Is it possible for a person who is attracted to the same sex to ever be completely free of those attractions and never experience them again?
Certainly it’s possible, but very unlikely. The same can be said of any human tendencies. We all come to Christ with a variety of psychological problems. We commit ourselves to discipleship, trusting in the process of sanctification to bring us closer and closer to His image. As Paul said, “We all, with veiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3: 18). From glory to glory — that’s process. Further on he says, “We who are in this tent [our earthly bodies] groan, being burdened” (2 Corinthians 5: 4).
There is struggle during the process, no question about it. Does that mean we never change? Of course not; we change significantly. The power that our sins have had over us is broken; we no longer have to give in to them. Their influence over us is felt less and less; it is present, perhaps, but not predominant. Our perspective changes as we realise that we are living with the hope of eternal life and that although we are beset by sin to some degree, we are no longer its slaves. These are principles that apply to all Christians, no matter what problems they battle.
Homosexuality is no different. Like all sinful tendencies, homosexual attractions need not rule you or continue to be a predominant force in your life. Specifically, you can expect change to occur in one or all of four ways:
1. Change in behaviour. Some people argue that behavioural change isn’t really change at all. But they’re wrong. When a person’s behaviour changes, his life changes. If a man has been a drunkard for 20 years, then joins Alcoholics Anonymous and stays sober, he has definitely changed. His sobriety will have an impact on all parts of his life, improving his attitude, relationships, and job performance. Will an occasional desire for a drink nullify his claim to have changed? Hardly. So it is with you. If you have been homosexually active and reach a point of consistent sexual sobriety, you will have changed. Conscience, confidence, and self-control will all have been affected by your abstinence. There is no area of your life that will not feel the impact of it.
2. Change in frequency of homosexual attractions. One of the first noticeable changes my client report has to do with the frequency of their attractions. Generally, they notice they are less often aroused by persons of the same sex. They don’t deny that it may still happen, but not nearly as much as it used to. And they’re not walking around with their eyes closed, either. Their episodes of attraction to other men are significantly rarer than they used to be. You can realistically expect, then, to experience a reduction in the frequency of homosexual longings.
3. Change in intensity of homosexual attractions. Attractions will become less powerful, less intense, and easier to shrug off. That, too, is a major change. One male client put it this way: “I used to be overwhelmed with lust when i’d see a good-looking guy. Now I look, and I’ll notice the fact that he’s handsome, but I don’t feel nearly as turned on as I used to. If I do get aroused, which happens less and less, it’s not so strong. It used to be ‘WOW!’ Now it’s ‘oh.’”
4. Change in perspective. Some people are so obsessed with their homosexuality that their obsession is a bigger problem than their attractions. Healing for these people begins when they realise that same-sex lust isn’t the end of the world. They see it for what it really is: just another manifestation of the fallen nature. The difference between obsession with homosexuality and acknowledgement of it as a nuisance but not a catastrophe, is a change that you can also expect to happen.
Is it possible for someone like me to ever have sexual attractions to the opposite sex?
Yes, it is possible. But the probability of heterosexual desires either emerging or returning depends, to a large extent, on your sexual history. Some people have always been exclusively homosexual, never having had attractions to the opposite sex. Other individuals have had, to different degrees, heterosexual attractions which have coexisted with homosexual ones. Of course, the person who has had heterosexual attractions in the past is more likely to experience them than the person who has never experienced them in the first place. But even that may be an oversimplification . There are studies which report remarkable changes to orientation, even among those who were predominantly homosexual. So in general, yes, hetersexual attractions are possible. My opinion, in fact, is that the potential for heterosexuality exists in all people, so that heterosexual response can be awakened in even a predominantly homosexual person.
Once I do experience changes, would it ever be possible for me to go back into homosexual relationships?
Yes. We can all go back to wherever we have been. Under certain circumstances, anyone can regress or backslide. That does not mean you will be forever hanging onto your sexual wholeness for dear life. It just means that, like anyone else, you can go backward or forward. That does not mean your changes were not real.
Look at Peter’s life. He careened from cowardliness to boldness at different times. He was quite the warrior when he swore he would never deny Christ, and even more so when the soldiers arrested Jesus in the garden and Peter drew his sword, whacking off a man’s ear. His aggression was shortlived, however, when that same night he pretended not even to know Christ rather than risk his own arrest through association with Him. Then he flip-flopped again in the book of Acts, boldly accusing the people in Jerusalem of murdering Christ — the same people he evidently feared earlier. When he was cowardly, did not mean he was never really bold? Of course not. But in some situations he became weak and regressed.
So can you. I am convinced that anyone who has had homosexual experiences, can, under certain conditions, be homosexually tempted. That does not mean such a person will be tempted. Some people who have been homosexually oriented in the past claim to now have no attractions at all to the same sex and no desire for any kind of homosexual contact. (While I have not personally witnessed that sort of change in sexuality, I certainly don’t dismiss its possibility.) But the possibility of those desires returning later in life is always there. To expect differently is to be very unrealistic indeed. However, the more you grow, the less likely such a regression will be.
Expect to grow. Expect your homosexual desires to diminish in both their frequency and their intensity. Expect your perspective to change radically as you expand your vision and reach your potential. These expectations form a proper, realistic, and hopeful viewpoint of the growth process. Combined with a motivation born of love and dissatisfaction with anything less than God’s best, they provide you with the inner resources you will be needing.
Defining your motives and expectatios make the process easier.
Dallas, J. (2003). Desires in Conflict: Hope for Men Who Struggle with Sexual Identity. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers