How My Friends Helped Me Desexualize Men

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I’m going to focus on men with same-sex attractions here; that is kind of what this whole website is about.

Many SSA men, including myself some years ago, find it very easy to go back to porn in a moment of weakness. It’s a constant temptation. But why is it a temptation? Most of us are not tempted to watch videos of animals mating. We don’t typically think a three-year-old child running around naked, playing with his backyard sprinkler is anything to get aroused by. Why would we? Those things are not sexual. They were never meant to elicit erotic responses. And neither are grown men. Men were never designed to be sexual to other men. They should be as nonsexual to us as a barnyard animal.

This is the way it was meant to be, but not always the way it is.

What needs to happen, then, is a desexualization of what is improperly sexual to us. Most of my own sexualization of men was based on a need to be loved and accepted by them, to be one of them; it was a need for intimacy and connection and to see that I was indeed completely man myself. Porn showed me what all of that could look like, but it never gave me what it advertised.

In 2006, I slept with my friend Sam for the first time in his parents’ guest bedroom. We didn’t have sex. I mean, we actually slept — together — in the same bed. I was distraught and heartbroken at the time over an unrelated incident and asked Sam if I could sleep over his house. He ushered me into the guest room where there was a full-size bed and let me crash there.

I lay on top of the covers and cried. He sat down on the bed and put his arm around me. Before I knew it, I was asleep. I awoke sometime in the night to find Sam curled up next to me, asleep, his hand still on my arm. I left it there and went back to sleep.

Early in 2007, I drove out to visit Sam at his university in Raleigh, North Carolina. He introduced me to his roommate and friend Paul whom he had told me much about. We hit it off right away and the three of us spent the day together.

Paul was a passionate Christian and an extremely affectionate, loving guy. People were drawn to him like kids to a candy store. It seemed everyone knew Paul and, unless he was directly told not to, he greeted everyone with a hug and a warm smile. He was not afraid to let his arm linger on his friend’s shoulder.

The second night I spent visiting the university, Paul was getting ready for bed and, sitting on his futon, he asked me with a cheeky grin, “Do you want to snuggle?”

Sure … Sam was right there with us, so he joined in too.

What started out as a simple cuddle turned into all three of us sleeping together all night on that little futon with me in the middle. And that wouldn’t be the last time, either. I made many trips after that back to the university to visit, and whenever Sam and Paul made trips to Charlotte, we made our time together a priority.

We were all affectionate with each other with no qualms about touching, but it wasn’t the basis of our friendship. We liked each other just as friends, and then the physical affection came naturally as we weren’t afraid to show that with each other.

Sam and I were already close, but Paul and I quickly developed a love and friendship that was just as strong.

When I was with these brothers of mine, I was a man among men. I was never attracted to them sexually; in fact, I wasn’t attracted to any man sexually. When Sam and Paul were away at school, that was when I was tempted most to watch porn. I began to realize then that my homosexual urges were fickle.

People had tried to make me believe that homosexuality is set in stone, that it was just the way it was. But I saw first-hand that that simply wasn’t true.

My friends weren’t the only ones, though, who helped desexualize men for me. There are things that people can do, but there are some things that only God can do.

Have you ever experienced desexualization of men via nonsexual, intimate friendships with other men? When are you most prone to sexualizing other men?

* Photo courtesy Dori Rigby, Creative Commons.

  • Jeremy

    Having read this post I have my doubts that you were ever really SSA/gay/homosexual from your testimony here. Perhaps you just thought you were from the things of your past and your craving for male affirmation which seems to have been a big thing. I don’t think you really understand what it means to be sexually attracted to another man, which is why you say the things you do. Just my take on it, though I think you might hotly contend my view.

    • Kevin Frye

      No, I agree with you. I never was really homosexual. I used to believe I was, but it turned out I was wrong. That’s one of the big points I want to make not only with this blog but in my whole life. I thought I was gay, but I wasn’t. What I thought was gay wasn’t actually who I was. And if I am/was this way, then I have to believe that other people who swear they are gay, too, are just as deceived, confused, or delusional as I was. I also have to wonder if everyone who says they’re homosexual is actually quite mistaken. I have to wonder, is homosexuality even a real orientation? Or is it just a trick of the mind and emotions that seems quite real to the homosexual person but in reality is little more than smoke and mirrors?

