Self-Deprivation vs. Self-Regulation

13 April 2008
In my sociology class, we have been talking about adolescents and how they need to regulate themselves so they do not start behaving antisocially. There have been many papers written on this and it struck me as quite interesting. It seems like a lot of the papers were talking about controlling the natural man or something to effect. Researchers stated numerous times that adolescents are much better off if they have good self-regulation skills and use them regularly than those who just do what they want when they want.

This brings me to self-deprivation vs. self-regulation. This has become a popular topic and I just wanted to put my two cents in. I personally believe that all of us never have to deprive ourselves of anything, but rather we must regulate what we do. This includes our "gayness." I believe that we never have to deprive ourselves of those feelings. I know that some will say that I am depriving myself because I am not fully being "gay," but I beg to differ. Being "gay" does not mean that I have to have a sexual relationship with a man. It means that I am attracted to men. That is it. If I chose to marry a woman, it does not mean I am depriving myself of my attractions. They are definitely still there. I know that people will argue with me and say that I cannot fully express my potential to love and feel the full potential of love if I marry. Again, I beg to differ. Staying true to someone is real love and never wanting to do anything to hurt that person is real love. This real love can and will be expressed at its full potential, even if the attraction is not there. I can love my wife the same way that I can love a man. It will take more work, but in my opinion, it is worth the work because of the lessons you will learn. I also believe that I will be truly happy. I will not be depriving myself of anything because I made the choice and plan to move on ahead--no matter what comes my way.

I believe that self-regulation is the key to life. We must not be focused too much on one aspect of our lives or else the rest of our lives will be out of balance. Say if I focus too much on my "gay" side, it will consume me and take over which can cause me to feel alienated, lonely, and many other side-effects. Another example is if I let school take over my life, it can hurt friends, social skills, and understanding of others. By self-regulating, we allow for a good mixture of aspects of life to enter our lives causing us to be more well-rounded. Christ is a very well-rounded person and because of that He became perfect in all things. He did not focus on only one aspect of His life. He focused on a relationship with his parents, relationships with friends, learning the gospel, reading the scriptures, etc. We need to be like Christ and renaissance men (people in the Renaissance who were considered skilled and intelligent in many areas) in the modern world. There needs to be a balance or regulation in everything--yin and yang.


Chase said...

Say if I focus too much on my "gay" side, it will consume me and take over which can cause me to feel alienated, lonely, and many other side-effects.
You would likely only feel that way in the church. Most of society and psychologist have accepted it is not healthy to live a lie. However, good luck with everything. I hope you can find true happiness.

Michael said...

Wow! Amazing insights. Thanks so much for posting this. I thought it was really well written and very true. I have seen so much of what you say in my own life. Sure, following your attractions may be easier in some ways, but you lose so much in doing it that I don't think it is worth it.

Chase - Recognizing your attractions to men while simultaneously showing affection and love to your wife is not living a lie.

Chase said...

Well that depends... would your wife know? And did she know before the marriage. And why does she think she cant find a man that is deeply and truly attracted to her? I understand the pressure to get married, it just doesnt seem completely logical.
There is what being gay and mormon actually is.

Sean said...

Chase- The truth is that I haven't always been faithful to the Church. I did let my "gay" side take over and it did consume me. It caused my life to be out of balance and I hated it. I did feel alienated with my friends and family, I started to do poorly in school and I felt lonely. At that point in my life, I had already accepted myself for who I am.

I personally believe that I am not living a lie. I recognize that I am attracted to men, but that does not mean that I cannot love a woman also. Where is the lie coming from? I don't see one. I mostly understand all aspects of my life. I can love a man just as much as I love a woman. Love is not as set in stone as you think.

Sean said...

Chase- I just got your other comment. I read that post and yeah, I understand what's going on and your feelings, but it doesn't apply to me. It doesn't apply to everyone. It can't be universal because I do not relate and I know many others who do not relate.

