A new topic of discussion in many “Side B” (traditional sexual ethic) groups is that of celibate partnerships. Right now, those of you who don’t partake in such groups are probably thinking: What on earth are those?! What does that mean?
A same-sex celibate partnership is an intimate coupling between two same-sex attracted (SSA) or gay-identifying individuals. Bonded for life in a way similar to marriage but, of course, minus the sex. It is a life devotion in which the united individuals become family.
I have already seen a few celibate couplings form between guys. I’ve been mostly watching from a distance, but other times I’ve contacted those folks to ask questions. Sometimes I view them with a lot of envy.
Some cynics might say these relationships are just “Side A” (gay-affirming) relationships without sex. Indeed, I have seen a few that seem to model Side A relationships almost exactly the same way in appearance, even though they’re platonic.
I can’t say those hold much appeal for me.
This is such a brand new concept in relation to human history. I’m merely musing in this post and asking questions about the concept of celibate partnerships. These are simply my current thoughts, and they may change in time. I reserve no final judgments or opinions here.
I’ve written that one of my biggest fears is being alone. I’ve always worried that because of my singleness and beliefs on sexuality I’d end up being that creepy old loner guy down the street who the neighbors gossip about.
It seems like a nightmare scenario for my future.
Naturally, I’d love to live with someone and share my life despite my singleness. If I were to live with a straight guy, of course, I’d always live with the dreaded possibility of his eventually dating a girl, then moving out when they get married.
Living with random roommates doesn’t hold much appeal to me either. I’ve lived with “invisible roommates,” and it may be more dreadful than living completely alone.
I’d like someone to come home to at the end of the day. I could come home from the worst day ever and yet have that all go away as I drift into my brother’s arms.
I want a warm refuge when ghosts haunt my hallways in the deep, dark hours of the night. Someone with whom to share life.
Over the past couple years, I’ve discovered that I click with fellow Side B men infinitely better than with straight men. I’ve also experienced the deepest and most meaningful relationships of my life with these particular guys.
Since the dreaded prospect of some girlfriend intervening with these types of men isn’t as nearly a high possibility, this arrangement would be very ideal!
What if he and I could be a step more than just mere roommates? What if we were . . . a family?
Vowed friendships are actually nothing new. Such formalities existed in medieval times. In his book, Spiritual Friendship, Wesley Hill writes:
“The way in which these spiritual unions had often been sealed in the medieval era was with a liturgy, performed in view of but also outside the doors of the church, signifying that these pacts were sanctioned by divine authority but were also folkloric in origin rather than sacramental. In the Christian East, such rites, as Pavel Florensky notes, already bore a more overtly spiritual character. With adelphopoiesis, the rite of brother making, the two friends who were making promises to each other shared Holy Communion, partaking of the presanctified elements from a common cup, and exchanged crosses with each other. After they traded kisses, the Scripture was read: ‘Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!’ (Ps. 133:1 KJV)”
Aha! So, this has been a thing before. Would it be possible for this adelphopoiesis concept to be brought back in a modern way? Frankly, a lot of those subjects hold much appeal for me.
Regarding a celibate partnership for life, there’d be that feeling of stability. If you were to devote yourself to one person and he to you, you would be together forever.
Since you’d be family and brothers before God, yet celibate, obeying the traditional biblical sexual ethic, there wouldn’t be anything sinful present, would there?
Hold on a minute. We need Dr. Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park to remind us:
Indeed, is this something that SHOULD be done? Why all the pizazz of an ancient ceremony? Would simply being friends together be enough? Could there be emotionally damaging effects for people who attempt celibate partnerships?
Also, what if the dreaded emotional dependency were to rear its ugly head? Since celibate partnerships are inherently platonic, perhaps they could be sort of “polygamous,” for lack of a better word?
Indeed, if one were to have multiple “partners” (even if they didn’t live with you), one could have “backups” in the event of dramatic fallings out or death. That way no one is ever left out.
What other theological questions arise from celibate partnerships? As well as political and ethical ones?
Regardless, if many Side B men are to pursue celibate partnerships, it may take a few brave pioneers to discover what platonic partnership lives are actually like. Lots of trial-and-error may be involved with hopefully the errors not being too terrible (and not leading to the creation of a celibate divorce court TV show).
I didn’t set out to write this blog to make any statements or grounded opinions. I’m still unsure at the moment. At the very least, I do want to live with my closest Side B brothers, with or without the fancy life partnership title, complete with an official adelphopoeisis ceremony.
What do you think of this concept of adelphopoeisis? Would you consider a celibate partnership for yourself? Are celibate partnerships appropriate or biblical? Any hardcore theologians wanna take a stab at it?
Wow, thanks for starting this controversial but needed discussion Eugene!
I strongly believe that it is better to address the “elephant in the room” directly than to keep pretending it is not there. Obviously these ideas about celibate partnerships have been hinted at widely at Revoice and in other groups of guys dealing with same-sex attraction.
When I see committed friendships in the Bible, such as David / Jonathan and Ruth / Naomi, the friendships are not seen as a replacement for marriage, but something different in addition to marriage. Jesus Himself had a close, committed friendship with the Apostle John. It was spiritually and emotionally deep, but not exclusive. Jesus had other close friends!
Likewise we should follow Jesus’ example as a single man. We should have close friendships with other men but not one exclusive relationship that demands unique lifetime devotion to each other.
We all need to talk this through so that you, I, and other guys can move forward in having the kind of community needed to deal with loneliness. I’m so glad you brought this up!
Marshall, I’m interested in unpacking your statement, “We should have close friendships with other men but not one exclusive relationship that demands unique lifetime devotion to each other.” What aspect(s) of “unique lifetime devotion” do you see as problematic? I.e., would a unique devotion be alright as long as it’s not lifetime? Would a lifetime devotion be alright as long as it’s not unique?
Ryan, what I meant by “demands unique lifetime devotion” was:
1. Demanding means requiring, not optional but mandatory, because of the commitment.
2. Unique means exclusive, a commitment that is only between two and not shared with others.
3. Lifetime means the commitment lasts “Til death do us part”.
4. Devotion means an all- consuming commitment that involves heartfelt affection, loyalty, effort, money, and time.
I believe the main problem is not the lifetime or the devotion, it is the demanding and the exclusivity. If you give that much of yourself to just one man you are not following Jesus’s example. He gave all for His people, not just one man.
Marshall, I’m curious what you think marriages should look like. Should marriages have the qualities of demanding and exclusivity? (Obviously there should be sexual exclusivity / monogamy, but besides that biblical requirement, I’m curious what you think a healthy marriage should look like.)
Yes, there should be monogamy in marriage, but both the husband and wife need other friends too. John Piper expressed it well when he said that his love for his wife is unique, but she is not the only one for whom he would die!
one being that it’s a celibate partnership being discussed, no one is talking about sex. Just you. No one either has said that the partnership would be necessarily exclusive in nature unless in the nature of sharing goods, finances, insurance and so on and who decides that those are marital rights in the first place is the government.
and good on John Piper about only dying for his wife, but what about his kids? Wouldn’t he die for his kids? So is he that cold hearted or just short sighted in order to make a point? And what about first responders that risk their lives every day for tons of people? and it’s not unheard of that people die for their friends either. The Bible even calls for it, “no greater love hath any man than this, that he LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS.”
Like I said, it’s not to argue but these reasons aren’t convincing much. And I’m not fully convinced about said partnerships myself
Ashley, sorry I am not clearly stating what I mean. When I write comments here I tend to keep them short, unlike when I talk in person LOL.
