I may have mentioned once or twice (okay, so in a five-part series) that I’ve long had a thing with nudity. It’s been a long and complicated relationship with nudity, and it’s led to some more painful areas.

I was living far away from home in another state working a temporary job. It was late spring, and I was feeling very glum and lonely. My roommates for the fall semester didn’t take too much of a liking to me and had all moved out to live with people they liked better.

Therefore, I was dumped in an apartment with strangers who kept to themselves most of the time. I wasn’t making any friends at my job. I wasn’t making friends anywhere.

I desperately ached for a close male friendship, a brother with whom I could be vulnerable and intimate.

My longings for vulnerability and my desire to express that in mutual nudity led me to another website for skinny-dipping. It was Christian-based and explained that nonsexual nudity among men extolled godly virtues. I liked a lot of what I read on it enough to lead me to join its online group. This guy, Robert, posted about being in a nearby city, willing to go to Korean spas (where nudity is required) with a friend from the group.

I messaged Robert my interest to meet him; he responded right away and we exchanged phone numbers. We messaged back and forth about how modern men are now ashamed to be seen naked by their male peers when in previous generations it was no big deal. Both of us agreed that vulnerability was beneficial for relationships, especially male relationships.

We seemed to be clicking! Robert suggested doing a camping trip at this remote lake where we could get away with skinny-dipping.

Wow, I thought. This guy really gets it! I think I’ve found the perfect new friend.

We scheduled a time to chat on the phone. He rung me up and we beat around the bush for a bit until Robert confided with me that he had an attraction to men. Robert assured me he had no plans to act out on his same-sex attractions, and he gave me the whole “Side B” spiel.

He explained that he came from a cold, unaffectionate family where nudity was strongly shunned. I listened and thanked him for telling me his story.

I felt we could be vulnerable together, so I let him in on my story, too — that I was also attracted to men without wanting to act on my same-sex attractions.

“Oh . . .” he said. “Well, in that case, I need to think about it. I’m still leaning toward yes, but give me time to think it over.”

“Okay, no pressure!” I said. “Take as much time as you need to decide.”

We had one more phone call before the ultimate third chat arrived. When he answered the phone, I began telling colorful stories about my work before he abruptly stopped me short.

“Okay, so I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately,” he said. “And I’ve decided this isn’t the best thing for me. I’ve been reading this book that says it’s better to be intimate with people you’ve known a while rather than someone you just met. And I agree with that. So, at this point, I don’t think we should get together.”

My heart dropped. “So . . . you’re saying no to the trip then?”

“Yeah, I’m saying no to the trip.”

“Okay . . . I respect your decision. Did you, uh, still want to keep in contact?”

“I’d rather we . . . didn’t.”

A bowling ball dropped from five stories landed on my stomach. How could this actually be happening?!

What did I do wrong?!

We hung up and I lay on my bed sobbing uncontrollably for a solid hour. I slumped onto the floor defeated, my spirit too crushed even to move and pull myself up.

The next morning, I got sick and puked my guts into the toilet. I spent the next few days at work trying not to cry.

So, what’s to be learned from this? I’ve talked to a lot of people about this rejection, and they’ve all said they don’t quite understand the rejection and couldn’t see anything I’d done wrong.

I’ve often been quick to place the blame on myself for my social failures. But I eventually reached a place of not blaming myself for Robert because nobody else could see where I went wrong — not to mention

Robert’s vagueness about why he was cutting off the relationship.

Maybe he had a sexual agenda and lost interest when I didn’t catch any hints? Or maybe as another Side B guy, he thought the relationship was getting too sexual for him and had to cut it off to stay sober. Perhaps I simply wasn’t his type for friendship.

Or maybe he really was a cold, heartless person. Who knows.

How do you handle male rejection? I’ve pondered.

Firstly, realize that rejection is a part of life and bound to happen eventually.

Recovery is a long, slow, painful process. It’s best not to instantly judge that you or the other person is at fault for the broken relationship. Think about it and talk about it with your friends before jumping to harsh judgments.

Secondly, forgive as Jesus would.

I must confess, I still feel I’ve not forgiven Robert and the pain he put me through. Sometimes I wish I could go where he lives and beat his rejecting butt. But I know that isn’t right, and I’m still trying to find peace.

And lastly, keep trying for friendship!

A few months after this ordeal, I did find a group of close male friends to invite to Korean spas, and this has been immensely healing. After Robert’s rejection, I honestly thought I was done and would never find such friendship.

But God heard my prayers and they were answered.

Whatever happens afterward, never give up!

Have you ever been rejected for a male friendship? How did you handle male rejection? Did you overcome the rejection or do you still wrestle with past rejection?

