Why I Can’t Say I’m Gay

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Being an author here at YOB requires me to have homosexual attractions on some level, in some manner or another. That’s kind of our purpose here — to be men on the inside of this issue, telling stories of how we experience the world and go through life without giving in to our homosexual urges.

While I do admit to having had homosexual urges, I do not see myself as homosexual or gay. Not in the least. In fact, I would say that I don’t even have homosexual attractions anymore.

I’m purposely avoiding the term “same-sex attractions” (SSA) right now that we’ve adopted here at YOB, because I do certainly still have those. The difference is that I don’t see anything wrong with my attractions. I kind of like them.

Let me clarify: to be attracted to something or someone does not mean any sin is being committed. Attraction itself is not necessarily bad. Homosexual attraction is wrong (though not a sin in itself), because it contradicts God’s design for us.

Attraction, however, simply means I like being close to something or someone.

I like being close to men. Physically, emotionally, on a heart-to-heart level, I like to be close to them.

That’s not homosexuality. That’s not gay.

When I depend on men to complete me, that’s when I’ve crossed a line.

But that’s not homosexuality, either. That’s idolatry, and many people are guilty of that regardless of their sexual attractions.

When I want to be sexual with men, that’s also when I’ve crossed a line.

That’s homosexuality.

And that’s what I don’t want anymore.

I admit that men are physically beautiful and appealing. Every part of a man’s physique can be handsome and intriguing.

I want to see men naked, be naked myself with other men, wrestle with other men, cuddle with them and be affectionate, play games and sports with them, compete against them, test my mettle with them, be united with them for a common goal, and be a man among men.

None of this is sexual. None of this is gay. Not even the naked parts.

I used to think that because I desired those things, I must be gay. Because I had labeled all those things homosexual in nature.

But I have come to realize that I was perverting what God had made to be good and natural and to be enjoyed by anyone. Now that I no longer see those desires as evidence of homosexuality, what is there left within me to make me think I might be gay?

Well, there is that desire I’ve had since ages ago to masturbate with other men. That certainly seems sexual, and I can’t say that one has entirely left me yet.

But since we’re on the subject now, let me say something about it: I have talked with two men who do not identify as homosexual at all, who are Christians, who admitted to me that they had jacked off with other guys in the past. These men are not interested in having sex with other men, they are only attracted to women sexually, but they’ve masturbated more than once with other guys, and they’ve said that doing so had no affect on their sexual leanings.

For them, jerking off with other guys did not mean they were gay or that they had even done a homosexual act. So, I am left to wonder if masturbating with other guys is really a homosexual thing to do. I still wouldn’t recommend it, but I am doubting its bearing on a man’s orientation.

If other guys can masturbate with others without being gay, maybe I don’t have to be considered gay, either, just for being curious about it.

The other thing that might still put me in the SSA category is the issue of emotional dependency. This is something that is common to, but not exclusive to, people with same-sex attractions. I’ve had only one emotional dependency experience that I can remember, and it was years ago. I have idolized people and their approval of me quite a bit, but I wouldn’t say I’ve been emotionally dependent on them.

Usually, I’ve disdained those people and hated being around them and even hearing their voices unless they were giving me approval and praise. That’s not a good thing, of course, but I don’t consider that to be a gay thing. I don’t think most people would.

I prefer to stick to the biblical definition of homosexuality (a word that, by the way, is not even stated in the Bible but is the word we now use to refer to the Bible’s references to this): lying with a man as one lies with a woman — essentially, sexual relations with people of the same gender.

I don’t do that. I’ve never done that. I used to be curious about sex with a man, but I’m not anymore. I don’t even want to try it. It’s not a temptation for me.

Therefore, I don’t have homosexual attractions. I’m not gay.

I’m attracted to men, but it’s not sexual. It’s not immoral or improper.

It’s good.

Sometimes overcoming sin is not getting rid of the issue so that we never have to deal with it anymore. Sometimes it’s just a matter of changing the way we understand the issue and how we view ourselves.

How exactly would you describe yourself as attracted to the same gender? Do you consider yourself “gay” because of your feelings or attractions? Why or why not?

* Image courtesy Max Sat, Creative Commons.

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  • Prince

    I thought I was gay because I’m feminine, I want to touch men and be touched by them, and I desire to feel the warmth of another man. Sex was never in my mind but since the society labeled these things as gay, I lived with that lie most of my life.

    Now, I don’t see any problem with my attraction to men. It doesn’t necessarily have to be suppressed either. It only becomes problematic when the attraction is sexually expressed. It’s relieving to finally realize that there is nothing wrong with the love I’ve always felt towards men. I am isolated from other men until now because I never got over with the trauma of bullying and humiliation but I still desire to be close with even just one. I’m like a lone wolf in need of a pack. Just like a man who desires to be among men.

    However, emotional dependency is still detrimental for me. I hate it when other men disappoint me with the expectations they themselves set. I always end up being too emotional when a man never treats me as his equal. It hurts when straight men, even the christian ones, think they’re better than guys like us.

    • Jeff Brady

      Your last sentence says it all Prince.

    • Kevin Frye

      I understand how you feel, Prince. I think relating with other men and learning how to control our emotions and reactions is something that just takes time and practice to get better at. Don’t give up. Keep practicing.

      • Prince

        It’s hard especially when men are shaped by the society to be non-emotional beings. I hated how immensely emotional I was my whole life. Even my dad said it’s gay.

        • Alan Gingery

          About 20% of people are highly sensitive people (HSP). Frequently, but not always, men with same-sex attractions are HSP who feel different from the rest of their peers. Nothing wrong with your emotions, Prince. You are fine the way you are. I hope you will find some like-minded friends and be yourself. Emotional Dependency is something you can work on through books or even videos on YouTube. Of course, a real therapist can help with that. There is a YOB podcast or two on this subject to listen to if you haven’t already. God bless you!

