I was a sexual being long before I consciously knew anything about sex. After all, I had a normal physiological and biochemical development in my mother’s womb and emerged with normal male genitalia and the accompanying hormonal influences. From as far back as I can recall, I enjoyed the sensations related to having male genitalia and especially enjoyed the sensations produced by touching the genitals. I had no conception of my genitals being associated with sex and procreation, as my initial ideations about them related to urination and the male gender. But I knew before I could speak that touching my genitals produced pleasurable sensations that also tended to reduce stress and anxiety. I would occasionally get an erection while doing so, but being prepubescent, this activity of course never led to an orgasm. I somehow picked up from my parents in those early years that my genitals were private, so as this understanding took hold, I would refrain from touching my genitals in the presence of others. Even so, my childhood discipline was not so rigid, and my parents would occasionally observe me touching myself and would tell me to stop doing so. On one particular occasion when I was about 7 years old, I was touching my genitals under the cover of my blanket and had an erection while doing so. My mother came into the room and inquired about what I was up to and proceeded to remove the blanket and see my activity and my erection. She had a nervous laughter and told me to stop touching myself. I was embarrassed about being discovered, but the embarrassment was not as high as it would have been several years later when I entered puberty and understood the sexual function of my genitals. Even before I learned about these functions, I deduced that the penis could be inserted into the vagina given their anatomy, but I did not know what the purpose or end result of such an act would be. Thankfully, I had a safe childhood and did not have to deal with learning about such things first hand.
With puberty, the innate sexual potential flowered, and I observed my body, mind, and emotions change. I knew from observing older males in settings like public showers about the physical changes, and I was excited about my transformation into manhood. Sure enough, all the virilizing changes occurred one by one, though I was somewhat a late bloomer compared to my peers. The budding scientist in me was fascinated by the physical changes, and as I always had a particular interest in the penis, I took to understand the changes by reading about them from various sources. I even did some data collection measuring and recording the growth of my penis flaccid and erect for several years. Of course, that research hasn’t been published anywhere. 🙂 Aside from the physical changes, a major noticeable change was that in those years of puberty, I had erections seemingly all the time. No external or internal stimulus was needed; rather, this organ seemed to be demanding my attention at all the wrong moments. I learned about sex from friends, as my parents were rather reserved about such things and never actually sat me down to have “the talk”. I’m sure they figured I’d learn about sex and be safe as they knew of my inquisitiveness and responsibility. I learned around the age of 13 from friends that something amazingly pleasurable would happen if you kept stimulating your penis beyond the pre-pubescent pleasure. So that night, I masturbated to orgasm for the first time. It was intensely pleasurable but also disconcerting, as the muscular contractions that lead to ejaculation were a complete surprise. I felt a sense of loss of control that was both liberating and troubling, and I sensed that sex was something powerful. But I did not have a sense of guilt, even as I knew to keep matters concerning my genitals to myself. I also had several instance of nocturnal emissions in those pubescent years. The dreams were often sexual prior to the nocturnal emission, and I was more than embarrassed by the consequences the next day, which I usually tried to cover up in some way.
As my sexual attractions developed during puberty, I would become sexually aroused as manifested by an erection when I would see a sexually attractive male figure whether in person or in pictures. By this point, I was developing my faith in Christ and was aware that homosexual relationships were not blessed by God. So being the good son and church boy that I was, I never dated any boy or even let anyone know about my sexual urges toward other boys. I was particularly careful in locker rooms or showers not to look at other boys in our state of undress for fear of getting an erection and being ridiculed. But I would masturbate fairly regularly during those years, sometimes thinking about other boys and other times just admiring my own male form. The libido of youth was such that not a lot was needed to quickly reach orgasm. I never thought about girls when I masturbated, and in some ways thinking about girls or seeing pictures of girls would reduce my sexual appetite. I did attempt to date girls in high school, however, as that was the “normal” thing to do, and I had several girls who were interested in me. None of these relationships were too serious as I just wasn’t that into those relationships, and I kissed only two girls during those years. The best word to describe those kisses was “interesting”. There was a certain sensual pleasure in engaging another person orally, but I just wasn’t into it as corroborated by the flaccid state of my penis. I remained a virgin throughout high school due to my Christian faith and parental teachings but also due to my lack of any desire to have sex with girls.
