Sunday, December 20, 2009

The End of This Blog

This blog is finished. I have made a decision not to update it anymore. End of the year, end of the blog.

Here is the description that I used for this blog. If you're here for the first time, you can use it to guide you in your reading of my blog.

May God bless you in your journey.

---

In March 2009, I experienced a major transformation in my same-sex sexual desires. This blog chronicles my experience. Blog entries from March-June 2009 were written in a raw, authentic style of processing (a little on the edgy side). These are snapshots of my crazy experience of healing *as I experienced it.* Entries from July 2009 onward represent the next phase of my journey--entering fully into godly manhood. I have also made posts that provide a summary to my blog: click on the Summary Reflections label below to read these posts.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Not a Real Post

I haven't blogged here in a loooong time. And this is not a real blog entry either. It's just to let you know that Lonnie wanted to post something I wrote entitled That "I'm afraid..." feeling. Feel free to visit his page.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I Miss

... the friends that I have made from this blog.

I don't know what else to say.

Trying my best to keep in touch with a few that I have already "met" in person or online. But even that has been near impossible.

I wish I could gather all of us together, and we could hug, talk, pray, and affirm one another.

It's a wish. A distant one.

In the meantime, I'm just head-over-heels busy. In a good kind of way.

Like I said. I don't know what else to say except that I love you guys, and I am sorry that I don't have much time. Pray for me that things will settle down, and I can connect with you again. In the meantime, please forgive my absence.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Time For A Group? [And Short Summary Reflection]

I have come to know a few people since I opened up this blog--especially during my "raw/authentic" writing period. They have either been introduced to me by others, or found me themselves and left a comment. As we have interacted openly and honestly, we have also become good friends. One such example is Rob, who started to do video-logs not very long after we made contact through my blog. (I mention Rob because he has chosen to be public and visible, and he does not mind me mentioning him.)

In the past 3 weeks, a handful of new guys have approached me via email. They span across the ages from teenager to fifties. One thing in common about these men: they are all moved by my experience of healing and change. Several mention that they are desirous of the relationship I have with Brother A.

I have not made another official Summary Reflection to date, so let me add a short summary of how I have been doing, and the proceed back with my topic.

My eSSA (eroticized SSA, as one new brother put it, or SSsA as I had put it, but I like eSSA better) is pretty much non-existent. I am still attracted to good-looking guys, but there is no longer a need to sexualize it. It is not even a struggle to not sexualize it -- it just will not happen. I think I can still force myself to fantasize if I wanted to (you don't forget how to ride a bike once you've learned), but I have no desire to. Rather, I am in touch with the feeling of "inadequacy" that hits me from time to time. So, in place of the feeling of a need to be sexual with another man, the feeling presents itself as "I am feeling inadequate." I sit with that feeling and just feel miserable for a while, and do other helpful things such as talk to a friend, or journal, or exercise. I have had no interest in porn. As for masturbation, that too has not happened for a while (I have not counted days), but the purity aspect of that is more specifically enabled through spiritual discipline. Believe it or not, having sex with one's wife does not necessarily curtail masturbation.

On the heterosexual side, it has been hard to avoid looking at beautiful-looking women. Wife and I watched Dreamgirls last night, and I had zero identification with any of the women like I had in the past. Rather, I identified with the "brothers" (as they called each other), especially in their desire for the women. The women--especially Beyonce--were very beautiful, and I could have sexualized the thoughts I had for them. But I avoided that. Besides, my wife is also beautiful and she is real. Fantasies cannot meet reality needs.

Brother A and I have further refined and developed our relationship. We relate to each other as mutual friends and brothers rather than our previous mentor-mentee relationship. We also irritate the heck out of each other from time to time, but there is no question that I love him deeply and dearly, and I would do anything for him. Truly, it feels like a David-and-Jonathan relationship!

And now, I come back to the topic with which I started this post: the new guys. You know who you are: JG, EH, CL, and most recently, DA. There is also JoeMn who had contacted me in a different way. I am pleasantly surprised that you have found me through my blog, and I want to get to know each one of you deeply and intimately. But I am finding myself stretched for time as one of you has already complained. So, I am starting to think that I need to do something so that we can more effectively help each other. My present strategy of getting to know you one-on-one in an intimate way will peter out real soon if more people come my way. But I want more men to come and receive help because there is HOPE for change! I just can't help everyone by myself, and it's foolishness for me to even to attempt to do so.

So, for any of you younger folks (i.e. not-married or below 30) reading this post, there is an Accountability Brothers' group on Facebook -- it is an invisible group that you can join, and does not show up on your Facebook profile. If you're interested in that group, ask me, and I will point you in the right direction. I need to warn you that not everyone in that group thinks the same way I do -- not everyone there wants to experience change to heterosexuality like I have, although most would likely agree that purity and/or holiness is a worthy pursuit.

As for the married Christian men (or singles over 30?), I am starting to wonder if it might be time to start a group of some sort? People who have felt a connection to this "hope for change" that I have written about in this blog coming together online--perhaps even with Brother A (!)--either in email or FB or some other form, for mutual encouragement, prayer, exchange? A group that is made up of people who are further along in their journey of change? A group where we can also talk about how to help others who are just beginning to work through their struggles? I don't know. I thought I'd throw this idea out into cyberspace and see what the Lord does with it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Please Watch Your Health

Somebody emailed me today saying that they ("they" is my gender-neutral pronoun, by the way) read my entire blog in one night.

Hello!

Please don't do that. It can't possibly be good for anyone's health to read my blog, my entire blog, in one night. ;-)

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Fastest Post I've Ever Made

Glad to have made yet another new friend from my blog. (You know who you are, we just chatted over the phone this afternoon.)

What is blessing this blog is turning out to be even though I hardly blog in it anymore.

Busy... busy... busy...

Still busy.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

More on APA and Reparative Therapy

Rich Wyler has posted his take on the APA Report on the People Can Change blog. I especially like the points he makes under "What the APA Report Doesn't Say." (link)

- - -










Other matters. Have a tight deadline coming up. Will not be posting or responding to comments for at least two weeks.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Plug for Newsy.com

Boy, is this blog starting to change or what?

First, I get all serious. Now, I'm advertising for businesses. o.O

A staff member from Newsy.com contacted me and told me about their news coverage on the APA's declaration of reparative therapy (which I blogged about here). Their coverage compares five--yes, FIVE--contrasting news sources . She asked me to consider embedding the video.

Well, I considered, and here it is.



So why did I make this plug for Newsy.com?

Because at the end of the coverage, they asked open questions. OPEN QUESTIONS!!! How could I resist? :-D

And don't you just love their tagline? "Newsy.com. Where multiple perspectives are the real story." Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

"Psst! Rosa, how much do I get for this plug?"

Thursday, August 6, 2009

American Psychological Association's Declaration on Reparative Therapy

I wanted to share my reply to Carleton1958's recent blog post entitled: My faith vs. the APA's declaration on reparative therapy

Here is the article from the Associated Press: Psychologists repudiate gay-to-straight therapy.

And my response to Carleton1958 (in quotes):

"Like you, I too exist, and I can say that my same-sex sexual attractions have diminished so significantly and my opposite-sex attractions increased that I would say that my orientation itself has changed. And this, due to what can be called "reparative intervention" although not formalized.

Nicolosi said that he and Jones and Yarhouse tried to get a representative into that small task-force in APA, but were not allowed (link). As a response, they created this document and insisted that the APA respond to it: www.narth.com/docs/journalsummary.html

There is so much variation in sexuality and the article (and APA itself) failed to point out that the polarization of gay vs. straight is mostly political. Many fall under variations that if help for their unwanted same-sex desires were sought, could decide on nuanced paths that were more consistent with their faith beliefs. Clearly, the APA is still politically (morally?) biased, not scientific, if they dare to be really honest about it."

