I’ve had a straight friend, Mark, for a long time. Our relationship has been a blessing yet a struggle. He’s a fit, athletic type into playing fantasy leagues and water polo. He’s also somewhat of a nerdy type into technology and computer science. I’m not athletic and much more of a right brain, creative type.

I guess our friendship is a case of opposites attracting.

I’ve known Mark since first grade. We were just general acquaintances throughout our elementary years up until middle school; then, we suddenly connected in a class we shared. We joked and goofed off together so much that it drove the teacher crazy, and we received many a scolding.

Unfortunately, we wouldn’t have a single class together in high school, and we drifted apart somewhat. He went off to college for four years, but when he graduated and got a job in town he suddenly started showing lots of interest in hanging out with me.

Really? This fit, masculine, athletic type guy wanted to be friends with me? Virtually no one else had ever reached out in friendship like this to me.

We hung out together, saw some movies, and hiked as we clicked! We joked about things together, making each other laugh incredibly hard. We went on so many adventures, and slowly I began to realize I loved him.

Finally, God had given me a brother who I’d never had. I’d never felt this way about another man before. I didn’t want our times together to ever end; it was a dream.

However, a harsh awakening awaited me.

I did have some attractions to him — not in the sense that I wanted to have sex with him but for the titillating prospect of seeing him naked.

Mark had a rigid adherence to stereotypical male friendship molds. After a while, I got tired of our chats centering on some pop culture related thing and surface-level stuff. I wanted to go deeper and be vulnerable with him.

But whenever I tried to steer a conversation a deeper way, he always responded in stony silence.

He was never physically affectionate either; we’d never even hugged. I wanted to touch him not out of a sexual desire but from a longing to connect with him as love with a brother. I dreamed of a day when we could embrace and confess our brotherly love for each other.

I put my hand on his shoulder once. He brushed it off.

Ouch.

Then came the nightmarish prospect of his getting a girlfriend: a scary scenario that sent me into deep levels of dread and pessimism. He’d get a girlfriend one day and forget all about me, I thought. This made me cling to him even tighter as I pestered him with texts to hang out every weekend.

Over-attachment reared its ugly head. On Facebook, I noticed his friending some girls — to which I coyly asked how he knew them. Much to my dismay, I also saw him hanging out with other friends without me.

It came to a head when I saw he’d gone to a pool party with a bunch of friends without me.

I finally called out my friend, and he brushed me off as being nosey. I went into some of the ugliest, darkest, most pessimistic places my mind has ever gone. I was paranoid.

I got driven into being overly attached to Mark. He was literally the only friend I had. I reached out to other guys in my college classes just to have any sort of emotional support outside of Mark but was greeted by nothing but indifference and painful rejection.

Mark grew visibly annoyed and tired of me. He became even less touchy with me, if that’s conceivable. If we sat together on a couch watching TV, he insisted I sit on another chair instead.

The all-time low came with his constant insistence on sitting one seat apart at the movies because, “We’ll have more room that way.”

This sent me through the roof with frustration and agony.

I couldn’t even sit next to my best friend.

We drifted apart for a couple years, seeing each other considerably less. In this drifting I found YOB and began some new friendships with guys in this community. Mark noticed photos of our meet-ups on Facebook and asked me who these other people were.

I finally decided to come clean to him. We went on a walk, and I spilled my guts about same-sex attraction and my involvement with YOB.

“I’m attracted to men,” I said, and he audibly gasped.

After I finished telling him my story, he suddenly began crying. I never thought I’d see my straight friend cry.

He began apologizing for all the times he’d acted like a jerk while I’d been struggling. “I’m such a jerk. I’m sorry for being such a jerk.”

“You’re not a jerk, Mark. You’re my friend.” I rubbed his shoulder as he cried.

“Okay, you don’t have to keep doing that,” he said.

To which I pulled my hand away.

Since then, things have been better. Although he still sticks to his emotionally non-intimate ways with lack of physical affection. This is still a source of annoyance for me and quite a contrast from my time with other brothers with whom I cuddle and spill my most intimate details.

Nonetheless, I still hope for a day of better intimacy with him. To this day, he hasn’t ever gotten a girlfriend.

At the end of the day, I guess I do still love him. Why not?

