I can’t help that I am attracted to men.
Put down your pitchforks, please. Let me explain, for the sake of every side of the homosexuality origin issue.
When I took psychology in college, I learned about the “nature vs. nurture” argument. For years, psychologists have argued over which is stronger, if either truly defines our personality, or if it is dependent upon each individual and individual circumstance.
Those on the nurture side say that a person’s environment is the primary force that shapes him; those on the nature side counter that a person’s genetics, their DNA, determine everything about him.
After much study and introspection over the past several years, I have determined this: both are true. It isn’t about “nature vs. nurture” — it’s about nature and nurture, working together.
Back to my opening line: I can’t help that I am attracted to men. I can look at my life and see both nature and nurture contributing to my sexuality.
My childhood environment included a mostly absent father, abusive brothers, and barely any male friends. My genetics included a culturally “non-masculine” body with heightened interests in fashion, music, art, and cooking, along with a natural draw toward the male physique over the female physique.
That last one, that draw, I can clearly recall from as young as 6 or 7 years old.
You combine my nature and my nurture, and it’s like I was in a pressure cooker set for gay sex.
I’ve had others ask me: would you have been attracted to men in a different environment? Or would a different genetic makeup have made any difference?
Honestly, I don’t think so. I think altering one or the other would have made my attractions slightly different, but considering my circumstances and my genes, I still would have been attracted to men either way.
The general reaction to this idea is condemnation from the Church and a call for submission to my attractions from the world. And for a while, I thought these were the only two options.
Then I made my own decision.
After my decision to remain a man, I began to feel more equipped to decide what I wanted to do based on what I believed, not what others believed.
I accepted that I had same-sex attractions. I also accepted that I didn’t have to act on them if I didn’t believe I should.
The Church calls me weird. The world calls me foolish. Honestly, neither knew what to do with me for a long time.
But I knew I was doing what I wanted to do; for me, I was following Jesus.
So, am I still attracted to men? Yes. But my attractions are like anyone else’s, sexuality aside.
Straight men don’t stop being attracted to other women because they’re married. Gay men don’t stop being attracted to other men when they’re married either. Honestly, people usually don’t just stop being attracted to other people because they’re “happy” in a relationship.
Attraction is an extremely complex phenomenon that scientists are barely able to understand, even now. Isn’t it foolish to assume we can resolve it by so simply stereotyping people because their attraction tends toward one gender or another or somewhere in between? Human sexuality is way more complex than that.
Why don’t we start by acknowledging we know little about why people are attracted to other people and go from there? Every person is different; every story will be different.
And everyone has a choice to make.
It’s not even a choice about attractions; it’s a choice about following Jesus.
And no matter who you are attracted to, that is the more serious and more important decision each person must make.
Have you wondered why you are attracted to men in the nature vs. nurture argument? Where do you land, and how do you choose to follow Jesus moving forward?
* Photo courtesy ksayer, Creative Commons.