- - -

Warren Throckmorton has also issued a response (link). I have not had time to read it in detail, but from what I have read (and all of my knowledge on SSA so far), questions begin to come to mind:
  • What is sexual orientation, and how does it differ from sexual identity?
  • Is there a monolithic approach to reparative therapy?
  • Is reparative therapy about re-orientation or identity development?
  • Who defines what is straight and what is gay? By what criteria? According to behavior? To identity?
  • What happened to me? Was it intervention on my reparative needs? Was it identity shifting? Was it the deep meeting of my male-attachment needs? Was it "all of the above" but reductionistic thinking wants to isolate it to one main thing?
The APA. Just a bunch of people trying their best to help people, but at a level that doesn't address my experience. Research is always limited, and hardly iron-clad. Social research, especially, is always morphing and emerging. So much depends on how things are defined, operationalized, measured, number-crunched, reported, and so on and so forth. What is statistically relevant in a population study means very little when it comes to a single individual's experience.

My advice to all of my friends who read my blog: submit yourselves to God and then let your experience--not institutional declarations--show you the next steps to take. Neither the APA, nor NARTH, nor Throckmorton, nor I ( O . O ), have all the answers. Instead, let's gather together and share what God is doing in our lives so that we can learn from each others' experiences.

- - -

Edit: This just in. The Wall Street Journal also published an article on the topic (link). Haven't read it yet, but the byline reads: "Psychological Association Revises Treatment Guidelines to Allow Counselors to Help Clients Reject Their Same-Sex Attractions."

Really?

I need to find an actual statement from the APA and decide for myself what they said. Secondary sources. Meh.

- - -

Final Edit: Here we go. The actual release summary by APA (link), and the actual report, all 138 pages of it (link)!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Exodus Reflections (II)

[Exodus Reflections I: link]







Three things happened to me at the conference. One, I received new and helpful information on SSA. Two, I had some significant interactions with people and with God that helped me better understand where I am in my journey. Three, I left with a solidifying sense of purpose and calling going into the future.

1. New and Helpful Information

(a) Is Exodus Interested in Change?

In the opening talk, Alan Chambers asserted that the primary purpose of Exodus is not to change people from homosexuality to heterosexuality, but to holiness.

For a while, I had been frustrated when people fed me that same line whenever I told them about my change experience (that is, change in same-sex sexual desires). I felt that they were saying "we just want Christ, becoming heterosexual is not really possible anyway."

What's the point of Exodus if it is not focusing on change in SSA? I can find God and grow deeply in my spiritual walk through other ministries (and I have). Isn't getting rid of my unwanted same-sex sexual desires something that makes a ministry like Exodus what it is? If so, then why water it down?

When I asked Randy Thomas in a face-to-face why Alan Chambers would not consider sexual desire change to be important, he felt that I had taken Alan's words too far. He said that Exodus sees same-sex sexual desire change as a by-product of the pursuit of holiness, and what mental health professionals are doing to help sexual desire change is "complementary" to Exodus' goals.

As the conference went on, it became very obvious through the workshops, testimonies, books, etc. that Exodus is very much pro-change, pro-freedom-from-homosexuality, whatever you want to call it. But in their official stance, holiness is primary, not heterosexuality.

In the large worship hall where I saw close to a thousand people at various stages of their change experience all worshiping Jesus, it finally dawned on me that focus on sexual desire change should not be the main message. Holiness is the message. It turns our eyes to the author and healer of our souls: Jesus. I had assumed, as a follow of Christ, that my change comes from God, but not everyone in the auditorium did, and not everyone in the media watching Exodus' work does. The testimony of Exodus ought not to be about change in sexual orientation (although that is what Exodus is about: they prefer to call it "freedom from homosexuality"), it ought to be about Jesus. I learned something new and important about rhetoric in ministry and organizational leadership.

(b) Other New and Helpful Information on SSA
  • Iron-clad biblical theology asserting heterosexuality as God's design and homosexuality as sin by Dr. Robert Gagnon (link)
  • Randy Thomas' argument that we are now in a post-gay era, and the gay versus ex-gay dichotomy is just not a good reflection of what is really going on in people's experience and conceptualizations of themselves (link).
  • Hearing a panel of speakers answer a question as to why despite years of freedom from homosexuality, some people still have "gay affectations." The answer from one very straight-acting panelist was that he had realized that he stuck with his effeminate behavior as a defense against fully embracing masculinity. When he finally confronted himself, then he was able to enter into masculinity in its fullness, affectations and all. Later, when I recounted the story to another attendee and told him that I am at the place where I actually really want to be a jock, his immediate response was: "Eew!"
  • A bold document has been published by NARTH to hold the American Psychological Association accountable to research-backed statements which counter their early unsubstantiated statement that sexual orientation cannot be changed, it is harmful to try to change it, and there is no greater psychological dysfunction in the homosexual population. These are NARTH's opposing claims, with the document given to the APA: (1) There is substantial evidence that sexual orientation may be changed through reorientation therapy; (2) Efforts to change sexual orientation have not been shown to be consistently harmful or to regularly lead to greater self-hatred, depression, and other self-destructive behaviors; (3) There is significantly greater medical, psychological, and relational pathology in the homosexual population than the general population (link). Currently, the APA has set up a task-force to re-evaluate their earlier statement. NARTH researchers tried to get a representative onto the task-force, but APA did not allow it. It currently comprises only pro-gay activists. The task force will share their deliberation in the upcoming month or so.
  • Hearing Nicolosi talk, I gained new insights about reparative therapy. His ideas are based on the latest empirically-supported understanding of psychotherapy interventions. I was impressed. One idea is that shame leads to homosexual enactment. So to help people overcome SSA, helping them overcome their shame response and cycle is crucial. I will be reading more about Nicolosi for sure. (Nicolosi: link)
(To be continued: 2. Significant Interactions with People)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Exodus Reflections (I)








On the way to the conference, I picked up Brother Luke. I had known him for only a short time through the internet. A friend had told him about this blog, and we got connected after he read several of my posts.

He seemed much softer in person. The sharp and caustic wit that came through our text chats somehow disappeared. We had developed a friendship based on our repartee, and I had grown fond of him. Fond of him enough to be afraid that if he were to "jump me," I might not be able to resist him.

Meeting him in person laid my fears to rest. Luke was a very gentle man of God who has loved and served his wife and children for years. Maybe a little too much, to the point where he was burning out, not receiving affirmation for his sacrifice. He would be the last person to jump anyone! We laughed when I told him the next day that I was afraid he would jump me when I met him.

The rest of the travels went well. Luke asked me questions, and I absentmindedly answered away, blahblahing about myself from the various different perspectives with which I confound myself in my head. Apparently, he wasn't bored. Imagine that.

We arrived.

As I walked towards the registration area, I struggled with being associated with so many feminine-acting men. I wish I could say it was a passing thought, but it wasn't. It took at least until the next day for me to ease up on that thought. I had my name altered on my badge so that my real name could not be deciphered. Luke did the same. However, by the end of the conference, all of my business cards were gone, given away to anyone who had asked for one--because I had opened my big mouth during the Q&A of a workshop, and received a lot of attention from folks interested in what I do. So much for my cloaked identity.

Brother A was there. We hugged. I remembered how much I missed him: a lot, not obsessively, but a healthily lot. I saw Elder SM too. It felt so good to see him in an unfamiliar context. I had attended elder SM's ministry for an entire year and had come to trust him. Two months ago, I shared with elder SM about Brother A and God's healing in my life through that relationship. Seeing elder SM and Brother A connect with each other was really special.

Brother Luke, Brother A, elder SM.

