The True Meaning of Change
Some interesting thoughts from Tim Wilkins. Can anybody say “post-gay“?
Society in general and churches in particular mistakenly believe freedom from homosexuality is marrying, having 2.3 children and a dog in the back yard. A 2001 secular study on the possibility of change shows the depth of this ingrained â€˜doctrineâ€™. Dr Robert Spitzer, a Columbia University professor interviewed men and women who said they used to be homosexual; I was one of many he questioned. As beneficial as his study was and as much as I appreciate the visibility it gave to change, his study measured heterosexual function of the former homosexualâ€“again missing the real issue.
â€œButâ€ you ask, â€œdonâ€™t homosexuals need to become heterosexuals?â€ No! Scripture never states nor implies all people must be heterosexual; it does say explicitly, however, that we are to avoid all forms of sexual immorality, which includes homosexuality. With that in mind have we not at times given the impression that homosexuals must â€œconvertâ€ to heterosexuality? Jesus did not say â€œGo and make [heterosexuals]â€œ; He said â€œgo and make disciples.â€
â€œButâ€ you ask, â€œisnâ€™t heterosexuality the opposite of homosexuality?â€ No! The opposite of homosexuality is holiness!
As I wrote earlier, the term former homosexual is inadequate if not inappropriate. We mistakenly think a person who has found freedom from same-sex attractions is now heterosexual. The former homosexual man or woman may now experience heterosexual feelings, but heterosexuality should never be his nor the churchesâ€™ goal. Heterosexuality is in many cases, but not all, a byproduct of the homosexualâ€™s dealing with the primary issues â€” a distorted self-image and faulty thinking â€” both of which Satan uses to â€œgain control.â€
The church will do well to remember that singleness is not a sin, immorality is.
What all this means is that most of churchesâ€™ advice to the homosexual misses the mark entirely!
A Christian friend who knows my testimony, met my wife Lisa and said â€œI can see why you left homosexuality; your wife is beautiful.â€ While he is correct that Lisa is beautiful his statement, like so many, represents a global ignorance on the subject. If attractive women were the remedy for male homosexuality, there would be no gay men.
Many gay men ask me how to cultivate a romantic/sexual attraction to women. I tell them that is not the issue; the issue is a distorted/broken image. (I have often thought how devious our adversary is. He not only confuses men and women regarding their sexual identity, he also confuses them and the church as to what healing really is, thus compounding the problem.)
By dealing with the primary issue, gay men begin to see themselves as masculine and lesbians begin to see themselves as feminine; the same-sex attractions diminish and in many cases opposite-sex attractions occur.
And another ragbag ;)
– have to say, there's nothing new here. The analogy with anorexia is interesting though – it shows that TW takes it that homosexuality is a pathology or disorder of desire. But one snag with this from his argument's point of view, might be that anorexia is deemed a pathology for empirical reasons, isn't it? It's as a result of studying people with the condition, that it's been and continues to be considered a pathology, and treatment methods found. But in the case of homosexuality, a similar process of study has found it isn't a pathology (see World Health Organisation's decision of 1990, etc). So am wondering if the analogy helps the argument that much?
– "Scripture never states nor implies all people must be heterosexual" – indeed, though that skims over the fact that 1 Cor 6:9-11 has been read as a mandate for 'trying to make the homosexual heterosexual'… and also the fact that if Romans 1 is read as straightforwardly applying to all same-sex sex now, there's no reason not to read it as referring to sexual orientation: the phrase "the lusts of their hearts" in Romans 1:24 could be read that way and given that same-sex desire is, it's argued there, a kind of punishment or 'poetic justice' for idolatry, it's not unreasonable to think that learning to worship the true God would lead to a reduction in same-sex desire…
– "By dealing with the primary issue, gay men begin to see themselves as masculine and lesbians begin to see themselves as feminine; the same-sex attractions diminish and in many cases opposite-sex attractions occur". That'd be the crux of it, at least for TW… but what of gay men (don't want to try and speak for women) who've come to see themselves as masculine but have undiminished same-sex attractions? Or gay people who never saw a conflict with their gender identity in the first place? TW also gives no evidence to back up his "in many cases…"…
I suspect what I've said is as predictable as what TW said!
in friendship, Blair
‘“But” you ask, “isn’t heterosexuality the opposite of homosexuality?” No! The opposite of homosexuality is holiness!’
