Sunday, January 07, 2007

"Guy Stuff"

Two posts ago, my San Diego Calvinist Townhall commenter/friend Jerubaal left me this very funny and thought-provoking comment, I suppose as advice on how fix my "problem."

Do guy stuff (like work out), hang out with guys, and think about girls.

Let's get the humor out of the way first: Jerubaal, buddy, working out? That's your best example of non-gay guy stuff? You live in San Diego, for crying out loud. Have you even been to a gym there? ;) Okay, that was just a bad example (that or you were being sarcastic) but the point still stands. A lot of people--perhaps even some within ex-gay ministries (having had relatively little experience with them, I wouldn't know)--hold an opinion that becoming more stereotypically masculine (or feminine) is a step on the way to heterosexuality, or at the very least, a proper life for a male (or female) Christian.

The rest of the post is not a reply to Jerubaal's comment (so you can breathe easy, buddy). The comment, though, did get my mind on gender stereotypes and what role such things have to play when it comes to homosexuality and Christianity. There are two ways I can look at this: personally and critically. Since this is a personal blog I'm tempted to simply relate my own experiences, but I do love critical analysis of any given subject (which is why I love Disputed Mutability's blog so much). So, I think I'll try doing both here.

Personally, I think I'm pretty masculine, or at least I'm as masculine as I think I need to be, and I don't think there is too much of me that I'd consider feminine (although I've been told that my strictly comedic impressions of an angry black woman are too spot-on ;). I mean, yes, some people have said that they weren't surprised when they found out I was gay. A few even admitted to having been suspicious, and apparently one said they had figured me out after a single handshake. :-/ But I've also gotten "I had no idea!" comments and I've been told by several straight guys that my certain brand of gayness is tolerable because I don't "throw it in their faces." Obviously, these guys don't know my entire story (I find it's too complicated to relate to anyone but my closest friends...aaand strangers on the Internet ;) But to put it bluntly, it's not like I walk around with a feather boa and a tiara and say things like "Girlfriend, you are HOT! Let's go to Jamba Juice, mmkay?"

As far as friends go, I would say that, yes, the majority of my best friends are female, but it's not because I dislike or don't get along with guys. In fact, in college, for the first time I'm meeting straight guys that I actually do get along with and enjoy being friends with. It's probably because I'm, well, in college. Being born and raised in small (and I mean small) town NC, most guys I knew were of the more...shall I say redneck type? I'm just not the hunting/fishing/football-playing sort, though I don't mind people who hunt or fish and I absolutely loved going to my high-school football games. What can I say? My parents are more artistic and intellectual than most, and so am I. I like art and books and theatre (and yes, I spell it that way). Not many guys around home did, so while I didn't not get along with them I wasn't exactly buddy-buddy with them either. My only guy friends were my girlfriends' boyfriends. That's changed in college, though. I'm meeting an entire group of guys that I actually enjoy hanging out with. Granted, they aren't your usual frat-party, prankster, macho-macho men, but since I'm not either, it works out.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that I have a slight aversion to picking friends just because I think that their friendship is something that would be beneficial for me. If I had to pretend to be into sports--other than hockey, which I am into (Go 'Canes!)--or hunting or whatever qualifies as "guy stuff" I wouldn't be happy and, frankly, I'd look and feel stupid. I pick my friends based on qualities that determine whether or not I get along with them and want to be with them (and, hopefully, they've done the same for me and aren't just putting up with me ;)

Now that I've explained my own personal experiences, let me think critically about this. How do gender/sexuality stereotypes fit into a Christian view of homosexuality? We all know what the stereotypes of gay men are--effeminate, crass, into theatre, fashion, design, and the like. And those stereotypes aren't without merit--I've already admitted to being guilty of some of them, but I don't mind being guilty of them, because I don't think they matter when it comes to my walk of faith and my life as a celibate same-sex attracted person. And of course it should be stated that gays--like any group--are much more diverse than the stereotype would claim. Remember Tom? He's pretty much earned the respect of all the guys in the dorm after completely--forgive me, there's no other word for it--pwning them at HALO. And most of them probably never suspected he was gay in the first place (I sure didn't).

