The interviews revealed that desire was a complex problem for the Side Bs. “Allen,” the 30-something man married to a lesbian, noted that he’d even had gay friends try to seduce him to test his limits. Such an experience is not uncommon among abstinent people, Creek wrote.

Admitting to same-sex desires is also a problem for Side Bs interacting with ex-gays, as the ex-gay philosophy holds that even homosexual desire is not OK. Creek’s interviewees reported keeping their sexuality and their celibacy closeted in many cases. …

At other times, claiming a gay identity was a way to connect with other Christians, both gay and straight. “Erin,” a celibate lesbian, told Creek she found a connection with married couples in her Orthodox Church who also tried to lead chaste lives. Allen told a story of a straight Christian retreat administrator who stood up for him, pointing out that Christian straight men and Christian gay men have similar struggles.