Thursday, April 16, 2009

Summary Reflections #1 (Dec 08 - April 09) -- Part 2

[ .../ continued from Part 1 ]

4. God’s Love “In The Real”

I can’t remember exactly what we were doing at the time, but twice when I was with Brother A, I asked the Lord if there was a purpose for me in meeting him in person. I had a strong impression in my heart that God wanted to or was going to show me His love “in the real.” The words “in the real” were so clear I could almost hear them with my ears.

God’s love? In the real? What does that mean?

I love Jesus. I had seen first hand God’s power demonstrated through miracles. I had learned how to enter into God’s presence through prayer and worship and let His Fatherly love fill my soul. But it never crossed my mind, not even once, that God might want to bring that awesome love and power to me in the real through an actual human being. And I certainly never imagined just how incredibly captivating and intoxicating God’s Fatherly love would be when expressed through a real person. Loving a gentle yet strong and mature God-loving man like Brother A--who loves me back deeply--has been like falling in love with Jesus. It is turning my life around in ways I never imagined possible.

5. Defensive Detachment

The more I fell in love with Brother A, the more I became deathly afraid of losing him. To protect myself, I began to defensively detach from him: breaking off the relationship first to avoid the pain of having him break it off with me. I did it in subtle ways, convincing myself each time that the decision was rational and noble [post, post].

Thankfully, Brother A had read about defensive detachment [post] and recognized it when it was happening with me. Each time I pulled away, he moved closer towards me. I kept doubting and questioning his love for me. Why me? What did I do to deserve this amazing love? Intensely engaged yet respectfully gentle, he convinced me again and again that his love for me was real. He did not give up pursuing me. And the more he pursued, the more I began to trust.

To this day, I still struggle with the fear that Brother A might leave me at any time despite all the evidence pointing to the contrary. But I know that the fear comes from the insecure boy-soul in me, desperate to be loved by a father like Brother A, and still recovering from the decades of verbal, physical, and emotional abuse suffered under the hands of significant men in my life.

6. Fear of Men vs. Love of Men

God’s love in the real through Brother A is giving me enough self-worth to admit something I have always denied: I fear masculine men because I don’t feel masculine enough in myself. This makes a great deal of sense because I have ever only been really attracted to men whom I feel have masculine characteristics that I don’t have. I see it now more clearly than ever before: for all these years, I have been “homosexualizing” my desire for masculinity. And I am beginning to realize now that I don’t need to do that!

Brother A’s deep, genuine love for me seems to be repairing my fear of and lust for masculine men. I found myself going to the gym and seeing “boys” everywhere. When I saw a guy who was sexually attractive to me, I looked at his face and saw the “boy” behind the masculine intimidating-thus-sexually-attractive figure. Immediately, the attraction was gone! [post]

I still get flashes of sexual attraction to guys from time to time. But now, instead of lusting after them in some unrealistic fantasy, or white-knuckling the sexual feelings, I do the following:

  1. I accept and embrace my masculine insecurities in the same way Brother A accepts and embraces me
  2. I perceive the men’s masculine qualities to be a God-given gift that I also want
  3. I admit that I want to draw close to them and be like them
  4. I imagine them connecting with me and opening up to me (which I am finding happens a lot when I don’t push them away)
  5. And I immediately recognize that they are just “one of the boys” like me

Each time I have gone through the steps above, the sexual attraction leaves, replaced by an attraction that is non-sexually relational. This non-sexually relational attraction causes me to want to hang out and talk with these men, drink beers, play sports, laugh, and just be one of the guys and enjoy being together. And I have no desire to have sex or be sexual with them in any way.

7. Potentiating Heterosexuality

Probably one of the most surprising and least understood processes that I am experiencing is my sudden attraction to women. I see beautiful and gorgeous women everywhere! I used to be somewhat attracted to beautiful Bollywood actresses (their Aryan features combined with their Asian softness was a perfect blend for me) but generally, women did not do much for me sexually.

