Christian BoyLove Forum #65190
Welcome aboard! It was good to come across someone else who also experienced a total shift in orientation from being attracted to older boys to younger at the age of puberty - not sure I've ever seen that articulated before, but was definitely the case with me.
I want to challenge your post's sentence: 'My only option is celibacy, and a life utterly devoid of basic human emotional/physical/sexual intimacy.' I just don't believe that needs to be the case. Yes, in practice in our modern Western culture, that is generally our experience, but that's because we've largely lost the expectation that intimate (but non-sexual) relationships should be a major feature of our lives; this is accentuated by the propensity to move frequently, starting with going to college, with the effect of disrupting our teenage friendships. Almost the only model our culture offers is the couple, based on a sexual relationship. This even gets to the point where people worry about your motives when you try to start to get to know them well: I think I got turned down by a putative friend this week because of that ambiguity, and I'm feeling thoroughly annoyed about it. I have memories of my parents and grandparents living a lifestyle that had far more space for the single person that most people do now - we need to do better if we are to prove that the 'love of God' is for real.
And if we look at the New Testament, we can see some very close relationships which we have to assume were non sexual: both Jesus - with John - and Paul - with Timothy - had very close friendships. Our culture makes it hard to build and maintain the like, but it's something we should be doing - the alternative, as you say, is a life devoid of intimacy, which is a recipe for disaster.
My own experience is that such relationships can be built: I am blessed with a number of very good friends in real life and online who are aware of my issues and with whom I can be honest. Not easy to find - but if you can, a wonderful blessing. But the primary source of intimacy for a Christian should be their relationship with God; there's the advantage there that you can be totally honest - after all it's not like He doesn't know all about you. The challenge is to choose to turn to Him when it's getting rough and my usual response is to find something less helpful to provide a slug of pleasure. Instead I need to turn to Him and 'find Him 'concrete', as Keith Clark, in his book 'An Experience of Celibacy' expresses it. Clark is a Capuchin Friar (a sort of Catholic monk, but one living in the world, not isolated in a monastery), so someone who has chosen celibacy. As such he is as well qualified to speak about the challenges as anyone... And we can also look to the Psalms to see the author complaining to God about feeling miserable- and sometimes we see God responding there.
The challenge of loneliness is endemic in our culture; I've heard it suggested that the success of the church in the early years was as a result of its success in addressing the issue of widows and orphans, whom the Graeco Roman culture left to suffer. The suggestion was that if the church can find a way to seriously address the issue of loneliness then we will have a cure to THE problem of our modern society, and people will be strongly drawn to us. Sadly a lot of churches seem to be going the other way - focusing massive amounts of effort on 'families', and doing virtually nothing for those not conforming to society's ideal.
But ultimately for each of us it comes down to whether we truly trust God as being in charge: he has said that 'it is not good for man to be alone'. Given that, we can expect God to provide us with the relationships we need, though I've heard that verse used by a gay Christian to justify entering a gay relationship - the BL experience makes such an interpretation... interesting: if this justifies the gay man to have a sexual relationship with his BF, why not a BL with his YF...
Of course true intimacy implies the risk of rejection. And so it can be easier to hide, assume the worst and give up hope of real friendship. Ultimately that is the way of the coward: whilst my experience has not been universally positive, it has been amazing how many of my friends have not rejected me when I've plucked up the courage to share my struggles. And if the church should demonstrate real relationships, we should see true acceptance being lived out in its members. Or do we just assume that their faith is only skin deep?
It's not an easy path - but the New Testament is full of verses explaining that suffering is God's way of 'personal development' (e.g. 1 Peter 1:5-7, James 1:2-4) - and even Jesus learnt that way (Heb 5:8). In that corny phrase: the Christian's career is a struggle, but the retirement benefits are out of this world...