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What is homosexuality?

Most people assume homosexuality to be little more than a sexual act between two individuals of the same gender. This is far too simplistic a view of this multifaceted topic. Anyone interested in this subject must take four areas into account: physiological psychic response, identity, behavior, and lifestyle options.

Learned Responses

God created each of us as a complex creature. We have needs that must be met in order for us to grow and mature. When these needs are not met, we establish immature coping mechanisms that often work directly against God’s original intent for us. Frank Worthen, the founder of Exodus International, explains this phenomenon this way:

Psychic response is a technical term for what many people refer to as a “homosexual orientation.” Though many people claim that they have experienced visual or sexual attraction for the same sex “as long as they can remember,” there is a progression in a person’s life that leads to a homosexual psychic response. A child may start out with a need to compare himself with others to see if he measures up to societal standards. When he feels he doesn’t compare favorably with others, he develops admiration for those traits and physical characteristics he feels he does not possess. Admiration, which is normal, may turn to envy. Envy leads to the desire to possess others, and finally, to consume others. This strong desire becomes eroticized somewhere along the way, eventually leading to homosexual psychic response (also known as sexual thought life or fantasy).

Behavior

When these psychic responses take root, some people carry out these fantasies first through masturbation and later in actual sexual behavior with another male or female. But the physical act itself does not indicate a homosexual orientation. Many young boys who engage in homosexual behavior later end up with no vestiges of homosexuality.

Identity

The problem in today’s social climate is that more and more individuals are taking on a gay identity simply because they need to find their place. Many who would rarely have experienced a struggle with homosexuality find themselves comfortable in this identity because of society’s “anything goes” mentality.

Other people embrace a gay identity after years of physiological psychic response. Their behaviors create an identity in which they take comfort or even pride.

Lifestyle

Homosexuality includes varying lifestyles. Some gays only engage in anonymous and relatively rare sexual encounters and tend to live in constant fear of being found out. Others “come out” and become active, politically motivated members of the gay community and associate only with those favorable to like causes.

As you can see, homosexuality is multidimensional, and individuals can land anywhere on the spectrum of these four basic components.

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

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