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I’m convinced I’m straight, but still questioning and it’s bugging me

Discussion in 'Sexual Orientation' started by jjusa, Jul 30, 2021.

  1. jjusa

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    I don’t fit in with the LGBTQ crowd and it doesn’t feel right for me to tell people I’m gay, bi or queer. Nor do I relate to other people’s experiences (e.g., I’ve never had a relationship or sexual experience before). I can’t imagine a romantic and happy relationship with the same gender. It’s been six years. Why am I still questioning?!?! Do straight people question for this long??
     
  2. BiBoyToy

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    I like how you asked the question, "Do straight people question for this long." From my understanding, one questioning their sexual orientation, especially for six years, like you mentioned, is not a characteristic of someone that is straight. Again, from my understanding, the typical straight person doesn't question their sexual orientation, at least not for that long. And, from my experience, I've never really met someone that has questioned their sexual orientation that long that isn't somewhere on the spectrum.

    However, the best indicator of someone's sexual orientation is their fantasies that do not involve porn or any sexually provocative content. So, I would ask you, do you ever has sexual fantasies about women? If you do, but you also have sexual fantasies about men, then perhaps you're somewhere on the bisexual spectrum, which is a very real thing. Straight people DO NOT have sexual fantasies about the same-sex.

    If you are gay, or somewhere on the bisexual spectrum, everything you described could be because of internalized homophobia which everyone deals with, even us in the LGBTQ+ community that have accepted and embraced our sexuality.

    To address something you said specifically, "I don't fit in with the LGBTQ crowd" That doesn't mean you're straight. I'm super bisexual and I do not fit in with the typical LGBTQ+ community.

    I hope this helps.
     
    #2 BiBoyToy, Jul 31, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2021
  3. jjusa

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    Actually I did the math wrong. It has been four years, not six :laughing: so maybe it hasn’t been that long lol


    yes


    No sexual feelings towards men to my knowledge but I do have romantic fantasies about men. I might also grow to like them sexually after getting to know them for a while.... but I’m not too sure. I think that’s demisexuality

    I think straight people can have sexual fantasies of the same sex, but it’s either a curiosity thing or OCD related (I think). That’s what I’ve learned from chatting with people who identify as straight. That’s what makes all the more confusing for me.

    My family and friends are very accepting of being LGBTQ so I’m not sure where the internalized homophobia comes from... or what it could mean


    I don’t know how to dispel this belief because I feel I need to perform “gay” to be gay, but I’ve already given up and do not associate with the community anymore. I feel like I need to move on.
     
  4. Chip

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    You've previously mentioned OCD as a part of your history. For someone with OCD, it would not be at all uncommon to have constant concerns that one might be gay. It would also not be uncommon to have these concerns and fears persist indefinitely, until one got appropriate treatment. I'm going to guess that's what's going on here.
     
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  5. jjusa

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    Thanks for commenting. I thought it could be OCD, but I’m not bothered by my sexual fantasies of the same sex. I feel disconnected with my feelings and what I really want. Two therapists i saw previously didn’t believe that I had OCD, but they could very well be wrong. It very well could be that I have OCD and that’s messing with my thoughts.
     
  6. masterofnone

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    a clear way to distinguish between ocd and non ocd issues is the level of anxiety, constant checking and inability to put the thoughts to the side. straight people with ocd feel extremely bothered by these thoughts of being with the same gender, i would hardly refer to these as “fantasies”. if a few doctors said they don’t think you have ocd and you aren’t bothered by fantasies of the same sex id say you probably don’t have ocd related to sexual orientation
     
  7. jjusa

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    i know I experience ocd symptoms, but am not sure if it’s full on ocd that’s diagnosable. The anxiety around sexual orientation started to develop three years after I’d been questioning. I guess it doesn’t matter whether it’s diagnosable or not. I don’t get aroused by the opposite sex but I could just be a late bloomer or something. Maybe I haven’t found the right guy yet. Thinking of being with the same gender terrifies me.

    I’m sorry you’ve been struggling with this for so long. :frowning2: I hope you are getting treatment for your ocd.
     
  8. Spaceseed

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    The line between ocd and closeted /denial is still very blurry to me …
     
  9. Chip

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    It can be confusing.

