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Self discovery journey

Discussion in 'Sexual Orientation' started by chris123, Jan 3, 2021.

  1. chris123

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    Hi all,

    It’s been a hell of a ride, but I think I’m making some progress on what I at this point think is a journey of self discovery or acceptance.

    For some context, here are my previous 3 postings here, and some context on each.

    https://forum.emptyclosets.com/index.php?threads/always-considered-straight-bicurious.357549/ — this was the start...the night I had a gay dream and my world got thrown into an endless cycle of doubt and anxiety, at least for the following few months, then all went quiet until my next posting...

    https://forum.emptyclosets.com/index.php?threads/anxiety-from-gay-dream.477887/ - anxiety came back with a bang almost 2 years ago, and have pretty much had my sexuality on my mind every day since, along with anxiety

    https://forum.emptyclosets.com/index.php?threads/sexuality-and-masturbation.481904/ - another post I made more to do with masturbation, and basically my internal struggle/questioning when I try to masturbate about gay thoughts.

    I know that’s a lot to read, and don’t expect people to read it all, so below a little recap.

    I have constantly had my sexuality on my mind, and have posted on here before and received some well meaning advice from forum members which I much appreciated. Now, the problem is mainly the associated anxiety which comes every time I question my sexuality or doubt it. But the reason for that anxiety, and what I do about it, is part of the problem I’m having right now. It has been sensibly mentioned that I exhibit some kind of OCD / anxiety spectrum symptoms, as the nature of these thoughts, as well as the way I react to them, seem to be sticky, obsessive, anxiety inducing and down right unhealthy I think. However, my question now is - why do these thoughts scare me so much? I feel like there is part of me that genuinely wants to embrace this sexuality, but that the anxiety associated with thinking about it is stopping me. I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve set up a kind of sub conscious suppression of these emotions/desires, and that the anxiety is a way that my body is reacting as a sort of defence mechanism towards actually accepting them. It almost feels like I’m scared to embrace it, and the 5 stages of loss which I believe I have seen Chip mention on the forum elsewhere are at play now, where I want to deny this loss of straight identity, bargain by saying “oh, no, it must be OCD induced, or you’re not thinking straight”, etc. Because, to be honest, I don’t want to be gay. And I’ve done enough reading on here to know that that is understandably a very common reaction to people on their process of self discovery. No one wants to be part of a minority group after all.

    When I think about, OK. What would happen if I were gay - I’d have to come out to friends and family. My family is very liberal with my sister being bi for 6 years, and I know my parents only want me to be happy. I don’t fear rejection from them at all. My friends are all straight, as far as I’m aware, but none are necessarily homophobic or would treat me any differently if I were gay. It would be weird at first, sure, but I don’t get any real anxiety from that. Would it be easy? No, of course not, but it’s something that I could do.

    Now, onto a bit of my history. I have never had a serious long term relationship with a girl, and to be honest have never craved it either. I can definitely get turned on by girls in my fantasies, I’m 27 now and all my fantasies have been about girls while masturbating, similarly to my porn use. I remember looking up photos of classmates in bikinis when I started puberty, and all my fantasies in my head throughout school were about the girls in my class. I must’ve had a fantasy about every one of them at some point. I have had sexual experiences with girls, but really not a lot recently. I had FWB with a girl from my class when I was a teenager, but never wanted anything more intimate with her. I do remember not being able to orgasm from a blowjob the first couple of times when we first did it, but then after it was fine. Nothing mind blowing. The confusing thing is, it almost feels like my brain is saying that I could have mind blowingly amazing feeling of intimacy if I did it with guys. However, this was really only after I have been on emptyclosets for a while and read about the journeys of people coming to terms with their own sexuality. The issue is that I have never felt compelled to masturbate to guys growing up, just girls, and the only time I do do it is when I’m testing myself to see if I can get off it it. I would relax, try think about being intimate with a guy, and while I could get hard from the physical stimulation, I can’t seem to get off to the thoughts. But again, it feels almost like I’m not “tuning in” to this other side of me which maybe would be able to get off to them. And so I keep trying. I tried watching gay porn but get anxiety, then try to relax myself and see if I get turned on from watching it, but can’t. But this feels more like the anxiety blocking myself from potentially enjoying it.

    Now, an interesting thing which I’ve tried a couple of times is just to let myself get swallowed up by the thoughts and waves of anxiety after smoking weed. I just open my mind and welcome the thoughts/anxiety which washes over me, after a time the thoughts feel like they are flashing in my head and I almost feel like I’m getting a headache just from the impulses my brain is sending me, but yet I try to adopt this gay inner self which I feel might be there. It almost feels like its someone else, which is weird. Like I’m detached almost. Or maybe that’s just the anxiety, which I’m sure the weed probably doesn’t help.

