Since there is no definitive explanation of how any male actually develops same-sex attractions (ssa), does it even matter how these attractions originated? For example, does a sugar diabetic actually need to know how his digestive system works, in order to learn what not to eat - if he wants to stay healthy? So, does it really matter what caused your same-sex attractions?
Well - no.
It is not essential for a man to know what caused his ssa in order for him to live a life of sexual purity and peace. What is essential is that the ssa man understand that it truly is possible to have a life of sexual purity and peace - and how he can obtain that!
Well, then, why does it matter what he thinks caused his ssa? Because what he thinks caused his ssa will either help his advancement - or impair it.
How His Understanding of the "Cause" Can Hurt His Advancement
A well-meaning - but under-informed - counselor (or group leader or pastor) who confidently proclaims that he know exactly why an ssa man has same-sex attractions, can actually harm the ssa man. If an ssa man is eager to change, yet is given a simplistic explanation of the cause and "cure" - and then that "cure" does not eliminate all of the man's homoerotic attractions - then the ssa man may lose hope. If that becomes the case, then he may become even more distressed, lose his closeness toward God, and may deepen his homoerotic actions and identity. Here are some examples of how over-reliance upon one "cause" can harm the ssa man:
•· Perhaps the ssa man is told it is genetic. Armed with this misinformation (as there is absolutely no evidence of a "gay gene"), the ssa man may resign himself to his homoerotic attractions, and act upon those impulses whenever he chooses.
•· Perhaps someone says it was caused by a poor relationship with his father. If so, the ssa son may blame his father - and stay in prolonged grieving over what he (apparently) did not get from dad.
•· Perhaps someone says it was actually the fault of his mother. Do you think this new revelation will strengthen his relationship with his mom?
•· Perhaps someone explains that the reason is that he must have been sexually abused in his past. The ssa man may then be given a procedure where this previously unaware abuse can now be "revealed" (whether abuse actually occurred or not).
•· Perhaps they tell him that he is demonically oppressed, and simply has not submitted to God - and that if he would fully submit, then the attractions would disappear.
•· Perhaps someone tells him that his problem is simply a sexual addiction - no different than men who exclusively have opposite-sex attractions - and that a 12-step program will make everything better.
Please do not misunderstand me. I absolutely believe that what we are born with, how we interact with our parents, the forms of abuse received, spiritual warfare, and sexual addiction are all very relevant factors that may have contributed to a man's ssa [please see Part 5: Assembling the Pieces]. However, if an ssa man is told with certainty that something is the cause - and the ssa man does all his can to fix that one "cause", but his ssa does not go away - then the ssa man may give up his attempts at abstaining from homoerotic attractions.
How His Understanding of the "Cause" Can Help His Advancement
In my opinion, there are at least three very important reasons why it is helpful for an ssa man to have some logical understanding of what may have contributed to the development of his ssa.
•1. Some understanding of contributing factors helps the ssa man know what he should now be focusing on. For instance, helping the ssa man develop healthy male friendships is an extremely important ingredient in his progression. Similarly, helping the ssa man deal with past sexual trauma is clearly a necessary healing element. Becoming aware of a sexual addiction, and dedicating oneself to valid recovery programs, is necessary for some. And, who wouldn't agree that prayer and dependency upon God is absolutely vital!
•2. Some understanding of contributing factors helps the ssa man become more at peace concerning his existential anxiety over "I must know the reason why!" If the ssa man can see a logical set of contributors, then he usually can relax his quest to find the cause. Much distress can be relieved - and hope obtained - simply by acquiring a plausible understanding of probable contributors.
•3. Some understanding of contributing factors helps the ssa man no longer feel responsible for the existence of his attractions - and can begin to eliminate unnecessary shame. It is very helpful for the ssa man to fully realize that he did not cause his own attractions! He did not choose these attractions; he did not choose to be born sensitive; he did not choose to have detached relationships with parents and other males; he did not choose to be abused; he did not choose to be intimidated by female intimacy. A healthy ssa man does not assume the "victim" role - but nor does he assume "responsibility" for his attractions. When an ssa man can eliminate being ashamed over the existence of his same-sex attractions, then he is on his way to achieving sexual purity and peace!
Until we learn the answer directly from Jesus, we will never know for certain what caused us to have same-sex attractions. I wish I never had homoerotic attractions. I know you do too. But here's something I wish even more - both for myself and for you:
I wish to be absolutely unashamed over the existence of my attractions, because I am so absolutely focused on my identity in-Christ and my assurance of His acceptance of me. I wish to immediately refocus my thoughts and eyes whenever I experience a homoerotic temptation. I wish to view my maleness in the same way that God views it - as absolutely equal to every male that He has ever created. I wish to have deep male friendships, filled with fun, support, and intimacy. I wish to confidently pursue my heterosexual goals. I wish for you to join me in this pursuit.
Strength in Weakness Ministries is enormoously grateful to Dr. Michael Rosebush for allowing us to make this article available through this ministry. Dr. Rosebush is a Licensed Professional Counselor with decades of counseling experience specializing in assisting Christian males with same-sex attraction issues.
Copyright © 2008, Dr. Mike Rosebush; permission granted for multiple reprints.