I was starting to feel better about being there.

---

Other people blogging about their Exodus experiences:
n'Process
twoBeckonings
rusty0505

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thou O Lord

Conversation from the recent past

Wife, awaken in bed: What are you doing up so late?

Me, sighing: I was looking at porn...

Wife: What?

Me: Yeah. I was looking at porn, but nothing. Gay, straight, male, female... nothing. It did nothing for me. (more sighing)

Wife, reaching out to hold my hand: You know, honey, you're desperately looking for something to fill you. Only one thing can do that: God.

Me: ...

Wife: That's what you really want. You want God to fill up the void that's been left open from the healing you've received.

Me: ...

Wife: ...

Me: I always knew there was a reason why God told me to marry you. He wanted to keep me on track with a woman after His own heart.

Then, we prayed.

Tonight

Instead of going to places where fulfillment can no longer be found, I went to God. These words came to me: Thou o Lord, are a shield about me.

I Googled. And found this...

Psalm 3:1-5 (KJV)
1 Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me.
2 Many there be which say of my soul, there is no help for him in God. Selah.
3 But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
4 I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
5 I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.

And this...



Tears streamed down my face, my arms lifted high!

How many years has it been Lord that I have believed in the enemy's lie that there is no help for me; that there is no hope for change. I have cried to You for years for healing from these desires. I had lost hope, and clung desperately to obedience alone, because I knew that You desired my obedience more than sacrifice.

I never imagined THIS day would come when I would be completely healed of my homosexual attractions. Indeed, You have been a shield about me. You have heard my cries. You are my glory and the lifter of my head!

Fill me with Your Spirit, Lord Jesus. Teach me how to saturate my being with You until I desire Your presence more than food or drink. Let my soul sing songs of gratitude and praise to You all the days of my life.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Changes











My profile description (see right bar) has been changed and updated to reflect where I am now, and how I will be blogging into the future.

The style of my blog will be less and less "raw, authentic processing" and more and more nuanced reflections.

Next posts: reflections from Exodus 2009.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Exodus

It came.
It went.

I have changed.
And I'll never be the same again.

All the experiences I've had over the past four months have come together through this week of interacting, listening, engaging, and processing. My heart and mind are filled to the brim and overflowing, unable to contain everything that the Lord has taught me. I have been blown into little pieces and then re-consolidated into a new and improved version.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Response: Connecting With Other Men with SSA

In response to Summary Reflections #3, a brother emailed me and asked: "But---could you clarify what you mean by "connecting" with other men with SSA? And... does that include me?"

Below is my response to him.

---

Until a couple of weeks ago, I spent a good amount of time relating to men with SSA online. These are men such as yourself: Christian and wanting to change. I received something from these interactions although I am not quite sure what. An affirmation of my own change experience perhaps? A felt need to connect with other men who have experienced change so that my own experience does not feel quite so strange?

Anyway, let me answer your question by stating what I have learned over the last two months interacting with other men with SSA.

(1) Not everyone [read: Christian] is interested in experiencing change out of homosexual desires; some disbelieve me outright that this change is possible despite my constant ranting. Many seemed to prefer to argue and debate rather than to really try to understand what I am talking about.

(2) Not everyone cares to connect intimately. Some dissuade me from doing so--not healthy, they say, even though I keep telling them that what I am talking about is not sexual intimacy, and that it is precisely this kind of intimacy (vulnerable, physical, and non-sexual) with a straight, Godly man that has led to my healing.

(3) A small handful, like yourself and Rob Turner (The Architect's Garage) for instance, have stayed connected in a serious and committed way. And I have found it really rich and rewarding to be interacting with you folks.

(4) I started to notice that the same things were being uttered in blogs and online groups over and over again that I started to tire of engaging in the conversations. At first, I was very excited to get others to come take at look at this impossible pot-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow that I've found, but after a while (and after encountering many jaded responses) my excitement waned.

(5) I was spending so much time connecting with SSA men that I was sidelining my own work and family, not to mention my personal time with God. I decided to cut back, and when I did, I discovered that I was not missing the interactions, and my SSsA did not come back. My relationship with Brother A (and the small handful of other brothers) continues to deepen in intimacy and mutuality that these alone are enough to sustain my need for genuine and intimate connection with men.

At this point, I find myself with little desire to pursue other men with SSA for deepening intimate fellowship. The small handful of men that I'm already connected to (including you) is more than enough. This is not to say that I will not open myself to befriending those who want to befriend me. The point is, I will not chase after them any longer to try to offer them hope.

I think that's healthy for me.

I'm moving on with my very straight man-life. And I like it, a lot. I am looking forward to meeting some new friends, (...) but I am not interested in trying to convince anyone that change is possible. Maybe later, if God calls me to write a book or something. For now, I just want to live my very straight man-life and be fully present for all of its mundane ups and downs.

Last word: YOU are precious to God, and precious to me. I am glad you are in my life, and I look forward to connecting with you with increasing depth and godly intimacy.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Summary Reflections #3 (June-July 09)

I don't know how much of it is because I am busy, but I just don't have very much to say anymore.

My "struggle" is more and more a thing of the past.

How long has it been now?

About 4 months.

But it feels longer. I hardly remember what it is like to masturbate to a fantasy of having sex with a man.

Ugh. Gross just to even mention the idea. (No offense to non-straight folks, it's just how I feel.)

Even my desire to connect with other men with SSA is diminishing.

I don't know what to make of this. Should I stop writing here completely? As for posts on manhood or fatherhood, I find myself not really interested in blogging about it. I prefer to just live it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

More Shout Out: Rob & Angie

Watch these clips of brother Rob and his wife Angie talking about their marital relationship in light of Rob's feelings of same-sex attraction (link).

Rob and Angie's story reflects mine with my wife. I may have SSA issues, my wife has her own set of issues too. I was always open with my wife, and told her of my struggles before we got married, and I continue to be real and authentic with her (although we spare each other of unhelpful descriptive details). We learn that we can't change the other person, but we can work on ourselves, and we can also be honest about what we would appreciate in the other person. And lastly, patience and prayerfulness--with a desperate dependency on God--has been crucial in my wife and I learning and growing in intimacy.

I am so proud of you both, Rob & Angie! :-D

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Shout Out: The Architect's Garage (and a note to the Canucks)









Here's one of my online brothers: Brother Rob (he's open with his name).

He found me online through my blog a while ago, and we've been in communication since.

This man has got guts. Glory to Jesus!

Go take a look at Rob's welcome video at The Architect's Garage.

---

And to all you Canadians, HAPPY CANADA DAY!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Humility Is Manly

After many years of feeling pressured by the wife to be spiritual around her, I finally gave in.

There is only one person in this world with whom I am as vulnerable as I am when I am with God: Brother A. He gets to see boy-soul fully. He's been the only person with whom boy-soul has felt safe enough to emerge.

When I am with God, I am totally open. I hide nothing from Him. I am completely naked. He could strike me down and I have no defense. He could reach towards me and my heart is fully His. God allowed me to have this relationship with Brother A.

And now, God wants me to have this relationship with my wife. Even if she will use my vulnerability against me (e.g. call on me when I am being prideful out of her own fleshly insecurities).

And so I made a commitment last night before God and before my wife that I will be spiritual [read: completely vulnerable] with God in her presence.

The Spirit opened my eyes to a sin that I had committed that I had not told anyone. I shared that with her. Then, I allowed myself to admit the deepest fears I have in life (the fear of failure, the fear of poverty, the fear of insignificance), and gave them over to Jesus. This, in front of my wife. Something I have never done before.

Me: So now I am naked and vulnerable. You can walk all over me.

Wife: No, now you are strong and manly, and you have no fear.

