For several minutes, I’ve been looking at the “send” button on my text. I thought about saying it when we were texting a couple days ago, but I put it off.

What’s so hard about typing out a simple message and allowing someone to be blessed? What’s keeping me back? I guess I’m worried that since he knows about my same-sex attraction, he might think it kind of odd. Because society has all but made love and sex inseparable, we can’t just love without being “weird and perverted.”

You know, it’s like I haven’t learned yet that to really love someone, you kind of have to forsake the comfort of societal norms.

One of my favorite mediums for love is conversation. I crave deep, heartfelt, in-person talks!

Think about it: the fact that we can express needs, desires, goals, ambitions, etc. with another person is pretty crazy! For some reason, it doesn’t happen easily though. So, I’m trying to be intentional about having good talks with my friends.

My all-time favorite thing is talking while driving somewhere with a friend. I hadn’t realized until tonight, but I’ve “come out” to at least seven friends in my car! Only a few found out differently. I’m pretty sure that my next car choice will be dependent on how quiet it is inside. It’s that important to me!

I even did a test on “love languages” just to make sure. Yup, I tested positive for “Quality Time.” What a shocker!

I also like to touch! That’s an understatement! I tested even higher on the test for “Physical Touch”!

I have two different kinds of friends: one who knows this quality about me, and even though it’s not extremely natural for him, he touches me because he loves me; the other doesn’t know this about me, but is naturally very comfortable with touching.

Recently, my singing group was traveling together, and this latter type of friend ended up staying at the same place with me. I started mumbling something about not being able to sleep as good when I had to share a bed. I’m always worried about doing something dumb to make the other guy uncomfortable. He told me not to worry about it and that he was used to sleeping with his brother. I guess it’s not uncommon for them to sleep really close to each other!

Up until this conversation, I was 100% certain he and his brother were straight as arrows. I’m still 99.5% sure. I’m so used to fake, homophobic, straight guys. You know, the guys who proudly freak out about having to even share the same bed. This conversation with him kind of took me by surprise, but it definitely made me sleep easier!

I’m pretty sure I’d kill or seriously maim to be able to go back in time and adopt a brother who wasn’t afraid to wake up with his arm around me. I love that God provides for these kinds of experiences!

What could be taken as a stumbling block can also be a major source of healing — if I’m willing to let God work in me.

I don’t know if this last avenue for love is my very favorite — maybe it’s way ABOVE favorite! It’s not even a love language, necessarily; it’s just a phrase. But it’s an extremely powerful phrase if used sincerely. It’s what I’m about to send to my friend in this text I mentioned at the start.

I’ve been on the receiving end of this phrase several times, and I know that it only comes from my truest of friends! It’s sometimes the hardest four words, but often the easiest. It just seems we forget to say it or are embarrassed to say it or maybe sometimes I’m just not “man enough” to say it.

You ready, buddy? Four simple words:

I love you bro!

How do you show love and accept love from your guy friends? What are your strongest “love languages” among other men? Is it hard for you to say “I love you” to another guy?

* Photo courtesy refractious, Creative Commons.

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  • Like you, physical touch and quality time are two of my biggest love languages, along with words of encouragement.
    God has blessed me with many male friends, even straight ones, who gladly hug me and tell me they love me. One guy in particular sometimes even puts his hand on my head and quickly messes up my hair as he says”I love you”.
    I thank God for friends like that!

  • My love languages are words of affirmation, touch, and then quality time runs a close third. Even though it’s socially more acceptable for women to be affectionate, that’s usually only if they think you’re straight. I’ve had a few people be paranoid about some of my physical affection after finding out. Not to mention that I myself became paranoid because I suddenly became aware of my need for female touch and trying to kind “kill my flesh” I usually just made it more needy and that made me paranoid. That was a couple years ago though. I’ve had to go back to the way I always did things before I came out to myself and be comfortable with my affections; give the hug or the kiss on the cheek, say I love you, call someone honey. I find myself better for it because I’m not holding myself back which stressed me out and makes me more paranoid and fight even more against temptation and that sucks

    • Hey Ashley, can I just give you props? I’ve only been here a couple of months but I think you’re the only woman I’ve seen comment and alot of the time you’re not getting much feedback. Just to let you know, I read your posts. Thanks for being here.

      • Thanks dude. That means a lot. And yeah I know I’m pretty much the only chick here, but I love reading the stories and everything and I don’t respond much either, but yeah I’m here reading the posts as well as a lot of y’all responses

    • I hadn’t really thought about how the “social norms” are different with guys vs girls in that reguard. It’s weird how much we change what we think from that first “paranoid” stage, to realizing that even straight people have a lot to learn when it comes to love and sex! Thanks for commenting Ashley!

  • I always appreciate the conversation on brotherly love and our basic needs for it. I have these very same love languages as well: the need for quality time and touch, and I tend to give words of encouragement when I’m showing love. However, especially on the touch front, it’s become seemingly impossible to receive and not think in a sexual way. I’ve really started believing that the whole reorientation thing of these thoughts and trying to receive in a healthy way as if it’s going to change anything or satisfy to some degree is mere wishful thinking… At least that’s what experience has told me time and time again… I’ve grown honestly so weary of hearing how so and so struggled and then got amazing bros to come around them and love them, because I feel like when I’ve had that happen, it really didn’t change much if I’m being honest… Still have an intense sex drive, and I still “struggle” with this issue more than EVER before. Just being honest lol. Thoughts?

    • “…it really didn’t change much if I’m being honest… Still have an intense sex drive, and I still “struggle” with this issue more than EVER before.” Hey man, I’m with you. Now seems more intense than before, like I haven’t made any progress to getting past anything. It can be really discouraging and a huge hit to faith. I don’t know your story, but I’m celibate and really want to be like Jesus and sometimes it seems like I’m getting further away. I get the being weary, just wanting that things would be different, that I would be different. Sometimes it feels like I’m doing everything I can and I’m just staying afloat and I don’t think I’ll ever reach land. But somewhere in that I realize that staying afloat is grace too. As much as it feels like I’m going to go under, or even sometimes want to, I never do. I’m still here, so are you. We’re not alone in this fight or on the journey. The fellowship and love of other brothers won’t change you, not the deep things, but it will encourage you in the fight and help you take the next step. Hey Brad, God’s with you.

      • Thanks for the reply! I’m definitely with you… I’m also in a place where the conviction (at least the majority of the time) for me is celibacy… Bottom line I can’t and won’t force anything to happen with a girl. At some point it would be cool to post a conversation blog as I would like to talk about abstaining from homosexuality due to social norming/family/friends/ministry functions or because of PERSONAL conviction from Jesus… I’d be interested to hear thoughts from some of the guys on here

        • “At some point it would be cool to post a conversation blog…”
          Hey, ya never know man…maybe they’ll ask you.
          For what it’s worth, early on it was all those other reasons but they weren’t enough following Jesus. He’s pretty much my main reason, if only reason, now. Gaining Christ, being found in him, just means more.

    • Hey Brad! I know what you mean. It is definitely a work in progress for me. But, we are living in a world that doesn’t think it needs love. We can skip real, genuine, God given love, and go straight to sex, porn, body worship, etc. Can anything be more terrible? So, while the journey isn’t easy, my desire is to re-learn what real love is. For me it’s that tough balance between grabbing it all up (seeking physical expressions of love) like a kid in a candy store, vs not being ashamed or afraid because of what other people might think.
      I would also agree that the change seems so gradual at times. I think the biggest problem is that we look at “real change, and healing” from our perspective and not God’s. Like I mentioned in my last post. I’ve found healing in areas I didn’t even know were broken since starting on this journey. I pray you do too! Know this, when we see Jesus face to face, we will be completely, totally healed in every way possible!
      Thanks for being here and participating in the conversation!

    • Hey man, knowing the struggle we (all) face, a couple of weeks ago found my new favorite song, at least for awhile till it wears off. To me it’s just so peace-inducing. I find myself unconsciously humming it when I get torqued up and it changes things. I can’t get it out of my head, in a good way. One of those times was today, and you came to mind.
      Hoping it’s ok to post it here.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNqo4Un2uZI

      • Oh man, Kristene and Bethel’s rendition of that song is so great. Thanks for posting, B! I’m always down to spice up the comments section with some YouTube worship bliss.

  • I’m not sure if it’s a love language, but with friends at church I love to walk up behind and give them a big bear hug and shake them side to side. The guys who like it always like it and it lets us get past the polite social veneer thing that happens at church. The guys who don’t, we connect another way. The “Love you bro” is great but don’t you find it awkward saying it to straight guys that know you have SSA? I have no problem saying it to guys if it’s not going to make things awkward. I think my love language is trust. When guys will share without the veneer, usually stuff they’re facing. Or when I can share some hard thing and the brother is doing more than just listening, he cares.

    • Hey blu! That veneer is so hard to get past isn’t it? I’d have a hard time with bear hugs though… I’m just too short! Haha!
      “don’t you find it awkward saying it to straight guys that know you have SSA”
      Yes, I do find it hard, but that kind of plays into the fun and excitement of it! 😛 Normally I have a good idea how they’re going to take it based on things they’ve said or done to me since I’ve told them. Either they love me in spite of it, or they’ve forgotten… I’m planning on asking some weird questions to a couple of my closer friends soon! 😛

  • Most of my current guy friends seem more reserved both emotionally and physically. I had a hard time with the love languages test because I really crave touch but it’s so abnormal for me that I don’t even know how to rate it against other things. Quality time was my highest followed i think by words of affirmation or acts of service.
    I have had a couple of (what I assume to be) very straight men say “I Love you.” As much as I loved to hear it, I wasn’t really sure how to respond. They even said it after they found out about my attractions, but I would have a hard time starting that conversation instead of just saying “I love you too”.
    My one touchy friend hasn’t let my revelation change his behavior any, which I really appreciated. But sadly, I don’t seem him much anymore.

  • As to your last question, yes, it is, apart from my son. None of my present close friends are touchy, and I am a poor initiator. I need to get better at this. We just met with some good friends who are missionaries in Eastern Europe. He is an exception, and it is so comfortable talking to him about any topic in any depth.

  • Back in the day of my early college years, my Christian guy friends were relatively comfortable giving hugs to one another as a sign of affection. We certainly hugged, but we didn’t want to overly indulge in the activity. One hug every once in a while was enough. Yet, this hugging tended to escalate a bit when I migrated from a northern university (Ohio) to a southern university (N.C.). I would have to qualify my strongest love languages back then were physical touch, words of affirmation and quality time. According to the test I seem to be a words of affirmation type of guy these days although physical touch and quality time are a lesser degree. I’m still a hugger though LOL! I don’t think I could find it hard so much to say “I love you” to a guy, but that depends on the guy. My nephew, no problem. My brother or father, BIG PROBLEM due to our somewhat estranged relationships. I know this can be biblically/scripturally problematic (1 John 4:20). A guy friend, tiny problem. What I tend to do is similar to C. Marque’s example where I qualify the sentiment with the word: “bro.” By doing so, I/we establish or qualify how I/we perceive that guy in our quasi familial or phileo relationship — as a brother. We do this so we can extinguish the rampant sexualized implications in these words of affirmation. It’s all in the pitch/approach so they know where we are coming from — our hearts.

  • Well, you ask interesting questions. I’m now 60 years old, been working on my SSA issues for about three years and undoubtedly I would answer these questions differently when I was 20 or 30 or 40.
    I was never close to my dad as a child or teen. He was not affectionate physically nor did he verbally affirm me telling me he was proud of me or that I did a good job. However, when I started to grow in Christ and understand God the Father’s love, I began as an adult to tell my dad I loved him verbally and to hug him. Know what? He liked it and responded by hugging me back and telling me he loved me. That was very healing to me!
    I have mostly demonstrated my love for other men by being there, listening, asking questions, sharing my experiences with them, praying for them and spending time with them doing things we enjoyed doing together like camping or fishing.
    In the past few years, as I have felt more confident in my own manhood, I have also felt comfortable touching men in brotherly ways! A hand on their shoulder or arm, a hug, placing my hand on their shoulder while I pray for them.
    And I have no problem telling them face to face that I love them or writing it in my email or chat. And you know what? I am not getting any guys telling me to quit. And quite a number of them know all about my SSA. I don’t worry about that…some of that comes with age. But a lot of it comes with accepting myself and my manhood.

  • Yes – to pretty much all of this. I’ve taken the Love Language test too many times – and have purposefully skewed the results at times. I know that I’m Words and Quality Time, but it’s hard to figure out where to place physical touch. There were so many mixed messages growing up – wrestle with guys, don’t be mean, don’t get too close to guys, you can’t be hugging girls in college if you’re just friends, it’s okay to cry – BAH. Needless to say, I’m still unsure how to rate Physical Touch…
    And only recently did I have a friend who knew my story and loved me in a healthy physical touch way – so foreign to me that it was hard to understand, and I had to talk to him about this several times. Yet, I know that his friendship is helping me understand myself better and starting to heal some untouched places.
    Thanks for sharing!!

    • Thanks for commenting Kevin! I know it’s difficult to figure out how to approach physical touch with other guys, but to me it’s worth the effort. I just kind of avoid hugging girls, unless they’re related. Hopefully, I’ll grow in that area too! 🙂

  • Appreciate your post! I grew up in a fine Christian home but signs of affection like hugging and saying “I Love You” were absent. I knew my parents loved me and provided well, but they did not know how to verbalize those things…and I understand that. To be honest, I am scared to death to tell a friend that I love them…I am afraid I beat around the bush without ever saying, “I Love You”…afraid of misunderstanding, afraid of rejection, afraid of coming across insincere. I believe God wants me to grow in this area and be more authentic so I can be used to bless their hearts and lives.