However, I do think that stereotypes would matter if they were not merely aspects of my personality but habits that I had picked up after hanging out in a more predominately gay social circle for a number of years--if such a thing actually happens. To sum it up: if the reason I didn't hang out with guys or do "guy stuff" was because it was guy stuff and I felt uncomfortable about the masculinity of it all, then yes, there would be a problem. Maybe there are some struggling people who have that as a stumbling block and need to get over it, but I don't think I'm one of them. Rather, I consider this more of a matter of likes and dislikes, and since those likes and dislikes aren't inherently sinful, I'm fine with them. Does that make sense to anyone? I'll admit that I'm running on very little sleep and a lot of caffeine right now.

There's more to be said here, and I'll probably knock it out in the comments. For example, does masculinity/femininity in a Side B or ex-gay person matter when it comes to ministry (would people--Christians especially--trust someone who was "obviously" gay or would they be suspicious?) Does it matter in terms of the possibility of marriage? And would others consider a lessening of these stereotypical mannerisms/habits as an aspect of one's change or healing from a non-Christian homosexual lifestyle? Have at it, guys...


kurt_t said...

Wait. Jamba Juice is a gay thing?

I really need to get out more.

Jay said...

It's just a joke I heard somewhere. ;)

Norm! said...

I think you have a pretty good handle on your masculine identity. I would avoid getting caught-up into ex-gay psycho-babbly about masculinity and having a male role model. Lord knows, stereotypical gay and straight attributes increasingly overlap (straights who appear gay, gays who appear straight).

However, I would say that if you have an overwhelming attraction (crush, fetish or hang-up) about a particular type of guy (jock/hunter/gamer?), then you may want to take an interest in getting to know these type of men just to de-mystify them.

Jay said...

Norm: Well, I think having a male role model is important for a guy, as is having a sense of masculinity, but I think a sense of masculinity can take on a variety of forms, as can male role models (though mine are definitely the traditional father/older brother).

And I don't really have an overwhelming attraction to any type of guy, nor am I exactly avoidant of any type. I was captain of my school's track team, so I know plenty of jocks. I don't like hunting, but many said jocks are also hunters, and I'm pretty much a gamer myself ;)

jake said...

The point of doing guy stuff is to build up your confidence as a guy and to differentiate yourself, in your own mind, from women as much as possible, and also to associate your identity with men, just like pre-heterosexual boys do before (and during early) adolescence. I think SSA stems from a long-acquired (or unacquired) sexual identity issue.

Also, working out as a specific suggestion comes from this line of thinking. SSA, IMO, means a guy in need of male affection (in that sense, I'm taking most of SSA at face value). The lack of adequate male affection among peers can possibly be remedied by higher quality peer relationships with men. And what do men look for in friends - what do men like in other men? Masculinity: power, competence, and confidence. All three are exuded by the body and mind you get from working out.

Now to your closing comments:

"For example, does masculinity/femininity in a Side B or ex-gay person matter when it comes to ministry (would people--Christians especially--trust someone who was "obviously" gay or would they be suspicious?)

It would only be natural for Christians to be suspicious.

"Does it matter in terms of the possibility of marriage?"

What do you mean? Some women like effeminate men, I guess, but that type of woman might not be the one you'd want to marry. And I could be wrong about that.

"And would others consider a lessening of these stereotypical mannerisms/habits as an aspect of one's change or healing from a non-Christian homosexual lifestyle?"

I know for a fact that they do. Whether or not we are right to is a good question. Personally, it would be very encouraging and, yes, expected, in someone in the church that I loved that as they grew out of SSA they grew into a more masculine or feminine identity, respective to their sex.

jerubaal said...

The last comment was by me - don't know why I clicked my name instead of my screenname in the autocomplete dropdown box.

jerubaal said...

About Sam Diego gyms:

I don't go to the gym - I have a nice bench in my bedroom that I use. But all the guys I know that work out (which in California, let's face it, is every guy I know) is straight. (All my numerous gay friends are from Orlando when I lived there). And half of them work out in gyms in the gay section of town - Hillcrest - where every store and school has rainbow flags in and outside.

Working out isn't going to help an SSA individual who indulges their SSA - it'll just make it worse, I suspect.

Jay said...

I have no doubt that it is healthy for any guy to have non-sexual bonds with other guys, whether he's gay, straight, struggling, or whatever. That just makes sense to me, but what I was trying to ask was if you think such a bond hinges on him doing stereotypical "guy stuff." Hypothetically speaking, do the bonds not count if the straight guys in question are not traditionally masculine? Or suppose they are masculine, but they treat you like one of the girls because of your status as a gay guy?

There are a lot of different types of guys out there, Jake, and power, competence, and confidence can be expressed in a variety of ways. This may sound conceited, but I think I express them through my convictions (power), intelligence (competence), and wacky sense of humor (confidence).

kurt_t said...

Are we suggesting that Jay join a gym in the gay part of town? I'm not sure I can get behind that.

For one thing, the music is probably going to be about 85 percent Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce.

I like Norm!'s suggestion about meeting the guys you're attracted to in order to demystify them, but, of course, that's not going to be real practical if your thing is Canadian Mounties or the Peking Acrobats.

As far as the idea that 'guy stuff' or 'authentic male interaction' or whatever you want to call it, has some value in terms of being able to change a man's sexual orientation, I would say continue to test that idea with your own mind and against your own life experience. Ultimately you're the only one who can decide whether that idea has any bearing on how you live your own life.

Jay said...

As with many of your other posts: I'm LOL Kurt. Don't worry, I'm not the one trying to change anything about who I am or who my friends are. I'm just raising questions about what is perceived as appropriate behavior for a Christian male, and if that image needs to be adjusted.

Brady said...

Good post, Jay.

I think the biggest problem with the "becoming more masculine to be straight" idea for gay men is simply that it relies too heavily on the streotype. Certainly steretoypes exist, and most often they are based in *some* form of reason. But encouraging gay guys to be more masculine to end SSA ignores a huge number of gays that never had that problem.

And, I'd like to add that I think the stereotypes of gay men that are out there are often accentuated because the gay guys that fall into the stereotype are so easy to pick out. Gay guys that are more "sraight acting" (don't hate me for using that term anyone), fall into society without being noticed as gay, so the number of those guys seems lower than normal and the normal of stereotypicaly gay acting guys seems higher. Add to that that if a masculine gay guy doesn't like the more flambouyant gay mannerisms he finds in bars and such, he may not go there because it doesn't appeal to him.

Moving on to Jerubaal's thoguhts on SSA being based in sexual identity issue, it also seems too easy to refute. Before I came out I honestly felt like I was the only gay guy out there that liked sports and didn't like the theater (I spell it like that, Jay ;-). Once I came out and met more gay people, I realized that my experience with gay people had been too limited for me to see that the streotype wasn't nearly as fool-proof as I thought. What that means is that theories of cures and causes of SSA based in the stereotype might have their own sampling problems

tilts_at_windmills said...

There are a lot of different types of guys out there, Jake, and power, competence, and confidence can be expressed in a variety of ways.

I think that's right on. There's nothing inherently more "masculine" about hockey than theater--oops, theatre ;). A man can express his masculinity in any field. Cooking is stereotypically feminine, but those Iron Chef competitions look pretty tough to me. That said, though, power, competence, and confidence aren't necessarily "masculine" traits in the first place. I mean, it's not like women aspire to weakness, incompetence, and self-doubt. Those qualities are more about maturity than gender.

Ditto Brady's post from the other side of the fence. I've always been a very feminine woman, have lots of female friends, good relationship with my mom--whatever created my sexual orientation, it wasn't a gender identity issue for me.

Joe said...

Jay, I recommend not having a thing for Peking Acrobats.

Firstly, Peking acrobats would be constantly moaning that they are in fact Beijing acrobats and 85 percent of them would be diehard Kelly Clarkson fans. Stick with Canadian Mounties.

Jay said...

