Driven to Sin

Hi, I’m Zach (not actually). Forgive me if this post is long, but I have a lot to say. I am a sophomore in college, and I’m 19 years old. I’m a very devout Catholic, and I study philosophy at a Catholic university. My mom is Catholic, my dad is a non-practicing Jew, and my brother is an atheist. For as long as I can remember I’ve always been attracted to men. Nevertheless, I can distinctly remember a time when I was predominantly attracted to women. A series of traumatic events changed that for me.

When I was young, I was relentlessly bullied by almost everybody at my school. I was hit, teased, and shunned from most activities. My peers also spread around a rumor that I was a sexually desperate nerd who would rape anybody who tried to be nice to me. The adults in my life (with the exception of my parents) weren’t much better; they made fun of me for being gullible, laughed at the jokes my bullies made, and told me to “man up.” When I came home, I was physically abused by my brother. Because of this, I was seriously depressed for several years, lost the faith I was raised in, and started contemplating suicide. At the same time, I started getting stalked by a guy who essentially took advantage of my pain. At first he treated me like I mattered, but then he became obsessively attached to me and started making me feel guilty for not spending enough time with him. Long story short, he lured me in sexually and took advantage of me. Ever since then, I’ve been seriously addicted to gay pornography, and that addiction has usually manifested itself in BDSM, dominance/submission related things.

I recognize that I experience same-sex attractions, and I accept the fact that I probably always will. I also acknowledge the fact that I didn’t choose to have these attractions, and the vast majority of people don’t. Nevertheless, I also embrace the distinction made in the Catechism between a person, their inclinations, and their acts. I believe that we as human beings are made in the image and likeness of God, and that, by virtue of the fact that we are endowed with rational souls, each of us has a vocation to live a life of holiness. Additionally, I believe that because of original sin we are ALL forced to struggle with disordered desires (in other words, desires that lead us to vice rather than virtue) that can only be overcome through the help of God’s grace. In that sense, I don’t see same-sex attractions as something unique, and I believe that my struggle, while it might be different on a psychological level, is fundamental similar to the struggle that each person has with their own temptations.

Despite this belief, however, it has become increasingly difficult for me to view my attractions as extrinsic rather than intrinsic. There’s a part of me deep down that REALLY yearns to claim that my sexuality determines my identity. I feel like my sexuality affects more than just who I’m attracted to, and there’s a part of me that wants to embrace those other characteristics. This creates a moral dilemma for me, however. If my attractions are in fact extrinsic, as the Church suggest, then they don’t define me or make up my identity, and I’m morally obliged to stifle these yearnings that I have. If they are intrinsic, however, then would be forced to argue that these attractions are fundamentally good and should be acted upon, because for my intrinsic attractions to be disordered, I as a PERSON would have to be disordered, and therefore incapable of salvation. That can’t be right, and it also introduces the slippery slope of claiming that sex has no objective purpose, and that our bodies have no need of physical redemption.

My struggle has become so much more difficult late for two reasons. First, as I’ve continued to fight my pornography addiction, my romantic attraction for other people (both women and men) has increased. It was easy for me to view my lust as evil when it was objectifying people behind a screen, but when it’s shrouded with feelings of affection I can be very easily deceived. Secondly, I’ve seen many gay people who live actively homosexual lifestyles and appear to be happy. This is especially true in the Furry Fandom, which I have recently associated with. Being a furry isn’t objectively bad since it just means having an interest in art that depicts anthropomorphic animals, but much of the community is built around the dynamic of being open about your sexual attractions, yearnings, fantasies, and endeavors. There is also a disproportionately large number of LGBT individuals in the Furry Fandom. Part of me wants to leave the fandom because I believe it is leading me into sin, but the other part of me loves the art and, to be completely honest, like the idea of letting loose and showing my “gay” side, even if that doesn’t mean having sex.

I am willing to embrace a life of celibacy if that is my vocation, but I will need help to do so. Please share your thoughts with me, and thanks for listening.

P.S. I am still closeted. Only a few friends of mine, my spiritual director, and my confessors know that I have these attractions. Even my parents are unaware at this point.

 

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8 Responses to Driven to Sin

  1. Jd says:

    U need realign ur spirituality to God through Lord Jesus Christ.