  • Eugene, I thank you for open candidness, within the “Christian” circles it so difficult to find male friends, that has been my experience. To tell you the truth, I’ve only run across two Christian brothers who did except me and was able to have fellowship with, but my inner guts kept telling me they could not understand the depths of my pain, and struggles. Both were married, one who was in my local area, eventually moved away after a year due to his company transferring him to another local outside of Canada. The other friend is in the US and we only could communicate via FB.
    I have no close friendship with any Christian Brother’s, the only friendship I have is with another man, who is not born-again, and is in the gay lifestyle, but as far as I know he is not very sexual with other men.
    I have found that many Christian men, who have not suffered sexual abuse, nor have been in the SSA struggles can be very judgmental and reject anyone who is in their view “different”.
    Matter of fact these “Christian men”, have treated me with such disdain at times, it’s painful and causes me to lock my self up within.
    I so hunger for brothers in Christ to be open and honest with. Sometimes just to have a fellow brother to hug me and welcome me so I can be vulnerable and free is not very probable, but I know this kind of “loneliness and shutting out” causes me to cry out to the Lord for His Comfort.
    But human contact is still important.
    So I am pretty much in a solitary confinement so to speak.
    I have even been tempted to join men nudity social groups which are not based upon being Christian, just to feel excepted, and normal.
    May I ask are their any articles from brother’s here on “Your Other Brother” that have suffered from sexual abuse, as a child here? Sexual abuse has been on my mother’s side, and she herself also suffered sexual abuse from her father.
    My father only held me once when I was about 6 or 7 years of age, just before Christmas, he was never really there for me, and I feel that abandonment deeply.
    So that may be where my need for male acceptance is so important.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I hope it’s ok to ask this here in my comment.
    Lord bless you.

    • Hi cctech thanks for your comments. I know how incredibly hard it is to reach out to guys and have them seemingly coldly not care about the struggles you’ve gone through and make no efforts to show you love. Its a terrible awful place to be. And I totally know how it feels to be in solitary confinement of sorts with this. Its really the most awful feeling in the world. I tried to make friends with so many straight men in my college years but just got a lot of cold indifference without any straight up rejection. But I felt like I got rejection from my roommates and then rejection from Robert was just the icing on the cake that sent me into a very dark place emotionally. But don’t give up hope, the night is darkest before the dawn! Literally a couple of months later I found community with Your Other Brothers and made some of the very best and closest friends of my life. Its been an incredible turn around. I would recommend reaching out to other SSA men who understand your story and struggles well.
      As for bloggers with sexual abuse history, I could be wrong (unless Tom wants to correct me?) but I can’t think of any bloggers who have history of sexual abuse though I have met plenty of SSA men who have. I’m so sorry to hear your abandonment and sexualk abuse history, my heart really breaks for you. No one should have to go through with that.

  • Our college dorm had lots of believers, and strangely enough, some were nudists. What helped me was the fact the guys didn’t care what people thought (no worry–no illegal stuff), and they were just blunt, “I’m a nudist.” Thus, I was spoiled, for after graduation, I knew that’d be a rarity. Nudity was so healing, because that seemed to be a metaphor for “baring” our souls to each other. However, I never did feel at ease sharing the fact that I liked guys and found the male body a work of art. Thus, I sunk into the “duuudddeeee” persona. The point? Nudity taught me to must be myself, and should I ever find another buddy like the ones in college, I’ll be happy. Keep strong, be yourself, and lean on the group.

    • Hi Friend, I think you probably meant to post this in my other nudity series blogs but that’s okay I’ll still respond to you here. That’s awesome you got to experience something like that. I would’ve loved to have that dorm experience and have a lot of platonic “bro” nudity with other straight men but unfortunately I never did. And I totally agree, I think it is very much a metaphor for baring your soul to another person. I feel like its taught me to be myself too, when you’re completely bare in front of a close friend and they don’t judge you.

  • Speaking about this with you especially Eugene I find quite fitting given my personal circumstances. I spoke previously about this incident before. I came to meet a Christian brother who was part of our co-ed Christian group on our music team. What I best remembered about him was his willingness to offer brotherly loving hugs to me when we met up on occasion. During my last semester in college, my Christian co-ed group took a trip to the beach where the guys roomed together in one beach house while the girls roomed down the road at another. Well, during our stay in the house one of my male friends caught me in a state of undress and aroused when I was attempting to change clothes. Needless to say this same incident caused our once brotherly relationship up to that point to take a fatal nosedive. Based on what he saw and what I suspect he became cold and distant towards me from that point forward. Literally I felt he was being homophobic towards me. This was the same beach trip I mentioned to you previously where I got to enjoy a few skinny-dipping adventures with some other male friends late at night in the ocean. After twenty years from that time, we have only SLIGHTLY began mending our relationship. He doesn’t want to be Facebook friends for certain; however, I try to reach out to him in a complimentary fashion and he has responded in kind. I can’t say our relationship will ever be the same now as it was then due to time and distance, but I hope someday we will get past this ugly segment of our personal history he might still be harboring against me. I never spoke to him about my SSA as I’m convinced that would just open this old wound and expel any chance at a reconciliation. I still wrestle with this rejection on occasion hoping this event never repeats itself. As far as moving past it, well, I cling to a piece of wisdom I was taught early on: “Relationships change.” My friendship with him maybe be rather broken, yet I endure to look for other relationships with people I meet along the way who will help to fill this void left in me twenty years ago. In short, I’ve sadly moved on.

