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Bewildered Bradley wrote:

Hi, guys —

I'm a 16-year-old male who was born Catholic. I am home schooled so I grew up in a very sheltered life. I am really grateful for this but lately I've been getting weird wet dreams with males in them where I do things I never would do in real life. This didn't bother me at first because I thought I would never do this in real life. But lately I'm really scared I might be gay.

I've had crushes on girls from age 12-16 but I never wanted to have sex with them and I'm not sure if it's because:

  • I secretly want to have it with men, or
  • because my Catholic father/teacher raised me the way they did and it's a good thing not to think about.

I want to have a family when I grow up and I'm not sure if it's a sin to have these dreams but I think girls are pretty and I want to spend the rest of my life with one, but I get hard seeing men not women : ( I don't want to be gay, not just because it's a sin, but because I think it's gross and on the other hand, I don't want to see women as objects (like my friends) and watch porn.

  • I've read about how masturbation is wrong but, if it helps me to stop having these sinful dreams, would it be OK?

I'm really really scared. I want to remain pure and not think about the gay stuff but, at the same time, I don't want to see women that way as well. I don't know how this started or why these dreams are so weird and random. I'm not sure if I have them because I want to have sex with men or because I wish I looked like them. Again, I love girls and have had crushes on them in the past the but for some reason I don't want to have sex with a girl.

I'm sorry for ranting but this has been going through my mind for a year and I feel like I'm going to lose my mind.

Brad

  { Can you provide some guidance for a teenage Catholic with confusing, mixed sexual thoughts? }

Bob replied:

Dear Brad,

There are three (3) things you need to know (some may seem obvious, but bear with me):

  1. These are difficult times (youth, the culture, and disregard for the faith).

    Adolescence is a difficult time to get through, and there are often questions about sexuality that emerge in this most formative time. The answer, however, is that we are not defined by our sexual impulses and desires. The idea of being gay, is a worldly label meant to define someone as a particular way to justify those that want to act out in a particular manner. In other words, they are trying to reframe what it means to be human. We say we are children of God; that is who we are. Jesus came to teach us how to live and bring us home to our Father in Heaven — that is the destination and the game plan. He made us male and female so that we could spread His love and bring children into the world — that is why we have sex. The problem is that we often have sexual desires and fantasies that have nothing to do with God's plan, and that's where we need to reign it in. People are attracted to all kinds of things:

    • the same sex
    • the opposite sex with those who are not their wife, e.g. children, animals, objects, and
    • even crazier things.

    God gave us boundaries, however, in how we are to use our sexuality, and that has a context, which is a man and a woman, in a marriage, where children (which are the natural result of sexual acts) can be raised in security and the care of both parents, who bring a complementary set of attributes: femininity and masculinity. Even studies done in secular society show that children thrive best in two parent families, married, and of the opposite sex. Science and nature both point to God's wisdom.

    • All that being said, is it possible that you have some same sex attraction?

    Maybe, (and/or) it may simply be a phase of development that you are going through. Often at this time young people are vulnerable, especially in our culture, where they are encouraged to try it out and discover who you really are, etc. These are all lies, designed by the deceiver to take you down the wrong path. The only way to true happiness is to follow Jesus and be with God and our loved ones in Heaven for all eternity. Jesus said if you love me you will follow my commands — and if we do, our joy will be complete (cf. John 15:9-11). The biggest lie that the culture is selling is that happiness is only possible if you find your soulmate, and if you are gay, that means finding a same sex partner. Christianity, however, makes a sharp distinction between happiness and joy, the real happiness that remains forever. There are lots of people who seem happy — but that doesn't mean they are going to Heaven. There are a lot of sad people who are going to Heaven. Blessed are those that mourn, they will be comforted. Our faith runs against the culture.

    Every day I find challenges that test my commitment to Christ and chastity is always part of it, even as a married man. I need to heed Jesus' admonition to not look at another woman with lust, and instead try to imagine them as a brother or sister of Christ. It isn't always easy, but as my life goes on I find I get through by the grace of God, especially when I turn to him for help. Living the Christian life is only possible when we are consciously connected to Christ and draw from His grace.

    So, don't ever start defining yourself as gay, even if you find yourself with a very strong same sex attraction.

  2. Demonic activity causes a great deal of this.

    There is a great deal of demonic activity working to tempt people into homosexuality. This is a fact, as reported by many exorcists, and deliverance is only possible through persistent prayer and the sacraments. Say the Rosary everyday and you can stay ahead of temptation and diminish its power. Demons are given more power through activity which takes us out of the state of grace.

    • Have you been to confession?
    • Have you done anything that could have given them greater access to influence you? (Ouija boards, tarot, astrology, seances, other sins?)

    Especially porn, it is a pathway and permission slip for them to have access. I'm not talking about possession, but their main tactics involve obsession, depression, and also lust. They can't read your thoughts, but they can influence them. They work with information already in the brain and push it forward. So if you have seen something and it keeps coming back to you, that can be demonic influence.

  3. You need a game plan.

    Prayer and the sacraments are the proper way to avoid sin and therefore exposure to demonic influence. Pray the Rosary everyday, and make it a point to read the Bible this Lent.

    • How about the whole New Testament for Lent?

    A 16-year-old can do that; call it a point of passage. Take this as a call for battle. Ultimately, if this kind of struggle lingers and you find a more long term same sex attraction, there are groups like Courage that help. I don't think at this point that there is enough evidence that there is a dominant homosexual tendency, but you should take care not to let yourself be influenced unduly.

    There is no sin in the temptation, only in the acting out, following-through or lingering thoughts. That is why Jesus cautions us to control our thoughts.

    Lastly, you can do this.

I'll pray for you.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

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