      • Jeremy

        OK, I understand that so much better, Kevin. Thanks. I agree with you that many who think they are homosexual are probably not, and I know of someone who was abused as a teen and was like that. In my case it was totally the opposite. I grew up in a homophobic environment and went to an all boys boarding school, so I joined in with my mates mocking anything and anyone who was homo. For sure I was straight! When the SSA came into play I dismissed it as a phase, but entertained thoughts in private all through my life. I dated girls but never had sex until marriage to a very dear and precious woman whom I grew to love much, but was never in love with. When I came out to myself and her in the 80s, some 15 years into marriage, I was confronted with my SSA very graphically to the point she recognised something was up and wanted to know what it was. I subdued the SSA but it never went away and then when I got into serious porn late in life, some four or more years ago, our sex life having long ceased, that was when I tried to deal with the SSA/gay thing once and for all by separating from her and challenging God to sort it out, my having taken this drastic step to show how very serious I was: it was do or die. The opposite happened to where I was forced to acknowledge it was not going away no matter what, so face it, own up to it, accept it and live with it. I never chose it, though I might choose how I express it and who I live with. So, no, for me it is no trick of the mind and emotions. It is definitely not just smoke and mirrors. It’s not everyone who says they are gay that is delusional or mistaken. I don’t know how you can possibly think that.

        • Kevin Frye

          You and I have different experiences. I have the right to question the true nature of homosexuality because of my experiences and beliefs as much as you have the right to hold onto your beliefs about it. I am already working on more posts that address this issue based on my experiences, so I hope you will check back in with me and keep reading before jumping to conclusions about anything. There’s a lot to say about homosexuality that could never be summed up in just a couple blog posts.

          • Jeremy

            I fully agree (to disagree, as it were! lol). I totally accept what you say, Kevin, and realize we’re coming from opposite sides, as it were, but I am here to learn and to explore. I love that there are many view points and that our experiences are unique. Each one of us must make his own way in the end and come to his own conclusions, hopefully each one respecting each others point of view. Thanks for your open and honest sharing. I appreciate that. I appreciate you. Many blessings, Jem.

      • Jon Evan

        Kevin, I think this is brilliant. This is the raw perspective of Scripture and why Jesus came: to set the captives free. Free from themselves and their confusions! And to bring them back to reality that they are not what they think. Indeed, as 1 Corinth. 6:11 boldly declares: “such were some of you” saying you are NOT homosexuals: there is no such creature. There is only a person made in the image of God who because of the fall has ssa which is just a temptation not a new identity! That person needs to be set free by Jesus and declaring himself a homosexual is an injustice. And soon I will go to jail for saying these things.

        • Jeremy

          And pray, do tell, dear Jon, what the secret is to getting free in Jesus? Nothing worked for me.

          • Jon Evan

            Jeremy, why do you mock me? Is that your purpose here? You know the words of Jesus. “Let him who has ears hear.” There is no freedom except from the man Jesus who brings this good news. Why do you ask me? I am just a beggar helping other beggars where to find bread. Ask Jesus.

          • Jeremy

            It’s not intended to mock so much as a cry for help. You blithely give out this hand of help but where is it? I’ve cried for freedom, for deliverance, for redemption, but I’m still bound in this trap of homosexuality and I have no light of deliverance. I try to believe that He made me this way, as that seems the only thing I can believe, but I have no real peace, no sweetness in life, no joy that He promises. So what is the answer? I can’t find it and He doesn’t seem to respond to my cries. Being told I am a sinner doesn’t help. Being told I can’t hear doesn’t help. These just push me further into the pit of despair and hopelessness. I tried living a life of a heterosexual being for more than 50 years but I’m still a homosexual.

          • Jon Evan

            You are giving me mixed messages Jeremy, and it’s unclear to me what you want. A “cry for help” demands action. That’s what Jesus meant when he asks “do you want to get well?”. You call yourself a “homosexual”. Action in that direction requires pursuit of counseling/help from those who have made living as a “homosexual” a success. There you may find solace and repair if that’s the direction you wish to pursue.
            The alternative is that you are not a homosexual but a lover of Jesus yet a man with ssa and comorbid addictions. You have already mentioned issues with porn and masturbation. What we call addictions God calls idolatry which preclude meaningful relationship with Him. To “get well” there means what I’ve said before. Success from addictions requires a residential center spending at least 4-6 months there relearning life. A man need to be a man of action dealing with his “cry for help” with an intentional plan.

          • Jeremy

            I give up! This is too much. I spent 40 to 50 years of my life trying to live the straight way and the gay/homosexual never, never, ever goes away. Can’t you get that? You are nothing but a self-righteous prig as far as I can tell and don’t message me again or answer what I put here. I’ve been stoned enough by people like you and cannot take your stuff any longer. I’m gay and I’m Christian. Stuff that in your bag and choke on it if you don’t like it, but don’t try and give me your reparative nonsense.

          • Jon Evan

            I’ll respect that Jeremy. But don’t be to hard on me. I may be a prig but there is always hope for me ;). Cheers!

      • Brandon Burrell

        God bless you brother. Great post.

      • NoName

        With all due respect to others thinking different, can you write more about this? Looking at gay porn made me realize 2 things: one is that the more I looked the more I was into it; the other was that I had no desire to actually do those things I was seeing with another guy and I don’t, and it’s not because of any great willpower or even fear. Used to tell myself I was straight because I didn’t want to be gay, but then getting hyper turned on by gay porn, I thought I was gay.
        Dealing with confusion/delusion became part of the mix of following Jesus and the only true trust I have isn’t in labels but in Jesus and going on with him. But I think you’re really onto something good Kevin. No need to respond to this, I’m just backtracking old posts being new. Hope you write more about this.

        • Kevin Frye

          I’m sure the issue of gay porn, healthy connections, and similar topics will come up again and again as I continue writing. 🙂

          • NoName

            You don’t need to write about porn Kevin. Shoot, I think I know too much already 🙂
            It was your comment above that hit the heart: “I never was really homosexual. I used to believe I was, but it turned out I was wrong. That’s one of the big points I want to make not only with this blog but in my whole life. I thought I was gay, but I wasn’t. What I thought was gay wasn’t actually who I was. And if I am/was this way, then I have to believe that other people who swear they are gay, too, are just as deceived, confused, or delusional as I was.”

  • Jon Evan

    You can agree that we can’t generalize from our own life and project our experience unto others. This, I think, was the mistake of Exodus and zealots of reparative therapy which works for some but not for all. In my own observations there are in fact homosexualities. If you use Scripture as a reference point then there is not several sexual orientations but simply attractions from desires of a fallen soul and these attractions are diverse reflecting the heterogeneity of the brokenness of the human heart. This is clearly observed if you walk into a gay bar. There is the macho guy who is so masculine you would never think he was gay. And there is the other extreme of the guy so broken in his masculinity he only feels safe escaping into the other gender and appears at the bar looking like a woman. Such is the diversity of gayness and the type of men they are attracted to! And so, the only hope that I can see for those conflicted in their faith who see gayness as sin is to abandon themselves to Jesus, clinging to Him for dear life and identity. I tell my mentees Jesus will never fail you — abandon yourself to Him.
    Your friend Sam’s “Do you want to snuggle?” may have worked for you Kevin because of the nature of your brokenness but that could never work for me nor many/most of my mentees who have ssa. Most suffer from “skin hunger” as part of their confusing brokenness which reparative therapists would say originates in childhood due to poor relationships with their father/peers. The problem is these valid intimacy needs which were appropriate in childhood have now become sexualized, erotic, and neurotic. How much can be ‘repaired’ now in adulthood is questionable and trying only leads to guilt because ‘snuggling’ can lead to sexual consequences such as an erection even with a man you aren’t necessarily facially attracted to!
    I must say I have reservations to too much physical involvement with males. Some non-gay males are often clueless how difficult even an embrace is for a gay guy because of ‘buttons’ that get pressed. I advocate seeking intimacy with Jesus. I am often overwhelmed by the Presence of Jesus in feeling his embrace which is so life-giving and healing and never produces any guilt. Just my 3 cents and sorry it was so long!

    • Kevin Frye

      Thank you for sharing your 3 cents. I don’t mind long comments. You bring up some good points that I am already planning to address in future blog posts, so please stay tuned. 🙂

  • Steven

    The example that always comes to my mind is the gym. My friends wanted me to go with them, though I was scared of all the temptation from other guys there. I was surprised to find that it wound up being one of the least tempting times for me. I was working out and being affirmed by my friends and just felt like one of the guys.

