Marriage and SSA

Hello there,

First post here, thanks for reading :slight_smile:

Would it be recommended for a person struggling with SSA to try and find a person of the opposite sex to marry?

Best regards.

Hello there!

It wouldn’t be right at all if there was deception involved. Even if there was no deception, it would be extremely difficult for the person who was fighting against his or her natural inclinations. This would also impact upon the other person in the marriage.

I watched a programme a little while back about some Mormon couples who were married, where the men all had SSA. The wives had a mantra - ‘not gay, but SSA’. Obviously the programme was intended to show the tensions the situation caused, but even taking that into account it was clear that the men were struggling. Not good, IMO. :slight_smile:

This is too sweeping a question to answer with a simple yes or no.

There are men and women with varying degrees of SSA who are in heterosexual marriages with varying degrees of satisfaction, contentment, etc. In that regard, their marriages may seem fairly typical. :shrug:

Here at CAF there are several members who have SSA and are married, and they have shared their stories on threads like this one. For what it’s worth, I still had SSA when I married my (now ex) husband. My SSA was not a factor in my marriage at all. And by the time we divorced, I had absolutely no SSA feelings at all – none.

(This is not to say that my straight marriage “cured” me, so please don’t go there. The disappearance of my SSA had to do with dealing with and finding healing for the childhood experiences that had triggered it in the first place.)

So back to the question, I’d have to say it depends on each individual person. With good spiritual direction, and additional support as needed, I think a person with SSA could definitely be in a beautiful and happy sacramental marriage.

Just my two cents’ worth…

Gertie

I think it depends.

I might get flamed from both sides for this:

I’m not entirely sure that SSA is the same in both men and women. Just based on my own experiences with people with SSA. The gay men I have known have had SSA their entire lives. They were never attracted to girls/women in any romantic/sexual way. So I think it would be very, very difficult for an SSA man to marry a woman. (given that there are probably different levels of the intensity of the SSA).

On the other hand, all the lesbians I have known (which haven’t been all that many, 7 or 8 at the most) started out as being interested in boys/men, had dated males, at least three had either been engaged or married prior to living as lesbian people. So it might be different for an SSA woman. :shrug:

. . . MY problem is having to explain to my son that there are “men” who want to marry “men.”. . . and how that’s all supposed to work.

I think you can probably say exactly that and drop it.

I don’t think that there is any viable alternative to Catholic sexual ethics. I had recently read this article, and this thread brought it to mind. The only thing I know is to try to follow the moral law and not carve out exceptions.

This thread isn’t about carving out exceptions. The question here is whether someone with SSA would be able to marry.

:shrug:

There doesn’t seem to be any canonical impediments.

I tend to see people more on a spectrum with these sorts of attractions, and it is something one would need to discuss with their priest before getting married.

So it shouldn’t rule out a marriage, but it also should be seen with practicality.

Well, we don’t always get what we want in life.

Marriage is based on the complementarity of two persons of opposite sex, not necessarily sexual attraction. It would be a mistake, I think, to self-identify by ‘orientation’ since orientation can be rather fluid and non permanent, and once a person self-identifies in a particular way, it becomes very difficult to think in other terms.

Thank you so much for the replies.

From what I can gather, it seems that there is no clear “yes” or “no” answer and a lot depends on individual circumstances.

It may be helpful to personalize the question then. I don’t like to admit it, but I struggle with SSA and am reaching an age where most of my cousins and friends are getting married and having kids. By the grace of God, I’ve been able not to act out on my SSA and live as a single man without revealing my SSA, but it is getting harder and harder each passing day/month/year.

I feel sad for my parents who are anguished that their son is not getting married or even dating and the pressure is quickly building for me to start a family. In the meantime, I feel lost and confused on what I should do with my life. Often I feel like a stranger not being able to relate to anyone. Most people I know who have SSA are in a same-sex relationship.

I thought that I’d be a bachelor for life when I was younger, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be as I grow older and seeing others move on with their lives. Thus I started to explore the option of finding a woman to marry. I do realize that it would not be easy given my struggle, but I do want to find someone who I truly like and not just marry someone for the sake of marriage itself. I figure that while I have a chance I should at least try before making a lifelong commitment of celibacy.

On a related note, if I were to meet a girl, should I let her know about my struggle early on? Or try my best to make the relationship work without revealing it to her? Thanks for reading and replying.

For marriage, SSA is less of an impediment than an absence of “OSA” would be. The latter would seem fairly fatal to the expectations of a wife. Arguably, SSA is not relevant if you are able to deliver on your marriage vows. Given it is difficult to guarantee that in advance, I believe you should be open with any future wife before committing to marriage.

OK, the first thing you need, if you don’t have it already, is a strong support network of persons (even just a few) who know you are struggling with SSA and who share your values and beliefs (Catholic?). Get a spiritual director to help you navigate your faith life, your desires, and your struggles.

The choice to be chaste and celibate is so contrary to our US culture (for example) that having this support system in place is essential to achieving your goals. This is true for single people who don’t have SSA as well.

I will keep you in my prayers. God bless you!

Gertie

I didn’t take your question to be about obstacles with doctrine or teaching, or tradition. I thought you were asking about it at a personal level–as in, “If I have SSA and get married to a person of the opposite sex, will it be a good marriage and will I be happy?”

I’m sure there are men with SSA who are married (to women) and are happy. I have a good friend whom I suspect has challenges with SSA and he’s been married with children for over 20 years.

If a person has a strong sexual attraction for those he or she is not marrying and does not have a sexual attraction for the person he or she intends to marry, that is information that the person he or she intends to marry deserves to have. If an intended spouse says that they will not give consent to marry without correct information about the sexual history and self-identification of the person they are considering marriage, that person may not be lied to. They must be given a disclosure that is as full as they insist on having. There will always be things you did not know about your spouse when you married him or her, but there must be no deceptions, either by being told untruths or by concealment of the truth.

Having said that, those persons who understand and intend all of the goods of marriage, who have no reason to believe they lack the capacity or the will to remain faithful in all the duties of marriage (that is, who seem by their actions to be capable of self-control and responsible behavior) and who practice no deception in order to obtain the consent of their spouses may enter into a marriage. There is nothing in canon law that bars a person who suffers from disordered sexual desires from marrying, provided that there is good reason to believe the person has the capacity to act in the manner proper to marriage. That does not change when the desires are towards someone of your own sex rather than towards those of the opposite sex.

Thanks so much for your prayers Gertie! :smiley:

Yes I agree, it is definitely counter to US culture (and many other cultures as well) to be chaste and celibate so having a support system in place is essential. Yet the same rarity of the situation makes it difficult to have such a support system as there are not many people around who are in a similar situation. Thank goodness there are groups like Courage which aims to offer precisely this type of support in a Catholic setting. I think such a support group would be helpful as well single people in general because it can get very lonely. I recently joined the Courage online group and have met some very nice people who are striving to be faithful to Christ. I also have a priest who I talked to somewhat regularly for direction.

It is very encouraging to hear, thanks for sharing this story! :thumbsup:

EasterJoy, thank you for the thorough and clear reply. Honestly, I don’t know how you come up with these answers! :wink:

Hello Isca. I agree, married between heterosexual persons can be hard by itself, let alone when one is fighting against his or her natural inclinations. Yet I have hope that it is not completely impossible, given effort, prayer and God’s grace.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.