Then, we made love. And I was a man, through and through.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I'd Rather Have You

It was your hands that reached across
Enveloping my face
Catching my tears

It was your arms that came around
Embracing me whole
Absorbing my fears

It was your lips that did not hesitate
To kiss me
As a father kisses his son

It was your love that came through a man
That I may know your love
In the real

You're all that my hungering spirit needs
I’d rather have you
And let you lead

©Thirdcultureman

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mamma Mia!















Neighbor had a bunch of DVDs to lend. Flipping through the selection, "Mamma Mia!" suddenly jumped out at me.

When I saw the preview to this movie last year, I almost died. (1) I grew up with Abba and I know every melody by heart. (2) Meryl Streep is my favorite actress. (3) Pierce Brosnan is so good looking. I thought the movie would affect me too much, so I decided not to watch it. But that was almost a year ago.

"Let's watch this, honey," I said cheerfully.

"It's gonna bring out the inner-gay in me!" Arms waving in the air, fingers snapping.

My wife's eyes rolled.

The DVD player stuck out its tongue at me and I fed it a round, silver biscuit.

La la la... nice songs, okay singing, and the show was over (and of course, they had to throw in a token gay guy). Wife was a little bored, and alas, my inner-gay was nowhere to be seen.

The men did nothing for me. Not even Shirtless-Half-The-Time Brosnan over whom I used to drool. He reminded me of Brother A who already loves me through and through. What more was there to fantasize over? Actually, that question wasn't even on my mind. There was just... nothing. No allure.

The women? I wondered if I would identify with their squeels and giggles, and feel like one of them as I used to in the past (even if I didn't show it outwardly). To my surprise, I did want to be with them, but not as if I were one of them. I wanted to be with them because they were beautiful, and I was different.

Them, women; I, man.

Look at me now...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summary Reflections #2 (April - June 09)

Two months have passed since I wrote my first summary reflections (part 1, part 2). What has transpired since?

Same-Sex Attraction

My SS(sexual)A has pretty much left and stayed gone. The SS(emotional)A is there, but I welcome it. I find that when I do not *feed* my SSeA, SSsA can creep in. And so I have spent a great deal of time cultivating quality relationships with Christian brothers who have similar values as I do. Most of them are married with kids, but a couple are single and older, men with more real-life experience. I have found that I am not at all interested in debating about SSA.

In the two months following Summary Reflection #1, I am becoming good friends with more than a handful of SSA-brothers online. I can count 4 in Asia, 3 in North America, and 1 in South America. There are also others, thanks to an online Facebook group to which I belong, but it's a large group, and I only connect with a handful of the older folks there.

Almost everyday, I get to email or IM or Skype with one of these brothers. And there is also Brother A, and Brothers from my home church right here who I see and talk to regularly.

After getting to know them a bit, I try to get pretty intimate in my conversations, expressing my feelings of fondness towards them quite openly (e.g. I love you). Some are comfortable with it, some are not. What is interesting is, over the two months, I have found a decreasing sensual response to encounters of real-life emotional intimacy with these brothers (i.e. telling them I love them, talking about meeting and hugging each other, etc.). What used to excite me in a sensual (or genital) way is becoming less so. There is a sense that the more I allow myself to embrace SSeA, the more SSsA becomes a moot issue.

When I am feeling down, I feel like I want to go to one of these brothers and get a big long bear hug, lean on their shoulders, cry and receive empathetic support and care, and I would be okay again. I don't want to get naked with them; I don't want to touch their penises; I don't want them sexually. But I do long for emotional intimacy and connectedness, esp. when I am feeling down.

And that is absolutely okay.

Roller-Coaster Emotions

Part of the process of healing over the month of May was a roller-coaster ride of emotions: first anger, followed by grief. Both took me by complete surprise.

First, I was angry, but I did not know at what. At the same time, I started to experience a new heterosexual energy. After some time, I realized that what I was feeling was a sense of what I have called an unbridled male adolescent sexual energy.

Shortly after, without much warning, I started to feel a sense of grief. It was deep, strong, and it puzzled me. At first, I didn't know what or why I was grieving. Something to do with death, with loss...
  • the loss of who I could have been had I not been so abused as a child by significant men in my life;
  • the loss of the comfort that homosexual fantasies used to offer me;
  • the loss of Brother A, to whom I said my "emotional farewell" two months after meeting him and falling head-over-heels in love with him.
As I write this post, the anger and grief are no longer present. Looking back, I realize I was struggling to accept the change I was experiencing, the change into my heterosexual self.

Accepting Heterosexuality

On May 19, I wrote "Here's the last thing I need to do now: fully accept this change, and don't fight it anymore."

That was a month ago. If April was the realization that Brother A's love for me had taken away my sexual desires for men, then May was the realization that in order for me to fully experience orientation change, I needed to embrace that change from the outside in. And that is exactly what I did... or what happened to me.

Sometimes, I am not sure how much of this change is a result of my decisions/actions and how much of it happened outside of my control. It is likely both, but hard to tease apart.

When I said farewell to Brother A at the end of May, I simultaneously also put on a new male self. More manly, more secure, and definitely heterosexual. This does not mean that I had put away my desire to relate with men. On the contrary, I found myself relating to men more naturally, more comfortably, and still intimately but without the need to imagine myself in their sexual embrace. A big, long brotherly hug when you're down, yes. Touching each others' penises or even kissing mouth-to-mouth had become not only unnecessary but a little gross.

Several times towards the end of May, I found myself waking up in the morning with an erection with images of nude women floating around in my subconscious mind. Interestingly, because I have not looked at many images of nude women, all the women in my dreams looked like my wife's body.

A few times, I dabbled into pornography. I found myself uninterested in anything gay, not even the image of a guy masturbating himself. However, I was fond of heterosexual scenes of men and women together. I might have also looked at scenes of women only (I can't remember), but I don't think I allowed myself to linger there too long. My forays into porn were boundaried by my desire to not allow myself to become sexual with another woman in my mind aside from my wife. The heterosexual images reminded me of sex with my wife, and such was their allure. I became the man in the scenes, and my wife became the woman.

Encountering Judgment, Moving Towards Christ

Around the time I took a break from blogging, I encountered some judgment from a few SSA-brothers. Some looked at my blog and made conclusions about me that were unjustified. Unjustified because they really didn't know me, my mind, my identity, my training, my experience, etc.

They discredited my experience of change, they judged me for using pornography and writing about it graphically, they cautioned me from becoming emotionally enmeshed with men, they distrusted my openness, and yet, they refused to connect with me about these things one-on-one, face-to-face so that I could explain myself to them. I was stuck.

This blog has a clear rhetorical purpose: to chronicle my experiences of same-sex attraction in a raw and open way. It is meant to be a personal journal of the deepest, most intimate emotions I have towards this area of my life. But this blog does not represent the totality of who I am. If you knew me in person, you might be surprised at my level of education and professional competence. This blog is only a slice of me, a very raw, emotional slice. I have made it intentionally so.

Because these judgments came pretty much all around the same time, I didn't know what to do. I was hurt and confused. I had to accept what these people thought of me even if I were wrongfully misunderstood. It was incredibly hard to do. Without other options, I went to Scripture and clung onto Philippians 2:1-11. (Some of these relationships have seen been reconciled after one-on-one live conversation.)

Around that time, another theme that began to emerge was my need to move towards God. The love that I received from Brother A was God's love "in the real." But Brother A is not God, and as wonderful as he was (and still is), he is limited. Now that I had internalized his love for me, I am able to draw from this Godly-love-in-the-flesh and turn towards Abba God. Now, when God says "I love you," in His Word, I can actually feel a manly embrace around me and know in my body what that love feels like.

