Rooming with someone who may have same sex attraction while in college


I have quite an interesting case. I am entering my sophmore year of college in a few weeks and I myself struggle with same sex attraction(also I struggle with scrupulosity which may be the cause of posting this question). Last year I was at first nervous about living with guys in the dorm because I was worried about temptation and seeing guys undressed, etc. In the end it turned out fine and I actually enjoyed being able to feel like a normal guy and feel comfortable with my body by doing things like walk around without a shirt, change in front of my roommate, etc.

Last year I became friends with a guy that has a lot in common with me and we decided to be roommates this year. he’s also a devout catholic and has never mentioned anything to me about SSA but I have a strong hunch based on similarities between us and other things he does/ways he is that he may have SSA too.

So my question is would being in various states of undress around him for more than a minute be sinful? Since I’m not sure that he has SSA but since I have a good hunch would it be sinful for me to do things that I know if another guy did around me could lead me to sin? (for example if an attractive guy was walking around with his shirt off around me or something, there is a possibility of that being able to lead me into sin). Last year with my straight roommate I was able to act like a normal guy and do things like sleep in my boxers but now I worry that since I have a reasonable suspicion that my new roommate has SSA I would be sinning by doing things like that…

I know this is complicated but any thoughts?


You might find hope in recent developments in epigenetics. In studying identical twins (identical DNA) where one twin is Gay and the other is not scientists have in the past few years determined that individual genes, while common, can be turned on and off. In addition to it’s potential to explain SSA they hope to unlock the key to other mysteries (for example Diabetes, Cancer). Should it come to pass that a naturally occurring genetic signature is a factor in sexual orientation the Church may have no choice but to reconsider it’s position. Until such time, it’s current position is a catalyst and strong motivator for increasing human understanding in order to provide real answers for all that struggle in situations similar to your own.


I would think about the fact that you have not found rooming with the gender you are attracted to to be a near occasion of sin. Now, obviously, its not true that such a situation would never be an occasion of sin, but that combined with the fact that you don’t even know that this person has SSA leads me to think that you should not worry about it, so long as it will not be a problem for you, I think that unless you find out that this person does have SSA it is fine to leave things as they are.


The problem with living in the dorms is that you are (usually) required to have same-sex roommates. This is understandable since the vast majority of people are heterosexual. And usually, you are required to have a roommate. Secondly, there are many people that look and/or act like they might have SSA, but actually do not. Some guys are simply effeminate, but heterosexual (this was the case with a few former co-workers of mine).

As such, this is not an intentional near-occasion of sin, as you are not actively seeking someone else with SSA to be roommates with. You guys just have a lot in common, which is good to have in a roommate. And, he has not “come out” to you, so you really have no idea except a hunch. But - and this is a big but - just keep praying, and keep talking to your priest so that you can resist any temptation your friend (possibly unwittingly) gives you.


Regardless of what science says about ssa, the morality of the acts do not change.
The Church is the keeper of faith and morals, scientists are not. Certainly public opinion is not!


Whether or not the roommate has SSA, it’s perfectly reasonable for you to not want to change in front of him, or to wear pajamas. When I went to live in the college dorms, I purchased several sets of nice, comfortable pajamas. I think you can qualm your fears by just doing what feels comfortable. If you feel the need to be more modest in front of the guy, for his benefit or for yours, then feel free to do so.


You are incorrect. The origins of SSA have nothing to do with whether it is right or wrong to act out. They believe addiction also has a genetic componant, which is certainly helpful information for those who treat it, but when it comes down to it, it is wrong to get drunk and drive in a car. The Church is not going to reconsider its position. The OP seems to accept the Church’s position and is trying to live his life according to Christ. That alone should give him hope.


As was noted above the morality of engaging in homosexual acts would remain unchanged whether or not there is a biological factor underlying SSA. Remember, the Church doesn’t teach that having SSA is immoral, only that engaging in homosexual acts (or fantasying about such) is. If a gene was identified that predisposed people to murder, it would not invalidate the 5th Commandment, i.e. nether the Church (nor God) would “have no choice but to reconsider it’s position” on the morality of murder either.


If you are concerned about your ability to remain chaste, you need to try and make other living arrangements. It’s OK to be friends, but be particularly careful about your modesty and about respecting his modesty. Also, if you suspect he also struggles with homosexual tendencies and could present a problem with impurity, be extremely guarded with him. It’s OK if you eventually end up as friends, but you must take your time to be sure that your friendship is strengthened by your mutual love of God and chaste love of neighbor rather than by lust. A spiritual director should be able to help you more with this, and will be an extremely valuable resource throughout your college years. I suggest you find one as soon as possible.


If you thought he might have SSA, why did you agree to room with him if you, too, are struggling?

