Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Three Signs of SSA

SSA is usually recognizable by three signs: (1) a persistent erotic tendency to persons of the same sex [ a temporary or transient attraction is also possible - but SSA and the term homosexual are usually used of an enduring attraction]; (2) an insensitivity to persons of the other sex as far as far as physical attraction is concerned [sometimes the insensitivity extends to the broader psychological order]; (3) a positive distaste for physical relations with persons of the other sex. The first characteristic is found in all persons with SSA, but the second and third characteristics are not found universally. Indeed, from many studies (including Kinsey's) we know there are people who, although "heterosexual," have a more than passing interest in homosexual liaisons; and vice versa, that there are persons with SSA who have had a more than transient attraction to the other sex. Seeing this helps us recognize that in many people, SSA is not an "all or nothing" condition. There are some individuals, moreover, who, in their sexual activity, have been classified as "bisexual," that is, they are drawn physically to persons of their own and the other sex. There is no scientific definition of bisexuality; it is merely a description of behavior. Many who marry, while experiencing mixed tendencies of this kind, run into deep moral and psychological difficulties.

Among adolescents and among persons living for prolonged periods in single-sex circumstances (for example, in prisons or on ships at sea), homosexual activity and transient SSA are common. Ordinarily, however, as adolescents reach psychological maturity and as isolated persons return to sexually mixed company, they are drawn to the opposite sex and are no longer tempted to homsexual acts. Thus it is doubtful that anyone can be identified as "homosexual" in adolescence - one must wait to see what maturity brings. Likewise a person who has been involved in one or several homosexual acts need not conclude that he definitely lacks heterosexual orientation. In itself, homosexual action proves nothing. Still, those drawn even temporarily to homosexual acts need sound moral and spiritual direction, and sometimes psychological care, if they are to avoid self-deception and injury. It is the experience of counselors that people generally deny SSA and, on a deep level, desire to be heterosexual. Even the "liberated" homosexual will admit that, if he (or she) had children, he would not want them to suffer in the same way he does.

(Source: Same Sex Attraction: Catholic Teaching and Pastoral Practice by Fr. John Harvey)

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