Homosexuality: It’s not what you think.
The first time I heard of “homosexuals,” I was completely confused.
I was a sheltered Christian kid and I’d never heard the term, so I asked a more worldly friend about it.
As my friend explained it, homosexuals were men who put their you-know-what in another man’s you-know-where, which was probably the grossest thing I’d ever heard.
“BUT WHY?!” I wanted to know. Why would anyone want to do such a thing?
“I have no earthly idea,” my friend replied.
For many years, that’s what I thought homosexuality was. I thought gay men were perverts who weren’t content with God’s design—and had therefore decided to push the sexual envelope by engaging in male-male sex. (Why? I didn’t know. Maybe for the sexual thrill? Or to rebel against God? I wasn’t sure.)
In my mind, “homosexuality” was some form of bizarre, kinky sex for crazy people.
But then something happened.
When I’d hit puberty and all my friends had started to feel attraction to girls, I hadn’t. I had started to feel attraction to guys instead. For years I’d denied it to myself or written it off as a phase, but finally, I had to face the truth: that in spite of my strong faith and the fact that I was dating girls, I had never been attracted to women, no matter how hard I tried.
It took me many years and many prayerful, tearful nights to admit that my brain is wired differently from most guys’. What they feel for girls, I feel for guys. And what they feel for guys, I feel for girls. I can be great friends with a woman, but I can’t fall in love with her. A close female friend feels like a sister, not a lover.
And that’s when I realized:
So that’s what people mean when they say they’re “gay.”
It’s not about sex at all.
It’s about what you feel inside. It’s about how you relate to other people. It’s about who you’re attracted to—not just physically, but romantically and emotionally. It’s about who you could—or couldn’t—fall in love with.
And this is why people fight so much about homosexuality.
As I’ve written before, “homosexuality” isn’t a helpful word, because it’s far too vague. If you believe, as I did, that homosexuality is something people do—a sex act—then a lot of stuff about gay people seems silly or senseless. Of course you wouldn’t compare a sex act to marriage. Of course you wouldn’t talk about a sex act around children or in polite company. Of course you wouldn’t ask for public endorsement of a sex act.
This is how I saw the gay rights movement for many years: It made no sense to me, because I thought homosexuality was about a sex act. And lots of people still do. You can tell because of the comparisons they make—comparing it to sexually abusing animals or children, for instance—and because of the questions they ask, like, “Why can’t you just keep it in the bedroom?”
They’re not trying to be mean. They’re really, genuinely baffled by it all. Just like I was.
But here’s the truth: I’m gay, and my life isn’t about sex. Some of my gay friends are having sex, and some aren’t. What we have in common isn’t sex; it’s that our brains are wired differently from our straight friends’ brains. We didn’t ask for it. Some of us fought for years—even decades—to try to become attracted to the opposite sex. Others accepted themselves early on. All of us are faced with the same situation: We can fall in love with the same sex, but not the opposite sex. We could choose to be celibate, but we can’t choose to be straight.
Is it any surprise, then, that most gay people—like most straight people—want to fall in love and have a romantic relationship with someone? Is it any surprise that physical intimacy, including sex, is usually a part of that relationship?
“But Justin,” some Christians say to me, “maybe you didn’t choose your feelings, but can’t you just treat them as a temptation and abstain? I chose to abstain from sex until I got married.”
Well, yes, I can, but that’s exactly my point. Even if I abstain from sex for my entire life, I’m still gay, and I’m still alone. That’s not actually a solution to anything; it only seems like one if you think this is all about sex.
As a gay Christian, I have a lot of questions about my future: What if I fall in love some day? What if I don’t? If I end up alone—by choice or by chance—what happens to me if I get sick and there’s no one to take care of me? And if I do fall in love with a guy and decide to build a life with him, I’m pretty confident that 99% of the questions and challenges I’ll face will have nothing to do with sex. Relationships are hard, no matter who you are. So if your only concern about my life is whether I’m having sex, it sure doesn’t seem like you’re thinking very much about me as a person.
Yes, sex and sexuality are part of life. But now I understand something I didn’t understand before: Gay, straight, or bi, a person’s “sexual orientation” isn’t just a sexual orientation. It’s how you’re wired: sexually, yes, but also emotionally, romantically, relationally.
