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Growing Pains I

I would have given anything to change. Not primarily because I was worried about what my friends or my family or society would think about me (a fear commonly referred to as “internalized homophobia”) but because I wanted to change. Not that I didn’t care what people would think of me. To the contrary: I was scared to death of being rejected. But I’m just not the conformist type, and my fear of rejection wasn’t motivation enough for me to change myself. The desire to change came from within.

Sometime later, I decided to share this struggle with a counselor I had been seeing for clinical depression. It took me two sessions of staring at the floor in silence before I could drum up enough guts to tell him what was going on inside me. Besides the fact that he didn’t reject me, which to me was an act of heroism in itself, my counselor explained that homosexuals can change. In fact, he had personally counseled many of them through that process.


Although the human brain is far too complex to explain homosexual development with a single theory, he told me that, in some cases, men who experience homosexual attractions are, unconsciously, trying to recover their father’s love in the arms of another man, and women with homosexual attractions are looking for their mother’s love in the arms of another woman. This phenomenon, he explained, is why so many people who experience homosexual attractions report poor relationships with their same-sex parents or peers. The unmet need for love and affirmation from someone of our own gender somehow becomes eroticized when we hit puberty.

This was me growing up. When I reached adolescence, my body started telling me that I wanted sex from a man, but in my heart I knew it wasn’t about sex. Even before adolescence, when I used to fantasize about certain men I looked up to and respected, I didn’t fantasize about sex. My fantasy was that a man would just wrap his arms around me, look me in the eye, and tell me that I meant something to him.

That’s what I was missing.

It wasn’t a desire for sex; it was a desire for genuine love and affirmation from someone of my own gender, and I’ve found that as those needs get met, my homosexual desires fade.

Loving Homosexuals as Jesus Would (2004) Brazos Press: Grand Rapids, Michigan

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