I’ve been reading lately about science. I love learning and I also think it’s good for pastors like me to keep on learning about science, even if some of it goes over my head. I’ve been reflecting on some scientific findings that relate to our crossdressing struggles.
A common belief found in our culture is “biological fatalism.” Our culture assumes that people do not have much freewill but really have no choice but to follow their preset biology. So whatever behavioral issue a person has, whether homosexual desire, or someone who wants multiple sex partners, or someone who gets angry a lot, they are told it’s not their fault. Their genes, their brain, and their biology made them do it. They can’t help it. Their brain’s pleasure center turns on when they do it, so they can’t be held accountable. (Does this sound at all like what people say about crossdressing?)
But this popular notion in our culture actually goes against the latest scientific and psychological research. I have been reading about how when you change your way of thinking, you change the way your brain wires itself. This takes a great amount of work and can take a while. But scientists say that change is possible, and changing our brain patterns is possible too. We must not give in to the belief that our biology completely determines our behavior, but realize we have the freedom to make choices.
For Christians then, this means that we do have the ability to go against temptations. Whether the temptation is to alcohol or to crossdressing or to being unfaithful to a spouse, we have a choice. Some of our choices will mean losing out on pleasures. Some of our choices will go against what our body naturally wants. But the more we make the right choices, the more our body and brain will get used to making those right choices. The more we get pleasure from the things we should get pleasure from, the more our brains will line up with it so that we will want what is right more and more, and want what is wrong less and less.
I take great hope from this knowledge and I believe I have experienced it in my life and marriage as I’ve given up crossdressing. Marriage is more pleasurable all the time, and crossdressing, while still a temptation sometimes, is rarely an issue. My brain has relearned what it wants to get pleasure from, what it is used to getting pleasure from. The brain is a complicated thing beyond my understanding, but I believe in some ways the circuits and wiring for crossdressing in my brain are being overwritten.
The opposite is also true. The more we give in to sin and addiction, the more our brains become hardwired to it. If you want to read more about the specific science rather than only reading from me, (I’m not a scientist!), then read more about brain studies here – Your Brain on Porn Relevant Research and Your Brain on Porn Rebooting Basics
And read these amazing testimonies of people who have experienced healing and brain change as they gave up pornography addiction. They learned to desire porn less and love their wives more instead – Rebooting Accounts