In my college years, I stopped dating completely as I could not date men due to my faith and I did not want to date women just to act “normal”. In my college Christian fellowship, there was much emphasis on and zeal for chaste living, and I as one of the leaders in this group championed this cause as well. Since I wasn’t dating, sex or other physical intimacy with another person was never an issue for me. Lust, pornography, and masturbation were, however, my trifecta of issues I grappled with. There were many sexually attractive men both within and outside my Christian fellowship, and while I had somewhat better control over the timing of my erections, my college libido was still very high. Having the freedom of being away from parents and having my own room made masturbation extremely easy and safe. In those years, I was told and believed that masturbation was a sin in all circumstances. So I tried to stop masturbating, just as I tried to stop looking at porn or stop lusting, and there were times of abstinence; however, eventually, the sexual tension and urge would be too great and masturbation seemed to be a relatively safe way of releasing these tensions as I was not engaged in sex with other people. Sexual tension made me feel restless and more prone to thinking lustfully, while orgasm via masturbation relieved this tension. Nonetheless, I felt much guilt around the issue of my sexual orientation and my sexual activities and thoughts, which weighed down on me and eventually contributed to me having a crisis of faith in my twenties. As previously recounted, God eventually taught me that He does not love and save me because I am morally pure; rather, He loves and saves me purely out of His grace and it is appreciating and rejoicing in that grace that allows me to follow Him better.
In my adult years, I’ve explored my sexuality further. I cast aside my self-imposed dating moratorium and dated a few women. I was learning more about my own attractions and sexuality and wanted to explore the possibility of dating and someday marrying a woman. As previously recounted, one Christian woman I dated was very dear to me, and we became very close. A part of this closeness was a level of physical affection neither of us had previously experienced, which stopped short of sex due to our faith convictions. I found myself sexually aroused when being affectionate with her, and for the first time, I could envision having sex with a woman. Nonetheless, the level of arousal was never as high as the sexual arousal I feel towards men that I know far less. As I came to better appreciate God’s unconditional love and saving grace, I felt more free to explore deeper friendships with men even when I had some sexual feelings toward them. I also began to explore friendships with gay men, a previously taboo group for me as I did not want to have such potentially explosive temptation in my life. I got to know a few gay men through some friends. One of these men and I had much in common, including our Christian faith, and we developed an increasingly closer friendship. He was one of the few people I told about my same sex sexual attractions at that time, and though he respected my traditional sexual ethics, he believed that God blesses committed same sex relationships. It was an entirely new kind of a friendship in which I could be honest about my sexuality with someone who had experienced similar feelings and had gone through similar life circumstances. I could even talk to him about personal sexual issues including lust, porn, and masturbation, so it felt very freeing to finally be able to be transparent about these long hidden areas of my life. I also observed my own thoughts and feelings in this friendship, as I wanted to keep it God-centered and chaste. I noticed that I occasionally would have a desire to connect with him sexually, but as I got to know him better, the emotional connection seemed to occupy my heart more than a desire for a physical connection. Things however became complicated when this friend professed his desire for a more romantic connection with me. More to follow on this in a later post.
Sexuality for me today consists of being aware of my sexual feelings primarily towards certain men as well as occasional masturbation, porn, and lust. I am open to dating a woman should a right one that arouses my interest comes along, but I am content to be single and focusing on the ministries God has place before me. I am better able to recognize and understand when I feel a sexual attraction towards someone, and I am able to better channel such attraction towards a godly end rather than a sinful end. However, the work is far from complete, and I find myself lusting much more than I’d like. A part of this involves pornography which I have abstained from at various times in my life but often tends to return in times of stress or loneliness. I reject pornography since it inherently involves lust, but I’ve come to an understanding that masturbation can be a godly expression of sexuality if done without lust. Admittedly, masturbation and lust often coexist, but I’ve been able to find sexual release at times without lusting and instead merely enjoying the internal physical sexual capacities God has given us, in a similar vein as when I would touch myself as a child for pleasure without lust. On the whole, I continue to be a sexual being as much as the day I was born, perhaps more so now, and while God is continuing to refine me in this area, I am at a place of greater peace knowing that Jesus knows, cares for, and redeems all of me, including my sexuality.