Do you share or crave moments of vulnerability, physical touch, and healthy intimacy with your straight friends? Do you desire more touch with straight friends than you currently experience?

  • So glad you were finally able to open up to him, Eugene. And as stoic as he is, his response to your revelation is priceless. He cried and apologized. That is the response of a true friend. It did my heart so much good to read it. He may not know how to reach out to you in emotional and physical ways, but his response says a lot. An awful lot–like how deeply he does care for you. His love language is obviously different than yours. I’m very glad you are moving on in your friendship. Sometimes we want our friends to love us in a certain way. But friendship is a two-way street. We have to love people in the way they want to be loved.

    • Yeah that’s very true and its so hard. It does go to show that he did really care about me, even if his ways of showing it before were not quite up to my standards. Its very hard because I’m so needy and often desperately crave touch.

      • Yes, understood. I think another way to look at this is that God had put you in Mark’s life to bless him in the way that he needs. And to accept from him the attention you need in the way he is able to give it. Now he’s shown you through his tears and apology how much he cares. Let that touch you where you need touch the most–your heart.
        I have friends that I wanted so much to be close to, but I have to accept that closeness as they are able to give it and let it satisfy me. My love language is affirming words. I want so much for all of my friends to constantly affirm me. But some are not the wordy type. Not even my wife. So it takes just a little extra grace in my life to give them the benefit of the doubt and to trust their love for me. It’s definitely easier for me if they are expressive, but I have to allow them to be themselves and know that God has put them into my life for my greater good. Maybe to pull me out of myself.
        Could it be that Mark is meant to serve a higher purpose in your life, brother? To teach you to not be so physically needy?
        Just a thought.

  • One interesting thing this story highlights is that a friendship doesn’t need to ostensibly LOOK cross-cultural in order for it to BE cross-cultural. Cross-cultural friendships can be challenging because the two parties may have wildly different backgrounds, expectations, and values. However, I think they’re good for us, good for our communities, and an important part of building the Kingdom.
    As with other cross-cultural relationships, when we are friends with straight guys I suspect the burden of adapting in light of that mismatch falls more often on the person from the minority culture (i.e., us, in this case), and those burdens can be invisible to the other person. As I said above, I think it’s worth it, but I hope I (we?) and my (our?) friends can learn good ways to communicate about the cross-cultural nature of our friendship so that the burden doesn’t always fall on us.

    • I dunno, brother. I’m not sure it is fair to say the burden falls more often on the person from the minority culture. I’m not even sure I would assign attraction issues their own category of “culture”. Everyone is broken in some way. Our needs are different, and so are our struggles. Is it fair for us to think we shoulder a greater burden just because our friends do not instinctively anticipate our needs/likes/dislikes? What is true for us is conversely true for them. What needs of my friends do I not instinctively get? What if they feel the exact same way, but, like Eugene’s friend appears to be, they are locked within a shell of stoicism or hypermasculinity? I have to be there for them in the way they need for me to be, and that may differ from my own needs. I do not shoulder a greater burden just because I feel more emotionally complex. My temptations may not be theirs, but theirs are not mine, either, and they have them just as much as I do. The beauty of friendship, I think, is that is complementary. We help one another. The strengths of our friends inspire us. We look up to them in areas where we are weak, and we should. I don’t see that as making me something less or more burdened, but more challenged to be what I should be. Iron sharpeneth iron, and etc.
      My thoughts, anyway. I am sure they are full of fault. But if I err, I do so on the side of love, brother.

