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Gay Christians Choosing Celibacy

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When Eve Tushnet converted to Catholicism in 1998, she thought she might be the world’s first celibate Catholic lesbian.

Having grown up in a liberal, upper Northwest Washington home before moving on to Yale University, the then-19-year-old knew no other gay Catholics who embraced the church’s ban on sex outside heterosexual marriage. Her decision to abstain made her an outlier.

“Everyone I knew totally rejected it,” she said of the church’s teaching on gay sexuality.

Today, Tushnet is a leader in a small but growing movement of celibate gay Christians who find it easier than before to be out of the closet in their traditional churches because they’re celibate. She is busy speaking at conservative Christian conferences with other celibate Catholics and Protestants and is the most well-known of 20 bloggers who post on spiritualfriendship.org, a site for celibate gay and lesbian Christians that draws thousands of visitors each month.

Celibacy “allows you to give yourself more freely to God,” said Tushnet (rhymes with RUSH-net), a 36-year-old writer and resident of Petworth in the District. The focus of celibacy, she says, should be not on the absence of sex but on deepening friendships and other relationships, a lesson valuable even for people in heterosexual marriages.

Celibate Christian LGBT people are stepping out into the open for the same reason LGBT people in general are: Society has become so much more accepting, including in religious circles. But among conservative Christians, efforts toward more acceptance have collided with the basic teaching that sex belongs only among married men and women. The celibacy movement helps reconcile those concerns.

However, they are also met with criticism from many quarters, including from other gays and lesbians who say celibacy is both untenable and a denial of equality.

“We’ve been told for so long that there’s something wrong with us,” said Arthur Fitzmaurice, resource director of the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry. Acceptance in exchange for celibacy “is not sufficient,” he said. “There’s a perception that [LGBT] people who choose celibacy are not living authentic lives.”

The reaction among church leaders themselves has been mixed, with some praising the celibacy movement as a valid way to be both gay and Christian. But others have returned to the central question of how far Christianity can go in embracing homosexuality — even if people abstain from sex.

Al Mohler, president of the flagship Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and one of the country’s most respected conservative evangelical leaders, said in an interview that there is “growing and widespread admiration” for Tushnet and others, including Wesley Hill, an evangelical scholar who founded the spiritualfriendship blog.

Given that LGBT people are coming out and “being welcomed,” he said, “it is now safe and necessary to discuss these things aloud in evangelical churches — and that’s hugely important.”

But echoing the ambivalence of some conservative Christians, Mohler said he believes that sexual orientation can change “by the power of the Gospel.” He said he is not comfortable with the way in which some celibate gay Christians proudly label themselves as gay or queer.

“Even if someone is struggling with same-sex attraction, I’d be concerned about reducing them to the word ‘gay,’ ” Mohler said.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/gay-christians-choosing-celibacy-emerge-from-the-shadows/2014/12/13/51c73aea-6ab2-11e4-9fb4-a622dae742a2_story.html

 

 

Relevant because the LDS Church requires celibacy outside heterosexual marriage to be a member in good standing. So it's good to hear from those who are successfully practicing it.

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“We’ve been told for so long that there’s something wrong with us,” said Arthur Fitzmaurice, resource director of the Catholic Association for Lesbian and Gay Ministry. Acceptance in exchange for celibacy “is not sufficient,” he said. “There’s a perception that [LGBT] people who choose celibacy are not living authentic lives.”

 

This is so strange to me given that the push for acceptance of different lifestyles is most often presented as it is only fair to allow everyone to have the same ability to choose how they want to live because only then can they live authentically…but then this perception is one has to choose as expected to choose (and that isn't celibacy for many) or it really isn't authentic.  How is this any different than making someone feel pressured to hide they have homosexual feelings because that is unacceptable?

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This is so strange to me given that the push for acceptance of different lifestyles is most often presented as it is only fair to allow everyone to have the same ability to choose how they want to live because only then can they live authentically…but then this perception is one has to choose as expected to choose (and that isn't celibacy for many) or it really isn't authentic.  How is this any different than making someone feel pressured to hide they have homosexual feelings because that is unacceptable?

The idea that tolerance swings both ways is a hard concept to accept in some circles. :nea:

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This is so strange to me given that the push for acceptance of different lifestyles is most often presented as it is only fair to allow everyone to have the same ability to choose how they want to live because only then can they live authentically…but then this perception is one has to choose as expected to choose (and that isn't celibacy for many) or it really isn't authentic. How is this any different than making someone feel pressured to hide they have homosexual feelings because that is unacceptable?

Good question Cal.

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“There’s a perception that [LGBT] people who choose celibacy are not living authentic lives.”

I'm curious as to the source of this claim and the evidence to back it up.

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I'm curious as to the source of this claim and the evidence to back it up.

There was something about being authentic at church just a week or so ago on this very board.  Not sure who brought it up but I thought it was you or CB?

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This is so strange to me given that the push for acceptance of different lifestyles is most often presented as it is only fair to allow everyone to have the same ability to choose how they want to live because only then can they live authentically…but then this perception is one has to choose as expected to choose (and that isn't celibacy for many) or it really isn't authentic.  How is this any different than making someone feel pressured to hide they have homosexual feelings because that is unacceptable?

