Why do we choose a traditional, “Side B” sexual ethic as men who follow Jesus? Do we choose this life solely for our convictions or in spite of them? Do we live out a gay/SSA celibate life with joy or in angst and suffering?
Tom welcomes Ryan and Matt for a discussion on why we’re Side B, as opposed to “Side A” (gay-affirming), and where these labels even come from. We include some formerly Side A perspectives within our community and dive into the challenges we face as gay/SSA men of faith. We also theorize on the percentage of Side B believers who suffer from internalized homophobia. #hottake
Additionally, we talk about our recent authors’ retreat, our new bonus podcast, longboarding, the rains and hail of New Mexico, and of course some #YOBfashion with our resident style-master general, Matt.
You can listen below to our newest episode on WHY SIDE B. We hope you enjoy it! Don’t forget to comment with your Side B stories. We’d love to hear from you.
As always, we thank our YOBBERS — financial backers of Your Other Brothers who supply our show with phenomenal content. We couldn’t produce a podcast twice monthly without our faithful YOBBERS! Your support means so much.
We’re now producing one public episode and one private episode per month, the latter available only on Patreon. Pledging even $1/month allows you access to our new bonus podcast, The YOBaLOGUE, featuring listener feedback on this episode, bloopers, and other cut content from this episode including a brief discussion on Side B celibate partnerships.
You can check out our Patreon page for more information.
You can now call YOB! Call and leave us a message anytime at 706.389.8009. Ask us a question, comment on this WHY SIDE B episode, give us feedback, or tell us a story! We feature listener calls on The YOBALOGUE, and we look forward to continuing this episode’s epilogue/dialogue with our listeners.
If you enjoy our show, we’d appreciate your rating and review on Apple Podcasts. You can rate and review the YOBcast anonymously or by whatever name you prefer in your Apple settings.
Every rating/review helps us extend our reach even further. Subscribe to our show on the podcast app of your choice so you never miss an episode!
Thanks to the eighty (80!) of you who have already rated and reviewed us on iTunes. Just amazing.
New to the show? Wanna get in touch? Shoot us an email: [email protected]
You can also write us the old-fashioned way! We gladly accept postcards, handwritten letters, cassette tapes, and other nifty-gifties:
Your Other Brothers
P.O. Box 843
Asheville, NC 28802
Enjoy the episode below! And don’t forget to comment: why are you Side B? Have you ever been “Side A” or gay-affirming? What brought you to a new conviction? What’s your greatest challenge being Side B? Pull up a chair, and tell us a story.
LINKS FROM THE SHOW
- The YOBALOGUE: Teaser
- Justin Lee’s Side A essay
- Ron Belgau’s Side B essay
- Our Resources
- Preston Sprinkle’s book: People to be Loved
- Tom’s post: I’ve Never Wanted to Have Sex with Another Man
- Tom’s posts
- Ryan’s posts
- Matt’s posts
Wow, the “are Side B people that way because of internalized homophobia” was a very thought provoking question. I think in the many years before I really partook in the Side B world (or knew what it was for that matter) I wanted to stay away from the gay world as much as possibe with undoubtably a large amount of internalized homophobia. I sort of blogged about this in my “I’m an Unlovable Vampire” and “I Used to Hate Gay People” blogs. I think I learned about gay sex being considered sinful in the worst possible way, growing up in a very homophobic environment where I heard gay slurs at least 50 times a day in high school. Only until finding YOB did I really start to show a lot more grace to myself and to other gay men. I’ve come to terms with my sexuality a lot better than I used to be while still staying faithful to the Christian sexual ethic.
Ugh. Glad you’ve made that journey! I hope and pray the next generation is finding a more spacious world.
Right there with you, Eugene. That internalized homophobia is a silent killer. I feel that I’m only just now awakening to it.
One topic that came up in this podcast was loneliness. Many side B guys are afraid of permanently feeling lonely if they remain single. I am almost 60 and I’ve been single all my life. Having genuine friends and a sense of community has made me happy and rarely lonely.
I believe we as readers of YOB should do our best to promote the kind of community and friendship that will help relieve the pain of that loneliness!
Let’s keep this a topic of discussion.
Agreed! I think there are large swathes of people in the church who aren’t SSA/gay men who need this too.
I discuss this comment and your voicemail on the next YOBalogue, Marshall. I used to resound (even resonate) with this perspective. Now I’m seeing other aspects of the aging/loneliness struggle.
Dun dun dun. Stay tuned.
I get confused by the Side A/B geography. It seems like it’s saying it’s two sides of the same coin but the answer to the basic question of guys having sex is like different currency. When I listen to either side argue the bible to prove their point, Jesus’ words come to mind, You search the scriptures because in them you think you have life, but you refuse to come to Me to have life. Something spiritual & living seems lost in the theological arguments over this issue.