      • (Deleted a previous version of this comment where the formatting was messed up :/ )
        Kirk, I admire your humility and grace here–I hope that I can display even half as much in my interactions online!
        I guess by “culture,” here I mean a certain set of values and beliefs shared by a group of people. In this sense it seems like Eugene hails from a group of people who believe in and value (for example) same-sex affection mediated through physical touch, but his friend hails from a culture that values things like independence and masculine self-sufficiency. I don’t think that patterns of sexual attraction necessarily play into it, although they do seem correlated.
        I would suggest the number of people (and the number of voices in our media) who share Eugene’s values and beliefs about friendship is fewer than then number of people and media voices who share his friend’s values and beliefs. In fact, my proposition goes, the imbalance is great enough that someone like Eugene’s friend can get along just fine (from his perspective) without learning someone like Eugene’s values, beliefs and expectations, or even perhaps knowing that other values/beliefs/expectations exist. On the other hand, what I’m reading in Eugene’s story is that he has had to learn his friend’s values and beliefs about friendship, and conform his own values, beliefs, hopes and expectations to them, at least temporarily. How often do we suppose Eugene has had to do that? (How often have I had to do that?) How often do we suppose his friend has had to do that?
        You ask, is it fair for us to think we shoulder a greater burden just because our friends do not instinctively anticipate our needs/likes/dislikes? I would argue it’s fair to think we shoulder a greater burden because we do not instinctively anticipate theirs, but we have had to learn to anyway to make our way in the world, while they have not had to learn to anticipate ours. Many of them have learned, but they didn’t have to in order to make their way through the world.
        Maybe another way to try to explain what I mean is this metaphor: Imagine a busy road, with a few lanes of cars going each direction. Imagine what it’s like to bicycle on that road. As a cyclist, you have to understand not only the rules governing bicycles, but the rules governing cars. You have to know how cars move and how car drivers think. Some drivers don’t know how to give cyclists adequate space, or how to share the road safely, and you have to accommodate them. As a driver on that road, it behooves you to understand cyclists and share the road with them, but how often do you encounter a bicycle on that road? Once a week? Once a month? Plus, the road is probably designed for cars and not bicycles. If there are bike lanes, they are likely an afterthought. In this example, while both car drivers and bicycle riders share equal duty to keep each other safe, the cyclists have more to keep track of and more to worry about. In this sense, they have a greater burden. Last, I’d suggest that if the traffic was mostly bicycles, and just a few cars, and if the road had been designed for primarily cyclists from the beginning, the car drivers would have the greater burden.
        It’s an imperfect metaphor, but hopefully it makes my meaning clearer. You could draw a similar metaphor with being in a foreign country where nobody speaks your birth language, and you’ve had to learn the local dialect. Being totally immersed in a foreign-language-speaking context can be incredibly exhausting, even if you’re pretty good at it!
        It seems like a popular mode of thought is to take all this and say, “Well that’s not FAIR; we must FIGHT this OPPRESSION of us as a MINORITY,” and though I think this kind of language/thinking has its place in other conversations, I do not bring it up to argue for change out of “imbalance is injustice and injustice is wrong” per se. I bring it up primarily because I sometimes need to be reminded that it’s okay to be exhausted and frustrated after a day of bicycling on a busy road. It doesn’t mean I’m bad at getting from one place to another. I’m not trying to harbor a victim complex, but sometimes I need the reminder that if I get hit by a car it’s not necessarily my fault just for daring to ride in something other than a car. And if I need those reminders, maybe someone else reading does too.
        I don’t know that most of what we’re saying really disagrees in the end? I think there is great beauty in complementary friendship as well—which is why pursuing this kind of friendship is worth the frustration. What if our friends deep down feel like us, but “are locked within a shell of stoicism or hypermasculinity,” as you describe it? I agree with you, we have to be there for them when and how they need us to be.
        And I think we would both stand by the desire to be able to communicate more about these different beliefs/values/hopes with our friends. I want to grow in learning how to verbalize those things to them, and I want them to grow in understanding where I’m coming from.
        I would echo you in closing. I am proud sometimes, and it makes it hard to admit, but my views are surely flawed as well. But I hope that I also err on the side of love.

        • Very nicely explained, my brother. Thank you.
          What I am trying to guard against mainly is the martyr mentality. It’s so easy to get so caught up in one’s own needs, desires, frustrations. And I think the ME mentality is so ingrained in our American culture that it behooves us to take a step back sometimes and realize that life is not fair, and that is a universal feeling not peculiar to me.
          That’s all I was aiming to say. And I so appreciate your diplomatic and measured response, brother. Love you in Christ.

        • Ryan, I love that bike/car image. It fits so well. We’re certainly in a minority among men at large. As Kirk mentioned, that line between reality and victim/martyr mentality is one we must constantly navigate. Good stuff to ponder.

    • Thank you Ryan. Yeah I definitely didn’t communicate my needs for affection with him but then again I was too scared he would think of me as gay and wanting sexual relations with him. But yeah sometimes those cross cultural relationships are difficult to navigate. Though it can be hard in a sense that I really do think all men SHOULD be able to touch each other because all humans need touch badly so sometimes it comes down to tolerating others’ relational boundaries even if I think its inherently wrong.

  • Awwwww :,( wow. The straight men that I wish I could be physically affectionate with are a few of the guys at my church. All the women are free to give kisses and hugs and hold hands with eachother in true platonic friendship and love- even with some of the men! But the men? Oh, we can only handshake eachother. As for men to women, the men always make sure to hug the women. I know that it’s not out of anything sexual but because society has made them think that they don’t want anymore closeness with another man than a handshake, they only stick with that distance (yea a few of them have sloser relationship and hug but only very breifly with a ‘man’ hug). They always put emphasis on following God’s other laws and the other areas of guidance from Christs disciples, but they ignore things like “You shall greet each other with a holy kiss”. They say that they do this by giving handshakes. If that’s so, then why do they give kisses to the women? If kissing the same gender was inappropriate, then why do the women do it? Men are so sensitive. We’re so afraid of rejection (rightfully so) and being demonized and called gay. Love has many fasets; men are sensitive just as women are and pain can be felt if our love is rejected, even through the smallest nuance! Men convince themselves that they don’t want closeness with eachother, but that’s one of the biggest lies ever told in the history of human kind. A kiss, given with true Godly love, is one of, if not thee, highest form/s of expressions of love. I have to live life more to see if this is true or not though. I feel that if the stigmatization that comes with male male affection today was destroyed, many other negative things in this world would be reduced greatly.

    • Gavin, you are so right! In our fellowship the men do greet with the holy kiss and embrace. I even do this in public when I see one of the brothers. It is so sad to me that many would rather be governed by the taboos of the world than by the Word of God in such matters. I don’t fault them. It’s hard to get over cultural norms. A handshake is nice, but an embrace is better. And the kiss of charity more so!

      • That is so nice, Kirk–if that’s your name hahaha. I wish the people in our congregation saw through those ‘taboos’ like yours does. And yes, I’m at fault for giving in to following cultural norms myself while growing up. When I was young, I had a lot of different guy friends in my church that adored me for some reason. Sometimes I had days where I would get many “I love you Gavin” from different guys (and girls sometimes) while I didn’t really hear it said anywhere near as much between other guys. There is this friend of mine (who I’m actually at church with as I write this) that showed so much love to me while we were at our teen church camp together in the same dorm. He made my first camp the best time of my life at that time, always being so nice to me and making me feel loved. Long story short, it was the last night of camp before everyone goes home in the morning. Everyone was saying goodbye to each other. I had saved him for last to say goodbye to because I hated saying goodbye to people I really liked as friends. I remember I said “Bye, Tim.” (I’ll just call him Tim) and I went in for a hug and he opened his arms and hugged me saying “Awww Bye, Gavin.” While we were hugging, I felt him bend his neck down, because he was really tall, and he kissed me on the top of my head. At that time, I didn’t know if that was my imagination or not, but I was suprised by it and sort of walked out of the room with a suprised look on my face. As I look back, I see that I probably hurt his feelings by doing that and making him feel like I didn’t appreciate it. I think this because the following years at camp after that, he stopped saying I love you so much, and stopped hugging me so much. And now fast foreward a couple years after not going to camp, our relationship is different. His hugs with me are so brief and he has this habit of what seems like subconsciously pushing people away to end the hug as though he doesn’t want the hug to be too…nice? Like he doesn’t want to get too close to a guy for fear of being hurt again. I wasn’t the only one who Tim showed affection to and I see how another guy may have rejected his affection to make him feel like he shouldn’t do those things. I’m angry at myself for having contributed to the destruction of the affectionate side a soft hearted person’s personality. I contributed to one of the things I hate most in this world; not just that one time with ‘Tim’ but many other times too with others. Yea I held back partly because I didn’t know what they’d think of me if they knew I was SSA/gay. Yea I was younger and didn’t understand what I know now, but I still feel so bad about it. But now, I’m going to make sure that I don’t push people away anymore and make an effort to show people the affection that we all need as God’s word says to. Love is everything good and we shouldn’t make it harder to share it between ourselves. Whew! I love this site! I can speak what’s been on my mind for the longest time with others who go through what I go through!

