Based on my own experiences and religious viewpoints I have defined these terms as they are used by me so the reader can better understand context in my writing. A dictionary of sorts to understand context in my writing.
I hold a Christian world view and adhere to the traditional American culture and so my language will reflect that to a degree. I’ve experienced conversations with friends who hold other world views and are from, or adhere to, different cultures. This often has created a barrier where we need to first define things such as homosexual and homosexuality, marriage and Holy Matrimony, before we can obtain understanding while in dialog.
Refers to thoughts and behaviors (e.g., dreams, impulses, compulsions, desires, etc.) that are in conflict, or dissonant, with the needs and goals of the ego, or, further, in conflict with a person’s ideal self-image.
This comes into play for unwanted same-sex attractions in that you have them, but they don’t match your ideal self-image. Note this is somewhat analogous to the Christian and sin. Sin, a behavior, is not desired by the Christian. Sin doesn’t agree with the Christian’s ideal self-image – that being the holy image of Jesus. Sin is an ‘Ego Dystonic’ problem for the Christian. Same sex attraction presented an ‘Ego Dystonic’ challenge for me. My ideal self is defined by scripture and therefore I had a journey to reconcile my ideal self and my actual behaviors I was acting upon.
Once gay, now straight. (Or so I thought)
Best said, “Having once self identified as gay, I changed and now identify as straight – or ex-gay.”
Ex-Ex-Gay (Or Ex-Straight) (“gay”)
In terms of my journey, the state of having started out as gay, then hoping to be straight for religious reasons so choosing the ex-gay label, but then going back to being gay again because same sex attraction and sexual brokenness was too much to bear so it was just easier to be gay again. (aka ex-straight or most simply put – gay)
Ex-Ex-Ex-Gay (Or Ex-Ex-Straight) (“straight”)
Having flipped from being gay to being straight (ex-gay) with a desire to reconcile my sexuality and religion, but not having answers to my same sex attraction nor healing for my sexual brokenness, I returned to being gay (ex-straight). At this point returning to my gay lifestyle I labeled myself as ex-ex-gay, or simply put gay. However, further in my journey I found the answers to how to address same sex attraction and how to address sexual brokenness. Upon these revelations and events I changed my label to be ex-ex-ex-gay (or ex-ex-straight) – or most simply put, straight.
A general term which means sexual orientation for the most part. I was gay. Synonymous with homosexual. I use gay interchangeably to mean lesbian if I use it in context with a woman. No offense intended, artistic decision in my writing style.
Never used as a pejorative – this means social, cultural, spiritual, emotional and personal preferences and choices common to gay men with the disclaimer it doesn’t apply to every gay man obviously. This is no different from saying “Christian Lifestyle” which implies going to church, regular prayer, reading the Bible, etc, but wouldn’t necessarily apply to everyone who identify as “Christian”. Or “healthy lifestyle” to mean diet and exercise, not smoking, wearing your seatbelt, etc.
Per the US Supreme Court ruling in 2015, two people of the same sex who have a civil union are now recognized as married in the same civil context of traditional marriage of two people of opposite sex. Gay marriage is not defined in the Bible. It is the law of the US however.
Today we have the need to distinguish the Christian’s understanding of marriage and the secular term of marriage now that the Supreme court has redefined the centuries old term. For the sake of my writing, Holy Matrimony means a holy union between a man and a woman, a sacrament of the Christian church, a bond that reflects Christ’s relationship with his bride- the church. Endorsed by Jesus, defined by God through scriptures in the Bible.
From Dictionary.com: sexually attracted to members of one’s own sex
My Thoughts: Being a homosexual is not a sin in-and-of itself. The implied sex with men would be a sin. Often people go straight to the sex part while missing the person who doesn’t have a choice in attraction but do have a choice in who they relate to. So if I say being a homosexual is not sinful, it’s a literal statement about the definition related to attraction.
