Honesty About My Sexuality

I haven’t really been keeping up with regular blogposts lately, mainly because I’ve been very busy with lots of other things going on in my life. But something happened tonight that motivated me to write a quick post.

In the debate about how open one should be about one’s sexual attractions to the same sex among Catholic circles, I’ve often encountered the argument that “it’s exhausting to constantly hide one’s sexual orientation.” The examples that are often given are the times when people ask about your romantic situation: are you single, are you dating someone, are you married, that sort of thing.

Tonight I was at one of my favorite breweries and while the friend I was with struck up a conversation with the fellow to his left, I began chatting with the guy to my right.

We talked about the usual stuff one talks about at a brewery: what beers are your favorite, what styles do you like, what’s your favorite brewery in the state. Eventually the conversation turned towards what part of town we both lived in, and our living situation. I found out he was single, though on the search for the right woman. He then asked if I had a wife at home.

Now apparently this is supposedly an automatic moment of angst for those who have chosen to identify as “gay chaste Christians.” I don’t experience that, because I’m very honest with my sexuality. I accept the truth that I am a man made for women, regardless of my subjective desires and attractions for men. So what did I say to the guy?

I told him, “well, I’m single right now. I haven’t met the right woman, but I’m quite content to live as a single guy. I figure at this point in my life I’m not really in the search for a woman to share my life with, since I’m pretty content as a single guy, but I’m certainly open to the possibility if the right woman comes along. I’m not in a proactive search, but I’m open to the possibility.”

This answer has always served me well, and it’s very honest. I accept the objective reality that I am a man made for women, that my true chance for companionship will only ever be with a woman . There’s no dishonesty here at all.

 

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19 thoughts on “Honesty About My Sexuality

  1. Such a beautiful answer and great way to share God’s plan for your life. I truly enjoy your blog, Daniel, and pray for you! I am hoping my son will someday see God’s plan for his life as you have!

  2. Thanks for this. Since I haven’t quite figured out how to navigate this situation well (and rarely get the opportunity to do so), I found this response honest and true. Well done. And I bet the response was completely acceptable to the other guy. Prayers for the success of your conference. You are in stellar company. Thanks for all you do for us – I’ve learned a lot from you and am almost always uplifted. Peace.

  3. See I disagree, Dan. I don’t see anything wrong with your answer per se, but there’s still an element of dishonesty about it — at least there would be for me. I am not attracted to women and don’t expect that I ever will be — romantically/sexually at least — in the future. To use your example, if I were to use your words that I’d be open to the possibility, I’d be lying and misleading. I think it’s great you can use those words and mean it … but for many of us, it just doesn’t work.

    • This is where I think the answer is in keeping with total abandonment to Divine Providence. I have no desire, really, to be married to a woman, nor do I find many women attractive. The idea of dating a woman gives me the creepy crawlies. But–here’s where the honesty comes, as I see it–the truth of objective reality is more honest than are my subjective understandings. I know that I am the sort of creature who is just like Adam: Eve is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, even if that notion is undesirable to me. I’m not going to pretend that I’m a different sort of man than Adam–I recognize that my desire for companionship with a man, (as if a man is more “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh” than a woman is), that’s a result of the fall of Adam. I don’t want to pretend that I’m a different sort of man than all of the other men in the world, or different than Adam, simply because I think that another man is a more suitable companion to me than the suitable companion God ordained for man to have.

      But let me push back a little bit–I assume that there is no way on God’s green earth that I would ever be married. I don’t expect it to happen, I don’t desire it to happen, and I certainly am not proactively looking for a woman, since the idea gives me the heebie-jeebies. But I believe I need to have a humility to the truth of who I am, and what sort of creature I am, and in that objective truth, I AM the sort of creature who is made for union with a woman.

      It’s in THAT light, in that light only, that I am open to the possibility of union with a woman. This is where the virtue of total abandonment to Divine Providence enters into the picture. We must become docile in the hands of our heavenly Father, it seems to me, and part of that docility is recognizing who we are, as sexual creatures.

      This is why I find Melinda Selmys’s book so odd: “Sexual Authenticity.” I don’t think anyone who has embraced the label of “gay” is being authentic with regards to the objective truth of their sexuality. And it’s why I always scratch my head when I hear the argument about “I need to be honest about my sexual orientation.” I always respond to that by saying, “well, if you’re stuck in the notion that your subjective feelings and attractions towards the same sex are what is honest about your orientation, you’re not being honest enough!”