      • That is so nice, Kirk–if that’s your name hahaha. I wish the people in our congregation saw through those ‘taboos’ like yours does. And yes, I’m at fault for giving in to following cultural norms myself while growing up. When I was young, I had a lot of different guy friends in my church that adored me for some reason. Sometimes I had days where I would get many “I love you Gavin” from different guys (and girls sometimes) while I didn’t really hear it said anywhere near as much between other guys. There is this friend of mine (who I’m actually at church with as I write this) that showed so much love to me while we were at our teen church camp together in the same dorm. He made my first camp the best time of my life at that time, always being so nice to me and making me feel loved. Long story short, it was the last night of camp before everyone goes home in the morning. Everyone was saying goodbye to each other. I had saved him for last to say goodbye to because I hated saying goodbye to people I really liked as friends. I remember I said “Bye, Tim.” (I’ll just call him Tim) and I went in for a hug and he opened his arms and hugged me saying “Awww Bye, Gavin.” While we were hugging, I felt him bend his neck down, because he was really tall, and he kissed me on the top of my head. At that time, I didn’t know if that was my imagination or not, but I was suprised by it and sort of walked out of the room with a suprised look on my face. As I look back, I see that I probably hurt his feelings by doing that and making him feel like I didn’t appreciate it. I think this because the following years at camp after that, he stopped saying I love you so much, and stopped hugging me so much. And now fast foreward a couple years after not going to camp, our relationship is different. His hugs with me are so brief and he has this habit of what seems like subconsciously pushing people away to end the hug as though he doesn’t want the hug to be too…nice? Like he doesn’t want to get too close to a guy for fear of being hurt again. I wasn’t the only one who Tim showed affection to and I see how another guy may have rejected his affection to make him feel like he shouldn’t do those things. I’m angry at myself for having contributed to the destruction of the affectionate side a soft hearted person’s personality. I contributed to one of the things I hate most in this world; not just that one time with ‘Tim’ but many other times too with others. Yea I held back partly because I didn’t know what they’d think of me if they knew I was SSA/gay. Yea I was younger and didn’t understand what I know now, but I still feel so bad about it. But now, I’m going to make sure that I don’t push people away anymore and make an effort to show people the affection that we all need as God’s word says to. Love is everything good and we shouldn’t make it harder to share it between ourselves. Whew! I love this site! I can speak what’s been on my mind for the longest time with others who go through what I go through!

    • Thank you Gavin, yes its all so very sadly true. In a way I don’t blame straight men for having this fear of being labeled gay, I certainly had that fear in high school for sure. I went out of my way to make sure I didn’t look too close to men or show any effeminate behaviors to avoid such labeling. But yeah I think men do convince themselves they don’t want that kind of closeness and its a shame because I think they don’t know what they’re missing.

  • I’ve experienced similar situations with straight friends. Not being a physical person, I was more bothered by lacking of emotional sharing or lack of priority in the friendship. I ended up hurt and hurting others several times over due to codependency. I had to learn to that some guys view closeness in a non-emotional way- and I had to be ok with that. I’ve even come to see the benefit of close non-emotionally driven friendships! It’s taken a lot of time to get to that point, but I feel content with where I’ve gotten with it. I’m sorry for the rejection you faced, Eugene- but I’m thankful you and your friend are in an ok place for now. Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you Dean! It does raise a few questions, are most straight guys just trained by society into being non emotional in their friendships even if they’re close, or is that simply the way some people are? Either way it was pretty painful that a non emotionally close relationship was all I had for years.

      • I don’t think it is all societal. Even with my children, who have been raised with loads of touch and affection, I still have one boy who is just not emotional in that way. He values time spent way over affection. Being an emotionally expressive person has meant I have to set aside my ‘druthers and focus in on what is meaningful to him. But maybe I’m an outlier on my thoughts here.

      • That’s an interesting concept worth exploring deeper: that some guys just may not be wired to be physically/emotionally close. Or at least not near the degree of our physical/emotional levels of close. Regardless of their wiring, do they owe it to themselves to dive deeper? Do we give them space, or do we push them?

        • Yeah that would be a great discussion topic someday, Tom. I would argue that I think at all human beings need at least some degree of physical touch. The experiment with the orphan infants not getting any touch and dying mentioned in the podcast comes to mind. But it may be possible that people are wired differently for different kinds of physical touch. I know a few SSA guys who don’t want to cuddle because they simply don’t care for it but they will at least hug. I have yet to meet an SSA guy who doesn’t want any touch at all.