I have heard counselors talk about how children who have been abused by earthly fathers have a hard time relating to a loving Father God. Looking back through my experience (3 months now), I can see that God wanted me to experience Brother A's love so that I could know His Love in a real, tangible, physical way.

God is doing other things in my life now that is opening my eyes to realizing how much I need to draw close to Him and to depend on Him. He was the one who brought about all this change, and now He wants me to draw closer to Him.

Is Sexual Orientation Change What It's About?

This blog has been about SSA and change. Three months into my experience, the change is still there. Some people don't like my using heterosexuality as a gauge for change, but that makes little sense to me. They prefer to use "godliness" or "wholeness." I think the reason they do this is because they have not experienced change in the way I have. And many (even leaders that I've recently communicated with in Exodus) tell me that they know very, very few men for whom orientation change has been complete. So, in light of the lack of experience with change from homosexuality to heterosexuality, they talk about change as a "spiritual" change.

Talking with one Exodus leader recently, I told him that when I read the book "Wild At Heart" by John Eldredge two year ago, I hated it. I critiqued it from the angle of gender bias. "Not all men are meant to be wild at heart," I argued. Then I told him that with this new change in me, I really want to read the book again. The testosterone in me is boiling, and I want to conquer the wild. I was surprised when he replied that he too hated the book in his first reading of it. But now, in his sixth reading (!), he is appreciating it more than ever.

I am not sure yet exactly what to conclude of the notion of "moving towards wholeness" versus "moving towards heterosexuality." I don't have time to delve into the literature and clarify the issue for myself this year. As it is, I have already spent considerable time over the last three months processing this journey. But deep within me, I feel that the right next move for me would be to process manhood and fatherhood, especially from the perspective of godliness.

Next Steps
  • What does it mean to be a man and a father in God's image?
  • How do men and women differ biologically and sociologically, and across cultures?
  • What is the essence of maleness in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of God?
These are some of the questions I will tackle in the coming months.

I don't know how often I will blog, and in what style or capacity. In some ways, my existing style of writing on this blog has outlived its use, and I could shut down this blog. But because I have made a handful of new friends who are SSA-brothers-in-Christ through this blog, I will keep it open.

If you are new to my blog and want to get in touch with me, feel free to do so by leaving me a comment with an email where I can reach you.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Selah

I will not to blog again until the earliest, Friday, if not later. Next blog: Summary Reflections #2.

In the meantime, Do Not Be Afraid...

Do not be afraid to ask for what you need.
Do not be afraid to fall apart and free.
You just might get what you asked for
and you may find out who you are.

Jesus you are God.
You can do what you want
and you died for all of us.
I think it's crazy, but I'm starting to believe.

Do not be afraid to question your God.
He is not afraid. It's what he wants
for you to grow in knowledge of him,
for you to know that you can trust.

Jesus you are God.
You can do what you want
and you love me.
I think it's crazy, but I'm starting to believe.


...and Peace.

Broken conversations, broken people, we're broken Lord.
Terrified illusions, seeking comfort, we're seeking more.
We need each other more than we need to agree.
Father, Son, Spirit bless us with your love,
with your grace and peace.

Peace.
Let there be peace.

Let us see and not destroy. Let us listen. Let us listen.
Let us suspend judgement for the sake of love, for the sake of love.
We need each other more than we need to agree.
Father, Son, Spirit bless us with your love,
with your grace and peace.

Love.
Let there be love.


[Listen to Do Not Be Afraid and Peace.]

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sports, Physical Pain, and Masculinity












People tell me that I'm really strong. I am. And I am not.

Emotionally, I've survived through all kinds of hell. But physically, I'm a wimp. Break my heart and I'll compose a most brilliant piece of work. Stub my toe and I become a pathetic baby.

Or stub my thumb... my right thumb, to be precise.

I'm going out to play a game of real basketball with real players.

:manly woo hoo:


I discovered two things. (1) Jogging at one's own pace is not the same as sprinting up and down the courts. I was breathless after 10 minutes. (2) I can hardly function without my opposable right thumb. (I told you I'm a wimp! Cut me slack already.)

---

My experience today brought back childhood memories.

Football, we call it. Where fast balls slam into your gut or hard shoes smash against your shins while you're breathless and coughing and sweaty and itchy and dying. Add to that a strong, fast, sporty elder brother who is yelling at some useless, fat-assed faggot for missing a ball, or running too slowly.

Who? Me? pant... pant...

No wonder I went into music instead. And also hanging around girls, drawing pictures of princesses with them.

IT BLOODY HURTS TO PLAY TEAM SPORTS!

---

Scholarly question #1: How many men with SSA grew up with gender identity disorder?
Answer: Many [ref 1,2].

Scholarly question #2: How many boys with gender identity struggles did not play sports with other boys because they were very sensitive to physical pain?
Answer: ____

---

While icing my thumb joint, I seriously contemplated quitting.

Brother B called. (Don't remember him? He's one of my straight friends who knows about my struggle and is teaching me to play basketball. Here and here.)

"Hey, so did you enjoy basketball today?"

"Well... yeah. I found out that I'm either allergic to something in the air or I'm asthmatic. Also, I injured my thumb a couple of times." And then I forced myself to get out of my self-pity thumb-pain funk and eeked out a "but overall, I enjoyed myself."

Because, damn it, I did! I just wish I didn't have this asthma/allergy thing, and learned how to handle a basketball better so that I wouldn't hurt my thumb.

"I saw you. You did pretty well. I mean, you went in there and did some good moves."

"Hmm. Hum. Well. Yeah."

Thanks, brother B, point guard extraordinaire. I guess I didn't do too badly given that it was my second time playing basketball. After all, these guys really did know what they were doing.

---

I think part of embracing maleness is to embrace physical pain. I don't know why I am so sensitive to it. I see it in my son. He is so afraid of getting himself hurt, while the other boys around him take all kinds of physical risks. And he is also, at the same time, incredibly emotionally sensitive--a gifted artist, for sure.

There is something to this. I need to think more on it.

---

In the meantime, it's confession time. I did it again. Looked at pornography. This time, I even masturbated to it. Heterosexual porn, though. Seeing men's goodies alone just don't cut it for me anymore. I need to see naked women and hear their moans. This is the third time it's happened. But the heterosexual porn does not feel as emotionally charged as I remember the gay porn felt. It's lonely being a heterosexual man. I can't quite explain it. It's a lot more lonely somehow.

Note: I am not sanctioning looking at porn or masturbating to it. The above is a *confession*. I see it as sin and I have repented of it, and told my wife about it (I also confess to her *every time* I fall with porn or masturbation). I am processing authentically with the hope that it will lead to greater transparency and healing... somehow.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Jots

Saw a very good looking guy last night who eyed-me out from head to shoe. There was an attraction there for me (emotional, and bordering on sexual). I stayed with it. Looked back at him. Undressed him with my mind [ref]. Saw his face when he took off his hat--he looked tired. He became all of a sudden, just another guy. The aura of the mysterious masculine left him, and my attraction for him, both latent sexual and emotional, dissipated.

But it was a close one. I was tempted to "white knuckle" and avoided the temptation to look. Had I done so, I think I would have been defeated. Face the mystique of the masculine head on, and you'll soon find yourself staring into a mirror.

Sex with wife was not the most passionate last night. Combination of tiredness and also the event with that good-looking guy. But she thoroughly enjoyed it, she said. I am glad! Not every sexual union has to have royal fireworks... for me.

Spent the morning fellowshipping and praying with wife while walking and exercising. Talked about all the new friends that I've made since starting this blog and joining another SSA-support online group. (Yes, she knows all of you by name, real or made-up!)

