“Gay? Meant to be a woman? Or just on the feminine side?”
Those are the questions that Alex from Have a Rich Marriage struggled with growing up, and today I’d like to share his poignant story of growing up sexually confused with you.
I’m taking a bit of a bit of time off of the blog this week, and I’ve got some great people who have sent me stories that I’d like to post. Today a young husband named Alex shares his story of struggling with homosexuality, and then deciding to live a heterosexual lifestyle.
What he has to say isn’t politically correct, but it’s his experience. Please, I just ask that readers respect his right to his own story.
Others may be upset that he married when he had homosexual tendencies. I know that I get heartbreaking email from wives every week whose husbands are gay, but never told them. This situation is different, I believe, because Alex is upfront, and is working on his issues–and the two of them are growing together. That’s the model of Christian grace and redemption.
With that being said, here’s Alex:
I am gay.
But I am also in a heterosexual marriage. I love my wife and we have a happy marriage.
I do not normally classify myself as gay because it is a subjective term. But by cultural definitions I am. It is similar to classifying yourself as beautiful. Beauty is subjective, but culture tries to define beauty.
Ever since I remember, I have had emotions and desires that are more inline with a homosexual man than a heterosexual man. Is this genetics? Was it my exposure to porn at a really young age? Or the fact that all of my neighbors, friends and my twin, were girls?
I have no idea.
I wondered for years who I was. Was I placed in the wrong body? I felt having these desires were shameful. I was embarrassed to tell anyone, so I dealt with these feelings on my own. I never told my family about what I was going through.
I do not come from a Christian family. But my grandpa was the definition of a man’s man. My family is full of masculine men who work heavy manual labor jobs. Admitting I was a homosexual meant shame and disgrace to my family.
Today I am going to share with you my experience on gender and sexual confusion. I have shared this story with very few people. My wife and only a few close friends know about this. I am hoping my vulnerability might bring healing to those of who you are in pain.
Though I am sharing a personal story about my gender identity, the advice in this article applies to any identity confusion or secret assumptions you might be experiencing.
The Importance of Asking Who Am I–The Response to Being Sexually Confused
Humans want to have an identity. They feel the need to be able to say I am a male. I am a husband. I am a writer. This comes from our deep need to feel connected with other people.
Asking this question is an exploration of our identity. This is important because our identities fundamentally shape our decisions about everything. You will always act in a way that is equivalent to your identity.
For example, on political spectrum, if you say that you are a Republican, then you will most likely vote for a Republican and support Republican policies. If you identify as a Christian wife, then you will view your decisions in a certain way.
The identities control the decisions we make in life without us even realizing it. A personal example in my life is the belief that education is the best investment. As a result I spend a sizable amount of my time and income on learning.
Knowing the importance of my identity, it was critical that I picked one I would be comfortable with.
Defining My Identity–Choosing To Live As I Wanted To
I am a millennial. Our generation has taken human rights and sexual rights to a new level. Everyone has different viewpoints on right and wrong, so I am not going to get into that.
However, I am going to speak about how the cultural idea for sexual rights has impacted my ability to define my identity.
Growing up in a pro-gay generation was difficult. On one side, if I was meant to be a woman, a large part of culture would accept me. And a large part of our culture was telling me I was meant to be a homosexual. But on the other hand, I was supposed to be heterosexual.
When I was young, I never associated with the gender expectations of what it meant to be a man. I was not very dominant. I hated football. I was a sensitive soul. I was super skinny and small. I would much rather talk and listen, then go play sports. When you say the word ball, I think of a dance and not a game.
I basically fit the sociocultural definition of femininity to a T. But the fear of shame pushed me into a heterosexual relationship. I dated girls because that was the customary thing to do.
Despite the uncertainty of my sexuality, I fell in love with my wife because I was afraid of the disgrace I would bring to my family. Was this fair to my wife? What if it had gone the other way around and I ended up identifying as homosexual? Was it really fair for me to put her through that?
Probably not. I married for a selfish reason.
But then, most people do. Rather than marrying for love or happiness, I married out of fear.
But I have come to love my wife. It was probably wrong for me to marry her, but I am glad I did. If I had not married my wife, I have no idea what would have happened. My marriage has brought restoration to my sexuality. She helped me redefine my identity. She helped me to realize my sexuality is a choice.
