I’ve written about working out semi-regularly. I’m often on my own at the gym, doing my sets of weights and going into La La Land in between each set. But then I see the other guys there.

Now some “Side B” guys (those who hold to a traditional sexual ethic) say they can’t go to gyms because they’re afraid they’ll lust after the super attractive, fit guys there. I can’t say I blame them. A lot of attractive gym guys often do catch my eye.

But lately these gym guys been catching my eye for different reasons. My feelings aren’t so much of a “saaaay, I’ll have some of what he’s having,” but are instead more of a sadness and longing.

Yes, these gym guys are masculine, fit, and attractive. But that’s not the main thing about them that catches my eye; they legitimately look like nice guys who’d be cool to get to know.

I can instinctively tell these guys are straight, and that’s part of the bittersweetness of it. No, I’m not hoping they’re gay. I want to be friends with these straight guys, but I know it will not be likely.

Even if I tried and managed to hang out with one straight guy, or even win a friendship with him, it’s not likely to be intimate to the extent I’d like.

I’ve written about my frustrations befriending straight men, getting only cold indifference in return. Mark remains my only straight friend to this day, but his lack of physical or emotional affection leaves me feeling unsatisfied.

Now, my relationships with so many brothers on YOB and the rest of the “Side B” world have been fantastic. These brotherly relationships have been an incredible blessing, and I wouldn’t give them up for anything.

Still, it doesn’t seem beneficial to have these guys as my only niche for relationships.

I just have a longing to be accepted, seen as a man among men. To feel like one of the guys. Yes, I’ve experienced those feelings with fellow “Side B” friends, but sometimes it only feels like one side of the coin.

Back in my late teens and early twenties, I imagined what my own little close-knit guys’ friend group would look like. Perhaps there’d be three or four of us?

We’d have all met in college as roommates. We’d be super close, going on various misadventures together, perhaps a big epic summer road trip to a bunch of national parks? Always laughing and joking together with our own inside jokes nobody else would get.

These are true longings of my heart, though some cynics might look at me and say, “Straight men don’t act like that or want that sort of thing. That’s just the homoeroticism in you talking.”

Isn’t it weird that such seemingly simple longings can be so hard to find in life? Like you can find a guy for a one-night stand with just a few clicks of a phone app but not a guy to platonically love you and be your friend?

I’m an only child. Growing up, I only ever knew one or two other only-children. It seemed like all the other kids from preschool to high school had copious amounts of brothers and sisters — with myself as the outlier.

For a long time I had yearnings for siblings, especially brothers (big shock). It might be one of my oldest and most profound feelings of the heart, longing for other boys to be part of my family. A completely innocent feeling.

Are these brotherly feelings my earliest awakenings of same-sex attraction pre-puberty? Or are they something every young boy feels and forgets about as he grows older?

It’s a mystery to me, but I’m more inclined to believe the latter.

I do believe all people have an innate desire to connect intimately with others of the same gender, perhaps even as a basic human need. Is homosexuality a mere corruption of this human need as a result of the fall?

Maybe, maybe not. But I do strongly feel a kernel of truth to this notion, at the very least.

It’s hard to navigate what “real” brotherhood looks like, especially with all of society’s subjective rules. You have to navigate between the extremes of “straight men don’t naturally want intimacy with other men!” and “genital stimulation isn’t a gay thing; it’s just male bonding!”

Yes, I’ve really met some folks who believe the latter.

Of course, we as Christians look to Jesus for the ideal of friendships, noting how he interacted with his disciples. It is well-known that John reclined on Jesus’ chest at the Last Supper.

But of course we need to take into account that one slam passage: “Thus Jesus spoke and said, ‘Therely, therely I say unto you: no homo, bruh.'”

Was that in the gospel of Luke somewhere? I can’t remember.

But I still have hope for straight guy friends. Some YOB friends have told me they have very close friendships with straight men.

One friend speaks about his straight college roommates who enjoy hugging, sitting with arms around shoulders, and crying together.

