 5-10 years, I see nothing.

I apologize for going off about my boring life. I thank you for taking time out of your life to deal with someone like me.

You've made a correct and insightful observation. You are correct that it is very typical for young people to feel like they are at a crossroad and they don't know which way to take. Even among those you see as knowing where they are going you will find that many still feel the same as you. The difference is that you know your thoughts, but you can only observe their actions.

Young males when first reaching puberty are attracted to anything that can be construed as sexual. That is normal because that is the way the brain learns. It used to be that society's expectations helped to guide young men to focus their sexual drive toward marriage but that was lost a while ago. Worse, society is urging people to express themselves sexually in any way they feel.

God doesn't direct us by feelings. Feelings can be and often are wrong. "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered" (Proverbs 28:26). Walking with wisdom means looking at the facts and judging things by a fixed standard, then you make a decision based on what you know is the right thing to do. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil" (Proverbs 3:5-7). Feelings come as a result of knowing you are doing as the Lord directs. The feelings follow, but they do not lead.

The music choice is a good example. You know the music has bad words in it. You know that listening to such profanity influences you in bad ways. "Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits"" (I Corinthians 15:33). However, you went with it because if confirmed or validated your low view of yourself. Better music choices would be to find things that encourages you to be a better person. "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers" (Ephesians 4:29). "Edification" means things that build a person up.

So let's start with a simple fact: you are male. Your body is not designed to have sex with other males. It is designed to have sex with a female. You know it and at least technically you want it to be that way. However, repeated wallowing in homosexual thoughts have worn you down and changed your view of yourself. So it is past time to change it back. We look at the fact and what is right first. It doesn't matter if at the moment your body is still stuck in past bad habits, you push yourself toward what you know is right; the rest will follow.