I was new to my college’s Christian Center and newer even to Christianity itself. Much of my adolescent years had been spent dealing with all that goes with a disability and a somewhat unstable home environment. Consciously or unconsciously, I had relinquished any feelings of attraction to the far reaches of my mind.

I wasn’t sure I even had them, but I most assuredly did.

I met a friend named Rick at my first meeting of the Christian Student Ministry. We talked briefly at the meeting, and then more the next morning over breakfast. From those earliest moments with Rick, I felt all the feelings of a crush — though I didn’t realize it at the time.

While I obviously felt a physical attraction to this guy, I also felt an emotional, mental, and spiritual attraction that even now is difficult to explain.

Rick was extremely kind to me! As a young, disabled, closeted gay man, I cannot overemphasize the importance of his kindness. Somehow Rick made me feel a lot more comfortable in my own skin, and that comfort led to attraction.

Oddly enough, Rick’s love for Jesus only fed my attraction to him! His Christian maturity was “sexy” to me. I was desperately, perhaps unhealthily, looking for a male Christian role model, and Rick’s friendship checked all the boxes.

I don’t want to be too hard on myself, though. Through Rick’s friendship and others like it, though of less intensity, I was gaining some true gems of masculinity in my young Christian life.

This Christian masculinity (as well as my lust for it) went on full display one afternoon during a brisk afternoon walk. After a couple laps Rick asked me, “Do you mind if I take off my shirt?”

My heart raced — and not from being in the Houston heat. I answered Rick rather nonchalantly, “No, of course not, dude.”

It may sound silly, but I tried to contain my excitement while also indulging my excitement. This was what I’d wanted, though I’d not even started admitting it to myself.

Rick ran ahead of me without his shirt while I kept steady at a slower pace, taking it all in. As he passed me in his sprint, I couldn’t help noticing his gold cross necklace dangling across his upper chest.

While this experience was long before I’d heard of the book Desires in Conflict, I was feeling exactly what it covered: How could I be hanging out with a Christian brother just fifteen minutes ago, my sexual struggle not even on my mind, and now it’s front-and-center screaming at me?

I didn’t say anything to Rick about it. I tried to forget the excitement and also the conviction of that evening.

As happens with college life, our first major Christian conference of the year approached, and I was about to get even closer to Rick — both emotionally and physically. More than I had even thought about.

Rick and I got teamed up at the conference with my autistic friend. Rick and I decided to share one of the two beds in the room, which honestly didn’t seem odd to me, especially since no one really stays in their room at these conferences anyway. Both nights I stayed out late downstairs, drinking coffee and listening to worship concerts.

Whenever I did go back to my room and climbed into bed, I remember feeling such peace about things lying there. At the time I thought this peace was from the Lord’s moving at the conference, and maybe to some degree it was. But I also know this peace came from lying there with Rick.

If there were any doubts about this, I woke up one night to find Rick gone beside me. He had only stepped away to the bathroom, but still that brief break had given me anxiety. I was in full crush mode.

Throughout the conference, I felt extremely clingy with Rick. I wish I could give a good explanation for this, but it was just the effect of my crush on him. I remember being split into small groups at the conference, and I was quite disappointed I wasn’t in Rick’s group.

I grew overbearing around Rick. He knew something was wrong, but neither of us knew how to approach the subject.

Shortly after the conference, I came out to Rick and his girlfriend. After a few months of long discussions with them about being a gay celibate Christian, I began to develop a strong support network. That support continues to this day.

As he and I both worked through my homoerotic feelings, one thing that helped was how much Rick listened. If I could suggest anything to anyone reading, it would be that if you want to support an LGBT+ friend — especially a celibate one — be ready to listen a lot. Listening, I believe, can take away much of the power of our temptations, as well as our crushes.

Have you ever come out to someone you had a crush on? Where have you seen growth your temptations, crushes, even obsessions for other men?

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  • This is absolutely beautiful Sam. So many memories if similar experiences. Thank you for sharing yours. ❤

  • Grande história, irmão! Vulnerabilidade física ainda mexe comigo, mas também me sinto grato quando um irmão tem coragem em expor sua nudez para mim… É um sinal de amizade e confiança!

  • I’m out to my crush, but not about my crush on him. I was going to tell him, but my spiritual director said no. I’m glad he did, as I think I was making it some kind of bad erotic thing. In reality, I think it’s just that I really delight in him and am not used to that. I need to have more of that with other people.

    • That’s a good distinction, Steven. I’ve been tempted to tell certain guys I’m “crushing” on them too, but it really is just a heightened form of delight that can be exciting/confusing/all the things. Better to just lean into that delight than unnecessarily bring someone else into my misplaced eroticism.

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