Platonic Relationships for Same-Sex Attracted Christian Men?

I was recently asked (by email) what I think of two male Christians with same-sex attraction (SSA) pursuing a platonic relationship together. By “platonic,” the questioner meant that these two men were attracted to one another, but they were not going to engage in sexual activity because they upheld a biblical sexual ethic. Below was my answer.

First of all, I can only imagine how difficult it is for Christians with SSA to develop healthy relationships with others of the same sex. I’m grateful for those I know who are trying to honor Christ in their relationships. They deserve our respect, love, support, and prayer.

My view is that it’s unwise for Christian men with SSA to form that kind of platonic relationship. I can think of at least three quick reasons. First, it will frustrate them. Their relationship will be in constant sexual tension because of their attraction to each other without the possibility of fulfilling those desires. Second, it will create unnecessary risk for sin (either lusting or sexual behavior). The longer you’re in a relationship where both of you are attracted to each other, the more opportunity there is for sinful missteps. Third, it will encourage each other’s same-sex attraction and habituate an unhealthy pattern of thought. Keep in mind, sexual desires towards people of the same sex are described in Romans 1 as “degrading passions” (NASB). That’s because it treats a person of the same sex as a sexual counterpart, which is a violation of the complementarity expressed in Scripture (Gen. 1:27, 28, 2:24, Matt. 19:4-6).

By the way, I would apply the same advice to myself in a similar heterosexual relationship. I would not carry on in a platonic relationship with a woman I’m attracted to (and she attracted to me). It would be unwise. Sure, I can talk to her when I see her, say “hi” here and there, but if we’re attracted to each other, it’s unwise for me (and her) to develop and maintain that kind of platonic relationship.

I’m not saying men with SSA should not form any relationships with other men. It would be better for them to form strong relationships with other men they’re not sexually attracted to.

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Alan Shlemon

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