Another tells me about his former college roommate who is completely straight (and soon to be married to a woman), and he enjoys lots of cuddles with him.

On the one hand, I want to throw up my hands in frustration and say, “Why couldn’t God have given me such amazing men like that in my college years?! It’s not fair!”

Indeed, it’s not fair. But I try to look on the bright side that there are authentic straight guys like that out there who do exist.

It especially shows that my deep longings for intimacy with men aren’t merely just “the homoeroticism talking.” The upcoming, younger generation seems to be more open to intimate relationships with the same sex as homosexuality isn’t as much of a taboo for their generation as it was for me and mine.

I’ve gone on record stating that I don’t believe homosexuality is merely heterosexuality in reverse like people tend to oversimplify it. Sexuality is much more complex and nuanced, and I believe we should explore and examine ourselves more.

While I do have this longing to be accepted by men and struggle with this feeling that I’ve missed out, I still go forward with hope. I think at some point in the future I will meet straight guys who can love me for who I am.

Do you experience or yearn for any intimacy with straight guy friends? How do you differentiate your own yearnings for same-sex intimacy as sexual versus relational?

  • I get the longing. For me, it’s less of a “desire to be straight” and more “desire for friends of all backgrounds.” I genuinely want to meet people with different experiences than my own so I can learn from them, grow with them, and care for them.
    I’m fortunate that I have several close guy friends — some are straight and some aren’t. They each add value to my life in unique ways.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and longings, brother.

    • Thank you Dean! Yeah, part of my desire for friendships with straight men is wanting diversity in my relationships. I’ve loved connecting and befriending various Side B guys but I think there are certain things only straight guys can offer in relationships. I’m glad you have some of those in your life, hoping to find mine!

      • Can you define what certain things?
        And a related question: do we want straight friends just because of their straightness (because it seems more masculine or whole, because we want those qualities to rub off by association), or because there’s no worries about something getting messed up because they won’t return attraction? Like if we can manage to have a relationship with physical affection we would know there’s no ulterior motives on their part.
        For me it’s more about the second one. I would honestly like to meet someone in a similar place as myself, happily married but with some SSA struggles so I could have someone to talk to. Although anyone I could talk to and not worry about would be welcome, straight or side B, as long as the temptation level was low.
        I recently met a guy I was hoping to be friends with who turned out to be gay. Claimed he wasn’t looking for a hookup, and I was hoping to be friends and maybe be able to talk, but it was clear pretty quick that wouldn’t be been a good idea. I don’t often get out of my comfort zone and meet new people, so that was a pretty big bummer.

        • For me it has been a little of both. Growing up, I never felt like I was part of ‘the guys’ club’, so having straight friends generally give me a feeling of acceptance; for once I feel okay in my skin, like I don’t need to change anything to be accepted as a man.
          But I also long for straight friends for the second reason. I have, for example, had an erection while cuddling with a straight friend (I hope this isn’t triggering, but can for sure edit if it’s so), but didn’t worry about it all. It was an involuntary reaction that I wasn’t going to act upon. I was also a hundred per cent sure that my friend, if he noticed, would not do anything about it either. I would be way more cautious of any physical bonding, which I appreciate, with a gay/SSS guy.

  • I’ve definitely had moments where I’ve wanted to be more intimate with other guys, and I’ve had moments where I had to hold myself back because I knew that wasn’t the sort of relationship he wanted.

  • Excellent read! I guess I do have some sort of longing to be friends with straight guys. What’s weird is I see some camaraderie among straight guys that I want to be closer to. But I suppose that my longing isn’t as strong or invasive as it is for you or maybe some others.
    What’s interesting is that I have weekly opportunities to get with some exclusively SSA/gay brothers, and then weekly opportunities to get together with a few friends from the Choir I sing with. I’ve actually enjoyed the latter more. Granted, most of the men in the latter group are still gay, lol, but what brings us together (including the women) is our love for singing praises unto God, and then our similarities otherwise come next.

