The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

Hey,

I found your web site very helpful since I've been struggling with some problems for a long time.

Let's start from the beginning. When I was little I was attracted to guys feet. I was obsessed. It was bad, but I didn't know why. I would look up pictures of guys feet on the computer and I got sexually excited.

Then when I was 8 or 9 I looked at porn for the first time. I felt so bad and repented and moved on.

Now I'm just growing up and life is harder. I feel attracted to men. Not really boys my age (I'm 17), but men in their 20's. I get attracted to shirtless men and men in their underwear and more. It's like I want to have sex with them, I picture it in my head and it's so wrong and sick and nasty, but it's like I enjoy it.

Last month I looked at porn again. I was so mad cause I was committed to not doing it again, but I just craved for it. I still feel that way even though I've moved on.

I like girls and I get sexually excited around them, but with men it's bad. I mean I get really dirty thoughts. I've never acted, nor will I ever act on those urges. I've grown up believing that homosexuality is wrong. I fully agree with it. I don't feel good when I think of it.

But why have I had my sexual urge since I was little, little kid like 4 or 5? Even when I got on your web site the words just made me have an erection and it wouldn't go down. Then I felt bad for getting on your web site because I thought that I was just getting on there to get sexually excited by the words. Is it bad to be curious about why I feel the way that I feel? Is it bad to look on the Internet for answers to why I get attracted to shirtless men? What is going on? I mean the other day I saw a guy and he was wearing a shirt, but I could see his muscles through his shirt and I got excited. Why? I love girls so much. I want to marry a girl. Why do I always want to look at shirtless guys? When I looked at porn last month I started by just looking at shirtless guys and then it got worse and I started looking at guys in speedos and then guys with nothing on. Even writing this stuff makes me feel bad.

Help me! How can I make it better? Please respond quickly.


Answer

Let's start off with some plain facts. Before puberty true sexual feelings don't exist. There is pleasure from touch. The penis does stiffen at times, but it isn't really in response to sexual ideas.

What I suspect is that you are taking your current views and feelings and reassigning past events to match your current thoughts. You were fascinated by men's feet, but to attribute to a sexual desire is not an honest assessment. You are linking interest with sexual desire.

The fact that your penis gets erect is just a fact of life for all males. Your body doesn't care, it only knows that sexual arousal and the things that follow it are fun. When you first get the ability to have an erection, everything, anything, and sometimes nothing at all will trigger an erection. That doesn't mean you have to do anything about it or that your body knows what it is doing. It is only signaling that it is ready for sex and in the early days that signal comes too often.

Many, if not most, young men go through a phase where they admire men. It is a drive that they want to model themselves after someone they see as successful. It is especially noticeable in young men who don't have a father heavily involved in their life. They long for a male role model and it isn't unusual to long for someone who presents society's ideal of a man -- someone with a strong, buff body. The unfortunate thing is that a manly body doesn't really make someone a real man. You like looking at guys who look as you wished you were. That is why you look at slightly older men who are in good physical shape. The drive is normal but it can be easily twisted into something wrong. It is too easy to allow something we want to become bait for sin.

It is here where I think you got off track. You were fascinated by men when you were young. You admired them and wanted to be like them. Then along came puberty with it sexual awareness. You quickly focused that sexual desire on what you found most interesting at the time.

Along with attraction, there is a tendency to substitute self for what you see. This is why pornography rarely shows the face of the male. It makes the focus of the image on the center of the male body, away from the face and toward the genitals -- it is easier for the viewer to imagine himself in that male's place and to imagine himself with that type of body. It isn't a sexual longing for the male body directly, but thinking that having such a body would be sexually appealing to others. Of course, the line is finely drawn and it is too easy to cross over and convince yourself that you are sexually desiring the other male's body.

In essence you are facing temptation. Being tempted is not the same as sinning. To be a homosexual means you are having sex with people of the same gender. Homosexual lust would mean that you badly want to have sex with another guy, to the point of playing out scenes in your head where you would feel justified in doing it, even though you know it would be wrong. It is in this forbidden territory that you have started wandering.

Those who want to justify homosexuality call even the temptation homosexuality to claim that homosexuality is more prevalent than it really is. It is the old game of "If everyone else is doing it, then I should too." It also makes it hard for people unfamiliar with the true definitions to see the flaw in the logic. All they think is "Hey, I felt that temptation before, so I must be a homosexual!"

To illustrate the error, there are lots of people who have seen an item and have been tempted to just take it. The vast majority of people reject the idea because stealing is wrong, but are those people who had the passing thought thieves? Of course not!

Just because your body gets turned on, it doesn't mean you have to drop your pants. If you are getting aroused over the wrong things, you can simply walk away from it. Sadly, people let their emotions and their feelings drive their choices. But feelings can be deceived. "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered" (Proverbs 28:26). Feelings should result from the choices you make and not determine which choice you make.

For the same reason, just because a guy gets sexually excited over a girl, it is no reason for him to crawl into bed with her. Sex outside of marriage is wrong, just as sex with the same gender is wrong.

Lust is a strong desire for something that is sinful. It is more than just a mere attraction or interest. Lust is wanting something so badly that you are willing to sin and in your mind you are telling yourself that it would be all right to sin -- at least in some cases. To lust after homosexuality, or any other sin, is also a sin, but lust is not the same sin as the actual act.

Temptation is when the idea occurs to you that you can get what you want, though a sin might be involved. But temptation is not lust. "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" (James 1:14-15). James says the steps to spiritual death are:

  1. A desire for something
  2. A temptation, which is an offer to gain what is desired with the trap that you have to break a law of God to get it.
  3. Lust, which is an acceptance that breaking God's law is worth getting what you desire.
  4. Sin, which is the actual breaking of God's law.
  5. Licentiousness, which is sin full-grown. That is when a person gets to the point that he doesn't care what anyone thinks about his sins, he is going to do it anyway. He thinks he has a license to sin.
  6. Death. When a person stops caring there is no way to bring him back.

Let me illustrate it this way: Hunger is a desire -- it is neither right nor wrong. Temptation is when you are in the convenience store and see a candy bar, but realize you don't have enough money to pay for it. Lust is when you tell yourself that the store can afford to lose some items and that they are expecting some loss, or telling yourself that you could pocket it now and pay for it later and you accept that these are adequate justification to steal. Sin is when you walk out with the candy bar without paying for it. Licentiousness is when you think it is fun to take things off the shelf even though you have adequate money to pay for it. And from there it is a short step to spiritual death.

Now, a question for you. When does a guy become a thief? Is it when he gets hungry, when he is tempted to steal, when he wants to steal so badly that he lusts for it, or when he actually takes what doesn't belong to him? According to the Bible, it is when a person commits the act that he is guilty of that sin. Lust for a sin is also a sin, but it is a different type of sin.

In the same way, when is a guy a homosexual? When his penis gets erect, when he realizes it is possible to have sex with another guy, when he daydreams about having sex with another guy, or when he drops his pants to have sex with a guy? According to the Bible, homosexuality is the act of having sex with another guy.

Right now, whenever you see something interesting or attractive you get excited and your penis gets erect. Your body doesn't care about the cause, it is only interested in the feeling of excitement and it is signaling that it is interested and ready for sex. That it is not appropriate or the right time makes no difference to the body. That is why your mind should rule your body.

The biggest problem you have at the moment is that you've gone beyond attraction and temptation. You are playing out inappropriate scenes in your mind. Instead of allowing it, you need to stop yourself and force yourself to think about righteous things. You can't stop your body from reacting, but you can stop yourself from thinking about things that are wrong.