Thursday, 17 August 2017

Awareness of Same Sex Attraction

by GYE (See all authors)

Question:

I'm male and sexually attracted to certain types of men. I've been brought up with weird parents. I also had a difficult upbringing and was bullied a lot. About half a year ago, someone recommended a book, "Bad Childhood, Good Life", which changed my life! Now I find that I get a crush on those men who I wish can be my father. It has nothing to do with them being handsome (which is the reason why I don't think I'm gay), but about them being the kind of father I would have wanted to have, that I yearn to have!

That kind of person is most times a loving rebbi (which I never had in school. Got one in 12th grade), or someone that reminds me of that kind of rebbi. When that rebbi is warm with me, and I see that he really understands me, and just gets me, my crush is really intense. What does that mean? I'm very confused about that, and never heard of such a thing. Can you explain why this happens, and what it means?

Response from Jonathan Hoffman:

Hi. My name is Jonathan Hoffman and I typically provide assistance to Guard Your Eyes regarding matters pertaining to same-sex attractions. I am also a therapist who has specialized for many years working with individuals who struggle with their sexuality and I'll do my best to respond to the message below that you sent to GYE.

Firstly, I want to first assure you that your confidentiality is 100% safe with me in any discussions we have here and moving forward. I know how sensitive this struggle can be and very familiar with how people can fear their own safety and privacy while they experience these issues.

With that said, I can definitely affirm what you are saying regarding developing more of what I will call an emotional attraction to a father-like figure than having a physical and sexual attraction. Working with many clients over the years, what you are describing is actually quite common because sexual attractions themselves are often a lot more complicated and nuanced than there only simply being a desire to sexually and physically get close to someone. Almost in every sexual attraction, there is an emotional element underneath it, and that is often what is fueling the desire more than anything. Typically, this emotional element comes first, and then our natural drive to engage in sexuality that develops later in life comes to enhance and make that attraction even stronger. In other words, for many, sexual desires are more emotional longings and desires that have then become sexualized. This means that individuals who find their current state of sexual orientation conflicting often need to do more than put boundaries around their sexual behaviors if they want to fully address the attraction. But it also means that if one actually explores deeply their emotions and longings behind the attraction, and do the often therapeutic or authentic inner work to address those emotional parts of him/her, a real sense of peace and stability can be achieved around how one experiences their sexual orientation.

You already seem to have a decent amount of awareness regarding this emotional element of your attraction when you notice the lovingness, warmth, understanding, and strong connection you can receive from older, mentor or father-like figures. Reading your background, it can make sense that since you lacked a lot of this from your real father growing up, and being that it is an important need for any son to have from their father's, you would then emotionally yearn for that connection today. And while that perhaps has been mixed at times with a sexual feeling, it seems that you are experiencing more the emotional aspects of it. This is actually positive, in my judgment, because it suggests that you are already more aware of the core of your attractions (again, the emotional aspects of it) and are currently less confused by how your sexuality may be altering that attraction. The next step for you may be to determine how you can address this further, so that you can even more fully explore and understand your attractions, which would then hopefully lead to greater reconciliation and peace regarding these yearnings.

I hope this makes sense for you, and please don't hesitate to ask for any clarification or anything else if you need. Be in touch as well if you feel there is anything more I can do for you.

All the best and may you find nothing but Bracha and Hatzlocha moving forward,

Jonathan Hoffman, MSW

Therapist & Life Coach

Israel # 054-945-3542

USA # 914-373-7055