Brady: Right. I think I didn't hit on that aspect of it because personally I am someone who is a little more representative of the stereotype (whether I like it or not). However, for those gay guys who do pass for straight guys (like my friend Tom), you really can't say that not enough guy-to-guy bonding is the problem for them. Same goes for Tilts.

Tilts: That's what I was pretty much trying to get at. You just seemed to say it a lot more simply. Thanks!

Kurt: Okay, then, but I'm really never been one for a man in uniform.

Norm! said...

I was thinking about Christian masculinity and thought WWJD? I don't believe the stereotypical Hollywood portrayals of Jesus would fit-in with the hyper-masculine jock/hunter stereotypes. Rather, Hollywood Jesus seems more akin to a Birkenstock-wearing, vegetarian, hippie. In fact, I wonder if Hollywood Jesus would be accused of not being masculine enough.

How is Christian masculinity different than Christian feminity? Did Jesus teach that men and women should act differently? I've probably sung too many gender neutral hymns in the liberal churches I've attended, but I don't really see Christianity as giving gender-specific guidance. There are a few things about what men and women should/shouldn't do, but many believers today consider these guidance culturally specific to first century Christians.

Robert said...

"Rather, Hollywood Jesus seems more akin to a Birkenstock-wearing, vegetarian, hippie."

Love the observation Norm. Your description makes Jesus sound like a stereotypical lesbian. ROTF!!!!

jerubaal said...

There are many great instances in the Bible where men are contrasted with women. The first aspect that comes to mind is of man's superiority - in position, not dignity - to woman. We are in plainly in authority over women in the Bible. "Woman" means "taken out of man" - the ladies came from us guys and not the other way around. Genesis 2.

The curses from the fall are also illustrative. Man was cursed to futile labor, but woman was cursed to labor pains and to always have a heart that needs a husband, and to always being ruled by her husband. Genesis 3.

Women in the church are not to have any authority over men, or to teach men. 1 Timothy 2. Also, the bible gives different marriage instructions to husbands and wives. To men, Paul says, "love your wives", and to women he says, "submit to your husbands". This makes all kinds of sense: in the Bible, one of inferior status shows love towards the superior by obedience. So both men and women are essentially told to love each other.

Therefore, in terms of authority and matters of trustworthy knowledge and wisdom, men in the Bible are seen as superior to women.

Nevertheless, the dignity of men and women is identical. Both are made in the image of God - and infinite dignity cannot be more in one instance than in another.

grace said...

You're not CoC by any chance, are you??
Just curious...particularly when you mentioned the part about women not teaching. Not that being CoC is a bad thing (i am affiliated with that group) but...your "doctrine" sounds dead on like the "unwritten" one the hardliners in the CoC follow. Even though, officially, there is no doctrine. Gotta love that! ha!

I do believe that many of those things were written to a specific people in a specific culture at a specific time. I'm probably what you would consider a bit "heretical" in my take on the "authority" of scripture as it concerns some of the things you just mentioned above.

love and grace,

Jay said...

Joe: I just realized that in my first response I had called you Kurt. Sorry. Hopefully you didn't find that insulting ;)

Norm / Jerubaal: I'm halfway in between the argument about gender neutrality vs. gender specific guidelines in Scripture. Sometimes it sounds like women shouldn't preach, yet you see people like the judge Deborah and the prophetess Anna in the Bible, not to mention many of the deacons and other disciples that Paul lists in The Acts (such as Phoebe, Lydia, Prisca, etc.) And as for asking my wife to submit to me, I don't think that will fly too well. I'm not a very demanding type, and I question my own judgment too much to ask someone else to follow it. I'd like to have a partner, not a servent.

Pam: You'll get the picture shortly. You're lucky I trust you, girl!

grace said...

Jay: You want you wife to submit to you. Let me just way that...that and thank you for trusting me! :) WANT her to submit to you....just as YOU will submit to HER. It's a two-way street. Submission is where it's AT!!! I hope I sound like your "HIPPIE" parents. They sound so awesome! :)
love and grace,

grace said...

ok...i'm tired...there are many typos in that comment....

i won't even begin to rectify them here lest my tiredness cause me to make even MORE typos in my attempt to correct the former typos....
love and grace,

kurt_t said...

