Wait: Counseling Boys With SSA
While your friends seem obsessed with girls, you are experiencing feelings of attraction to guys. You find yourself fantasizing about being close – really close – to a teacher or macho guy in your school. You long for something more, but it isn’t a girl.
The culture — teachers in your school, the Gay Straight Alliance — is telling you that all this is a sign you were born gay. You might as well accept it and “come out” because there is nothing you can do to change it. That’s how God made you.
But before you act on this advice, take time to look at the facts. You may have heard the claim that science has found a “gay gene.” This is not true. In spite of a lot of looking, no scientist as found anything resembling a gay gene. The head of the human genome project says they have looked and it isn’t there.
Other studies offer conclusive evidence that people are not “born” that way. If same-sex attraction were genetic or caused by some other pre-natal influence then identical twins would virtually always have the same pattern of sexual attraction. In a large sample of identical twins, only 27 pairs were found where one had same-sex attraction, and of these in only 3 pairs or 11% did both have same-sex attraction. These means same-sex attraction can’t be genetic and so no matter what you are feeling today or how young you were when you first felt different, you were not born that way.
Those who have studied the origins of same-sex attraction don’t believe there is a single cause, rather there are a number of paths that lead to these feelings.
Before you decided to “come out” you can explore how you got to this point.
Many persons who experience same-sex attractions in adolescence were victims of sexual child abuse or sexual exploitation by adults or by other children. Over 40% of persons who self-identify as “gay” say they were victimized as children. If this was your experience, you need to deal with this. Having sex with another male won’t heal this wound.
Some victims were so needy for same-sex affection that they felt the abuse was a positive experience, because it was better than their other experiences. They may believe that since they experienced pleasure it means they were “gay.” It doesn’t. It just means their body works. Using a child as a sexual object is never good for the child.
Many men with same-sex attraction did not properly identify with their fathers or with other boys in early childhood. They felt different. Perhaps they identified with their mothers or female playmates, perhaps they were afraid of rough and tumble play, perhaps they lacked athletic ability, perhaps they were interested in art, music, or quiet pursuits. This could leave a young boy feeling left out of the male world and longing for masculinity. Such boys do not need to have sex with a male, they need to find their own manhood.
Perhaps you didn’t fit the stereotypes. Perhaps you were teased or even labeled “gay,” but that was a lie. Real men come in all shapes and sizes with all kinds of interests and different levels of abilities. None of these experiences makes you unchangeable “gay.” You just need to find your own masculine identity.
There are other reasons why you shouldn’t “come out.”
Although you may think that “coming out” means entering into a loving committed relationship with a person who will really meet your needs. Too often it means falling into a temporary relationship which – when it dissolves – leaves you more devastated and feeling more lost than you were before. You may be looking for security, but men who have sex with men end up going from one relationship to another, with all the attendant heartbreak or falling into a pattern of short-term relationships – short-term being an hour or two.
Some adolescent boys fall into prostitution with all the risks of violence, disease and shame. One can hardly be proud of a work history that includes a year or two of hustling or be pleased to end up as the poster boy on some pornographic website.
Disease is a real problem for adolescent males who come out. You may promise yourself that you would never be so stupid as not to use a condom, but the research shows that very few men who have sex with men keep this promise. They suffer from condom fatigue. They have sex when they are drunk or high. They believe a partner who says he is HIV-negative, forgetting the score of other sexually transmitted infections the man might not even know he is carrying, or that in the heat of passion men often lie. The younger a man is when he begins to have sex with men the greater the risk he will become HIV-positive.
Disease is not the only health risk. Persons with same-sex attractions are more likely to have problems with drugs and alcohol. In particular, the use of crystal meth is a real problem for this community and the results are devastating. Not only does crystal meth lead to physical and mental problems, it also causes the user to think he is invulnerable and therefore doesn’t need a condom. This is leading to a rise in HIV infections.
Sex is addictive. Once you begin to have sex with men, you may not be able to stop. You may have programmed your brain for this particular activity.
The good news is that studies show that a majority of those who think they are “gay” in their early teens discover in their 20’s that they are not. They just grow up. Maybe that will happen to you spontaneously; maybe through counseling you will discover where your feelings came from. It would be a shame if before that happened you became a sex- or meth-addicted, or infected with an incurable disease.
You have a choice. You can explore the origins of your feelings. You can get help to discover your manhood.
You can wait.
[This article was written for PFox
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