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How does homosexuality occur in men?

No proof exists of a genetic cause for homosexuality. Many developmental issues can lead a man to assume a homosexuality. When considering these issues, try not to ascribe too much significance to any one. A combination of factors makes up each homosexual man’s unique struggle.

  • sexual violation or experimentation with men or boys
  • incest or molestation
  • exposure to pornography
  • negative spiritual influences
  • media influences
  • personality and temperament
  • negative body image
  • peer labelling, harassment, or alienation
  • fear of or an inability to relate to the opposite sex
  • dysfunctional family relationships

This last factor is perhaps the most common, especially the relationship between a boy and his father. Let’s explore why that is.

A child’s first significant bond is formed with Mom. “In the initial stage of life, the child receives foundational security from the one closest — namely, his mother. The infant acutely senses the emotional atmosphere from such cues as voice tone. Touch is also an important source of information for infants.” A young boy forms “basic trust” from his early interaction with his mother, and this will help him succeed in the developmental stages to follow.

Between the ages of 18 months to five years, a boy needs to receive gender affirmation both verbally and physically. His perception of his sexual identity will come from the primary people in his life — his parents.

Beginning at around 18 months, a boy begins to discern the difference between male and female. He will notice he is different from his mother and his body is like his father’s. Dad, in turn, becomes more significant, and the boy wants to reach out to him, to connect with him. This is what Dr. Joseph Nicolosi calls the “separation individuation phase.”

This process logically leads to healthy gender identity — if the boy’s interaction with his father is healthy.

If the father is warm and receptive, then the son can make this transition. He can dis-identify with the mother and connect with the father to fulfill his natural masculine strivings and establish a secure sense of gender identity. But if the father is cold, distant, disinterested, critical or rejecting — according to the boy’s perception — the boy will experience hurt or rejection, which is what we call a “narcissistic hurt.”

This narcissistic hurt often leads a young boy to detach himself from what he views as the futility of trying to form a masculine bond — and the pain associated with the rejection he feels from his father. These experiences can often lead to further problems when the boy reaches the next stage of masculine development — identification with same-sex peers. If the boy lacks confidence as a male, his relationships with other boys will seem foreign, uncomfortable, and forced. He is likely to avoid such interactions in one of two ways: He will either isolate himself, finding safety and security in solitude, or he will gravitate toward female friends.

At the onset of puberty, boys struggling through such feelings of rejection and isolation may sexualize their unmet emotional needs. Unlike boys who develop heterosexually, however, their fascination is not directed toward that which is different — girls. Instead,

the pre-homosexual has already been disconnected from his father, friends and his sexuality by this point in his life. His own masculinity is a mystery to him. It’s like the teen boy who, due to masculine inadequacies, is most drawn to females to feel comfortable, safe and unthreatened. The world of boys and men is completely foreign. Getting there feels like crossing a great canyon. So while heterosexuals find females intriguing and in possession of something they do not have, so it is that pre-homosexual boys find members of the same sex intriguing.

This transition occurs during what Nicolosi calls the “erotic transactional phase.” He also states that “homosexual behavior is really a symbolic attempt to become familiar with their own bodies through other male bodies.”

Even though homosexuality is becoming more socially acceptable and even promoted as an attractive and preferable way of life… most boys in junior high and high school do not want to be gay. Most hope what they feel is a “passing phase.” Many keep their confusing desires to themselves. Christians are told to simply “pray about it.” Some try dating the opposite sex to remedy their desires. But none of this helps those who are struggling because their feelings and attractions are not being explained to them. They are left confused, and many will come to their own conclusion that they must be homosexual. The words, “homo, queer and fag” sting just as badly as they did when they first heard them. With an even lower self-esteem, they plunge ahead to their futures, trying to accept that they must be gay and, as such might as well fulfill the desire and act out in homosexual behavior…

The last step in the development of a homosexual identity usually comes in the years after high school, when all kinds of options become available. Leaving the constraints and influences of home and church, a young man will often discover a world eager to usher him into the homosexual community. With the availability of gay bars, gyms, beaches, even the Internet, numerous opprotunities beckon a confused young man to be sought out or to seek out relationships with men.

Add to these developmental mile markers any of the other contributing factors mentioned above — not to mention the misguided messages about homosexuality advanced by the media and reinforced by our culture — and it’s no wonder we are seeing more and more boys dealing with gender issues at younger and younger ages. Psychologist Dr. Uriel Meshoulam reiterates this truth: “All too often I see people in therapy, sexually conflicted and confused, have their plight compounded by social pressures… Well-intentioned affirming messages, such as ‘be true to your real self,’ imply a fixed, ‘true’ and probably inborn sexual orientation.”

So we must see each boy or man as God would see him — holding personal worth, value, and difference, created in God’s image and needing to come back to this reality in hopes of overcoming these deficits.

101 Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality (2004) Harvest House: Eugene, Oregon

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