A couple years back, I worked a temp job out of state. I was excited to live far away from home for the first time and get a change of scenery. I’d made no friends whatsoever in college, so I was hoping a relocation might help me find people to click with — especially men to become brothers.

Surely I would find them!

I imagined the college ideal with the perfect roommates. We’d be best of friends and become part of a masculine tribe.

My housing department gave us the opportunity to choose our roommates, and several Facebook groups helped us do just that. I scoured the members list hoping to find the perfect guys.

I found a guy who seemed perfect! We connected and traded our roommate profile sheets. His name was Tommy, and his profile stated he was also a Christian — which was ideal. His profile definitely made him seem like the modern, ideal, “manly man.”

He was a jock type with many photos of himself playing baseball. He also stated drawing as one of his hobbies, just like me.

A straight masculine dude who plays sports, likes drawing, and calls himself a Christian? Perfect!

Tommy and I shared a bedroom in an apartment with four other guys. Things went great the first couple months of working and living together. We hung out a lot, went to get dinner at many places, and enjoyed lots of chats.

He wasn’t shy about sharing his Christian beliefs. One night, I drove home from supper with him and a couple other roommates and he turned our discussion to thoughts on religion. Tommy asked if any of us believed in God.

I said I did while the other roommates shrugged with an “I don’t know” response. From there, he asked if any of us had seen the movie, God’s Not Dead.

We all said we hadn’t. He went on and on about how great of a movie it was and that we should all watch it together sometime — which we never did.

I suppose that was his attempt at trying to “evangelize” the other roommates?

At this point, things began to take a sharp turn for the awkward.

I learned that Tommy had broken up with his girlfriend from back home. One evening, he invited a girl who was a “friend” over to the apartment. They sat side by side on his bed, and he kept looking at her with a goofy grin — to which she giggled and playfully pushed him away. I tried to ignore it.

After a while, they started snuggling under the covers. Yes, I know I’ve written two blogs about the benefits of cuddling. But these weren’t tender, platonic cuddles.

Every once in a while, the girl went, “Ahahah eh, ohmigosh STOP! You are so meeeaaan!” To which Tommy naughtily giggled.

It was such an awkward sight, I had to leave the apartment and go for a drive. Tommy texted me to ask where I’d gone, saying I didn’t need to leave when he had girls over and that I could still hang out in the room with them.

Seriously? What’s worse was that he kept bringing home many different girls over the next few weeks.
I knew for sure that more than cuddling was happening when he came home from the grocery store with a large box of condoms. Once, I even saw a ripped open condom package on his bedside table.

What bugged me most was his sheer lack of shame or attempt to hide his sexual activities from me.
Tommy seemed to notice my unspoken discomfort with his having girls over — which, I think, offended him. After a while, he stopped talking with me and spent his nights with his girls at their places instead of ours.

At the end of the semester, he didn’t invite me to room with him in a new apartment. The day of the move, he walked right out the door with his new roommates without saying a word to me.

I don’t tell this story as some “holier than thou” revenge over Tommy, because Lord knows I’ve had my sexual struggles, too. However, I do want to use this story to point out the hypocrisy in the Church and American masculine culture.

It’s a culture that says a “manly man” has sex with many women while homosexual sex is disgusting. The Church may generally wag their finger at premarital sex, but they seem to shrug it off in a “boys will be boys” sort of way while condemning homosexual sex as the worst sexual act imaginable.

Isn’t all sex outside of marriage sin? Regardless of what kind of sex it is?

For a man who self-righteously professed his strong Christian beliefs, Tommy seemed totally unaware of any wrongdoing. My theory is that his jock background taught him that it’s encouraged to have premarital sex with lots of girls.

Perhaps his breakup with his girlfriend made him feel non-masculine and that having sex with many others would earn back his man card? Or probably he just had a liberal view on Christian sexual ethics.

I sense his athletic peer background influenced his behavior, and he did not take a hard look at his beliefs. Whatever his reasoning, I don’t intend to say “straight dudes suck.”