But now, I find all kinds of women attractive—even the loud, brash ones. I am seeing them in a whole new light. I want to say nice things about them and see them smile and blush under the power of my manliness. It is not so much a desire to toy with them, but rather I sense that they need to be cared for, especially the ones that look like they could really use a little bit of loving attention.

The sexy-looking ones, however, is another story altogether. I feel a strong lust towards. I just want to rip off their clothes and devour their gorgeous bodies. I imagine them moaning with pleasure under my touch, and… okay, that’s going too far. Yes, I am objectifying them. It’s something that men struggle with, okay?

Did I just write that?

Yes, I did. Dang!

8. What’s Next?

I really don’t know what’s next. I never expected to experience all the change that I started to experience since meeting Brother A. I don’t know how deep or how long-lasting this change will be. I just want to be like soft, vulnerable clay, pliable and moldable in God’s good hands. If the homosexuality returns with full force, so be it. If it goes away completely, hallelujah!

As far as I am aware, a part of me still grieves the loss of my old pattern [post]. It’s comfortable; I know it well. Sure I love this new me [post], but it’s very new and I’m not used to “wearing” it. Feelings of insecurity still come from time to time and beckon me to masturbate to fantasies of masculine men even though I no longer find that compelling. And because it is no longer compelling, I can avoid it easily. I only need to sit with this feeling of loss, which in itself is not very comfortable.

A part of me tells me that I should start masturbating to fantasies of women, especially on my work trips away from my wife. If only I were 13 again and had 5 years to experiment with my newfound masculinity, I would let my hormones go wild. Well, I can celebrate at least that sex with the wife is simply amazing. I am so glad I am married. I don’t know what I’d do if I were to experience all of this as a single man.

Lastly, the boy-soul who longs for father-intimacy is still there, albeit growing incredibly quickly. I worry that the growth might be too quick. Thank God I still have Brother A… and brother B [post], and Brother M [post], and now a host of SSA brothers that I’ve recently connected with [post]. With intimate community support, maybe this change can take place for real and for good.

And so, I journey on. I hope the next four-five weeks won’t be quite as intense as the past four-five weeks because I am exhausted from all this change and processing. As much as this is one of the most exciting things that is happening to me in my life, I need a break.

[End of Summary Reflections #1]


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. It’s something that men struggle with, okay?It's also something that men should confess and repent of, and not talk about in boastful, lighthearted tones. The same reason homosexual lust is sinful is the same reason heterosexual lust is sinful. Keep that in mind.

    I say this in love, of course. We just aren't supposed to trade sin for sin, but sin for righteousness. You're a husband. Your primary concern in terms of sexuality should be your attraction to your wife and your ability to please her without objectifying her. Lusting after other women is just as bad as lusting after men, and it certainly isn't something that God would deem good.

    I'm glad you're happy but just remember to be holy as well.

  3. Thanks, Jay. For reading, and for commenting. I am more than aware of sin. I rest on the cross of Christ. Let all cast their stones because I was born a sinner (you as a 5-pointer should appreciate that). What I have to say here can not make me any worse. I can rely only on God's mercy. Let the Lord judge my heart.

    And know that I don't say these words out of spite against your wonderful caution. I write from a place of absolutely reliance (and confidence) of His excellent and all-sufficient mercy.

    AND I rejoice!

    I hope you can too.

  4. I certainly can rejoice, and do. And I'm glad that you have confidence in God's mercy; it's certainly the only thing that one can really have confidence in. I'm just saying that it's not an excuse to be boastful of sinful thoughts or attitudes, and sometimes one should admit they were wrong.

    I know you want to be authentic but authenticity doesn't trump the responsibility to take sin seriously and write about it as such.