  • Elliott Gladwin

    Good thoughts Kevin. I would like to hear you talk about lust as it pertains to this conversation. Because I believe lust is a sin yet that is not a sexual act. So can there be homosexual sin simply by looking at a man lustfully?

    • Jeff Brady

      I know you were talking to Kevin, so please feel free to ignore this, but you bring up a good point. Lust. When is desire not lust? Consider the following scenario.

      I have been lusting after some tacos from a local vendor for a few days now. I’m pretty sure they are not good for me, but I am obsessed. I cannot stop thiking about them. The crunchy deliciousness of the shell, the crispy lettuce, the sharpness of the cheese all dripping with hot sauce when I bite into it. Gastronomical delight. When I look at pictures of tacos it gets worse. Watching a video of someone making tacos is pure torture. Driving by the taco stand is completely unfulfilling. Worse yet, if I substitute foods other than tacos to kill the desire, I am completely unsatisfied.

      So I have to ask, would I lust for tacos if I made them a part of my regular diet; if I married them into my meal plans. Would I be better off giving into the desire to prevent the lust? Does resistance to eating them breed lust and desire? Hmmm.

      • Malcolm

        I have heard lust defined as “wanting what is unlawful for you to have.” Using this definition, a man can look at his wife in a sexual way, but it is not lust because it is lawful for him to have sexual relations with his wife. However to look at another man sexually would be lust because it is unlawful (God’s law) for him to have sexual relations with him. This can be applied to other things. For example, if I look at your new car and envy you having it (lusted for it), I have sinned. However, if I look at your new car and simply admire it as a beautiful car and do not envy you for having it, I have not sinned. Likewise if I look at a man and desire sexual relations with him, it is sinful, but if I look at a man and simply admire his good looks without any sexual thoughts, then lust has not taken place.

        • How do you feel about tacos? I want one right now from a particular place. The vendor makes the tortilla and deep fries them. The meat filling is made with hamburger of high fat content. I have hypertesnion and hyperlipidemia. The doctor tells me to avoid such things if possible. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The tacos will only damage that and make my other two conditions worse (which I was mostly born with). Do I disobey my doctor? Do I depend on the graces of my medications and consume tacos at will?

          Resistance is futile. Where are my keys? It’s taco time!

    • Kevin Frye

      This is a great question, Elliott. I’m still trying to figure it out for myself.

      Honestly, I don’t even know if/when I do lust after men. Even if I do sin when I look, is it sexual lust, or is it just envy? I don’t think I entertain any sexual fantasies involving men I see or “notice” in that way. I mean, I don’t sit there and imagine sucking his dick or jacking off with him. Those kinds of thoughts rarely even enter my mind at all anymore. But I do think, “Wow, he’s not wearing any underwear,” or “How did you get an ass like that?” Even, “Holy crap, that guy is HOT!” is a regular line in my mind. But then I turn away and keep walking and it passes without incident. I think guys are hot and have great bodies, but I almost never go beyond that. Does that make sense? Do you know what I mean? So, I notice hot guys, yes, but I’m not sure that’s lust, because I don’t want to do anything sexual with them, and noticing them does not make me horny.

      So then, what am I looking at when I see them? What grabs my attention? Beauty. Novelty. Isn’t that normal, though? Doesn’t everyone notice beauty and novelty in the world and in people around them? Does that recognition of beauty and novelty equal lust or envy?

      Sometimes it becomes those things, but not always, and I want to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater here. It’s a hard task, though. Ugh…..

      To answer your question, yes, there can be homosexual sin simply by looking at a man lustfully. But knowing when that lust is committed is a hard thing to do. I can’t always be sure, so I try to rely on the Holy Spirit to prick my heart and let me know when I’ve crossed the line. And when He doesn’t, I try not to condemn myself or worry about it.

  • mike

    I agree, I think it’s simple. There is no such identity as a gay

  • Jeff Brady

    Perhaps you admire in other men what you lacked in yourself? Maybe the desire to masturbate with other men is simply for comparison purposes? As I recall, speed and distance were valued at my local circle jerk. You want to see if they are like you in every way or if they are different?


    You’re right. You are not gay or SSA and I think there are others here like you. Wanting to be the men that we see rather than the men we are is common among males I think and this is where it starts for people like you.

    For me, there was never that desire. I did not want to be like other men. I just wanted to love them. Even before I tried it, I knew I wanted it. I love men in all the ways that you describe, but I have also wanted to know them as other men know women. Intellectually and spiritually I know this is wrong, that it’s messed up. In my desire and passion though, I have trouble seeing the problem with it. And so the battle rages. I have not been with a man since 1979 because the Spirit continues to enlighten me to this error. Nevertheless, that desire pounds within me every day. No amount of straight male friendships with guys that know and care about me has helped with this. I still want a man. It is what it is.

  • mike

    Desires begat attractions. Desires come from the heart and give birth to sin (James 1:14). Yet it’s normal to want to legitimize those to find something good. Depends how you see it…
    I see my homosexual desires as genetic originating in my lower nature with its many other bad attractions. I don’t see anything good in my lower nature and therefore in my SSAs.
    Jesus calls me to resist those desires (with His help) and then all is well.
    But, if you see nurture as the culprit. Then I can understand the endeavor to try and validate attractions into something good. Pursuing those “good attractions” then makes sense I guess. But repairing or re-interpreting nurture deficits hasn’t been shown to do much for most. Maybe some. Looks like Kevin it has helped you. But for most like Jeff says “I still want a man. It is what it is.”. No amount of finding “good” in same sex attractions has helped in the long run… there is no cure!

    • Kevin Frye

      I think reinterpreting our longings and coming to a better understanding of what it is we are really in need of does help most people. It may not be the cure some people profess it to be, but it does help. It’s one step in the journey toward wholeness, health, and chaste living.