Ryan Burger and I had a serious conversation this week about this. When I keep everything brief it usually makes it easy for readers to misunderstand because I leave out so much. I intend to start being more like Ryan in the way he explains in depth.
When I said that I’m talking about friendship, not sex, I should have said a lot more instead of assuming so much. A celibate partnership is a type of friendship, not a marriage, because it doesn’t involve sex. When I look at Jesus’s example for guidance on celibate partnerships I believe I need to look at the way he handled friendship, not the way he handled marriage. He had many friends, not just one. He invested his time and emotional energy in many people to different degrees: the crowds, His 12 disciples, and his closer friends Peter, James, and John. I believe we should do the same, not devoting too much of ourselves exclusively to one friend. Marriage is where we see a human analogy of Jesus giving His life for the church, as you so appropriately pointed out!
I realize that many do not require a celibate partnership to be exclusive. I meant to say that a friendship becomes unhealthy when it becomes too exclusive, when it involves jealousy and obsession. If a celibate partnership has these two characteristics then it should be considered unhealthy.
What John Piper said was NOT that his wife was the only one he would die for. He did say that there were others also that he loved enough to die for. Again, I was too brief in my comment so I made it too confusing.
Ashley, I actually believe you and I are saying the same things and we basically agree. I have just been too poor in my communication, so I caused misunderstandings. I intend to be a little more thorough in my explanations in the future so hopefully my ideas will clearly come across.
thanks for taking the time to write it all out. I can be really short at times myself. but yeah that’s why I was confused, because what you say now makes sense. we just focused on different highlights I guess
not that I am arguing but I feel like that is a flawed argument because the earthly image of God giving Himself to all of humanity is one man giving his life for one woman in sexual union
I’m not sure I follow that line of thinking. The marital act is definitely an earthly analogy of the oneness of Christ and His church. But when Paul says for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church by giving himself for it, it doesn’t appear he is specifically talking about the sexual aspect. Rather, he means for the husband to love and protect her…to literally down his life for her. He uses the words nourish and cherish her, as much as he cares for his own self.
This same care is what we should have for others. As John tells us, Christ laid down His life for us, and we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren–all of the brethren. I think Marshall is on to something in that regard.
Thanks KirkDaniel! Like you, I am talking about friendship here, not sex.
Ashley, since celibate partnerships are a type of friendship, I am looking at how Jesus handled friendships, not sex.
Hey Marshall thank you for your thoughts, you make some great points. I mention in another comment on here that I kind of wouldn’t want to see such relationships reflect the modern attitude straight men have to their wives where its like “I have my wife, I don’t need anyone else” in that sort of exclusivity. I also definitely don’t think it would be helpful if such relationships were made as a replacement for marriage or some sort of emulation of marriage minus the sex. Ideally I guess you could say it would be like those Biblical relationships where they are emotionally and spiritually deep but not exclusive.
I like the idea of celibate partners being family in the sense of brothers (not spouses) where you are family living life together and being there for each other for the rest of the single celibate lives. But certainly not exclusive in like “I don’t need anyone else.” Like I mention in the blog, I’ve seen some celibate partnerships that completely mirror Side A or romantic relationships and I don’t see that working. If it works for those guys, great but I doubt it would work well for me or many others.
I get you, Eugene. Brotherhood is supposed to be endemic to the Christian experience. I am wondering why on earth this appears to be such a problem in the modern churches. Sometimes I read the longings of brothers on here, and I feel like Rip Van Winkle, waking up into a new era. Where have I been for the last 25 years? Some of this support everyone longs for is, like, so very basic and scriptural. Why is this sense of community not being met by the local churches?
So very true kirk, its probably the biggest mistake the church has made in recent years. Its such a shame. I often feel like it boils down to politics. Over the past 25 years the church fought so hard against gay marriage that they forgot about people that are hurting. And they pushed the normal heterosexual family so hard as the norm to oppose gay marriage they forgot about the values of brotherhood. We have all suffered for it.
I have asked the same thing Kirk. I believe that one of the gifts we SSA men have to offer the greater church is our passion for healthy and deep same-sex friendships. Our lots in life have equipped us to teach other men what it is to be true friends. I know several of my close OSA male friends occasionaly thank me for teaching them more about what said friendship can look like. This gives me hope! I love that God can use our brokenness to bless others (and ourselves). As one of my favorite passages says, “For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness” – Psalm 18:28. I take this to mean that when I seek God in my hurt and pain, He teaches me more about Himself and slowly heals my soul. This healing, or illumination, enables me to be a vessel that blesses others. That currently incarnates in deeper friendships. I am stopping now before I ramble…assuming I haven’t already 🙂
You haven’t. I love what you say. So much truth in it. Keep your chin up, my brother. In all of these things, God is working for us a far more and exceeding weight of glory in the next world. But it is not all over there. Here we can know the height, the depth, the length, the breadth of the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.
I think this topic merits a lot of nuance, and then some more. A facile straw-man is, “These relationships emulate marriage–nobody’s fooled–therefore if you reject same-sex marriage you must also reject celibate partnerships.” But I’m not convinced it’s impossible to embark on that life path with a different (bigger, better) goal. If I have to evaluate a celibate partnership I will evaluate it individually on its own merits, its own goals (spoken and unspoken), and its own capacity for building the Kingdom.
To me, the most interesting question is the one of exclusivity. It seems like that’s what a lot of people’s concerns boil down to (e.g., Marshall in a different comment here). I wonder, what are the expectations around exclusivity felt by someone in a real-life celibate partnership? I also wonder how much “exclusivity” is an allowable result of natural human limited-ness. I can’t be best friends with everyone. It’s okay to invest different amounts in different relationships. Is there a way to deal with exclusivity in celibate partnerships that is simply an expression of striking that balance?
My final (for now!) thought is that I suspect 80% of what 80% of us are after is just relational commitment. Like you said, Eugene, we want someone who’s going to be there for us, someone who’s not going to move away, geographically or emotionally. This isn’t wrong to want and I don’t think it’s wrong to seek. I would guess one reason celibate partnerships appeal to us is that they provide a model or framework for that commitment that is familiar: romantic/sexual/marriage partnerships. We see this framework on TV, in movies, in the news, amongst our friends, expounded from the pulpit. It’s easy to imagine relational commitment looks and feels like under that model–how it might be within our grasp. I believe there is at least one alternative in the model of spiritual family, but it’s more difficult to picture what finding and providing relational commitment in that model would look and feel like, because it’s outside of the mainstream of stories our society likes to tell. Even though I’m open to seeing some celibate partnerships as faithful expressions of God’s calling in folks’ lives, I still think the work of building out other templates for relational commitment is vitally important.
Like you I am all for committed friendships, even having a best friend. There can be great security and happiness with that kind of loyalty. I believe friendships can be lifelong, I regularly talk to guys who have been my friend 30 or 40 years.
I just believe we should not limit it to one guy for all our lives.
Thank you Ryan! Yeah those are some great questions regarding exclusivity. In my mind I don’t like the idea of one treating a celibate partner like the way most modern straight guys interact with their wives where its like they always MUST be with them constantly and they take a super super high priority over anything in life. Then again I think that modern attitude to marriage is damaging so I’d hope life partners wouldn’t emulate that. Like you said, I think ideally it would mostly just be a relational commitment. That they’re not going to leave you, stop talking to you, or move away geographically and emotionally like you said. I guess the ideal scenario is that it boils down to that regardless of any similarities to marriage.
I do have an honest question about something. Can you honestly require or expect a friend (even a deeply committed one) to feel obligated to never move away geographically?
