Saturday, August 27, 2011

Am I more gay than you?

My last post served as a shout out to married gay men for their commitment to their spouses and families.  I wonder how some gay men (in the LDS church and otherwise) are able to marry a woman, let alone date a woman while others like me don't even have an interest in asking a girl out.  As I think about this, a few questions come to mind:

1.  Is your level of attraction to men just not as strong as my level of attraction?  I believe that attraction is attraction and that everyone is attracted to both genders to some degree.  Now, that might not really translate to physical attraction.  But I think that straight men are attracted to various things about other men and enjoy spending "bro time" together.  And I believe that gay men like me can be attracted to women in ways that are non-physical.  Throughout my life, I've had a handful of girls who I've become extremely close with, but we've never crossed the line of being physical and I have no interest in dating them or having a romantic relationship with them.  I absolutely love their company and spending time with them, but that's it.  It's not me being a snob and totally shutting the door to women, but the thought of asking a girl out is painful for me to consider.  So, within this range of attraction (I should specify a range of physical attraction), I think some men are nearer to the middle than I am.  Some of you who are married were physically attracted enough to your wives to ask them out on a first date, to marry them, to have children with them.  I admire that, but I don't even have the desire at all to ask a girl to go on a date.  Am I falling short?  Is my attraction to men stronger than yours?  Are you doing things I'm not?  I think in many ways, I'd be an ideal husband to a woman, but where many of you can make things happen in the physical aspect of a relationship, I would completely hate the experience.

2.  Are you just more righteous than me?  Maybe you are more diligent in righteous living and keeping the commandments and so you can manage your attractions more easily?  I have always believed that we are blessed when we do as the Lord asks and that our weaknesses can be turned into strengths with the Lord's help.  But I've got to be honest:  I feel like I've been pretty righteous (in a non-proud way) and I seem to be so much more attracted to men and so much less attracted to women than others who of you who aren't even active in church anymore.  I can always do more, sure, but I go to church every week, I serve in my callings diligently, I've never smoked or drank in my life, etc and yet...I have absolutely no desire to date women.  I've spent hours in prayer and acts of service as I've tried to figure out a way to do what I'm supposed to do (date and marry a woman) and yet it's like pushing a boulder that won't move an inch.  Yes, all that matters is that I'm pushing the boulder, but to me, that's not all that matters.  I need more out of life.  So, there are many of you who are more righteous, but on this point, I just wanted to state that it's not for lack of truly trying to live the gospel that I'm not attracted in the least to women.  Are you just kind of attracted to men where I'm totally attracted to men?  I know that it's not my acts or my righteousness that will save me, it's all about the Savior.  But I wish my dedication to living the gospel as taught in the LDS church resulted in less attraction to men and more attraction to women like it seems to do for so many of you.

These are the main things I think of when I see gay men in the church who are married.  I see guys writing books and attending workshops and living these happy, meaningful lives.  They seem so content and grateful and carefree.  They seem to have figured it out and I wonder why the hell I haven't yet when I seem to be doing the same things.  It's kind of like some men are born with 10 toes while others are born with 7 toes while others are born with 3.  Those who have 10 toes can walk much more easily but might be missing a finger.  Those who are born with 7 toes have a harder time walking, but they can walk much more easily than those with 3 toes.  I feel like many of you have 7 toes compared to my 3 toes.  Does that make sense?

This isn't meant to be a "poor me" post.  I'm actually pretty upbeat and try as hard as I can to see the positive things in life.  I know how healing true gratitude can be.  But I sit here scratching my head, wondering how many can make the commitment to give your life to a woman and build a life with her when I can't even give a woman a 2nd date.  I could give a man everything, all that I own, all that I possess, all that I am, everything!  I could do so in a heartbeat but that's a sin.  So if I'm going to figure out how to give that to a woman, how can I begin without me feeling so forced?  If men are that they might have joy, then why would marrying a woman bring me so much unhappiness?  I really don't think I'm less righteous.  Is my level of attraction stronger and therefore, the degree of difficulty is higher?  Will God keep that in mind?  Or does He expect me to marry a woman and have kids just as much as all of you?  I know that no blessing will be withheld from those that are righteous, but I don't want to wait another 34 years to experience what so many of you seem to be experiencing when it comes to finding a partner and building a life with them.  I honestly feel like a priest who has sworn to a life of celibacy.  Is that really what the Lord wants for me?  Those seem to be my 2 options:  A life of celibacy as a single man or a loveless marriage to a woman.  Neither option is appealing at all.  Feeling like I have to choose between the two is a great source of sadness and anxiety to me when I am otherwise a very happy person.

I'm looking for loving, thoughtful and non-judgmental responses on this one please.



