Monday, January 30, 2012

Bouncing Around In My Head 30Jan2012

Today is another installment of 'Bouncing Around in My Head'.  I'll be exploring a number of thoughts/ponderings that I've been having lately.

Since the coming out post, I actively told a number of friends of mine from my old Sigma Gamma Chi chapter about the fact that I had same gender attraction. (I say old because the fraternity was disbanded last year.) Most of the guys felt honored that I told them.  Some of them were confused.  Some of them already knew about me.  I honestly was confused with the ones that already knew about me.  I wonder why they hadn't ever brought it up with me, or tried to talk with me about it.  It almost makes me feel like they'd been watching me for years, observing this behavior in me.  Honestly, I say that and realize that I'm the one that's been watching my behavior very closely and always trying to decide my motives behind doing things.  For the most part, it's not always fair to myself.  Often times, my motives start out innocent.  As I over-think things, I twist my own motives into things more insidious.

On a happy note, I've been asking for safe places to get my touch needs met.  It's been very helpful and scary. It's interesting that I'm so unfamiliar with asking for something like that that I'm terrified of asking, and also scared when it happens.  On the other hand, not taking care of this need of mine was slowly killing me, and led me to do something desperate.  Thankfully, nothing too terrible happened there.  Since then, I've been fulfilling my needs in a better, safer, healthier way.  I'm trying to accept the fact that I need to regularly get this need met.  I have a need for closeness with other men.  In my eyes, it's a very natural, nonsexual sort of thing.  It's when I don't get it met that it morphs into something else.  Today, I still feel a drive to seek out touch, but I don't feel nearly as desperate or like I'm white knuckling through things as much.

Last Friday, I was exchanging some texts with an acquaintance of mine.  He also experiences same gender attraction and has decided to have a boyfriend.  Whenever we text, he nearly always says that he's doing 'great'.  In our last exchange, he told (as he has before) that I was 'born this way' and that I should 'just get a man to sleep with'.  Honestly, his comments infuriated me.  I highly disagree with the idea that I was born with same gender attraction.  I also wasn't born 5'6" with a full head of hair, an adult body, and a passion for games of all sorts.  Those were things that developed over time.  I could agree with the fact I was born with a tendency to be attracted toward other men.  Perhaps my spirit was created with a greater need to bond with those of my same gender.  I can agree with the idea that I was born more sensitive and introverted.  I can't agree with the idea I was born with same gender attraction.  So, 'born this way'. If you're talking about my personality, then yes.  If you're talking about same gender attraction, no.  I honestly feel like same gender attraction, specifically when it's a sexual nature, is a construct on top of some of my more basic personality features, basic needs, learned behaviors, and unmet needs.  Same gender attraction, for me, is something far too complicated for a newborn to have.

In contract, I was speaking with another friend of mine, who also has same gender attraction, and he asked me a very profound question.  Instead of trying to play the 'I know exactly who you are' card, he opted to understand my position.  He asked me: "For whom are you trying to be straight?"  Honestly, the question stunned me.  I honestly wasn't quite sure at the time, and I realize the question is far more complicated than it may appear on the surface.  I'll have to address it once piece at a time.

I'll start near the end with the word 'trying to be straight'.  I can honestly state that in the past, I have tried to be straight.  I've tried to suppress and ignore my feelings of same gender attraction.  All it brought me was depression, self hatred, and misery.  Since I've started to face and understand my feelings of attraction for men, I've slowly been learning to accept them.  It's been a long process.  I still have a long ways to go.  There's probably some lingering part of me that expects me to magically want to date women, feel emotional/sexually attracted to them, and want to marry one.  There definitely is some lingering self hatred and resentment for the fact that I have same gender attraction.  I'm still pushing through.  Until I fully accept the fact I have this, I doubt that Heavenly Father will fully reveal His intention for giving me this trial/challenge/curse/blessing.  Recently, I had a profound talk with my therapist (see this blog post) that helped open my eyes to the possibility of embracing and accepting my same gender attraction, without giving up my religious beliefs.  I honestly do believe I can enjoy deep, emotional connection with men and not break any laws of the gospel.  I also believe I can be physically close (note not sexually/romantically close) with other men and not be breaking any laws of the gospel.  The goal is for me to slowly work myself into a position where I can accept and embrace those things, because I believe they are things that I need.  I've denied them for a long time, so it's going to take more time.

Now for the first part 'for whom'.  For me, that's asking 'Why do I do what I do?'  As I've thought about this question, I've also been reading I Don't Want To Kill You by Dan Wells.  The book is about a sociopath teen who is obsessed with serial killers.  He's studied how they work and think.  One of the questions that he likes to ask is 'What did the killer do, that they didn't have to do?'  The whole point of it was to understand how the serial killer is thinking.  Or more accurately, what kind of holes the serial killer is trying to fill in their soul with killing.  I also asked myself this question, trying to understand why I masturbate.  Beyond eating, drinking, sleeping, and physical touch, there's not much I need to do in relation to my body.  Why would I do something unnecessary like masturbation?  What kind of hole am I trying to fill?  After examining the behavior, and the thoughts that come up related to it, I realized that I was trying to find connection with other people.  There is a hole where other people should go in my heart.  For some reason, I have a hard time filling up that hole.  I try to fill it up with something else, masturbation.  And that honestly doesn't fill it up for me.  I just realized that this paragraph is totally off topic.

Now, back to the original subject, why do I do what I do?  My ultimate goal is to do things for Heavenly Father.  I want to do His will.  I want to be back in His presence one day.  I want to have His happiness.  I've felt His love.  I yearn to feel it all the time.  Is that what always motivates me?  Of course not.  Sometimes I do things purely for myself (out of selfishness).  Sometimes I do things for myself to take care of myself (out of love for myself).  Sometimes I do things to ascribe to an ideal, standard, or religious teaching.  My least favorite is when I do things because of what I worry of what other people would think or what society would think of me.  That has never led me to happiness.  Ultimately, I want to be inspired and moved to act by love.  Pure love.  Charity.  Love for myself, for my fellow man (and woman), and for a love of God.

Much easier said than done.

Well, friend who shall go unnamed, thank you for posing that question! It's honestly led me to recommitting myself to seek out the pure love of Christ (see Moroni 7:44-48 for one of my favorite definitions of charity).  It's also helped me take another look at myself in a different sort of light.  Thank you again!

Thank you for reading.  If you have comments/insights/musings/questions, feel free to e-mail me (my e-mail is below).  You can also comment on this blog post.  Also, I accept text messages and Facebook messages (if you happen to know how to contact me that way).

Thank you friends.


  1. Thanks again for posting, your blog and similar one's have been a big help for me.

  2. I really enjoyed this post. There's a lot to think about here. I'm glad you're coming to a better place and realizing what you need and are seeking it. I think that's the most important thing that anyone can do who faces our challenge. Regardless of what others say, the only way we can be happy is to be accountable to ourselves and comfortable with our decisions for our own sake, whatever they may be.

  3. You're a stud. I hope you continue to find more answers, as well as healthy things to fill that hole with. I'm excited to keep reading about your progress on that front here.

  4. Another insightful post that not only helps you but helps us all (especially me) in answering that introspective question of "why we do what we do". I know that answering that question for my action has resulted in making better choices. Thanks for tying it all back to the ultimate goal.

  5. Andrew,

    Good post. Couple of thoughts...

    No one knows the cause of SGA, and even the Church admits there may be a genetic disposition for it. I wouldn't dismiss the 'born that way' side of the argument entirely. The cause is not really the issue, however. Its how we respond to the situation.

    Masturbation - your body DOES need it. I see this a lot in the Church - we want to deny that we are sexual beings, but God himself physically made us to 'multiply and replenish the earth' . We are filled with hormones that urge us towards sex. Our brains are wired to crave sex. This is not evil - its natural. NOT having sex is unnatural. Now I'm not encouraging you to masturbate, but just like coming to terms with SGA, we need to acknowledge who we are - and we are sexually mature adults who naturally want and need sex. Bridling those passions is a challenge, but having them is part of being human.