        • I think some of my straight friends just do not naturally desire much PHYSICAL closeness to other guys, but they DO desire a type of emotional closeness expressed other ways. They just have a different “love language” like acts of service or words of encouragement. We should try expressing love their way. I think if they are long term friends it is good to push a little and ask them to give a little physical touch too. They are sometimes willing for our sake.

          • Marshall, I agree with you! In my experience, my straight friends desire emotional intimacy. I’ve just had to learn what that looks like for each individual instead of trying to force my version of intimacy on each of them. One of my best friends is straight, and he’s been willing to hug me when we meet up and again when we leave to go our separate ways after hanging out… but that’s it. No other touch. And yet, I am so grateful that he’s willing to step into something that’s uncomfortable for him for my sake.

  • I can relate soooo much, Eugene. I recently lost my 92 year old father, and I was strongly craving the comfort and security of platonic male affection. I feel sad when I think about this. Friendships take a lot of time, work, and trust. This is multipiplied when you experience SSA and your best 57buddy is straight (assuming he also isn’t in the closet and hasn’t come out). As a 57 year old man, the prospects of finding a non-sexual intimate friendship with a man seems more daunting.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about you losing your father! Believe me, I know how daunting it is trying to find decent friends who want to be close. I tried for many many years to find the right guy or group of guys. It can be a horrible painful experience and in my case there was a lot of rejection involved. This is usually why I stick with friendships with Side B guys. We intuitively know what each other needs and wants and make the friendship become very close, very quickly. Not saying we rush through the friendships but its just easier to cut to the chase and get to the intimacy. But Side B guys are a rare breed. In most cities men will either be straight or Side A.

  • Eugene,
    I love your drawings! I know I’ve said this kind of thing before, but as usual your drawing on this post so vividly expresses the painful and awkward results of your friend refusing touch. Your art makes me feel the emotions you are communicating.
    I just wanted to remind you that not all straight guys are like your friend! In my experience straight guys who are more sensitive, Meyers Briggs “feeler” types, often will hug me warmly and and allow more physical touch. Of course, many are just like your friend, especially the “thinkers”. Still, I will admit that physical touch flows much more freely with SSA guys than with straight guys.
    It has helped me be more effective at building friendships with straight guys by using THEIR love languages. If he likes acts of service or words of encouragement, I do that. I try to observe how he likes to receive and give love, then use that way to bless him.

    • Thank you Marshall, I’m very glad you like my drawings. I put a lot of work into them and I enjoy doing them.
      Yeah my friend is definitely more of a “thinker” type than a feeler, hence a reason for some of the lack of affection. It just seems like no straight guy wherever I go is ever sensitive or open to physical touch was has made me jaded about trying to find any straight at all. Yeah I’m sure they’re out there like you said but ugh I’ve just gotten so tired of trying to find them. Its like a needle in a haystack.
      But yeah you make a great point that it is better to speak with their love languages if you wanna enter their world. That can be a bit hard though when they’re not exactly your love languages. But always worth it to try I guess.

  • Oh man. Thanks for sharing your story, Eugene – I can totally relate!! Two of my best friends are straight and although both of them are emotionally open with me, neither of them want to be touched. One of them is my roommate and we spend a lot of time together, so I feel like I’ve gotten used to it with him… The other one will give me a hug when we meet up to hang out and again when we part ways because he knows it’s important to me, but he won’t do any other sort of touching. There are times when we’ll be chatting, and he’ll be standing instead of sitting on the couch with me. Or if we’re watching a movie, he’ll sit on the couch with me, but always on the other end. If we’re having an intimate conversation and he’s being vulnerable, sometimes I’ll put my hand on his shoulder or something – he’s never brushed it away (which sounds like such a painful experience, I’m so sorry)… but he also doesn’t react to it at all. It’s like I didn’t even touch him, and it feels emotionally cold. Even when we do hug he usually remains fairly stiff, never “melting” into the hug like most of my gay friends do. It’s been hard to try and learn how to express my love for him and accept his love for me in ways other than physical touch. I find myself craving that with him. Like you said, it’s not sexual – I just want to express affection for him and have him be open to it. It feels like he’s rejecting part of me, even though I know that he trusts me and loves me. He just has different ways of showing it, and I have to be open to those ways just like he’s been willing to hug me when we see each other. I’m glad you were able to open up to Mark, and I hope that your relationship with him continues to improve in its own beautiful way.

