There are four relationships needed in the pursuit of sexual purity and relational wholeness for men and women with same-sex attractions.
1. Jesus, The Christ
2. Same – Same
3. Same – Different
4. Different – Different*
Got it? Ha! I’ll explain.
Frank Worthen, the Grandfather of homosexual recovery has identified three (#2, #3, #4) relationships needed in overcoming homosexuality. I added #1 specifically though Frank Worthen held the same belief: the necessity of a personal, dynamic relationship with the Living Jesus as essential to a changed life.
Let me explain each relationship and the reasoning behind each relationship.
Same – Same
Same-sex friendship with persons who also have same-sex attractions (SSA).
Same – Same is one of the important reasons Prodigal Ministries has provided its weekly support group for thirty-two years. We recognize the healing that comes from gathering with others in like situations. Just like mothers of murdered children, overeaters, infertile married couples etc gather together; there is healing in meeting with like people in like situations.
Ministries across the nation also know the healing effect of gathering persons together who are pursuing Jesus and have same-sex attraction. Additionally, that’s why we see conferences, retreats, workshops and the like.
One healing relationship for persons with SSA is being with other SSA people in a safe, non-sexual and authentically transparent context – Same – Same
Same – Different
This describes persons of the same sex but has different issues. Sy Rogers affectionately, accurately (and humorously) refers to these individuals as “ever-straights” or “never-beens.” I think you get the reasoning behind those identifiers.
It is very important for persons with SSA to identify with persons who do not or have not had SSA. Through this same-different relationship, SSA individuals can see/identify with the weaknesses they discover in the same-different friends as well as their strengths. Through this friendship, SSA guys recognize that the men are varied in their masculine expressions AND belong within the same fraternity. Belonging and identifying with same-different males is of significant importance.
I have broken Same–Different into two sub-categories: Same-Different that do not know and Same-Different that do know.
• Same – Different that do not know
This subcategory refers to the same – different friendship and it is not known that you ‘deal’ with SSA.
It is important for the man dealing with SSA to be seen and accepted as one of the guys just like he sees them – just one of the guys. There is no need to know each other’s deepest ‘secrets’ in order to know the acceptance and camaraderie of men. One does not need to know that a dude coached a girl to get an abortion in order to love and accept him. Just as you do not need to share your SSA in order to be loved and accepted by the guys. It is important to be accepted– affirmed as one of the guys without having to know each other’s ‘everything ‘. Bottom line: They don’t have to know about one’s SSA to receive their affirmation and acceptance as ‘one of the guys’.
• Same – Different that do know.
It can be a significant impact on the person with SSA to experience that he/she is accepted, affirmed and belong to their gender with his/her group knowing of his/her SSA. Fully known and accepted by ever-straights is a healing friendship.
This refers to different gender and different issues, in other words, opposite-sex relationships (non-romantic, non-sexual).
In most cases, changes in relationship with the opposite sex are necessary and involve a disidentification with the opposite sex. Many SSA individuals have over-identified with the opposite sex. In my case this was my inner dynamic – I identified with girls so much that I felt feminine in comparison to males so much that males become the opposite of me.
It is often times necessary for the SSA individual to ‘tune down’ their relationship with the opposite sex so that they are ‘forced’ to relate to their same-sex friends. SSA individuals are then afforded the opportunity to see themselves as different from the opposite sex.
I strongly encourage you to work on building relationships in each of these categories. I am confident that your sexuality will be richly affirmed in its Divine design and intent.
Enjoy the relational journey!
*Adapted from Frank Worthen’s Steps Out Of Homosexuality