Well in a deeply committed one, I’m sure there’d be a lot of discussion about it rather than making a random announcement saying “whelp, I’m moving to Guam for a new job. Its been fun. Byeeeee!” Even if they did move and I stayed put, I’m sure we’d try to maintain our relationship though it would be very hard. This is all hypothetical of course.
I see. I guess I am more of the mind that this kind of commitment is more something that exists in marriage–the “until death do us part”. I don’t think I could require this type of commitment from any of my friends…because what if the Lord’s will involved them moving away and me staying put?
That being said, I also think that true friendship isn’t something that can be dropped like a hot potato. There is no way that I could just say, See ya later, to my closest friends. I couldn’t be so flippant.
12 years ago, my wife and I felt God calling us to move a few hours away from where we then lived to assist in the building up of a church plant. This meant leaving both family and the ones we held dearest to our hearts in the church there. There were many tears, I can assure you. It meant years of spiritual labor in a very small congregation with no one my age or that even shared my own interests. I have maintained my spiritual closeness with my old friends. We connect at church conferences and over WhatsApp, etc. I am so grateful for them. I couldn’t imagine just taking off and breaking that closeness. Yet, in some ways I am still lonely as a male. My wife is wonderful and supportive, and has been such a blessing to me. But when it comes to in-person male companionship, I have precious little. But I am encouraged that I am in the center of His will, and perhaps this is a cross I must bear.
Oh Kirk…I so feel that loneliness for that male intimacy too…sometimes making my head and heart spin with longing…but my safest place is coming close to Jesus, clinging on for dear life and dying to my desperate “need.” My wife once pointed out that the guy in the cross didn’t die straight away. I’m still not dead!
Our wives. How they do speak truth to us in those times when we have a hard time seeing it. There are aspects of it we definitely should die to. But, then I also think there is a natural component that cannot be crucified, because it is from the Lord Himself. In either respect, however, in whatsoever condition we find ourselves in life, it is best, as Paul says, therewith to be content. But I do pray for God to shower you with good, wholesome, male companions. We all need them. Keep fighting the good fight, Brian!
I feel this! Society assumes that relational intimacy must have some label/connotation to define it. At this point in my life, I really wish I could have a relationship like this, but as only a sophomore in college, I cannot know how my perspectives or desires might change. Right now, I have several close friends who are grounded in the Lord, but sometimes…I just want to come home to a guy my age who understands what I’m going through.
On November 9, 2018, I did something I had never done before. I exchanged phone numbers with one of my male coworkers. It wasn’t for a sweaty hookup; it was so that we could go to the movies together (Bohemian Rhapsody). It was unchartered territory for me, and I still don’t know how this is going to turn out. I am however not sexualizing him, but rather seeing him as a human being, created by God.
I was opposed to the idea of gay marriage (I still am), but there can be a church recognized civil union. This can be found in 1 Samuel 18:3-4; 20:3; 20:17; and most importantly verse 42. I don’t believe David and Jonathan ever had sex, but as the scripture says in 20:42 “Go in peace, for we have sworn loyalty to each other in the LORD’s name. The LORD is the witness of a bond between us and our children forever.” (NLT)
In Genesis it says that “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” (2:18; NLT)
I am not attracted to women, yet God did not mean for me to be alone. I am beyond sex with a guy. I just want a lasting friendship with one. Maybe this guy will prove to be what I need. Only God knows.
Thank you for sharing Bradley! Indeed it is not good for a man to be alone. So cool you were able go hang out with one of your co workers and see Bohemian Rhapsody. I’ve been wanting to see that, was it good?
I found the movie somewhat formulaic (someone rises to stardom, forgets his band, does drugs and has lots of sex, and then finds ultimate redemption with his former bandmates), but still the depiction of Freddy Mercury’s performance at the 1985 Live Aid Concert was stellar. I wound up weeping the last thirty minutes of the movie, as it had redeemed the rest of the film. Also I was struck that he did not love himself, and did not start to love himself until he discovered he had AIDS. At that time it was a death sentence as there was no treatment for it.
As someone who is in one of these strange arrangements, I find it has been very enriching in both of our lives. Originally it started out as sexual until our convictions forced us back onto the right road. I understand the confusion because it certainly isn’t something that is easy to catagorize. It’s sort of a prioritized friendship, which I suppose can be problematic at times. But ultimately just about every social connection we have in life has its difficulties. My “friend” and I simply share a house and support each other on a day by day basis in work and life in general. We both refrain from using the word “partner” now due to sexual connotations. People are always a bit confused, though I think that’s good. Life is complex and not everything fits neatly into catagories. It’s actually a great way to strike up a conversation about faith. I am a loner by nature, but I still find having this relationship has enriched my life deeply. It’s great to have someone always close by that has your back, though of course that can come in many other forms than a celibate partnership.
Thanks for sharing Aaron. I’m actually on the lookout for examples like this. I admire you. I don’t know if I can deliberately seek this out for myself, but it’s nice to see it as even a possibility.
Glad it was encouraging, Alex!
I loved reading this comment. Thanks so much for sharing, Aaron!
Wow thank you Aaron for sharing! I wasn’t expecting a person in an actual celibate partnership to respond. So great to hear your perspective. I would very much love to hear you elaborate more on what the relationship looks like and what challenges, problems, and yet good things come out of it. Yeah I imagine it is confusing to the outside world. If I ever get into such a relationship I wouldn’t bother explaining the details to most people outside of close friends. I would just say “oh we’re only roommates.”
Great article btw! Oddly enough Eugene, we have started saying the roommate thing now due to avoiding sexual connotations. Unfortunately we started with the partner concept and walking that back has been very confusing for some friends of ours.
As for challenges, the sexual component was confusing for the first few years, though thankfully it isn’t really a temptation anymore. The excitement wore off (thankfully) and we tried to find out what it means to care for each other on a more companionship level that didn’t compromise our beliefs. Having a sort of exclusive friendship on some level also has its challenges, though we both try not to monopolize each other’s social lives. Still we treat our relationship as a sort of special thing apart from other social interaction. We share the same house and display affection privately but steer clear of anything public as it can be misconstrued as sexual.
So all that to say it’s been a learning experience for both of us. I agree that saying anything to the outside world is just a pain. I’d say it’s a good thing to be open to, so long as you feel you and your “friend” could be respectful of the chaste nature of the arrangement. Even if it’s only for a time, it has been a blessed few years for us.
Thank you very much Aaron! I’m so fascinated to hear your story. A lot of it sounds similar to me intimate interactions with many of my brothers on YOB though in your case its in a living situation. It also answers a lot of questions I’ve had, like trying not to monopolize each other’s social lives that’s a biggie. Thank you very much my friend.
I like what @@defnotryan:disqus says. “If I have to evaluate a celibate partnership I will evaluate it individually…” Because it’s one of those things that 1) I kind of keep my opinion to myself about and 2) my answer if ever asked is “it depends.” It depends on the individuals involved, the relationship they have, the feelings involved, and the motive behind it. While not impossible, if the two individuals are in love so to speak, I think it would be harder on them, but just because they are in love doesn’t mean it is the main motivator behind the relationship. I am of the mind that if it is the main motive for the relationship it may make not make it as far as the couple hopes, or it may just have a great start and really bumpy middle and eventually work out. The varying dynamics of people and their individual personality plays a lot into whether something like this is a good idea or not, and I don’t think we can automatically say this is a good idea for absolutely everyone or a bad idea for absolutely everyone.
