A growing number of gay Christian millennials are embracing what is being called the “Side B” movement.
“We have a crisis of desire in our society,” 29-year-old David Bennett tells Vice.
Side B is for LGBTQ identifying Christians who don’t deny their sexualities, but rather pledge to keep them contained by partaking in “loving self-denial” (a.k.a. celibacy).
“Side B means embracing Christ as the core of your identity,” Bennett explains. “It’s submitting these [same-sex] desires, along with everything else, to him.”
He admits this isn’t always easy and can even be “disenfranchising,” but he insists it’s worth it.
“Like everyone, I have sexual desires,” he continues. “I’m not ashamed and don’t repress them, but I give them to God.”
Bennett says “the love of God quenches and reformulates” his desires and that whatever he’s missing from sex is “given back to me 100-fold through Jesus.”
30-year-old Joseph concurs. He grew up in a small “culturally Christian” town of 1,000 people and says celibacy is the best decision he ever made.
“I’ve dated and had sex and boyfriends during college,” he explains. “But once I became more devoted, that sex never felt quite right. I never felt guilty, but it just didn’t sit well with me regarding my faith.”
Believe it or not, Joseph has a boyfriend, but he says they don’t get naked together. Or kiss. Or cuddle. Or anything.
We tend to avoid making out just because it feels a bit strange… but years ago, we had sex. Just because you’re celibate, doesn’t mean you’re going to always be. We weren’t devastated, it was just a bit “eh”.
When asked if he’s going to be celibate forever Joseph says probably, but ya never know.
“My faith is important, and I can’t imagine being anything else right now,” he says. “I do have friends who are Side B, and as a result—they’re very lonely and conflicted. It’s just so psychologically damaging for them.”