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Once you make it out of Phase 2 (leaving the gay community), and move forward in your journey, friendships with straight men will assume greater importance.
Personally I do not recommend hanging around with a lot of other ex-gays, for reasons I can explore in future tips. As you reach out to make more male friends, straight male friends are probably the healthiest for you, until you are well into Phase 5 and in a stable, strong marriage.
I know many men in our situation did not have strong relationships with fathers or brothers, so straight male friends nourish our sense of camaraderie and make us feel included in the masculine rites of passage. That is important, perhaps even more important if you did not have strong male figures in your birth family who gave you love and guidance.
In my experience, straight men tend to lack some of the experience that makes gay men so often passive-aggressive, disingenuous, and insecure. This is a generalization with many exceptions, but generally men who have never suffered from feminizing influences in their lives tend to deal more straightforwardly with conflict, frustration, and setbacks. On your journey, these examples will help you because much of your challenge will be to persevere in the face of great adversity.
And perhaps most importantly, you are likely making it out of Phase 2 with very little or no experience dealing sexually with women. Many ex-gay men at this point in the journey think of women as exemplified by mothers and sisters, female colleagues, and the types of female friends who liked hanging out with gay men. All these examples will offer little helpful precedent for what you will confront once you are in Phase 4 and dating women.
To be coached in how to succeed in dating women and then losing your virginity after marriage, there is no way you can go without direct advice and discipleship from straight men who have had sexual experience with women.
While I am happy to provide whatever information I can on this website, you need to be able to have frank discussions with straight men about how to do well sexually and romantically with women. Women are completely different when you are dating them or involved sexually with them, and many scenarios will confront you, which you will never have anticipated.
The problem is that straight men generally do not like talking about their sex lives. Many of them started with girls when they were young and passed through awkward stages, learning as they went along. They benefited from the adolescent experience that you missed out on when you were in the gay world. Most straight men, in my experience, expect that each guy will learn as he goes along.
Straight guys will often feel uncomfortable with your past history and may, therefore, be uneasy talking generally about sex with you. It might be difficult to get them to share information or be comfortable enough that you can ask them frank questions. Often, among straight men there is a lot of boasting and fibbing; few will admit they watch porn or masturbate, and many will exaggerate the number of women they were with, or how early they lost their own virginity. (This is completely different from what I knew in the gay world, where gays discussed their porn fascination openly and if anything tended to downplay how much sex they had.)
But it will be extremely helpful to you if you develop straight male friends who can coach you through Phases 3 and 4 (maybe even Phase 5).
I asked around to see what my straight friends said, and they had some interesting responses. They had the following ideas:
1. Try to make friends with married men. Married men tend to have the most experience, and the kind of experience relevant to your journey. They can also ask their wives to help with advice from a female point of view. Married men also tend to be secure and will not misinterpret sexual questions as your trying to come on to them.
2. When talking to single male friends, take what they say with a grain of salt. Many of them are single for a reason, either because they have loose morals or because they have failed to keep girlfriends. This does not diminish their value as friends, but sometimes when they talk about dealing with women, remember that they are possibly teaching you things not to do.
3. When you have close male friends, make use of the trust in your mutual friendship and ask questions that you want answers to. Once you have gained a friend's trust you can usually not worry about him being freaked out by how little you know about sex or how silly you sound.
4. Just have a sense of humor when talking to guys about how to date girls. If you can laugh about things they say they are less likely to feel weird about what you are asking them, and just be more honest about it.
5. Don't be judgmental when your friends speak in ways that are vulgar or possibly tasteless. Sex is a topic shrouded with taboos you will need to break through. If you make men feel ashamed at information they have, they will end up not sharing information with you. And you lose out!
6. Make use of male friends you meet through church fellowships but also understand that church men may be extremely guarded if a topic drifts into immoral territory. There is no harm in having male friends from church and male friends from other settings, as long as you are still letting the church build up your moral compass.
7. Play it by ear. If some guys do not like discussions about sex just leave it alone after once or twice. Some people really don't want to share what they know. Others may be embarrassed that they do not know much about girls themselves.
8. Always keep in mind that men who base their advice to you on porn are not giving you valuable advice. I will write future posts about everything you will get wrong if you try to base your understanding of heterosexuality on porn.