    This isn't 100% (won't fit every situation), and just pulled together based on what I've seen

    Closeted/denial:
    Clear, unambiguous indications of sexual arousal to the same sex, and diminished or nonexistent arousal to the opposite sex.
    Masturbation without porn to fantasies of the same sex creates excitement, arousal. There may be massive guilt/shame after orgasm.
    Masturbation without porn to fantasies of opposite sex creates little excitement or arousal.
    No sexual interest in the opposite sex, but may deeply care for them as a friend
    Anxiety that one might be gay, but no constant need or compulsion to test whether one is gay
    History (which may be diffiicult to recall if one is in deep denial) of attraction to same sex, same sex experiences, masturbation fantasies of same sex during teen years
    Rarely comes with other obsessive/intrusive thoughts/behaviors.
    Claim that they are "romantically attracted" to opposite sex but "sexually attracted" to same sex
    (No credible data or research shows any evidence of separation between romantic/sexual attraction)

    OCD:
    Little to no objective evidence of real sexual arousal to same sex. No desire for sex with same sex. Considerable attraction/arousal to opposite sex.
    Masturbation without porn to fantasies of the same sex creates little excitement or arousal.
    Masturbation without porn to fantasies of the opposite sex creates excitement, arousal.
    Persistent masturbation to same-sex fantasy may cause mild arousal, but not the same as masturbation to opposite-sex fantasy
    Constant, persistent need to test whether one is gay
    Uncontrollable urge to test, question the results of said test, ask the same questions over and over
    Magnification of the most minor responses (a tiny flicker of arousal that lasts a few seconds) as "evidence" of being gay
    Refusal to acknowledge/accept commentary suggesting one is not gay
    Refusal to acknowledge/accept the results of masturbation testing clearly showing little or no same-sex arousal
    Usually, but not always, comes with other obsessive/intrusive thoughts or behaviors
     
    #9 Chip, Aug 2, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2021
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  10. SunnyNarwal

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    I knew I wasn't attracted to men for yearsss before I realized I was gay. It took me into my twenties to get to the point where I was comfortable confronting the fact that I wasn't straight and to release the pressure on myself to one day "figure out" how to be into men. Before I knew I was gay, I "tried on" many other labels first, such as ace and then pan/bi before I eventually realized I was just beating around the bush, wanting to be anything but a lesbian. I thought I must be pretty dumb, not being able to figure it out for several years. But no, it turns out that confusion and anxiety is a pretty standard part of the queer experience. Some people don't figure it out until the end of their lives! There is absolutely nothing wrong with not magically waking up one day and knowing what exactly your sexuality is! If you are anything other than completely straight, the world is rigged to make it very difficult for you to acknowledge and accept. You have been told your whole life that there is only one sexuality. Give yourself a break! The fact that you are aware of your own confusion means you are on the track to discovering yourself. I'm sure everyone in this comment section has a similar story of confusion leading to eventual understanding. Give it time.
    On a side note, I also considered the idea of having OCD as an explanation for my anxiety around my sexuality. It turned out that I was simply desperate to believe that I was a straight person with mental health issues, rather than a queer person slowly coming to a painful realization. I am not saying that OCD is off the table. But if multiple health professionals have said you don't have it, I would consider the idea you may be using it as an excuse to dismiss the importance of your anxieties. (If you've worried that you aren't straight for years, and it turns out that OCD is off the table, you are going to have to confront the fact that you are, in fact, not straight.)
    I certainly never related to what I thought gay people were/looked like. I grew up in a conservative, religious environment and queer people were "outsiders" I'm pretty typically feminine, so I couldn't be a lesbian, I thought. As it turns out, anyone from any culture or of any appearance can have any orientation. You don't have to fit the common idea of what a gay/bi/ace person looks or acts like to actually have that identity. You are what you are, regardless of whether you "look like" or "fit in" with that group.
     
  11. Leynz45

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    All things are right.Omg it feels like you are in my brain
     
    #11 Leynz45, Aug 2, 2021
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  12. Sadness

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    I agree with all that you said. But theres one thing that i noticed that i dont think you wrote about.

    I notice that everyone that has ocd dont know how to live with uncertain. We must know what our sexuality is, that is one of the reasons i think we constantly check, at least for me.

    Ex: yesterday i saw a naked man, and gay scenes. I do felt something down there as always, a constant arousal feeling, but wasnt hard, so i thought to myself "okay, so im not gay". But then afterwards something rings on my mind "you do felt something over looking at that gay porn/hentai, maybe you are gay". So i check again just to make sure, i dont feel nothing. Then im okay, after this, i try to do again bc i thought i was repressing my arousal, and dont feel nothing again, then im good to go without thinking about this anymore. Than today a trigger thing happened and i saw gay stuff again, felt the same arousal feeling.

    I notice this pattern of constant reassurance. We need to be sure everyday about that, and if one thing goes wrong, in my case, some arousal to gay stuff, i must go test all again to reassure myself that today im not gay.

    Dont know if it makes sense, but this something i noticed whitin my time with this ocd for 3 years now.
     