Redefining Our Identities
Identities are not always perfect. We have a constant voice telling us what it means to be a man, a woman, a wife, a mother, beautiful, or smart. This can cause a problem when we desire to fit into a certain identity, but we are unable to fit that identity.
For example, our culture, with photoshopped models and excessive ads, tells us a certain body type is beautiful, even though for a majority of culture this is unattainable.
But this does not stop a lot of women from trying or feeling insecure about themselves. This unattainable idea of beauty causes many to develop eating disorders, unhealthy workout routines, and poor body image.
The typical identity of a masculine man is one who never cries, never communicates, is strong, and takes what he wants. So if a man wants to cry, wants to build an authentic relationship with a person, or wants to serve his partner, then he must be feminine. Growing up, if a male did anything that was sacrificial for his partner, like opening a door or carrying her books in the hallway in high school, you would have had your “man card” taken away.
For a majority of my life, I thought it was wrong to be close to another male. I do not mean sexually either–our culture makes it unacceptable for men to talk about their feelings. But I desired a relationship like the one David and Jonathan had in the Bible. A relationship where two men were willing to stick their necks out for each other. Shared their deepest feelings and cried together.
Unfortunately, our culture identifies these desires as gay. So I thought I was gay.
Culture has separated fundamental human needs into gender roles. Both sexes desire intimate and close relationships, but culture says men do not. Both sexes want to love and feel unconditionally accepted, but culture says if a man does, then he is a woman. Do you think men are really the only ones who want sex?
We need to stop separating and confusing human needs and gender needs. Over the years I have talked to many people going through various identity problems and all of them experience the feeling of not fitting into sociocultural roles.
Are some people born gay? Maybe. Is it the environment? Maybe. Science has no idea.
But mixing up gender needs with human needs is certainly playing a large role.
So redefine the identity culture has placed on you!
Just because you are no longer a waist size 2 does not mean you are any less beautiful. Because you forget to the dishes does not make you any less of a wife. Because you love football as a female does not make you any less of a woman.
Finding Your True Identity
Through years of trial and pain, I learned that it not how well we fit into certain roles and identities that make us, but the character we bring to these roles that matters.
Being gay or straight, being masculine or feminine is not as black and white as being a boy or girl. I learned that sexual orientation is a subjective matter. It is how we identify with our desires and beliefs. It was that moment that I realized, despite my desires, that my sexual orientation was a choice. So I made the decision to be a heterosexual.
My sexuality is not defined by my ability to play a certain sport, be physically fit, or to never cry. Being a great man is defined by my character and living my life with valor.
Being beautiful is not about fitting into a certain dress size, but is about being a healthy you with a fulfilling outcome.
Being a good wife or spouse is not about the number of dishes you do or the deliciousness of your meals, but by the passion you bring into your role.
Through my entire experience I learned that everything is a choice. Do I still have homosexual desires? Sure, but they are less each day. I have to make the choice every day to identify myself as a heterosexual man.
I chose to stay with my wife because I made a covenant with her, a covenant which I intend to keep until my death. My wife has helped me redefine my identity and accept myself for who I am.
I am experiencing the fullness and joy from my marriage. Though things are not always perfect, we have learned to create and cultivate intimacy. Our past gets in our way sometimes, but we have learned to accept it and move forward. You cannot look forward if you are looking back.
My wife and I now spend time helping other couples push back against cultural expectations to redefine a marriage where it feels like you are married to your best friend. We teach couples how to make marriage FUN instead of feeling walked all over, and how to stop living like roommates and start living like lovers. (Access our plan here).
Alex helps women feel understood, attractive and appreciated without having to drag their man-child into counseling. At Have a Rich Marriage, he helps couple reconnect with themselves and each other, all over again.
I’m actually taking a hiatus this week with my husband, so I won’t be around (though I’ve got stuff scheduled for the blog and for Facebook). But I’ve asked Julie from Hot, Holy and Humorous and Ngina from Intentional Today to step in and participate in the comments for me while I’m gone! Now, please be nice to those ladies! Let’s not get into a debate about homosexuality–that’s not the point of this. And no gay marriage debate–that’s not the point of this article, either. The point is, “how do we sacrificially decide what we want our lives to be, and how to we follow Christ and make our marriages work when there are powerful forces pulling us in another direction?” So no bad-mouthing Alex, who has been vulnerable enough to share his story. And no putting Julie and Ngina through stress exercises, okay? 🙂 Thank you!