How do I deal with same-sex attraction as a Christian?

Jay Dee

How do I deal with same-sex attraction as a Christian?

Nov 17, 2016

There are a lot of Christians dealing with same-sex attraction.  I think most of them don’t really know how to handle it.  It’s no wonder they don’t either.  We send a lot of confusing messages around in the Christian community about sexuality, especially when it’s

How do I deal with Same-Sex Attraction as a ChristianThere are a lot of Christians dealing with same-sex attraction.  I think most of them don’t really know how to handle it.  It’s no wonder they don’t either.  We send a lot of confusing messages around in the Christian community about sexuality, especially when it’s doesn’t line up with an simple man + woman ideology.  So, what should we say to those who are finding themselves attracted to the same sex?

Sexual attraction is not sexual orientation

This is an idea that is not very popular right now.  There is a big push to say that sexual orientation is not a choice, even that it’s genetic.  The truth is that orientation and attraction are two completely separate topics.

There are many men and women who find themselves attracted to both people of the opposite gender, and to people of the same gender as themselves.  I won’t go so far as to say it’s “natural”, but I will say it’s “normal”.  The world would like us believe that all of these people then to be considered bisexual.  This would further the sexual agenda of the world to remove all morality from sexuality.  They want to make genders, orientations and relationships fluid.

But we know this is simply not true.  Whether or not sexual attraction is a choice, is genetic, or is decided while you are growing up, the fact remains, you have a choice on what your orientation is.

I think a lot of people misunderstand this due to what our media tells us.  They worry that if they are attracted to someone of the same gender, it means they’re gay, or bisexual.  But, that’s not what it means at all.  It just means you are attracted to someone of the same gender.  That’s all.

Arousal doesn’t neccessarily mean attraction

There’s also the problem that we often associate arousal with attraction.  We think that because we are aroused that means we’re attracted to something.  But, it doesn’t always work that way.  There isn’t always a correlation between when our mind gets aroused and our body gets aroused.  For men those only overlap about 50% of the time.  For women, only 10%.

The system that causes physical arousal isn’t terribly concerned with what the context is.  It just sees something sexually relevant and then thinks “Oh, I might need to be ready to have sex.”  People can get turned on by a lot of things they don’t want to be turned on by.  This causes a lot of confusion.  Rape victims find themselves getting physically aroused and wonder if they really wanted it.

I also heard stories of people witnessing rape and getting aroused, and then worrying that they’ll become a rapist some day.  But arousal doesn’t mean attraction.  Just because your body responds to something, doesn’t mean you are attracted.

It only means your body recognized something as potentially sexual.

Is same-sex attraction really a problem?

I’m not sure.  I’ll be honest, I’m split on two possibilities.

The first is that we live in a broken world and that includes both broken genes and broken pasts.  If sexual attraction is a problem, then I think it’s a symptom of this brokenness.  So, does that make you broken if you experience same-sex attraction?  Yeah, it would.  But then we’re all broken.  It doesn’t make you any more or less broken than anyone else on the planet or in history (save Jesus).  It just means you have some temptations that some others don’t.  We all have things like that in our life.   It’s not a sin to be tempted.  It’s a sin to act on temptations.

The second possibility is that attraction is not really an issue.  Is it a problem to see someone as attractive?  I’m not sure.  I think it can be just appreciating that they are a beautifully created being.  Or that there is something about them that you find attractive.  We see attractive people all the time.  When we’re married, we learn not to focus on them because we do our best to focus on our spouse.  And I think often we learn not to focus on the same gender because we don’t want to be labeled as “homosexual” when we’re growing up.

But, I’m not yet convinced it’s a real problem.  The core issue still remains: what do you do with that attraction.

What do you do if you find yourself attracted to someone of the same gender?

Breathe, don’t panic.

Remember that arousal doesn’t neccessarily mean attraction.  It’s just your brain noticing sexually relevant information.  But, even if you are attracted, that doesn’t determine your orientation.  Furthermore, you don’t need to act on anything you don’t want to.