    • Thank you for sharing, Alex! I can understand that, I only have my YOB and Side B crowd to hang with but I’m hoping to diversify that. The choir group defiantly sounds really nice, I’m sure its a nice break from the gay drama that can happen sometimes haha. But that is a great way to look at it, putting our praises for God first.

  • Honest, heartfelt words. Thanks for boldly sharing them, Eugene. I’ve resonated with many of your longings for most of my life. That’s not to say I’m “over it” now, or that God has provided the exact longings of my heart in my straight guy friendships. But He has also helped me take some deeper breaths over the years, to look more outward and meet others where they are rather than feel self-consumed with my own desires in friendship. That’s not to say our own needs aren’t important or don’t matter; they are, and they do. But God’s showing me more freedom in this area as I seek Him and rest in the present, despite my fantasies/yearnings. I hope and pray this same freedom for you. You’ve got a lot to offer gay/SSA and straight guys alike, that’s for sure. Excited for your continuing journey. Be blessed, brother.

    • Thank you Tom! I guess the part that always gets me that I don’t even long for sex with these guys only intimacy and yet I can’t even have that most of the time. But yeah meeting others where they are is necessary albeit very hard and difficult. Its like you want people to meet your standards here and now. I guess ultimately I’ve felt like I’ve poured into so many relationships that I long for someone to pour into me for once But I think you are right that it is important to be with God in the here and now.

  • Thank you Mike, I’m glad you resonated with the blog. There is definitely so much to explore with the various aspects and diversities of human sexuality, its very complicated. In fact I’m planning on blogging next on some of those bizarre intricacies of mine. I’ve loved my intimate relationships with Side B guys but folks tell me I need to diversify and I agree, there are probably some things in straight relationships that I can get that Side B guys can’t give. And I do know there are straight guys out there who are not insecure about intimacy with other men. Of course it does beg a lot of questions about how much of this is society or what sexuality plays as a role in temperaments.

  • Loved your article, Eugene. Contrary to your experience, almost all of my close friendships since I was a teenager have been with straight men. All my relationship experiences in my life (from my first girlfriend when I was 15 years old up to my wife of 20 years) have been with women. In spite of this, I have never been able to get this deep longing for intimate connection adequately met. I have never been able to achieve this with my male friendships even the closer ones as in my experience, most of them do not want to go any deeper than talking about work, politics, sports and women. They don’t seem to need it and tend to be weirded out about any overt expressions of physical or emotional intimacy. I think that for the most part especially in African cultural context, it is not considered manly to demonstrate vulnerability or weakness (crying, needing support hugs,etc) when in the company of other men. Even my one close straight Christian friend who knows about my SSA and is a cherished confidant/accountability partner of mine when I struggle with related issues has confessed his limitations in his ability to relate to what I am going through. He is also not a very emotional person (he is a strong Chol/Mel). He receives what I share with him more from a this is my way of showing the love of Christ to my friend as Christian brother standpoint and even though that does not offer as deep a connection as I would like, I am grateful that at least I have one brother in Christ that I can be totally honest with and not be judged and rejected.
    Thank you for vulnerably sharing your longing for deep human/emotional connection with other men. I have struggled similarly for many years even though I am married with 4 children and have friends and family around me. I am definitely not alone but because I am firmly closeted, I always feel as if I can never be totally myself around my loved ones and struggle with a painful inner loneliness from time to time. This limitation has definitely proved to be a major intimacy inhibitor in my life especially in my relationship with my wife. This core emotional need is one that I have tried to deny, quash and dismiss in order to conform and even “claim” healing from homosexuality in the past but it has never really gone away. I think that we are wired to yearn for deeper connection with those we are physically and emotionally attracted to and I am learning to accept that about myself and with God’s help, find healthier ways to meet this need. I watched a romantic gay themed movie from Peru the other day (I obviously shouldn’t be doing this) called Contracorriente. In a nutshell, the story-line was about a fisherman who lived in a rural seaside village. He was married with a new born baby but also was in a secret affair with another man. The adultery aside, what I related to was the character’s deep capacity to feel and express emotion and connect with his boyfriend in a way he never could with his wife. He was also being torn apart inside as the small fishing community he lived in was deeply religious and homophobic so (a lot like me, I thought), he was the person he was expected to be with his wife, family and community and but only free to be himself with his lover. I felt sad and depressed at the end of the movie for a number of hours. When interrogating these feelings, I realized that I was kinda mourning the life choice I have made not to look for a man in whom I would hope to have this deep need met but to work with God to work to love my wife as best I can with His love in spite of my SSA limitations and trust Him to meet these deep yearnings that I am aware now will probably never be adequately met in this life…