    • Hey Justin! Thank you for sharing your perspective and story. I totally get the feeling of them feeling cold when they don’t react to physical touch at all. Its almost like I’m not even touching them. Yeah I guess I’ve come to accept that he has different standards of affection regardless of how right or wrong I think it is. Its a little easier now though. Before I found YOB when he was literally my only friend, living without touch was incredibly HARD like you wouldn’t believe. And it was so frustrating that the only friend I had would not give me any sort of touch. It was so soul crushingly frustrating. But now I have many brothers on YOB who give all the physical touch I could ever want which is wonderful.

  • I was reminded when I worked in China and my translator became a good friend. One day he grabbed my hand as we walked down the street, and it dawned on me, as I looked around that this was common between friends of the same sex–both male AND female. It was a breakthrough as I thought, “There is not one SSA issue with this at all. It’s normal and feels OK.” Then I realized and thought, “How has homophobia really wrecked our culture?” That experience then took me down another path as I wondered, “Am I REALLY SSA but just want male affection?” I had no answer to that, but was thankful for the experience.

  • I can’t say that I *carve* physical touch from my straight friends. They don’t seem to be the touchy feely types. I do however have one straight friend who is not adverse to the occasional hug. The greatest wave of physical touch I experienced was on a trip I took last month. I visited some fellow SSA brothers and with a few we engaged in physical platonic touch with each other. It was so nice to touch them and they touch me back in such a loving and affirming manner. I will admit this experience caused me to miss having such generous support after parting ways. Yes, call it touch starvation or whatever. For me, I seem to be a bit biased on whom I get loving touch from as to the type of guy they are. If I see a guy that is open to such affection, then I might risk it.

  • Thanks for sharing. This post and many of your posts speak to me. I have a straight roommate. I’m struggling with SSA (which he doesn’t know) but I don’t have ANY desire to have sex with him. Regardless, as a single, I do want some healthy intimacy, and even naked vulnerability with a guy friend. I understand that my SSA may be overbearing as I have unrealistic expectations for a straight male friend–I’ve had a similar over-attachment experience with a another friend and it didn’t go so well. With my current roommate, I prayed hard so that he doesn’t find me burdensome, and for me not to cross the line.
    Alas, I took him to a Korean Spa and although it was great at first, I don’t think he appreciated when I tried to sit close together in the sauna. He found it creepy being close naked, and tried to avoid me. I thought we had gotten close being roommates and I let my guard down and tried to be open. He didn’t. Now I’m hoping it doesn’t become awkward between us.
    I find it struggling to cope with my SSA because while my straight friends can find security and intimacy with their girlfriends (I believe one of the comments called it “yasa”), I’m trying to impose that on my male friends (non-sexual in nature), and they don’t want that, nor do they need that from me.
    Am I thinking this wrong? Overthinking it?

    • Hi Tim! I’m so glad my blogs resonate with you so much. First off I’m impressed that you actually got your straight roommate to go to a Korean Spa with you! I doubt I could get my straight friend to go there. I did actually tell him about going to Spas and he responded with silence so that was the end of that.
      It sounds to me like you definitely crossed a boundary with him there. I can understand him being uncomfortable with you sitting close. You guys are already in a vulnerable state and maybe to him that was too much. Boundaries are important in relationships, especially with straight guys. If he’s not comfortable with that then you have to respect that and try to honor that. The exception might be with my straight friend because I felt like his boundaries were a little crazy. Like what on earth is wrong sitting in a seat next to someone at movie?
      At the same time, yeah it is frustrating trying to find that security and intimacy with straight friends. Personally I think they can enjoy it and benefit from it but have been turned off by society’s voices on whats “manly” and what isn’t . If you really can’t get it from any straight friends then I would suggest finding some Side B SSA friends to have that with. It’s what I have ended up doing and I’m extremely happy and satisfied for it.

  • I’m a straight guy and don’t struggle with SSA however l still long to have physically affectionate and platonic relationships with other men but l feel void of that.

  • 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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