Personally, if my life we different and I weren’t married and I think about myself and how this would go for me, I think that personally living alone with someone I am in love with and can’t express myself a certain way with would be some special type of torture, but honestly I think it would be doable living in community. Could I do life with another woman or even another ssa woman if all of those feelings weren’t involved? Totally. I probably could even if some, but not all were involved. But if all all all the feels were there I don’t think I could do it, but that’s me and how my personality and character and emotions would fit into that situation – I cannot speak for other people. As with, for example, mixed orientation marriage (for different reasons all together, but I think it’s still a good example) works for me but does not and will not work for everybody. It depends on the people involved and why they are doing what they are doing.
As for @[email protected]_06UQNUvDS6:disqus comment on how the dynamics were different with David and Jonathan and Naomi and Ruth it’s because it was a different time and a different culture as well. No one was left alone. You always had somewhere to go. Such is not the case in our culture and century and those are things I think we should consider as well.
Well said. It really depends on so many varying circumstances that it is hard to say it “works”’or doesn’t. My friend and I have had our celibate partnership for a good 7 years now and the sexual component is no longer an issue, though it took a while to work out the details. It was never really torturous but it was difficult to untangle feelings associated with attraction that relate to worth. All in all it has been a positive experience for us, though I’m sure it wouldn’t work for many as well. It all depends.
Thank you Ashely! I think you bring up a good point. Like I’ve mentioned in my nudity and cuddling blogs, this may definitely not be for everyone. It should not be viewed as the be all end all cure to loneliness and single life that many SSA people face. It is true that in a sense the brothers I would live with would be ones I’m “in love” with but not so much in a sexual sense. With all of my closest brothers on YOB, I feel an incredibly strong emotional connection and sexuality has rarely if ever been an issue. I love them like my own family and to bring sex into it would be counterproductive. At the same time I know there are other men out there that would struggle so much more with this.
I’m absolutely in support of same-sex celibate relationships and do not personally think there is anything wrong or sinful with such relationships! Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ myself, I have covenanted to keep the Law of Chastity, which is, in more words or less, no sexual relations except between my wife and I (husbands and wives, men and women). Of course there’s a lot of gray and personal interpretation/interpolation. But for me it means I need to keep the actual SEX solely between my wife and I. I can still have close male friends that I enjoy deep, intimate connection with (friendship, snuggling, cuddles, holding hands), just so long as I keep the sex/lust out of it.
I have a guy in my life currently that I’m very close to. As close as two SSA men can be…sans sex. I’ve come to learn this SSA is my cross and trial to bear in this life and is something I need to learn to control, to master, and temper, even if it takes my entire life to do (which it probably will). But I can’t even imagine going through my life w/o having some of these deep, humongous male needs met. For whatever reason, I NEED closeness with another men. It gives me peace and fulfillment and contentment. Are those sinful emotions and feelings? I think not. But when lust creeps in and I push aside the spiritual gifts to drink in the sins and pleasures of the flesh, that’s when I feel poopy.
If I were not married to my wife, who knows all about me and supports me and loves me and stands by my side and with whom I couldn’t imagine spending my life without, I would then absolutely consider entering into a celibate same-sex relationship.
Well hello Christopher! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much for your perspective Christopher! That’s so wonderful to hear you have a close SSA friend and you make it work even though you are married to a woman. That brings me to a question I didn’t ask in the blog, would it be possible for an SSA man already married to a woman have a male life partner? Its a good question and it could easily go very wrong if caution wasn’t used. One married SSA friend of mine brought up the question that would it be an “emotional affair” if you had something close and intimate with another man? My thought was no, as long as you don’t neglect your wife emotionally and have ample time and affection for both people if possible.
I’ve met many married SSA guys just like you and they all say the same things. They love their wives dearly but they really desperately need close relations with other men. I can totally understand that and I think it should be encouraged. Of course it is all about balance.
Being new here, I came across this blog and needless to say, I’m in a very similar boat as you, Chris. Married here but SSA feelings have been the thorn in my side that I’ve kept covered up for so long, because it has existed since I was a child, and peeked during puberty.
I’ve had nobody to discuss this with and it’s almost choking me up reading through some of these blog entries and comments.
I have plenty of room to learn here and definitely look forward to the interaction.
Thanks for reaching out, Chris! I’m so sorry you’ve felt alone for so long, but guess what!? You’re not alone! There are 1000s of us guys in the same boat that are here for you <3
Jeff, what leads you to presume none of those men experienced same-sex attraction?
I, for one, take the scripture at face value in this regard. Tempted in all points means what it says. I certainly understand how uncomfortable this makes some feel. We want Jesus to be removed from the grime and filth of our would. Yet He can down to it and entered into it. He wore a body of flesh, with all of its requisite quirks and requirements. He endured it all so He might know how to help us in temptation and make for us a way of escape. I love Him for it. Far from making me uncomfortable, it touches me deeply to think He understands because He’s been through it. And it gives me confidence and boldness when I come to Him for grace to help in time if need.
I love this. I want more discussions about this. I am still figuring out my thoughts on celibate partnerships. I honestly believe they can be good and beneficial. But like any relationship, they could also lead to sin and bad consequences. Ultimately, it must be navigated with extreme care and wisdom.
I also think we need to take a look at the definitions available for celibate partnerships. Is it just for SSA/Gay men? What about women? What about coed celibate partnerships? Are those possible? And what are the differences exactly between that and committed best friends? Or are there differences?
There’s a lot more to unpack here. Definitely want to see more posts about this topic. Thank you for writing and sharing, Eugene!
Thank you for the encouragement Dean! This is something that needs to be talked about. I’m seeing some Side B guys going straight into these and it seems to have been done with little discussion or analyzing the possible outcomes. Which is why we have this blog. And yes it needs to be navigated with caution. I think some people have rushed into it. At the same time I agree that they could be very beneficial. But I’m not 100% sure on my thoughts either. That’s why I made this blog, to get the discussion going.
Your second paragraph is making my head explode, and I just cleaned the keyboard too! Yeah it opens soooooo many other questions. For us SSA guys we definitely face this dynamic since a majority of us face singleness. But still, yeah a lot to unpack. We could be facing the new dawn of mankind! *queue Also Sprach Zarathurstra*
I love love LOVE this post! While I have traditional views on marriage and the appropriate use of sex, the concept of celibate companionship just lights me up. For me, it currently resonates with the fruits of the Spirit.
I’m reminded of something Wesley Hill said in regards to spiritual friendship. Being a lone could lead to some of the negative things that can come from isolation. Yet being with someone could lead to sexual and other temptations. Either way, we’re going to be subject to various temptations. Being in a celibate companionship could either be dangerous, or it could be something beautiful, life-giving and perhaps HELP the individuals involved grow closer to God.
I sometimes dream of being involved in church and family functions with a significant other of sorts. I’m still fuzzy on the interpersonal side of things…like living situations and giving time and effort to a relationship. But it’s relieving to me to know that the option of a life partner is there.
I know there are voices out there claiming that we’d be imitating a marriage, but considering that I believe marriage was meant to be between a man and a woman and, at its core, was meant to point towards pro-creation (even though there are couples who can’t or choose not to have kids), even if I were sexual with a man, it would not, by definition, be a marriage.
Thank you Alex, so glad you loved the blog! Yeah you are totally right, living alone or living with another person you are potentially attracted to has its risks. But if you risk nothing, you lose nothing, yet gain nothing. In my view I’d take a chance on something new rather than just being alone. At the same time it isn’t something to be taken lightly and must be really thought hard about.
Yeah I’ve often wondered what the interpersonal side of a partnership would look like. One thought I’ve had is that we would have our own separate rooms with our own beds. We’d sleep in our own rooms on work nights, but on weekends hop in each other’s beds and have a cuddle party. Just some candid thoughts there.