If I’m on a side it’s B. Side A seems to be a response to a movement in the world, not something new God is doing. But I don’t get something. Morally, the two sides are opposed. If Side B is right, then sex between guys is not just immoral, it’s sinful. What I don’t get is that should matter to living now, spiritually. Jesus’ call is to come and enter and abide. If Side A is sinful, then can one abide in Christ in a living way? There is a reality to abiding in Christ: if Side A guys are, what does that mean for Side B? My question isn’t about the bible behind Side A/B but the fruit of the choice.
My other comment was going to be on courage and cowardice on this journey, but I’m all sided out.
Thanks for a great podcast! I don’t have much to say of any value, quite frankly, except I have always lived a single, celibate life….Side B. There have been 2 things that have made it a hard journey:
1. being misunderstood: being questioned about not being married..called an oddball etc…and no one I know in person would even have the slightest idea what Side B is.
2. loneliness: not fitting in or being included in social activities or in church groups where others are married with families for example.
A short while ago I was reading the book of Genesis and Gen. 8″1 jumped out of the page at me, “But God remembered Noah…” and it encouraged me with dealing with those things I mentioned above. Even if others forget…misunderstand…don’t include you…God hasn’t forgotten me…and I am thankful for that.
Thankful for this community and the blessing it is.
God says to us, See! I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands! How can I forget thee?
Thanks for being part of it, WaveDave! Gave you a shout-out on our next YOBalogue. Mainly for your awesome username.
Wow – thank you! I am honored!
Without reservation the most heartwarming and touching YOB podcast I’ve enjoyed. Thank you to all three of you for vulnerably sharing the parts of your story that led you to choose and stay on the Side B route. I found myself reacting with unexpected agreement to so many of the internal obstacles and observations that you voiced.
The segment on fears, particularly with regard to loneliness, especially touched me. As a man who is Side B and married to a woman, I don’t think I experience the same acuity of loneliness that someone who chooses to be single and celibate may. There is a different-flavored loneliness in my life, however. It’s a bittersweet “what if?” pining that loves my wife completely and conditionlessly yet still wants a man to feel complete. It’s also tinged with shame for still looking for such a thing after God has blessed me so richly with a beautiful family.
Some days it’s easy to overlook and set aside that wondering and trust that God really does know what’s best for His creation. Other days not so much. I’m ever rearranging the hierarchy of importance of those different and conflicting feelings, and I imagine that that is part of my human-ness that I will have to crucify daily until I am called home.
Thanks for the support, Alec! Grateful you pulled up a chair. I always find it fascinating, the similarities and differences of folks in differing life stages and marital statuses. I get that bittersweet “what if?” from the single perspective. Believe me…I live in this “what if?” world often. Grateful for a God and other brothers to ground me in reality.
Just saying it isn’t nice to make a guy get teary okay? Stupid music and monologues. I have struggled to feel real gratitude for my salvation. I am beginning to realize that part of that is my not recognizing how dark my life was and being unable to relate my struggles to my brothers and sisters. To love God with all my heart, mind, body, and soul is so hard to make concrete. To gain wisdom by knowing and fearing God is too. I am realizing that recognizing the darkness and fallacy of the world’s pleasures is the way forward for me. Thanks.
Just listened to this podcast today and I had never even knew there was a difference in the two sides. I am definitely a Side-B person just because of my upbringing and when I do believe the bible says about all of this. While I have friends that are Side-A, it doesn’t make me care for them nonetheless. As a 34 year old single guy, it is hard, especially when all my friends are getting married and having kids. But I’m also at peace with being single. Would I like to have someone to share life with? Of course, but I’m just not at that stage in life yet. So many people, including those in my family, think that being gay has to do with sex, but it doesn’t. You can have SSA and never once had sex. I just want to walk the path that God has for me, whatever that may look like. I had struck up a good friendship with a gay guy on Twitter and we just really clicked. While he was of the Catholic faith, we had so much in common. We ended up having a very close intimate friendship, but that was all it was. I don’t think either of us wanted anything more out of it besides just a very close friendship. Sadly we no longer able to talk being he was banned from Twitter, but I will never forget that connection. Knowing that I can travel down this particular path and it will make for an interesting journey. I’ve only talked about any of this with very close friends because it is a very weird subject for me. There’s a line from an Amy Grant song that goes “for the sake of never making waves I kept my secrets to myself and no one ever really knew the darker shadows of my heart” and for me that struck me like nothing else. Being one that always wants to please everyone and not cause trouble, I’ve kept my SSA feelings to myself for the most part. I feel like I do want to get married at some point in the future, but that may not even be in the cards for me. Like the challenge that was mentioned, I should just learn to be ok in my singleness, even if it isn’t always easy.
…is now a good time to tell you there’s also a Side X, Side Y, and more? Hahaha. Glad our podcast could illuminate this concept for you, Chris.
Say what?! Mind blown