Hi _____,Thank you for stepping out and asking clear questions. I will respond based mainly on my experience and what I have learned from gay, or gay-positive, Christians and from professionals. (Sorry this has turned out to be quite lengthy.)
My experience cries out, “Be careful, first and foremost.”
Secondly, and again this is my experience, the specific sexual activities were as natural to me as I could ever imagine. The contradiction between what seemed natural (affirmed by professionals) and what the loudest voices in the church said (rarely directly but, rather, through the bully-pulpits) was the very struggle which got me “shopping” for like-minded believers. Keep in mind this was 25 years ago. When I found such a community of Christians I “came out” to my family.
Now being as young as I was, with no strong gay role models, I had already begun experimenting with sex before I tried to reconcile it with my faith. Were I to do it over again, with the way there is so much more discussion about sex (granted, not much in church) I hope that I would have aspired to live out my life the way I was brought up. Mom and Dad were the very best of friends, then they got married, and then they had sexual relations. If Jesus doesn’t come back beforehand, I would love for that model to be talked about and adapted among gay folk – and, even where gay marriage is not legal yet, substitute marriage for a commited relationship.
See, twenty-five years ago (and some can attest to times even before that!) the “sexual freedom” gay men in our secular society experienced had very few boundaries. Some managed to meet up with their life-long partners early but many more of us didn’t – and we did not, as a gay community, have a moral framework that looked much like marriage. It was even more hidden than it is nowadays.
Forgive me if I have generalized. There were, and are, exceptions to these models, both among gays, straights and others AND among secular and Christian folk. Rest assured there are exceptions today, too.
Now, stepping out of general history and theory, I will tell you what happened to me.
I began acting on my sexuality with my best friend as a teenager. It was quite innocent and playful.
When I left home, around 20, I gravitated toward the gay bars where – remember the lack of models for sexual morality among us then – I had a fair bit of non-commital sex. Unfortunately I became infected with HIV, probably before it even had that name, and quickly got sick with full AIDS. Fortunately I have outlived expectations, and far too many friends, for reasons that God is still showing me each day.
Such is life.
Back to my utopian message. Were I to do it all over again in light of what we know these days – and with more support in society (even gay marriage here in Canada!) – I would hopefully follow the wonderful model of my Mom and Dad and marry my best friend and hold back on sex, within reason, until then.
I will let others join in with their thoughts, experience and biblically-informed guidelines. So much of this is between you and God. Now you have the prayerful support of others here because you so bravely asked simple – yet difficult – questions.
My prayers go with you, _________,