Frustrated, gay - celibate


#1

Hi, I'm 22 and I'm really confused as to which path I should take in life. As stated, I have a same sex attraction to men, but I've been celibate all my life. Yet, it's infuriating to think that I'll never be in love . With that being said, I'm also very religious and am even a theology minor in my school. But I've reached a point where I almost don't want to be religious, that way I don't constantly have to apply guilt and suppression towards various aspects of my life. It was from having a few extra theology classes this semester that I was brought back to feeling the presence of God to begin with (I had suffered something much like what St. John of the Cross referred to as the Dark Night of the Soul); but even though I had felt completely disconnected from God (and even hated) for a couple years, I still continued to pray/stay abstinent, etc.

   What I noticed is that if I don't live religiously I end up becoming very depressed. At the same time, if I do live religiously I'm generally much happier, but I get ridiculously frustrated, I get saddened and worried thinking about my future, and whenever I fall into a lustful sin with myself (which always happens) I feel like there's no point in even trying to be religious (at least for a period of time). I don't think I would ever be able to be an atheist, my belief is certainty too deep seated for that. At the same time, there's still a lingering feeling of doubt (though repressed); It's from this doubt that I start wondering if I'm giving up love/sex etc for a belief that could be false to begin with; that's a lot of give up :/. I realize this isn't exactly a question, but I thought it might help if I at least seeked some kind of advice. I've never actually told anyone I know about being gay, thus, I've never told anyone about issues w/ faith as well.

#2

It sounds like you're definitely at a tough time... You say that you feel such happiness and joy when you live religiously...that's a good sign. As for the frustration or anger when you do, that is not.

What I think is that the anger and frustration that you get when you live religiously is just part of the heavier cross that you are carrying. It might be hard, but those feelings will eventually die off, and God-Willingly you become a priest, you will really love that.

To address the faith issue. Whenever you have doubts of God's existence, just think to yourself, "Am I really a product of chance?" That should definitely give you some motivation. NO of course not, we are not just an accident, God created us all. If you want a more biblical approach, think of Jesus's resurrection. If Jesus truly did rise, then what he said was true(about God), and we know he did, how? By the apostles. Look into Jesus Resurrection and the apostles, there is a lot there.


#3

There's a lot of help for the same sex attracted person who wishes to be celibate in the group called Courage. Your diocese may have a group, and if so, you can call the chancery to be put in contact with the chaplain. If not, the website is very helpful.


#4

I think you have to also remember and realize that these attractions do not just stem from yourself. It is our sex-obsessed society that is telling us we should be sleeping around, not God or the Church (the only sources we should listen to for truth). You are being tricked into thinking you need to sleep with men, and you will need to learn to ignore these feelings. Satan and his minions are powerful, and they continue to gain power through nonbelievers and secularists. His latest and greatest trick is to say God isn't there or He doesn't care what we do, which are far from the truth.

My advice would be to focus on other things, to distract yourself so you are too busy to think about these feelings. If you start to have these feelings: pray, do some sets of sit-ups and push-ups, or take a cold shower. You are being tested and need to think about something else for a while.

I read somewhere that 75% of men who experience same-sex attraction had bad relationships with their fathers. They think they want sexual relationships but are really looking for male approval. This approval is best found in a non-sexual way with a mentor, such as a Priest, Church friend, professor, etc. Sometimes you just need male friendship with someone who is a strong Christian who will help strengthen your faith.

I have also heard of cases of men who were very homosexual, anti-Christian who ended up leaving homosexuality and getting married to women after befriending Christian men. The men also said they felt happier than they did when they were gay, more complete since they live as God intended. This is a difficult cross to carry and a heavy burden, sometimes taking many years to overcome, but it is not impossible to get married and have a family if that is what you really want in life.


#5

[quote="BloodyRose3000, post:1, topic:222630"]
Hi, I'm 22 and I'm really confused as to which path I should take in life. As stated, I have a same sex attraction to men, but I've been celibate all my life. Yet, it's infuriating to think that I'll never be in love . With that being said, I'm also very religious and am even a theology minor in my school. But I've reached a point where I almost don't want to be religious, that way I don't constantly have to apply guilt and suppression towards various aspects of my life. It was from having a few extra theology classes this semester that I was brought back to feeling the presence of God to begin with (I had suffered something much like what St. John of the Cross referred to as the Dark Night of the Soul); but even though I had felt completely disconnected from God (and even hated) for a couple years, I still continued to pray/stay abstinent, etc.

   What I noticed is that if I don't live religiously I end up becoming very depressed. At the same time, if I do live religiously I'm generally much happier, but I get ridiculously frustrated, I get saddened and worried thinking about my future, and whenever I fall into a lustful sin with myself (which always happens) I feel like there's no point in even trying to be religious (at least for a period of time). I don't think I would ever be able to be an atheist, my belief is certainty too deep seated for that. At the same time, there's still a lingering feeling of doubt (though repressed); It's from this doubt that I start wondering if I'm giving up love/sex etc for a belief that could be false to begin with; that's a lot of give up :/. I realize this isn't exactly a question, but I thought it might help if I at least seeked some kind of advice. I've never actually told anyone I know about being gay, thus, I've never told anyone about issues w/ faith as well.

[/quote]

I have this friend who was once an atheist and converted to the Church about three years ago. She is now this devout Catholic who happens to be gay. There are plenty at my parish who are also gay but are just as devoted to the Church and are active in the community. To be honest I don't know how anyone can handle this; it would be a terrible burden for me. :(
I'm writing this to you to let you know there are a lot of people in the same situation as you are and somehow get passed this. Are there any gays in your area who are also practicing Catholics that you can talk to? Have you talked to a priest who is understanding and who can really help you?
Trust Jesus and His Church. He doesn't give you anything that you can't handle. I'll keep you in my prayers.


#6

The first thing you must understand is that you can be and will be in love. Through constant prayer you will receive the grace to be in love with Jesus. (Yes, to truly love him requires grace that we can get only through prayer.) This is infact what we are all called to do. But to love Jesus is not merely to profess him as your lord and saviour but to seek to serve him and follow his commandments. (he tells us - if you love me you will keep my commandments) Understand that the sacrifice he made for you on the cross is the ultimate expression of love. We are all called to make sacrifices in our own lives in order to show our devotion and love for him in return. Your sacrifice happens to be to forego intimacy with another human being. By offering this sacrifice to him you are showing a tremendous act of love for Jesus for which you will be richly rewarded. (we read in holy scripture that "eye has not seen and ear has not heard what God has in store for those who love him). Your reward will be not only in this life, but for eternity with him. You are already begining to see this by the mere fact that you feel fullfilled when you are doing God's will while feeling empty when you move further away. When you see your choice to be celibate as a sacrfice and gift to Jesus as an expression of love for him, it will cease to be a source of frustration to you and become a source of joy. Read the book of James. "Count it all joy when you are faced with trials for the testing of your faith produces perseverance".

Remember that what seems like a heavy burden now will ultimately prove to be the greatest blessing if you persevere. Jesus is calling you to enter into a loving relationship with him. Answer this call and you will know a happiness that few ever know. I will keep you in my prayers.

P.S. don't forget that celibacy entails refraining from lustful activity even with yourself. If that makes the challenge greater so too will be the joy. May God Bless you


#7

First off, be realistic here: love is a feeling that often fades over time, and there are more valuable and enduring things. Don't get Hollywood silly over our modern nonsensical valorizing of Love.


#8

Thank you for all the great comments. I feel a little melodramatic now that I've had time to cool off and reflect. I think I had too much pent up-non addressed frustration after doing well for a while, and the only way to release it was to have a mini hissie fit lol.

There were a few people who mentioned that I felt the way I did because of the culture we're immersed in, etc, and it's completely true. I always do well when I'm in a state of meditation/prayer etc, and when I'm focusing on theological books and depiction's etc. It's definitely from looking outside of that which gets me down (speaking of theological books, I finished reading the autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux today, which was brilliant and always inspiring). Thank you for all your comments and take care.

[quote="stephe1987, post:4, topic:222630"]

My advice would be to focus on other things, to distract yourself so you are too busy to think about these feelings.

