What is unwanted same sex attraction

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Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
February 14, 2013, 18:19

This article on 'unwanted same sex attraction' is becoming one of the most popular on my blog.


Shakespeare said "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" but in the ex-gay/conversion therapy world it's all about semantics. I'm sorry honey, you may call it 'unwanted same sex attraction' but let's call a spade a spade; YOU'RE GAY!

Whilst the fundamental beliefs (homosexuality is a flawed, unnatural human experience, a choice, a sin, and it can be changed) remain the same, many things within the ex-gay world have changed over the last four decades since its formal existence (Exodus founded 1976). The most dramatic of these being the recent rejection of the reparative therapy model.

A more subtle and often unnoticed change has been the wording and terminology that is used.

For the first twenty or so years, ex-gays and attempting ex-gays used terms like 'freedom from homosexuality', 'struggling with homosexuality' or having a 'homosexual problem'. It is difficult to pin point exactly when the shift in terminology happened or who introduced it but around the mid to late 90's the term 'unwanted same sex attraction' became the vernacular. Hence you will hear people describe themselves as 'struggling with unwanted same sex attraction', 'suffering from unwanted same sex attraction' or 'overcoming same sex attraction'.

Read more about

Why the change in terminology?


Why is the same sex attraction 'unwanted'?


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Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
February 19, 2013, 14:52

YEAH!. this article is now No.1 on google search for unwanted same sex attraction. Above US and Australian ex-gay groups and conservative Christian organisations like the Salt Shakers.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
February 19, 2013, 23:33

when I just did a search on unwanted same sex attraction the freedom2b site came up as number ONE. is anyone excited ab out that?

Joined in 2013
February 20, 2013, 21:17

I went to your site and read the article. It makes a lot of sense and reflects my observations of the fundamentalist church over a decade or so. However with regards to the search results, I find that Google seems to save my favorite searches and makes sure they appear at the top of the list. So unfortunately for me, an ex-gay result is at the top of the page. Perhaps freedom2b appears at the top for you because you access it often.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
February 24, 2013, 12:41

hey Dragunov thanks for the reply…sorry I didn't reply sooner….I hit subscribe to this but didn't get a notifiication .

Yep google is intuitive on personal searches and also where you are searching from so different people will get different results. I have had a few other people here in Australia search 'unwanted same sex attraction' who have also come up with encouraging results. That is, there are articles of mine now and others that are not anti or ex-gay on the first few pages. The thing I am happy about is that for years the first at least 6 pages there were only links to organisations, articles and websites that presented the other side. This is no longer the case. Its taken some work to change this. So now when people search unwanted same sex attraction they can at least access some realistic information.

Joined in 2005
March 11, 2013, 09:22

Not anymore Anthony, "Overcome unwanted same-sex attractions (homosexual, gay)" comes up first now, freedom2be forum is now second on the list. But at least its not last on the list 😀

"If you don't want to be gay, you don't have to be. There is a way to overcome your same-gender (gay) feelings and homosexual behavior. If you want to make changes in your life, you can. This site can provide help" -is what the site says, interesting …

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
March 11, 2013, 10:24

yep….it keeps changing….the thing that I am thrilled about is that a number of my articles on unwanted same sex attraction are in the first second and third pages…….this is a huge improvement from nothing except anti and ex-gay stuff that has been on the first 6 pages for years. I'm taking over internet real estate. 🙂

Joined in 2015
March 26, 2015, 21:00

The difficulty I have with this article is that if fails to respect the fact that we are not all in the same boat. While I appreciate that you write your articles from your own perspective I do feel that they show an animosity towards the church and anyone who has different views to yourself. This is not helpful.

If you accept the premise that a person is born gay the arguments you present may hold water. However in my situation I do not believe that I was born gay. There was sexual abuse in my family and I believe that the roots of my struggle lie in the fact that I was abused as a child. That is something very hard to get over. As such my same sex attraction is unwanted.

Your article suggests that I just embrace what was done to me, give up on the life that was supposed to be mine and follow a lifestyle that does not line up with my personal faith and pails into insignificance when compared to richness I find in my marriage and with my family.

I think it is ignorant and arrogant to suggest that there is something amiss in my psyche because I feel that my same sex attraction is unwanted. I am not homophobic, I have an uncle who is gay and been in a long term relationship and my sister is engaged to her female partner in New Zealand. I am not judgemental about them or their lifestyle, but my personal decision is that I do not want this for myself. I am the primary beneficiary of this decision as hard as it is.

While it was disappointing that my involvement with ex-gay ministries did not change my orientation, at least they were trying to support my personal decisions. With their collapse I now see no support structures for those who do feel that their same sex attraction is unwanted. That makes things hard enough without having articles like this make a mockery of our personal beliefs and the situation we find ourselves in.

In your response to my "Telling Our Stories" post you pointed me to the guidelines for this site are:

Quote from avennbrown on March 21, 2015, 3:14 pm

freedom2b is non judgmental. We make no judgment about the way you live your life or express your sexual orientation. You are responsible to live your life in ways that demonstrate respect to yourself and others.

freedom2b has no agenda. It is not our intention to get people to leave churches or go back to them or tell them what they should believe. That is your decision and journey. Our only intention is to provide a space for people to grow and resolve any issues they may have about their sexuality and/or their beliefs. Once again the choices are yours.

freedom2b is a place of integrity. To maintain a powerful voice that has credibility we seek to maintain a high standard of integrity in all we do and say. freedom2b leaders follow guidelines that ensure our integrity is evident

I have now read a number of your articles and I just don't believe that some of them really fit within these guidelines – not being judgemental, helping people grow and resolve issues in their sexuality (this should also include those with beliefs different from yours), and lastly having integrity in what you write. As a former minister myself the articles of yours that I have read just make me sad, for Christ, the church and for those who do sincerely feel that their same sex attraction is unwanted.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
March 27, 2015, 09:29

Hi Justmates…..thanks for your thoughts.