Is it just me, or is Pam starting to sound like Gertrude Stein?

grace said...

LOL! WEll...Christine did say that I could be an "honorary lesbian" once in an email. ;) I KNOW you were referring to her sometimes circle way of speaking...not her sexuality...but...I couldn't resist!

Inheritor of Heaven said...

Sorry to join the fray late. Been a bit busy lately. I am wondering if hanging out with guys more and thinking about girls more (if it actually worked to make an SSA guy into a nonSSA guy) would likely get newly heterosexual guy into lustful trouble, this time in terms of the opposite sex. It seems that it is the Lord's job to provide what is necessary for the person involved to live according to His purposes and it is the person's job to continue seeking and obeying the Lord's will as He reveals it.

grace said...

Inheritor: That's about the most reasonable thing I've heard in AGES!

Jay said...

Grace and Kurt: LOL. Just LOL. Sometimes you guys just make me smile. Thanks for that.

Inheritor: Better late than never, friend. Thank you for your words of wisdom. I do think, though, that it depends on the type of guy that one chooses to hang out with. Also, I don't think Jake/Jerubaal ever implied anything sexual when he said "think about girls."

Pomoprophet said...

Well I'm a football coach and still like penises... so whats that mean? lol...

Sterotypes are stereotypes for a reason but by their very definition are not always applicable. Ive spent much time (and still do) in exgay ministries. They encourage participation in "the world of men." Not because it makes us straight but because for many guys with SSA they dont feel a part of what normal guys do. At various exgay events i've taught the youth to play football. It always ends up being a great time because its safe and non-judgemental. I always get a kick out of it too!

Now obviously there are lots of fem str8 guys and vice versa. and playing sports or whatever doesnt "heal" anyone but if you cant relate to guys then getting out of the comfort zone and doing those things can bring more self confidence and help someone to realize they arent that different after all.

But it doesnt take away the liking of penises...

Jay said...

Pomoprophet: I totally agree with what you just said. Hanging out with guys is healthy for any male -- SSA or not -- especially if he has confidence issues. I'm going to link to you soon, I promise!

Beast said...

thanks jay, I laughed so hard reading this post!

Steve said...

"But it doesnt take away the liking of penises..."

It's a good reality check for anyone who thinks there is a simple solution to ssa. Cause there isn't.

“Working out isn't going to help an SSA individual who indulges their SSA - it'll just make it worse, I suspect.”

The gym is an eye-candy fest...there's only a lot of temptation there (coming from someone who goes almost daily).

Thanks everyone for the intelligent conversation. It makes for a good thought provoking read.

Scott said...


My parents were both open and demonstrative in their love for me. I was not abused as a child. Yet here I am in my mid-40s, happily married with three kids, and I am as attracted to men as I am to women, though I've always been faithful to my wife.

The traits that you might name as "feminine" are some of the very traits that attracted my wife to me: I'm sensitive, love to talk (and listen), tend to enjoy non-traditional activities (shopping, cooking, etc.) I have plenty of platonic friends, both male and female, I work out daily, and I've *always* thought about girls.

But I'm still attracted to guys as well. By your apparent measure, I shouldn't be; yet, here I am.

. . . I *do* loathe sports, though. Maybe I should spend more time with my *very* feminine sister-in-law, who can quote stats for any college or pro player in the US, and watches more football than an NFL agent.

JacobPressures said...

I want to comment on this. I hope you read it because these are common misconceptions. I'm sorry no one has given you a satisfactory answer. I hope i come close even though it is 2 years later.

First of all, some things do seem EXTREMELY TOO SIMPLISTIC! I mean asnwering every question about why we are here with "GOD!" will rub many intellectuals the wrong way. but sometimes the most obvious answer IS the answer! How to help a boy who identifies as a girl? There are obvious answers. Some will dismiss these easy, simplistic answers for something more complicated. SOmetimes we are "too *SMART*" for our own good!