It’s inevitable that people need roommates to keep the cost of living affordable. I would never be able to live on my own with the income I am making now, and certainly could not in college, so I understand the need for roommates.

If, however, you find yourself in the near occasion of sin, or think you may be putting someone else in the near occasion of sin, then use discretion. Wear an undershirt instead of just your boxers, change clothes only in the bathroom, try to live a modest and holy lifestyle…

On a personal note, scruples can make certain situations more difficult. Try to relax and be yourself. You want to do the right thing, so try and be true to yourself.


Thanks everyone. But I’m not worried about placing myself in an occasion of sin or anything, I know I can handle myself since I was fine last year with my roommate. I’m just worried about myself leading him into sin, my point I’m trying to make is I don’t want to have to be extra modest around him but the way I look at it is for a minute lets pretend I was straight and I was with a girl, well it would be sinful for me to be in a state of undress around her cause that could lead her(and me) into sin. And of course it would be sinful for a young man and woman who aren’t married to share a dorm room. So how do the rules change now that I have SSA(and possibly my roommate)?


Well, to be honest, it is not always sinful for an unmarried man and woman to live together. There are three things which would make such a situation sinful, actual sin, near occasion of sin, and leading others to sin (scandal). With two people of the same sex scandal isn’t really an issue unless other people know you have SSA. So whats left is actual sin and the near occasion of sin. You say you know it won’t be a near occasion of sin for you, so that aspect of it is fine. All thats left is this other guy, for whom you have no real evidence that he would be put in a near occasion of sin by living with you. I think for now you honestly don’t need to worry about this. There is a definite possibility that it is nothing at all. And if he does have SSA then he is the one putting himself into this situation. We can’t live our lives on “what ifs”. Unless you actually learn that he does have SSA I think it is best not to worry about it.


You pray for him, regardless of his sexual orientation, and then you pray for yourself, that you may be granted the graces of chastity and final perseverance. You then move on, and don’t worry about it. Padre Pio was famous for saying “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.” In cases like this, that honestly is the best possible way to handle it.

I would also recommend for you reading St. Alphonsus Ligouri’s “A Short Treatise on Prayer” (you can find eBooks of it online for free, or order a copy off Amazon). I only say this because you mentioned that “you know you can handle yourself”, because of your situation last year. The thing is that honestly, situations change and people are different. St. Alphonsus tells us that "he who trusts himself is lost. He who trusts God can do all things.” Basically, while it is really important to know yourself, and your limits, and what is normally feasible for you to do or not do, all people should be careful in assuming that they can on their own resist any sin. This goes for heterosexuals as well as homosexuals and is not restricted to just sexual sin. Honestly, if you get a chance, read St. Alphonsus, the man wrote more on prayer than probably any saint, and his words have honestly changed my life.


Have you talked with a priest about all of this? Regardless of this particular situation, if you think that scrupulosity may be an issue for you, speaking with a priest about it is going to be very beneficial. I would encourage you to do that.

In regards to your situation, I wouldn’t make any assumptions about your roommate’s orientation or what might present to him an occassion of sin. As with any roommate situation, it seems reasonable to not do that which you would not want your roommate to do. If you don’t want him walking around shirtless, then you don’t walk around shirtless. If you don’t want him borrowing your stuff without asking, then you don’t borrow his stuff without asking. That’s just standard roommate etiquette.

For me, my roommate was my brother, but I sure didn’t get dressed in front of him or walk around and sleep shirtless. :shrug: So if it were me, it wouldn’t really be an issue as I wouldn’t be doing those things to begin with.




You miss the point entirely. The church’s current position is that homosexual tendencies are “disordered”…if science demonstrates otherwise then the facts will be in conflict with the church’s position - ie. it will have been demonstrated that SSA is in fact a naturally occuring genetic disposition in nature. The morality is a separate question and issue.


The Church claim it is disordered because it is ordered towards something immoral. The origins of SSA makes no difference as to whether or not it is disordered in this sense. :shrug:


The Church claims that homosexual tendencies are disordered because they are not in the “natural order”. Epigenetics may provide conflicting evidence of this claim.


The “natural order” being the ordering of sexuality towards the union of one man and one woman. Its not about what causes SSA, but about what SSA itself is. :shrug:


God the Father, the architect of the universe, created one sexuality in the order of things.

When someone has a tendency or desire to use his/her sexuality outside of God’s order, it is disordered.

Just as some people have a tendency or desire to eat too much (whether it’s inborn or acquired) – that is disordered. I have that disorder. Glutonny is a sin, and can lead to a variety of problems. I love food too much, and am constantly working on using food in an ordered sort of way, to maintain my health as God wants me to.

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