M.A.N.S. Work

Same-sex attraction is not our enemy. It’s not our “battle” to fight or our “cross to bear.” In many ways, we’ve found that SSA can be our teacher, if we are willing to listen to what it has to teach us about ourselves and our unfinished “work.”

In fact, we have discovered that there is much that is positive and healthy about our same-sex attractions that we can embrace — such as our natural drive to pursue or develop:

  • Meaningful friendships and brotherly love
  • Connection, belonging and community
  • Masculinity
  • Authenticity and vulnerability
  • And oftentimes our innate gifts of creativity, sensitivity, empathy and spirituality.

At the same time, we recognize our need to surrender all that is negative or unhealthy about our same-sex attractions — oftentimes such things as:

  • Lust
  • Obsessions
  • Sexual “acting out”
  • Self-hate or shame.

Obviously, these kinds of changes don’t happen overnight, or on one weekend. We call it a “journey” for a reason.

The core of this journey we call “M.A.N.S. Work.” The acronym stands for Masculinity, Authenticity, Needs Fulfillment and Surrender — four broad, overlapping areas of inner healing and personal growth that can potentially bring any man closer to wholeness and peace. We explore these in detail in the links just mentioned, but in essence, M.A.N.S. Work means:

  • Masculinity

    • We developed our internal sense of masculinity — of knowing we were “man enough”.

    • We developed our interpersonal connections to the broader world of men. We came to know deeply that we belonged in the community of men.

  • Authenticity

    • We learned to experience authentic connection to our feelings.

    • We began to take the emotional risks to be vulnerable and authentic with ourselves and trusted others — learning to love and accept ourselves and others more deeply and authentically than ever before.

  • Needs Fulfillment

    • We began discovering our true needs underlying some of our homosexual longings and triggers.

    • We learned to take the risk to meet core needs in authentic, healing ways.

  • Surrender

    • We lived the principle of surrender — yielding our will and our lives to the care of God — to become our best selves that God was calling us to be.

    • We found we could surrender all that was harmful, self-destructive or counter-productive about our same-sex attractions — while embracing all we found good about them. (For some of us, that included, for example, being more empathetic, sensitive, intuitive, artistic, creative, loving, relational, and spiritually inclined than the dominant male culture might teach us to be.)

An Integrated Solution

We’ve found from personal experience that reducing, managing or coming to peace with same-sex attractions or encouraging heterosexual romantic interests required us to make life changes in all four of these broad, overlapping areas. Focusing on one element alone typically has not brought us the lasting peace and sense of resolution that we were really seeking.

 
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