I found myself letting her run on the inside of the curb, so as to protect her. Something that felt really natural and manly to do, that I would not have really thought about doing before. Oh, last week, I also bought some materials and started to wash and polish my vehicles by hand. Another thing that I would have never done before but now love to do. Something about washing my cars by hand... feels so right... especially around the curves.

I am starting to be less and less interested in blogging like I used to. The need for it is gone. I told wife that there are two new directions to take now: (1) learning about manhood; (2) learning about fatherhood.

I am not so naive to think that SSsA will not come back to me. I am ready if that should happen and will chronicle it. But I think future posts will be more about entering into a discovery of what is manhood and what is fatherhood, from an experiential perspective (as always).

I need to get a few hours so that I can do my Summary Reflections #2.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fast Forward: Farewell Brother A













I had never anticipated that it would come so quickly.

I had thought six months? A year?

Certainly not now. Not after having fallen head-over-heels in love with him only three months ago.

But it is here: I don't need him anymore.

The last 7 days of grieving did something tremendous within me. Like a raging fever, the grieving burned away all the relational-sick of my past. Someone reached into my stuck six-year-old inner self and pressed the "play" button...

...without a warning, everything fast-forwarded.

Three entire decades of emotional life zoomed pass me in one quick instant: zzzz..................... pp! And I suddenly arrived.

New, different, and fully my age.

I looked into the mirror. A very mature man stared back at me. I have never seen such confidence. Such knowing. So sure of himself. So forty something.

Just like that, I am a man.

And Brother A? He seems smaller now. More my size. Like all the other men that I used to adore and fantasize about, his allure has dissipated. The good-looking men are still good-looking. But now, they are more like shiny plastic food displays: nothing of value beneath the skin.

I have internalized Brother A. His smile is my smile. His chest is my chest. His penis is my penis. And most of all, his secure-male-self is my secure-male-self. And no one can take that away from me.

I bid farewell to Brother A because I don't "need" him anymore.

Things will be different for us now. Different, healthier, better.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Short Update

I was supposed to write my second summary reflections. But each time I try, I end up spending time replying to emails or Facebook messages instead. It's good that I am finally getting to know more people in the world of SSA strugglers. On the other hand, my work has been taking a back seat, and that's starting to leave me a little edgy.

I've been grieving for over a week now. I'm happy to say that this morning, I woke up feeling slightly better. Yet something has happened to me that is really, really hard for me to admit. I've been avoiding writing about it because I was hoping the feeling would go away.

But it hasn't.

I don't know if I have the courage to write about it.

"I..."

(Okeeeee, obviously not today.)

We'll be back. Promise.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Grief Continued

That same grief is still here. And it hasn't lessened.

Sometimes, it looks up to God; sometimes it longs for a long hug from safe, loving brothers.

It aches the death of something within. Like facing an old, old wound. Rotting flesh, long forgotten.

But I can't turn around or walk away. The truth stares at me with open eyes, sad and compassionate. And I have to stay here, looking right back at it, even if I don't do anything.

When my father died, all that I thought was important faded away. Only the most crucial things remained: people and grace. Make amends. Make peace. Life is short.

That is how I feel now. Nothing is that important. Not even homo vs. hetero sexuality. It is not that important. Love. That's what matters. Just love.

Love and God will move hearts. His hand will reach into places so deep -- desolate, forgotten places. And if we let Him, He will begin to move His hand in that deep place. Ever so slowly and gently. Yet when He does, the churning will be great. And we will never be the same again.

God's hand has moved. The skeletons deep within have been stirred. And the smell of death has resurfaced.

Oh, how it aches.

But I know this: only in death can new life emerge.



All the way my Savior leads me
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His faithful mercies?
Who through life has been my guide
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort
Ere by faith in Him to dwell
For I know whate'er fall me
Jesus doeth all things well

All of the way my Savior leads me
And He cheers each winding path I tread
Gives me strength for every trial
And He feeds me with the living bread
And though my weary steps may falter
And my soul a-thirst may be
Gushing from a rock before me
Though a spirit joy I see

And all the way my Savior leads me
Oh, the fullness of His love
Perfect rest in me is promised
In my Father's house above
When my spirit clothed immortal
Wings it's flight through the realms of the day
This my song through endless ages
Jesus led me all the way

- Rich Mullins


[Note: I noticed a sense of grieving on Wednesday, four days ago. It started the day after I made the decision to fully embrace my change.]

Friday, May 22, 2009

Grief Reflected

I did not expect this change to happen.

I did not expect the emergence of anger to come about.

And I never expected this grief to hit me, so hard.

Yesterday, Brother A asked me to pray. I could not utter the words. Before long, I was a blabbering, sobbing mess. Deep pain.

Today, Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, prayed a prayer on the radio for his staff members during his final dying days. I started to sob again, tears streaming uncontrollably down my face, my heart wrenching.

I don't understand this grief. So the rest of this post will not make sense. I only want to put down some disconnected thoughts. Perhaps it will come together, later.

When my father died, I went into slow motion. I spoke slowly, smiled slowly, moved slowly. I was numb. Something deep within me also died. But in its place a new freedom birthed: all that we think is important is not so important after all. And for a little while, I appreciated the grass, the trees, the little everyday conversations of everyday people.

Something within me has died. All those years of pain. The travail. How my father travailed and fought to keep his empire going while he battled his illness. And suddenly, it's all over.

Let the empire crumble now. And let the grasses and flowers and trees and little wild creatures grow all around it. Let the name of the empire be forgotten.

It's over. The battle is over.

And I weep.

Years of pain come together, congregating in my chest, and gushing out in heaves through my sobs.

I have nothing left to battle.

And something new has birthed.

When I sob, the pain echoes out of a place of intense thankfulness. How I have travailed over all these years. How I have fought to stay true to my decision not to give in to a homosexual lifestyle. How hard it had been to put on a grown man's face everyday over these years. How tired I am. How good God has been to me all of that time.

Second Timothy Chapter Four Verse Seven.

And now, my crowning glory.

Yet, I am barely able to stand and wear it.

: more sobs :


Brokenness.


How are you doing, boy-soul?
How are YOU doing, champ?
I am tired. So tired.
We know.
We? Who is we?
Me, boy-soul, and all of your other little childhood selves. We, know. And we are all here.
Oh.
We are all here for YOU, champ!

Boy-soul, and all my little childhood selves. They look so tall, so grown up, so masculine, so together. And they are here for me? I don't have to keep up with external appearances to protect them anymore? My inner child(ren) have grown up?


The battle is over. And I sob.

Why did I sob over Bill Bright's prayer?

Because he prayed as a father. Because he prayed over his "sons" in ministry. Because his "sons" were ready to take over the mantle of his ministry. Because he prayed that they will be men of God. MEN of God. And because God wanted you to hear that prayer, and so you did, and you received it, into your heart, oh MAN of God.

"Father, Father, Holy Father. We bow in reverence before Your majesty. We are in awe of Your greatness. When we think of who You are, we realize how little we are, how small in comparison. And yet even when we were yet in our sins, You died for us. You love us. You delight in us. And I thank You that in Your sovereignty, You chose Dennis and Bob to do what they are doing. And You've anointed them and given them favor, and great blessing. And I ask Holy Father, You'll keep them pure. Keep their motives pure, their hearts pure. Their attitudes, their desires, their actions above reproach. That they, Bob and Dennis, will be MEN OF GOD after Your heart. There will be no sin in their lives that will hinder Your working in and through them. That as they speak day after day, to millions of people--and that number, oh gracious God, I pray will increase by the millions--they will be channels of Your love, Your forgiveness, Your grace to the multitudes of earth. I pray for the day their ministry will literally encircle the globe. Where millions upon millions will be drawn closer to You, will love You, and trust You, and obey You because of their influence. Lord Jesus, bless their families... their families and the children's children's children yet unborn. That they may always love You, serve You, trust You, obey You. And that the legacy of these men will go on and on until You return. Blessed Holy Father, thank You once again for these men whom You've chosen, whom You've anointed, whom You've empowered. And may all glory, honor, worship and praise go to You. For we pray it in the name of the One whose name is above every name, the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen."