  5. This..."Loving a gentle yet strong and mature God-loving man like Brother A--who loves me back deeply--has been like falling in love with Jesus."

    and this..."The more I fell in love with Brother A, the more I became deathly afraid of losing him."

    and (from a couple posts ago) this..."After that, I fell head-over-hells in love with Brother A."

    and this..."The first week after I left Brother A, I obsessed about him. I thought about him constantly. Each time I did, I would get this warm, achey feeling in my chest accompanied with a mild erection."

    give me the impression that you have a strong erotic attachment to Brother A. And I think-- intentionally or unintentionally-- he's encouraged that erotic attachment. And where I see that encouragement happening is things like touching you, showering with you, massaging you, discussing his sex life with you, discussing his sex life with you while showering with you. I think his boundaries on the outer limits of what you would expect to find in any friend, man or woman, gay or straight, old or young.

    I'm not judging that. I'm just saying, you got to admit the boundaries are out there on the lone prairie somewhere, right?

    And I think you're experiencing a certain euphoria right now because here you are in this special relationship and maybe this is the first time in your life you've felt this way about someone and explored some of these outer boundaries with someone.

    And I'm not judging the euphoria. Nothing wrong with a little euphoria in your life. We all have experiences that make us feel euphoric-- falling in love, starting college, having a child, going to a concert, visiting the Grand Canyon-- those are all things that can make people feel euphoric.

    But you know what happens to euphoria, right? It wears off. And if you're lucky, the euphoria had a positive effect on your life. Made you a more conscientious parent or a more devoted husband or student or maybe just somebody who really knows a lot about the Grand Canyon.

    So, though I have a lot of questions, I think I'll put them all aside and ask you to think about this euphoria you're experiencing-- where it's coming from and where it's taking you and what your life is going to look like once the euphoria wears off.

  6. I think what Jay is saying here is that we do appreciate your honest and raw reflections about the experiences you are going through, but it seems that you are entertaining thoughts of lust towards women as a path to encourage the growth of heterosexual feelings. Sexual intimacy can exist without lust. The spiritual relationship you have with your wife and God should be the shining beacon of your progress.
    I enjoy reading your blog and wish you well on your path of transformation.

  7. ^ Yes, that's what I'm trying to say, Simon. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not very capable of saying these kinds of things very diplomatically. My apologies if I come across as too harsh or judgmental. Goodness knows I have my own faults.

  8. Jay:

    I re-read that part where I wrote about lust for women. I see now why someone reading may be upset esp. if they focus on the sinful aspect.

    So, let me clarify. Lusting after women is not something I am doing, but something that is possible now for me -- it was *never* possible before. That is the essence of what I was trying to convey in my paragraph.

    Also, look at the para again:

    "I feel a strong lust [note: not "I am entertaining a strong lust]...," "I want to rip off [note: I want to, not I am ripping off]...," "I imagine them moaning [note: imagine the possibility, not fantasizing it]...," "okay, that's going too far [note: I stopped myself]...," "It's something men struggle with [note: I see it as a battle, a struggle, not something to be cherished and be proud of in and of itself]."

    I also wrote: "It is not so much a desire to toy with them, but rather I sense that they need to be cared for, especially the ones that look like they could really use a little bit of loving attention." [Note: you did not mention this in your comment.]

    Your first & second comments (actually, second & third) were based on an interpretation of one paragraph. You interpreted that I was being boastful of sin, and you came down harsh on me. You didn't make the effort to comment on the main thrust of my post: Healing is possible through Jesus Christ, and I am experiencing it! And you didn't highlight other aspects that were positive.

    Why did you only focus on the negative?

    Actually, I agree in principle with what you and Simon are asserting. Do know that. And I am glad that you (or at least Simon) appreciate my candor, even if it does bring out "holiness reactions" in you.

    I love you, Jay, even though your initial comments have hurt me. But it's okay. God's love is abundant and full to cover all the hurts!

    And thank you for the last comment you made--it was pretty "diplomatic" for a person who feels incapable of saying things very diplomatically. Actually, for me, it was not so much diplomatic as it was humble, and also, loving. So, thank you.