I mainly want to say this: I have seen so many SSA / gay / side B men agonize in self-loathing and guilt over their past sexual encounters. They feel they are beyond forgiveness and God’s love.

But are you really any worse than my “manly” straight roommate who carelessly had sex with many women?

No, you are not. You are loved. At least you have the courage to admit you did something wrong. Repent and move on with a full heart.

All people, gay or straight, struggle with sexual sin. None is worse than the other.

Have you ever felt condemned that any past homosexual acting out is “worse” than other sexual sin? Have you ever idolized someone for his “masculine ideal” only to be disappointed?

  • Eugene, I have had straight housemates behave like you describe with women. They did not call themselves Christians, so all I could do was to have a rule that they couldn’t take girls into the bedroom. Of course then I walked in on a guy and girl in the basement doing more than cuddling …
    When my straight Christian housemates have slipped into sexual sin in the past they have always gone somewhere else. If a guy is a genuine Christian, he will usually feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit and turn away from his sin. Usually they will confess it to me in shame. It is not Christian to have a “boys will be boys” attitude about premarital sex, gay or straight.
    Unfortunately in most churches I have been in there has been something of a double standard with gay sex. They always treat straight premarital sex as sin, but gay sex is considered something worse. One SSA friend who slipped and had a single encounter with another guy of legal age was banned from all contact with youth. I have never heard of any straight guy treated like that in a similar situation.

    • They may seem carefree, just like some practising gay people do. But on the inside…. I’m not so sure.
      Love your honesty, Plut. You are a man dearly loved by God and have inestimable value.

    • Absolutely, its terribly hypocritical. Yeah premarital straight sex amongst young men is always greeted with a finger wagging “now now, you shouldn’t do that but I don’t blame you, boys will be boys!” Whereas if there’s homosexual sex involved they are treated as lepers, banned and exile. Of course both gay and straight premarital sex is basically equally bad in sin but none is worse than the other. Premarital sex is premarital sex. Period.

  • It’s beyond hypocrisy because it’s something I feel like OSA guys don’t even realize they’re doing. I mean, I believe they know they are sinning, but they seem to weigh their sin as somehow more acceptable. I guess because society, movies, secular culture, and even the church treat opposite sex relationships as prerequisite to ulitmate goal of marriage. The Bible never treats marriage as a goal, but society certainly does, even the non-believers treat marriage as a goal, end game. (See every unrealistic romantic comedy). It’s like marriage is treated as the ONLY sufficient happy ending, thus sex before marriage is simply a means to an end. While if SSA have sex it’s damnable because it doesn’t lead to marriage. The hypocrisy really is breathtaking.

    • Well said Robbie! I agree with you 100%. A lot of this does sort of tie into the whole idea of not just marriage but romantic sexual relationships are the only type of “true love” you can find. Or its the ultimate end game or goal like you said. And yeah I think you hit the nail on the head that OSA guys probably don’t even realize what they’re doing. Like they know its technically wrong but shrug it off as “not that bad” because its so normal in movies and whatnot.

      • Yes, and I’d argue that many OSA tell themselves it’s okay because she may be the one. That’s not how this is supposed to work. Women are not cars to be test driven.

        • Exactly, because sin aside how does all this reflect on how we treat women today? I’ve met a few straight guys who have told me they really wished they’d waited to have sex till after marriage and they felt they spoiled it immensely.

  • I remember going off to college after high school thinking similar things: I’m gonna find the perfect roommate in a perfect suite and we’re all gonna be groomsmen in each other’s future weddings and best friends for life! And then the long hard fall from the ideal. My first roommate and I couldn’t have hit it off less, and the rest of my suitemates weren’t any better. I’ve taken that experience and attempted applying it to all other masculine arenas that are especially tempting for exponential expectations. Living present is key. Making the best of what’s there.

