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Questioning my Sexuality

Discussion in 'Sexual Orientation' started by clear, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. clear

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    Hi,

    At this point, I'm really looking for some advice or confirmation of my sexuality because it's scaring the hell out of me. Let me give you some background:

    About 2.5 years ago I was in a friends with benefits relationship with a girl. It was great. I really enjoyed having sex with her only sometimes I found it hard to "keep it up" because I thought she looked like a guy and it turned me off how dominant she was. I was pretty inexperienced at the time too. It was at this time that I began seriously questioning my sexuality.

    About 2 years ago I began my first real relationship with a girl and it was amazing! We were together for a 1.5 years before I realized things were not working out because we did not have the same core values and there was a couple things in the bedroom that turned me off about her. She had bad knees and I found it hard to eat her out because she squirted. I really wanted to eat her out more often, but I was kinda grossed out by the squirting. When I started questioning the relationship with my ex before I broke it off, I began to seriously question my sexuality and whether I was gay or not.

    I have always been really homophobic, but about 3-4 years ago (during university) realized that it was OK for people to be gay and they deserve the same rights as anyone else. I still homophobic now. I was raised in a home and school environment that looked down upon gay people and I used to be picked on a lot and called gay in school when I was younger, but at the time I had no attraction to men.

    Ever since I started questioning my sexuality I have had a ton of anxiety. I cannot shake the thought that I could be homosexual. I constantly check whether guys walking down the street are attractive and why they might be. Yes, some of them seem attractive, but I cannot see myself dating a man. Recently I started watching gay porn to see if it turns me on. I do get aroused and I can get off to it easily, but I'm not necessarily happy about it (it's freaking me out). I still very much prefer girl-on-girl and girl-guy porn.

    I have always been attracted to girls throughout my childhood and I still am now. I'm afraid that I could be gay/bi and that I have been living some sort of lie for years. But I don't want to lose my attraction to women and I really value growing up with a wife and kids someday.

    I have talked to my parents about the issues I have been having with my sexuality because the anxiety was really getting to me. I didn't feel any better after telling them about it because I was still unsure about why I am questioning my sexuality and why I cannot just stay calm and continue to date women without obsessing about the idea of being gay. I also talked to my gay friend and he said it was just a phase and I felt better then.

    I have been trying to throw these thoughts out of my head for the past 4 months, but I can't shake it and it's having a serious strain on my daily life. I'm going to switch to a CBT therapist on sexuality and identity issues because I have been going through an identity crisis ever since I quit my job. I think I may have HOCD, but ever since I started checking gay porn and if I have an attraction for men I've been freaking out.

    Any advice or consoling would be great.
     
  2. Chip

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    Hi, and welcome to EC.

    First, please don't waste time with a CBT therapist if your focus is on finding out about your sexual identity, because CBT would be about the worst possible type of therapy for dealing with that. CBT is great for learning specific methods and strategies for dealing with anxiety and such, but not for deeper insights into what's causing your issues. And a good therapist with a more insight-based approach should also have the CBT skills necessary to teach you the coping strategies.

    Second, just to be clear, HOCD doesn't exist. It's a figment of the imagination of religious crazies who can't handle the fact that they're gay and in denial about it. No credible professionals, or professional associations, recognize it. Now... OCD exists, but, first off, it's pretty rare (less than 2% of the population, if I am remembering my stats correctly) and second off, if you did, in fact, have OCD, it would be manifesting in ways other than just an obsession about whether or not you're gay. So that isn't likely the issue.

    On to the meat of your post: What you're describing sounds more like denial than anything that would point against you being gay or bi. Most people, as they begin the process of exploring their sexuality, have anxiety about it, because, let's face it, nobody volunteers to be part of a minority that isn't accepted by significant portions of society.

    So in beginning to process *any* loss (in this case, the loss of your identity as straight), there are stages we go through: denial-anger-bargaining-grief-acceptance.

    The "Well, I can get off to guys, but I can't see myself dating a guy" is sort of in the realm of bargaining... "Well, ok, so I've got this attraction to guys, but maybe I'm still straight because I can't see myself with a guy." And, by the way, that's actually a really common thought stream for people coming to terms with their sexual identity.

