I was raised in a Southern Baptist home. We had a very conservative family life. I was raised to believe being gay was/is wrong. I moved away and tried the “gay” lifestyle, it did not end well. I decided to be true to my family’s teachings, and moved back to my home town. I decided that even though my desires exist, that does not mean I have to act one them. By not acting on my desires I have not sinned. So now I live a life were I cannot accept that I am gay because I cannot shake the feeling it is wrong. I do not date, because I have no interest in women, and dating men, would go against my beliefs/feelings. I am unhappy and unsure of how to accept/change my life, or if I should. What/Where do I start to figure this out?

A: People do not need sex to survive and thrive. For centuries, monks, priests, artists, athletes and others who have chosen to be celibate have lived their lives in satisfying ways. Although some have been miserable, most have found other avenues for the expression of passions — be it philosophy (Plato and Kant), good works (Mother Theresa, Gandhi) or artistic expression (Lady Gaga says she’s celibate and her fans should be too). All have channeled their sexual energies into other realms.

You’ve made what for you is a personally painful choice. It’s not my place to challenge a person’s faith. It does make me sad that your religious beliefs don’t offer you comfort or an alternative to suffering. All I can suggest is that you find a therapist who has a reputation for helping people make peace with their sexuality — whatever it may be — and do some further exploration.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie