For the past four articles I have been reminding us that there is no conclusive explanation why any particular man develops same-sex attractions (ssa). I have described some of the major contributors - not causes - that seem to be common for most men with ssa. This article assembles all the pieces together into a pattern I believe explains a very logical progression toward the development of ssa - and a progression that the young male has very little control of.
Disclaimer: The following ideas are my own presumptions, based upon my life, the stories of countless clients I have dealt with, along with explanations offered by other clinicians and researchers. While many of the following descriptors may be true for you, it does not have to be the case. I could certainly be wrong in my presumptions - or I could be right!
I believe the biggest contributors to a male developing same-sex attractions are:
1) being born with an extra "sensitivity"; and
2) how he handles his homoerotic temptations, beginning with puberty.
If a boy is born with extra sensitivity whenever others seem to be upset (e.g., angry, disappointed, sad, etc.), then it is logically possible that he will later:
• Retreat from those with aggressive voice tone or non-verbals, fearing that he may have upset that person - or fearing that he is about to be hurt himself. Thus, he may retreat from his father, other males, or from any confrontation.
• Hate receiving even small criticisms - especially from his parents or others whose "approval" he values. Thus, he will become very compliant.
• Try very hard to be a "good boy" - and will therefore develop a reputation as that.
• Want to soothe his own mother, if he senses that she is upset (thus, becoming the family "counselor" responsible for the mother's happiness).
• Not verbalize his anger or hurt feelings, and thus be more prone to depression and/or anxiety problems later in life.
If a young boy retreats from his father, then it is logically possible that:
• He may feel alien from his father, not relate well to him, and be more comfortable around his mother.
• His father may feel less comfortable around this son - which, in turn, makes the sensitive son feel that he has "disappointed" the father.
• His mother may feel an extra need to nurture and care for this type of son. In turn, the mother may "shield" the son from the father - unintentionally creating a co-dependent relationship with this son. If the son attempts to "migrate" over to the father, the mother may be viewed as "demanding" or "rejecting" by a son who is extra sensitive.
If a boy is born with extra sensitivity to aggressive touch (e.g., wrestling, shoving, fighting, etc.), then when this young boy leaves his home environment for daycare or school, it is logically possible that:
• He may shy away from boys who seem to be aggressive (e.g., avoid playing capture the flag, touch football, etc.). He may not want to join physical-contact team sports. This may make him less respected among his male peers, and may decrease his male esteem (i.e., he begins to view himself as "less worthy" than other boys). That will bother him greatly.
• He may find girls more comfortable to be around, and will develop more of their interests. In turn, the other boys will tease him by calling him names like "sissy", "fag", "queer", "homo" - and he will wonder if this is true. That will bother him greatly.
• He may become an "easy target" for physical abuse, and other boys will bully him. That will bother him greatly.
If a boy is kind, compliant, and non-aggressive, it is logically possible that:
• He may become a target for males who are looking for an "easy prey", and will be sexually abused. It is highly likely that he will never forget such traumas.
• He will wonder why he was approached for sex by the other males ("Why did they choose me? Am I gay?"). That will bother him greatly.
If a boy is born with an extra ability to sense possibilities in his mind and be creative, it is logically possible that:
• He will more naturally excel in the "creatives" (e.g., art, drama, clothing, appearance, cooking, music, writing, etc.). In turn, he will naturally gravitate toward these activities - and will be rewarded by adults for his accomplishments.
• Paradoxically, he will be taunted by his male peers for excelling in such areas. He will take this taunting very sensitively, and will believe he is distinctly different from most boys. That will bother him greatly.
• Some research indicates that if an ssa boy has experienced distress over his sexuality (even in his dreams) prior to puberty, it is possible that his brain may be hampered (during puberty) in the formation of neurons that assist heterosexual and secondary sex characteristic development. If this occurs, it is logically possible that:
• The pubescent young man will be focusing (with keen interest!) on other males during the time of intense hormonal flooding in his body. This may "cement" an erotic capacity toward males - even if there is also some amount of erotic capacity being developed toward females.
• Since the young man is often (if not exclusively) attracted first toward other males, it is the attractive males whom he will automatically experience a homoerotic impulse (temptation) toward.
• Each time the ssa male experiences an orgasm while focusing on a homoerotic thought or image, he "brands" certain parts of his brain. This branding allows him to automatically experience a homoerotic sensation when he views or thinks about other males whom he finds attractive. The more he masturbates to homoerotic images, the more aroused he automatically becomes at the sight of an attractive male.
• If the ssa male's secondary sex characteristics (e.g., development of pubic or body hair, larger penis, muscles, height, deeper voice, etc.) are affected due to inhibited brain development, then the ssa male may feel extraordinarily self-conscious of being "less than" other males.
• Additionally, the more an ssa male focuses on other males whom he finds attractive, the more likely he is to experience envy, coveting, or low male esteem. Thus, viewing an attractive man simultaneously becomes an erotic, esteem-lowering, and shaming event. This may happen continually during each day throughout puberty - setting the stage for later sexual addiction and low male esteem.
• If the ssa male begins being sexual with other males, it highly likely that he will develop a "shame-based" identity and/or a "gay identity". How he identifies himself will have a major impact on his future sexual behaviors and sexual capacities [note: more on this topic in the next series of articles on sexual identity].
Okay, gang - there you have it. My logical and plausible explanation of what may contribute toward a male developing same-sex attractions. The reality is same-sex attractions happen!
Now, what are you going to do about it?
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Copyright © 2008, Dr. Mike Rosebush; permission granted for multiple reprints.