    Now... the complicating part here is that when you start to consider whether you're gay, particularly if that idea is scary, your conscious mind will throw up all sorts of diversions, rationalizations, justifications, and so forth to try and reassure you that this isn't the case. So it can get really hard to tell if what you're experiencing (the idea that you really do love women just as much or more) is indeed truth or rationalization.

    In general, straight guys don't find gay porn remotely appealing, and don't find guys attractive at all, and straight guys generally cannot get off to watching guys having sex with one another, nor do they fantasize about guys when masturbating.

    But gay guys who are just starting to come to terms with their sexuality definitely say that they can't imagine seeing themselves dating a guy, value the idea of having a wife and kids, and other things because, as I said above, who wants to be part of a minority that gets picked on. And many gay guys do have relationships with girls, and are able to perform sexually... but find that it just isn't as fulfilling as being with a guy. And usually, once they've been with a guy... they realize this was what it should have been like all along.

    So, while nobody can tell you for sure except you, I'd say the signs point to your probably being closer to gay than straight, but it could also be that you're bi. THe important thing is, there's no immediate need to answer this today; if you simply explore and begin to acknowledge the idea that you might be gay or bi, then you can start to get over the fear of it, and at that point, whether you are or not will be easier to discern.
     
  3. suninthesky

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    Chip said it all super!well as always, and to avoid being repetitive I'll just say this:

    To make any headway in figuring it out or accepting yourself, the first thing you have to work through is your homophobia. Your therapist will be the most help on that, but it might be an idea to hang out with someone LGBT to see that it's not the only thing that defines them. Even hanging around EC helped me get used to the idea a lot.
     
  4. clear

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    Well I can't say that I'm not freaking out. My whole world seems flipped completely upside-down. This is a really bad time to have to figure these things out since I start a new job soon...

    The only thing I want to do at this point is talk to my friend who is gay about all this and see where to go from here. He's in the LGBT community.

    I want the inner strength back that I had at the end of university. If that means that I have to explore my sexual identity to have it, then so be it. I just know that I can't live with this kind of anxiety. It's scaring me and my parents. I need to be able to function on a daily basis at work and with friends, so I'll do what it takes to figure this out.

    What kind of therapist can help with homophobia?
     
  5. Chip

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    Hey,

    First thing... take some deep breaths. It's perfectly normal to feel very strong anxiety as you start to really confront what's going on for you, and I can tell you that a very large portion of people, including me, who have been in your situation have felt exactly the same way you're feeling right now. The anxiety can be overwhelming.

    But it will pass.

    The second thing I'd say is... talking to a random friend who happens to be gay won't necessarily be a big help, because gay people are just as diverse as straight people, and so his experience, how he lives his life, how he acts and looks may be completely, 180 degrees different from how you are... if, indeed, you end up discovering your gay or closer to gay on the spectrum.

    One of the biggest sources of homophobia (or, for that matter, any fear) is simply ignorance. You undoubtedly know and/or have met a whole bunch of gay people... but it never occurred to you that they're gay, because there's nothing super obvious about many gay guys. So the first thing is to know that you don't have to do or be anything any different than who you are now if you find out that you're gay. (Well... other than loving guys instead of loving girls.)

    People who are homophobic often erroneously believe that all gay people are "members of the LGBT community"... whatever that may mean, but in truth, many gay people want nothing to do with the stereotypes about how gay men are, what they do, how they act. And people who are homophobic often don't realize that many very highly visible/important people are gay, but don't talk much about it... Anderson Cooper, who just came out publicly... Tim Cook, CEO of Apple... David Geffen, head of Geffen Records. So there's really no more limits to what you can accomplish as a gay man than as a straight man.

    Often, once we look logically at that, we find that the homophobia, based in fear, is simply unfounded, and that pretty much starts to dissolve the homophobia.

    But if you do decide to seek out a therapist, look for one who works extensively with LGBT and questioning people, and who uses insight-based approaches rather than CBT or other short-term approaches.

    Also, keep in mind that, while we are not professionals and aren't a replacement for therapy, the advisor team at EC is here to talk with people like yourself who are in the process of exploring themselves, and that can often be really helpful for you. So if that interests you, please feel free to PM me or anyone else on the advisor team and we'll be happy to help.