    • Oh yeah I can relate to that so much. I have met many guys who were super close besties with their roommates in college and it makes me wanna smack them haha. Yeah the rest of the roommates I’ve had have mainly been good or just okay but never super close brothers like I dreamed. I’ve definitely tried to make the best of those situations. Thankfully I’ve at least never had a roommate situation that was completely intolerable (except I had one who snored horribly once).

  • “Have you ever felt condemned that any past homosexual acting out is “worse” than other sexual sin? Have you ever idolized someone for his “masculine ideal” only to be disappointed?”
    I’ve had many straight roommates over the years, and they often were kind enough to share their sexual exploits to me (one guy actually had sex with his girlfriend in front of me, thinking I was asleep). Most of them knew of my attraction to men, and almost seemed to relish their latest conquest to me, almost as if they were superior. How manly they were; but if I had a guy over – EWWW! HOW GROSS!!! It only made me more wistful of wanting to be straight and how inadequate I felt living in a world of straights.
    The straightest guy I knew (except when he was with me) was my cousin Kendall. One night he showed up at my apartment, sobbing. He had just broken up with his girlfriend. I let him cry on my shoulder for about thirty minutes, comforting him. But all the while I felt disappointment. For all his tough gayness, his masculine bravado, his being the ideal man, he was a soft blubbering heap; but if I went out with a guy – EWWW! HOW GROSS!!!
    Though we had sex several times, he got to be ‘normal’ with a wife and two boys; me, not so much.

    • Thanks Bradley, and yeah its all so very true. And I’ve been in those situations too. Heck, I remember one time I was with my roommate I blogged about and one of the other suitemates. They were talking with each other about their relationships and one night stands. I remember one of their conversation topics were of when it was a good time to grab a woman’s parts. Those whole time I was trying not to listen, it was a very uncomfortable awkward place to be in. Both of those roommates claimed to be super tolerant of homosexuality but something tells me if I had brought a guy over to have a hookup with they’d negatively react in a double standard way too.

  • Whoa Eugene. Much I can say, brother. That’s just terrible. Plain awful. And disgusting.
    All of the brothers commenting have a point about the hypocrisy in many of the churches. I’m so glad I’m in one where sin is sin is sin, and there isn’t any parsing of it into categories where you treat one better than the other.
    But, the hypocrisy of the churches or other professing Christians is not a reason for me to become more insular or bitter, because the scriptures are still authoritative, and I am still accountable to them.
    And, in the end, all who justify their sins because they are “more natural” will still stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account–and what a day that’s going to be!
    Jesus promises us something better than sin IN THIS LIFE, and in the world to come, life everlasting. That’s worth all pain, loneliness, rejection, and temptation combined.
    Keep your chins up, brothers.

    • Thanks kirk. I definitely try to not view the whole double standard bitterly but I am definitely critical of it. And yes people will find all sorts of excuses for what sins are considered “passable” or what’s considered “an unholy abomination.” I do think its time that Christianity really stepped back and took a look on how it treats certain types of sin.

      • I know you weren’t viewing it that way. I just had to say what I said as a caution. I didn’t read you wrong there, brother.
        Scripture condemns sexual immorality of all sorts: incest, adultery and fornication by straight people, and homosexual acts. I think where many Christians are coming from with homosexuality is that the language in scripture does seem to convey an unnaturalness to it. Biologically and creatively, that makes sense. Where I think the problem comes in is when people (on both sides) do not separate attractions from acts. Then all kinds of hurt and confusion come in to play.
        We must proclaim the message of scripture faithfully, but in love and with the understanding that an act and a temptation are totally two different things.

