Pornography, masturbation, sexual fantasy, lustful thoughts... They’re just men’s issues, aren’t they? The ways in which women struggle may often be subtly different to our male counterparts, but the fundamental issues of our sinful hearts seeking fulfilment in the wrong places are just the same.
The word holiness can give rise to thoughts of legalism. Or it can bring to mind the image of someone who is dower and puritanical - isn’t it a shame that the puritans didn’t smile for their portraits?! For example, when I was volunteering on the TFT speaking team a few years ago, I remember one of my colleagues being called a Pharisee - unfairly, I should stress! Rightly teaching what God’s Word says on ethics and godly behaviour can so easily cause this reaction.
Some people who are single and/or attracted to the same sex find that physical touch is something they feel they lack. Therefore, feelings I began to have a few years ago took me somewhat by surprise. I became aware that I felt acutely untouched. I felt like I needed to be held. I felt like I had a craving for physical intimacy.
Celibate same-sex attracted Christians, while accepting that they need to say “no” to their desires for sexual intimacy with another person of the same sex, often long for another way of meeting their God-given hunger for connection and intimacy with others. Behind this is this reasonable question: “Are there any healthy alternatives to sexual intimacy that will ease loneliness and physical isolation for celibate Christians?”
To trust in God is a wonderful thing. For the Christian who is called to make a significant sacrifice in this life, such as staying celibate because of enduring same-sex attractions, this challenge can reveal where the person's trust really lies.
Choosing celibacy over same-sex attraction is a good thing according to God's infallible word. For me personally choosing celibacy was like a bereavement. Saying "Bon voyage" to my sexual expression and identity, the hope of finding a long term partner and physical intimacy. Feeling that something I loved was being taken away from me. For a number of years I couldn't help but experience this as a major loss.