Before coming 'out', I'd been in counseling for about 3 months, trying to figure out my attraction to guys. Okay, okay...not just 'attraction'. Dirty, sweaty, lusty desire. Cravings. Sexual fantasies, etc., you get the picture. Thing was, I was a good Mormon boy, a returned missionary, BYU student, temple goer, and in a relationship with a girl. By all outward appearances, I was holding steady to the rod of salvation. On the inside, the only rod I was holding onto was the penis of my imaginary boyfriend. So, naturally, I wondered if I might be gay?!?! And naturally, I turned to the church for understanding.
After doing a little research on my own, I discovered that several medical studies had proven that homosexuality could be both a learned behavior and/or a genetic trait. But the church had taught me that homosexuality wasn't really a noun, that describes a condition, but rather an adjective that describes feelings, emotions and behaviors. They said that some people were born with certain susceptibilities. Homosexual susceptibilities was one of mine. Susceptibilities sometimes led to feelings, which sometimes led to actions, which led to sinful behavior and so on. I figured with counseling would come an understanding of my susceptibilities, and that with that understanding, I'd be able to simply change 20 years of behavior, put out the fires of sinful lust, and be on my merry way to happiness and eternal life.
We discussed the fact that I'd been sexually abused by my step-sister for two years. We talked about my father, how he wasn't there for me when I was growing up. We chatted about my upbringing...the fact that I was raised by all women, had no male influences, was the only male child in the family until the age of ten, etc., etc., etc. And it goes without word that we discussed the scriptures. Then there was the plan of salvation, that I'd been "afflicted" with same-gender attraction...oh, and that if only I could look beyond gender orientation, the more happy and fulfilling my life would be. "Oh, okay. I get it. All I have to do is look beyond my gender orientation and quit dwelling on it. Why didn't I think of that!?"
To make a long story short, I finally did come to an understanding. I understood that every time I left counseling, I'd go home and jack off to visions of all the other cute boys I'd just seen at the meeting. I was tired of trying to figure it out. It was more frustrating trying to deduce my feelings than just go with them. I realized that yeah, maybe I'm gay because of genetics (Dr. Phil said so!). Maybe it was the sexual abuse. Maybe it was not having my dad around to teach me all those guy things. I just didn't care anymore. I'd already spent most of my life sexually frustrated and to some degree, emotionally drained from hiding who I really was. I was tired of living a lie. It felt natural to be with a boy. It didn't feel natural to be with a girl.
So I took the churche's advice, looked past my gender orientation, stopped fixating on my affliction, and accepted myself for who I am. I lost almost everything I was used to - the church, some family members, friends, etc. But I found something along the way as well - myself. In all honesty, I can't say that every part of my life is happier and more fulfilling. But there's no better feeling than being true to one's self.
On a side note:
As if this month's Genre magazine cover-model isn't enough to pick up the mag, then read a related story from this month's issue: Why Ask Why