In our Brothers Road communities and programs, we do a lot of deep, personal-growth and healing work around what we call “M.A.N. Work” — Masculinity, Authenticity, Needs Fulfillment and Surrender. And we consciously work to build self-acceptance, connection and community.
But the fact is, no amount of emotional healing or personal growth will bring sufficient peace to anyone who continues to act on same-sex lust or other sexual behaviors that conflict with his spirituality, faith, values or morals, marital commitments or self-respect.
In our experience, all the personal-growth work in the world will not bring peace and happiness without “sexual sobriety” (or sexual integrity, fidelity or chastity — however you may define it for yourself).
Same-Sex Attraction Is Not Sex Addiction
To be clear: Same-sex attraction is not the same as sexual addiction. In fact, we know a great many men with SSA who have never acted on those attractions with another male at all.
When Sexual Behaviors Are Out of Control
But probably more than half of the men who come through our Journey Into Manhood program do struggle (or have struggled) with out-of-control sexual behaviors — a fact that typically causes them significant distress.
So whether it is through a Twelve Step program, a church- or other faith-based program, therapy, support groups, accountability partners or in other ways, it is imperative that men who want to be successful on this “road less traveled” surrender same-sex lust in order to find the peace and progress that they’ve been looking for.
“Shortly after I started my involvement with Brothers on a Road Less Traveled about four years ago, I stopped all erotic-touch encounters with men, and in that respect remain sober to this day, thank God. Without the feeling of commitment to the Brothers Road principles and community of men, I probably would never have achieved this. It is very gratifying to me to feel that I am living a life more in consonance with my moral and religious values.” — Steve, Israel
“I had a pretty good handle on my ‘acting out’ before Journey Into Manhood, but afterward I felt happier and more peaceful maintaining my abstinence from those behaviors. I feel much less drawn to pornography now, and when I am tempted, I’m able to use the tools I’ve learned to identify what my body and mind are trying to tell me. I’ve found so much joy with my family, and I’ve finally come to the knowledge that I’m really not missing out on anything by not living a gay lifestyle.” — Ryan, Pennsylvania, USA
“I used to be miserable when I was acting out sexually. I was always seeking a bigger high. My behavior was progressing to much riskier behavior. I saw folks who were doing the things that I was heading toward and I realized they were not happy either. I was so entrenched in sexually addictive behavior that I could not see a way out. I was in the depths of misery and disgust with myself. It wasn’t until I found a therapist and then learned of resources out there for someone like me that I found hope and eventually was able to see the light at the end of a very dark tunnel.” — Jimmy, Arizona, USA
“For several years I allowed myself to look at any porn I desired on the internet and to experience several sensual encounters with men. I removed all self-imposed restrictions on my life that I felt had been placed there by my strict upbringing. For a while, I felt liberated and happy.
“Then I realized that despite the euphoria of sexual arousal and release, I was still empty. I longed for real relationships, not just envying a body on a computer screen, or having a quick encounter with another dude.
“When I decided to no longer view pornography, I realized that my addiction had been covering a deep well of grief within my soul. With the addiction removed, I began to actually feel things deeply for the first time. It was hard not to run to pornography for comfort, but I found that the less I did this, the more alive I felt.
“I now realize how much better I feel when I’m in integrity with myself and others. I married 8 months ago and have discovered the joy of saving my sexual energy for my wife. Whenever I’m tempted, I remember my love for my wife and realize again that I want to use my sexual energy to express love to her instead of just to ‘get off,’ with all the aftermath of empty feelings that comes with it.” — John, Washington, USA
“I gave up homosexual sex over 38 years ago. But then I became addicted to gay porn about 5 years ago. I couldn’t live with myself. I was miserable. I am a sex addict in recovery now. I’m still struggling, but making progress. And I can tell you I would rather be a sex addict in recovery than a sex addict in addiction. That is slavery. I want to be my own master of my life and be in control–not controlled by my addictions.” — Alan, Ukraine
“After living a lie for 28 years and cheating on my wife during that time, I attended a Journey Into Manhood weekend that changed my life. It gave me comfort to know I was not alone in this challenge and journey and also gave me the experience and tools to accept myself and hope to change my behaviors.
“I went 5 years without acting out, but then I found myself searching for men outside the Brothers Road community that I could act out with. I loved my wife and wanted to continue in our marriage, but a life of secrecy since 14 years old was too much to change.
“I started attending a Twelve Step program and found heterosexual men who accepted me as being gay but showed me that I could be friends, even close friends, with men who were not attracted to other men. I found that I can be gay, but make choices to not act out and to be faithful to myself and to my wife.
“It’s now been 9 years without acting out with another man and having wonderful relationship with my wife where there are no secrets or infidelity. I can be happy in my marriage and I can live without a sexual relationship with a man. I found, for me, it is not possible for me to change my basic sexual orientation, but I can live a happy and fulfilling life with my wife.” — Glen, Utah, USA
“Any time I struggle with unwanted desires, help and encouragement are only a phone call away. These relationships were the direct result of the Brothers Road community.” — John, Texas, USA
“I have found more joy out of the platonic, authentic connections that I have made with men in my life than I ever got through sexual contact with men. I see that my desires for sex with men were based in trying to fill my own wounds within myself. Now, after five years of no sexual contact with men, I have found much better ways of getting my needs met.” — Jay, Tennessee, USA
“I used to act out sexually for acceptance. Now I don’t have to do that. I don’t need anyone to make me complete. I am complete. In my past, I let men use me to get their needs met. Now I have self-respect. I don’t want anyone to use me, and I don’t want to use anyone either.” — Steve, Louisiana
“I have never felt more authentic to my true self than by coming to terms with my same-sex attraction. Today, I can admit to same-sex attraction without committing to a gay lifestyle — a lifestyle that would not be right for me and would only darken the struggle and make it more conflicting.
“For me, being honest about my same-sex attraction and making the decision to not act upon it in a sexual nature is being true to me core self! Brothers on a Road Less Traveled and my local support community have helped me become authentic, transparent and whole regarding my sexuality and the decision to not engage in behavior that would only compromise my authentic self.” — Larry, Ohio, USA