Yeah there’s those negative voices. One could say it has many values that are different from a marriage. Hard to nail those down because again we know so little on what these look like since so few people have done them.
Yes, I agree there are different issues guys like us face in friendships, but I believe Jesus’s example of friendship applies to all of us, even if we deal with SSA. He did not show or teach a different pattern of friendship for those dealing with SSA .
It’s probably not from a good place, but being in a David & Jonathan more-than-brothers friendship would be awesome. I’ve had buddies over the years, some I still keep in touch with and we help each other when needed, but nothing like the intense, emotional and pure thing that happened between them. I think it was the purest thing blessed by God and had nothing to do with sex. I’d like to believe that I could handle it, but it would be inviting a spiritual battle over emotional issues that I haven’t navigated well so far. But I’m expecting that heaven is a place where all those issues are gone and all relationships will be pure and awesome.
I hope someone comes up with something better than ‘celibate partnership’ to describe the reality of “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” Maybe that’s just church when we’re really one in Christ.
Yes, bluzhawk. I think it is church in its purest and most scriptural form.
Well I suppose “soul knitting” might be a different idea for a name for it. Again it goes back to the adelphopoesis idea which it was literally “brother making.” So its not so much of going on and on about how sexless it is, but its that you have become brothers before God. Spiritual brothers! That can be so much more powerful than biological brothers. Its an idea I like a lot, plus it might hush the side that says these things look too much like marriage.
I love the idea of soul knitting, that two souls are one, more than the naming it that. As words go, adelphopoesis is awesome, but the the reality of being spiritual brothers is true already, isn’t it, that we’re brothers in Christ. That we don’t feel it in our souls as God intends us to may be more a question of faith and of the heart being all in with what God has already made true in us in spirit.
You know what would be great as valid and honored between guys? Soulmates…the simple idea that two guys can be one in soul and it be pure and blessed by God, like David and Jonathan. Marriage is different, a man becomes one flesh with his wife in marriage, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that they ever were or become one soul. Sex can be the most intimate act we ever do, but being soulmates may be the most intimate we ever become.
Soulmates, there’s a mystery to it that I don’t understand. It happens so unexpectedly and without effort that it seems like grace. In terms of names tho, ‘soul mating’ doesn’t really work either, does it? I didn’t say it before Eugene but you wrote a great post. There’s so many good comments that have come from it.
I’m a bit late to this conversation, but what about soul brothers? We already have blood brothers. Plus, it avoids the more obvious false assumptions that a term like “partnership” might have.
I like it, always good to hear something that adds to the conversation. For so many things in life it’s hard for words to get to the reality, sometimes music and art express it better, especially when people hear so differently.
I have been thinking about this and what I can think about is soulmates but not couple. So, my thinking in this is – you two can decide to live together but you admit to the fact that you are more than friends possibly “soul mates” and you two are not a couple so no sex. You two cannot get married – no sex and no kissing. Maybe a hug and cuddle is okay.
Then you both seek to honor God in your ways. Naomi and Ruth lived together. Ruth vowed to go wherever Naomi goes. Jonathan vowed a deep friendship to David and offered his robes and sword to him and said something like “my soul is bounded to yours. I love you like my own soul.” something like that. Please refer to your bibles for the accurate verse. I’m just writing from memory.
But maybe calling the relationship as “couple” can be tricky coz now you two are bonded.
By setting each other free, and of course accepting the possibility that one day one of you two may marry an opposite sex partner, you both surrendered to God your sexual desires and truly trusted in the gift of friendship that He has given. You can decide to remain single forever and stay with your soulmate.
It is a tough path to take. Coz you have no hold on your soulmate to say “dont marry – just stay” coz u surrendered that part already. you only have a hold on you. you are friends. a little more than friends but in a deep desire to honor God, you decide to not be a couple, set each other free, but just as Naomi and Ruth stayed in one house to support each other, so you decided to stay in one house. (Different bedrooms though)
So that is my thinking.
I am not doing this yet.
This is a very trickt area to navigate but what are your thoughts?
Hey TF, sorry about getting back to you so late, I missed this when you posted. I’m thinking we’re on the same page but I was writing about relationship not living together. fwiw, there’s absolutely nothing wrong imo living one-on-one with another guy if you can handle it, soulmate or friend, and whatever ya wanna call it.
Eugene, my very artistic brother! With Marshall, I say thanks for bringing up this subject. It needs to be discussed.
First of all, thanks for this tacit admission: “This is such a brand new concept in relation to human history.” I think this is true. I’m not sure I see the parallels between the medieval practice and what is being proposed by more modern thinkers. The medieval culture was religious, and the concept appears to have been a formal recognition of friendship, not a replacement for relationships scripturally and naturally reserved for those of the opposite gender. In other words, it was not a replacement for the marriage relationship.
I wonder if this is where the crux of the problem lays. There is no replacement for scriptural marriage. It is a unique relationship, a joining of the opposite genders in such a mysterious way, and not just biologically through the act of sex. The intimacy of marriage is unique and cannot be approximated by committed friendships or by same-sex relations of any sort.
Moses summed up the uniqueness of the male-female relationship in marriage thusly: Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and shall be joined unto his wife. And they twain shall be one flesh. And Paul uses this same scripture to explain the mystery of Christ’s union with the church.
So, I am really wondering about the same-sex celibate partnership idea in light of these things. If one is seeking something akin to marriage without the sex, that appears to be a corruption of the idea of marriage and should be avoided.
But I do understand the heartfelt desire for close, heartfelt commitment and friendships with other males. I think this is built into us, regardless of SSA. If the churches practiced what they preached, you, my other brothers, would find what you long for within a safe, spiritual community, and there would be no need to entertain ideas fraught with such potential for emotional harm.
Thank you so much kirkdaniel! Yeah that is a good point, I don’t know if adelphopoeisis was intended to be a replacement for marriage or not. Might have to do more research on that. In regards to how we view it now, I imagine we shouldn’t look at it as a substitute for marriage. Maybe more like a different option for single people. Marriage is indeed meant to be a union where two become one in the flesh. But what if life partnerships were meant for two to become one in the spirit? I don’t know how much there is to back this up biblically aside from David and Jonathon having their souls knit to one another. But it is a thought. I could say that I feel like I’ve become one in the spirit already with brothers I have become close with here on YOB.
And yes, I really do feel like I have found community and family here on YOB which I sadly never found at the churches I’ve attended. Its a risk that these platonic life partnerships could be emotionally harmful especially if people are not careful. Although the fact is that SSA guys out there are doing this, so it needs to be discussed.
Yes, it needs to be talked about, for sure.
Possibly my biggest difficulty with this topic is the missing piece of defining what a celibate partnership is. Who actually gets the final say in deciding what it is and what it isn’t? My guess is that if you asked 10 people to define it you’d probably get 10 different answers. Who’s the final authority to questions like: Can two straight guys not have a celibate partnership? Does a celibate partnership always mean you exclusively live with that person and no one else? Does a celibate partnership imply that you don’t have other close friends? How much exclusivity is required to earn this title? Without a solid and agreed upon definition, it’s almost impossible to have a meaningful conversation.
If we’re not able to begin our dialogues with a good working definition, our conversations will end up sounding like this:
Person #1: “I don’t feel like celibate partnerships are a good idea because of X, Y, and Z.”
Person #2: “I’m in a celibate partnership and it doesn’t include X, Y or Z.”
Person #1: “Well, then you’re not in a celibate partnership.”
Person #2: “Yes I am because our relationship contains A, B, and C.”
Person #1: “But A, B, and C are just components of a friendship and not a celibate partnership.”
So who’s right and who’s wrong in that conversation?
