QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

I am a middle-aged married man with children and a strong Christian faith. I have been struggling with sexual desires for other men since my early teens. While I have suppressed these desires and not had any sexual relationships with men, the desire becomes stronger with each passing year. I believe my desire for men is sinful, yet I cannot seem to stop it. I want to desire my wife, be a normal man and admire women instead of men. I am so embarrassed that you are only the second person I have told about my feelings. I told one other person by phone who is part of a support group. I am afraid to go to the meetings because I actually may seek out a sexual relationship. I would like to seek local counseling but don't know who to see and I do not want my faith compromised.

Answer

You sound as if you are in tremendous pain. I'm glad you took the risk of asking for assistance. It must have been frightening. I hope I can help.

There are many people, some of them members of the clergy, who believe it is possible to be a good Christian and have desires for members of the same gender. You may find it helpful to make contact with some of those people and/or churches. The Welcoming Churches movement is composed of Baptist, Presbyterian, Disciples of Christ, United Church of Christ, Lutheran and United Methodist congregations, and can be reached through the Open Hands Magazine at 3801 N. Keeler Avenue, Chicago IL 60641, (312) 736-5526.

Another source of affirmative Christian thought on gay and lesbian issues is the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. You can find their web page at http://www.trends.ca/~ufmcc/.

You may also find it helpful to work on changing how you think about your desires for other men. For instance, instead of trying to make those feelings go away and castigating yourself for having them, perhaps you could view them as a part of yourself that you have decided not to act on. This approach distinguishes between feelings, which just are, and actions, which can be controlled.

I hope you will find the peace you seek.

3/13/98


Author and psychologist Gail S. Bernstein, Ph.D. has a psychotherapy practice in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Bernstein speaks and writes about gay, lesbian and bisexual people for both general and professional audiences, and is the author of the new audiotape, NOT HETEROSEXUAL: An Educational Program About Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People.

 

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