      • mike

        “I think reinterpreting our longings and coming to a better understanding of what it is we are really in need of does help most people.”
        That pursuit Kevin is worthy depending upon one’s ultimate goal and what happens if that goal isn’t met.
        If the goal is an end to SSA then many will end up frustrated or worse. That’s what happened to many in Exodus or in the reparative therapy groups.
        Reinterpreting SSA as something else as something “good” rather than declaring it a brokenness and humanly impossible to fix may end in terrible defeat.
        I’ve been there. For years I tried to find good in my SSA. Like you, I would see a hot dude and cognitively reinterpret that to mean “hey, God makes beautiful things. I notice that and give thanks for beautiful people.” Sounds good. But unlike the straight guy who sees the same dude I can’t just carry on. The image lingers and desire for him explodes. Different from the straight guy’s experience for sure.
        I had to end that cycle because no amount of reinterpretation or repairing deficits worked even after decades of trying. It was for me a futile endeavor. It wasn’t until I became like the diabetic who likewise can’t fix his broken pancreas. He finds his insulin to survive and me I find Jesus to live and flourish. To flourish means to suffer with SSA in the comfort and power of Jesus. Peace finally.

        • george

          Hard decision, but it is heroic. Wish you strenght to fight till the end.

          • mike

            Thx. George, but I’m not a hero — a fighter maybe…
            How’s your journey George? What have you decided about all this?

          • george

            Well, I never had sexual relation tip with man, and never plan. My attraction is mostly visual and emotional. No desire for sex with my own sex. But…as grown up in church and being celibate till 30, I have tried sex with opposite sex…and like it…it has not made me opposite gender attracted but it made me attracted to sex with opposite sex….and I am not as strong as you are. Hope sometime in future I llbe able to fight again.

  • It’s been interesting for me trying to figure out my own identity as someone whose attractions are more often emotional than physical. Yet they’re basically all for guys. Where I am geographically right now, I’ve found that calling myself gay is what gets my point across best. I think one thing that’s important to remember is that this isn’t something we need to be divided over. The reality is, each of us experiences sexuality differently, even if we have a lot in common. We need to be ok with realizing that, even if we’re on the same page about what’s right and wrong, we’re not all going to come to the same conclusions over how to describe ourselves.

    • Jeff Brady

      Thanks Thomas. I think I’m done here. I will go.

    • Kevin Frye

      I completely agree. We don’t need to be divided over a labeling issue. I don’t have anything more to add to this. Your comment is beautiful. Thank you.

  • Malcolm

    I used to think that I was a closeted gay man pretending to be heterosexual by marrying a woman, but I now know that I am a straight man who happens to find some men physically attractive. Although I do desire to have close male friendships, I really have never had the desire to be in a romantic relationship with a man like I have with my wife. I don’t want to live with a man and raise a family, nor do I want to come home and kiss a man after a long day at the office. Unfortunately I have engaged in some sexual experimentation with other men — not intercourse, but I have engaged in mutual masturbation. I have to say that my sexual experiences with other men have been disappointing and unsatisfying. The only sexual experiences that have been truly satisfying have been with my wife. I think that’s for a couple of reasons: 1) Things work best when the parts are used the way they were intended to be used. 2) Sex is meant to add intimacy to a close relationship, any sexual act with a stranger is empty and meaningless. I find that when I stay away from porn and homoerotic situations (for me it was massages from male “therapists”), my attractions to other men lose their sexual aspect. I may notice that a man is handsome, but there are no feelings of lust — no fantasies. If I don’t lust, then I haven’t sinned. I also find that when my sexual feelings are not being misdirected toward men, sexual attraction toward my wife increases. It’s true that I tend to notice attractive men more often than I notice attractive women, but that’s ok. We should desire healing from our sexual brokenness rather than trading in our brokenness for the more socially acceptable version which this fallen world deems to be more masculine. Unfortunately I still struggle against the temptations of porn and massages and may have to fight these urges for the rest of my life.

    • Kevin Frye

      I experience the same, Malcolm. When my sexual urges are not misdirected toward men, I have a naturally stronger desire to be with my wife. It’s normal. It’s how we were created to be.

  • Fred

    This was very raw, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I will admit that I started on the physical side which lead to emotional feelings (while it seems you and most of the other guys started on the emotional side which lead to the physical), so I won’t pretend like I know your situation or that they’re even comparable. But I have to agree with some of the other comments here that it is very dangerous to try and legitimize some things. I’m not saying it’s wrong, because I honestly don’t know, I’m just saying it’s dangerous. Of course all men, SSA or not, desire affection from other men in SOME form. But the enemy wants to use this against you to his advantage. Please anyone reading this guard your heart extremely closely and be very careful about what you let in. Don’t be afraid to love and accept love from others, but really really know where your heart is coming from. But I absolutely agree that sometimes we can be too hard on ourselves for wanting affection. I mean, who doesn’t? Thanks for posting, definitely made me think hard about the issues we face and where lines are drawn to close and too far.

    • Kevin Frye

      You’re right on, Fred. I’m all for physical affection, cuddling, shared nudity, and so on, but there are lines that can easily be crossed that we need to be very careful with. And there are people who might say to the other person or to themselves that they just want some brotherly affection, when in reality, they’re hoping it will go further than that. I believe Tom Zuniga is writing a story along those lines, and his next installment is due to be posted soon.

  • I started calling myself gay years ago when I realized I was attracted to men. Of course with that came the whole idea that because I was gay, I must want to have sex with them. I found the process painful and humiliating, but this is what gay guys did, right? I had to do this because I was gay, right? I thought there was something wrong with me because I didn’t find sex pleasurable (well maybe ten minutes of it, still it wasn’t worth the pain or the days of guilt). Up until nine months ago (September 2016) I thought of myself as gay and messed up in the head. Then I heard a term I had never heard of – “SStA”. I found this whole concept intriguing. Could I really be attracted to men and not want to have sex with them and it be normal? With SSA it is. This concept really did a lot towards healing my tortured soul, and helped me in diferentiationg desire from lust, and seeing through the propaganda of the LGBT community.