    When I travel to visit other guys, that can sometimes fend off most temptation for a month. But when I haven’t interacted with men in awhile, I get very tempted hourly it seems.

    I haven’t had the more prolonged physical interactions that you give examples of, but I very much long for it. I realize and somewhat fear that it could cause boners (as Jon mentioned), but I think that if I had the opportunity for more frequent interaction, such reactions would become less common.

    Tho I have a question too: Do friendships with other SSA men also lead to the same results? While it seems to slowly be breaking down, there is a barrier in my mind that doesn’t appreciate their friendship in the same way.

    • Karl Jacob

      I think that, in a sense, struggling with SSA has forced us to think more about things like friendship, and for a lot of us, we end up valuing our friendships a lot more than other guys do. But I wouldn’t say it’s just those of us who deal with SSA that end up valuing friendship. Other guys do, too, but close friendships aren’t exactly encouraged by society so most if us just shy away from getting too close to our friends and valuing them too much. I don’t really think this is a good thing, because close friends are a good thing far too many of us are missing out on.

    • Kevin Frye

      You bring up some good topics. I am already in the process of writing about some of these and plan to do so more in future blog posts, so please check back as I try to tell more of my experiences here and what I’ve learned and come to believe in the process. 🙂

  • Karl Jacob

    I wouldn’t say that your experience 100% parallels my experience, but I relate to it nonetheless. I think there’s a fine line we all have to be very careful to not cross when it comes to physical contact, and where that line is can vary from person to person. Spiritual and emotional intimacy in friendship, though, in most cases aren’t directly connected to sex, and having friends I can be completely open with has been very helpful in my relationship with God. When I’m doing well in friendship, I still see other guys as attractive, but I’ve found that my temptation to lust is often lessened.

    I do think that different people’s situations often need different approaches. For you, it seems (correct me if I’m wrong) that your struggle with homosexuality was largely related to other relational deficiencies in your life. But there are a lot of people, myself included, who have not had bad relationships with family or bad experiences as children, who nonetheless find themselves attracted to people of the same sex. So I think it’s shortsighted to assume that everyone just need more physical touch to solve their problems. (I’m not saying you’re saying this, but this conclusion could be made from a cursory reading of this article.)

    • Kevin Frye

      I grew up in a good home, too. My brother has no trace of SSA. We each had our own relational deficiencies, but we handled them in different ways. My way happened to be homosexual lust. You’re right, I’m not assuming that everyone just needs more physical touch to solve their problems. I understand that there are numerous factors involved in homosexuality and I don’t dare say there is a single cure out there that is sure to fix anyone. I won’t even say that everyone who is gay will be completely cured of their SSA, no matter what beliefs they hold to or how they live.

      This is a huge issue that can’t possibly be sufficiently addressed and explained in a single blog post. But I do have plans to write more about this topic here in the future, so please check back in from time to time and try not to jump to any conclusions. There’s still a lot more to say about this.

      • Karl Jacob

        I certainly will keep up here, and I look forward to reading more! There’s certainly a lot you haven’t talked about and I do appreciate the perspectives of those who are older than me and have more life experience than I do.

  • Jim Roberts

    Kevin, thank you for your post. I can only speak for me, but I know for sure my particular SSA was brought on because of parental abandonment, peer rejection (which is putting it mildly) and the sexual/emotional/physical abuse I experienced at 12. Kind of a perfect storm.

    I haven’t had any sexual physical contact with a male in over 30 years – yet it is still very much “wired” in my brain. Chat rooms, etc give me a way to “re-experience” all those sexual encounters from my youth. Yet I have made great progress in being comfortable with my own “maleness” and overcoming many of my inferiority beliefs (for example, I train in martial arts and received my “black belt” last June and do frequent public speaking). Yet where I continue to fail is in relationships (with woman especially) and specifically with my wife.

    I still sexualize certain males when I encounter them in every day life, my mind still often plays out perverse fantasies about them, I still appropriately keep my distance from them as I have done for the last 30 years, but online I can easily “fulfill” these fantasies with other men in cyberland. Its a terrible addiction – and I get most scared when it progresses to meeting them, and then I panic and yet again join a 12 step and/or start counseling. But after numerous cycles of this, I get discouraged and despair.