I find that the label itself doesn’t really provide clarity but rather is more often an unhelpful stumbling block. For better or for worse, the word “friend” is incredibly vague, however, it’s useful because we enter into a conversation about someone’s friendship we’re hearing about for the first time with very few assumptions due to the fact that we collectively understand that it covers an extremely wide-range of relationships. We start with a relatively blank slate and allow the gaps to be filled in by the other person. We let them define for us what a “friend” is in a specific context. If I were to tell someone, “Florence is my friend”, the person I’m talking to has probably made zero judgement calls about that relationship because they know they don’t have enough information. They’ll ask a lot of questions, spend time with Florence and I, and over time will have a more accurate picture of what that relationship is and what it isn’t. From there, opinions can be drawn on whether or not they feel the relationship is healthy and glorifying to God. But if I were to say that, “Florence is my celibate partner”, the person’s mind is probably already filled with a whole host of assumptions that may or may not be true. Without any questions being asked or time spent with Florence and I, judgements will be made on the health or wisdom of the relationship based entirely on whatever definition that person has of a celibate partnership in their head.
To echo a little of what @defnotryan:disqus was saying, I feel that these relationships have to be examined on a case-by-case basis just as we examine every friendship or marriage, for that matter, on a case-by-case basis.
Bless my soul, Jacob has commented on a blog! *GASP! HORRORS! SHOCK* Cats and Dogs are living together in peace!
All joking aside, you bring up so many good points. I think it all comes down to that we know so little about it since its so brand new. What does it look like? What works? What doesn’t work? What works for some but not others? We simply don’t know. And yeah it may be a case by case basis. Some people might want only their life partner in their life and no one else. Some people might want several life partners. Some might have partners who live far away. Its so hard to say since its so new. I think a lot more discussion and examination should be done before people start trying this out I think. If barged into without thought it could be disastrous.
And yeah, it sort of comes back to the labels debate. Some people are going to draw certain different conclusions by what things are called than others. Needless to say it makes my head hurt. I guess the best way is to really talk to a certain someone about it, especially if they’re a close friend and see if they understand.
Thank you for your thoughts my friend! They were definitely sharp ones.
Thanks for being willing to bring this topic up Eugene. The idealist in me loves the idea, but the pragmatist in me — as many have already commented — wants to know the potential barriers in order to address and overcome them.
I find myself thinking of such a relationship being akin to a best friend, although I recognize there are differences. I have a dear OSA friend (married with a kiddo), who is slowly becoming one of my closest friends. I am thinking of discussing my devotion to our friendship simply to take it to another level of trust and intimacy, Having a stated intention/commitment to my closest friends is important to me. And I like the inherently healthy boundary that his heterosexuality brings to our friendship.
If I were to establish a commitment with others (or “partnership” as it is being called), I like the idea of having it be to a group of three, or a few more. A community house, potentially. I own my own home and currently have a Saudi roommate and really enjoy it! And I have a young married couple moving in this weekend who are gung-ho about community living. This set-up, although not what you are sharing about per se, is helping to meet some of the need I have to be part of a family/committed relationship. I am jealous of folks who may be able to pull off the dyad approach, but am glad that other options exist.
My journey continues to be blessed as I interact with others who ask questions like this one, about how we can live full and meaningful lives amidst our SSA proclivities. Thanks!
Thank you Benjamin! I’m glad you have that straight friend you can be close with. Its true, having that with a straight guy brings little to no chance of much sexualization occurring. Do you think he would be open to taking that relationship to another level of trust and intimacy?
I’m the same, I feel like if I were to have partnerships I’d like more than one. How many total? Gosh I don’t know but I don’t want to overdo it. I love the idea of a community house. One idea I’ve thrown around is having “YOBwarts” or “Professor Zuniga’s School for Gifted YOBsters.” But all joking aside, the living situation you have sounds really cool. I love the idea of a sort of boarding house community.
So grateful for your input my friend!
Thanks for your response Eugene. To answer your question, yes, I do believe he would be willing to take our relationship to a deeper level. His lot in life, and the pain/struggle it has involved, has helped to mold our souls in a similar fashion.
I love the idea of YOBwarts and Professor Zuniga’s School for Gifted YOBsters! As one who likes witticisms, I wish YOB were easier to cleverly manipulate (crYOBiology and YOBbos aren’t the best of words…and, apparently “yob” is British slang for a teenage lout or hooligan).
But I digress.
For me, I think it may be best to diversify my committed-friendship-portfolio to friends of a variety of types.: SSA, OSA, younger, older, etc. I would likely get bored with focusing solely on SSA committed friendships.
Thanks again for the stimulating conversation Eugene!
Wow guys. Great conversation. As a pastor who loves God’s words, believing they are ours to obey, with Jesus our first love, I would not hesitate encouraging two guys to covenant themselves to each other as you and others describe here Eugene. I would be saying, “How beautiful!” Only, it needs to be understood and blessed by the congregation to which you belong. Transparent, accountable, without the appearance of evil. But Lord, do we have bible believing churches that would risk blessing such love?
What do you mean by “without the appearance of evil”?
Paul says to the church in Thessalonika (1Thess 5:22) that they should “abstain from every (appearance, fashion, shape, sight) of evil.” One well known interpretation of the verse is, “Don’t let the side down by looking as if you’re doing something sinful!” You could take that verse too far…on the other hand, you could ignore it.
So if a couple of guys in my congregation covenanted to a lifelong companionship, living together, holidaying together, there’re SSA…some would instantly judge them as an actively gay couple…but I would want it so transparent, that our church at least, knew their commitment to celibacy and blessed their companionship…so that, because they’re in the know, there is no “appearance of evil.”
That’s what I would accept and that is what I would want our church to accept…but I’m not sure how many bible believing churches are ready for that.
I appreciate your views on this. I think that scriptural injunction is important.
Hi Brian, I was in a same sex relationship for ten years with a wonderful man, the love of my life. During the last year, it became nonsexual due to issues of guilt over sex. But we still loved each other deeply, were exclusive to each other, cared for each other, took care of each other, delighted in each other’s company, spent time with each other’s families. It only ended when my partner died a sudden, tragic death in August. We would have benefited greatly from a church that recognized our relationship and encouraged us to live holy lives. With a little encouragement, it could have been a nonsexual relationship throughout, since we didn’t have sex that often anyway, and it was always accompanied by guilt.
Walter and I saved each other’s lives. Our relationship was a blessing from God. Anyone who says otherwise can kick rocks (one of Walter’s favorite expressions). In the state I live in, marriage is a civil arrangement, not a religious one (unless you choose it to be so). We would have had no qualms about getting married, except that it was not financially advantageous to do so. it galls me to see people project onto others their vision of what they think a nonsexual same sex relationship should be. You do you, boo (another of Walter’s favorite expressions :-). Anyway, Brian, I love your comment, and if I am ever in a relationship again, I would love it to be as you describe.
Wow Phil. Surely you and Walter were beautiful together. I’m so sad to hear he was taken from you tragically. That’s so hard. But then Walter still is, present tense…and there’s a reunion up ahead. May you know Father’s love and support till that day Jesus comes to find you too?
Thank you Brian!
Phil…without wanting to stir any pain, how did your church respond to your love and living together with Walter? Anything I can learn from your experience…what not to do…what to do? Blessings guy!
