Could my SSA come from wanting affirmation?


I’m going to be stupidly honest in this post and share things I’ve never shared, not even with my confessor or spiritual director. Depending on what people say here, I hope I’ll be able to garner the courage to eventually mention this in spiritual direction.

I am a young woman under the age of 25. Here is how I have experienced sexual attraction:

*]I have never been sexually attracted to a man my age
*]I have experienced sexual attraction to women my own age
*]I have experienced sexual attraction to women in their 40s
*]I have experienced sexual attraction to much older men, and (please don’t hate me) to men who are priests

This is the first time I am admitting to anyone that I have experienced attraction towards people who are not age appropriate and to priests. I have never even really admitted this to myself - it’s more something that I tend to think of in passing and then quickly shelve in the back of my mind where even dust can’t find it.

I think my attraction issues have to do with a hunger for affirmation. From myself or if not from myself than from someone who is like me to some degree (women my own age). From someone in the place of my mother (older women). and from someone in place of my father (older men and priests especially since we call them “Father” and they are like father-figures for the whole parish). Like, if these people find me sexually attractive, then maybe I am worth something to them. I don’t know.

I want so much to fix this about myself, so that I can put ssa and all this behind me, and get back to discerning my vocation. I’ve always said, to myself and others, that I only experience attraction to women because I am creeped out by my attraction to older men and women, so the only attraction I acknowledge is the one to women my own age.


Wayward: I’m afraid I’'m not going to be much help but the reasons you gave for your attractions seemed to answer your quessions.They seem logical to me but I might add that you are attracted to priest because they are generally friendly seem concerned about people and are good listeners.You can usually be yourself around them without feeling yourself odd.I’ll conclude by saying I hope you can hold you r emotions in check if you ever do meet another woman you find attracted to.

Yes, wanting affirmation is a common cause of SSA. The topic of SSA and its causes was discussed in detail on the Women of Grace programs.
Maybe the shows will help you.

Good luck with your vocation and your healing.

Wayward, also keep in mind that simply having a attraction is not a sin. We can’t control our attractions. They just are, it is what we do with those attractions that count.

I am SSA also and you have given me something to think about and for that I Thank You!

God is the source of all affirmation, and works through parents and others, depending upon the circumstance. When a soul does not feel affirmation from those it looks up to, it may then seek that affirmation elsewhere, and is often lead astray by itself, or with the help of a malevolent spirit. Lack of affirmation has long been a factor in SSA. However, each of your attraction categories is inappropriate to you, and is not confined to SSA. There is some moral prohibition or societal taboo in each case. You notice he absence of attraction to those whose gender and age are appropriate. This is telling.

Since this is a spiritual problem, it can certainly be addressed by spiritual direction. However, it may be so deep-seated that more help may be needed. In addition to your priest, you might consider consulting with your physician, or another physician if you would have difficulty discussing this with your own. Also, have a look around this site. It is active in dealing with SSA issues. There is at least one CAF member who struggled with SSA for years, and considered it their cross to bear. By the grace of God, they were able to overcome the attraction and go on to live a normal life.

May Christ’s peace be with you.

First off, don’t be ashamed. Shame gets people nowhere.
issues are best dealt with in the open. To name them is to take control over them.

To your first question: Could my SSA come from wanting affirmation? YES

I recommend you two things.

Get hold of this book: The Heart of female same sex attraction" By Janelle Hallman.

Try to see if you can find a good Catholic therapist.
God wants you to be a happy and fulfilled human being. He loves you just as you are, and so do we. Its not your fault what you have experienced.
I myself go to therapy for relational issues and I realise more and more that we are influenced by things we cannot help, often in early childhood or even as young teens, that make us unable to really function in a healthy way as adults.

Good news, there is help to get.

Also look to Courage, a Catholic apostolate:

wow. there’s a lot of resources.

I’m already a member of Courage online (there is no chapter in my Diocese), but to me SSA, though still difficult, is a lot less difficult to admit to than my experience of being attracted to people who are so much older than myself.

But the fact that I am attracted to much older men and women could be my key to figuring out why I have struggles with same sex attraction at all.

I will look into the Women of Grace series. I’ve already looked into NARTH and they have nothing available to people in my area, otherwise I would go to them.

GraceDK, thank you for reminding me not to be ashamed. I have an appointment to talk about this with my pastor, but I am so scared about how it will go over when I tell him that I don’t just experience SSA exclusively, but also experience attractions to older women and to older men and to priests. I know this fear is slightly irrational - he is a good priest and has been able to support and encourage me in my struggles with SSA, self-injury and depression.

Shame is something that has been controlling me a lot lately - or really, my pride that prefers for my struggles, sins and imperfections to remain in darkness.


It is your cross to bear. Ask for the strength to bear it, and God will give you the strength.

Christ’s peace be with you.

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