    My “brokenness” I know is tied to the “perfect storm” I went through in my youth and yet somehow “stayed in the boat” without destroying myself. But the survival price was high, and I still pay that price today. I was at a conference this week at a Florida hotel and had several “reminders” of this brokenness. I don’t see much hope in “de-sexulaizing” without actually traveling back in time. No matter how much I write or talk or even do EMDR therapy, the SSA feelings/obsessions are there.

    I am told that God put me through all that for His own purpose. Perhaps it’s just my “cross to bear” until death. But yikes it’s tough to see His love for me given all the mess left behind.

    • Kevin Frye

      I can’t imagine the trauma you experienced growing up. Nothing like that ever happened to me. But I can say that God can and does heal us. Each in different ways and at different times. You’re still alive for a reason, Jim, so I know that God hasn’t given up on you. He isn’t finished with you.

    • Jon Evan

      Jim, I derive much comfort from 1 Corinth. 13.12 “At present we are men looking at puzzling reflections in a mirror. The time will come when we shall see reality whole and face to face! At present all I know is a little fraction of the truth, but the time will come when I shall know it as fully as God now knows me!”
      Growing up I wanted a brother! Then he was born, but died in infancy. I was angry at God for years! One day at work I had an epiphany. God asked me: did I know that if my brother had lived how would he have turned out considering the dysfunctional family we had? Would he have chosen to walk with God or not? I might have had him for a few growing up years but not in adulthood! Then God asked me: who will show you around when you get to the other side? I realized it would be my brother whom I would enjoy throughout eternity! There at work that day I cried knowing how God knows all. This crazy world is not home. But it will be home on the other side where all things will be right.

  • Alan Gingery

    Short comment here. When my relational needs are being met (both with females and males) my SSA attractions are very weak. Loneliness increases the sexualization of men or the desire to watch porn. I know these are hollow substitutes that promise some intimacy but only disappoint. Feeling connected to men in healthy non-sexual ways makes me feel like a man and like I am OK. I am physically affectionate with both men and women, and don’t have troubles at all with giving or receiving touch. Most people want affection in a safe non-sexual context. I realize that when a man is making sexual advances toward me (and that has been rare in my life) it makes me prone to sexualizing them as well.

    • Kevin Frye

      Thanks for sharing, man. I feel the same as you, except for when men have made sexual advances toward me. I felt repelled by them. But maybe that was just because of who it was who did the advancing.

  • One gay Mormon

    I’m learning that I have an idea that is quite foreign to both the liberal and conservative sides of the gay/SSA experience. I understand the importance of desexualizing men (and women as the case may be). I feel like I understand that sexual relations are to be kept between a man and a woman who are married. Yet…I still consider my gayness to be a blessing, a gift to use within the bounds the Lord has set.

    I really like what you say about non-sexual physical affection and getting those emotional and spiritually intimate needs met. My temptations to lust and fantasize are lessened when I spend time with the people I love and when I’m open and authentic. And yet…I still consider those things to be under the umbrella of “being gay” or homosexual.

    I know some people restrict those terms to sexual behavior. I know some people consider what you mention to be “reparative therapy” or being “ex-gay.” Yet I see it as “being gay” within the bounds the Lord set. I have an increased ability to love other men, and I enjoy the spiritual and emotional intimacy that I can experience with my other gay friends who are committed to celibacy (or marriage to a woman, as the case may be).

    I guess the main point I have is…I agree with your main point about de-sexualizing and remaining chaste. But everyone seems to have a different interpretation of what “gay” and “homosexual” mean. I use gay to describe my attractions and other things that draw me towards men, yet some people insist that I’m not gay because I don’t have sex with them. Differences in terminology gets all sorts of complicated. I hope more of us (in general) start to explain what we mean when we talk about this topic.

    • Kevin Frye

      I agree that there are a lot of differences in terminology and how people define such-and-such labels for people. It can be very confusing and difficult to communicate clearly. Even the guys who are writing this blog have to be careful about how we refer to ourselves or others. Some are comfortable with being called gay Christians or other labels in certain contexts while others are not. However, I think it’s important that we agree on what homosexuality is, and I think the best way for Christians to do that is by referring to the Creator who made our sexualities and finding out what he says about sexuality in general. From what I see in the Bible, the only defining characteristic of what makes one’s sexuality homo is whether the person has sexual contact with a person of the same sex. So, in my mind, that is the only thing that defines homosexuality. Everything else is open for anyone to enjoy, regardless of their orientation. I don’t want to make up human rules and accessories to add to God’s definition.