  • Words of affirmation, physical touch, and quality time are all pretty close for me. It is not that hard for me to tell someone I love them. My church as a culture of everyone pretty much saying that to each other. What can be hard is hugging people or being too affectionate with people. There is a fear that I would touch someone too much or hug for too long and things like that. A lot of times when other guys touch me or give me a hug, I will kind of push it away and ask them to stop, which is something that has been more recent. I love physical touch and affection so I don’t know why I am refusing it when people give it. And saying I love you has kind of become like saying goodbye when we go our separate ways. It is really hard though when physical touch is like the lowest for someone else. My mentor really does not like physical touch or hugs or anything like that. So it is hard cause I want to give him a big hug, but he hates hugs haha. I still give him hugs fairly often though, but its more like a hey whats up kind of bro hug, not like a you mean a lot to me kind of hug.

  • This was an encouraging post, because it is a fresh and much appreciated reaffirmation of what I’ve always known to be true in my heart, since following Christ. And yet it also provokes anxious and uneasy memories for me…
    You see, the last time that I sent a text to express my love and appreciation toward my then Christian brother and OSA “BFF,” it actually was taken the wrong way. In fact, the text message I got back that evening felt very much like the total betrayal and slap-in-the-face that it turned out to be.
    I hate to say it, but it was perhaps the single most confusing and overwhelmingly bitter rejection that I have ever experienced in friendship and brotherhood. Needless to say, the experience of it had given me cold feet about expressing my love for a friend so freely and honestly, in the ways I’d learned and walked in the freedom of doing, up until that incident.
    It caused me to question literally everything I’d come to believe about Christian love, brotherhood, and friendship. But even worse than that, it caused me to severely doubt my own progress and healing, with regard to my own SSA issues and such. To put it simply, it turned my entire world unside-down.
    That was a year-and-a-half ago, and I still don’t fully understand what actually happened to provoke such a reaction.
    No need to go into all of the details again, because they are readily available already on YOB, in my other comments I’ve posted. And YOB has certainly been a safe place for me to express a lot of those feelings, thoughts and emotions that I’ve kept all bottled up, after living through the pain of that broken friendship… but that pain is not intended to be the focus of my comments, this time.
    I am starting to realize that I need to give myself a little more grace coming out of that pain, and stop holding myself accountable for my former friend’s own choice of negative reactions toward me. I need to stop holding myself to blame for his refusals to to face me like a man, and speak to me honestly as the close brother and friend that he’d been to me. And I need to stop being afraid to hope and trust in Christ-centered friendships again, and I need to feel free to express my honest and heart-felt, brotherly love again.
    So, thank you for being the inspiration I’ve needed to hear, in the thoughts you’ve expressed here, C. Marque.
    Sometimes, we’ve all needed that occasional and inspirational, loving kick is the @$$.
    I appreciate you, brother. Much love back at ya!

    • Hey Dean,
      Thanks for commenting. Wow! We all fear that kind of rejection when we take a chance at expressing love to someone, especially another same sex friend… I know if one of my best friends did that, I would be really hurt! They say that time heals all wounds… It doesn’t though. Fortunately though, with time we learn how to either respond with forgivness like Christ asks us to, or we lock ourselves up in our bitterness. I pray that with time you will find some more close friends to love on! 🙂
      Thanks for your words of encouragement as well!

  • I’ve read a bit on this site about how we need non-sexual physical touch from other guys. I have always been uncomfortable in the past to receive that because of my struggles with SSA, and fear that it might arouse SSA with that person. However, I have recently had a friend who likes to touch a lot. He is straight and likes to hug, and even hold hands, and occasionally, he even cuddles a bit. I admit that I love it! It feels wonderful and fulfilling. But it might be a little arousing. So how do you avoid SSA and learn to separate non-sexual touch from pure love? I wonder if you have some advice? I am 47 and have struggled my whole life. I have never been in a SSA relationship or had an experience. I am married, happily. But I can’t help the deep, fulfillment I get from the physical love and affection from this brother of mine.

    • Good question! I think if you’re being severely tempted by it, then you should take a step back and reflect on what’s happening… I’m not an expert by any means. You’ve also got quite a few years on me in life experience. However, it seems to me that avoiding touch is a bad habit that has been learned by a lot of us, and is not easily or quickly retrained to a God honoring way. I will pray for you on this topic!

  • I too long for deep intimacy with a friend in this way: someone who understands me and is willing to let me rest my head on their shoulder. I feel like I live a culture that expects men who aren’t openly gay to channel this desire into relationships with women. I watch so many guys do this with their girlfriends.
    It hurts sometimes; I know it’s tied to their physical attractions to an extent. I don’t share that attraction to women, and I don’t know if I ever will. I lay alone in my dorm room bed at night and wish there was a loving male friend beside me to fill the emptiness. How does one ask for that kind of intimacy? Is that longing rooted in sin? I’m not sure anymore. I would welcome some thoughts and advice. For now, I’m just holding on and praying. At least God is always there!

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