  1. Benny,
    I'd love to discuss with you. Give me a call sometime.


  2. Benny,

    Indeed there are degrees of "gayness". Have you ever heard of the Kinsey Scale? Its a general measure of sexual attraction from purely heterosexual at one end of the scale, through various degrees to bisexuality in the middle, to purely homosexual attraction at the other end. I'm personally near the "purely homosexual" end of the scale. After years of dating and faking attraction to women I finally got to the point where I called a stop to it all. No more dates. Kissing a woman is painful to me, and vaginas make me puke, quite honestly. There is nothing there for me.

    And I don't think righteousness has anything to do with your ability to become attracted to a woman. Its either there or its not. Some people who are more in the middle of the Kinsey scale may be able to buck up and get excited about someone of the opposite sex - even marry. But not me. And I don't think God expects that of me or anyone like me. My Stake Pres. told me all I needed to worry about was being faithful, and the Atonement would take care of the rest. There was no "requirement" for me to get married.

    As far as finding something meaningful while being "celibate". Well, for me it has been several things - the first is involvement with the Missionaries. I have found great joy in working with them and becoming friends with them, and in many ways spoling them. I feed them whenever I can and help them get to appointments,etc. etc. This is healthy male bonding going on. Another thing I do is I hug everyone. Male, female, young, old. Humans need to touch and be touched. Hugging is very therapeutic, and I'm very pro-active about it. The other thing that has helped me is being involved with kids. I have several friends with large families who know I'm gay and they have "adopted" me in a way. I'm included in family outings, birthdays, holidays, etc. The children adore me and I adore them. This is as close to being a father as I will get, and it is very fulfilling. I also work with the teenagers in my Ward and host dinners at my house for them where everyone can just hang out, watch movies, play games, etc. and just be themselves. Its great for the youth not to have parents around yet be in a safe environment (only Church standards in my house). There are several kids who have been reactivated and went on missions because of these little get-togethers, and that has been very fulfilling.

    Bottom line - you have to take charge and be pro-active to set up a support network that will help you feel connected and fulfilled. It won't happen by itself, you have to go after it. I would recommend including trusted priesthood leaders in the process. I have had excellent Bishops, which has been a real blessing. Hope this helps.

  3. Excellent post. I know you weren't going for the "I'm gayer than you are ..." theme, but it seems to be a topic for a lot of people, lately (especially in the Church).

    I agree that we are all in varying degrees of our gayness and those more in the middle find it easier to marry or even fake it with women. I think this is why it is still difficult within the Church to peg gay people in one large group. Shouldn't we all be like 'what's his name' who married a woman and had 2 kids? Shouldn't we all be like 'that guy' who never married, but is (mostly) celibate?

    Unfortunately, this thinking isn't limited to gay people. It applies to all aspects of personalities, trials, characteristics, sins, etc. Some people would have the smoker run out of attending meetings, while others want all sinners to come to church. The comparisons go on and on.

    Good for you. Be who you are. Try to understand your plan and God's plan for you. Reconcile with your Savior and be a good person. That is what can make us happy and fulfilled.
    - M

  4. @Bravone - I'd like that. Can you email me with your phone number? Send it to

    @Neal - Yeah, I've heard of the Kinsey scale. I'm probably more curious about a spiritual scale. Are gay guys who are able to date and marry women just more righteous than me? Did I agree to a stronger degree of difficulty? I'm amazed that any man who is as attracted to other men as much as I am can make things work with a woman. I read posts from gay LDS men who are married and they talk about how they can perform and that they have a very fulfilling sex life. Yes, it takes effort, but it's fulfilling. I just don't see that sex with a women would ever be fulfilling. I know there's a lot more to marriage than sex, but I don't think I could ever marry a woman if I wasn't strongly attracted to her physically as well as attracted in other ways.

    Thanks for your ideas on managing it all and finding balance. I'm pretty much there already, actively involved with my ward, serving in callings I enjoy, etc. I have a wide and varied circle of friends and try to keep busy and that definitely helps. I just wonder why that's not enough. Why don't I feel fulfilled enough with these things that I'm doing to keep busy? I've got the network in place and you're right, it definitely help. But it doesn't meet my core needs as far as what I want. I'll make that my next post. Thanks again for your ideas. I just wish it were enough to not make me want a committed romantic relationship with a man.

    @Morgan - Thanks for your comment. I agree with what you wrote and can see how comparing myself to others plays a part in how I manage this whole thing. That said, I can honestly say that I want a relationship with a man for many reasons other than because so and so has a relationship. Your challenge to reconcile with the Savior is welcome and I'm trying so hard to do that. The church says I'm going against His gospel by choosing to pursue a relationship with a man, but I want to be happy. Does He really want me to be this lonely for another 34 years? Maybe that's what He's asking and up until now, that's pretty much what I've accepted. The only problem is that I'm not a happy person by choosing to abstain from dating men. I'll continue to do as you've said and be as good a person as I can. That's always been important. I just think I could still be a really good person even if I had a boyfriend or a partner. Thanks again for your comment!