    • Thank you for telling me your story Bryane! It is indeed hard to connect with these men when they have either natural inhibitions or social messages telling them not to do such things. Its really difficult. It is true that there is never one person that will fill our emotional needs. That is why we must lean on God for the holes in our heart.

    • I find this account quite touching because it echoes my own experience. I have many male friends, some of them over 40 years of friendship, but I still ache for a deeper and closer connection. I know that part of the issue is me and my complex needs. The other part is the deep closet I live in and finally, the other aspect is the nature of my relationships with my friends. I have tried to reach out to others over the years but to no avail and I have been rebuffed and rejected, so I just gave up trying. Sometimes, I am okay with it all while other days, like today for example, I feel alone and desperate. I pray for you, Bryane. Please pray for me.

    • I find this account quite touching because it echoes my own experience. I have many male friends, some of them over 40 years of friendship, but I still ache for a deeper and closer connection. I know that part of the issue is me and my complex needs. The other part is the deep closet I live in and finally, the other aspect is the nature of my relationships with my friends. I have tried to reach out to others over the years but to no avail and I have been rebuffed and rejected, so I just gave up trying. Sometimes, I am okay with it all while other days, like today for example, I feel alone and desperate. I pray for you, Bryane. Please pray for me.

  • Eugene, as you know, I have been very close friends with both straight guys and Side B guys.
    The way I have started friendships with straight guys is to find common interests and start there. Often that means I see some need of his and meet it. One thing of value in straight friends is that once you have a deep friendship it lasts. Just last night I warmly hugged my friend “Justin” (I blogged about him). We both felt a strong love between us as we talked for over an hour. We have been friends for 20 years and have been through many rough times and good times together. That builds a deep and fulfilling bond that can be astonishingly helpful to me. I am often emotionally high for days after I share in fellowship with him!
    I am saying all this to encourage you guys to keep working at building friendships with straight guys. It costs us a lot, but it is really worth it!

    • Oh yes Marshall, that community of straight friends you have sounds wonderful. I’m glad that you have that and maybe I can meet those guys sometime if I every go by your way. I do hope to find guys like that, its hard to find them though. They are needles in haystacks. But I have hope!

  • I can empathize with so much of this.
    I can find a hookup inside of 5 minutes, but f*** me for wanting a straight guy friend who understands physical affection, right? Or, even, isn’t going to make me do all the work in the friendship.
    Honestly I’m realizing I’m feeling pretty done with straight guys, at least for now!

    • So so true Ryan. I’ve blogged before about my cynicism over straight men and how tone deaf they can be when it comes to basic friendship. I’ve felt pretty done with them over the past three years myself. I’m hoping to give them another chance and find a decent guy similar to what Marshall and some other folks have told me about. There is hope at least, but its still hard to find no question.

    • “Isn’t going to make me do all the work” what is so hard about actually letting someone know you want to spend time with them? It seems like I’m always the one initiating. You’re right it’s so frustrating.
      I’m sure Tom and you guys have good reasons, but I’ve often wished there was some way we could make connections through YOB to find people in our area. It’d be so nice to just sit down and chat with some of y’all.

