Why Repress Your Sexuality?

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FAQs

I’m not sure I could be any more open about my sexuality (notice I’m saying this on the internet). But when you’re a celibate Christian who deals with same-sex attraction, this question comes with the territory. Mostly from skeptics or progressives who think submitting to God’s will is akin to sexual repression. I guess they think I’m pacing back and forth, biting my lip, wringing my hands, at constant risk of spontaneous combustion due to unmet sexual desires.

Nope.

I don’t think God expects people created male and female to cease and desist all expressions of their sexuality, even if they remain single. In fact, what helps me most in dealing with same-sex attraction is not repressing but rather EXPRESSING my sexuality — particularly my BELIEFS about sexuality — through openness, friendship, and celibacy.

OPENNESS

There’s a certain freedom in coming out as a Christian who experiences same-sex attraction. I’ve been talking to family and friends about my sexuality for nearly 14 years (the entirety of my adult life) and blogging about it for the past four. Being open has created an environment at home, work, and church where sexuality isn’t taboo. The topic comes up in normal conversations — sometimes when I’m sharing my perspective on faith, and other times when I can’t help slipping in a hilarious gay joke. I’m also not afraid to talk about the beauty of a man. For example, Liam Hemsworth. (Liam > Chris) I’m 100 percent open about my sexuality. It’s pretty much become part of everyday life.

FRIENDSHIP

I don’t let same-sex attraction keep me from pursuing meaningful relationships with men. But rather than pursue sexual relationships, I pursue same-sex friendships. The sexually repressed person might shy away from people he or she is attracted to, nervous to get too close. But one of the perks of SSA (yeah, perks) is the godly men I’ve come to know precisely BECAUSE I’m open about my sexuality. That includes guys who don’t freak out when I hug them, kiss their face, or hold their hand beyond the span of a handshake. I’ve also become close with other gay Christians whose love for Christ and shared experience of SSA have helped form friendships on par with David and Jonathan. I simply wouldn’t have these relationships if I’d repressed or ignored my sexuality.

CELIBACY

Skeptics see celibacy itself as a form of repression, especially for same-sex attracted Christians who choose to remain single due to their convictions. But celibacy is an especially poignant expression of our sexuality. By remaining celibate, we’re living the truth that marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman, a symbol of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:32). There are people out there who think I’m doing this whole celibacy thing not because it’s something I actually WANT to do, but because I’m trying to please my parents, my pastor, or some mean old man in the sky. They dream up every possible reason I’d refrain from having sex except the ONE reason I’ve always been honest about: I want to live in joyful submission to God’s good design for sex and marriage. Because I believe in it. Because I believe in HIM.

Repression, for me, would be to ignore my convictions and turn away from the truth God has revealed to me through his word. But I’ve found freedom in expressing myself within the bounds of his will.

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6 comments on “Why Repress Your Sexuality?

  1. Jim

    Bryan,

    I love you brother! This is a very meaningful post to me. I’ve been looking for this kind of clarity from those who speak openly about their sexuality and your words are refreshing.

    Thank you.

  2. Sarah Graham

    The part you might not fully appreciate is the way your openness makes it easy for Christian’s to no longer hem and haw or walk on eggshells for fear of saying the wrong thing in this whole discussion of Sexuality and the Gospel.. Don’t get me wrong….we say the wrong things all the time because we are sinful, thoughtless humans but the dialogue is open and growth is happening on all sides because you helped peel away stigma and taboos. You really are such an awesome person and your voice is so important in (like you said) speaking truth joyfully!!!
    XOXO
    Sarah

  3. Barry

    Some great thoughts expressed here.

    First, I want to say openness and friendship are very important for somebody with same-sex attraction attempting to walk in celibacy, but it can also greatly depend on circumstance. In our era where emotionally-charged LGBT-oriented stories are making headlines almost daily in both conservative and liberal media, a certain amount of risk comes with opening up about this struggle. This is especially true in the Bible Belt, where attitudes towards homosexuality are still more repressive and where misconceptions about it abound. In terms of friendship, it is absolutely necessary to lesson the sting of loneliness that comes with same-sex attraction. However, friends come and go, and as you get north of age 25, it gets more difficult to maintain consistent friendships as people most people get married, move away, etc. Your walk cannot be built around your friendships because you could wake up one day and they won’t be there. What do you do then? That is part of my own story. I moved back to my hometown in the Bible Belt from a large coastal city. Back in my hometown, I didn’t have the kind of consistent friendships I had when I lived away, and my spiritual walk greatly suffered. I was too dependent on my friends. That brings me to the last point, with is celibacy. It all comes down to whether or not you are in this fight because you really believe it, or if you are in it to please your parents or society or your church. A lot of people fail in the fight because their primary motive is pleasing men and not because they believe that this is the life that God has called them to live. Even if one is able to maintain celibacy, it will make for a long, miserable life if their heart isn’t fully in it.

  4. Nichol

    “Repression, for me, would be to ignore my convictions and turn away from the truth .”

    This is exactly how I feel. I’ve been hounded my entire life for not living as many do, but I could never truly be happy if I weren’t living what I believed to be true. As always, your words are beautiful and honest!

  5. Michael Brocker

    Thanks for sharing this Bryan. It’s encouraging to me as I desire openness about my SSA I’m all areas of my life really. I think the hardest area to have that is in my family life. It’s often an issue that my parents see as a sin all around really and something that needs to be fixed. It is even somewhat taboo and misunderstood because it has been that way in their lives and the churches we have attended. From their perspective, all situations or relationships where there could be any temptation or anything further is not okay. I appreciate your perspective and always have since I first started reading your blogs. You provide Godly insight and understanding to SSA that I hope many people in my life who are very set in the ways of believing that the key to healing from SSA is to fix it can come to understand one day. Thanks 🙂

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