Then & Now
Many brothers have walked this road less traveled. Here are some of their stories.
Then & Now: Tim
Virginia, USA. Single. Christian (Catholic). Born 1977.
Growing up, I was so depressed and had such low self-esteem that I didn’t concern myself much with sex or dating at all. I knew I was attracted to men, and became addicted to porn early on, but until my first sexual experience at age 18, I didn’t think much about homosexuality. That first experience was with a man in an adult bookstore. I hated it. I felt disgusting. But I wanted more.
For the next five years, I had a serious alcohol problem and contemplated suicide. I was constantly in gay chat rooms, and about twice a month I met up for anonymous sex. I experimented with being “out” to a few people, and all of them accepted and encouraged me. I even felt confident that my family would be okay with me being gay.
But it still wasn’t working. No matter how much sex I had or how many chat rooms I was in, something just didn’t feel right, and I still needed more. I drank more and more and started making a plan to live on the streets in Chicago as a male prostitute. I figured it would mean I would take street drugs and be dead before age 25 — and I was fine with that.
My Decision Point
I felt like I had been born same-sex attracted and that something that felt so natural couldn’t be wrong. Yet, when I imagined my best fantasy — I’m out and proud, everyone loves me, and I live happily ever after with the man of my dreams — it somehow felt like a consolation prize.
Around age 23, I became convinced that all the teachings of the Catholic Church are true and that there was a life out there for me better than I can possibly imagine.
“Gay” was already not working for me, but now it conflicted with my convictions. I thought I had only two options: I either live in incongruity with my world view and give in to my same-sex sexual impulses, or I repress those impulses and increase my shame and self-hatred.
Convinced that I would one day live a life of peace and happiness, I sought a third option.
My Road Less Traveled
I had some reparative therapy but mostly I went on experiential weekends like Journey Into Manhood, Adventure In Manhood, Journey Beyond and a secular, experiential men’s “training adventure” and applied the principles I learned. This saved and changed my life.
I decided to challenge my belief that I was some sort of third gender and didn’t belong among the men. I started doing activities with other men that I had always wanted to do but hadn’t because I thought I didn’t belong. I realized that my same-sex desires were pointing to what I really wanted and needed — authentic connection with other men. I began to nourish authentic male friendships in my everyday life.
At the start, I believed that I had to change my sexual attractions in order to be good or to be accepted. I was motivated primarily by shame, and that did not work. Real change did not begin until I learned to receive love and love myself with all my sexual attractions as they were, even if they never changed. Then I was able to work on changing my beliefs instead of focusing on the attractions.
Heterosexuality was not the goal — wholeness was. Trying to “fix” the same-sex attractions was like only trying to stop the bleeding without ever healing the wound. I knew I was wounded because I felt worthless, incapable, and unlovable. I worked at healing these actual wounds without being concerned whether my same-sex attractions changed or diminished. And the more I did that, the more the same-sex attractions diminished without me even trying.
Where I Am Now
Now I identify as completely heterosexual. It has been over 20 years since I’ve had any sexual behavior with other men and almost as long years since I’ve even wanted to. My desire for a same-sex romantic relationship is completely gone, and instead I want to have an intimate, loving, romantic relationship and a lifelong commitment with a woman who is open to children. I already have intimate, loving relationships with men, but they aren’t romantic or sexual. They aren’t the same thing that I want with one woman.
I continue to have an addiction to lust, and the lust is still toward men. I have no desire to change one lust for another and lust after women. My sexual attractions to women are pure and genuine.
As I continue my growth toward wholeness, lust will not be a part of my life for either gender. By challenging my beliefs about my same-sex desires, I have learned to challenge self-limiting beliefs in other areas of my life. Now I’m doing and accomplishing things I never thought possible before.
— Updated 2020