  9. Kurt:

    I think those are two very good questions. Thanks for taking the time to read and ask. I'll respond to them.

    Yep. I think the boundaries are a little odd to most people, and I would never have recommended such a thing if one were to seek my advise on how to help an SSA struggler to move towards heterosexuality. But my mind is changing about that.

    A very wise and mature pastor and mentor once said, "if you want to make a serious impact, you need to minister at the very edges of acceptability" (or something to that extent).

    For instance, Floyd McClung, a missionary, took his entire family to live in the red light district of Amsterdam, and he had little children at the time. The impact his family had on turning around the lives of prostitutes and drug addicts were incredible. Not everyone can do such a thing, but God had a calling on Floyd and he obeyed. He ministered at the edges of acceptability. And yet, he didn't sin. He simply hung out in places where prostitues and drug addicts hung out -- he did not have to hire a prostitute or to take drugs himself.

    I think Brother A has an amazing calling in a very similar way. Nothing he has done to me is behavior that he would have to hide. Men talk about sex in the showers, men give each other shoulder massages with clothes on (that's all he's ever done in term of massages), and with the right intent, tone, and context, these are all completely acceptable acts. He never entertains sexual topics in a lustful way. It is always brotherly and holy talk, even when it is talk about sex. He would certainly admonish me if he knew that I started to entertain lustful thoughts (although he would do it in the most loving way, and he has. I have blogged about it).

    The edges of acceptability for Brother A, like for Floyd McClung, lies in context of the one being ministered to, i.e. me. Someone might argue that what Brother A is doing is "erotically charge" for someone like me. However, what he is giving me is the intensity of non-sexual male intimacy, and I learning to sit with it without sexualizing it. And it has miraculously turned my life around!

    I think the proof is in the pudding. So far, except for the time when I went and hunted down porn, there has been no desire to entertain sexual fantasies about men. Nada. So, keep watching if you'd like. We'll see if this change is going to last. I am more eager to find out than anyone else.

    As for euphoria, you are right: I know it dies down. And yes, I am more than aware of what happens when euphoria (or romance) dies down. My ability to reality-test should be evident in #8 of Part 2. Nevertheless, it's a very good point you've made. I say that because I thought of that point and wrote on it!

    "Great minds..." Kurt?

    Perhaps "boastful mind...", Jay might say. ;-)

  10. You didn't make the effort to comment on the main thrust of my post: Healing is possible through Jesus Christ, and I am experiencing it!Well, TCM, I'll admit that I don't consider the ability to lust after women a real sign of "healing." I don't even see attraction to women as a sign of "healing," since many godly men never experience that. Learning to love and satisfy your wife better is a part of healing, but other women shouldn't really be on your mind at all.

    In other words, I don't really think that the goal of the SSA struggler is to move towards heterosexuality. I am celibate and likely always will be. If I'm moving towards anything, it's asexuality, and I think that's just fine. If I get married, then my attentions and attractions will be focused on my wife and on her only.

    That was the main point of what I was trying to say. I'm certainly happy you've found a close friend, though I do think you need to be careful that you do not become too obsessive over him. Take care!

  11. Just wanted to say thank you for writing these summary reflections. I have actually gone through your whole blog and read all your posts. Congratulations on your growth towards manhood. Is it okay that I recommend ppl reading your blog? I think that what you are writing might be a benefit to many.

    Is it at all possible to email you privately? I could not find any link on your blog. You can read a little bit of my journey at

  12. Yes, I reread the post, and I do see that your point number 8 covers a lot of the same ground that I went over in my response. I think my perspective on sexuality and gender identity is so different from yours that I didn't notice that we were talking about the same thing.

    I don't want you to think I was skipping any part of your post, though. I actually read through it two or three times before I responded.

    And when I say my perspective is different, I don't just mean my belief system is different. I mean I just haven't had the same kinds of experiences you've had.