Just as when you are married, if you are attracted to someone else, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to become an adulterer.  It’s you who decides what to do with that attraction.  It’s not a sin to be tempted.  Even Jesus was.  It’s your response that’s important.

You shouldn’t feel embarrased or ashamed that you found someone attractive.  That’s not something you can help or change.  Plus, we put way too much emphasis on attraction in our culture.  The world would have you believe that attraction is the end all and be all.  That if you’re attracted to someone, then you should immediately act on it.  That it determines your sexual orientation and your relationship status.

Don’t let the world dictate your orientation or relationship path.  That’s your decision.

Looking for help?

12 thoughts on “How do I deal with same-sex attraction as a Christian?”

  1. bt says:

    Thank you for saying in so many words the truth I have tried to convey in conversations to friends and family.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      You’re very welcome!

  2. Keelie Reason says:

    Really great thoughts here Jay. I’m glad you explored this topic, because I know there are believers that are struggling with this.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this topic. Isnt it true that majority have attraction to both sexes to some degree. There is no black and white, there are many who fall in the gray area. There are some who are 100% attracted to opposite sex , some 100% attracted to same sex and majority who are in gray area. Are we all bisexual at our core? Famous neurologist Sigmund Freud was one of the first public figures to address the concept of innate bisexuality. There was a study and almost all of the men in the study maintained that bisexuality exists among men, and most even recognize bisexuality in themselves, but few know male friends who publicly identify as bisexual.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I don’t know if the majority have attraction to both sexes. Never heard that before. Though I know Freud was obsessed with sexuality and wanting everything to be about sex. I’m not sure I’d count on much of what he says. As well, Freud basically built his career to combat Christianity. A large part of his theories and studies were specifically geared at destroying the concept of God and morality.

  4. LatterDay Marriage says:

    I think everybody has some sin or sins that are more tempting to them than other sins. But there is no sin in feeling tempted. Christ faced temptation. It’s what we choose to do that is important. I’ve known a couple of really great guys over the years who were attracted sexually to other men, but who were committed to living a Christian lifestyle. Some people may think it is cruel to ask somebody to deny fulfilling a desire, but a married person who develops an attraction to somebody else has to do the same thing, or an unmarried person. Sexual self control is something every adult has to practice.

  5. Mike says:

    Our denomination split over the gay attraction issue. When one of our Churches ordained a gay pastor, and he had his partner sit with him in the front row of our conference we as a church body split. The “Welcoming and Affirming” group was in the city, the rural area went the other way “Welcoming and Encouraging.” When gay marriage became legal we in the rural areas took a stand against that.
    As a group of pastors we are going to discuss this at our next meeting. I will bring this article along. Some of our very conservative want even attraction to be considered sinful. So, somewhere between attraction and marriage is a line that we cross and it becomes wrong. Where is that line? It might be different between men and between women. In our country we see women holding hands, dancing together, living together and we seem to accept that as non-sexual behavior. Men cannot do the same. They cannot hold hands, dance together, even room together is suspect as sexual.

    1. Mike says:

      I miss quoted earlier. It is “Welcoming and Affirming” and “Welcoming and Transforming.”