    Anyway, I’m yammering on. I guess this kinda helps writing it down, so thanks if you made it this far. I guess it comes down to this - I’m 27. It’s a new year. The last thing I want is to end up in a situation like some of the folks in LGBT later in life and realise I wasted my life by not embracing my gay side, if that is indeed the case (no offence). I want to be able to accept myself, as I know that other people will too, as I’ve had these thoughts racing around my head for almost 2 years now! And I don’t want to waste anymore time.

    Rant/thought journal over. Happy to hear any thoughts or advice :slight_smile:
     
  2. Helpp432

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    Hi chris

    I have some ocd related problems too, so maybe i could help a little.

    Tbh in my experience, never a gay fantasie or anything related with a guy seemed enjoyable.

    Ive had so many different experiences with this anxiety, and i doubt a lot too.

    But when im relaxed at the most, and try to imagine being intimate with a man, i cant enjoy.

    I cant enjoy doing cute stuff with guys, and even sex, it just doesnt work for me.

    Sure if i masturbate evertday to the thought of having sex with a men, or watchin gay porn, you can get erect at some point, were talking about stimulation, so if you masturbate about everythin, even the wind, at some point youll get erect.

    I saw chips saying here a lot about what you feel during your masturbation with fantasies, and it doesnt feel good, or even i do feel nothing.

    Ive had some days where i would have this so called groinal responses to a lot of stuff, like seeing a man shirtless and all that, but i never had erecrions or got aroused, i think that maybe anxiety can give this feelings, bc when im not nervous i dont feel this at all.

    I could be lying here, i could just be a bi or gay guy who is denying to myself, but i dont get aroused to mens in porn, or fantasies or images.

    And so do you, as you said above you dont get aroused to this fantasies. You say you feel okay about being gay and there are some parts of you who would just like to accept the fact that you could be gay, or want to acceppt that you are gay.

    But this doesnt make you gay at all, maybe you just feel comfortable being gay or bi, but it doesnt mean you are.

    I suffer with thoughts and tests everyday, so i understand this part of your anxiety and all, but maybe youre overthinking this?

    I could be wrong, like i said i could be a gay guy in denial, but i dont feel in denial, so how could i know im gay? The answer is:i dont know lol, and maybe is better like this.

    Maybe this works for you too, just stick with your life and be happy, thats what im trying to do.

    We dont have to be certain about our sexuality.

    We should just enjoy life i think, i waste 2 years about this and i want to found peace and be free.

    And i think you should do the same :slight_smile:
     
  3. Noval

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    May I ask you what you do when you feel anxiety related to the thoughts?
     
  4. chris123

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    Thanks @helpp for your comments. Seems like we're in a similar situation

    @Noval, ruminate about them, if I'm in bed I may try masturbate about guys to clarify the situation..check my reaction to them if I accept them and try to fantasise and see my reaction/check whether I get physiologically aroused or if I enjoy it in my head. Sometimes I'll try to accept them, but not without anxiety. They're just there, like a constant source of anxiety.
     
  5. Noval

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    I would like to highlight some points.

    I think you're adopting a controlling behaviour towards your emotions, please don't spike because that doesn't mean anything more than what I wrote. Your checks controls your anxiety and your emotions, I think it's better to try to feel all the anxiety related to the thoughts without checking anything. Accept that you have this thoughs and do not try to overanalyse them because obsessing takes you away from reality, so you will never understand much.

    You are not accepting your thoughts or emotions because you are using a compulsion to lower your anxiety. Why does they scare you? Who knows, loss of identity is scary itself but the argument "I am scared that means I am what I fear" it's a huge generalization in your context, simply because it's just another way to have certainty about your identity. The question is: why are you scared to be yourself? Obsessions are making you oscillates between two fixed identities: gay and straight ,so you will never be neither gay nor straight.
    Also I get you consider to be gay, but why not bisexual? You are aroused by girls from what you wrote, so why bisexuality is out? I get it but it seems black and white thinking, it may be worth to investigate on why you rule out bisexuality.

    This is interesting and it's worth to give a shot to same sex attraction even thought more than a real desire it seems an abstract fantasy induced by the positive experiences that you read here.

    I think you should address first your anxiety problem with therapy and then explore your sexuality[which is something you experience not something you obsess about it]. Please consider meds too if this is impacting your life in a huge way.

