WARNING! Adult Content Ahead! This is going to feel more like a series of painful, rabies injections rather than Christmas Dinner with Martha Stewart. The level of vulnerability express could only be eclipsed if I were to rip open my chest, cut out my heart and lay it on the table in front of you. I am not a fan of suffering in silence. This piece evolved from a simple question the Holy Spirit asked me today,
“Why do you go to porn?”
Three people just stopped reading. Five others just started a bag of microwave popcorn. This blog is equal parts hurt, anger and frustration; a frantic tie-dyed tapestry of raw emotion. Normally, religiously, I abhor the use of the F word, but today I use it sparingly and pointedly. If this blog is the solitary lens by which you view my character and my life, you’ve missed the point. I am more than my struggle or the use of expletives to demonstrate emotion. I am a child of God who struggles with same sex attraction trying my darndest to make it in a world where I am both maligned and misunderstood. Some will think I have lost my salvation and my mind. Some will cheer. Others will point out the fact that I still struggle with porn to discredit the redemptive work God has done in my life. I am about to go where most Christians never go, but so many Catholics are pleasantly familiar. Welcome, if you dare, to…a time of confession.
The question. “Why do you go to porn?”
And my answer went a little something like this. Because I like the good-looking guys. I’m envious of them. I love the thought of being connected and pleasured by another guy. I love their hair, their muscles, their obvious masculinity. I love that they appear to love who they are; that they are fully surrendered and lost to everything, but the moment and the man before them. I love their noises and the dirty talk. I love the nakedness. I love the dominance and submission. I love that they are surrendered fully to one another, if only for a collective moment. In that moment I know it’s a false sense of love, connectedness and fantasy, but these men are fully surrendered, open, honest and naked before one another. Nothing stands between them. That’s why porn is so alluring to a man who has been deprived of legitimate love and relationship with other men his entire life. Two men are as close as humanly possible, intertwined, committed for a moment.
In all reality, Porn is a caricature of what real relationship between two men who love and care for one another as brothers should look like. Jonathan and David demonstrated this type of relationship. It’s a biblical relationship hijacked by the gay agenda and a relationship that many, straight men live out through butt slaps in the locker room as if their reputations couldn’t withstand much more.
Take away the sexual aspect of porn and the concept being bastardized is two men comfortable being open, honest, close and connected with one another. Many straight men are afraid to relate, be emotional, share their true feelings or hug without employing the triple pat and release maneuver. They fear being called gay or having their masculinity called into question. This leaves the rest of us who need touch and connectedness out in the cold to settle for the crumbs that fall from their table.
A guy at my church, who knows my story intimately endeavored to give me a longer hug than normal the other day. Another guy, standing nearby, asked him if he was thinking of joining the ministry I direct. I run a ministry for men who struggle with same sex attraction. A single, innocent act of refreshing loving-kindness that my heart needed from another man was derailed by the insecurities of a man outside our situation.
I don’t’ go to porn, because I am a pervert. I don’t go to porn, because I am gay. I go to porn, because it seems that straight men are so fucking scared of a truly open, emotional friendship with another man, that I am left to fantasize about what life would be like if the men in the church were open, honest and didn’t give a flying fuck about what the world says. I could kick my porn habit easily. I could give up every false relationship, every nightly, unfulfilling porn session without a second thought. But that would mean that the men of the church would have to step up and love unconditionally, give up their position in the Halls of American Maledom and descend into the caverns of my fear and shame and love me like Jesus does. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t give a rat’s ass about your penis, but when you continually deny me access to the love of your heart, I am relegated to lusting after your loins.
Now you know what me and every other broken, gay man in the world needs: true, open, honest, naked (not nekked), realistic, give and take relationship. Will you still be okay avoiding eye contact? Will you continue to shake our hands as your Christian duty, while avoiding, at all costs engaging my heart? Deep down I know you’re just as broken and fucked up as me, but I don’t have the desire or the energy to hide my brokenness for one more day.
So here I sit, on the outside of your castle walls, begging for scraps, leftovers from your table. There you sit on a throne of your own design, pompous and shallow. You have as great of a need for connection as I do, but I’ve lost the ability to perpetuate the façade covering my pain. Before you utter one, single word of condemnation in my direction, I urge you to consider the following statement. It was my broken heart not my erect penis that led me to this lifestyle for which you feel such disdain. I refuse to remain silent one more day about the hollow and often hurtful relationships I’ve had with some Christian men. Why is it that every post, every confession of my heart is only answered by women or other sexually broken men? If you indeed have it all together, what gives you the right to hold that life giving, life altering treasure and my sanity ransom?
There is a world of men finding solace in one another’s beds, because men of God refuse to act, to pray, to hug. I beg of you to step down from your Ivory Tower of self-righteousness, to give me a sip of water in the desert of my dysfunction. The bible says that if we know that we have the ability to do good for someone and we don’t do it, we can count that as sin. Well now, you know.
I dare you to love me unashamedly and unabashedly. Better yet, I ask you to do just that. Love me. I have a need to be loved. And the horrible reality of my circumstance is that I’ll meet that need with or without you. As much as you have led me to fear relationships with you, God has called me into your circles. He has called me to trust you with my desperate, broken, aching heart.
Porn becomes a substitute for the love that you could easily provide. I continue to wait outside the wall of your heart. I am lucky. The others that once stood with me, grew tired of waiting. Bitterness and resentment gripped their hearts and they continued down the path in an effort to find solace in the arms of another hurting and broken man, instead of in the gospel and The Jesus that you hold hostage.
I die a slow death every time as the delicious poison I look to cure my brokenness slowly eradicates the remaining shreds of hope and life. You have a cure for what ails me, man of God. If Jesus Christ gave to you so freely, why do you place such a high price on it as you offer it to me?
I have long since stopped trying to reach the bar you’ve set for me. I have relegated myself to places where substitutions for love and sexuality quench my thirst for a moment, then leave me dead and dry once again. I beg of you. Step outside, beyond the gates of expectation, societal norms, convention and life as a red blooded American male. I have longed for you to step into my world, so that I could feel confident to begin my safe passage into yours.
Gay men may cast off all restraint in relationship, but you occupy the other end of the spectrum, vaccinated against viral emotions. Let us together lay down our weapons, realize we are both broken and need one another. One difference between us is that I know my life depends on it. You have yet to be convinced.
The question remains. “How long can I go on living outside the shadow of your castle?” Better still, “How long will you let me?”