I find what was said here offensive. Especially stuff about "Exgay psycho-babel" which has helped hundreds of people!

What is the purpose of doing male activities? What do we expect to achieve?

Doing so-called masculine activities is not a matter of changing a person's mannerisms while leaving the inside the same. It is not an exercise in correcting a person's *posture*--for lack of a better word.

There are numerous reasons why guys with SSA should engage in masculine activities! First ITS NOT JUST ANY MASCULINE ACTIVITIES! Boxing, kickboxing, karate, heck trying to see how many beers you can drink at a party, smoking weed (marijuana) all can be seen as "masculine." Masculine by WHOSE DEFINITION??? Yes, this question is often raise, but never really pondered. Instead too quickly dismissed.

The purpose of doign masculine activities from an exgay point of view is based on YOUR OWN view of masculinity! Tennis could be a masculine sport. But not all people see it as a masculine sport. Football is masculine to me, but i hate basketball. While i could be wrong, playing basketball will do almost NOTHING for my SSA. I don't identify with it.

Many believe that same-sex attraction is caused by a deficit in masculinity rather perceived or not. At some point that person was deeply wounded in his masculine identity and didn't fully develop the masculine self he may have otherwise developed.

For me, for example, I didn't like sports! And even as an exgay working on my SSA, did n't see the need ot play sports. It didn't represent the masculinity I WAS PURSUING! Well that was my false self! An adaptation! I really rejected sports long, long time ago because i felt i was sorry at sports, i could not do it, it brought me shame, people laughed or yelled at me. It was easy to just say i didn't like it! To this day i have very little interest in sports. Will kickboxing make me straight? No. The purpose of doing sports or any so-called masculine activity is to CONNECT or IDENTIFY with your TRUE SELF--your true inner identity that longing that is there. Some of us if we look closely would really like to have played some sport or been fairly good at it simply because all the other guys were doing it so we learn to IDENTIFY with it. A good question might be, "If i were interested in a sport, which one would it be?" The sport may embody something we want or wish we had--wittiness, confidence, connectedness to the body, bonding, etc. By participanting in these sports we CONNECT WITH THE EMOTIONS that are UNDERLYING that we may not be aware of. It gives us the opportunity to have epiphanies about ourselves that we may other wise never had.

JacobPressures said...

There are also things we learn from doing masculine activities. Just like being AROUND DAD doesn't make you a man per se, you may learn some very vital things about being a man from being around him and having him mentor you.

What might you learn from playing a sport or being involved in some type of masculine activity?

- There may be bonding issues, the need for touch, TRUST, the need to be accepted, the need to know that if you fail you will still be loved, the need to try your best and fail and not be rejected, the need to try your best and succeed! To be a part of a group and to be accepted UNCONDITIONALLY--good or bad!There may be tons of lies we have told ourselves or others have told us that damages our inner sense of masculinity--the person we are yearning to be on the inside.

(If we are wounded in this way where we want unconditional love and acceptance, the only way we may know how to deal with it is through kissing, sex, or affection. However, sports maybe a good alternative way for boys to learn a good amount of self-esteem, sense of self, and acceptance. Is he a girl that it always hve to be MUSHY-MUSHY? MUSHY-MUSHY is good. I'm not against it. but sometimes it can be an ABYSS for guys! Never enough MUSHY-MUSHY! Cant be satisfied with MUSHY-MUSHY. If so, how else will he meet the need? Healthy interaction with guys--success and failure at out hardest, may meet the need.)