    • Eddie

      If you haven’t already feel free to explore Matthew’s “Why I Don’t Call Myself A Gay Christian” blog posting for his take on the subject of terminology.

  • Jackson

    Something interesting to me, partially related but not completely (I think) is that when I opened up to my current pastor about my struggles he commented on how (specifically American) society is oversexualized; that closeness and physical affection are equated to sexual desire. This wasn’t in an effort to discredit my attractions, but rather to encourage me to come out of my isolation and let others love me for who I am.

    This is completely a personal experience – I’ve noticed that when I am around others who are not afraid to be affectionate with each other (without any fear of being looked on as strange) I tend to be far less prone to be tempted sexually. Maybe that is the semblance of a deeper desire that resides in each of us to be known (not necessarily in the biblical sense) deeply? Maybe it fulfills the emotional/mental/physical component we long for while bypassing the sexual one? Idk. But each time this happens, I’m reminded that God provides the things he knows we need, even if they come in ways we don’t expect.

    • Kevin Frye

      That’s very true. I think most people in America, whether they realize it or not, think that the way the American culture and society function now is how they have always been, how people all over the world want to live, and should fulfill humanity’s deepest desires. So, if someone does something differently or needs something different or simply is different, that person is viewed as being strange, or deficient in some way, crippled or defective in some way. But, in actuality, that person might very well be more in-tune to his true humanity than the bulk of the nation is, and is simply trying to get his core needs met as a human. It’s something to think about.

  • Sam Nic

    As I have become closer with certain men, I definitely saw my sexual attraction decrease. This has almost always happened. Every single time. But it only started happening when I was conscious of how a healthy friendship was the antidote to being attracted to a friend. Before this I had a few friendships which had way too much attraction and dependence (from my side) and they were unhealthy.

    • Kevin Frye

      Good points. Thank you for sharing.

    • Eddie

      That’s where I think Kevin is coming from when he talks about his own SSA experience. From my perspective, I think SSA guys have some emotional “blockage” that obstructs ourselves from showing OSA love towards women because we have to FIRST deal with loving ourselves and other men in genuine and healthy fashions — brotherly love. Once this barrier is conquered then the love of a woman can come into the picture in addition to this love of God, love of self (not narcissism), love of brothers, etc. We have a huge capacity to love so many and so much. Thank God!

  • Sam Nic

    One question I always have when I read about “cuddling”. How does that happen? No straight men I know would ever go for that. They are open, supportive etc but cuddling? wouldn’t happen.

    • Kevin Frye

      Right, not everyone cuddles. Not everyone wants to. That’s fine. I get that. But some guys do want to cuddle, or at least are willing to if asked. Everyone is different and we can’t make everyone fit the same mold. Some of my straight friends like cuddling, and some don’t. But when two friends who like to cuddle get together, a cuddle session just might break out.

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  • Rich

    Thanks for the post. A few thoughts from me:
    – When I was in counseling for SSA, the counselor encouraged this type of “healthy touch” with other guys. I get the theory behind it and I’m glad it helps some guys but I found it odd. I wanted to be like “other straight” guys. I just couldn’t imagine my straight friends sitting on a sofa or bed cuddling. And doing that guys, even in a safe setting, made me feel more “gay” or different.
    – At least for me, the safe touch/cuddling didn’t quiet or satisfy the need I had to be with guys. I absolutely loved my straight friends and never had a problem connecting with them. And I also wasn’t attracted to them physically/sexually. But I wanted to be with other guys sexually – and was drawn to them emotionally as well. When I had that safe tough/cuddled, it introduced a level of intimacy that only left me feeling I wanted more of it.
    I know everyone’s experience is different.

    • Kevin Frye

      These are some good points. Thank you for sharing. You’re right that experiencing good, safe, loving touch can make us want more of it. Is that bad, though? It’s like being thirsty but not really being aware of how dehydrated we are. But when we take a little sip of water, we can’t help but demand more and guzzle it till we’re satisfied. I think a lot of people watch porn like this. They’re really “dehydrated” for healthy, loving touch and affection, but since they can’t get it, they go to porn to numb themselves out. Then, if they ever do get healthy, loving touch and affection, it can sometimes freak them out because it’s not what they’re used to and they don’t know how to handle it and all they know is that it woke up something that was sleeping inside them and they just want more and more of it. But I think if they got more of the healthy stuff, the raging hunger for it would die down after a while. That’s what happened to me and other people I know who have experienced the same.

