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?

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