    • Ryan,
      Life is definitely not fair. It takes a lot more work to find physical affection from a straight guy than it does to find a hookup. Let’s look at the big picture.
      Yes, I have deep friendships with straight guys who do show physical affection. For most of them it has been a years-long or even decades-long process of building the friendship. That process has been extremely painful at times, requiring me to forgive, take initiative, and give expecting nothing in return. Very often I actually get nothing and he drifts away or runs away. When he does respond, it is so fulfilling that I find it worth all the pain getting there!
      On the other hand, hookups happen fast and the pleasure can be briefly intense. Then the guy leaves and rips something out of your soul that hurts terriibly. It leaves you deeply damaged with long-lasting consequences, sometimes in your body, not just your soul. You can’t let yourself love others, you can’t trust others, and you know it was not worth it!
      Which would you rather have, long-lasting, live-giving joy at great cost, or cheap pleasure that destroys you?

  • This is very interesting Eugene and I relate to what you are saying. I have always needed the company and fellowship of men, it’s how I’m wired, and I think every man has a measure of this desire. I had led a men’s Bible study for 25 years in two different states. I would encourage transparency and vulnerability, and sometimes we got to very open and scary sharing. But, my last group fell apart, we drifted. I went 3 years, no men’s group. So, I went to the two biggest churches in town and expressed my need to hook in. One church came through and I found seven straight guys who welcomed me with open arms. Do they know I’m SSA? Nope, and I probably won’t tell them. I told my best straight friend Dan and all I got was a “deer in the headlights” look from him. So, we won’t go there because it makes straight guys too uncomfortable. My theory why, is because sexuality is fluid in males and they either experimented with their teen bud or secretly wanted to have sex with a man just to see what it’s like. Too uncomfortable for them. But these straight guys have been a blessing. They are all he-men, fit and sure, successful for the most part, and love Jesus. I am a man among men and we hug, we say “I love you”, we pray, we support, we encourage. No, I am not sexually attracted to any of them even though a couple are part of my SSA target range. We are just being Christian men and trying to find our way, and we too have touched on big issues like porn and masturbation. But not like my SSA guys group. These topics are shark-infested waters for these guys. I found that now that I am out of the closet I need two groups of men in my life, my SSA support group, and these macho, God-fearing straight guys. Don’t you think as SSA men we need both?

  • I’m impressed with your willingness to share this, Eugene. The emotion behind the words comes out really clearly.
    I want to encourage you to be cautious that you don’t make an idol out of this companionship. Often, I have found it necessary to truly let go of a desire before God, and then I am truly ready to receive. In a more concrete way, you may benefit from making sure you can be a good friend before you expect a good friend to come to you. I don’t say that to throw shade at you. Rather, I find it is best to focus on what we can control so that we don’t project onto others. Booker T. Washington believed that a useful man would be accepted among all people, and I have found that to be true as well.
    Make strangers your neighbors; neighbors – your acquaintances; acquaintances – your associates; associates – your companions; companions – your friends; and friends – your brothers. Pull on a single point of connection, and it may break. Weave multiple connections together, and you form a strong cord. I believe this will come to you because I believe you to be a good person which the world is wanting right now. Put your goodness into action, and I am sure you’ll soon see you’re a most desired companion!

  • You should check out the Fb website called Brothers and they’re book called the Bro Code. I need to look into that more myself. And another thing, the sooner you accept the truth that God made woman as an acceptable helpmate for man (and really meditate on and get that) the better off you will be. I bet you like me have yet to explore that world. What you desire to occur with a group of men or with a brother is a God ordained dream that I hope becomes a reality with you and all men. I believe that’s what His 12 disciples experienced along with wonderful JESUS (mind you AFTER they gave up all including their wives – for a time- to follow Him) You desire authentic intimacy and connection with a man/men. God longs for that for all men within the context of true brotherhood. That’s what you’re talking about. While we’re coming from one side of the coin consider how straight men will have to come from their side of the coin also to experience it. It’s not easy for either side, nor is giving up all & taking up your cross & following JESUS, But that’s what each brother involved will have to do to get to where you want yourself & others to be. And THAT’s what & who your ministry focus should be on, JESUS the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world & inspiring men to follow Him & ultimately do the will of the Father on earth, from who all whole relatonships flow. Also die to SSA because it’s a desire olf the flesh (idolatry uncleanness).

  • 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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