 

It actually makes a little sense to me. Accepting conflicting ideologies is difficult for a number people, no matter the viewpoint on tolerance. Considering the language about equality, it would appear that the idea is about what christian community they would want. The ones they mention would probably want one that allows, in some fachion, for committed gay relationships as equally validated as straight ones. Celibacy, would be considered maintaining this by accepting the parochial system. I could see this being difficult especially for those who have previously or actively reject said system because it was (emotionally, relationally, sexually, etc) stifling to them. As much as tolerance is preached from just about anybody, there are often limits for people of what this entails. I've run into my own borders, especially when I was not as confident within my own perspective and life. It was less to do with sexuality and more to do with race...where I (actively) rejected an old system in order to feel more congruent within my life experience. Those who had a similar racial background, but chose the more dichotomous system....it seemed more uncomfortable because I had a sense that without the solidarity of voice their was more likelihood to accept the status quo and more push-back for those who preferred or couldn't fit the mold easily. So it's not difficult for me to imagine a similar concept for LGBT groups.  

 

I'm curious as to the source of this claim and the evidence to back it up.

 

I don't have either, but I do have an anecdotal evidence of someone who came back to the church due to being LGBT...then returned. She noted that their was a lot of push-back from friends who thought, in effect, that she was making the wrong decision for said reasoning.

 

For the record, I don't think all LGBT individuals would believe/act in such a way. Just that it wouldn't surprise me if some did.

 

With luv,

BD

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This is so strange to me given that the push for acceptance of different lifestyles is most often presented as it is only fair to allow everyone to have the same ability to choose how they want to live because only then can they live authentically…but then this perception is one has to choose as expected to choose (and that isn't celibacy for many) or it really isn't authentic. How is this any different than making someone feel pressured to hide they have homosexual feelings because that is unacceptable?

Some may believe that other people's choices to live celibate lives means they are living inauthentically.

Some may believe that other people's choices to marry someone of the same gender is sinful.

Both are free to endorse and promote whatever beliefs they choose.

Neither view is intolerant until either group attempts to force the others to live contrary to each individual's own personal choices.

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There was something about being authentic at church just a week or so ago on this very board.  Not sure who brought it up but I thought it was you or CB?

 

I certainly don't think that a person who chooses to be celibate is not living an authentic life if that is their choice.  So it didn't come from me.

 

What I can say is that I personally could no longer "pretend" that I was straight just to fit into what the church wanted of me.  It was a very unauthentic life.  For me, it became unbearable to pretend to be someone I was not.  But that is my own personal attitudes of my own behavior.  I would never judge another person on what he was doing in his life and whether it was authentic or not.  How could I.  I am not that person.  I don't know the inner thoughts of another person.  Some may find it perfectly fine to be celibate their whole life.  Most do not which is why most gay members leave the church.  Having someone to share your life with that you love deeply is for most people the most important relationship they experience in this life and what brings them the most joy.  

 

I certainly love my boyfriend.  My life without him would be like most members loosing their spouse.  To say it would be devastating is an understatement.  While the church sees no problem in breaking up gay couples and demanding celibacy, I doubt it would go over any better if the church started asking straight couples to split up in order to be members of the church.  

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In the case of straight couples living together who refuse to get married (in my experience it is one of the couple wanting to become a member and the other not wanting and being the one refusing to get married as well while wanting to continue living together), the Church leadership does just that....the one or both of the couple must choose between continuing the relationship or becoming a member in good standing by leaving the relationship.

I am not in anyway suggesting the general situation is like it is for gay couples as a couple where both want to be members can get married and even in cases where one doesn't want to join, if marriage is acceptable the one can as well as a straight couple wouldn't be required to break off the romance even if not married, they would only be required to not live together and remain chaste in their relationship. So it only applies to a straight couple where one or both wants to become a member but one or both want the relationship to continue with sexual intimacy, but no marriage...an uncommon situation, but I've run into a some, mostly it is one of the couple being inactive wanting to return to full fellowship with no interest in the partner. I've heard of a number of occasions for investigators from missionaries though.

No one thinks much of it. It is simply expected that if one is unmarried, one needs to be chaste and one has to make a choice between a lover who won't take a downsized relationship but won't upgrade it either and commitment to the Church.

For one of my great aunts it was a life of complete celibacy and she was treated with some significant disrespect and dismissiveness by her married siblings even though she didn't get married because she was working and caring for Mom and Dad while the rest went off on their adventures, so her life became a teacher and school admin and devoted service at Church and the odd one out in the family...she could have had a great life back east working with the giants in the field of psychology and had her love and marriage as well but after a few years there and looking to make it her career, the depression hit and she got summoned home, was the only one not consumed with her own family so became essentially the Eunuch/Old Spinster Companion before she made it to 30...never heard of any romance in her life after that. I wished she had lived just one more year so once I learned of her generous sacrifice she had made I could share with her how much I admired her for it. I believe I might have been the first female after her to go into psychology and knowing what a prestigious position and cutting edge stuff they were doing, only I would have cared and understood that she could have been a major player in the founding of early 20th century psychology and would have been the most successful of all the family. But apparently she never made a big deal about it and just took the teasing and living alone stoically and I found out just a few months too late. I would have really enjoyed talking to her about the old days, can't imagine anyone else in the family would have be interested in them. Hopefully being Dean of Women eventually she was able to tell her story to encourage the young women under her care into aiming high.