  2. Alejandro says:

    Concerning the fact about the furry fandom, remember the bible proverb(not from the book of Proverbs mind you)if your eye causes you to sin, yank it out, better to go to heaven half-blind than to go to hell with both. I know that being in a group where you like the things they do is hard to get out of. I myself was in a group of guys who insulted me everyday and treated me harshly but I laughed it off and pretended I was part of the group. However it starts to take away your dignity and makes you fall into a void of spiritual emptiness. Also to quote the bible Jeremiah 17:9″“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” What you think in intristic is just a lie your heart says to feel better about it’s actions. Pray to God so that he helps you know in your heart the truth, not that it could be wrong, but that you know it in your heart that it is true. It’s hard to believe in God’s strength and Word. Heck Jesus directly said that he would die and come back in three days in front of his disciples and apostles and they still doubted him. How much more so we have to pray to God we who have not seen him. Yes our souls are wounded by the sin of Adam and Eve but that’s it, a wound. A wound that Jesus healed with many wounds of his own and scars. But that doesn’t make us the wound. A disease does not make the pathogen the identity of the host. They are two beings fighting with each other and with the help of the best physician of the world, Jesus Christ the Messiah, it is a disease that loses and dies. Jesus was tempted in the desert and he was God. God made flesh. We of the flesh are plagued with sin which takes many forms and temptations have many modes of coming into our lives. As Jesus said to the apostles on the night before his crucifixion we must pray to God so that we do not succumb to temptation. We all have something inside of us that drives us to sin. If it’s not one thing it’s the other. God never abandons us and helps us. As the stigmata priest Padre Pio once said,”Do not let temptations frighten you; they are the trials of the soul whom God wants to test when He knows that he is strong enough to sustain the battle and weave his garland of glory with his own hands.” Whenever you suffer horribly remember the physical pain Jesus went through on the cross, the emotional pain that Our Blessed Mother went through see her tortured, and all of our brothers and sisters around the world who suffer daily and through it all manage to believe in God. May God Bless You.

  3. Pranan Steven says:

    Brother I know to move from one orientation to another is difficult. I don’t know the experience but few years back I was playing as a bass guitarist in a Catholic band and never knew that our vocalist was gay! He was devout catholic. Few days back he text me confessed he was gay. I was very surprised to hear. Now he is in relationship with a girl and tells through determination change is possible. pranan.steven@ymail.com

  4. Joe says:

    I have had Ssa scince a child, my first attraction to men was at a very Young age maybe 6 or 7.my father has died and my mother has Parkinson’s disease, both lived a life of faith and bravery , dynamic interested in life and fun .dad died a saint with the priest holding the sacred host over him , mum is still interested in everything. I have 7 siblings some with learning difficulties.
    From 18 to 28 I was a member of Catholic organisation with a “vocation to marry” I new I was not attracted to women and left. I then spent the next 26 years living a dissolute life
    Drugs , multiple sexual partners and irresponsible living whilst giving off the pretence of being a good person.i have started praying and saying the rosary ( mainly when I’m driving which I’m sure is not ideal !) I’ve noticed a change , where when I stay close to Christ I feel a peace and my life somehow becomes ordered and simple, when I stray things get messy,I have many temptations and sometimes the struggle is overwhelming.
    But I think our Lord is giving me the opportunity to be an example of sacrifice and purity.
    Sex is a powerful drive but does not define me. Fall in love with Christ in the Eucharist
    And ask his mother for help with simplicity and honesty and our prayers will never be ignored
    . The ways of the world are seductive and a trap especially for the young.our home is not here, it is with God in heaven .be brave try and reject sin ,have faith and we will find joy
    The other way leads to chaos and difficulties .also please remember Christ said we should all be celibate unless married. Not to mention the heterosexual people out there who in some ways have similar struggles and the same call to holiness and purity ,it’s a short life
    Don’t waste too much time in self absorption , think of others ,pray keep busy and enjoy a life in Christ he won’t let you down.

  5. Geoff says:

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the extrinsic vs. intrinsic distinction you are trying to make. The bottom line is that your sexuality is what it is. It’s good that you are seeing it for what it is and accepting it.