I’m a bit surprised to see that one still being dished out; I’d have thought that it had worn far too thin by now. But I have to admit that there was originally a certain shrewdness about the way that it completely sidestepped the whole issue. It also gave a handy get-out to organizations like Exodus, which could advertise “Freedom from homosexuality” and proclaim that “Change is possible!”, knowing exactly how pretty well everyone would interpret those statements, and then when people who had bought it realised that they’d been bamboozled, they could turn round and say, “Oh, but we never promised heterosexuality! The opposite of homosexuality isn’t heterosexuality; it’s holiness!”
As for that stuff about “our adversary” who “confuses men and women regarding their sexual identity”, that’s just poppycock. Sexual identity and sexual orientation, although related, are two different things; the one does not depend on the other. Very few gays are in any way confused about their sexual identity. On the other hand, one of the harmful effects of some conversion therapy programs is to damage gay men’s gender identity by imbuing them with the ridiculous idea that being gay implies defective masculinity. (See Shidlo et al., Sexual Conversion Therapy: Ethical, Clinical and Research Perspectives, 2001.)
There has only been one proper longitudinal study on the effect of SOCE (sexual orientation change efforts) and that is the ongoing Yarhouse and Jones research. That has shown, so far, no statistically significant harm caused by SOCE. Other "studies" are not in fact proper studies, they are simply amalgamations of anecdotal references and that includes Shidlo et al. If you want to argue that Shidlo et al is authoritative then you need to also accept the success of SOCE on the basis of the anecdotal evidence provided in many places of its success.
The evidence presented in Shidlo et al. on this matter may be anecdotal, but it is based on the clinical experience of a psychotherapist (Douglas C. Haldeman) who had worked for over twenty years with people who had undergone some form of “treatment” to change their sexual orientation, not on fireside gossip.
Actually we don’t need even anecdotal evidence to be able to see that, if you try to convince a gay man that sexual attraction to the other sex is an indispensable part of a healthy male identity – which to me is about as absurd as arguing that you can have authentically blue eyes only if you have blond hair – and that sexual attraction to others of the same sex represents some kind of gender identity deficit, damaging his sense of male identity is precisely what you are seeking to do, and that in so far as you are successful in imposing this delusion on him, that is the damage that you will have inflicted.
But isn't that part of the problem in this discussion? That paradigm (other sex attraction necessary part of healthy male identity) is not one that I recognise as authoritative and it isn't one that others recognise. On top of that, it is a separate issue as to whether SOCE are themselves harmful (or not).
Whether or not SOCE are in general harmful, any attempt to damage gay men’s sense of male identity by convincing them that their homosexual attractions must be caused by, or must be an expression of, “confusion about their sexual identity” – a view which Tim Wilkins appears to be endorsing above, and which I have heard from others, e.g. Rev. Lou Sheldon – can only be harmful to the extent that it is successful.
But why? What if it is true? What if homosexual attraction is caused (partially at least) by environmental factors or confusions in sexual identity? Is it then harmful to say so?
To put it another way, if an alcoholic gets angry and depressed because someone tells him he's an alcoholic and needs to address the addictive issues in his life, who is to blame? The alcoholic or the one who tells him he's an alcoholic?
Well, for one thing it isn't true for most gay men, who have no confusion at all about their sexual identity. It's a bit like insisting that they MUST have been sexually abused in childhood and that that's why they're gay, even when they know perfectly well that they were never sexually abused.
It's nothing like that. I'm the first to argue that trying to apply a particular psycho-dynamic model to every gay man and woman is abusive. But what I'm talking about above is that by definition, if heterosexuality is the biological default and if homosexuality is caused in part by a defect (in the strictest sense of the word) from that default, whether biological or psycho-dynamic, then by that very definition there is a sexual identity issue. Some people happily reconcile, ignore or integrate their dissonance from the default into their lives. Others recognise the ongoing understanding of a dissonance from the norm and seek to address it.