      I’m not pretending or being dishonest when I say I’m open to the possibility that “the right woman might come along.” I view it sort of like Adam: none of the animals seemed like a suitable companion to him. That changed when Eve showed up. I see it this way: none of the women I’ve met, or seen in the world have been a suitable companion to me. I suspect in God’s Providence this means that I am of more use to the Kingdom as a single man, and that by being single, God uses the particular struggles associated with that to make me more in the man He wants me to be. But part of that process in becoming docile to His will is recognizing and accepting who I truly am, as a sexual creature. I am a man made for women. I don’t think there’s an “Eve” out there for me, but honesty compels me to be open to the possibility, since I haven’t taken any vows of celibacy, and companionship with a man is a mirage.

      These are all rather quick thoughts, but I hope that makes some more sense of why I feel comfortable saying this. I don’t pray for marriage, I don’t desire a woman in my life, but I recognize that I’m a man just like Adam, and God may one day bring an Eve into my life. Though I don’t particularly want that to happen!

      • As a Passionist and as someone who is celibate after a civil divorce, I have to say that I don’t understand why sexual attraction is treated differently by some than other appetites. I recently found out that I’m allergic to refined sugar. It sets me on fire, physically. I ate some Christmas candy after Christmas and ended up in the emergency room. No matter how much I may want to eat sugar, I have to accept that it is going to have those painful consequences. Sometimes I give in and have a non-diet soda and I sit there on fire wanting to kick myself for giving in. I really do not see a difference between that and sexual attraction. I still have attractions to men, but if I were to give in to them, there would be painful consequences for me (in purgatory, or even maybe hell), so I have to focus on what God wills for me instead of what my attraction/appetite is saying to me. There really is no difference between the sexual attraction and the appetite for sugar except that it effects different body parts.

  4. Well said, esp enjoyed reading Jeron’s comment and Dan’s response! Dan, I’m going to play devil’s advocate here — if there is a particular man who insists on pursuing me in spite of polite refusals, my great temptation is pulling out this “card” of sorts like “dude, give it up” — your thoughts??

    • I suppose I’d ask you first how close you are to this person. Secondly I’d say that you wouldn’t be the first woman who has been pursued insistently by a man, where the woman was in no way attracted to the man. What do your female friends do in that situation? Why would you need to “play this card” in order to dissuade him? Your other female friends in similar situations don’t have “that card” to play–what do they do?

  5. Why didn’t you just tell the guy who asked you this question that you were simply single? Why did you feel the need to justify and explain why you don’t have a woman in your life? Who are you trying to convince, the guy or yourself? I’m a little confused why a simple question resulted in such a long winded answer…

  6. There is a call within the Church to live a single life. Of course there will always be those over analytical, overly “discerning” people that know what’s better for you than “you”. They’re in the Church and outside of the church. You were’not “leading on” this person from what I read. You only seemed to be having a good conversation without exposing private parts of your overall human makeup. (No pun intended) that could have interfered with the art of good conversation. I see no problem with this situation.

    • There is another expression our generation used that would throw the “whaaaaaaaat?” generation off their tracks. Simply put “Know Heart, Know Head, No Heart, No Head” (don’t get the wrong idea!) It means the same as “Know thyself”. You certainly know what is in your heart, the core of the soul, and it is reflected in your intellect. You know that your intentions are pure, but how unfortunate in today’s society so many think they have the “supernatural gift” of reading minds, heads, hearts and souls. I certainly trust you!

  7. Good answer. But any response is good too, as you don’t even know this person, and you owe this information to no one. You can choose to be as forthcoming and detailed as you want, as can the other person. And you can have only as much interest in his or her information as you want. As can he or she.

    • I was also thinking of an old term for true friendship. Doing the same thing another does, of course this is vast in Catholicism. It’s not Thomas Aquinas vs. Mother Teresa. It is very much breathing the same Spiritual Air of loving the Church.

  8. “I wish, I may, I wish I might, have, this wish I wish tonight ! This “twinkling star” is nothing other than learning the obvious. The obvious is simple! The obvious is intuitive! The obvious is knowing ourselves, but others can’t, only God can! The tangible evidence of this is between the covers of “Divine Mercy, in my Sou,l Diary” Sister M. Faustina Kowalska. Entry # 1487. If anyone truly wants to know “Who Knows you?” Please read this entry.

  9. You gave a thoughtful, honest response – it fits everything you have ever written on the subject. It is helpful for those who might struggle with the idea of honesty and sharing too much information when asked such questions.

    I also think there is nothing wrong with saying, “I’m single – I have no interest in marriage or getting into a relationship.” One may discuss Catholic teaching on sexuality or not. It’s never necessary to over-share.

    Coming out has distorted our sense propriety – no one is required to reveal their sexual proclivities/temptation to anyone.

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