[/quote]

You know, one of the reasons I was able to live a more catholic life was the fact that I had been so busy - I had a Fieldwork in Psychology class, and I volenteered 90 hours of service at this site with people who have ALzhiemers (which was a terrific expeience), but I had to do it within a month and a half, so in combination w/ that, school, and work, I was always busy, which was rather beneifital.

[quote="stephe1987, post:4, topic:222630"]

I read somewhere that 75% of men who experience same-sex attraction had bad relationships with their fathers. They think they want sexual relationships but are really looking for male approval. This approval is best found in a non-sexual way with a mentor, such as a Priest, Church friend, professor, etc. Sometimes you just need male friendship with someone who is a strong Christian who will help strengthen your faith.

I have also heard of cases of men who were very homosexual, anti-Christian who ended up leaving homosexuality and getting married to women after befriending Christian men. The men also said they felt happier than they did when they were gay, more complete since they live as God intended. This is a difficult cross to carry and a heavy burden, sometimes taking many years to overcome, but it is not impossible to get married and have a family if that is what you really want in life.

[/quote]

I actually have a pretty good relationship w/ my father. Though, I don't really have that male friends right now. With that being said, the fact that 75% of them have father issues could stem from other reasons (ie: not being as athletic, not being interested in girls. etc), and not be the cause of their sexual orientation. As far as 'becoming straight', with all respect, it's been scientifically proven that that doesn't actually happen (except in the case of those who were bi and not gay), nor does the church endorse such a belief. But thank you anyways :cool:.


#9

I wish I had words of wisdom for you. I think as humans we need caring, close relationships with others. For those of us who are heterosexual, we presumably find that in our spouse (although divorce rates would indicate otherwise). HOwever, I don't know that a caring, close realtionship with someone has to mean physical intimacy. I'm not even Catholic yet, so please know I am not trying to offer advice based on the teachings of the Church. Just some things I've been thinking about recently. I guess I just think that as humans- regardless of sexual orientation- we need hugs, but not sex. You'll be in my thoughts/prayers.
e


#10

I know many would gladly label me as naive, or worse, but I don't understand why a "homosexual" man can't find a "manly" woman? There are women with just about any characteristic that a man has (except with complimentary plumbing). Homosexual men often find effeminate men to be attractive? There are a lot of effeminate women out there.

I understand why I can't hook up with a man that looks like a woman, because I know it's wrong and I'm conditioned to be attracted to feminine qualities. There no gene to appreciate high heels - it's conditioning.


#11

[quote="Steel_Pinwheel, post:10, topic:222630"]
I know many would gladly label me as naive, or worse, but I don't understand why a "homosexual" man can't find a "manly" woman? There are women with just about any characteristic that a man has (except with complimentary plumbing). Homosexual men often find effeminate men to be attractive? There are a lot of effeminate women out there.

I understand why I can't hook up with a man that looks like a woman, because I know it's wrong and I'm conditioned to be attracted to feminine qualities. There no gene to appreciate high heels - it's conditioning.

[/quote]

1) I'm not in any way attracted to effeminate men.

2) In terms of personality, I often prefer women, to be honest.

3) My attraction has little to do w/ personality. In terms of looks, I obviously am attracted to men, not women. But specifically, it really comes down to parts. I woulden't be attracted to a "manly women" because at the end of the day, I wouldent be physically attracted to them. Assuming you're straight, would you be attracted to the sex of someone in your gender? I'm assuming the answer is no.


#12

[quote="smilesformiles, post:9, topic:222630"]
I wish I had words of wisdom for you. I think as humans we need caring, close relationships with others. For those of us who are heterosexual, we presumably find that in our spouse (although divorce rates would indicate otherwise). HOwever, I don't know that a caring, close realtionship with someone has to mean physical intimacy. I'm not even Catholic yet, so please know I am not trying to offer advice based on the teachings of the Church. Just some things I've been thinking about recently. I guess I just think that as humans- regardless of sexual orientation- we need hugs, but not sex. You'll be in my thoughts/prayers.
e

[/quote]

lol, thank you, genuine expressions of compassion go a long way :).