“…if heterosexuality is the biological default…”
In other words, given that the vast majority of people are and always have been heterosexual in orientation…
“…and if homosexuality is caused in part by a defect (in the strictest sense of the word) from that default…”
…and that homosexuality has always been a minority orientation…
“…then by that very definition there is a sexual identity issue.”
Which simply does not follow, unless one gratuitously conflates two different things, viz. sexual identity (the sex to which one belongs) and sexual orientation (the sex of the people to whom one is erotically attracted).
“Some people happily reconcile, ignore or integrate their dissonance from the default into their lives.”
That is to say, some people, sooner or later, come to terms with and accept the fact that in this particular respect they are in the minority and learn to be happy with the fact.
“Others recognise the ongoing understanding of a dissonance from the norm and seek to address it.”
Otherwise stated, some are unable or unwilling to accept that their sexual orientation differs from that of the majority and try to find some means of “correcting” it.
I'm with Peter on this one. We are whole human beings – not just defined by one aspect of ourselves. Our sex organs are built, primarily, for heterosexual sex. Male and female are different, and complimentary. And part of being a human is the desire to have offspring – which also requires heterosexual sex.
That's what leads to this "dissonance": we *are* men or women – whatever our sexual attractions are – gay or straight.
“we *are* men or women – whatever our sexual attractions are – gay or straight.”
Yes, precisely. And that’s why being gay doesn’t imply any “dissonance” and doesn’t have to involve or be caused by any “conflict of sexual identity”. Men and women is what we *are*. It doesn’t say anything about the sex of the people to whom we are *attracted* – although, of course, it is a fact that the vast majority of people are erotically attracted to (some) people of the other sex, only a minority being erotically attracted to (some) people of the same sex.
“Men and women is what we *are*. It doesn’t say anything about the sex of the people to whom we are *attracted*…”
Err, yes it does:
It says that there can be a mismatch between the people we feel attracted to and the people we are built to have sex with. We are built to have sex with a person of the other sex.
It says that there can be a mismatch between our desires to have offspring and the sex of the people we want to be in a partnership with. We need a partner of the other sex to produce our own children.
And it means that there is a mismatch between the type of human that we could form a complementary partnership with and the people we feel sexualy attracted to. Men and women have complementary characteristics.
It is a readily observable fact that the vast majority of people are sexually attracted to people of the other sex. You seem to assume, however, that EVERYONE ought to be sexually attracted to people of the other sex and ought to be producing offspring. That is an assumption that I see no reason to make. Some people are sexually attracted to people of the same sex. The only mismatch here is between how you think things “ought” to be and reality.
A heterosexual partnership in which both partners are heterosexually orientated is certainly a complementary one. On the other hand, a heterosexual partnership in which either of the partners is homosexually orientated is not a complementary one; it is a mismatch.
I'm sure you would agree with me that there are some sexual attractions that are not healthy for us to fulfill. Even quite prevelant ones.. and that some are positively damaging.
The question is how to decide that. And in my view that question has to do with a lot more than just who we feel attracted to. The meaning of sexual relationships is not just in our minds – it has to do with many aspects of who we are as human beings.
“I’m sure you would agree with me that there are some sexual attractions that are not healthy for us to fulfill.”
Yes, I certainly would. All other things being equal, a sexual attraction to someone of the same sex isn’t one of them.
How do you decide?
Well, David, my criterion is this: does it make life better, brighter, happier, more human, more divine, without doing any harm or injustice to anyone? To which my answer is yes.
If it be objected that it fails to fit some gender-complementarity or yin-yang paradigm, let those who wish to let their lives be governed by such baubles look to that. As far as I am concerned, such an objection to a sexual relationship is of no more importance than supposed incompatibility of astrological birth-signs.
Hi William, I don't seem to be able to reply directly to your post below, so I'm replying to both here.
I agree that an relationship can make life "better, brighter, happier" but you are overreaching on "more divine". I also think your restrictions are too narrow: "without doing any harm or injustice to anyone". For instance, most people do not support marriage of adult siblings, even though it is completely consensual and harmless – provided they don't risk having children. And there are other sexual relationships and behaviours that people (who want to do them) argue are not harming anyone, or unjust, but we would both probably disapprove of – because we think they are against other moral "goods" associated with sex.