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Since many know I have strong opinions on this subject I just want to go on record that I do honor those who feel inclined to make a spiritually guided choice to be celibate.  It is definitely an authentic act.  And, I hope that she (person in OP) and others who make the decision are generously rewarded with "deepening friendships and other relationships" and much more.

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I certainly don't think that a person who chooses to be celibate is not living an authentic life if that is their choice. 

Interesting.

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Is a sex-addicted person living an authentic life while acting according to their desires?

After I read Emily Pearson's Dancing with Crazy, it struck me that Gerald Pearson's behavior demonstrated the obvious characteristics of undiagnosed sex addiction. When Carol Lynn Pearson wrote Goodbye, I Love You, very few people had enough information to make such a diagnosis. It turns out that Gerald lied to Carol Lynn about several important things, especially, his promise that he would not expose the young Emily to aspects of his lifestyle. Emily's book reports on the effects of those choices on her life. Emily mentions the concept addiction in a sentence or two though she does not explain well enough to make it meaningful or useful. She simply claims that gayness and addiction are not the same thing, but she missed the point that they are not mutually exclusive. Stephen Fales, her gay ex husband mentions going to a meeting, and dismissing its relevance. He doesn't describe the diagnosis well enough in his Confessions of Mormon Boy to make any useful application to his own behavior, before, during and after his marriage. Just because a person is gay doesn't mean that they cannot also be sex addicted. And a person who is not sex addicted is capable of choices and behavior that a sex addicted person cannot easily manage. It seems to me that there is a social contract the Gay and Lesbian community involving a declaration that "there is nothing wrong with us." That tends to rule out any serious discussion of sex addiction and its implications for behavior. To admit addiction is to admit that there is something wrong. To insist, "This is just the way I am" is the single most unhelpful diagnosis possible when addiction is present. But it turns out that a recognition that there is something amiss is the first step towards healing and freedom.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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Just because a person is gay doesn't mean that they cannot also be sex addicted. And a person who is not sex addicted is capable of choices and behavior that a sex addicted person cannot easily manage. It seems to me that there is a social contract the Gay and Lesbian community involving a declaration that "there is nothing wrong with us." That tends to rule out any serious discussion of sex addiction and its implications for behavior. To admit addiction is to admit that there is something wrong. To insist, "This is just the way I am" is the single most unhelpful diagnosis possible when addiction is present. But it turns out that a recognition that there is something amiss is the first step towards healing and freedom.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

I am aware of many sex addiction groups that cater to gay and lesbian individuals that make a distinction between sex addiction and sexual orientation; that is, they help sex addicts overcome their addictions and find healthy ways of sexually expressing themselves still within homosexual relationships. It's not as sensational as more headline-grabbing topics, so I imagine that's one reason it isn't as well known.

I agree that a blanket-statemnt that "I am born this way" or "this is how I am" can become dangerous when it is used as an attempt to justify every and any behavior any individual wishes to indulge in.

Most (if not all) gays and lesbians I know, however, do not believe that being born any given way--including being born gay--is or should be justification for acting on any and every impulse.

Yes, most gays and lesbians probably have a different set of morals than straights which includes an acceptance of their homosexual selves. And yes, promiscuity and sex addiction are more problematic within the LGBT community.

I believe this is due, as least in part, to the fact that most aspects of society (including family, church, and until recently, the state) haven't asked for or expected any type of responsible sexual behavior from gays and lesbians, and instead have historically rejected any same-sex sexual expression wholesale. The expectations historically have been total celibacy or abject denial of each and every impulse or desire, even ones that are considered healthy and normal within the straight community.

Therefore, historically, in order to experience any type of love, companionship, belonging, or acknowlegement of their romantic desires, they automatically find themselves kicked out of family, church, and even state law, beyond the boundaries of traditional morality, with no guidelines or rules. Once you become an outcast where little is expected of you, then anything seems to go. Once you're a criminal, or damned to hell, to rejected by family, thete's little incentive not to give in to any carnal desire.

Have there been gays and lebians who've had the personal fortitude to establish their own morals that avoid sex addiction and promiscuity? Of course. Not all gays are lascivious. Can individuals overcome the lack of social expectations and create relationships based on their own convictions? Most definitely.

However, when your entire family, community, church, and government not only celebrate but validate marriage relationship and encourage fidelity and monogamy, it becomes that much more natural and easy. The power of community and inclusion is hard to overstate, IMO.

Generally speakkng, gays and lesbians, historically, are a wounded and broken lot. Many turns to drugs, alcohol, endless sexual partners, or more in their efforts to find validation they desperately crave and never received growing up. And for gay men and women to overcome all that, they first need to understand it, and take personal responsibility for their lives instead of wallowing in victimization about it.