    • In further thought, calling myself other than ‘gay’ or even worse ‘f*$%&@’ allowed me to be called something else, something much more wonderful: CHILD! I was a child of the living God, but I was too blinded by propaganda from the LGBT community and my own anger towards believers to see it. I rarely even call myself SSA anymore. I do say ‘gay’ to the layperson, because they really don’t understand what happened, how I was changed.

      • Kevin Frye

        Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this. It’s ironic that the message from the LGBT community and the secular world, calling people to “come out” and be known as “gay” in order to find freedom and wholeness actually restricts and confuses so many people. I’ve heard people in the LGBT community ridicule the term “SSA” and those who embrace it. They shout about freedom and identity, but ridicule those who actually find that freedom and identity.

  • BR Dude

    Hello my brothers, it’s been a while! For the last month or so, my life was a mess but I have (mostly) sorted it out now. I’ve missed you all!

    About the label. I’m not gay. I’ve never was. What I can say is that I was diffefent from my male peers all my life and, because of that, I have questioned every single aspect of my life to the point of not recognizing anything anymore. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I compared myself with other guys way too much, always feeling inferior to them. Then, the idolatry began.

    I realize all of this now because it wasn’t fair for me to suffer this anymore. After making so many mistakes related to idolatry, many which I still feel disgusted by myself for commiting them, I stepped back from all of it and began searching the true answer about myself. And it’s true, I feel now: I’m not gay.

    The attraction I feel towards men now is just that I like being around them. Sharing stories, being close to them, as brothers. My lust for their bodies is not completely gone, but I can control it and what is more important, I can understand it.

    I think we are all cabaple of searching the answers in ourselves. What the world defines as “gay” may not resonate with our true selves.

    Be blessed, brothers.

    • Kevin Frye

      Good words, BR Dude. I understand your thoughts here completely. Thank you for sharing.

  • naturgesetz

    I think it’s fair to say that your desires, as you describe them, are not sinful in themselves (except for the bit about masturbating, which I consider sinful whether alone or with others). But I think it’s fair to ask another question: What about women. If you’re not sexually attracted to women, IMO you’re not straight, even if you’re not gay by your definition.

    I won’t review every item in your post. Suffice it to say that a number of them also describe me, including the part about not wanting to have sex with men. I don’t mind calling myself gay, homosexual, or same sex attracted, because I know I’m not their opposite, and I know I have these attractions exclusively toward men.

    • george

      You are so honest

    • Kevin Frye

      I don’t really care if I stand to be considered straight by other people or even in my own opinion of myself. I’m not sexually attracted to WOMEN, but I do enjoy having sex with my wife. For me, though, sex is much more emotional and spiritual than it is physical. If my wife and I are not in sync emotionally or spiritually, then it doesn’t matter what’s happening with us physically/physiologically — we can’t have sex, I can’t get an erection. But if we are in sync, then it doesn’t matter how sweaty, smelly, tired, or nasty we are physically; I want sex. When people say things like “sexually attracted to women”, that seems to imply a very physical attraction that happens suddenly upon sight, rather than a slow, drawn-out process of building up arousal toward and emotional harmony with a particular woman over a period of hours or days. If you are referring to the former definition — an attraction that is sudden — then no, I do not typically experience that kind of attraction. But if you are referring to the latter, then yes, that’s me; I’m attracted to a WOMAN that way. Does that make me straight?

      • Brent

        I have the same experience. I am attracted to my wife, physically as well as emotionally…but if things are off emotionally then sex isn’t going to happen. But I have always considered that to be perfected Godly heterosexuality. Godly heterosexual its doesn’t lust after every woman that’s sin. It also isn’t attracted to multitudes of women because love must be more than physical. God loves us deeply knowing us. It is the same with Godly heterosexual its. I think God has blessed me with this gift. The temptation is to belittle God’s gift because I am not sinfully broken like other Christian men. He only gives good and perfect gifts.

      • ohne Name

        Kevin, thank you very much for your openness and honesty. I’m in my early 30s and trying to find out if a relationship with a woman might be an option for me. For a long time, I believed that marriage required me to have a completely heterosexual orientation. Today, I believe that that will never happen (if God doesn’t do an extraordinary miracle). Stories like yours and
        others here give me hope that marriage can be possible for some men without being generally attracted to women in the same way like maybe 98 % of all men are.

        • Alan Gingery

          About 30% of men with SSA are in marriages to women. I am in that group. Yes, marriage is possible and God can bless your relationship with a woman. Like Kevin said, good sex is a lot more about being emotionally and spiritually connected, not just about being physical horny. Sex as depicted in movies and often on TV, is usually portrayed as that “intense animal desire”, but it cheats what God had in mind for sexual unity. It part of the unity that husband and wife share, not the whole thing.

      • naturgesetz

        We hear about “love at first sight,” which may not be very common, but it seems to happen. Several years ago an acquaintance invited me and another guy to go to a baseball game. I immediately enjoyed that other guy’s company, and after the game we stood talking on the street corner for some time. Neither of us wanted to leave. (We’ve kept in touch, and he’s visited me on several occasions, and sometimes we’re naked — but all without any sexual activity.) For the slow process you speak of to begin, there has to be something to get it started. Maybe it’s being put together and kept together by circumstances, maybe it’s physical beauty. It seems to me that whether it is instantaneous or gradual, it counts as sexual attraction.

        Then there is the question as to whether we call an attraction “sexual.” David and Jonathan were strongly attracted to each other, but not sexually. If I say I am same sex attracted because I want intimacy with men but not sex, whereas I’m indifferent to women, maybe SSA (or “homosexual,” or “gay”) needs to be nuanced. Then there are also the categories asexual and bisexual.

        Experiences can vary, and they don’t always fit into neat categories. People don’t always fit into neat categories, either.