Brian, thank you so much for asking! It’s been painful, but I’ve told so many people about it that it’s getting easier. I’ll give you a tale of two churches. I’ll start with the good. At the beginning of our relationship, Walter and I were looking for a church where we would be accepted, and we found a small nondenominational church that looked good. It’s a church that emphasizes social justice and caring for the poor. I emailed one of the pastors and he said that we would be welcome there. We attended for maybe a year, and during that time, Pastor Jeff counselled us and helped us feel normal and accepted. We drifted away from the church after a while and stopped attending church altogether. After Walter died, I went back to the church. They remembered me, and their new pastor spoke with me one on one for an hour or so to help me process Walter’s death. Pastor Jeff is in another city now, but I’m in contact with him, and he has me on suicide watch, LOL! Walter and I never asked for it, but if we had wanted a commitment ceremony to chasteness, I’m sure that they would have been happy to do that.
The second church. All of Walter’s family lives in Memphis, so after he died, I wanted the funeral to be in Memphis so his family could attend. Walter’s mother made the arrangements and I paid for the funeral since Walter’s family is poor. My brother, who is straight but has a gay son and is very supportive of gay people, flew in from Des Moines for the funeral. The funeral was held at a Church Of God In Christ, which is a conservative Black Pentecostal denomination, where Walter’s brother Tony is a pastor. When it came time for the eulogy, Tony said that God put a word in his heart and he had to share it. He said that homosexuality is an abomination, and people who commit abomination are going to Hell. And all the homosexuals in the congregation had better repent or they’re going to Hell too. I was sitting in the front row in front of Walter’s casket in shock, and I probably would have stayed there, except my brother, who was sitting on the other side of the church further back, jumped up and walked across the front of the sanctuary to me and said, “Tony is an asshole!” He shook his fist at Tony and shouted, “You’re an asshole!” I grabbed Tom and said, “Let’s get out of here.” We left the church and started walking down the street. My car was parked 4 miles away at Walter’s mother’s house and my brother had to catch his plane back to Des Moines. We spotted a fire station where my brother called a cab to the airport, and I continued walking the 4 miles to my car. I never got to see where Walter was buried. I know he’s in an unmarked grave in a country cemetery. I purchased a headstone that will be installed early next year. I was pretty traumatized by the situation.
Postscript: A couple of days ago, I got a text message from Walter’s mother asking how I was doing. We exchanged polite texts. She said that she loved me and hoped things could be as they were. I told her that I have trust issues, but maybe in time that could happen. I said that Walter would have wanted that.
Wow Phil, thank you so very much or sharing your story here! I really was not expecting so many interesting stories to be shared here. Sounds like you and Walter had a great relationship especially since you guys made it into a nonsexual one in the latter part of it. I’m so sorry to hear about his passing though and I’m even more sorry to hear about what the pastor said at the service. I mean, regardless of where one stands on the issue, saying something like that at someone’s funeral is just a horrible thing to do. What is wrong with him? I can’t believe someone would be willing to do something so cold, especially a pastor. My heart goes out to you.
I’m glad you stay in contact with his mom. Please share more of your story if you have any interest to.
Thank you, Eugene. The only thing I’ll add at this time is that the first night after we decided not to have sex in our relationship, I was snuggled up behind Walter, and he said, “Get your junk out of my butt!” I was really hurt, since I was not aroused, and I was snuggled with him as I had always been on previous nights. In the early morning, Walter woke me up and said tearfully, “Please don’t think that I don’t love you, Phil!” I told him that it was okay, and for the rest of the time we had together, I was always careful not to put my crotch too close to his butt. I loved him and respected him, and it didn’t affecting our cuddling. If you have any more specific things you’d like me to talk about, let me know.
Phil, that was just so wrong, so unbelievably cruel. I’ve no doubt that Tony stands before the Lord, certain that he has done the right thing…but Walter stands there too…and the day will come when these two brothers will be found holding each other, weeping together, as they experience the unfathomable love of the Father…God’s amazing grace.
I pray Father’s healing of the memory of the betrayal, that He pour out His love in your heart for Tony and Walter’s mum, that Father would use you to bring healing to them in their grief, that by extension Walter’s love will live on through your being part of his family. God bless you dear Phil.
Thank you, Brian! Tony is a good guy at heart, and I forgive him. If there are any more details you would like to know, let me know.
I just came across this website yesterday when my best friend told me about it. This is a very powerful post. I have also really been worried about being alone for the rest of my life and to die in a house full of dogs and cats. I can’t imagine it.
My counselor told me about how I can still live with my same sex attraction and be celibate with close knit community which is found in the church. It is very hard to find that these days as churches emphasize so much about marriage and raising families that they completely leave people like me out of their circle. It is hurtful and yes, I struggle with suicidal thoughts too. I am so glad I found this blog where I would be hopefully able to find community and acceptance as I am. ❤️
Thank you Jonathan! Don’t know how I missed your post here. But yeah you are very welcome, I’m so happy you’ve resonated with a lot of things I’ve said. Its also been a pleasure chatting with you and getting to know you over the past month! Looking forward to meeting you soon.
Please, don’t give in and don’t ever commit suicide. I hope you haven’t. I am 66, isolated and lonely although I am someone who is decent-looking and is well-liked. You are worthy of love, even if you can’t have the intimacy. I’ve decided to check out volunteering and to start writing a blog. I’m also starting to fill my apartment with plants, and they are living things share in life with me. Don’t give up. God bless you.
I am just going to spitball my thoughts. We should determine what we’re aiming for because that’s what tells us what sin is (sin means to miss the mark in archery). I think if the goal is to care for each other’s spiritual well-being with a recognition of the peculiar struggle SSA Side B men have it could be quite positive. Then it would be a way to live as “a peculiar people” because you are choosing it over giving in to the urge sexually or defiling the marriage sacrament. On the other hand if this was a cover up and a dangerous increase in temptations I would be wholeheartedly opposed. Naturally if we just founded a YOB monastery it would probably all work out :). Basically I think we have to weigh the cost/benefits of the two and be honest about our intentions. PS. Definitely call the monastic order the Brotherhood of Jonathon…Jonathonians? 🙂
I totally agree with you there AJ! It would definitely be a devotion to the former and hopefully not dip into the latter. I’ve hung out with so many Side B men at this point and no sexual incidents have happened because we’ve stuck to our boundaries Hopefully we would stick with those boundaries consistently in a life devotional relationship. And haha I Love the name of the monastery! Believe it or not, there seems to be a monastery of Side B men that has popped up in Nashville TN. Its interesting to hear their story.
I totally agree, I have someone that is my soulmate, our souls are knit very tight and we are always deep in the word. Recently I was reading several of Paul’s letters in the Geneva and KJV bibles. One of the first things that sticks out to me is with the Baptism. He writes in Galatians 3:23-29 GNV, that with Jesus Christ we are no longer any particular race, nor male or female, but all one in Jesus Christ! This along with the relationship the David and Jonathan shared in 1 Samuel shows that these types of relationships are very much possible but we must always remember the prohibitions that are written by Paul, especially with regards to Romans 1:30 having to do with breaking covenants, as when you do enter this arrangement it is a covenant which you make with said partner and the Lord. We must always remember to remove lust from this relationship as well, for in 1 Cor 6:9-10 GNV Paul writes prohibitions: “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, … , nor wantons, nor buggerers, … shall inherit the kingdom of God.” The main thing being discussed by Paul being sexuality and not relationals. This concept is further strengthened in 1 Cor 7, where he discusses Marriage in detail along with circumcision. He discusses necessity of marriage, being its better to have a spouse to support you if you are prone to lustfulness, by organized prayer and fasting together rather than lusts (1 Cor 7:5).
This is something I have discussed many times. After reading 1 Samuel many times and comparing it to how Paul and Jesus teach: to love each other as yourself, knowing the prohibitions, and learning that we are vessels of Christ once baptized I find agreement with this. I thank you for writing this and would like to hear more of your thoughts about this.
