Over the years, I have worked with thousands of clients of all ages, races, and religious backgrounds. Of these clients, I have had many couples in which one of them had a history of struggling with same sex attraction (SSA). Most of these individuals are men, who struggle with sex addiction, and are courageously sharing their struggle with their wife and pursuing help. These men go a step further with their vulnerability, as they share their struggle of being sexually attracted and aroused by sexual images of men. Some may be acting out with men. We are also seeing a growing number of women who struggle with sex addiction and have an attraction toward women.
Before you send me emails complaining about this blog, please understand this article is not about being gay or straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, cross dressing, “whatever-gender-you-identify-with” or if you shop at Target. This blog is not about you. This is not about being politically correct, as I have written about before. Political correctness is the new codependency; and for the record, I used to be codependent.
This blog is for hurting married men and women who have children and grandchildren that do not identify with the LGBTQ community but struggle with lust. They may have trained themselves to desire and lust after the same gender. This information is also for the spouse who does not know what to do for themselves or their children. They are in a place of hopelessness, feeling rejected, not being able to compete with that gender or knowing where to turn. Please know there is hope.
Lust has no limits. It does not care about your race, gender, income, ethnic, cultural, religious, or spiritual back ground. No amount of porn or acting out will ever satisfy lust. It always wants more, more often, in larger amounts and in more depraved ways. Feeding it only makes it want more. Generally, same sex attraction has a stronger hold on the person and can be more difficult to break free from. It creates greater stress on the marriage. There is generally more anger involved for the addict and their spouse when lust involves SSA. Anger is not a bad thing, as anger can show that you care.
If you struggle with SSA,
1. Know you are not alone. There are other men and women who struggle with SSA, and there are tools that can help you restore your marriage. Your spouse loves you, and your marriage is worth fighting for. It will not be easy; however, nothing worthwhile doing ever is easy.
2. Secrets keep you sick and give the addiction power over you. If you have never shared your struggle with SSA, it can be very scary. Finding someone who is a safe person can be very challenging. There are groups and resources available to you and those who have walked this road ahead of you. You do not need to keep it a secret any longer.
3. You are a good person. Many individuals who struggle with SSA struggle for numerous reasons, as they may have:
- Explored sexually with peers growing up
- Experienced trauma and may have been sexually or physically molested or abused by a peer or adult
- Sexual curiosity
- Exposure and viewed same-sex pornography
- Masturbated to same-sex pornography
- Thought it was fun and exciting… in the moment
- Believe it would fill a want or desire
- An inadequate attachment to their cross-gender parent
4. Ask for help. You most likely will not be able to overcome lust to SSA on your own. Lust is generally only overcome with the relationship of others who are actively in recovery and/or counseling.
5. Shame no longer needs to bind you. Lust is lust. Lust takes many forms, and there are many ways in which lust is fed. The way you act it out may be different; however, the core issues are generally the same due to trying to medicate trauma, pain, and hurt.
If your spouse struggles with SSA,
1. Also know that you are not alone. Your spouse most likely loves you, but they do not know how to verbally express or display it right now. There are groups and resources available that can help you as well as those who have walked this road ahead of you. Finding a safe person can be very difficult. Be careful who you share with, and do not let your emotions control you or do things you might regret later.
2. Process through the stages of grief. Please know you will most likely experience and go through the stages of grief.
3. Cheating is cheating. As your spouse struggles with lust and SSA, you will feel very powerless and hopeless. You might get into comparison thinking and asking why. This is normal and appropriate to have these thoughts and feelings.
4. Know that many who struggle with SSA also struggle with intimacy anorexia. Your spouse’s struggle with SSA is not about you; and most likely, this issue began long before you married or even knew your spouse. Also, please understand it is not your fault that they may also struggle with intimacy anorexia.
5. Understand self-care. Take time to take care of yourself physically, emotionally and relationally. Drink plenty of water. Eat foods such as meats, vegetables, and fruits. Try to stay away from fast foods and processed foods.
It takes months to build a house. It takes years to build trust. It takes decades to build a retirement fund. However, it takes only a few seconds to destroy any of these. Things worthwhile doing are never easy, but the road to a new life and change starts by taking the first step. Begin your journey today.
Cory Schortzman is an author, speaker, teacher and licensed mental health professional. Since 2008, he has served as the Executive Director of Transformed Hearts Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He is the founder of SARA, the Sexual Addiction Recovery Association. Cory is passionate about helping couples and individuals overcome sex addiction. He is also passionate about bringing awareness to the public and supporting the elimination of sex and human trafficking. Cory has been married since 1998 to his beautiful wife, Kerry, and lives in Colorado with their four daughters. He and Kerry have been seen on the CBS Early Show, Inside Edition, and ABC Good Morning America, Fox 21 News, and TLC/Discovery discussing the harm of sex addiction and the joys of recovery. He has also been heard on numerous radio programs.
Cory’s books include: Out of the Darkness, Into the Light the Workbook, Into the Light the Steps, Ashes to Beauty the Steps, 301 Dating Ideas, 301 Conversational Ideas, 301 Ways to Say I Love You, 301 Ways to Love Your Children & 301 Recovery Tools & Tips.