  • I LOVE this post Eugene!
    I did use to feel that gay sex was worse, but for about a year now I’ve seen that it isn’t. I’ve never been fond of a guy because of how masculine he was.
    I’ve been feeling the same thing about how, in that for straight guys, they can be so very hypocritical about sex. I’ve told my very close cousin and brothers about my SSA and my cousin said he really always knew. I took that with a grain of salt because I knew they would possibly change their minds later, think it was just a ‘little phase’, and that I’m ‘not the real me until I turn straight again’. I told them, though, that I hated having to be around them all the time because they always acted like I wasn’t SSA and would just talk about girls in my face ALL the time. They would always say ‘Gavin, why are always so depressd all the time-why don’t you wanna hang out with us-why are you always so negative?’ I finally had to tell them (after a few drinks) that I hated being around them because they pretend that I’m not SSA and that NO I do not like it when they talk about girls all the time and that I have to keep my mouth shut about what I think. I told them they couldn’t understand a thing I’ve been going though for my whole life on their own. All that ‘positivity’ and ‘fun’ they had was the result of them being able to relate to eachother about nearly everything while I had no one to relate with. Also that their common struggle of not having a lot of girls to date in our church was nothing compaired to me being unable to ever be with anyone I liked for my entire life all while not being able to say anything about it. While I’m telling them this basically a second time, they acted like they were hearing it for the first time. But it wasn’t any suprise to me. I already knew days like these were coming ever since I was a kid. I have to say though, that my brothers and cousin are being very loving towards me compaired to how they could have been. They do little things to try and show me they still love me pretty often, which is something that I know very very few guys like me get to have. I need to make sure to feel thankful for that. I still have one friend in our church who knows though, and I see how he has to try and hide his discomfort. He’s actually at my house as I type this because he usually comes over to go to our church congregation with us haha. I wonder how long it will be before everyone else finds out.

    • Gavin, so glad they finally wised up. It took you two times to get them to see, but yes, be thankful they are going out of their way to be sensitive to you now. You’re right…a lot of men don’t get that loving response.
      There is so much more to life than girls!

      • Every year we go to the Feast of Tabernacles and I’m always the one quiet one out of all the guys. I let myself whenever one of them says something funny though. I don’t want to be too obviouse!

    • Thanks Gavin! Glad you loved it. I haven’t told many straight guys about my SSA but I imagine it might not be too dissimilar to your story if I did. Thank you for sharing it. I think straight guys need to look at their SSA friends as fellow men, not women with penises. I think I used to look at them that way during my years when I was in denial about my sexuality, looking at Side A folks as warped men-women things rather than my fellow man.

      • Thank you and you’re welcome! Yeah, I’m guilty of speaking while in denial too hahaha.
        Whenever they say SSA is unnatural and hint at the Bible, I ask them if they think raping a woman is natural. They always look off to the side, say, “Wellllll…”, and keep beginning to say “yes” but never actually finnish saying it. If the convo continues, I make the point: don’t view what’s natural as what’s good, but view what God says is good, as what’s good.

    • I wound up having to tell my pastor and the youth minister of our church that I was SSA, to save a
      SSA kid from suicide in 2016. For that few minutes, I was not embarrassed to be SSA; the life of that kid was more important to me than my own discomfort (my best friend committed suicide). He and his family’s whole little perfect Baptist (SSA doesn’t happen to good Baptists) world came crashing down around them, and I was there to pick up the pieces (Esther 4:14).
      Since then I have publically given my testimony and later posted it to YouTube. I am no longer in hiding and it is very freeing.

      • Wow! I hope they saw the lesson in that! What a brave and loving thing to do Bradley. Whenever someone thinks of us ‘diseased’, that just shows they have the wrong way of thinking about it. I feel like I may have possibly seen your video on youtube since I’ve binged on christian SSA videos… but I’m still curious…

        • There is no ‘cure’ for us, because we are not sick. My favorite ‘cure’ is that I have been possessed by demons and to get rid of them, I have to call out the name of every guy I was with; great, except I had a stroke with total memory loss. How am I supposed to remember all of them? I do know this though: there were at least two I didn’t know their names at all. The grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient for me and my memory loss. ‘Exercising’ the demons is just works. We are saved by grace that we didn’t have to earn; it was freely given by God.