    #12 Sadness, Aug 3, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2021
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  13. jjusa

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    @Chip I decided to read and respond to each of your points carefully

    Closeted/denial:

    Clear, unambiguous indications of sexual arousal to the same sex, and diminished or nonexistent arousal to the opposite sex. Yes
    Masturbation without porn to fantasies of the same sex creates excitement, arousal. There may be massive guilt/shame after orgasm. Yes, sometimes I feel guilt/shame, sometimes I don't.
    Masturbation without porn to fantasies of opposite sex creates little excitement or arousal. Yes
    No sexual interest in the opposite sex, but may deeply care for them as a friend Yes, but I am not eliminating the possibility that I am demisexual or greysexual
    Anxiety that one might be gay, but no constant need or compulsion to test whether one is gay Yes, but I do feel the need to test in my head whether or not I am
    History (which may be diffiicult to recall if one is in deep denial) of attraction to same sex, same sex experiences, masturbation fantasies of same sex during teen years Yes
    Rarely comes with other obsessive/intrusive thoughts/behaviors. Nope, I obsess over my sexual orientation every day pretty much.
    Claim that they are "romantically attracted" to opposite sex but "sexually attracted" to same sex
    (No credible data or research shows any evidence of separation between romantic/sexual attraction) Yes, but I don't think I am romantically attracted to the same sex. I'm not sure I agree with romantic/sexual attraction always lining up

    OCD:
    Little to no objective evidence of real sexual arousal to same sex. No desire for sex with same sex. Considerable attraction/arousal to opposite sex. I don't feel attracted to the opposite sex and I do feel sexually attracted toward the same sex
    Masturbation without porn to fantasies of the same sex creates little excitement or arousal. False
    Masturbation without porn to fantasies of the opposite sex creates excitement, arousal. False
    Persistent masturbation to same-sex fantasy may cause mild arousal, but not the same as masturbation to opposite-sex fantasy False
    Constant, persistent need to test whether one is gay Yes, I feel the need to test myself whether or not I am gay based on how I think about relationships and who I actually want to be in a relationship with. It feels perplexing and stressful thinking about a relationship with the same sex.
    Uncontrollable urge to test, question the results of said test, ask the same questions over and over No
    Magnification of the most minor responses (a tiny flicker of arousal that lasts a few seconds) as "evidence" of being gay I don't think this way, no
    Refusal to acknowledge/accept commentary suggesting one is not gay Kind of, yeah. I can't seem to embrace uncertainty
    Refusal to acknowledge/accept the results of masturbation testing clearly showing little or no same-sex arousal I don't do this or think this way
    Usually, but not always, comes with other obsessive/intrusive thoughts or behaviors Yes, I obsess over whether or not I liked people of the same sex in the past, whether or not I wanted a relationship with them, how my behavior towards them is indicative of homosexuality
     
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  14. jjusa

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    Hi! That's the thing, I don't want to waste my life not being my most authentic self. I don't want a scenario happening where I am living a lie my whole life and then discovering who I am, gay, straight, bi, or whoever, on my death bed. I wouldn't want this on anyone. It sounds depressing to me :frowning2:

    That's how I feel about myself right now- that maybe I am a straight person with mental health issues. I do have depression, PTSD, and generalized anxiety. I don't have a good relationship with my father so it could be that I have attachment issues with men. I still think of men romantically. I just feel like the lines are so blurry.

    I do understand what you are saying but when I am entering these LGBT spaces the feelings of I don't belong continue to come up, despite knowing that I don't have to act a certain way. It's ingrained in my mind and body. That's why I'm like, f**k it, I'm not going to label myself.
     
    #14 jjusa, Aug 4, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2021
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  15. Chip

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    So based on the above, it does not sound like it clearly fits the OCD criteria, but it does sound like there's some anxiety-driven behaviors that could be on the OCD spectrum. One of the challenges in diagnosing any mental health disorder (which is outside the scope or appropriateness for anyone to do in an online forum setting) is that in DSM-5, all diagnoses are on a spectrum. You have some symptoms that are consistent, and you have other symptoms that are consistent with anxiety spectrum disorders.

    So the best suggestion here would be to work with a therapist. In this specific case, it might be sensible to see a doctoral-level licensed psychologist rather than a masters-level therapist, because they are more trained in the use of diagnostic instruments and might be better equipped to help you understand what's going on and how to most effectively address it.
     
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  16. jjusa

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    Thank you for being thoughtful about my issues. Unfortunately, I don't have the money to see a therapist so I can only do self-therapy.
     
  17. out2019

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    many therapists have sliding scales based on need/income and sometimes for example you can get therapists in training at a lower rate.
     
  18. out2019

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    Seems to me this is pretty clear- I was terrified and super ashamed to be gay and that created a lot of anxiety and made things 'blurry' like you say.... but as the anxiety eased the attraction to men was still there.

    Is it an abstraction that feels distant? That's how I felt, a longing to 'be normal' have you ever tried to think about a romantic date with a woman?
     
  19. Chip

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    Yes, that and, there are many students finishing their degrees who need intern hours. Many universities run clinics that are free or dirt cheap.
     
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  20. out2019

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    Just one note here. Lots of people who are gay/lgbtq don't fit in, don't like the parades, the flamboyance- many are very introverted.
    What don't you like ? what are the specifics?
    Chances are there are niches that you would like.

    And lots of fantasies about women...If you think about it, this is pretty clear.
     
    #20 out2019, Aug 6, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2021
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