Reparation therapists recognize many of these problems, and aided by religious fervor decrying the "sinfulness" of an all-encompassing "gay lifestyle," they attempt to blame and then cure the incurable: they try to change the sexual orientation of the individual.

As the serenity prayer asks, "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Yes, letting go of any over-application of "but I was born this way" (misapplied to excuse any/every behavior, but appropriately applied to understand that sexual orientation--not behavior--is innate and unchangeable), and distinguishing between was cannot be changed and what can be changed, are definitely important first steps towards healing.

The real source of the causes of most these unhealthy behaviors, IMO, are most often internalized shame that gay men never confront and deal with. And yet, gays and lesbians don't have to wallow in self-pity or misery.

An exceptional book I highly recommend to all my gay friends is The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World by therapist Dr. Alan Downs, PhD (who is also gay, himself).

Here's Amazon's summary:

From Publishers Weekly

With a title that plays on Janet Jackson's epochal 1997 LP The Velvet Rope, and its anatomy of unmet desire, therapist Downs's book describes the paradigmatic ways in which early childhood molds the future lives of gay men: scorned on the playground, disrespected by Dad, loved only by Mom until their first sex with men. Through this mechanism of rejection, gay men feel unlovable, correspondingly angry and, he says, driven to heights of creativity and "fabulousness"—in addition to shopping addiction and obsessions with fat, muscle and penis size—in a bid to distract themselves from their inner shame. For Downs, the only thing that will bring an end to this spiral of torment is, finally, "validation," which produces "authenticity." Downs is an engaging writer, though prone to repeating the same few points in different words, while his patients, quoted in sidebars, often make witty quips that rival Quentin Crisp for dry, bitter sarcasm. While many gay readers will fail to recognize themselves here, others will find Downs's logic warming and even generous.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“[Downs’s] narration is well matched to his message.”

—AudioFile

Product Description

The most important issue in a gay man’s life is not “coming out,” but coming to terms with the invalidating past. Despite the progress made in recent years, many gay men still wonder, “Are we better off?” The byproduct of growing up gay in a straight world continues to be the internalization of shame, rejection, and anger—a toxic cocktail that can lead to drug abuse, promiscuity, alcoholism, depression, and suicide.

Drawing on contemporary psychological research, the author’s own journey, and the stories of many of his friends and clients, Velvet Rage addresses the myth of gay pride and outlines three stages to emotional well-being for gay men. The revised and expanded edition covers issues related to gay marriage, a broader range of examples that extend beyond middle-class gay men in America, and expansion of the original discussion on living authentically as a gay man.

From the Inside Flap

"The most important issue in a gay man's life is not 'coming out,' but coming to terms with the invalidating past where we learned that we are shameful...."

The gay male world today is characterized by seductive beauty, artful creativity, flamboyant sexuality, and, encouragingly, unprecedented acceptability in society. Yet despite the progress of the past century, our intimate relationships are generally short-lived compared to straight relationships, sexually transmitted diseases among us are at epidemic proportions, and depression and suicide occur far more frequently than among straight men.

Even though an entire generation of us has openly and freely come out of the closet, we still find ourselves asking, "Are we really better off?" Through bravely honest individual stories and compassionate analysis, The Velvet Rageexplores how our contentment has been destroyed by lingering, deep-rooted shame-a shame that can be traced to our childhood experiences of feeling "other" and perhaps emotionally abandoned by the first men in our lives, our fathers. Most of us rage quietly against the shame we feel so acutely, masking it behind a facade of beauty, creativity, or material success.

It doesn't have to be this way. There is a way out of this emotional bind.

Drawing on contemporary psychological research, the author's own journey to be free of anger and of shame, as well as the stories of many of his friends and clients, Velvet Rageoutlines the three distinct stages to emotional well-being for gay men. Offering profoundly helpful strategies to stop the insidious cycle of avoidance and self-defeating behavior, Velvet Rage is an empowering book you'll wish you read long ago.

It's not too late to begin healing now.

From the Back Cover

The most important issue in a gay man's life is not "coming out," but coming to terms with the invalidating past where we learned that we are shameful. Only within that awareness can we confront the shame and eliminate its insidious influence over our lives. For certain, the most damaging part of social oppression has never been the act of oppression, but the oppression that we internalize within ourselves.

As a therapist and a gay man, I know that it is utterly life-changing when a man sees the truth about the shame that has driven him and his constant, sometimes frantic efforts to avoid it. This avoidance of shame has shaped our lives, determined our careers, and chosen our lovers. Not until we acknowledge its power over us are we free to choose a different, more fulfilling life. -- From The Velvet Rage

http://www.amazon.com/The-Velvet-Rage-Overcoming-Straight/dp/1611746450

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John Bradshaw's Healing the Shame that Binds you distinguishes between toxic shame which says "I am defective" and healthy shame, which recognizes human limits and should provide the foundation of our spirituality. Healthy shame, he says, gives us permission to be human, and recognizes our need for boundaries. Shame, Bradshaw observes, is the pain that we feel when we are exposed and unprepared. One thing that happens in 12 step groups is that people expose the parts of their lives that they are most ashamed of, and they are not rejected. Indeed, every one there tells the same kind of stories. That has the effect of reducing toxic shame. And the presence of stories of people who have been to the same dark places, and have managed to change, provides modeling, a different potential for life, a sense of possibilities for choice.