#13

[quote="BloodyRose3000, post:11, topic:222630"]
2) In terms of personality, I often prefer women, to be honest.

[/quote]

If personality is covered, just find a woman with the physical traits that attract you to men. Such women exist and I'm not attracted to them for the reason that they look too much like men.

3) My attraction has little to do w/ personality. In terms of looks, I obviously am attracted to men, not women. But specifically, it really comes down to parts. I woulden't be attracted to a "manly women" because at the end of the day, I wouldent be physically attracted to them. Assuming you're straight, would you be attracted to the sex of someone in your gender? I'm assuming the answer is no.

Personality is a big part of attraction, so you should be halfway there.

Why wouldn't you be physically attracted to a woman that looks like a man? I don't see why I wouldn't be attracted to the same sex if it looked like the opposite sex, if I didn't know what the real sex was. If I know, then "it's wrong" trumps everything.

I still don't get it.


#14

[quote="Steel_Pinwheel, post:13, topic:222630"]

Why wouldn't you be physically attracted to a woman that looks like a man? I don't see why I wouldn't be attracted to the same sex if it looked like the opposite sex, if I didn't know what the real sex was. If I know, then "it's wrong" trumps everything.

I still don't get it.

[/quote]

o_0... You're trying to rationalize this WAY too much lol. I've never been attracted to women who look like men :ehh:. But even IF I was, apart from their looks, I wouldn't be stimulated by the contents of their body. With all respect, would you be attracted to a woman who had a penis. Obviously you would not, it works the same for me (just the opposite); this "it's wrong" schema you're trying to lay out is keeping you from true contemplation, thus the reason you're unable to empathize. Men are obviously very visual and, that's what it would come down to.


#15

If I can elucidate what I meant above, I'd say:

(a) in 2010, our social life is so fragmented that we are all radical individuals, so any substantial relationship with other people gets our attention;

(b) given the ease of divorce, perhaps generated in part by our ongoing materialism, our belief we can, bing, change everything about ourselves, clothes on up, overnight;

(c) we tend to think that anything can be justified by "love." Why not? The general public doesn't believe it can recognize many other kinds of reasons as valid. And media makes "true love" and "soulmate" kinds of ideas part of the soup we're swimming in.

(d) I'm rather frightened hearing people so exaggerate the value of "love." Not to be mean-spirited, but many love claims are passing fancies or merely invented storylines we tell ourselves. A lot of just passion; the rule of thumb used to be a young man would get over these kinds of things in about two and half weeks.

(e) On a personal level, I'm acquainted with unhappy marriages and married people who simply are sharing space. Couples with ongoing love seem much rarer than the media makes this out to be.

(f) of course, in 2010, human sexuality has been so hyped and commercialized and consumerized, etc., that few people really understand it.


#16

[quote="Captain_America, post:15, topic:222630"]
Couples with ongoing love seem much rarer than the media makes this out to be.

[/quote]

Which is what makes it so precious ;)


#17

You say it is scientifically proven that gay cannot become straight. I am not an expert, have not researched that subject, but have heard otherwise. This site has many info on that issue: narth.com/menus/born.html Maybe you could research it thouroughly.

Let´s say that it is actually possible to "reeducate" yourself. I think you should at least give it a try. That would open possibility of marriage in future. I am 21 years old, straight, but am abstaining from sex before marriage. I am mentioning this to show that there still are people who are not discouraged by modern norms, where sex is showed down ones throat like a must. Norms of our Father (our Father!!!:)) which are preserved in His Church should be more important to us.

What ever you do in future, be sure it is in line with teaching of Jesus. It will be worth it in the end.


#18

Hi BloodyRose3000,

I'm not qualified to give advice, so don't take what I say too seriously: I just wanted to say something because this issue interests me and I've had a few thoughts on it.

