I don’t know why homosexuality plagued me. Was I born gay? Did relationships scar me in some way? Was there an event, or set of circumstances, that molded this preoccupation to sexualize everything?
I grew up in a Christian home, with parents who loved me. I was enjoyed by grandparents who treated me like a prince. I had amazing role models—adult men serving as respected leaders in family and church. So, why did I develop this obsession with sex and boys? Looking back on how my sexuality developed, three things cross my mind:
- an early exposure to sex—both the facts and the emotions I didn’t have the maturity to process… compounded by—
- an early exposure to adult male nudity, igniting an unrelenting curiosity… resulting in—
- a warped sense of masculinity and sexuality
Sounds like porn, doesn’t it? But it wasn’t. I suppose it was a combination of both genetics and training. Predisposition and environment.
Like you, I was born dead-in-sin. With a nature to sin, identified by my sins, and destined for a life and eternity of sinning. My whole being—spirit, soul, and body—captured by a fluidity of sexual brokenness—both opposite sex attractions (OSA) and same sex attractions (SSA) with a predatorial appetite. Yes, the LGBTQ community would state I was bi. Though it seemed I did prefer guys over gals.
Why? I don’t know.
What I do know is, the Bible teaches me that homosexuality is sin. Its thoughts, its choices, and its feelings. But let me clarify. There is a difference, between being tempted and choosing to sin. Gay thoughts and feelings are sinful, but often remain temptations that God’s Word teaches us how to escape and endure (1 Corinthians 10:13). It’s the dwelling on such thoughts and feelings that makes these sin and/or leads to sinful choices (James 1:14-15).
So, what exposed me as a six-year-old, to adult male nudity and sexual exploration with male peers? It doesn’t seem so out-of-sorts in 21st century culture, where sex themes postmodern media and the family dinner table. But in Christian community 1970’s, sex wasn’t really out-there to be found by just any curious young mind. TV, in general, didn’t offer any real nudity in the 70’s. Dallas was the raciest show back then. Wonder Woman questioned by some. Then in Christian community 1980’s (at least in my sphere of influence), you had to go looking for sex; because it wouldn’t come looking for you. Be that as it may, in my case, exposure came from family and home, really quite innocently. The intent was good, but the consequence not so much.
Like many boys, I learned to swim skinny-dipping on my Papa’s farm (pronounced Paa-paw). In this way, I was exposed to adult male nudity, creating an unintended curiosity about the male body early on. About that same time, both my first and second grade teachers were pregnant. Creating opportunity for this curious little mind to wonder about the why’s and how’s of babies and sex. Most Christian parents, who talk to their six-and-seven-year-old’s truthfully about how babies are made; say something like—moms and dads have a special hug, and sometimes when they share this special hug with each other, God makes a baby. If this had been the response, things might have been quite different. But that’s not what happened.
Mom didn’t give me an age-appropriate answer that I was emotionally equipped to handle. In detail and over several years, Mom shared with me the birds-and-the-bees, infused by the emotions of her own brokenness. You see, Mom’s own discovery about sex wasn’t from her parents. Somewhere during the 6th grade, as Mom began her menstrual cycle. Her mom, my Mama (pronounced Maa-maw) took her to the family doctor for the TALK; consequently, Mom’s journey into her own sense of brokenness began. A brokenness that would chase her into adulthood.
No, the family doc didn’t abuse Mom. He just gave her some biological facts. Facts without guidance. A seemingly innocent decision that eventually led to some bad choices. So, Mom determined that her children wouldn’t find out about sex in such an embarrassing and what she described as a ‘horrific’ way.
Still, the emotional detail given to my inquisitive young mind wasn’t age appropriate. I was six, not twelve; lacking the emotional maturity to process the information. And that unintended curiosity tidal waved me into years of sexual exploration, with both male and female peers. But it didn’t take long for experience to teach me the lie—boys are more interesting than girls.
Compounding these emotionally permeating facts and personal response, was a boy’s natural curiosity. Coming alongside our God-given need for male bonding—friendship. While other boys were rough housing and learning how to be boys, I felt different.
Artsy, not athletic… Awkward, not attractive… Afraid, not assured…
When boys decided to hang out, I was left out. I just didn’t know how to fit in. They played, while I wanted to play. They joked around, while I wanted to joke without being the blunt end of their jest. They had a confidence, I only pretended.
While guys were bonding and learning to be guys, I was withdrawing into myself and my own imaginations—a blend of superheroes, imaginary friends, and the real boys I dreamed about. Every pipedream sexualized. By the latter years of elementary, I was teased. The name-calling only made it worse. Cissy. Girly. Fag. Queer.
Then I was caught fooling around with some boys at church; so, even my Dad asked if I was a homosexual. I don’t think I’d ever heard the term before. Certainly, I didn’t know what the word meant. But I remember knowing it was bad, by the tone of that conversation; so of course, I said—NO!
Then, Dad followed up with the TALK, very different from Mom’s account. Accurate, but less interesting; lacking any emotional connection. Of course, Dad had no idea that I had known about sex for years, but I wanted to explore as much with Dad as he would allow.
Dad’s response was to give me an age-appropriate book entitled, ‘Wonderfully Made’. More about how babies are made, than sex. Interesting, but unrealistic for a sexual curiosity that found boys more interesting than girls.
So, during the years a boy bonds with other boys; I sexualized the bonding. I was too young and immature, to recognize those longings for what they really were. A deep desire to bond with my peers. So, the normal affection a boy has for his friends exploded into SSA.
Puberty arrived early. That volcano of hormones intensified desires already fixed as same-sexed. Lust overcame all sense of right and wrong. And if Dad hadn’t held the reins so tightly, I would have dived full-fledged into gay sex as a teen. Fortunately, Dad’s boundaries and restrictions kept me away from predators, and held my own perversions in check. Even so, I was a predator on the prowl for a ‘friend’ to seduce. And whenever my rebel soul found that ecstasy, I felt the most powerful cocktail of masculinity, power, and significance. So, I took possession of the land, as often as possible.
However, there’s one thing that didn’t happen. I never experienced gender confusion. I always knew I was male and wanted to be. Though lusts circled around qualities I felt missing from my own person. Attributes I often saw in other boys. Features I longed for, and the guys who possessed them. The ones who were good at everything they did. The ones everyone liked. The significance, the competence I felt they had, became my deepest yearning.
As I came to believe I would never own that kinda masculinity, fantasies became more and more sexualized. Then I learned, while engaging sexually with a male peer, I could possess what I was missing and find the-overlooked-me. The strong, confident me. The person I desired to be. Finding the recognition, I longed for.
Communicating what took place in my boyhood and adolescent mind, seems far more fluent from hindsight and with the maturity of age and experience. Truly, I was a boy in search of the real me, but what I found was a false ID.