But that is not the tack I'm taking here. What I'm saying is that the "ying-yang paradigm" IS central the "goods" of sexual relationships. You do have to admit that a central aspect of human sexuality is the complementarity of the sexes – and that is where the "dissonance" arises for many people.
Human sexuality is about a lot more than just attraction and intimacy. Those are certainly moral "goods", but they are not all that sexuality is about: sexual relationship is also about the human "good" of wanting offspring of our own, but we can't if we form a homosexual partnership. Sexual relationships is about the "good" of jointly forming a part of human society, but when both people are the same sex the partnership isn't connected so well to both halves of the human race. Even sexual intercourse shows dissonances between what we want to do and what we are: physically and biologically our bodies are built to have sex with someone of the opposite sex.
People in gay and lesbian relationships have to find ways round these problems, and do. But that is not the same as being able claim that they are not problems that are inherent to homosexual relationships.
“You do have to admit that a central aspect of human sexuality is the complementarity of the sexes”
By that I take it that you mean that the male-female sex difference is a central aspect of heterosexual sexuality. Yes, I’m absolutely sure that it is, just as the male-male/female-female sex similarity is a central aspect of homosexual sexuality.
“sexual relationship is also about the human “good” of wanting offspring of our own, but we can’t if we form a homosexual partnership.”
We can’t either if we form a heterosexual partnership in which either of the partners is infertile for some reason (e.g. past the age of child-bearing, hysterectomy) but I’ve never heard anyone condemn such partnerships on that score.
“Even sexual intercourse shows dissonances between what we want to do and what we are”
As a gay man, I can say that I’ve never discovered any such dissonance, nor have I ever heard any of my gay friends complain of any. I have never tried or wanted to lie with another man “as with a woman”, only as with a man.
I would add, however that sexual intercourse frequently does present dissonance for a homosexual person in a heterosexual relationship, the dissonance being between what they are expected to do and who they are. As a matter of fact, a mate of mine spoke to me not long ago of this dissonance when, prior to accepting his natural sexuality, he attempted to live in a heterosexual relationship with a woman. He described the scenario as “just a nightmare”. I admit that I had to stop myself from crying, and later, when I was on my own, I did. No-one has the right to impose that kind of nightmare on anyone else to satisfy some concept of “gender complementarity”. Out upon it! I say.
>>>We are built to have sex with a person of the other sex.
Not exclusively. I realise that many conservatives still traffic in gay=buggery=nasty death inanities, but on what grounds is it anything other than absurd to (to pick a culturally popular act on the sexual menu) claim or assume that female mouths were somehow "designed" (the reality, of course, is that we evolved) for fellatio but male lips were not? In any case, were our eyes designed to hold glasses? I'm pretty sure that many an Osteopath would say that our backs weren't "designed" to sit at desks all day, which shows you just how absurd this argument is!
>>> Men and women have complementary characteristics.
There are lots of "feminine" men and "masculine" women. And evangelical culture (for example) has (at least from a True Believer Knox or 18C perspective) capitulated to feminism. In a world where women can rightly do any job a man can the case is hardly overwhelming for fundamental male/female differences which necessarily make homosexuality unsound.
And of course heterosexual men and women can and do have desires for the opposite sex that are unrelated to procreation.
No. I’m trying to point out that the meaning of sex for human beings is wider than the issue of sexual attraction and stimulation.
Similarly, the issue of male and female is much wider than how we think of ourselves. A woman is not just an effeminate man. We are whole people – not just minds trapped in a bodies.
The dissonance arises when what we are in our minds, and what we are physically and biologically, do not match.
“I’m trying to point out that the meaning of sex for human beings is wider than the issue of sexual attraction and stimulation.”
Well, I would definitely agree with that. It’s also wider than just the issue of reproduction.
“The dissonance arises when what we are in our minds, and what we are physically and biologically, do not match.”
Such dissonance is certainly a problem. But being gay is not an instance of it.
So if someone has same-sex attraction, but doesn't want to have it, they need to grow up? You deny any ability for that same-sex attraction to change or for anybody to be asked to assist in changing that same-sex attraction?