I agree that reparative therapy was rather pointless. Where addiction is present, the reparative approach simply attempted to point the symptoms at something else, without ever addressing the real problems. Politically, it seems to me, reparative therapy stories now function as a moral club, convenient attrocity stories with which to shame opponents, such as the LDS church. The moral of such stories in, for example, Goodbye, I Love You, and Confessions of a Mormon Boy, and Dancing with Crazy is always that any attempt to change innate nature is bound to fail. The presence of addictions, no matter how obvious to those who know both the diagnosis and the implications for existence of helpful treatment, is typically overlooked.

Addicts, it turns out, find themselves more attracted to enabling societies, than to diagnostic societies. Enablers do provide a kind of validation and assurance with respect to current desires.

The modern science of addiction recognizes that it involves actual brain damage which results in a combination of increased craving and impeded judgement. It turns out that 12 step work addresses both aspects of the damage and can actually heal the brain damage over time. It turns out that all addictions use the same neural pathways. Hence the frequent presence of multiple addictions. Drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.

Interesting, one of the prominent role models within the straight community for natural expression of healthy sexuality is James Bond. It also turns out that if a real life person drank and smoked and etcetera'd as much as he does in the books, they would die relatively young, as young, as it happens, as Ian Flemming was when he died. Social acceptance of any behavior as "normal" or natural is socially defined, and therefore, subject to the limits of that society's wisdom. One of the messages of Joseph Smith's first vision was a rather blunt dismissal of how well we do on our own.

I notice that in Stephen Fales' Confessions of a Mormon Boy, when he goes to New York City and begins his time as male escort, he actually shouts "Validate me!" Granted that validation is nice to have, often, it seems to me, that quest for validation rides on attempts to discredit and shame another society. As in "shaming us is bad. Shaming you is just good sense."

FWIW

Kevin Christen

Canonsburg, PA

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Addicts, it turns out, find themselves more attracted to enabling societies, than to diagnostic societies. Enablers do provide a kind of validation and assurance with respect to current desires.

The modern science of addiction recognizes that it involves actual brain damage which results in a combination of increased craving and impeded judgement. It turns out that 12 step work addresses both aspects of the damage and can actually heal the brain damage over time. It turns out that all addictions use the same neural pathways. Hence the frequent presence of multiple addictions. Drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.

 

 

I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that the term "addiction" applies only to behaviors which are harmful and which the person wants to stop but cannot. Hence, it would not be accurate to say that my children are addicted to water. This is a rather important point as any discussion of "gay addiction" must be prefaced with an agreement that the behavior is harmful and the individual wants to change - two things that are highly disputed by most gay people.
 

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The current science of addiction applies to a set of physiological changes to the brain by which a behavior that is not necessary to survival becomes subjectively equivalent to survival. The dopamine receptors in the midbrain enlarge. In response, an area of the cerebral cortext actually shrinks, in an attempt to counter the exaggerated demand for dopamine. The dopamine is important for wanting pleasure, which corresponds to increased craving. The shrinkage in the cortext leads to impeded judgment. And the endorphines are natural opiates, important in liking pleasure.

Water is necessary for survival. An individual dies without it. Sex, however, for individual survival, is optional.

You put quotation marks around "gay addiction" but that is not my term. I use the correct term "sex addiction." The particular mode of sexual acting out is secondary to the presence of addiction.

There are a lot of people who smoke, drink, do weed, recreational narcotics, gambling, over-eating, workaholism, perfectionism, codependence, video gaming, as well as sexual behavior with people of either or both genders, physically, or via media, or via some fetishized object and who don't even imagine that they are addicted. They suppose it a matter of personal preference and taste, or what everyone who is not an uptight sqaure does. However, brain scans show the same kind of damage, the same enlargement in the mid brain, the same shrinkage in the cortext. The behavior shows the same ruling craving, and the same impeded judgment. Addiction does not like to recognize itself for what it is. Diagnosis brings options, and clarified judgment that runs counter to the claims of the addiction, and therefore, diagnosis is a threat to the supply of dopamine. The nature of addiction is, "This is my most important need," and "if I do not do or have this I will die." Addicts don't just become addicts when the hit bottom and find themselves in a gutter. Addicts became addicts long before they realized they were addicted. Addiction is a progressive disease. Given the impeded judgment, pain will come.

One of my friends was sexually abused by a man at 9, and now reports that he has cheated on his wife more times than he can count, mostly anonymous sex with men. Who is hurt by this? Who could have been hurt by this? He hasn't actually contracted any diseases. His wife claims that what he has done has hurt her more than the death of their daughter. Does her feelings count as hurt? How about the shame he feels? Is that just the fault of his religious upbringing? A faulty social construct that denies his inner nature? Would he have actually died if he had been denied this admittedly risky activity? (Many of the locations were extremely dicey.) Is fifty years without adultery, or even fifty years without sex the same threat to physical survival as fifty years without food, water, or sleep? He is chosing to do recovery.