Sharing from a woman’s perspective..
Can I still post here as this post has been for a while? I’m a woman in my 30s, I’ve always had SSA since childhood and have acted on it during highschool where I had a gf “S” thru university and adult life..It got complicated when I got involved in an on and off affair with another person “T”… T found out abt Jesus, shared the gospel to me. It didn’t register immediately with me but I started searching about religion and God.. thru time (over a yr), reading the book of Matthew, watching sermons online I realized how sinful I was and asked Jesus to be my Lord and savior.. through out this journey I’ve always been living with “S” and I’ve shared bits and pieces of what I read abt God, she received Jesus as well.. and we got baptized last year.. and have been growing towards God ever since.. “S” and I have had a civil partnership from 2012 but since we found out that we were living in sin, we have stopped any sexual acts although in reality we rarely had in later years. We have always seen ourselves as 2 people like parallel lines going to the same direction with similar interests in life.. Right now, the 3 of us regularly share online devotions via video calls, we pray for one another and encourage one another and celebrate when we are able to evangelize and disciple.. we have a chat room that we share all these experiences and all.. S is soon going to be on the Christian missions..
We really haven’t put any labels on ourselves but we consider ourselves very close best friends who now genuinely love each other with no sexual acts involved, hugging yes and sometimes cheek kissing.. it has been a long unique journey and we are always thankful with God for what we have. We usually now have 70% or more of our conversations about what we read in the bible and what God has revealed as we individually read and meditate on God’s words everyday.. We pray and fast and go to church together. There some stuff we do together, some separately, S and I still live together and are constantly asking God to guide us and to shine His face upon us.. The celibacy part was extremely difficult for me especially in the beginning but thru God’s help thru the Holy Spirit, my mind and heart was renewed.. I usually have to command my thoughts to submit to Jesus (literally). Although there are still those occasional moments that I struggle usually around my monthly period or sometimes via dreams, so I ask S to pray for me or T or sometimes both of them to pray for me.. Every now and then I thought if we should dissolve the civil partnership and if there are still parts of our “partnership” that we are not aware of.. Coz deep in our hearts we just really want to honor God and pass on the life giving gospel to others without disqualifying ourselves or being stumbling blocks to others. I believe our journey is still ongoing and that He who has started the good work will continue to do so until Jesus has returned.. I am just continuously praying for wisdom and guidance from God almighty my Father… I trust His faithfulness since He has led me to Jesus and guided me to my life verses Jeremiah 33:3 and Psalms 32:8.
I have no judgment to any of you my brothers and sisters in Christ.. but let us continue seeking God first at all times and acknowledging Him in all our ways and He will be the one to straighten our paths..
Wow thank you so very much for sharing your story here, Grace! That really is encouraging. Your perspective is unique as you basically started off as Side A with you partner but now you could say you both are very much in a platonic partnership while still staying together. That’s a brave thing and sometimes risky but sounds like you are making it work. Usually when I hear of people who are in Side A relationships and have spiritual epiphanies they completely dump their partners. But yours is a story that gives me hope because you make it work. Again, in my case I’m not entirely sold on the possibility of some sort of official life partnership goal but I at least want to live with one or several other Side B men that I’m close with. I hope you and your partner continue your love of God with each other and in your celibacy. I hope to hear more from you as well, I find your story to be fascinating and encouraging.
read this entire devotional this morning. It confirms what the Lord is starting to do in my life, which is to establish me in a true Christian brotherhood.
True North: Brotherhood Is A Necessity
It sounds plausible, but probably impossible. You see, we are men who have same sex attraction. For the married guy that has SSA, at least you have your wife to have sex with, so you do have that part of your flesh being gratified, but for us loners that are really lonely who are not married, we have it really hard. Celibacy is all well and good, but we all know that as celibates, we are not always faithful to the cause. Our bodies are sexual, and it needs an outlet. It needs a place to express itself. Masturbation works for the most part, but there is little intimacy in my left hand. Most of the time I live a lonely life with two friends to get out with. But there are moments when I need a man and I would prefer it to be with another guy of the same side B variety so that he would put things in perspective and me him when his needs rise to the surface. I applaud the men who’ve married a woman and are happy with each other. But for us loners who have zero desire for women, the road has gotten more tougher. East Coast Canuck
I have a friend who lived in a non-sexual relationship (two men with ssa) for five years. The aching pain that grew slowly over time overwhelmed him. He was falling in love with his non-sexual life partner and it hurt very much. As you say “our bodies are sexual…” but it was so much more, the full embrace, the feeling of connection, the desire to share every part of life, the feeling of touch unbounded.
I know this is an old post, but I only recently found out about the existence of other people like me, let alone a good community of them like this.
Anyways, I really hope this is a thing. It’s very similar to my own personal fantasies before learning of this community, finding someone committed to God and celibacy as well as the idea of loving each other and pushing towards better. Idk. Just, this post spoke to me
Jonah, just reading your post now and I am in a similar position. Wanting to share my life with someone, committed emotionally but still wanting to maintain my catholic practices.
I think many of us fail to persevere, And that might come from having it all when we were young. this is not bragging at all, but just a realization I’ve had. I was rather “desired“ from high school until I quit going to the bars at 44. Now, being Catholic and celibate, I am alone and suffer from depression and anxiety, although I’m good with God. Have you found somebody to be your friend? I hope you do. I will be praying for you. I’m also going to contact as many people as possible – and I just decided that – this weekend because being isolated after my mother died, I ended up having a nervous meltdown, and it’s not going to happen again, God willing. I’m 66.
Well… adelophopoeisis was essentially a Christianized form of the ancient tradition of “blood brothers” which was considered immoral, and as such it essentially just formed a covenant bond, bringing the two into a family relationship of brotherhood, whereby they were still free to marry, etc. but were bonded together as two biological brothers would be.
[…] form strategic alliances. Still, some gay Catholics today use the Adelphopoiesis framework to form same-sex unions that — so long as they remain celibate — don’t actually defy church […]
Does being at odds with an expression of a healthy love. If you acknowledge that the form of love you feel can be healthy, expressing it to each other in a physical sense is just a natural extension of that. By all means, be celibate-if that’s right for you, and if that’s most compatible with you living a happy, fulfilled life.
I just read this and I’m like “could that be true?” I would love to be in a relationship like that. Does anyone know anyone who’s in a platonic partnership? What a new and freeing idea.
Living alone is quite hard and isolating, living with a woman if one is gay, awkward sometimes. I lived with a straight guy for 15 years, it worked at times. To tell the truth I havent found a gay relationship to work, most gay sex is fantasy. Also often gays are hermetic and living with one is like sharing accommodation. For me what works most is to not seek sex or even welcome it. Those encounters are orgasm facilitators, rather finding closenes. I try to live looking at the positive side of being alone, but I must admit that having a grown up son makes me feel more worthy than if I was entirely alone. Healing is probably my choice of lifestyle. By that I mean that I consider my gay fantasies a product of emotional blockages. I do wank but I also face my pain, in the hope that I gain ground. Being masculine enough not to desire being dominated sexually is a good choice for me. I find most gay encounters to be based on submissiveness etc which is not helpful. Facing your inner turmoil is preferable for me. For most gays the preceding sentences are offensive, any ideas that go against the grain are discarded, but often leading a fully exploded gay life ends in big trouble, so it is good to have alternatives. There are many ways to be gay, mine concentrates on the fact that celibacy unless in a relationship is a good thing. Also when you are going along in such fashion and someone notices you they feel the tug of possibility…