  • Asher

    Thanks Kevin! I just found this group less than a week ago, and I think I’ve read over half the posts already. Whenever I find one I really resonate with (or sounds like something I might’ve written), oh look, it’s another one of Kevin’s. It’s really awesome realizing that there’s other guys that seem to be stuck halfway, if you will. I struggled with the question of whether I was gay ever since puberty, and have only started coming to peace with it in the past few years, incidentally arriving at some of the same conclusions as I’ve read on this site. An amazing wife combined with Gods grace has helped me immensely, but it’s never really satisfied my questions.
    I’d like to pose a discussion question: does anyone else out there meet a guy, and have how physically fit/attractive he is affect how likely you are to be friends with him? Perhaps a bit more explanation. I’ve been reading (mostly from Kevin) that SSA can in many cases be a product of craving for non-sexual but physical and emotional intimacy with other men. I love hugs, wrestling, would love to have friends who are comfortable getting nude, like swimming or changing, and I’ve thought about more but think that much more than that would be sinful. But I only crave those things from fit attractive friends. Does that mean it’s still sexually rooted? I know we’re all at different points on our journeys, and struggle with SSA to different degrees, but I would love some feedback about how this fits in with your experiences.
    (Side note, I can’t be friends with guys I can’t relate to emotionally and have real conversations with, so it’s not purely physical.)

    • Kevin Frye

      Welcome, Asher! Thanks for reading and commenting! You pose some good questions here, and I can relate with your cravings 100%.

      First, it’s been proven in studies that everyone — male, female, gay, or straight — shows preferential treatment toward people — anyone — who are more physically attractive. That’s a global truth, regardless of the country or culture. Even the butchest mechanic would rather sit next to somebody like Brad Pitt than Quasimodo. People would rather be friends at first with someone who is good-looking than someone who is not. That’s what the fashion and cosmetic industries are banking on. So, having that desire has nothing to do with your sexuality.

      I’ll give a little story from my own life:

      I had a friend in my early twenties who was not handsome. He was not physically attractive at all to me or, I would imagine, to most people. He was a little chubby, had a lot of body hair, droopy eyes, crooked teeth, oddly short legs for his height, you get the idea. I was not attracted to him physically. But we went to church together and got to know each other and I quickly found that he was very kind, sensitive yet strong, creative, bursting with passion for life, and we had a lot of similar interests and things in common with each other. We clicked. We became best friends with each other. We were very close for several years. We never saw each other naked, but we did hug each other all the time, we wrestled, cuddled together, held hands when we sat next to each other at church, and so on. Even though he wasn’t physically attractive to me, I couldn’t imagine trading him for somebody more handsome. He was a gem. Good looks are good for first impressions, but they don’t matter much beyond that.

    • Judah

      First time posting here! I’m very happily married but like most here have struggled most of my life with SSA. Oddly enough, after three years of marriage, I came clean to my wife last night about my SSA struggles (always felt like I was hiding this from her and was terrified about opening up). My wife, being a marriage and family studies counselor, was incredibly understanding knowing about my upbringing and insecurities; this was a huge sigh of relief…I’ve been reading this site for about a year now trying to find some sense of “brotherhood” or reassurance that I wasn’t the only one… but now that I’ve talked with my wife about all of this, I feel bold enough to post and and start “talking” ha!

      Kevin, like Asher, I feel like I relate most with your posts. I have an incredible wife and sex with her is great. I have had many sinful desires when it comes to my SSA, though sex with a man has never and does not interest me at all. However, I have those same desires for some level of physical closeness (hugs, wrestling, mild cuddling, nudity) with men (and Like Asher this desire is usually for men that I would classify as being “masculine” or “fit”/”good-looking”).

      My question is: As a Traditional, married Christian man who is striving to live like Christ commands, what is Biblically normal here? I’m honestly not trying to justify certain activities, and there are activities that are obviously out of the question, but I truly feel like on some level, men need this type of friendship in some form. I’ve reached out on various websites trying to find like-minded friends but have never followed through because they all seem to be wanting something more that I’m not comfortable with. And more importantly would feel like I wasn’t being faithful to my wife. What is an appropriate, healthy level of masculine intimacy between two Christians? On one hand I crave it, but on the other I want to be true to Christ and my wife. Is there a healthy balance?

      • Alan Gingery

        Hey Judah!

        I’m also a married man. You are asking all the right questions. Yes, there is a healthy balance and what it might look like for you may be different for another man. Ask God’s Holy Spirit to guide you and of course check in with scriptures. If something you do becomes lustful for you, then you have an answer. You might also talk with your wife, who seems very supportive, and make sure that she knows that you are not seeking anything wrong, but to have your needs for same-sex connection met. If you are not hiding this and she is comfortable with what you do with other men, then you also have an answer.

        As far as having non-sexual affection with other men, we have enough examples in scripture of men who were physically affectionate with one another to understand that it can be healthy (David and Jonathan!)

        I have many friends with SSA and we are physically affectionate in so many ways…but we are also emotionally close. One of my best memories is being in church with my friend and as we sat there, I was worshiping God and as I sometimes do when I feel in God’s presence, I began to cry. (Tears of joy, not tears of sadness!) My friend, sitting next to me, leaned over and put his arms around my one shoulder and leaned his head on my other shoulder. I reached up and put my hand on his shoulder. We sat there for what seemed like ages–two men showing each other comfort and affection in a church and I thought how beautiful it was that we were in God’s house and expressing our love in this physical touch and that no one was judging us that we were gay.

        • Judah

          Thanks for the reply, Alan! Seeing my SSA as merely a need for sincere, intentional male friendship that I lacked in my upbringing (which I incorrectly turned sexual) has really helped turn things around in my thinking and has given me hope that I can still have these areas of my life taken care of in a God-honoring way.

          My prayers have now changed from, “God please take these desires away,” to “Lord, I’m thankful for these desires for male connection, please send the right friendships my way and help alert me to their presence. Lord, protect our friendship and our marriages and help us set healthy boundaries as we become life-giving brothers.”

          Looking forward to this new mindset and season! Thanks Brothers!