I know another man who as far as I know never had sex outside of his marriage but whose treatment of his wife caused to her have the symptoms associated with child abuse. When she recognized this in herself, she challenged him on it. This being a rather bitter pill to swallow, he blamed it on her hangups. So she cut off sex. And that, she said, "Finally got his attention." He first tried to find some authority who would tell her that she did not have the right to do that. Eventually, he realized that he should have been more sensitive.

One way to test for the presence of addiction is to try to stop. It takes 90 days of sobriety for the brain to start to heal. Full recovery takes 1.5 to 2.5 years, if done properly. 12 Step recovery addresses both the craving and the impeded judgment. The "searching and fearless moral inventory" for instance, is about recognizing consequences, and thereby, clarifying judgment. (Alma 36 includes an account of Alma's guided "searching and fearless moral inventory," or "life review.") That act of actually doing that journaling and reflection on actions and consequences creates new neural pathways. And the whole group experience does much to reduce and heal toxic shame. Some 12 step groups, SLA and SAA, for instance, allow for same sex behavior. SA does not.

And incidentally, I know several men who, when "kicked out" of their church, chose to repent rather than leave their families and faith for a life of indulgence amid an enabling society.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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Kevin,

 

By that reasoning we could label heterosexual sex, following a sports team, and paying a full tithing as addictions. None of those are necessary for survival. Many people who engage in these behaviors would experience withdrawal symptoms and pain were they to abruptly stop. And yet we don't generally label those things as addictions. Why? Because we do not judge them to be inherently harmful when maintained within reasonable bounds and, in fact, when kept within bounds are quite often beneficial.

 

So too with gay sex. While there certainly are instances of pain and betrayal (you gave some good ones) that does not mean that all gay sex is an addiction. It only means that gay sex can be misused just like many other generally acceptable behaviors. For very many gay people, sex serves the same beneficial purpose as heterosexual sex does for traditional couples. For them, it is inaccurate and misleading to label their behavior as an "addiction" any more than to say that President Monson is addicted to the Utah Jazz.

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Kevin,

 

By that reasoning we could label heterosexual sex, following a sports team, and paying a full tithing as addictions.

Only if there was brain alteration if I understand Kevin correctly.

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Buckeye, you seemed to have missed my point. I can and do label heterosexual sex as an addiction when the associated behaviors, conditions and costs call for it. Sports, possibly. Tithing? I'm the Stake Addiction Recovery Representative. I have conversations about this sort of thing every week. In my post I even gave an example of a heterosexual married male who went into a withdrawal panic when his wife cut off sex. If you know what constitutes addictive behavior, you can make a reasonable diagnosis, and then test that diagnosis further. I've read around a dozen books by recognized authorities on the topic (Patrick Carnes, Milton Magness, Barbara Steffens, etc.), and have talked with scores of addicts, around 30% of which included same sex behaviors in their acting out. My point has never been that all gay attraction and action is addiction. My point has been that Gay and Lesbian culture seems to operate under a social contract that is hostile to even so much as raising the possiblity that addiction exists as a visible behavioral factor within that culture. Emily Pearson's Dancing with Crazy, for example, offers a single sentence that insists that Gay and Lesbian behavior is not the same thing as sex addiction. Not the same thing, fine. But not mutually exclusive is my point. And Gerald Peterson and Stephen Fales, her father and ex-husband are obvious examples of sex addicts to me based on her description their behavior. But she fails to diagnose it as such because of the cultural contract that says we all agree that "There is nothing wrong with us." If she described equivalent heterosexual behavior involving lies, multiple affairs, unprotected sex outside of marriage, and submersion in porn, who would object to suggesting the possibilty of sex addiction? If Stephen instead of having sex with over two dozen men during the marriage, had done two dozen women and then said, "I just need to be true to myself." But is an addict really being true to themself? Can an addict serve the addiction and be true to themself, or anyone? Read Don't Call It Love by Carnes, for instance.

Daniel's response to me does not even say that there is no addiction in Gay and Lesbian culture. He is, in fact, refreshingly frank:

Many turns to drugs, alcohol, endless sexual partners, or more in their efforts to find validation they desperately crave and never received growing up. And for gay men and women to overcome all that, they first need to understand it, and take personal responsibility for their lives instead of wallowing in victimization about it.

And Daniel appropriately quotes the famous Serenity prayer:

As the serenity prayer asks, "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

I don't recommend 12 step recovery as through it were reparative therapy. It's about the freedom not to.

Daniel points to shame as "causes of most these unhealthy behaviors, IMO, are most often internalized shame that gay men never confront and deal with."