    So here’s some good news: there *are* good ways for men to relate to each other very deeply and intimately that I believe you will ultimately find very satisfying. Read some of the lives of the saints and you will find very many men who formed particularly strong friendships with another man, without that friendship crossing the line into physical sex acts. So long as that relationship is ordered towards bringing you both closer to God, there’s nothing wrong with it.

    You’ve had some bad experiences, both with your peers and with someone who took advantage of you. That suggests to me that perhaps you should move very slowing with respect to romantic relationships. You still are pretty young and have several years to discern whether your vocation does involve marriage or not.

    As for the furry interest, what I would suggest you do is look at the friends you are making there. Are they leading the kind of life you want to lead? Are they helping you to make choices that you will ultimately be happy with or unhappy with? If these friends will ultimately lead you to do things that conflict with your morals and Catholic teachings, then perhaps you can find another outlet for your creativity.

    If “being open about your sexual attractions, yearnings, fantasies, and endeavors” means that people love and accept you without regard to those things, that’s one thing. But if, as I suspect, that means giving yourself permission to engage in fantasies about things you know you should not be engaging in, then perhaps you may want to reexamine your choice to be part of that scene.

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28) Same applies to looking at men, or even anthropomorphic animals!

  6. Zach says:

    Thank you all for your responses. Since I submitted this story, I continue to struggle with the intrinsic/extrinsic debate. Nevertheless, there have been several developments that have helped me to deal with it.

    1. Even if same-sex attractions are objectively disordered, that doesn’t mean my sexuality as a whole is disordered. Sexuality is a natural part of human expression and it encompasses far more than just physical attraction. A huge part of sexuality is emotional attraction, and emotional longings for love and intimacy are properly ordered regardless of the sex they are directed towards. Rather than suppressing my sexuality, I have learned to channel it; whenever I experience emotional and physical attraction towards another male, I just channel that into a stronger emotional bond that helps me to create a healthy, holy friendship. Such an approach has also helped me to be more chaste. Nevertheless, when I’m with other gay men who potentially like me back but don’t share the same Catholic views, it can be difficult to keep things under control.

    2. I’ve decided to remain in the furry fandom. After meeting several devout Catholics within the fandom, I’ve been told that it’s a completely innocent hobby as long as a I separate the essence of the fandom, namely an appreciation for art that depicts anthropomorphic animals, from its abuses. I have also learned to present myself as a clean Catholic anywhere I go in the fandom. this has reduced the risk of falling into temptation. Nevertheless, I will always face the problem of normalizing homosexuality in my mind because I have surrounded myself with members of the LGBT community. I suppose I can address that problem by viewing the furry fandom as an opportunity for evangelization.

  7. Jee says:

    Now I don’t agree with most people on here. (I’ve never felt called or pulled toward celebacy. For those that choose that path more power to you. I do not have nor have I ever felt that calling. I feel blessed and comfortable in my life. What I can say is on the furry side of things, there are Christian furry groups and groups of artist who feel as you do. Even groups that completely oppose any idea of furry nudity in art. I’d suggest searching for those groups. Same idea as coming here, finding like minded individuals to share your journey. And this is coming from another furry. If you like the clean art there are filters and ways to simple look at that. It’s no different than any other form of fiction. If you want it to be clean and wholesome it can be just gotta find it. sorry artist here and the idea of a person cutting themselves off from something especially art bothers me of its not necessary.
    Lastly I wish you the utmost luck on your spiritual journey. We all are called on our paths, the trick is finding the one that fulfills your soul not your wants (ya I know weird coming from the gay guy in a relationship )but this is where my journey has taken me. I feel fulfilled in the life I live (I could go to church more) but I always feel God is there. God is understanding and seeks to meet you where he can and call you to him. Strange as it is this is where my path goes
    Best wishes to you all
    And God bless

  8. Joe says:

    You are a very brave guy

    The furry thing is a distraction and possibly an excuse to draw you into quite a dark world.

    Faith in Christ makes demands , the world makes great promises , He never said it would not be a struggle but he always said you would be happy,.
    you are being asked to be brave and bear witness , you will always be rewarded and forgiven if fall.
    Pray to his mother , at least three Hail Marys a day , that’s probably all you need.
    he is asking you to be his friend and work with him in saving souls
    You have a big job ahead of you
    Trust and pray and be very humble
    Please pray for me as well
    Many thanks
    Joe

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