Recently, I had a vulnerable conversation with a straight brother. This again reminded me of the difference between someone like me and someone that has never struggled as I have. Though I’m not defined by my struggle, because of my struggle there are things about me and the way I experience things that are in every way different from straight males. So I hope that this will help explain some of those differences and will convince you of just how much I need straight brothers. (I’ve heard stories of leaders, once finding out that someone under their care is struggling with SSA or homosexual desires, to think the solution is to isolate that individual from their same gender peers. Or they instruct their peers to have boundaries as to treat the individual unlike one of their own. This reaction is actually the worst thing you could do.) But before I get to that point let me first explain briefly a very important difference to understand.
Between the age of two and five, a little boy’s love and attention moves toward Dad. This is a crucial time for masculinity through affection, attention, and affirmation to be transferred to the little boy through the community of men surrounding him. When this is tangibly lacking, violated, or perceived as lacking, an internal masculine identity remains unformed. This then opens the door for the sexualization of the same gender to occur since now men are perceived as the “other”.
“The needs to be held, affirmed, loved, touched, and blessed by men have gone unmet, and those needs are primary. It takes a community of men who are assured in their masculinity, who are willing to walk and be with this man and live with him, giving him all the masculine love he requires…that he never received as a child. It’s going to take a community of men to fill this man’s empty tank because those desires that have gone unmet have grown exponentially with the child into adulthood.” Tim Timmerman – A Bigger World Yet
So with this understanding, I unashamedly confess that I desperately need straight brothers in my life more than the average joe…
There, I said it! (whew)
I need ones who will take the time to connect with me on a heart level. Because this friendship can’t just be one-sided, I need to see your vulnerability too. Where are the brothers willing to intentionally include me in those evasive activities that guys do(while being patient with my lack of confidence and awkwardness in the process)? What about ones who will ask genuinely how I’m doing, listen without interruption to my response, and not go into fix it mode as a result? I need brothers who will show up when I need it, able to give the comfort of a hug(longer than the typical “bro-hug”) or the calming presence of a shoulder or chest to cry on that has the trust and freedom to linger without it being “gay”. I’m weak and wrestle with my confidence to know I belong among other men, as one of their own. These are just some ways that help me feel connected to you. You have much strength to give, more than you realize, which men like myself need.
Though it is difficult for me, I dare to believe that there are brothers out there for me that fit this bill, or ones willing to at least try. I believe that it comes down to love and all of us committing to grow up into mature love. I believe that this love will face fears and even cultural norms in order to strengthen a brother who feels weaker. The process won’t be easy, there probably will be misunderstanding and differences of opinions. Both parties will want to quit at some point. But that is expected..you know why?
Because the love we are talking about goes beyond ourselves and our own comfortable boundaries. This kind of love can only be demonstrated continually by the strength of the Holy Spirit. That’s why Paul prayed for the Body in this way:
“Be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the width, length, height, and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19
In closing to my straight brothers, I challenge you to evaluate your view of intimacy and what that looks like. Because there just might be areas that have become sexualized wrongfully. It is possible to have a healthy level of deep real intimacy with another guy. Not only is it possible, we both need it.
- If your straight, I’d love to hear your thoughts, questions, and experiences with what I’ve shared. Feel free to comment or email!