      • Welcome, Judah! Glad to have you in our midst. Grateful for your added perspective as a married guy. What a story, telling your spouse about your struggle just the other day! Wow. Glad to hear she is supportive. Will keep you in prayer today. Looking forward to seeing more of your story unfold here with us.

        • Judah

          Thanks, Thomas! Hope to post a bit more regularly now that I don’t feel like I’m hiding anything. Looking forward to accepting this part of my story, growing in who I am and finding a healthy way to fill this void in my life. I truly feel that there are so many guys single and married that have these same desires and are fighting the same internal struggles we have all faced and are facing. This site and others like it are the first step in getting the word out. Thank you guys for all that you do and share!

      • Kevin Frye

        Oh, man, Judah, you’re about to go down the rabbit hole here.

        First, I applaud you for coming clean to your wife. I’m so glad she was understanding and supportive. From experience, I can tell you that this probably won’t be a one-time talk, though, but rather an ongoing journey involving many talks and lots of questions and prayer between you two.

        To tell you what is biblically normal in regards to platonic male friendship would be too much to write here in the comments. It would fill up books. But I know how frustrating it can be to look for answers to these types of questions you ask, and find a bunch of guys who want to turn it all sexual, even if that’s not what they advertise at first, so I want to help you out. I would suggest you look up the website for Gymnos Aquatic Saints, and also mychainsaregone.org. I don’t agree with everything that is posted on these two sites, but they are run by Christian men who have asked the same questions you’re asking and have found some answers. If you’re on Facebook, you can also look up the group MenForums FaceBook Extension. There are a lot of Christian guys, both SSA and OSA, on there who are seeking platonic male support, intimacy, camaraderie, and affection. Get in there an start talking to people and I’m sure you’ll find some help. And of course, here at YOB, we’re all kind of looking for the same thing, and any of the guys here or in our Patreon Facebook group would love to talk and share with you.

        Above all, though, read the Bible. Let the Holy Spirit transform you. Do not worry about the regulations of this world with its wrongful judgments and preconceived notions of homosexuality. You are a new creation in Christ.

        Thanks for contributing to the community here, Judah! Be blessed!

  • Tim Wright

    Hey, just stumbled upon your site, amazing, love the tone that you express in the area of SSA. I do not have SSA. Before I became a Son of the Father, the community that I felt the most real with with, were men and women with SSA. I loved their emotional vulnerability. My desire is to see all men in the church to grow in the self awareness and emotional vulnerability and learn to receive their sonship from the Father. Every man internally aches for the affirmation from their heavenly Father. I work with a mission org. that is intentionally reaching out to men & women in our community who have SSA so that they experience the support on the mission field that they want and need. Looking forward to promoting your site to my friends in the UK where I live. Blessings men, you are a gift! I follow you Thomas on Facebook.

    • Kevin Frye

      The church needs more people like you, Tim. Thanks for posting here and supporting us and sharing YOB with others. What mission organization do you work with?

      • Tim Wright

        I work with OM. http://WWW.om.org and I live in the UK and work with men in restricted access countries. Thanks for your comment! I just started support you at $5 a month and really value this ministry. Cheers

        • Thanks for your pledge, Tim! You’re awesome. I just sent you a message on Patreon.

          • Tim Wright

            Bless you Thomas, you accepted my friend request on Facebook awhile back. My best mate is SSA though married. In listening to your podcast, about a brother who has SSA being kissed by other men of kissing another man, I thought about the time I kissed my best friend on the cheek as we were parting and he was not surprised. I am not offended by another man I feel safe with expressing himself with a kiss to me, the relationship is the priority and any steps or missteps by me or the other is a step from love and responded with love and believing the best about the other. Cheers

          • I just double-checked, and I don’t see you on my Facebook friends list. You might be confusing my personal page with my “fan page.” If you’d like to join our secret Facebook group, just find my personal page on Facebook via that link in the Patreon message; otherwise, disregard this. Thanks Tim!

  • Shauntonio Ross

    I’ have SSA and i considered myself gay for the longest time because i used to have sex with men. watch porn and masturbated all the time. i’ve got saved last year and i still struggle with ssa, it hasnt gone yet and the more i resist the more it comes could God get rid of it completely?

    • For me, it has never gone away fully, but it has lessened, especially since I started calling myself SSA instead of gay. ‘Gay’ is a lifestyle I am no longer a part of (will be celiabe 13 years in September). SSA is controlable and allows me greater freedom that the restrictive nature of being ‘gay’.

    • george

      You will have less struggle when you get older. Usually sexual desires get weaker when we get older. No matter what orientation we might have.

    • Alan Gingery

      Some men experience complete change. Others experience some change. Others don’t experience any change. God promises us that He will help us to deal with every aspect of our life–including our sexuality.

      It is no small wonder that you still deal with this struggle. It is not something that most men can “pray away the gay”. I think that most men with SSA had a break in their normal emotional development which prevented their healthy connection to men. Now, to correct that, the step that got skipped, the healthy non-sexual connections to men must happen. That is a process and takes time, not some over-night miracle achieved by prayer. I would recommend looking at the website, Brothers Road. It was tremendously helpful and encouraging to me. Of course, read the blogs here at YOB. There are other websites with help for men with SSA. The 4 T’s is also a good resource. Bless you Shauntonio!

      Since I have been in self-therapy for the past 4 years, I have experienced a significant reduction in my SSA and a wild increase in my OSA. I ended the behavior 40 years ago, but the SSA itself didn’t change until I began to work on the emotional things that underlie my SSA.

    • Great to have you here with us, Shauntonio. I hope you find added hope in our collective story. The struggle may never entirely go away, but struggling with brothers has made all the difference for me. You are not alone, brother. Looking forward to seeing more of your story unfold.

    • Kevin Frye

      As I’ve stated in this blog post, my SSA hasn’t necessarily vanished, but I’ve come to realize that it is not necessarily connected to true homosexuality, either. I think the other guys who have left comments here are sharing great wisdom with you. Please keep searching and pressing forward, asking questions, and not settling for less than God’s best for you. You’re not alone in this journey, Shauntonio.

