Saturday, March 17, 2007

Thirteen answers

I want to take a pass at iovan's thirteen questions. My answers are personal; that is, they are drawn from my own experience and the experience of people I know. I don't claim that the answers would necessarily be the same for everybody.

1. Can SSA/homosexuality be completely overcome?

If by "completely" you mean that you become attracted to women instead of men, then the answer is no. By the time you reach the age of sexual awareness this part of you has pretty much been determined.

2. Is it necessary to understand where my SSA comes from before I can deal with it, or is it possible to just accept that I have these feelings and then deal with them?

For me, trying to understand the origins of my same-sex orientation didn't help much. I'd say it's best just to accept where you are and move on from there.

3. Is it possible to deal with SSA without help from others? If not, where do I go for help?

Learning that I was not alone was a big help for me. When I was first dealing with this issue I read a lot of books. Blogs are great, too. Talking about my feelings with frends helped a lot. Eventually I used professional counseling.

4. Is being in a relationship before getting a better understanding of all of this going to be helpful or harmful (also thinking about the other person)?

I would not recommend heterosexual marriage if you have SSA. This affects not only your life but the lives of others. If you do decide to get married, then you need to fully disclose your SSA before getting engaged.

5. What is the influence of acting out on my same sex attractions while dealing with SSA - do I start with obedience to the law of chastity, or is that something that can come later?)

I chose not to do any homosexual experimentation. When I was finally ready to start acting on it, I had already resolved the moral issues and felt that I was acting ethically. If you "act out" before you have come to terms with this issue, you will be overcome with guilt, and this will only set you back. In other words, I think it's fine to live authentically as a sexually active gay person. But don't try to do this if this is in conflict with your belief system. It's much better to wait. If you're one of the (relatively rare) people who can manage lifelong celibacy, then that's an option as well. I'm not saying everyone has to do it the way I did.

6. Should I seek contact with other people experiencing SSA or should I focus on good and meaningful relationships with straight people?

I think meeting others in your situation is helpful. You are not alone. Many of us have dealt with this situation in our own lives. Good and meaningful relationships with straight people can also help. "Meaningful" also means authentic. You should talk to trusted friends about SSA if you can. Counseling is also helpful.

7. Should I focus on developing deeper relationships with women?

Deeper relationships with women won't alter your SSA. Deeper friendship with women may make you happy because women can be amazing friends! The alliance between gay men and women is a natural one.

8. Are there any other issues I should address if I want to fully address SSA? What are they?

I've never seen other issues that should be addressed first.

9. Is SSA a sexual thing or is it a matter of underlying issues?

I don't think we should draw too big a distinction between our sexual and nonsexual selves. They need to be integrated. We often hear phrases like "purely physical" or "just sexual" as if these aspects of human existence don't matter. They do. Who you love is a big part of you.

10. Would I be able to develop heterosexual attractions towards women? (Can I change the fact that a woman has to be drop dead gorgeous before I'm even remotely attracted to her, while even an average looking guy immediately seems to attract my attention?)

No. You cannot induce heterosexual attraction. You can choose what to do with your SSA in terms of behavior, but you cannot alter the attraction itself.

11. Is the answer found in developing deeper relationships with men or maybe with one man in particular, and then finding out the nature of the needs that are met?

As I mentioned above, I don't recommend experimentation while you are still conflicted. If you fall in love with a man but have religious beliefs that conflict with that you might find yourself in a very unhappy situation. Also, you are not the only person involved. I've read accounts of conflicted experimenters who decide to drop a friend when the relationship goes "too far." This is very cruel to the other person.

12. What can contribute to my motivation to deal with this (which ever way it goes) and not give up?

Remember that you have a future. You are building a foundation for a better life by dealing honestly and courageously with this issue.

13. How will I know the right answers to some of the yes or no questions?

I wouldn't look for right or wrong answers. I'd focus on what it takes to live your life authentically and productively. As I said elsewhere on this blog, I found that I became a better person when I gave up the goal of being a good person. The reason is that I could live more authentically, without deception. The President of the church said on nationwide TV that he is "not an expert in these matters." The answers you find will have to be from your own experience and observation.


-L- said...

There is always a danger of extrapolating general statements from one's own experience. Notwithstanding your caveat (that it's just your own experience), there are several of your answers that seem framed as generalized answers that I disagree with. Most people could probably predict which ones. ;-)

MoHoHawaii said...

Thanks for your comment, -L-.

I know that what I'm posting here can't be proclaimed by consensus. I describe the the world as I found it, the world as I see it and not as I require everyone else to see it. If you wanted to take a crack at answering these questions on your blog, I would read it respectfully and with an open mind. I'm not here just to preach my view of the world.

I hope that some people will find my perspective useful as a data point when making up their own minds on these topics.

-L- said...

I pretty much have been answering these questions on my blog... just not so much in a single post. :-)

Feel free to read anytime!

playasinmar said...

A response to a response to a question.

4. Some women may believe that if all else fails marriage will cure you. This sets the stage for an even more spectacular disappointment.

7. Women can be more understanding and accepting then men. If you need a deeper friendship then your guy buddies can provide you might seek that comfort from a women.

10. Sexual attraction rests on a sliding scale. Not everyone sits on one extreme or another. If you are exclusively gay then dedicating your life to heterosexual attraction may be folly.