From Dictionary.com: sexual desire or behavior directed toward a person or persons of one’s own sex.
My thoughts: Homosexuality “behavior” is sin. Homosexuality “desire” a temptation. If I say that homosexuality is sinful, it is relating to the behavior of sex outside of holy matrimony- not to the desire.
From Wikipedia: The Kinsey scale, also called the Heterosexual–Homosexual Rating Scale, is used in research to describe a person’s sexual orientation based on their experience or response at a given time. The scale typically ranges from 0, meaning exclusively heterosexual, to 6, meaning exclusively homosexual. In both the Male and Female volumes of the Kinsey Reports, an additional grade, listed as “X”, was used to mean “no socio-sexual contacts or reactions”. The reports were first published in Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) by Alfred Kinsey, Wardell Pomeroy and others, and were also prominent in the complementary work Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953).
My Thoughts: I’ve included reference to this as many people feel this is valid research and we have referenced it often in conversations. Though I don’t agree with Kinsey, for sake of explaining the fluidity of the sexuality journey in terms many people would understand, I will occasionally refer to this. (Shorthand KS-0 through KS-6). Note about KS-5 and KS-1: Incidental: as a chance occurrence. Today I would self describe KS-1 as there are temptations (fleeting and by chance) that don’t align to my desired sexual orientation.
Generally speaking when not prefixed with ‘gay’, then I mean Holy Matrimony.
My Gay Lifestyle
Never used as a pejorative, this means social, cultural, spiritual, emotional and personal preferences, experiences, and choices I’ve made while self-identifying as a gay man, particularly but not limited to the time I was in a gay relationship.
Same Sex Attraction
Exactly as it sounds – the subject has attraction (sexual desires) toward people of the same sex.
Be it conscious or unconscious brokenness of spirit, mind, body and emotions related to sexuality caused by traumatic events one’s life.
A person’s sexual orientation is the direction of their sexual attraction. Sexual orientation can be towards either a different gender (heterosexual, or straight between male and females); towards the same gender (homosexual, or gay between two men or between two women); towards multiple genders (bisexual or pansexual); or towards no gender (asexual).
Is it a Choice?
Sexual Orientation, as defined above, was not a conscious choice I made. However I believe events in my life (see ‘sexual brokenness’) and choices I made greatly impacted the conditioning of my sexual orientation. I believe choices and environment can ultimately impact sexual orientation as I have demonstrated in my own life a change in sexual desires from homosexual to heterosexual.
Caveat – Acting out on same sex attraction is a choice.
Is it a Sin?
Sexual Orientation in and of itself is only an attraction. Therefore I do not believe the ‘same sex attraction’ to be a sin. After a lot of prayer, and reading of many opinions on the topic, I believe as far as I would go along this line is to say it is disordered from God’s creation but ultimately a result of original sin and a fallen world. Being a homosexual is not a sin. Living in homosexuality is a sin.
Where does sin enter into the equation?
Sin exists when we make choices contrary to God’s laws. Same sex attraction is not sin. Contextually, sin becomes sin when we choose to act out a behavior which is either 1) We lust over someone – in heart or mind or 2) Having physical intimate relations outside of biblical marriage – frankly engaging in gay sex
See Holy Matrimony
Unwanted Same Sex Attraction
A legitimate conflict in that someone doesn’t want the same-sex attraction because of the self-image they have of themselves doesn’t include those same sex attractions. The attraction to men for me was unwanted due to religious convictions. The conflict arose from sexual brokenness including emotional pain, affirmation of my ‘gayness’ by antagonists, other bad experiences in life related to sexual identity, loss of masculinity, emphasis on femininity, unresolved conflicts with men and women, broken family life, lack of relationship with positive male role models, confidence issues, self identity issues in general, trauma from molestation, and rape by a person of the same sex.
See Ego Dystonic for a more technical understanding. A person is more than their sexual attractions and as such I refused to relent my attractions to be in conflict with my desired self image.