  • Alan Gingery

    How exactly would you describe yourself as attracted to the same gender? Do you consider yourself “gay” because of your feelings or attractions? Why or why not?

    This is actually a thoughtful post…and there are almost too many different ideas presented here even though all they are related!

    There is a big difference between having same sex-needs and having attraction sexually to people of your same sex. Here, you have defined having SSA more in the category as having SAME-SEX NEEDS and not as homosexuality–which is the Biblical idea translated by our English word homosexuality. That is OK, though not necessarily the way that the majority of men think about SSA when they hear the words: same-sex attraction.

    I agree that you are not homosexual or gay. Me, either. I don’t label myself with either of these labels. Never have and never will. I certainly don’t want sex with a man. I had a sexual relationship with a man 40 years ago and then stopped–because I realized that sex with a man would not meet the real need that I had to feel connected to men on a deep and intimate level through loving platonic relationships. What I wanted and still do, is to know men and be known by men on a deep and emotional and spiritual level.

    Most guys with SSA (whatever connotation or understanding you bring to those words) have high same-sex relational needs and often low need fulfillment of those needs. So they desire attention, affirmation and affection from other men. All of those things are healthy and God given. You did a descent job of describing the healthy needs that many of us feel.

    I dare say a huge group of us with SSA don’t want sex with a man…just the connection, the care and affection and affirmation that being in a close relationship brings. Some are willing to have sex in order to get those needs met. That didn’t work for me and I doubt that it will work for them, but they are certainly free to try. Experience will tell them whether it works well or not.

    I am reminded of your post of Tim Timmerman’s book, “A Bigger World Yet–Faith, Brotherhood and Same-Sex Needs”. He does a great job explaining how men with SSA need to get into healthy community with men to get their real God given needs for connection to men met in community. I recommend it to anyone reading this blog.

    I will fight with you over one thing in this post…is fight too strong a word? I will disagree a bit. LOL!

    I do understand that many younger men sometime after pubescence masturbate together and it has no ill effect on their sexual development. I know that in the Boy Scouts, many scouts talked about doing this. I never did, but I am sure it was a common enough experience for young teens. I can understand the desire perhaps to do something that was missed during your development as a man. However, I think that the potential for men with high same-sex needs to cross the line from platonic to erotic fascination by masturbating with other men (at your or my age) is too strong and not particularly a healthy way to feel connected with other men emotionally or spiritually.


    • Kevin Frye

      Hey Alan! Thanks for the comments you left here.

      To answer you questions, no, I would not describe myself as attracted to the same gender. At least not anymore. That means that I’m not sure I would even call myself SSA anymore. I view myself as straight (OSA), and my attractions to men as totally normal and mostly healthy. My feelings get a little weird sometimes when I’ve gone too long without connection and fellowship, but I think a lot of guys get weird feelings, and that doesn’t mean they all call themselves gay for it.

      As for your disagreement, I think you and I actually agree about that. I do not think masturbating with other guys is a healthy way to bond with them, especially as adults with high same-sex needs.

      • Alan Gingery

        Hey, that’s cool. I would not really describe myself as SSA anymore, or if I do, it is incidental SSA. My attractions are OSA toward my wife, but there are still emotional wounds from my past that are not completely gone. So, when I feel ashamed or triggered by something that challenges my manhood, then I find some of those old SSA feelings alive and kicking at times. When my needs are met for male community (the needs to be connected to men in healthy ways), I don’t feel any SSA.

        Glad you agree with me that adult men need not masturbate together to bond to each other. Ha ha!

  • usnstang

    I am not gay due to my sexual attractions to guys. I am gay due to the emotional bonding and peace I find when loving and being loved by another guy in a true partnership. I do not see “gayness” as something sexual, but rather an emotional state. My life in male spaces and with other men is my most constant peaceful and at rest state. Nothing about a relationship with a female brings this, in fact, quite the opposite. Many guys have sex with guys and are not gay. They simply have participated in homosexual acts. There is a difference and that is the heart of the matter, as far as how I perceive and interpret reality. I live for and in a world of men. I have a mother and a sister and that is enough females in my life. 🙂

    • Kevin Frye

      That may all very well be, usnstang, and if that is how you want to live your life, you’re free to do that. If that is what you have found identity, security, and rest in, I can understand why you would want to remain in that place. However, it is not what God wants for you, and homosexual acts are not what God has designed any man for. If a man wants to please God, he must submit to God’s design. He cannot live according to what makes himself happy and feel good, and pretend that he is on good terms with God. If the man doesn’t care about God’s design, then he can go on through his life, seeking happiness on his own terms, and living in enmity toward God. That’s his decision. But by the end of this life, we’re all going to have to answer to God. I’d like to be on His good side now while I have the chance.

      • usnstang

        It seems to be a bit condescending and patronizing for one to assume what God does or does not want for someone else. I realize your beliefs are framed by what you have been taught and understand in your own spiritual relationship, but to frame one’s life view in such a way where it is then extrapolated and projected onto others seems to be rather limiting and self serving. Thank you for at least sharing your perspective, truth and thoughts with a bit of courtesy. You tend to assume a lot about me, but than can happen. My sexuality is only a small part of who I am as a human, and certainly not something I rest my identity in. A balanced person has many facets. I will answer to God, both at the end of my life as I do daily. Somehow he has never mentioned you or what you believe. Good luck with your perceived “good side”. God looks at you and sees only Jesus Christ and his blood shed. The virtue signaling leaves something to be desired though.

  • Brian

    Question: Is skinny dipping with other guys a sin? Why is it or is it not a sin? What about skinny dipping with a group of guys who struggle with homosexual or same-sex attractions?

