Tuesday, May 22, 2018

TIP FOR TUESDAY: REALLY THINK ABOUT WHETHER THIS JOURNEY IS FOR YOU

[MAKE SURE TO READ THIS LINK FIRST IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME VISITING ENGLISH MANIF.]

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of going slow with this journey from gay to straight.

This week I am going to continue to look at points that address as many people's situations as possible. I will make sure to keep politics to a minimum. 

But I know there are lots of people who are in the gay lifestyle who are still at the gate, wondering if they can do this, or whether it is even worth it. And I have this message directed largely at them:



I will look more into this during this week. As a Bible-believing Christian, I think the answer to your situation will never be to continue engaging in sex with other guys. I would love for you, even if you are going to stay in your same network of friends, to stop the sex. But I know that for a lot of people to stop engaging in gay sex, you have to do all the other things we do in Phases 1-4, so you can break the habit. Jesus said that we're defiled by what flows out of our hearts, and if your heart is still full of gay thoughts and memories, it will be very hard to stop the sex.

Still, your life situation may not be such that you can make this drastic change right now. And for some of you, especially those who are not deeply religious, the practical realities of going straight are bad enough that you really want to consider this carefully before you jump into a project of going straight. 

There is always the option of going celibate, which entails directing your sex urge into safe, abstract outlets as opposed to restructuring your living so you find satisfaction with a woman.

Let me speak to some motivation questions we have here.

Here are good motives for embarking on a journey from gay to straight:

1. You feel God wants you to stop doing what you are doing and live a biblical life, but you know that you are not called to be celibate.
2. You feel you are straight and going gay was a mistake. This is a strong feeling that has persisted.
3. You are caught in a harmful pattern in the gay world, not bad enough for you to seek professional assistance, but enough that you know you have to make a break to get out of your situation. But you know that you cannot promise yourself to do without sex and love for the rest of your life. You need to know there is a hopeful end to whatever work you do to get out of gay activity.
4. You feel strongly attracted to women and want to give up relationships with men so you can follow that attraction.
5. You look at human history and sense that something is terribly off kilter about gay culture. It seems unnatural and you will never overcome that sense of discomfort with it. Heterosexual relationships look more natural to you and you will never overcome the sense that heterosexual relationships reflect your own yearnings and life goals.
6. You want to be a father and want to give the best life and upbringing to your children.
7. You have started a relationship with a woman already and are falling in love fast, to the point that you need to break off with the gay world so it does not ruin your relationship with her.

(Just so you know, my main motivation was actually #7, but it led me to feeling the other 6 over time.)

All the motivations above are good.

Here are bad motivations for trying to go straight:

1. You don't like being stigmatized or called names for being gay, and it seems like if you are straight you will be more accepted. 
2. You are annoyed with things in the gay world and think straight life is going to be easier.
3. You just had a bad breakup with a boyfriend and are really mad.
4. You have watched a lot of straight porn and think it's more fun than gay porn.
5. You have to please your parents.
6. Your parents are going to cut you off if you don't go straight.
7. Straight men seem like they are more handsome and you want to be more handsome.
8. You can picture yourself being a massive stud if you can just figure out how to have sex with girls.
9. You are considered unattractive in the gay world and think you will have better luck in the straight world because you see a lot of hot women dating ugly men.
10. You are HIV+ and want to start a whole new life where you are not surrounded by HIV-related stress.

As a Christian I want everyone to find God and live a Christ-centered life. But if you are motivated by items 1-10, I doubt this journey is going to work for you. It is hard enough to do when your motivations are good, but if your motivations are poor, you set yourself up to fail.

Consider other options

Going straight means that you are preparing yourself and changing yourself so you will be a good husband to a woman. The end goal is to marry a woman and satisfy her in a chaste, healthy sexual relationship.

There are other ways to resolve your situation:

1. You may decide to become celibate. I will try to find decent websites to explore this option for you. Don't count it out too quickly. (This is especially important to consider if you are HIV+.)

2. You may decide you are bisexual. I think this is a very bad idea, which I will discuss at length this week. But people have chosen this route, and some have managed to build healthy relationships with women even while they keep a bisexual identity.

3. You may decide to identify as gay and keep all your ties to the gay community, but just marry a woman. This strikes me as awful but I know some people defend this approach, especially in the Christian world.

4. You may decide to get into a marriage of convenience and cut a deal with a woman that allows you to do gay things on the side. The thought of this makes me scream, "no, no, no!" But I have to be honest about the hardships of going straight the way I am recommending it.

5. You may stay gay and stay in the gay community but strive to reduce unhealthy behaviors and avoid sodomite sex acts. This would have to entail getting help on things like sex addiction, porn addiction, or other behavioral problems from someone who can really help you manage those problems while you are still immersed in gay culture. I would be sad if you chose this route, but I cannot force you to do what other people and I did. You have to make your own choices and make peace with God.

There are lots of ex-gay ministries and books out there, which can help you figure out where your life is going to go. I am offering up English Manif to give you tips and pep talks if you know you have a strong sex urge and feel it can be a force for good, you need to be totally dedicated to a woman and cannot handle the ambiguity of being that way while still having ties to gay life, and you are willing to make a lot of personal sacrifices and endure struggles to get to your goal of being in a straight, chaste marriage.

How long a journey is this?

To give you a sense of what I have seen in people I know, the time frame is usually in years from the moment that you decide to get out of homosexuality to the point where you are married and in a chaste, healthy relationship to a woman.

The years vary and often the progression is messy with backsliding moments and a lot of heartbreak. If you are starting younger, then your journey can sometimes be longer, sometimes shorter, depending. 

In my case the timeframe was fast because I met and fell in love with a specific woman and lost my virginity much sooner than I thought I would. When I had the chance to move in with her I was so in love I hurried into it. I did not want to be sinful and cohabitate so we got married quickly. At the time I was Catholic, so when the priest found out we'd married in City Hall he forbade me from communion and brought me under church discipline. As a result we had a church wedding but that came significantly later. We have remained married for almost two decades and I would describe our marriage as very happy. We had ups and downs, believe me. But right now things are super strong.

Other people tend to describe timeframes of two years or more.

I can tell you that when I speak to straight guys who had trouble finding wives, their struggles seem to last a lot longer. Ex-gay men I know who decided they wanted to get married to a woman tend to move faster than straight men who have always taken heterosexuality for granted.