I agree. It happens that shame happens to be a huge factor in all addictions. The presence of shame as a driving factor in behavior does not exclude the presence of addiction either. It is actually a huge contributing factor. And added weight for a diagnosis. But notice that with the diagnosis should come both Hope and Freedom, which happens to in the title of Dr. Magness's book.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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Buckeye, you seemed to have missed my point. I can and do label heterosexual sex as an addiction when the associated behaviors, conditions and costs call for it. Sports, possibly. Tithing? I'm the Stake Addiction Recovery Representative. I have conversations about this sort of thing every week. In my post I even gave an example of a heterosexual married male who went into a withdrawal panic when his wife cut off sex. If you know what constitutes addictive behavior, you can make a reasonable diagnosis, and then test that diagnosis further. I've read around a dozen books by recognized authorities on the topic (Patrick Carnes, Milton Magness, Barbara Steffens, etc.), and have talked with scores of addicts, around 30% of which included same sex behaviors in their acting out. My point has never been that all gay attraction and action is addiction. My point has been that Gay and Lesbian culture seems to operate under a social contract that is hostile to even so much as raising the possiblity that addiction exists as a visible behavioral factor within that culture. Emily Pearson's Dancing with Crazy, for example, offers a single sentence that insists that Gay and Lesbian behavior is not the same thing as sex addiction. Not the same thing, fine. But not mutually exclusive is my point. And Gerald Peterson and Stephen Fales, her father and ex-husband are obvious examples of sex addicts to me based on her description their behavior. But she fails to diagnose it as such because of the cultural contract that says we all agree that "There is nothing wrong with us." If she described equivalent heterosexual behavior involving lies, multiple affairs, unprotected sex outside of marriage, and submersion in porn, who would object to suggesting the possibilty of sex addiction? If Stephen instead of having sex with over two dozen men during the marriage, had done two dozen women and then said, "I just need to be true to myself." But is an addict really being true to themself? Can an addict serve the addiction and be true to themself, or anyone? Read Don't Call It Love by Carnes, for instance.

Daniel's response to me does not even say that there is no addiction in Gay and Lesbian culture. He is, in fact, refreshingly frank:

And Daniel appropriately quotes the famous Serenity prayer:

I don't recommend 12 step recovery as through it were reparative therapy. It's about the freedom not to.

Daniel points to shame as "causes of most these unhealthy behaviors, IMO, are most often internalized shame that gay men never confront and deal with."

I agree. It happens that shame happens to be a huge factor in all addictions. The presence of shame as a driving factor in behavior does not exclude the presence of addiction either. It is actually a huge contributing factor. And added weight for a diagnosis. But notice that with the diagnosis should come both Hope and Freedom, which happens to in the title of Dr. Magness's book.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

I don't think it is about shame.  I think it stems from the church they grew up in telling them they are going to hell for loving and having relations with someone they love and want to share this life with.  If you are going to hell anyway, then why worry about any kind of morality?  They set their own rules because society and the churches rules are in conflict with the very human condition of wanting to be with another human.  The need for love seems to be deeply engrained in our nature.

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I don't have either, but I do have an anecdotal evidence of someone who came back to the church due to being LGBT...then returned. She noted that their was a lot of push-back from friends who thought, in effect, that she was making the wrong decision for said reasoning.

 

For the record, I don't think all LGBT individuals would believe/act in such a way. Just that it wouldn't surprise me if some did.

 

With luv,

BD

Good point, often those in favor of "choice", are angered or bewildered at those who do not make the choice they would. Within many communities, be it racial, different faiths, different nationalities, the majority opinion seems to be the only allowed opinion. This is human nature, but human nature (as we are taught in scripture) is fallen nature...the "natural man". When we become the "Spiritual man (or woman)" we are to put off the tendency to be selfish, which includes letting others think differently than we do; among many other things. Many in Christian faiths chose to be chaste...some for their entire lives, the Apostle Paul chose to be so after becoming a Christian and spoke of others who do the same as righteous...but noting that "every man has his gift". He knew that some would chose his path and some not, but did not pass judgement on those who did not do as he did, as long as they followed the commandments. This of course because he was an Apostle and could not say otherwise.

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The terminology “Homosexual” or “Gay” or of similar wording needs not to be found in scripture to know that LGBT is wrong according to the Bible. Terminology has changed alot over the years and words have shifted their original meaning, but descriptions have not changed. The following 2 examples of scriptures clearly show the act of homosexuality in a way it was understood back then and still is today as being wrong.

- - -

Leviticus 18:22
“‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable. ( NIV )

Leviticus 20:13
“‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. (NIV)

This does not mean we should reject those of same sex desires or relationships or cast them out. This means we should welcome them into our community with the desire to help them understand their ways of wrong behaviors and thinking and the correct way to behave and think when it comes to love and sex. We should help them, not hurt them.

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The terminology “Homosexual” or “Gay” or of similar wording needs not to be found in scripture to know that LGBT is wrong according to the Bible. Terminology has changed alot over the years and words have shifted their original meaning, but descriptions have not changed. The following 2 examples of scriptures clearly show the act of homosexuality in a way it was understood back then and still is today as being wrong.

- - -

Leviticus 18:22

“‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable. ( NIV )

Leviticus 20:13

“‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. (NIV)

This does not mean we should reject those of same sex desires or relationships or cast them out. This means we should welcome them into our community with the desire to help them understand their ways of wrong behaviors and thinking and the correct way to behave and think when it comes to love and sex. We should help them, not hurt them.

http://leviticusbans.tumblr.com/post/23730370413/76-things-banned-in-leviticus

 

Here’s chapter and verse on a more-or-less comprehensive list of things banned in the Leviticus book of the bible. A decent number of them are punishable by death.