  • Robert Keary

    Perhaps without thinking about it, Kevin, you made a great point regarding porn and porn addiction. There are thousands of pictures on the internet. To me, the most interesting are those that tell a story or give a glimpse into the subjects/models life. When the image is purely about sexuality and arousal, it leaves me “flat” (without emotion) On the opposite side is a wonderful picture which may show caring, intimate affection and which is completely arousing but not at all pornographic. What is a delight to me is that those images make me feel more whole and alive but don’t lead me to impulsive sexual gratification. When a young man realizes that he can have an affinity for his own gender and the shared experiences that all men have without being perverted, he has matured in a way that no one else can point him toward.

  • Josh_BeNimble

    Since I’ve started college, I’ve started longing for intimacy with other guys. But they only see this need in the light of the gay porn they know I used to be addicted to. That, coupled with American cultural taboos against men being affectionate toward one another means they keep me at an arm’s distance. I resonate with your statement about how being with brothers makes temptation dissipate, and I want to flee temptation, but they only see this desire to be close to them as ‘acting out.’ Any advice?

    • Kevin Frye

      Ah, you’re in a hard place, man. It’s really bad when people want to keep addicts at arm’s length until they get cleaned up, because the feeling of isolation is what gives addiction so much power. This has been proven true no matter what the substance of addiction is, whether porn, alcohol, drugs, or anything else. People go to the object of their addiction to numb out when they feel alone, isolated, rejected, and hurt. If our friends really want to help us overcome addiction, they need to get deeply involved in our lives and stay connected.

      But we’re not responsible for other people’s hang-ups and misconceptions. In my experience in such situations, I’ve had to be the strong one. I’ve had to take the initiative and tell people exactly what I’m feeling and thinking and going through and what it is that I need from them. If they rejected, if they said it was gay, or that I was acting out some fantasy I had, I had to say they were wrong and stand my ground. It’s extremely hard sometimes, because it requires us to be strong and bold, yet vulnerable and weak at the same time.

      I’ve also had to prove to be a man of integrity, sincerely seeking the heart of God, giving my entire self to him. When people see that in a man, and it really is sincere, they trust him more. They’re at least more willing to talk about his needs and what’s really going on and try to understand him better.

      I hope this helps. If you have any other questions or comments, please let me know. Blessings!

      • Josh_BeNimble

        Thanks, Kevin. I took your advice and stood my ground, explaining how my desire to cuddle with them isn’t putting myself into temptation like Paul warns about in Romans 13.14, but just the opposite because it helps me to see myself as a man among men, and the temptation to eroticize them dissipates because we’re the same.
        They had a little trouble believing me because they’re very conscientious of the perverse sexual interest that used to control me and don’t want to hurt me, but they say that they’ll try to become more comfortable with being close to me.

        • Bryon

          I think the problem is that men aren’t comfortable with affection between strait men. I kissed my best friend of. The cheek once and he said to never do that again and he refused to say he loves me back, until yesterday of all days. I think he changed a lot a lot after knowing me. He hated my embraces for a year and then got used to them. He moved away last summer. I’ve cuddled with a guy before and had mixed feelings about it. He was a pastor who was grooming me for sex though, which didn’t happen. I turned him in and the District supervisor didn’t believe me. It was a horrible time because about 6 months before, I was going to the district supervisors church and was getting counseling from a member who was a licensed LPC. He told the head pastor I was gay without my permission. He told all of the staff and elders and they were going to kick me out of the seminary I was 2 weeks from completing for ordination. The assistant pastor told me first and I quit before they confronted me. I guess I lost my credibility with them. The assistant pastor quit a week later because the pastor was having an affair with the evangelism pastors wife, who was the secretary and the assistant pastor found out and was forced to resign after threats were made. Horrible situation. Thing is I had done nothing wrong other than be attracted to men.

          • Josh_BeNimble

            Man, that sucks. I’ve never been mistreated like that. False piety surrounds Christian culture like a burial shroud, keeping us from the Light that can revive us. My sincere prayer is that we can instead foster a culture of openness and honesty coupled with enough humility and love to fully forgive one another. I’m glad your friend grew more comfortable with you as time passed, I hope mine will do the same.

          • mistaken identity

            I pray your friend will do the same, Josh.