Homosexuality isn’t about a sex act any more than heterosexuality is. Some gay people never even have sex, and those who do, don’t all have it the same way. But we’re all human, we all feel loneliness, and we all crave love.
Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people out there who think homosexuality is a sex act. As long as that misconception exists, they’ll keep right on being baffled by my calling myself a gay Christian, and my gay friends will keep right on being frustrated at what seems like a total lack of human compassion.
And me, I’ll just keep right on saying, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
As always, some fine writing from gcnjustin.
millions of real existing people fall in love with straight men. what the fuck
im still thinking about this. they dont just befriend and hang out with straight men, they get emotional about them. they think ‘this person is the best thing that ever happened to me’. i think there was a time when this phenomenon made sense to me but now it does not.
If you look up “Stockholm Syndrome” it makes a lot more sense.“Chicks who have relationships I don’t approve of or feel attracted to must be stupid, emotional, and mentally compromised!!!” #2feminist4u
apparently people who aren’t straight men are never abusive partners either which let me tell you internet …
Friendly reminder ԅ(≖‿≖ԅ) that if you don’t sleep with someone for the sole reason that they’re HIV positive then you ARE being discriminatory towards a human being with a disease and you’re scum of the earth ｡◕‿◕｡ It’s basically as bad as saying you couldn’t love somebody with cancer. Respect people’s feelings. (◕‿◕✿)
Is it possible that this is a real thing. Could it?
Like I accept that the post is a joke, but ????
OP meant it as a joke, but this is part of current HIV advocacy.
And yes, deciding not to sleep with someone you would otherwise be interested in sleeping with is serophobic. It is not based on a rational assessment of risk; it’s based on the outdated perception of what living with HIV looks like combined with the general loathing that society has for HIV+ people.
And no, no one is trying to guilt you into sleeping with an HIV+ person. This is not a consent issue. You are allowed to have irrational or harmful sexual preferences. But we are going to call them out.
If this current HIV advocacy I want zero to do with it. Next thing we should stop with that whole ‘stay home if you have an infectious disease’ thing because that’s so phobic towards people who have the flu.
You know why people don’t want HIV? Because it’s an easily preventable infectious disease that has no cure. At the current point of ability we cannot fix it when someone’s been infected and doesn’t jump to emergency meds right away. (there are a few that you can slap on in a very short window after you have possibly had contact because the window is about 72 hours and you can’t do a reliable test until way way later (here). Unprotected sex with an HIV+ person under full treatment is supposedly 96% safe, if the treatment is with the right drugs and regimen (here). But you know what, those 4% left over are still a whole lot when you’re talking about an infection that de facto doesn’t go away anymore. (here) This isn’t Chlamydia that you can pelt with antibiotics and then it goes away. This is a disease that will have you on a medicine cocktail until 1) your death 2) we manage to find an effective cure for the masses. And even the existing treatment only take full effect if you have access to the meds you need and don’t skip them and take all your doc appointments to keep an eye on the cell counts. Oh, and psycho-social support.
And you can prevent all that by 1) condoms 2) not sleeping with people who are HIV positive.
And so help me if some stands there and decides that not wanting to sleep with someone for reasons if infectious disease is a ‘irrational and harmful sexual preference’. No. This is self-preservation. I’ve had a number of First Aid courses (thank you Red Cross) and you’re not forced to administer first aid to someone if it endangers your own life. You’re not forced to give mouth-to-mouth to someone with heavy bleeding on the face because of the infectious risk, more in regards to hep B then HIV. (here, here, german law text, not the ‘den Umständen nach zuzumuten’ translate to ‘if the circumstances are bearable’) Mind, you can totally do it, but nobody will hold it against you if you don’t because nobody expects you to endanger yourself like that.
And while we’re on it, people generally don’t like diseases. Been on the bus and the person before has a massive wet coughing fit? I can guarantee that every human in sight will try to edge away because infections. Are. Icky. Even easy-peasy things like a cold. Nobody wants that. People will get upset about ANY sort of STD even these that are merely an inconvenience. Hell, people will get mad if you sneeze at them.
But apparently having sex should be mandatory because if you don’t want to sleep with someone with a chronic infectious disease you’re an asshole. There’s a difference between ostracizing HIV+ people in every day life (don’t do that) and refusing and sleep with them (that’s totally your call and don’t let people tell you you’re oppressive for not wanting to).