    • As with any sin, it’s a matter of the heart, Brian. Are you skinny-dipping to be like one of the guys, or are you skinny-dipping to lust after them? I suppose both could transpire at once, a gray area perhaps, but I’d examine the ultimate core of your desires. It’s entirely possible to go skinny-dipping with a group of guys — SSA or otherwise — with no attached lust; it’s also possible not to do so.

    • Kevin Frye

      In my experience, I’ve found that abstaining from normal interaction with other males — including shared nudity in a proper context — due to fear of lust, erections, or other insecurities, actually does more harm than good. I think most guys, even if they had SSA, would be able to enjoy some platonic skinny dipping with other guys without lust even being an issue, and they would benefit a great deal from it. Again, though, as Thomas says, your motive plays a big part. If you’re doing it just to get a head full of nudity to jack off to later, then you might need to go to God first for a heart/mind transplant before stripping down.

      • Brian

        Would it be a good idea if only two guys, even if they both had SSA, skinny dipped and not did so with a full group? Could skinny dipping with other guys make a friendship stronger since they have shared such vulnerability with each other, the kind that a husband and wife would share, but without any sexual attraction and contact? What other benefits do you see for skinny dipping, Kevin?

    • Eddie

      I echo Tom and Kevin’s comments. The right condition of both your mind and heart have a lot to do with it. Personally when I went skinny dipping with my college friends, I didn’t have a desire to have sexual relations or lust after them. First and foremost, they were people, more specfically my friends not objects. I as I’m sure they did looked at as a male bonding experience. We enjoyed being naked and vulnerable with each other, but it was all simply a platonic brotherly activity.

      • Brian

        I guess the reason behind this inquiry concerning skinny dipping thing is because of what I feel about nudity and it’s difficult to see it as good when it’s used so negatively in today’s society. And on top of that God gave us clothes to wear so it’s like the only way that a person should see someone naked is for their spouse. When I see paintings of it, a lot of the times it looks pure and good but when I hear about people being nude in reality, with these nude beaches, nude marches and all that, it just seems so wrong. I know that people have been skinny dipping for centuries but I still feel a bit iffy about it. Maybe it has to do with the condition of my heart and I know that skinny dipping with a bunch of other guys would not only make me uncomfortable, it would probably lead to lust after them and compare my body to theirs. I have a hard time talking and having full conversations with guys so to be naked in front of them is a much bigger step.

        • Eddie

          I would certainly not endorse you to engage in any activity that would cause you to sin. If skinny dipping does that then I’d say avoid it. When I was studying the diffrences in social classes in college, I was taught that rich vs. poor harbored different perceptions as to nudity. Rich people, like you with paintings, view nude art work and appreciated the artistic nature absent of lustful desire (good). While the poor viewing the same EXACT artwork printed on an index cars was considered pornographic behavior (bad). Rich people scoffed at the idea that lower class citizens would dare view such images and found this to be deplorable behavior. The rich protested becuase theysaw popr as lacking the adequate intelligence and sophistication in fully appreciating the artwork in its given context. Today’s society has certainly sexualized nudity to its detriment (bad). Porn is prevalent now more than ever. Early years men swam naked at the YMCA without reservation (good). Nowadays, men insist on privacy in the locker room areas with partitioned shower stalls. Society has always been broken but now our very moral integrity/fiber is under attack. We’re all susceptible.

  • Brian

    It’s interesting to find another whose attraction doesn’t involve sex. In all honesty, the whole premise of homosexual fixation on the male sphincter, has always repelled me from the term “gay.” Never-mind the whole drag culture.

    In any case, I’m pleased to know there are other guys who appreciate maleness and masculinity, yet realize, too, that the desire guys have to share physical intimacy, even to the point of masturbation, doesn’t make them gay.

    I am grateful to you, and to the other guys at YOB, for helping me define the term “same-sex attraction,” and especially for fleshing it out for real-life, since my previous exposure to similar descriptions has included the terms, “g0y” and “androphile,” but the former seems too ridiculous, and the latter, from what I can glean from the most-popular advocate (Donovan), seems more like hyper-masculinity or muscle-worship, and therefore, just one more extreme of homosexuality, with which I find myself somewhat at odds.

    • Kevin Frye

      Dude, don’t even get me started on g0y-dom. Ugh….

      I’m glad you’ve been so helped here at YOB. I hope we continue to be a blessing to you, and I look forward to hearing more from you.

  • Spencer Kun

    Hi Kevin, thanks for sharing. This sounds similar to the way I’ve sometimes differentiated between same-sex attractions and same-sex-sexual attractions. I definitely still experience both and am comfortable describing myself as SSA, or gay or what have you. However this distinction became important and very freeing for me in how it allowed me to stop censoring the ways I might interact with other men that felt tied to my sexuality but we’re actually not sinful at all. Being drawn to fostering intimacy and community with men can actually be a huge blessing in a church and general culture that is often lacking in same sex love.

    • Kevin Frye

      Well said, Spencer. Thank you for sharing.

  • Hunter

    I was just thinking about this a few seconds before coming over to see what was going on at YOB today. I have had a lot of thoughts about using the term “gay” over the years, and I get why some people in the same boat as the other brothers (Side B) use it, but I just can’t. When I move towards using the term “gay” I find myself cuddling in a sad little gloom, nestling in a comfortable little narrative of self-pity that says “Look, I’m a gay Christian. Why can’t I have a boyfriend? Why can’t I marry a husband? I am oppressed and helpless.” I think there’s a place for grief and acknowledging pain, and pointing out how some segments of the Church have neglected sexual minorities and through passive indifference caused harm; but the reality God illuminated to me recently is this: “There is enough love for me.” There is enough love in God, enough love in the Father, in our Brother, in His Spirit, and in the family of God to satisfy us. We are very rich in love because of God’s generous love that He has poured into our hearts. I found myself saying today, “I am not gay. I am God’s son.” Not because being God’s son precludes my existence as a sexual being, but because the category of adoption transcends the category of sexual orientation.

    • Well said, Hunter! I jive with all that you’re saying. And thanks for popping back over here. You should do so more often!