were we born this way? (pt 2): “did you choose to be ____?”

“you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

i memorized this quotation years ago… when i memorized large portions of to kill a mockingbird my senior year of college.  (brilliant book, btw.)

in were we born this way, part 1, i talked about how, when forced to live outside a pavilion… i began to be confronted by issues and by *people* that i never really tried to understand.

(when the issue and the person is pre-judged as wrong, you decide to save yourself the effort.)

but it was when i began living life with these issues and these people day in and day out– began having conversations, hearing their hearts, seeing their concerns… that i began to step out of my own mental pavilion and try to understand the people behind their orientation.

try to climb in their skin.

to be honest, it’s hard– especially in the issue of same sex attraction.

especially when you aren’t someone who struggles with being attracted to the same sex.

i mentioned before that the homosexuals i know (and gay/lesbian supporters) all say that they didn’t choose their orientation.

and they ask us to step in their shoes with the question: “did you *choose* to be heterosexual?”

the answer to that question– for me– is no.

no, i didn’t.

i wouldn’t consider myself boy crazy in the least.  i’ve never been one to have googley eyes over a man with a handsome face or a chiseled chest.  i mean, i can tell they are attractive… but that’s kinda where it stops for me.  besides one celebrity “crush” in high school, i have never oohed and aahed over a man just for his physical attributes.

(now don’t get me wrong.  i very much enjoy admiring my very handsome husband.  :) )

boy crazy or no, the fact does remain: i didn’t choose to be attracted to men.

that got me to thinking… if i didn’t choose… if it wasn’t a conscious decision on my part– what makes me think it was on their’s?

at the end of the last blogpost, i asked two questions:

1) do we have a choice in our attraction?


2) are we responsible for our sexuality?

although they might look similar, i am not asking the same question in two different ways.  it took me a while to realize that.  attraction and sexuality are so often linked… but in reality, are they same?

let’s tackle each question at a time.

do we have a choice in our attraction?  do we?  hetero or homo– do we choose what gets our adrenaline going, our pupils dilating, our hearts beating?  honestly, probably not.  our body reacts to things that we might not have control over.  if a heterosexual man is walking in the mall and happens to see a victoria’s secret model plastered on a billboard advertisement, it doesn’t matter how in love he is with his wife or how long he might have been married.  it doesn’t even matter if he quickly averts his eyes… the image is in, and the physiological responses to attraction has begun.  he might not want them to happen.  but it doesn’t really matter.  the man is attracted to the model’s form, her pose, what she isn or isn’t wearing.  the same thing might happen to a man that is attracted to the same sex… it’s just that instead of victoria’s secret, he’s seeing some hard six-packed abercrombie and fitch male model.

he may or may not want those physiological attractions to take place or be there… but they are.

and he (or she, as the case may be) really, really can’t help it.

(i decided to use a male example because, interestingly, more men claim to be gay than woman claim to be lesbian.  this could be for several reasons, but i think a lot of it has to do with the nature of men.  men are scientifically proven to be more aroused by sight than woman are… and considering that sexual attraction is often associated with physical attraction, men are more prone to find physiques–women’s or men’s– more of a temptation.  it doesn’t surprise me that men statistically struggle with homosexuality more, since they are often more sexually charged anyway.)

here’s the thing:

male or female, same sex attracted or not, we are all broken.

and we don’t have a choice about that.

we don’t even have a choice as to what “brokenness” we are bent towards… and i’m not just talking about sexual attraction here.  i’m talking about anything that is perverted to what God wants– a bent of the truth (lie), a bent of our business (gossip), a bent of our sexual desires (lust).  anything that is broken.

we are all “born this way.”

we are all born with a nature that is broken, bent, and very different than what God wanted for us.

when Adam and Eve made the choice to sin, humanity’s right to choose was taken away.  since then, we have had no choice– to have a sin nature, or to be attracted to things that God says are wrong.  so, no, we don’t have a choice to be sin-attracted.

with that logic, those who are same-sex attracted are right: they didn’t choose to be that way.

some might have been born with that particular bent/brokenness in their sexuality… or they might have had that way forced upon them through abuse or unwanted experiences.  but no matter when or why the brokenness occurred… they didn’t choose it.

none of us do.

so, if we have no choice… how can we really be responsible?

can we really be responsible for our sexuality?

more on that question to come…

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