- You could learn new ways to deal with built up energy. Our thinking has been warped by our environment (if you take the environmental viewpoint). Based on what was available to us or what we were willing to avail ourselves of, we developed our current personality and pattern of thought. Many men learn to relieve stress through activities. Is this more true of men than females--I don't know but many do believe there is a connection between males and physical activities, enery and exertion. If this energy builds up and is not allowed to be expressed, how does it express itself? Some have fits of anger, some turn to sex as a cure all, some turn to other addictions, eating disorders etc. Some result of fantasies of a guy coming to SAVE THEM!!! LEARNING NEW WAYS TO DEAL WITH STRESS and EMOTIONAL FEELINGS may cause our old way of thinking to be corrected. Our feelings may diminish--even if it simply means we demystify the guys on the field and start to SEE, REALIZE, that we are not different from them--in fact we are just like them or ONE OF THEM! I do believe though that we have stress, frustrations and other feelings and we may not have learned how to resolve these feelings in healthy ways. these feelings when the build up can cause us to long for a guy to COME AND CHANGE OUR LIVES--to save us some how. Physical activities can teach us that the power is within our own hands to BECOME the VERY PERSON we want to come and SAVE US! Instead of seeking a SAVIOR we REALIZE WE ARE THE MEN FOR THE JOB! WE CAN DO IT OURSELVES!

People usually recommend team sports. I believe there can be benefit BUT ONLY in the right environment. I mean what good is it to put yourself into an environment that is unhealthy, mean, aggressive, demeaning if this is what damaged you in the begining? There can be benefits even here, but my point is that there are still other activities we can do that strength our sense of masculinity.

JacobPressures said...

If we have body image wounds swimming or working out at the gym may help in this area.

the key is to identify what your key authentic self is SCREAMING OUT AT YOU and to find a way to meet the need! LISTEN TO YOURSELF and be a good parent, providing yourself with what you need to heal.

For me i want to yell! It may mean nothing to anyone else. but i've been so CONSERVATIVE all my life, that i feel like i'm in chains. Doing something involving yelling may sould stupid to someone else. But to me it may be healing. Wrestling may be masculine to me because i was beat up and i may need to know that i'm strong enough or capable of protecting myself. To another person, it if foolishness and unChristian.

Best wishes. There are likely other things I've missed, but i think this is enough to ponder. Its late and possibly i can add more later, if i remember to check back. I'll try.

Jay said...

Jacob: Wow, I haven't looked at this post in a while. I guess I recently wrote a post called "Mannerisms" that says a lot of the things I initially said here. Guess I tend to repeat myself on my blog sometimes.

Before I get started with my response, please learn to use HTML code if that's available to you. Capital letters are the Internet equivalent of yelling. Putting the words you'd like to emphasize in italics would be much better.

Now, first, I found several of these answers to be very satisfactory, not only two years ago, but even looking back on it today. Please don't disrespect my commenters like that again.

Secondly, I think your presumptions are off. Who said I ever identified with girls? Have you read much else of my story? I've never perceived a wound in my masculinity. I was raised very close to my father and brother, and I was able to get along with guys well in high school. I ran cross country and track for four years, went to regional competitions regularly, and was the captain of those teams in my senior year. In other words, I was able to get a group of guys to respect me and follow my lead, and they did.

I also practiced karate for about ten years, stopping just short of my black belt due to time constraints (I was very busy in high school). Still, I won several tournaments over the years and I know I can effectively defend myself. Whatever hang-ups other ex-gay guys have about their masculinity, I don't really share that.

So... the rest of your comments really are meaningless to me. I understand that you've had a lot of struggles in your life and it's great to hear that you've overcome them, but just because I'm SSA doesn't mean I've had the same background or experiences as you. I need only look to my father and brother if I want a man to affirm me or love me unconditionally, because they always have. I need only look to the male friends that I've made in college, who are my brothers in spirit.

To relieve stress I do things that have always come natural to me. I run, I swim, I read and I write. These aren't unhealthy things, nor do they have anything to do with SSA. They are simply what I like to do. The fact of the matter is that I'm a balanced, healthy, happy guy with a normal sense of masculinity. Dealing with homosexuality is a part of me, but it doesn't define me, nor does it stress me out too much. It's simply a part of my fallen nature, a part that has been forgiven and redeemed by Christ.

Christ, by the way, is who I focus on. I don't need to waste my time trying to be manly. I'd rather learn how to be kind, charitable, gracious, righteous, and loving. At some point, one might just have to accept that the same-sex attractions will always be there. Goodness knows I'm not going to get worked up over them simply because they're present.