“So if someone has same-sex attraction, but doesn’t want to have it, they need to grow up?”
That is not the way that I would have thought of putting it, but yes, I think that their best option is to come to terms with their sexual orientation and to let go of the desire to change it.
“You deny any ability for that same-sex attraction to change or for anybody to be asked to assist in changing that same-sex attraction?”
People’s orientation can change from homosexual to heterosexual, and vice versa. This is more common in women; it is definitely the exception in men. There is no means of actually making it happen. Anyone who offers “to assist in changing that same-sex attraction” is either self-deluded or a charlatan.
"Such dissonance is certainly a problem. But being gay is not an instance of it."
William, why is being gay not an instance of dissonance between what we are in our minds, and what we are physically and biologically?
David, why IS being gay an instance of dissonance between what we are in our minds, and what we are physically and biologically?
William, I would like a reply to my question before replying to yours, please.
David, I am a gay male. My sexual attractions, ever since I have been aware of having any, have always been to other males. I concede that there is a dissonance here, but not with any ascertainable reality. Rather, the dissonance is merely with the belief that all males “ought” to be sexually attracted to females – a belief that I see absolutely no reason to share. That MOST people are sexually attracted to people of the other sex is a readily observable fact of experience; that ALL ought to be is not.
If you believe that there exists some other dissonance which I have failed to see, it is for you to tell us what it is; to call on me to explain why some unidentified dissonance does not exist is absurd.
That might be true, in so far as it goes, but much invocations of the "Natural" mistake unfounded cliches (however millenia old) for accurate observation. I see, in the Amazon bit at the side, that Peter recommends some Joshua Harris books. I actually had the misfortune of reading "Sex is Not the Problem, Lust Is" in which he claims that C.S. Lewis argued that perversion was deviation from male and female marital sex. Lewis, as a good Anglo-Catholic, of course argued no such thing : he said the perversion was in deviation from sex-for-procreation only. The amount of sperm the human male produces is hardly an argument *for* such Natural Law truisms, whereas the importance of clitoral stimulation to female orgasms similarly hardly supports conventional Christian understandings on "natural" and "unnatural" sex.
No. I'm trying to point out that the meaning of sex for human beings is wider than the issue of sexual attraction and stimulation.
Similarly, the issue of male and female is much wider than how we think of ourselves. A woman is not just an effeminate man. We are whole people – not just minds trapped in a bodies.
The dissonance arises when what we are in our minds, and what we are physically and biologically, do not match.
"The amount of sperm the human male produces is hardly an argument *for* such Natural Law truisms,"
"the importance of clitoral stimulation to female orgasms similarly hardly supports conventional Christian understandings on “natural” and “unnatural” sex."
to be honest, I'm not sure if you're joking or not, but :
a) the historical natural law argument would be that sperm is solely for creating new life in the context of 2.4 children monogamy, yet the biological reality is that the male produces enough semen to knock up two different women a day. The evidence does not support the hypothesis. I should stress that I am not here offering "natural" arguments to support (e.g.) fornication; I am stressing that the biological realities make it a severe tactical misstep for contemporary Christians to evoke hoary cliches under the guise of the more philosophically respectable label "Natural Law".
b) assuming that orgasm is *a* goal of sex then , again, the fact that women are more likely to climax with solely vibrator-aided clitoral stimulation than lying-on-their-back-for-monogmous-man/woman-sex-as-God-intended intercourse is hardly an argument *for* the primacy of the latter.
a) No, that certainly isn’t the historical natural law argument. The primary Natural Law arguement about sexual orientation is that human beings are built such that the full meaning of our sexuality is fulfilled only by a sexual relationship between a man and a woman. (Because, as I said earlier, sex is about a lot more that just attraction and orgasm).
b) I think your understanding of God’s intentions for lifelong monogamous heterosexual partnerships is rather distorted if you don’t allow for anything other than the missionary position, and if you think that clitoral stimulation is not allowed!!! And vibrators don’t love you, don’t make babies etc etc
It's very slippery to proffer "the" *contemporary* "Natural Law argument" and claim it's the historical, Orthodox Christian one. My point about C.S.Lewis, say, is entirely accurate – and note also e.g. Lambeth Conferences on birth control from only a few decades ago. The contemporary witness of, say, The Cathechism of the Catholic Church says something quite different than the view that "the full meaning of our sexuality is fufilled only by a sexual relationship between a man and woman" (not least, of course, because that suggests some other, lesser, or different "meaning" can still be achieved by non male/female unions. And of course merely *asserting* that "meaning" is the primary criteria for appraising sexual relationships is in no way an actual convincing theological *argument* for that view!)
