***Posted 16 October - This post started as a comment on someone else's blog (I forget which, now), but I intended to round out and complete the post someday.***
I find your last statement, however, to be troublesome: "friends' faith is damaged by feelings of sexual attraction". This is an association two of my friends seem unable to let go of. I have another friend, a female, who has been so aggravated by the fact that sexuality seems to be the root of the downfall of people, societies, civilization as we know it. Maybe that's right, but I disagree and think it stems from not understanding it (both of you have expressed, extensively, your confusion over sexuality in general), so it's easy to go all scapegoat on its A.
I think you can make such an argument for rebellion in general: for lust and greed and hedonism in all its forms.
And aside from hedonistic distractions, people will often re-evaluate their beliefs in light of various additions to their experience and understanding which may, for better or worse, shake up their priorities and ability or desire to ignore already-existing questions and doubts which were previously easier to gloss over: academia, careers, traumatic events, or other pursuits are some such catalysts.
For those who still believe, when others decide they no longer do or never did, it's hard to accept as anything other than "falling away" or "denying their faith", because we are, again, looking at it through our own lens, our own current experience. But I accept that maybe, for some, they are actually discovering that they never believed as much as they thought they did. It was always easier for me to chalk it up to sinfulness or spiritual slothfulness leading to apostasy, but in some cases, I think it just amounts to realizations and integrity, in a strange way. I am simply not comfortable claiming to know how much someone believed or why they are deciding to choose another path. It's not mine to know. All I can do is focus on what I believe and what choices I am making.
It's the application and focus and priorities, not the thing itself, which is the cause for departure or re-evaluation of core beliefs and peripheral beliefs or concepts.
On what may be a tangent (though totally relevant to your blog), I think it's important to remember that lust is not unique to sexuality, and sexuality is not lust. Sexuality and romantic or physical attraction are not testimony-destroying monsters. They are, according to LDS doctrine, god-given drives to be directed within a gospel framework and are beautiful things when expressed meaningfully, ennobling relationships and increasing intimacy on all levels. They are part of the soul, the whole of body and spirit. As far as I understand our doctrine, this life is not a time to reject and eschew the physical as the burdensome "trial" it is but to join it, righteously, with the spiritual, as a whole being.
Sexuality, in our fallen world, may be misused, and it may be misguided, redirected, or lacking altogether, in certain individuals, due to whatever factors relating to the fact that we do not live in perfection. But sexuality itself is not the problem.