  6. Ian says:

    There is another side to this as well. When i was a child i was sexually abused by my father. It happened between the ages of 3 and 5, possibly 6. I only have vague impressions of what happened, but i know it did because a few years ago i had a sureal conversation with my younger brother and found out that it happened to him as well. I had no memory of it when i was growing up, like i said , just impressions, but at the age of 16, when i came face to face with Jesus, the impressions became memories. A year later i started to get to know God as Abba and thats when the healing began. At 14, I remember wondering if I was gay. I mean I was sexually attracted to girls, but there was always this part of me that seemed to be attracted to guys as well . I was very shy and introverted so I never acted on either attraction. I also never shared what had happened to me/ my confusion about my attractions with anyone . So when God started peeling back the layers and healing the hurt, threw Him loving me and threw men in the church affirming me as a healthy young man, the attraction to the same sex dissapated. All that was over a few years, but because I never told anyone about it, and it was never “preached/taught”out of me, I know that it all came from God and not a manipulation from the pulpit. I got to know who I was in Him. Not going to lie, the process wasn’t pleasant, having to accept that it happened in the first place was the hardest thing I think. It took alot of carpet time at the altar and alot of willingness to let God love me the way a father is supposed to love his kids to get to walk in forgiveness, but I’m here now ?. That’s the nutshell of it.
    Sometimes too it can be the way a parent speaks to us as kids that leave imprints and take roots. But if you let God get His nose in there and your willing to let the Holy Spirit show you where it all stems from, you can heal from it all

    As a refrence im an overprotective 37 years old father of 4 (my girls can’t date till they are 30) ?, married 14 years to an amazing woman whom I love more every year.

    Keep up the good work Jay!!
    ( this is my 2nd attempt to post so if the first one shows up somehow, feel free to delete either. Not tech savy at all ?)

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Thanks for sharing Ian!

  7. Kay says:

    Thank you for this, Jay. Frankly, I think the church has made a mess of same sex attraction by making it out to be some kind of unpardonable sin. To me, what is the difference between feeling attracted to another person of the opposite sex that isn’t your spouse? Almost everyone, married or unmarried, is going to feel an attraction toward someone other than their spouse. That isn’t the problem; what you DO with that attraction is what matters.

    I work with a woman whose husband is “openly” same sex attracted, but he believes God’s design is for marriage to be between a man and a woman, not to mention he always had a strong desire for biological children. He found a wonderful woman who was not bothered by his struggle with same sex attraction and they have a pretty fantastic marriage and three grown children. For him, it isn’t any different than any other marriage, except that instead of controlling his thoughts about other woman, he has to control them about other men. I’m not saying that is the answer for everyone who struggles with same sex attraction, but he has been able to lead a quite happy life and feels comfortable walking in God’s design for marriage. I find that beautiful.

    The reason the wife is quite accepting is because she struggled with same sex attraction for a time where she was very obsessed with breasts. Finally to the point where she went to therapy about it because it was interfering with every day life. After several weeks of intense therapy, she was able to realize that her attraction had very little to do with breasts at all but what they represented to her: maternal nurturing. She had a highly abusive relationship with her mother, and although that is an admittedly uncommon repercussion, breasts stood for the maternal connection she never had. Once she realized this, within just a few weeks the obsession faded and ultimately disappeared. She spent years wondering if she was a lesbian but it actually had nothing to do with that and instead to do with childhood trauma.

    I, for one, am realizing I am much more attracted to the female form than the male form, but I don’t feel that makes me a lesbian or even bisexual. I don’t know; I can’t explain it. Maybe it is part of our culture, which really does glorify the female form above the masculine. But that’s just never been something that interested me. I don’t know if that makes any sense. Yes, I find women more attractive than men on a physical level, but attraction is so much more than physical in my opinion, so that’s never been something that has even registered until more recently. Emotionally I am very much more attracted to men. And that is how that couple is able to make their relationship work; physically he is more attracted to men but he is emotionally very attracted to his wife and so they’ve made it work.

  8. TC says:

    I do wonder how much of same sex attraction is rooted in childhood trauma. I perceived my father and mother to be very cold to me, while growing up, so I think hey had little influence on my sexuality. But emotionally, it’s been the women in my life, that I have been able to be emotionally vulnerable with, so I socially I’m much more at ease with women, than with men. Contrasting that with my wife’s being a daddy’s girl, who is much more comfortable in the company of men, it’s been the source of many conflicts and jealousies in the past. At first glance it may not seem to be the same thing, however a family with a loving ,affectionate father, and a controlling, abusive mother would likely influence children when they come of age, depending on their gender.

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