          • You’ve been through so much. Do they say rapists have demons too? If not, then that’s too bad.

          • It would serve them right. Still, are they less entitled to the same forgiveness that was afforded me? A guy tried to rape me in my younger days. Thankfully, God never said ‘forgive and forget’. He only said to forgive. It is His job to forget. Still working on forgiving him.

          • I have to wonder though: how many believed the ‘cures’ and lost faith in God because of they weren’t cured? I have never known anybody who was ‘cured’. I suspect that this part of what happened to you know who.

  • I wonder, if I would struggle with looking at straight porn versus gay porn, would I feel the same level of shame? I shouldn’t because all porn and subsequent masterbation is wrong and bad for my soul. So why do I feel that my looking at gay porn is worse? Why do I feel afterwards that G-d looks at me more badly than an OSA guy who looks at straight porn? I know the shame I feel is misplaced, and hat G-d loves me just as much as that OSA guy. He sees how I struggle, and while I may fall, I keep trying to get back up and try again.
    Regardingthe roommates, for me it’s hard when they get engaged and talk about their upcoming marriage (thankfully they didn’t talk outright about having sex with their wives after the wedding day), and I’m left wondering whether someone will even agree to marry me with my SSA. It’s a lonely feeling, and again, shameful.
    Sorry if I rambled here.

    • Yeah I can’t help but feel that if I looked at straight porn a lot I might make excuses for myself since its more “normal” whereas gay porn is less normal and more taboo in our culture. Therefor that makes me sometimes think its the “wort sin.” When really it doesn’t matter what kind of lust you are doing, lust is lust and sin is sin. None is worse than the other. Sometimes we as Christians need to step back from our societal views of what’s better or worse and look at Sin through God’s eyes.

    • I think you would feel as deeply ashamed and convicted. All lust is lust, as Eugene says. All of it is abnormal, in that it is below our dignity and worth as God’s creation and against His commandments. No one gets to God without godly sorrow and repentance, and no one gets those without conviction for sin. Are there degrees of conviction for sin? I don’t think so. I think anyone who has ever felt true conviction feels they are the worst of all sinners, regardless of their sin. They aren’t standing there justifying their sin against another’s.
      I think we’d be surprised how very ashamed straight people are about their sins. I have a very close friend who used to be addicted to straight porn. I will tell you he felt like a scumbag, and it nearly destroyed his marriage. But God was good and delivered him. He’d tell you how sorry and dirty he felt. I don’t think his shame was any lighter. In the end, it was sin.

      • This response from Kirk really spoke to me! Sin is sin is sin. I have close guy friends who are straight and have been addicted to/are struggling with straight porn and I can say, they have expressed feelings of deep shame and disgust at their sin, just like anyone else who hates their sin nature.
        “Below our dignity and worth as Gods creation” ‼️‼️‼️ That line. I shared that with at least ten people yesterday. I think that is what we know in our hearts, which is why we feel shame and it is what drives that internal voice that lets us know something isn’t right with what we are doing.
        Eugene, I found this post to be really helpful in terms of the dialogue that is coming from it so thank you for bringing up such a good topic! I’ve seen men who claim the name of Christ act out sexually in all sorts of ways and it hasn’t failed me in terms of masculinity per say, but it has highlighted to me that we as a Christian culture need to raise the bar for Godly Christian conduct for ALL men. Lastly, the double standard is there for sure, I see it in micro ways and I’m actively engaging in conversations with church leaders and young adult men about how we can chance it. The ground is level at the foot of the cross, let’s make sure all our brothers understand that and can walk in that freedom.