  13. Jay: I love you and I wish God's fullness of healing on your life. Nothing you have said, in principle, I disagree with. Yet, I wish you actual experience of God's love that is deeply transformative in every aspect, not just cognitively.

    Kurt: It was obvious to me that you had read my posts carefully or you would not have made such precisely well-targetted summary questions. I really did respect your questions and took my time to answer them thoughtfully. But it takes forever to read through carefully, think critically, and ask good questions -- I know how east it is to miss this or that because of our own interpretive lens. I hope that by pointing you to #8, I did not make you feel that you were not trying your best to be careful and respectful. Like my love for Jay, I also love you (it is limited, of course, because I don't know you in real life). And I suspected that your belief system might be different from mine. Doesn't mean I can't love you just as much. What I am experiencing is so wonderful, I cannot help but want to share it with everyone! I hope my enthusiasm does not come across as disrespecting of your capacity to choose your own course in life.

  14. Tommy:

    You are most welcome. I loved your testimony. Thanks for sharing it with me. Amen and amen to Heb. 10:35-39, and John 8:36! I was moved to tears when I read those closing verses of your testimony because I am now entering into "the promised land" that I have waited for *so many years* to enter. I can hardly believe it is happening. If my experience can be helpful for your own journey, then PRAISE GOD, PRAISE GOD, PRAISE GOD!

    Yes, you can share this blog with others. It is a public blog, albeit anonymous.

  15. This has been quite the discussion. I've been reading along in silence, but I thought it may be time to comment now.

    Kurt-great questions! Thanks for taking the effort to put them down.

    Jay and Simon-I'm not sure if you've read his entire blog, but I'd encourage you to do that. Although TC has written a great 2 Part summery of God's recent work in his life...the good stuff is in the full posts. It's well worth the wife read them all in less than an hour...I read slower :P

    Jay-Your comment "I don't even see attraction to women as a sign of "healing," since many godly men never experience that." I would say that it's Biblical that all men lust, so I find it difficult to agree with your statement. If you mean SSA men never struggle with lust for women, I'm sure they are still struggling with lust for men. Unfortunately, lust is a part of human life. And our calling as Christians is not to ignore it (becoming asexual), but to learn how to deal with it in a holy way. I like the idea of becoming asexual...I've tried it, but unfortunately when you or I cut-off or block our sexuality, we are placing ourselves in a very dangerous place. A very unhealthy place. And our bodies/minds will cope with it by shifting the issue to another location. Example, when my wife was pregnant and didn't want to have sex with me I tried turning my sex-drive off. I got depressed, was prone to fantasize more and then feel back into masturbation (which I had been free from for over a year). Anyways, those are my thoughts/experiences. I think this is an important discussion though, so I'd love to hear your feedback.

  16. I think you misunderstood me, Daniel. I wasn't saying that attraction to women was bad. (Lust is, of course, but lust is different from simple attraction).

    I was simply saying that I don't think an SSA man should use attraction to women as a definitive sign of "healing," simply because I know many godly, whole, marvelous men who haven't experienced it. In my mind, they're just as healed as men their age who have experienced attraction to women and have even married.

    You'll find throughout my writing that I tend to be an advocate for lifelong singles and guys and gals who never experience orientation change. I don't think there's a theological reason why they should be considered less healed or more broken, but often times they are. I'm not saying TCM thinks that way, but I'm just throwing up a cautionary word about a statement that I found a little concerning. That's all.

    Also, asexuality isn't "ignoring lust." It's just a legitimate orientation and some people are even born into it. I'm not saying I'm asexual, but that I think sexual orientation is rather fluid and wouldn't mind if mine flowed there, so to speak.

  17. TCM, don't worry. I have no problem with your expressing your thoughts and beliefs, no matter how different they might be from my own. Your journey is your journey. I don't make any judgments about it. I imagine you feel the same way about me.