b) – Again, my talking of particular historical realities is in no way an argument for or against them.. I realise there was talk of the primacy of clitoral stimulation in even the 17th and 19th centuries, but the (not just RC) Church was hardly, to say the least, in agreement with such radical sexologists. Again, you're ignoring my point on the implications of your *own* stated logic and apparent presuppositions; I would reiterate that I personally think arguments-from-plumbing are generally silly.
William said: "… you mean that the male-female sex difference is a central aspect of heterosexual sexuality."
No. I mean that men and women are complementary – not just "different": we built to have sex with someone of the other sex; we need someone of the other sex to produce children etc etc. Sexual orientation does not change the other realities of being human – physical, biological etc.
However, I'm not trying to argue that people must form a sexual partnership with someone that they are repulsed by… though I think many people choose to love someone that they don't always find very attractive!
But it is a mistake to argue that all dissonances are eliminated by forming a sexual relationship with someone one IS attracted to. I know a lot of couples who can't have children, for instance, and have had to wrestle with this "dissonance".
“I mean that men and women are complementary”
Yes, David, when they are heterosexual, which of course most people are. When they are homosexual, they are not complementary – at least not where sexual relationships are concerned.
“we need someone of the other sex to produce children”
Yes, and that’s why homosexual relationships can’t produce children. That’s just something that we have to accept. As a Danish professor of theology sagely observed on television some years ago, “Sometimes you have to accept the consequences of your destiny, of your fate. [Heterosexual] People who live together and cannot get children have to accept the consequences of that. And if your fate is that you are a homosexual, then there are some consequences that you have to accept in that situation also. No-one can get everything. And the consequences would be, ‘Some things I have the possibility to get, other possibilities I have not.’”
That's a good quote: “ ‘Some things I have the possibility to get, other possibilities I have not.’” Homosexuality creates restrictions in how we are able to express our being whole human beings. That is the main point I was trying to explain… that men and women are complementary as *whole beings*: we are built to have sex with someone of the other sex; we need someone of the other sex to produce children etc etc.
As you said: "When they are homosexual, they are not complementary – at least not where sexual relationships are concerned." When someone is homosexually oriented there is an inherent dissonance between that person's sexual attractions and the other realities of being human – physical, biological etc. It isn't anyone's "fault" but it is there. I think that's why quite a few people choose to commit to someone of the other sex – not because they're the most attractive person, sexually, but because of the attractions of the other aspects of forming a human couple.
Maybe our disagreement is due to different world views. In the end I see my self not as a mind trapped in a body – that may or may not be appropriate to me. I see myself as an integrated whole: spirit, mind and body, plus I see myself as part of a human couple, plus as part of two human families, plus as a part of my network of friends and neighbors, plus as a part of society, plus as a part of the whole family of humankind, plus as a part of nature… And all of that in relationship to God.
I think that that is the context for how each of us should look at our sexual attractions, and the context we need to consider when we decide what to do about them.
“Homosexuality creates restrictions in how we are able to express our being whole human beings.”
Yes, of course it does. So does heterosexuality. Homosexuality makes people unsuitable for heterosexual relationships; likewise heterosexuality makes people unsuitable for homosexual relationships. We are all circumscribed by who we are physically and psychologically, not just in respect of our sexual relationships but in multifarious aspects of our lives. That’s part of being human. As the professor said, “No-one can get everything.”
“…we are built to have sex with someone of the other sex…”
But clearly we are also built to have sex with someone of the same sex if necessary; otherwise it wouldn’t work, and it does. One of the wonders of nature. A bit like a reversible duvet cover.