  • Oh Eugene, brother, we have so much to discuss on this subject. Your story is practically parallel to my own college experience with one of my roommates. The only difference was David chain locked me out of our “apartment” while he was with his woman of the week. We lived in a renovated hotel room designated off campus student housing. Eventually I left him and resided elsewhere in the building.
    As to your second question, I asked the property management staff to set me up with a “Christian” roommate. David called himself a Christian, but his subsequent promiscuous behavior told a different story. If this was how “Christian” OSA guys behave then I felt justified in being SSA and keeping my sexual integrity for the most part intact. I’m not perfect, but I never slept around, man or woman. David didn’t so much fracture my “masculine ideal,” but my ideal of a Christian man.
    I’ve always heard the adage: sin is sin is sin. Yet the Old Testament suggests homosexual sins like gay sex as abominations. So I feel conflicted on the subject of sin. Is there a hierarchy of sin in God’s eyes? The only fair and equitable assumption is all sin is bad in God’s eyes, so best not to do it.

    • Thank you Mac, I’m very glad this article resonated with you (to use Tom’s favorite word). I was never officially locked out of my room but I always avoided it when he had girls over. He kept telling me that I didn’t need to be out of the room and said I was welcome to stay there and hangout while he had girls over but ugh it was so awkward! It got annoy when he had them over and they were together late into the night and I had to text him that I needed to work the next morning and he needed to wrap it up.
      And yeah I don’t mean to sound “holier than thou” to my roommate and other straight men who do this sort of thing. I know I’ve had my sexual moral failings too (lusting after men, porn, masturbating on cam with other guys) but I’ve recognized I’ve done wrong and repented. These guys seemed to think they weren’t doing anything wrong and were doing it because its the “manly” thing to do.
      I’m not the most theologically inclined so I’m not sure if there’s really a hierarchy of sin in God’s eyes. But I think I’m confident enough to say that all sins in regards to lust and sex are basically the same no matter what they are. After all Jesus said those who looked lustfully at a woman have already committed adultery. And keep in mind, all stuff mentioned in the old testament was before Christ came to redeem the world.

      • It’s really and frankly kind of disgusting that he would invite you to stay in the room during his times of exploration. Look, Eugene, that’s not normal, not even for straight people. Ugg.

        • Well to be fair he wasn’t inviting me to be in the room when he was getting it on with girls, mainly only while cuddling. Still, very awkward. I mean of course I’ve written about how much I love bro cuddling. But even if I were rooming with a straight guy who was totally okay with it I’d still much rather do it in private.

    • Mac, you do a good job of expressing this point: it isn’t so much the idea of masculinity that is shattered, but the idea of what a Christian is. A true man doesn’t sleep around like this, and neither does a true Christian.
      If anything, I would say you are the true masculine ideal for keeping your sexual integrity.
      And to your point about hierarchy of sin, I think the language of scripture is plain that sin or any sort separates from God. But in the natural order of things, homosexual acts (let me emphasize ACTS), are unnatural. This is made pretty plain in Romans 1:26, 27. The point Paul is making is that the depravity of sin has been progressional the further humanity moved away from their knowledge of God.
      But there is a definitive difference between temptation or attractions and the acts themselves. No one who feels the attraction should be made to feel they are worse than the one who sleeps around with girls. That’s not comparing apples with apples. At least, this is my view, and I think it is scriptural.

  • Man I can totally relate to your hopes/expectations about roommates. I wonder where I got those ideas?
    Looking back, I didn’t ever feel like I had that life-together experience I was so looking forward to–there were a ton of disappointments and frustrations–but I did make some close friends, some of whom I still keep in touch with, a little. I do wonder if someone on the outside looking in would think that I was having the experience I had hoped for, which makes me wonder if the ideal-looking situations that we see from the outside actually feel from the inside how they look on the outside. (If that makes sense!)

    • Nah, probably not. Hence our own sense of feeling let down or like we missed the boat.
      How we do build air castles sometimes!

    • I’ll tell ya where we got those expectations: College Movies! lol
      But yeah interesting thought that maybe sometimes things look better than they are. Like you see two young good looking guys laughing and you automatically assume they’re the closest of brothers with the best relationship. In reality they could simply be mutual acquaintances sharing a joke and not much else.

  • 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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