I don’t want to drag my past story out much because I want this blog to focus more on where I am at now. So I am going to try to wrap up “my past” in this post.
I finished my ex-gay therapy in 1994, two years into my marriage. It was right about the time that I graduated from seminary and was looking for my first assignment as a pastor. I was “on fire for God”, was ready for my life of ministry, and felt like I had made tons of progress as an “ex-gay”. I had learned what the “triggers” were that increased my same-sex desires and had processed through how to keep them under control in my life. While I still found men attractive, I had convinced myself that if I just kept up with doing the things I had been taught in counseling (like having close, non-sexual friendships with men), then maybe one day, I would come to true emotional health and outgrow my desires for men.
But then I became a pastor…and that just complicated everything. There was this subtle pressure that as a pastor, I had to act like I had it all together. And since I was newly in ministry, I felt the need to prove myself to those around me. What this did was begin a process of me living an external life that was different from my internal life. On the exterior, I was a good pastor who excelled in spirituality and ministry. On the inside, I was lusting after men and wishing I could be with them. Men that I interacted with whom I found attractive probably never knew that I was looking at them in the way that I was!
When the internet was invented and proliferated across the world, that’s when things really became tough. I had been a pastor for several years when I learned that there was pornography…GAY PORNOGRAPHY…available on this new thing called the internet. Honestly, I was like a kid in the candy store! I quickly became addicted to internet pornography and masturbation…enjoying the man-candy that was on my computer screen. I would sit in the church office, working on sermons, and then feeling pulled to porn. Porn would always win and I wasted hours upon hours gazing at what I couldn’t have. I realize now that gay porn was the only outlet that I had for my true sexuality so it became my secret fix. So that was me for many years…Christian pastor on the outside and wannabe gay slut on the inside. Sheesh!
And what of my marriage? Well, I did what normal people do! I lived a typical suburban life, fought with my wife, had sex with my wife (always dreaming about men while I was doing it), had children, and tried to keep my life afloat. My wife and I had good days and bad days…but unfortunately, more bad days than I care to admit. But I keep on cruising. After all, I was a pastor, and God would surely take care of it all! During this time, I came to the realization that God would probably never change my sexual desires so I decided that it was just the “cross” I would have to bear. I figured I would “struggle” with “same-sex attraction” the rest of my life…but at least, I thought, I would honor God and do right by my family.
The unfortunate thing about all of this is that I didn’t realize that the reasons my wife and I were struggling so much was related to my sexuality. I blamed it on her. SHE had too many expectations of our marriage. SHE was controlling. SHE needed counseling. SHE…blah, blah, blah. My “religion” had blinded me to the fact that the problems we were having really had to do with how I felt about men…and how little I felt about women.
And this struggle of having an unsatisfactory marriage and justifying it as “doing the right thing” went on and on for years. Until some things changed just a few months ago…