    Also I would point out that you can have OCD on sexual orientation and be gay or be in denial, because OCD/denial is a false dichothomy. This is an interesting article about it: https://drmichaeljgreenberg.com/mar...se-to-mark-ameen-johnsons-article-about-hocd/ . So whenever you say "OCD induced" meh, you are harming yourself actually.

    I end by quoting one of the last line of the article I cite:

    Just my 2 cents matured during these months of suffering.
     
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  6. chris123

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    Thanks for your thoughts, Noval.

    It's always a tricky one, I think now the anxiety I was getting because of the thoughts is because I didn't want to accept the loss of my straight identity which I always thought I had and have maybe been clinging on to since I had the gay dream almost 7 years ago now. It seems like now the thoughts are an urge/longing for a relationship with a guy, then anxiety to this part of me? I almost feel like this is what's been missing / why this isn't why I was ever really interested in or desiring a long term relationship with a girl - the fact that I'm actually gay. Like, I'll get a thought in my head about being with a guy, maybe feel some kind of warm/happy feeling, and then it seems my mind is automatically switching it to a girl so I can enjoy this feeling as it falls more in line with my straight identity rather than having to accept the fact that this is genuinely who I am. The only thing that confuses me is the fact that when I try to look at gay porn/fantasise about being gay, I don't get that same "turned on" feeling that I've had with girls when fantasising about them for like, 15 years. I do get this really tingling feeling at the tip of my penis/urethra which I believe they call a "groinal response" in regards to OCD? Like, it's sensitive / tingling, but not necessarily a pleasurable feeling. Weird.

    I've tried a lot of times to get off to guys, without any real success. I think I'll wait a week, as I've watched a fair amount of (straight) porn in the last week, and try to just accept the thoughts and embrace them with happiness, rather than trying to subdue them which seems to be where some anxiety is coming from. It's just strange that my body/mind still reacts with so much anxiety to the thoughts. Let me be gay, fuck it, whatever. At the end of the day, I don't want to hide behind a self-diagnosed OCD condition if that stops me from being happy/who I really am. And I think anyone with OCD, if given a choice, would rather just be gay than live with a life long debilitating mental disorder? I feel like this anxiety is getting in the way of accepting who I really am. I want this year to be a good year, and hope all the best for everyone else too!

    Happy to hear more thoughts :slight_smile:
     
  7. Helpp432

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    Hi chris.

    Its good to hear that your anxiety decreased, im happy to hear that youre feeling well.

    If i may have my opinion, theres a lot, a lot of things going on here and anxiety is really bad for your healthy, i suffer from anxiety too so i understand what youre going through.

    But what i would like to know from you is if these thoughts that you get arent intrusive? Do you like to imagine being intimate with a men?

    Bc if your having intrusive thoughts, i wouldnt think it would be something pleasurable for you, like you describe that you cant get off to fantasies of men but you somehow feel happy to have these fantasies.

    I dont know an answer to this, but people say that sexual attraction is the key, but you dont seem to have attraction towards guys, but you have towards girls.

    Maybe you switch your fantasies not because you are scared but because you prefer to think about woman?

    I think that any straight guy out there that try to think about gay stuff would switch to straight stuff, just bc they like straight stuff.

    My point here is not make you question more, or be someone who try everything to tell you that youre not gay, i already said but im going to something similar, we could both be gay.

    But i just want to know what you think about this, those thoughts and all, they feel normal, or they feel forced, like youre trying so hard to think about this.

    Or maybe you could talk about your attractions? You said you dont see yourself in a long term relationship with a girl, but why is that? And what do you feel about men?

    I would like to hear you, i think we could both help each other.
     
  8. chris123

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    Hey,

    I'm just trying to be honest with myself. Yesterday I tried watching some gay porn and think I could feel myself getting aroused, and then the standard anxiety that came with it. I couldn't orgasm though. I tried with my mind and thought I may get turned on too. My mind wanted to switch to women so that I could orgasm, but I said "no, try with men so you can prove to yourself you are at least bi and can knock down this wall you have put up protecting yourself". I know that I can orgasm to women, and when I do, my mind will automatically switch to flashing images of a man as soon as I orgasm. More anxiety, etc etc.

    I feel like maybe with men there is something there that isnt there with women. And I think now I'm realising that I can see myself ending up with a man but not a women. So my issue is maybe tackling the reason behind why I am so scared of not being straight, which is in fact what is causing the anxiety.

    I have just received a reply from a therapist who specialises in OCD, has experience with ocd surrounding sexuality, and has worked with LGBT clients. I feel ready to talk to her, and will try to arrange something. Maybe the reason it's taken me so long to want to follow through with therapy is because I subconsciously just didn't want to explore the possibility I'm not straight, and it's allowed me to stay in the closet.