I would also tell my wife before we got married. I would let her know before we even got too serious. I decided this a long time ago. If she wants to leave me, that's fine. I know that there is someone out there for me. I just have to put the time and effort in to find her.

I would be attracted to her on so many different levels than just physical attraction also. That is why I would want to marry her. There is so much more to love and attractions than just the physical aspect. How do you think couples are married for 50 or 60 years?

Chase said...

I understand that we all have different paths and desires of course. I just worry about the woman who marries a man that is gay. What will she think when she realizes that no matter how hard she tries she will never be pretty enough for him to be truly attracted to her? Of course he can tell he how beautiful she is and all that but inside she will no that it does nothing for him. This builds a wall where neither completely understand.
If you want to break it down to sex, which is a horrific over simplification of homosexuality, attraction, i dont believe anyone will deny is a critical part of a relationship. I agree that relationships grow an flourish and become so much more, however attraction always remains important and usually it is what got the thing started in the first place. Couples 50 and 60 years from now are often still being intimate, it remains a part of the relationship.

drex said...

I'm married, I'm gay, and I told my wife before we got married. We didn't date for almost five years. I wasn't attracted to her. Eventually the Spirit said to try dating her. I did. I still wasn't all that attracted to her, but eventually I started being attracted to non-physical aspects of her in such a way that eventually, physical attraction started to come around.

Now I guess I can't consider myself homosexual - I'm also saladsexual. I really am not attracted to any other girls, but I am attracted to and intimate with my wife. Sure, we'll have rough patches, but I don't think passing up our marriage would ever have been worth it, even if it someday falls apart (which I am confident and have faith that it won't).

salad said...

lol...saladsexual *snicker*

on a more serious note--it's always a personal choice whether to live a homosexual lifestyle or to pursue a heterosexual lifestyle. there are consequences that come with either choice and i've obviously boiled it down to the ridiculously simple, but YOU are the only who can choose what will ultimately make you the happiest. some will see it as living a lie and others will applaud you for the attempt. either way you have to be true to whatever you perceive to be your true self and you can't let other's define what that is.

Kengo Biddles said...

Salad, I think you addressed it the best. There are consequences either way. I think it's something that must be disclosed from the get-go; and I think that you and Drex, as me and Miki have much healthier marriages for the disclosure. Granted our path is not everyone's path, but there's just as many positives to our path as any other, and it's up to each person to choose their path in life.

Molly Sue said...

Interesting way to look at it. I don't agree. And please, don't get married to a woman. I don't think that's fair. Not to her. You are gay, or SSA, however you want to identify that. And your religion teaches you to 'self-regulate'. If you find peace in that, I support you. You should. But, I will also say that I disagree with you on the "self-deprivation" thing. I'm one that will tell you, if you are attracted to an individual I don't think that your religion should preclude you from having a commited, respectful, loving relationship with that individual. The Bible has NO reference to commited relationships among two men or two women.

Kudos kid. Just try to remember that, the LDS church tends to camp on the "SSA" aspect of you. Your being gay, does not define you and does not change the human that you are. Just as being Bi doesn't change who I am as a person, just who I am attracted to.

A CROW'S VIEW said...

OMH, you have such nerve.

First of all thank you for having the nerve to say something that has value and for not slipping to excuses to justify your behavior.

I think that the comparison of self-deprivation vs self-regulation is a really insightful one.

There are those who see happiness as fulfilling every lust and urge that comes about and telling anyone that to deprive yourself of these things is "unnatural."

I guess in a way Chase has a point in that if you are trying to regulate your life according to gospel standards while spending all your time focusing on what you are giving up and wishing you could be part of that world, then yes you won't be happy.

I also would never marry someone unless I was 100 percent honest with them. I mean this is going to be my partner for life. We need to share everything and that means our struggles. How can either of us even start to really support the other if we don't know these things.

Your blog was really good. Thank you.