How To Deal With Same-Sex Attractions
One of the most difficult battles ex-gay men and women face is working
through attractions they still have to members of the same sex. Often, the
enemy takes full advantage of this situation and brings guilt and
condemnation, with feelings of hopelessness and failure.
These attractions can be divided into two types. The "split second
attractions" are those felt towards people we do not know, those chance
encounters while walking down the street, doing shopping, or even during
church. The second kind of attraction is directed towards someone we know,
someone we work with or are required to interact with on a regular basis.
I was talking with a counsellee one evening who said, "I can hardly live
with the guilt I feel. Even today, I failed repeatedly, I cruised
everything that came my way, I feel like a prostitute." Like most people,
he had a measure of victory during the winter months, but when the sun came
out and the clothes came off, he had a full-blown problem. It does little
good to simply say, "Stop It!" There may be an hour of victory before
slipping back into old patterns again. Only when we come to understand
ourselves and see what is behind the attractions can we find a measure of
While some attractions are definitely sexual, many are not. We must sort
through our feelings and discover the variety of needs that causes us to
become attracted to others. This problem needs to be taken out of the
realm of homosexuality, because it is a problem all Christians face. The
"normal" man or woman takes notice of the way people are dressed, how they
carry themselves and their degree of sophistication. Their attractions are
a mixture of both sexual and non-sexual interests.
In interviewing straight males, I have found that they most often choose
their friends to in some way complement themselves. A guy will latch onto
a good-looking buddy so he can share in the attention received from girls.
Another will make friends with someone on a sports team, so he can share in
the glory of winning and being an important figure.
What's Behind Attractions?
Two things generally stand behind attractions; one, that skin is attracted
to skin, and the other is from some form of inadequacy. In regards to the
first, perhaps men have a greater problem, as we are told that men respond
more to the visual. However, lust is common to all, heterosexual as well
as homosexual. Scripture clearly spells out the temptation we will face
with lust, so "think it not strange" (1 Peter 4:12). All people must
battle against the sensual. A little prevention goes a long way in
avoiding the snares of Satan. God freely gives us the wisdom to help us
avoid walking into the enemy's traps. We must learn to stay clear of
places and situations that we cannot handle. The wise hand over no tools
to the enemy to use against them.
It is the second reason for attractions that we need to focus on:
inadequacies probably dating back to early childhood. Our feelings of
inadequacy caused us to admire those who were adequate, who seemed better
than us in some way. It all began simply enough by us admiring those we
wished to be like. Some of our inadequacies were not in the physical realm
-- the fearful admiring the courageous, the slow, the fast, the loner, the
socially popular. But the physical always seems to play a major role. The
thin or overweight admire the muscular. Those without strong muscles try
to build up their bodies. In doing so, they become increasingly aware of
those who are superior in this area. Even pictures of strong muscles in a
magazine will begin to attract their attention. As envy of others and an
obsession with this one area develops, it is possible that this focus will
become sexualized during the years of puberty. This is the way a
partialism begins, which is an obsession with a particular part of the
Many of our attractions are simply based on envy and must be brought before
the Lord and confessed. God has made us as we are and we must not tell God
that He has made a mistake in forming us. Certainly, if we have neglected
the body God has given us, we are obligated to restore it, such as losing
extra weight, or overcoming substance abuse. Coming to grips with our
attractions in this way will do much to bring victory in this area.
What about our attractions to those around us, particularly the Christians
we fellowship with? How are we to respond? Do we stand or do we flee? We
are clearly told to flee youthful lusts (2 Timothy 2:22), but does this
apply? Many feel an additional weight of guilt when the person they are
attracted to is a Christian. They feel that in some way, they have
dishonoured one of God's Saints. They feel dirty and imagine that God
despises them for their lust. Again, let's separate the sexual from the
non-sexual. Satan loves to badger the ex-gay person with the message,
"You've just blown it; you haven't changed. God is not working in your
life." Often, we have not had a sexual element to our attraction, but
because of Satanic suggestion, a sexual interest develops. Always go to
the Lord for the truth, God, what do I really feel? It it sexual? Is it
just envy and a desire to possess what another has? Let us not condemn
ourselves without a trial. God just might give us an acquittal!
What if we feel a sexual desire, a strong urge for sexual interaction?
Again, confess and receive the forgiveness that God freely extends to you.
It is very helpful to also confess to another person and become accountable
to that person. We all need supportive prayer partners. The tendency may
be to flee, to suddenly cut off all contacts with the person we are
attracted to. Is this the right thing to do? Here, you may encounter
different answers, but I will share my views. If the person we are
attracted to is a Christian, I do not believe that we can simply shut this
person out of our life. I think we owe it to them and to the Body of
Christ to work this relationship through. If there has been no seduction
on the part of the other person and all the sexual temptation is in your
own mind, then it is not right to walk away and reject another person for
seemingly no reason. It is also not helpful to tell this person what you
are feeling, as they would be at a loss to help you in this area. I think
we should only flee when there is a sexual intent on the part of the other
I used the term "working it through" and you may wonder just what this term
means. It is an expression we often hear, sometimes referring to a grief
situation where there has been a loss: a loss of a person, a job, or some
form of security. It implies avoiding escape and coming to grips with the
situation in a realistic manner. If we don't face our attractions head on,
we will have to deal with them again and again. One thing in our favour is
that our attractions seldom are long-term, but fade away and often are
replaced by new attractions.
While we should not have to bring every friendship under the microscope, we
may have to do a bit of soul-searching. Consuming attractions can be a
form of idolatry, worshiping the creature more than our Creator. If we
know this to be true, if someone is more important to us than God, then we
must confess our idolatry and ask God to clean up this situation. It seems
that most people, whether homosexual or not, are on a constant search for
approval. We all have deep insecurities and need the input of others in
our lives. Our approval, however, must first come from God or we will
never be satisfied and will always be on an endless search.
Are you right now caught up in a consuming infatuation and don't know what
to do? As a temporary measure, if possible, cut down the number of times
you are seeing the person. Using the telephone rather than visiting the
person helps to break the physical attraction. Even though you may not
want to, you must encourage other relationships, both for yourself and for
your friend. In seeking new friendships, we must give up and throw away
any measurements from the old lifestyle. We will find that the physically
unattractive can become attractive to us in other ways. We can have
beautiful fellowship with others who do not wear all their gifts on the
outside. We must be aware of withdrawal and isolation. Opening up our
lives to others brings healthy rewards; narrowing down our friendships
leads to distorted relationships.
Everyone needs warmth and acceptance. God has created the church, the Body
of Christ to affirm us, to supply our needs in this way. When the deep
needs are filled, when we feel secure and have a sense of belonging, we do
not want what others have, and the attractions lose their power.
So don't just beat yourself on the head every time you feel attracted to
another. Set about to fill the voids and deficits in your life in a
healthy, wholesome way. Rebuke the enemy and do not fall for his lies.
Separate the truth from the lies and confess what is true to God. Then
walk in the forgiveness He intends for you to have.
by Frank Worthen
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