    Like I said. Id much rather be gay at the end of the day than live with OCDfor the rest of my life, so the right thing to do would surely be to at least explore that option? Sorry if that sounds insensitive!
     
  9. Helpp432

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    You are right men, i think were both gay.
     
  10. chris123

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    Yeah man maybe, or maybe bi? Who knows...I'm going through a constant state of anxiety, depression, questioning, acceptance, bargaining? I don't know haha...I have given the therapist my availabilities and will go through with it. It can only help I guess!
     
  11. chris123

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    Have finally booked myself into an appointment with the therapist I was in touch with. Thursday 11:30am. We'll do it over zoom. It's an OCD specialist who has dealt with LGBT clients before. The main issue I think is tackling the anxiety. I definitely think there is some same-sex attraction going on, and that I'm dealing with some shame which causes anxiety?

    Don't really have a lot of anxiety in the case I'd have to come out, I think maybe a lot of it is from internalised homophobia or compulsive heterosexuality. Yes, people will be shocked as I am quite straight acting, but they will accept me. I'm moving to London this year at some point so obivously quite a good place to dip my toes into the gay scene should I wish. My sister lives there who is bi and with her girlfriend too, so will be able to mingle!
     
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  12. chris123

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    Slightly graphic/TMI warning below

    So strange - I just tried to test masturbating to gay porn and gay fantasies, but it did nothing for me. I have this intense tingling sensation at the tip of my penis, at the urethra. I didn’t have any anxiety or worries, I just tried to jerk off to it with the mindset like yeah you’re gay. Tried getting in the mood, but just couldn’t seem to get off to it, just conscious of the tip of my penis which is a strange feeling. I could get kinda hard but not like, aroused if that makes sense. Obviously my whole life I’ve jerked off to straight porn/fantasies, so this confuses me a bit. Could this also be a physiological thing? There are some times when it burns when I pee after I ejaculate over the last few years. Like, intense burning, in the urethra and actually where I can feel the tingling now too. It’s only after I ejaculate, and not every time though.

    Sorry if this is a bit graphic, but we’re all mature here right? No shame in talking about human biology, even if it is a bit sexual/personal in nature!
     
  13. Chip

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    Nothing in what you describe sounds remotely like there's any indication you're gay. If this is a recurring pattern, then you will want to see a therapist to be evaluated for OCD. No amount of testing, not testing, reassurance will change this because OCD hijacks the reason centers in your brain. Nothing anyone on an Internet based group says will help you. Please see a professional and get evaluated.
     
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  14. chris123

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    Thanks Chip. You’ve replied on my posts before and appreciate you taking the time to do so.

    I’ve actually got an appointment booked for 11:30 on Thursday. First time I’ll have therapy. Bit nervous about it to be honest but will be insightful and hopefully can help :slight_smile:
     
  15. chris123

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    So had a session with a therapist on Wednesday which seemed to go well. It was nice to talk openly with someone about all this that was on my mind.

    On a completely unrelated note, I had a pretty bad spike of anxiety as well as some anger/aggression and trouble sleeping last night as I was about to sleep after a female friend of mine told me she was on a date that night and was at their place. We are close, have hooked up before, but are definitely just friends. My anxiety confuses me because I'm definitely sexually attracted to her. I'd masturbate with her in my fantasies, she's come over recently and while I definitely felt sexual attraction to her, this anxiety/questioning of my sexuality killed my libido, (or maybe I'm just gay...?) However, while sexually attracted and care for her, I'm not sure how id feel if she wanted to have a relationship. This almost scares me and wants me to push her away.

    However, like I said, every time I hear news that she's hooked up/gone on dates/see her flirting with another guy, I almost get an anxiety attack. Heart racing, sweats then chills. But I also get this feeling of anger like I want to scream "FUCK YOU!" or punch a pillow, snap my fingers...just anger and bursts of it. After I would usually not want to talk to her for a few days. Anyway, sorry, thought I would throw that in there. Even if no one replies it helps to write it down. It kept me up for a while, just knowing she was probs in the bed at the moment with a dude who fucked her. Then I woke up again after a couple of hours, remembered, anxiety, 30 minutes to calm down, sleep. Dreamed about her texting me a bit more but that it was a girl (she's bi) which somehow made me feel a bit better, knowing it wasn't a guy at least.

    But yeah. For my own sexuality wise, my biggest thing is the inability to enjoy/get off to same sex thoughts. It feels like this compulsion I have two ideas in mind 1) prove to myself I'm not gay 2) prove to myself I am gay/have same sex attractioto get an answer and end the doubt.