About celibacy, I would say the only serious danger here is loneliness, which exacerbates most negative feelings (to say nothing of psych problems, but I don't think you have any) and makes it more difficult to combat impurity. The hitch is, though, loneliness is pretty difficult to avoid when you're living celibately, and there are no 100% effective solutions for it. When you're young, it's easy to feel left out as everyone around you is fixated on dating and spouse hunting; when your old, it easy to end up being alone because your friends are married and moved away, or just don't have time any more because of all the family stuff they have to take care of. There aren't many clear cut solutions to this problem, but one answer is to live with an unmarried family member till he or she finds a spouse, and another is to live with roommates or in some other communal type situation. (Some folks on this site reject the roommate idea because they believe it would be a near occasion of sin. That could be true, but life is about trade offs and taking chances, and roommates might work out depending on how attractive they are, how much self-mastery you've achieved, and so forth.)

So, I guess what I'm saying is that a lot of the feelings you're struggling with can be helped by cultivating good friends and keeping the Faith. Probably you're already doing that, so is there anything else you can do? It helps a lot to realize that, so to speak, "even in your condition," you are perfectly normal. There's nothing sick or demented about being gay (having the attractions, that is). It's not some kind of punishment from God or a sign that He hates you or doesn't love you the way you are. So when you're alone, you can approach Him just like any other normal human being, as a creature who, through the work of Our Lord on the Cross, can walk in friendship with God, relying only on the grace He gives to please Him. (Again, some folks would object to the idea that being gay is normal. They would argue that the Church teaches that homosexual tendencies are disordered and therefore the homosexual condition is abnormal. I don't find the argument compelling, but there isn't space to discuss it here.)

After all that, let me give you some resources that might be helpful.
[LIST]
]Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation (APA) -- The most comprehensive review on attempts to change sexual orientation through therapy. The authors found there was no compelling evidence in favor of the kind of theories and techniques advocated by NARTH; based on their review, they recommended ways to help religious gay men and lesbian women to live in ways congruent with their faith's values.
*]Gay and Catholic: What the Church Gets Right and Wrong About Being Gay -- An all too brief but very nice article by Eve Tushnet who is worth getting to know on this subject.
*]What is a Catholic Response to Gay Suicide -- Fr James Martin sometimes catches some flak for being *too
compassionate toward gay men and lesbian women, but this is a very faithful blog post about why it is good to be gay and Catholic.
*]Dreadnought -- John Heard is the Australian version of Eve Tushnet. His blog is no longer active, but you can find good posts on it.
*]Demythologizing Celibacy -- My favorite book on the spiritual value of celibacy and the practical problems in achieving it.
[/LIST]

Hope these resources will be helpful. God bless you!


#19

[quote="BloodyRose3000, post:8, topic:222630"]
As far as 'becoming straight', with all respect, it's been scientifically proven that that doesn't actually happen (except in the case of those who were bi and not gay), nor does the church endorse such a belief. But thank you anyways :cool:.

[/quote]

Actually it has been the opposite, see narth.com/menus/born.html. I challenge you to read the following sections fully:

[LIST]
*]"Homosexuality Is Not Hardwired," Concludes Dr. Francis S. Collins, Head Of The Human Genome Project
*]Myths And Misconceptions About Behavioral Genetics And Homosexuality
[/LIST]

The Church fully endorses the ideology that you can be fully healed of your sins, this includes being cured of blindness, being raised from the dead, and fully "becoming straight"


#20

[quote="chrysostim83, post:18, topic:222630"]
After all that, let me give you some resources that might be helpful.

Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation (APA) -- The most comprehensive review on attempts to change sexual orientation through therapy. The authors found there was no compelling evidence in favor of the kind of theories and techniques advocated by NARTH; based on their review, they recommended ways to help religious gay men and lesbian women to live in ways congruent with their faith's values.

[/quote]

I have an issue with this link, the very first portion of the abstract indicates that same-sex attraction is a "positive variation of human sexuality". I could quote more from this source but I'll cut to the chase, this document was not written by someone who is concerned with the Lord's input on this subject.

The authors do not advocate techniques used by NARTH because they believe that efforts to change your sexual orientation are "unlikely to be successful and involve some risk of harm".

Sure, you don't have to align your sexual orientation to a godly alignment, but if you don't then you will for the rest of your life fight with this temptation to sin, causing you far more harm than if you never tried in the first place.

By recommending this to a Gay layperson of our faith I feel you are doing him / her a disservice by making it easier to believe that his feelings towards members of the same sex will forever be set in stone.


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