“…we need someone of the other sex to produce children…”
We’ve been over that already. Not everyone has children, nor is it essential to the good of humanity that everyone should. Some people just can’t. Some don’t want children, in which case it’s probably best that they don’t have them. Some don’t because they have committed themselves to celibacy, e.g. as priests, monks or nuns. Some don’t because they’re gay. (Although I would add that some gay couples do a very good job of raising other people’s children, often children that no-one else wants.)
“When someone is homosexually oriented there is an inherent dissonance between that person’s sexual attractions and the other realities of being human – physical, biological etc.”
There you go again. What inherent dissonance? Yes, dissonance with the BELIEF that everyone ought to be heterosexual and that everyone ought to be producing offspring – a belief which, as I have already made clear, I see no reason to share. But dissonance with what REALITY of being human? You still haven’t told me.
“I think that’s why quite a few people choose to commit to someone of the other sex…”
If a homosexual person decides to do this, that’s up to them, but if they have little or no sexual attraction to the heterosexual partner – never mind whether the partner is the MOST attractive person sexually – the latter deserves to be apprised of the situation beforehand. To act otherwise is deceitful. As a young widow said to a gay man who confided to her that he was considering doing this, “I wouldn’t want to be married to a man whom I couldn’t attract sexually.” I have several friends who did this. I’m not judging them; on the contrary, I sympathise with them, because I realise that they did it at an age and at a time when the rampant homophobia in society seriously impaired their judgment. As one of them told me, he did it after his family found out that he had a boyfriend and “beat the —- out of me”. All of them love the children that their marriages produced, but they all regret what they did, would undo it if they could put the clock back, and would unreservedly advise others against doing it. Certainly, to put any kind of pressure whatsoever on a person to make them feel that they OUGHT to do it is downright immoral. (I appreciate, of course, that there exists an alternative school of thought on this that could be summarized as: “What the hell? Why not play games with other people’s lives to shoe-horn them into our heterosexist paradigm?”)
“…because of the attractions of the other aspects of forming a human couple.”
For a gay person, the most attractive aspects of forming a human couple are to be found in a gay relationship. I regard any attempt to dissuade them from forming such relationships as indefensible.
“In the end I see myself not as a mind trapped in a body – that may or may not be appropriate to me.”
Quite right. The late Sir Oliver Lodge put it well when he wrote, “And as to what man himself is – I apprehend that he is a union of soul and body; and that without the one or the other he is incomplete as a man…” But what relevance has this or the rest of your penultimate paragraph to homosexuality? None that I can see.
I would ask once again: with what reality – not belief, theory or paradigm – but REALITY is homosexuality dissonant?
William, I agree that it is not dissonant for a person with homosexual orientation to be in a same sex sexual relationship – if you only look at the consonance between sexual attraction and sexual partnership. However:
You argue that two men can have a sexual encounter. But the reality is that being able to have a sexual encounter is not the same as having complementary sex organs! I'm sure we can both think of sexual atrractions and sexual encounters that are possible but that we would to want to claim were "miracles of nature"!
You argue that not every male-female couple can have children, but the reality is that that is often a source of dissonance for such couples too! Having offspring is a completely human desire, and many couples suffer a lot to try to conceive (I know several that have been through rounds of unpleasant IVF treatment).
You don't seem to believe it but the reality is that sex is about more aspect of being human than just sexual attraction and intimacy. That is the reality of being a lot more than just a mind in a body.
>>>>>You argue that two men can have a sexual encounter. But the reality is that being able to have a sexual encounter is not the same as having complementary sex organs!
David, you keep saying this or a variation on it as if it contains great self-evident wisdom. It does not. Certainly, if procreation is desired male and female usually have to come together (so to speak). But that in no means that recreational sex is dissonant if not heterosexual (and,tangentially, the acceptance of birth control means that the majority of sex in the evangelical world is recreational too). Look at some of the key items on the sexual menus for sex in both the gay and the straight world. If you can seriously mount an argument (so to speak) on why female on male fellatio is fine-and-dandy-as-God-intended but the male on male variety is somehow intrinsically "dissonant" then I, for one, would love to hear it.
"You don’t seem to believe it but the reality is that sex is about more aspect of being human than just sexual attraction and intimacy."
Sex is about more aspects of being human than the production of offspring and "complementary sex organs".