[Actual interview and prayer can be downloaded here.]

I feel the Lord saying to me: Well done, good, faithful, and broken servant. You are now ready to serve Me.

Anything You want, Lord. I am and have always been Yours. Now more than ever before. Anything You want.

Grief

A deep, deep grief has hit me.

As I nuzzle more securely into Brother A's love for me, an old, lost pain is finally emerging. I don't even have a specific memory associated with the pain. It is just an old, old pain from deep within.

And so I cry sobs of anguish. My heart wrenching with each gasp.

No words.

No memories.

Just deep pain and sadness.

I don't deserve such love.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

You, Boy-Soul, Are God's Original Masterpiece (A Testimony)



Why this video moved me so much: A short testimony.

I started having same-sex sexual thoughts since I was 7 years old. It was a constant struggle into my teen years because the feelings were so strong, and yet I loved God so much. By age 19, I couldn't take it anymore. If I couldn't stop my homosexual thoughts, then I might as well die. I got severely depressed and I wanted to crawl into a small, dark hole and die in it. For weeks, I woke up every morning crying. Finally, I decided to end it all. But God intervened and brought me a couple of men who counseled me out of ending my life.

That year, I committed my life completely to Jesus, just like the guy in the video (start: 6 mins 55 sec). I considered that I had already died, and that the life I lived from that day onward was totally dedicated to Jesus. I didn't know if God would heal me from homosexuality, but I was willing to live a celibate life in service to Him. The same-sex struggle continued, even into marriage. Still I hung on to my commitment and never gave myself fully over to homosexuality.

Today, More than 20 years later, God has finally healed me of my homosexual desires. There is still some processing that needs to take place before I am more secure with my same-sex emotional attractions, but I know that the sexual attractions are gone.

I am healed. There is no longer any doubt in my mind about it.

Sometimes, it is only when you have reached the other side that you realize how hard it was to cross the river. While you were in the river itself, all you could do was focus on surviving. I had forgotten that I had been struggling for over three decades. I had allowed the struggle to define me: "I am a man who struggle with SSA."

But now, I am starting to see the emergence of God's original masterpiece: the original straight and manly me. So much chiseling has taken place over the years, and I finally see the original shape emerging. I praise Him for it.

I am glad I stayed with the pain. Now, looking from the other side, I can truly say that it was well worth it.

This Feeling-Down Feeling

In the past, this "feeling-down" feeling that I am feeling now would have led to homosexual thinking or activity of some kind. (I know I used the word "feeling" three times in a row. I'm feeling down, okay? Cut me some slack.)

In the midst of my downness, that wanting-to-sexualize-men feeling came pretty strongly.

But I didn't.

I don't want to go back to that vomit.

This pang of pain in my chest is a loneliness to be accepted by other men. To be affirmed, to be encouraged, to be okay in the eyes of other men. Not to trade bodily juices with them.

And so, I sit, writing, waving my little "This Feeling-Down Feeling" banner, and talk to boy-soul.


How are you doing, boy-soul?

I am sad.

Why are you sad?

I don't know.

Are you feeling lonely?

Yes.

I remember that feeling, when we were younger.

Yeah.

Sitting on the swing, elder brother had just rallied a whole bunch of cousins against us because we were fat and ugly.

Yeah.

Or at least, he made us all believe that.

Yeah.

But we're not fat or ugly.

No?

No, we're not. We're fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.

We are?


Uh-huh.

...

Brother A thinks we're very good-looking. Remember how he always calls us "stud?"

smile

You know what?

What?

I think Brother A's opinion is a lot better than that of a mentally-ill 12-year old brother.

Yeah.

Yeah.


And so, with boy-soul's hand in mine, we get up and start to walk again in our journey towards manhood. And I whisper into boy-soul's ear. "Tonight, we're going to have a good time with the wife in bed. It'll be fun!"

: sunset scene :

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This Change IS Real

The following is a pretty graphic post. If you get easily offended, stop now and don't read any further.

- - -

I did it.

I went online and looked at images of nude men.

This change I've been talking about? It's real. I've given it yet another test, and...

IT'S REAL!!!

The most incredible looking guys still look good. But they don't have anything to offer me.

Their bodies remind of me Brother A's body. I have access to Brother A's body. He'll let me touch him, look at him closely, and after all that, he'll give me the biggest, warmest, most loving hug and kiss on the cheek. For all of my insecurities, he loves me fully, no matter what, like I am his own son.

The mystique of the "perfect-male-other" is gone.

IT'S GONE!

What these images once offered me were "pathways" to deep, emotional connection with men. But now that I have Brother A fully, it seems I don't need these pathways anymore!

In fact, what's really interesting is, I looked at a couple of images of men masturbating and ejaculating. Instead of wanting to be with them, or masturbating them, or having them masturbate me, I saw in these images, straight men desperate to put their penises in a vagina and ejaculate inside a vagina. As a result, it excited me, not to be with them (because I have the same penis and sperm), but it got me excited about having sex with a woman.

Incredible.

(I must confess, however, that I also looked at images of women.

Dangerously seductive. That's all I can say.

I did not dwell on them though, lest I become unfaithful to my wife in my mind when I am next having sex with her.)

Anyway...

I am amazed. I am truly amazed. I thought that it might be too dangerous to "tempt" my change by going to look at sexual images of men. But I'm okay. In fact, when I saw some good-looking erect penises, I thought to myself: "Good for you! A healthy, erect penis. That's what a man is supposed to be like."

In summary, I am not only not tempted sexually, the images move me towards heterosexual thoughts, PLUS I am able to celebrate their maleness, as I identify with them, as part of God's wonderful creation.

What a strange and new revelation!

Here's the last thing I need to do now: fully accept this change, and don't fight it anymore.

Lord Jesus, I thank You for the change that I am experiencing. It has come from You, and it is REAL. I have no more doubts that this is real. If it doesn't stay, so be it, but as far as I know, it is real, and I rejoice and FULLY ACCEPT this change. I have prayed for this since I was 13, and I had given up hope that change would ever come. But it is here, and I embrace it, fully. Make me the new straight man that You want me to be. I want to me molded into Godliness as a man, and allow my adolescent male sexuality to be honed by Your Word and Your ways. Thank you for all of the brothers that You have placed in my life, and especially Brother A. I don't know what You would like me to do with this change, but I am willing to do whatever You desire. Guide me, lead me, show me Your desires. I am, Your servant, Your child, Your man.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Unbridled Adolescent Male Sexual Energy

Christian authors writing on sexuality talk about sex as more than genital sex (i.e. erotic sexual behaviors) but also gender. There is something "sexual" about just being male.

It is in this context that I used the term "sexual" in "unbridled adolescent male sexual energy."

Anyhoot...

Over the last week, I have woken up with an erection four times. Along with that is the desire to masturbate and have an orgasm. And along with that are images of naked women swimming in my head.

O.o

I don't even know who I am anymore.

Thank God I have a wife who can satisfy my new heterosexual libido. Otherwise, I think I WOULD go out and find a girl and do it. Over and over again.

I never understood how men could do it before. This "wham, bam, thank you ma'am." How can anyone have sex with another person, and then it's all over and they want to go away?

I once asked Brother M what his constant desires for women was like, and he said, "it's just a pure thrill." Kind of like riding a roller coaster. "How shallow," I replied, as the haughty more-sensitive-than-thou SSA man.

