After we came back from lunch we went to my friend's room to take a communal nap as we watched an episode of the office. It was something we did as tradition on a Sunday. As I laid there on his couch and he was on his twin size bunk bed, he said, “Richard, come on up!” “Are you serious!?” I replied. “Yea,” he said. I jumped up to his bed and we positioned ourselves to get comfortable.
Then we started DOING IT!
We were cuddling.
Think about that, my friend who is not attracted to guys who had a girlfriend, was cuddling with me, someone who was attracted to men, and I was attracted to him and he knew I was.
And we napped together.
Now I wonder how many of you already feel uncomfortable with this story.
Is it because it is “GAY?”
Or is it because it is not what is culturally normal?
Do you feel like I sinned? Was God angry about this?
A couple of months before that joyful nap, some friends and I went camping, it got extremely cold, and all of us (8 of us) crammed into a 4 man tent. My friend and I ended up sleeping by each other and we sort of spooned throughout the night. One time I lifted up my head and I saw another friend literally laying on top of another friend's chest and I laughed and my friend responded, “There is no other way Richard.” It was so hilarious.
When we came back from that trip I told my friend it felt nice to sleep by someone and be that close to someone I emotionally feel close to. He said he understood and that he enjoyed it too. And that is when I asked him, “Can we do that again sometime? Like cuddle or something?”
Humans need Touch. As babies we need it! If we don't get cuddled and held, as babies we literally stop growing and can even die. If we don't receive touch as a child, it can have long lasting effects as an adult. As adults, if we don't experience touch, we don't experience releases of oxytocin that tell us we are being cared for and loved. There is research that suggest sport teams can win more games if they touch each other. It can calm cardiovascular stress and helps us have compassion for other humans.
Hugs can help us strengthen the immune system. Hugs stimulate the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body's white blood cells which keep us healthy and fights disease. (I got all this touch research from Psychology today)
Physiologically we need TOUCH!
As Christians we need TOUCH!
And as Jesus commands his followers to meet the needs of the World, that includes TOUCH!
GAY PEOPLE NEED TOUCH!
CHRISTIANS NEED TO TOUCH GAY PEOPLE! It is not an option.
I believe the reason a lot of Christians who struggle with homosexuality turn to the gay community is because they are longing for intimate experiences of touch (cuddling, putting their head on someone's shoulder as they watch a movie, sleeping in the same bed, and long hugs) but they are not getting that from the Church.
Go to a gay bar and you see everyone touching each other with hugs, kisses, and pats on the butt and all of this is done in a non sexual way. They dance together, they have a good time, filling up their touch need. And since they are having a good time, laughing and dancing, why not hook up with the guy or girl that wants to give more touch? Why deny something you are longing for? You are not going to get it from the Church, why not get it from other humans that will touch you?
Go to a Church and the only people you see continually touching each other are married folks or couples dating.
So if you are someone who longs for same sex touch and you actually really need it, and long for it, and not getting it causes you pain, why not get it from a community that offers it, right?
Whenever my friends touch me it is so enjoyable. I feel so loved, especially when Atticus touches me and sneezes on me. Recently, there has been a shift in touch within the young crowd of America.
There was a study done in the 1960's by Dasher Keltner who was a Psychologist. He went to study friends at coffee shops and in America, the two friends touched each other twice. In Britain, they touched each other zero times. In France, the number shot up to 110 times per hour. In Puerto Rico, friends touched each other 180 times.
I'm sure there are many reasons why we shouldn't be touching everyone, but when it comes to our friends, especially fellow brothers and sisters, we need to be physically embracing each other more than the norm. We are losing out because we are holding back.
Women tend to be more comfortable touching each other and kissing each other. For men, something interesting occurred in the 60's and 70's, historians have written about a time when men used to be more comfortable with touch, but when the sexual revolution took place, men backed away. They didn't want to be identified as gay. So they stopped touching each other. Recently, with the acceptance of homosexuality, men have been able to show more bromance with each other and physically have been more open to touch.
But in the CHURCH, we are still far from that.
Let's bring back touch in our lives!
Let's share beds!
Let's hug longer!
Let's be open to physical closeness, even if it might feel awkward for awhile.
You don't need to get a boyfriend or a girlfriend to get long lasting intimate touch.
If you know anyone who struggles with homosexuality, ask them how much do they want touch, they might feel awkward about that, but I bet you 1000 bucks they really want touch from someone.
Back to the beginning of my story, my friend let me share the same bed with him and cuddle with him a couple of more times, it was so warm and comforting. To be so close to another person who you love and you know loves you. There is no sex, there is not sexual tension, it is simply a form of love being given to another human in need of healthy touch. I felt extremely loved by my friend. Don't we all want to feel nice and warm next to someone? Why does it have to be a spouse? One time he reached around me and told me that he loved me and to have a good night.
Isn't this what we are all really fighting about? What love can look like? The Jesus kind of love?
One time I asked and he said no. And I was okay with him saying no because I already knew he was trying to love me and meet the deep physical needs in my life. Not everyone is ready to help people in such deep uncomfortable healthy Godly ways, but they can do it and it will take time.
But we have to ask each other for touch.
It is scary, but worth it.
We will hear yes and no.
I have been fortunate to have friends let me sleep on their bed with them and have some pillow talk before we go to bed embracing each other. It is quite nice.
I wonder how many men and women go to sleep asking God if they can have someone next to them to ask them about their day and give them an embrace of physical friendship and say good night?
As a human, I would love that.
Hopefully, the Church can offer that.
If the gay community can, I don't understand why the Church can't
The church is more loving than the world
It is God's HANDS and FEET.