  • Bryon

    As soon as I started reading your post Kevin, I knew it was you who wrote it. Although I know that what you say is true, find it so hard to accept. I saw your comment below and how you were bold to let your needs be known, it’s difficult for me to imagine that I could be that brave. I’m not exactly sure what my needs are either. I notice good-looking guys but I don’t really sexualize them. Do you make a distinction between noticing a guy and fantasizing about them as far as sexualizing? Obviously I do sexualize men when I look at pornography but I don’t do it in person. I think part of my problem lies and that I want to be a spectator of gay sex but I don’t want to participate. There is more that is underneath this realization but I don’t understand it yet. I see now that these articles help me understand two things; how I am like and not like other SSA men and what I don’t understand about myself.

  • Eddie

    “What started out as a simple cuddle turned into all three of us sleeping together all night on that little futon with me in the middle.”
    Love that… simply beautiful Kevin.
    Peace and love brother.

  • Christian

    <3

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  • Samuel M-Eshleman

    Snuggling is one way to find deeper acceptance and affection. However, I believe that our feelings of acceptance are very much a product of our thoughts. Personally, I do various cognitive exercises to try to have more realistic thoughts when I am around other men. Glad the snuggling was working for you…

  • Adonis

    I can totally relate with this article so much Kevin. I’m always desiring some kind of male intimacy such as cuddling or just being able to be close to another guy. I’d agree that being able to be close in that way would ultimately be healthier then acting out sexually which I normally still do. I’ve tried talking with my “straight” friends about this & my attractions aren’t about sex, but a desire just to be close & intimacy with them in a non sexual way. They don’t understand it & basically keep me at arms length & don’t let me get close because they’re afraid I’m going to come onto which I’m not at all interested in doing, but they assume that’s what I’m after. I normally act out after looking at porn or hooking up from CL. It’s the sense of rejection for desiring these things makes me feel like a bad person.. Anyways, I appreciate your transparency & it’s awesome that The Lord brought those guys into your life that were willing to be close & affectionate like that with you.

  • Zach Holzer

    I was chatting with another one of the YOB guys recently about this very same thing, and what I really enjoy about this post is that it has rung true with both of us as well. Growing up, I had very little affection from guys in my family (in fact, my dad was pretty much as emotionally distant as you could get), and combining that with the OVER affection of my mom and her uber protective nature, I have come to find men very attractive because I never felt like one, but I found women less sexually attractive because of the female dominance in my life, and it irritated me.

    But going to college, I started finding a lot of acceptance that I had never seen before, and it was hard for me. I wasn’t good with change, and I didn’t find forming solid male relationships easy, nor did I find it helpful early on. But, as Christ became a part of my life my freshman year and the relationships continued to grow and my story started to be shared amongst brothers (and even a few sisters later on), I started to find great value in those relationships, because not only did they accept me, but THEY DIDN’T CHANGE WHO THEY WERE AROUND ME. They still hugged me, because they knew I valued it. They would put their arms around me. I even got to cuddle with some of my roommates on a regular basis, and the feeling was mutual as yours in this post. Though I was still slightly attracted to them (I’m not perfect), they understood and they cared about me, and still were okay with me, attractions and all.

    Some of the most healing times were those cuddles, because…it’s what I had wanted for years and never received. From anyone. Especially the guys that were so very important in my early childhood. And I made great strides in college because of that. Since graduating though, I have transitioned to a new church and though some know my story and are okay with being slightly less than an arm’s length away, it’s not the norm for most people in my church, and being confronted about my loving nature (evidently it causes suspicion among older members of my church and therefore started to put my role in the youth group in jeopardy), caused confrontation and feelings of betrayal, and those tend to push me towards the porn, and the masturbation, and the feelings of inadequacy or insecurity.

    But, blah blah blah, long story made short: those same feelings of inadequacy and insecurity (due to those confrontations and hard conversations) brought me to one of my lowest places I’ve been in a while, and in that desperation God provided a way out by revealing to me this group. And since I’ve joined God has made my viewpoint “go back to its roots” and remind me of how valuable my relationships with those guys are, as well as the opportunity to know others who are willing to go the distance with me here, helping to know me WHOLLY, SSA experiences and all.

    Ok. Story over. Sorry that comment was so long! Loved this post Kevin!

    • mistaken identity

      Not long, good and honest (like Kevin).