But I understand it now. I see women, I see their sex, and I want them. Just for plain sex. Not intimacy, not love, just plain sex. Yah, yah, it's intimate and all, but NOTHING like the warm, fuzzy, oh-love-me-all-over feelings that I used to get when fantasizing about men. Now, it's just a raw, sexual, I-just-want-to-hump-you feeling.

How shallow, this new me.

Anyway, because my wife and mother-in-law are the coolest women on the face of this planet, I told them how I was feeling.

And mom said, "you know, what do adolescent boys think about? They just want to score! It's kind of like that, isn't it?"

Bingo!

Remember over the last two posts, I talked about anger, and this wanting to compete and to fight? Well, I think it's all part of the same package. I think what I am experiencing is unbridled adolescent male sexual energy.

: Wolf-like howl! :

(Thanks, mom-in-law, yous da bess.)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

An Anger Brewing, Redux

The previous post here.

My apologies for swearing. I know it hurts some of your sensitive eyes to read ef-words and aitch-words. But I wanted to get my point across. I was feeling anger, and I wanted to write authentically out of that place.

But after some reading, I am starting to think that what I am feeling is not so much anger but... another natural element of my emerging manhood, which I alluded to as "testosterone" in my previous post. I got this revelation thanks to a new online friend who pointed me to Van Den Aardweg's writing.

In the final chapter of his book, The Battle For Normality, Aardweg writes:

...let the homosexual man, when the occasion offers itself, participate in a competitive game like soccer, or baseball and really try to do his best, even if he is anything but a star on the field. And without self-pity; persevere and fight. Some have afterward felt wonderful; a sportsmanlike fight - meaning a victory over the "poor me" self - can make one feel deeply that one is "a man".

That's exactly what I want to do out of this "angry" feeling I have inside: a desire to go out and have a good fight! In ancient times, robe on an armor and go fight a dragon. In today's terms, take up a ball and jostle in the courts. Or maybe even put on some gloves and beat the shit (yeah sorry, ess-word) out of each other--all in good competitive [read: manly] fun.

It's like I don't exactly have a specific someone or something I am angry at. I am just feeling aggressive, and I want to let out my aggression.

Aardweg also wrote this, which is incredibly comforting to me:

Heterosexual feelings come only in the wake of restored feelings of manliness... There should be no 'training' in heterosexuality, however, for that would feed the inferior self-image: 'I have to prove my manliness.'

No need for training in heterosexuality, the feelings seem to just "wake up." This has been my experience exactly!! Brother A's unsexualized yet deeply intimate and fatherly love for me has smashed into bits the huge boulder that blocked my heterosexuality from emerging. Now that the blockage is gone, the natural (yes, NATURAL) tendency for heterosexuality is emerging without my trying.

PRAISE GOD! WOO HOO! PARTY ON... and all that unbridled adolescent male sexual energy.

[I have more thoughts about these and other feelings that I am having as fitting into "unbridled adolescent male sexuality." But I'll blog about it in another post tomorrow.]

An Anger Brewing

There is an anger brewing deep within me.

I don't really understand what it is yet.

Something to do with this change I have been experience. Something to do with anger at homosexuality and gay-advocates. And also anger at all of my years of loss.

I am starting to get sick and tired of people questioning my change experience.

If you don't believe that my experience and what I write is authentic, then get the fuck off my blog. It's that simple!

And where the hell are the people who are supposed to be experiencing change? Why am I the only one experiencing it? Why is it that so many "Ex-Gay" people say that they are still able to be tempted and then they add that "but my temptations don't define who I am?"

What the hell?

If you are a man who is still tempted sexually by another man, then you are homosexual. Don't try to complicate matters.

As for me, that sexual attraction is gone. GONE!

AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT!!!

The only thing I have to replace the warm fuzzy orgasms I used to have fantasizing about being made-love to by a strong, handsome, muscular man is... A N G E R.

I don't understand it.

- - -

Wait... it just came to me.

This anger.

I got it.

It's anger at men.

It's anger at not being able to connect with men.

It's anger at years of not being able to be accepted as the man that I am feeling I am now.

The anger says, "Yeah, you want to fight? Okay, I'll show you who's the man around here, you pussy!"

Oh my god.

Is it testosterone?

WTF!

I NEED TO TALK TO OTHER GUYS WHO CAN EXPLAIN WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME!!!!


[Note to self: Before this anger came, there was a sense of "emptiness" for several days in place of my SSsA. See this post.]

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Wanted: Ex-Men

I feel alone. This change is so unique, I don't really have anyone to talk to, to fellowship with, to exchange notes with.

I want men. Ex-gay men who no longer have homosexual feelings, but now have only heterosexual feelings. Men who can mentor me through this transition as I mutate from Same-Sex sexual Attraction to Other-Sex sexual Attraction.

Mutate. That's exactly what this change feels like. Someone pumped adamantium into my sexuality and turned me into a straight man.














For the past few mornings, I'd wake up with a huge piece of morning wood. Images of women--my wife especially--flood my mind. All I want to do is to hump. Have sex. Not make love. Just have sex.

I am becoming like my other straight male friends, I want sex with women just for the yahyah of it. The need for warm, fuzzy, orgasmic love with a man has retreated into a place I can't seem to access anymore.

I never imagined that such change for good would feel so uncomfortable, so foreign, so isolating.

I need a Xavier.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Brother's Love

All of this change would not be possible without Brother A's deep, deep love for me.

Brother A, I love you so much I could literally burst!













:-D

Undressing Men (Alternate Title: Everyday-Sized Nuts)

It's commonly said that if a person felt nervous when doing public speaking, he could try to imagine his audience naked.

I never understood that advice. I had always felt that to imagine a bunch of people naked would be more of a turn-on than an anxiety-reliever. Especially if there were good-looking men in the audience.

But I experienced something new today.

Today I undressed three different guys with my eyes. Strip! Strip! Strip! They were completely nude, right down to their willies. Handsome devils, every one of them.

Strangely though, I was not turned on. In fact, I think I did it as a way to turn myself off my attractions to them. (It was a pretty unconscious process. It just happened.)

All three guys had something in common. I wanted to draw close to them. They had a certain look with which I associated strength, masculinity, security, support, comfort, warmth.

By stripping them down completely nude, I exposed them. Seeing them naked in my mind unmasked the myth of "the perfect man" that I had attributed to them. Instead, I saw their boy-souls, tasted their insecurities, smelled their bodily stench, and sensed their own quivering need for male affirmation. Their need for male affirmation.

Male affirmation. God knows every man needs it. Even my almost-perfect Brother A!

Speaking of Brother A, he was, in fact, the first Alpha male who was undressed before me. Come to think of it, he actually undressed himself before me. He took the initiative to expose himself completely to me: physically, emotionally, spiritually. And I, in turn, let him see me too, all of me. First physically, then emotionally and spiritually.

And it has all been good. So good, in fact, that I believe this has been one of the prime factors in my change experience.

So this is my new experience when I see strong, good-looking [read: intimidating] men with whom I want to connect. In 5-Easy-Steps:
  1. I strip them naked in my mind.
  2. They become fully exposed. Their fantasized god-like phalli shrivel down to realistic everyday-sized nuts, dangling awkwardly. Just like mine!
  3. They become, all of a sudden, completely approachable [read: no longer intimidating].
  4. My attraction towards them fail to sexualize. (The emotional attraction remains though. But I'm okay with that. Because, as I said, God knows every man needs affirmation from another man.)
  5. I feel okay again in and of myself. I am, in essence, just like them.
My experience today feels like further development along a thread of experiences I've had before: here [A Definite Shift, 3/25/09] and here [Emotional vs Sexual Attraction, 3/31/09].