Unless you’ve never done any of them (and 54 to 56 are particularly tricky), perhaps it’s time to lay off quoting 18:22 for a while?

1.       Burning any yeast or honey in offerings to God (2:11)

2.       Failing to include salt in offerings to God (2:13)

3.       Eating fat (3:17)

4.       Eating blood (3:17)

5.       Failing to testify against any wrongdoing you’ve witnessed (5:1)

6.       Failing to testify against any wrongdoing you’ve been told about (5:1)

7.       Touching an unclean animal (5:2)

8.       Carelessly making an oath (5:4)

9.       Deceiving a neighbour about something trusted to them (6:2)

10.   Finding lost property and lying about it (6:3)

11.   Bringing unauthorised fire before God (10:1)

12.   Letting your hair become unkempt (10:6)

13.   Tearing your clothes (10:6)

14.   Drinking alcohol in holy places (bit of a problem for Catholics, this ‘un) (10:9)

15.   Eating an animal which doesn’t both chew cud and has a divided hoof (cf: camel, rabbit, pig) (11:4-7)

16.   Touching the carcass of any of the above (problems here for rugby) (11: 8)

17.   Eating – or touching the carcass of – any seafood without fins or scales (11:10-12)

18.   Eating – or touching the carcass of - eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, the red kite, any kind of black kite, any kind of raven, the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat. (11:13-19)

19.   Eating – or touching the carcass of – flying insects with four legs, unless those legs are jointed (11:20-22)

20.   Eating any animal which walks on all four and has paws (good news for cats) (11:27)

21.   Eating – or touching the carcass of – the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard, the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skink and the chameleon (11:29)

22.   Eating – or touching the carcass of – any creature which crawls on many legs, or its belly (11:41-42)

23.   Going to church within 33 days after giving birth to a boy (12:4)

24.   Going to church within 66 days after giving birth to a girl (12:5)

25.   Having sex with your mother (18:7)

26.   Having sex with your father’s wife (18: 8)

27.   Having sex with your sister (18:9)

28.   Having sex with your granddaughter (18:10)

29.   Having sex with your half-sister (18:11)

30.   Having sex with your biological aunt (18:12-13)

31.   Having sex with your uncle’s wife (18:14)

32.   Having sex with your daughter-in-law (18:15)

33.   Having sex with your sister-in-law (18:16)

34.   Having sex with a woman and also having sex with her daughter or granddaughter (bad news for Alan Clark) (18:17)

35.   Marrying your wife’s sister while your wife still lives (18:18)

36.   Having sex with a woman during her period (18:19)

37.   Having sex with your neighbour’s wife (18:20)

38.   Giving your children to be sacrificed to Molek (18:21)

39.   Having sex with a man “as one does with a woman” (18:22)

40.   Having sex with an animal (18:23)

41.   Making idols or “metal gods” (19:4)

42.   Reaping to the very edges of a field (19:9)

43.   Picking up grapes that have fallen in your  vineyard (19:10)

44.   Stealing (19:11)

45.   Lying (19:11)

46.   Swearing falsely on God’s name (19:12)

47.   Defrauding your neighbour (19:13)

48.   Holding back the wages of an employee overnight (not well observed these days) (19:13)

49.   Cursing the deaf or abusing the blind (19:14)

50.   Perverting justice, showing partiality to either the poor or the rich (19:15)

51.   Spreading slander (19:16)

52.   Doing anything to endanger a neighbour’s life (19:16)

53.   Seeking revenge or bearing a grudge (19:18)

54.   Mixing fabrics in clothing (19:19)

55.   Cross-breeding animals (19:19)

56.   Planting different seeds in the same field (19:19)

57.   Sleeping with another man’s slave (19:20)

58.   Eating fruit from a tree within four years of planting it (19:23)

59.   Practising divination or seeking omens (tut, tut astrology) (19:26)

60.   Trimming your beard (19:27)

61.   Cutting your hair at the sides (19:27)

62.   Getting tattoos (19:28)

63.   Making your daughter prostitute herself (19:29)

64.   Turning to mediums or spiritualists (19:31)

65.   Not standing in the presence of the elderly (19:32)

66.   Mistreating foreigners – “the foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born”  (19:33-34)

67.   Using dishonest weights and scales (19:35-36)

68.   Cursing your father or mother (punishable by death) (20:9)

69.   Marrying a prostitute, divorcee or widow if you are a priest (21:7,13)

70.   Entering a place where there’s a dead body as a priest (21:11)

71.   Slaughtering a cow/sheep and its young on the same day (22:28)

72.   Working on the Sabbath (23:3)

73.   Blasphemy (punishable by stoning to death) (24:14)

74.   Inflicting an injury; killing someone else’s animal; killing a person must be punished in kind (24:17-22)

75.   Selling land permanently (25:23)

76.   Selling an Israelite as a slave (foreigners are fine) (25:42)

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