    • Ugh, I’m so sorry Eddie that’s awful. And what a horrible reason to reject someone, you could’ve been straight and having a random erection for all he knew. I think it says a lot about his character more than about you. To reject someone based on something silly like that. He does sound incredibly homophobic but it makes me wonder if there’s more to it than that. In my opinion he might not be worth pursuing at all based on that.

      • Your opinion and concern for me are appreciated, Eugene. The thing about this guy “S” is, as I surmised, he was raised in very conservative household. So was I. However, I’m a bit more moderate than he is certainly nowadays. Despite this incident, “S” is still a good guy, devoted to God, his family and his lines of work and you’d see his virtues if you ever had the chance to meet him. He’s not perfect I grant you, but he’s is worth reconciling with. Like I said before, I’m not sure at this stage if disclosing my SSA would be at all beneficial to our skewed relationship. For the time being we are separated by geography and social media is our only common medium. My course of action is simply to be a friend and brother to him taking “baby steps” and show my Christ-centered love and affection using a piecemeal approach. I have no grand expectation we’ll be as tight as we once were, but I hope we won’t be so distant either.

  • I have probably been the Robert in relationships more often than the rejected party. There was one guy I dumped very suddenly without any prior notice or warning because he was getting too needy and clingy, calling me all the time, wanting to hang out all the time, cramping my style. He wasn’t necessarily doing anything bad or gross or sexual, but he seemed very lonely and was quickly becoming emotionally dependent on me. Rather than talking to him about all of this like I should have, I just dumped him and told him never to call me or try to meet me again. It was obvious he had that bowling ball dropped into his stomach, too, when I told him that face-to-face. Now I regret how I handled the situation, and I’ve tried to find him online to apologize and make amends, but he’s nowhere to be found. Even now, I don’t know where he is or what happened to him.
    It could be that sometimes the people who reject us are doing so out of their own immature, undeveloped ability to handle relationships tactfully and with concern for the other person. They may one day regret rejecting us, but either be unable to find us to apologize or be too ashamed to try.

    • Thanks for your perspective Kevin! I think you hit the nail on the head with what happened with me and Robert. I mean, I remember trying to not be clingy to him so I don’t think that was the case with me but I think he probably wasn’t mature to handle whatever issues he had. Because I really didn’t see anything I did wrong. But if I was doing anything wrong he should’ve just told me instead of hanging it up right then and there.

  • Good post Eugene! Who hasn’t experienced male rejection? I went through those tearful days in the past…but like you, God brought others into my life who filled those needs for affection and attention! Move on, and realize that those who reject you are really saying more about themselves and their own inability to connect and not really saying something about your worthiness.
    BTW, I go to the sauna with my straight friends and find this a great way to share non-sexual nudity in a place of safe acceptance.

    • Thanks Alan! I think you’re totally on the money. What made it worse for me what that I was living away from home and had experienced all sorts of rejections and then his rejection was the icing on the cake which made it a thousand times worse. But I have moved on and found better things.

  • Wow, thanks for being so vulnerable with us. It takes a lot to be that brave. To be honest I was nervous when you started talking about skinny dipping… But I can see the post was much more than that.
    I have been on both sides of that conversation, I think it’s about balance, and having grace for each other. And I don’t think it’s necessary to be nude with someone to get healing, feel close to them, and have healthy intimacy. I would encourage you to spend some time with guys, with no expectations. Just be confident in yourself, and don’t expect them to fix you.
    You will find that if you are healthy and secure, and you are connecting with another guy who is healthy and secure, you can both be your best selves, and enjoy each other. But becoming healthy and secure is work you have to do- it’s something that you have to fix.

    • Hi roger roger (your name makes me think of the battle droids from the Star Wars prequels)! I don’t know if you read my series on nudity yet but I do go into detail of my thoughts on that there. I agree that you don’t need to be naked with someone in order to be close with them as I have many friends I am very close with and have never seen them naked.
      With the guy who rejected me, it wasn’t so much a feeling of “dang, now I’m not gonna see him naked”. I wanted to be genuine friends with him as he seeed like a cool guy. Yeah I wasn’t expecting him to fix me, I just wanted a friend. I agree with a lot of what you said though.

  • Eugene Heffron

    I’m a 30-something still trying to find my way in the world. Lover of all things creative, I am a drawer with an intuitive mind while also a deep thinker. I can be a person of extreme opposites: one moment a lone wolf, the next a social butterfly; one moment joyful and optimistic, yet sad and melancholic the next. As I came to terms with my SSA I met fellow SSA Christians and formed deep, intimate bonds. I’ve always longed for brotherhood and, at last, I have found it after years of social isolation. I am glad to be part of this community of bloggers and share my stories and struggles, joys and sorrows, dreams and longings.

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