Actually I don't believe the article is based entirely on my own perspective. Far from it actually. It is based on over 15 years of working in this faith/sexuality space…….and with 100's and 100's of individuals…especially people who have been involved in ex-gay/reparative/conversion therapies and organisations . I don't think there is actually another person in Australia who has devoted the amount of time to researching this area or worked with so many individuals as I have (this will give you some idea of the extent of the experience

So when I write and article like the one above I am drawing on quite a bank of knowledge and experience. This is why the media generally come to me first when they want to do an article on the topic and I was recently approached to write on the topic for an academic journal.

What I write of course is always open for challenge. I'm totally happy with that. Feel free to disagree.

You have mentioned some that is relevant to all this but was not covered in the article. Sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse is terrible and I feel for those who have experienced it. Sadly ex-gay organisations, mostly because of their lack of psychological training or knowledge have added to the abused problems. A large proportion of people who have gone to these organisations have had sexual addictions/obsessions and/or sexual abuse issues. They wrongly viewed the orientation as the problem instead of separating the abuse or addictions problems. Heterosexuals experience the same issues but don't blame their orientation for it.

There are many layers here to work through. The more layers the more complex it is. This article on sexual abuse for gay men is well written and enlightening.

Of all the research I've read there is no empirical evidence that same sex sexual abuse makes some one gay. What it does show is that for the heterosexual person it can totally destroy their lives (this is what the recent royal commission was all about). For the person who is gay however it brings confusion and tends to thwart their progress to self acceptance or plays out in their life and relationships. Except of course they get professional help to work through the issues. .

Joined in 2005
March 27, 2015, 09:35

Hi Just Mates

You raise a fair but emotionally fraught topic of conversation. I'm sure others will share their personal stories in this area however I will attempt to kick a few ideas around. (Just my opinion anyway)

It's certainly a fair observation that we are not all in the same boat. Research suggests there are multiple pathways to same sex attraction and we all assume that each path way leads to the same "same sex attraction" but whether it actually does is a valid question right there.

There is however – very strong evidence that there is a major biological component to Homosexuality (i.e. its not a choice and its not as a result of something done to you as a child) in the majority of cases. (Which of course doesn't mean you are one of the majority but its never easy being a minority in a minority)

What that means for the Lesbian and Gay Community is a way to fight back These people who were beaten by their parents and thrown out on the streets – they have had to fight to survive and fight to become legal and fight to get medical resources. Although the community is mellowing its worth remembering the context of our community's activism. Being able to say we were born that way has become a major defence against homophobia – so anything that weakens that is seen as a threat to the community. This is one reason why there is less discussion on the existence of whether there are non biological pathways to homosexuality. (Boils down to pure politics really)

Our Community has seen a generation of people who were taught that they were not born gay – but made Gay. They then looked for ways to be cured. Rather than being cured – much damage was done (and to avoid distress to our readers I wont go into details) The damage was so universal; the failure rate was so high – that medical authorities are now pushing for the very concept of curing people of homosexuality to be Banned e.g.

In defence of Anthony's position – as a person – you can only deal with the suicides or attempted suicides of so many young people – before you will decide to take a stand on the matter causing those suicides. Indeed if was the number of such suicides spoken about at a forum almost 10 years ago that sparked the creation of freedom2B .

I share this not to say that your position is wrong but to say some feel very black and white on this issue. Death after death after death all caused by the idea they could be cured of being gay will make people quite opposed to that idea.

I find your situation particularly interesting because – when I came out to certain members of my family there was a long and involved [and medical] discussion on this very point. Was I born gay or I gay due to – shall we say a "Series of unfortunate events" in my life. In the end – and despite it being a religious family with some of the very minor events including exorcisms – the conclusion we all came to was – that what ever the pathway was that made me gay – gay was a fundamental part of who I am and that to try to change that would be to cause me to no longer be me any more and that it would be terribly damaging. This was my family's take on the matter. Im not saying its any more valid than yours but its the path we took and my family and I are happy (Now SS married and been together 14 years)

What I dont know – no one can know except you I guess – is whether you are like me – someone who however I became gay – once I accepted it (no matter how many long years that took) became happy with who I am or – (and please pardon the anaology – I mean no offence but I believe it to be a good one) are you in some analogous way a like a transgendered person whose gender doesnt match the body at some deeply fundamental level and so will never be happy until some deeply fundamental resolution is found ? (So Essentially you are a fundamentally straight man but with same sex attraction )

That is, unlike for most Gays – the solution for happiness of accepting your gay identity cant work for you but cause you are a minority within a minority ?

Its my experience that just about anything is possible – but I have yet to see one Gay person cured. (and Ive seen countless people try and be damaged (and and regret it – even decades afterwards (and others die) ) I dont want to take Anthony's thunder – but he writes but his experiences. His Story and the stories of those he has seen. Thats what we all do. This may seem Judgemental – and Freedom2b is not about Judgement. you are free to walk any path you want – and we respect that – however – its also about sharing our stories – and its in this area – the stories carry a lot of pain and there are a lot of them.

Your still on your Journey. (indeed our journeys never stop) and I thank you for sharing it. We will share our journeys. Thats not Judgement – although you may not like what we have seen (sometimes we dont – thats why freedom2b exists) but your path is completely for you to decide.

Hope thats helpful !


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