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Completely confused and things aren't getting clearer

Discussion in 'Sexual Orientation' started by Ipalara, Oct 16, 2020.

  1. Ipalara

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    TL;DR: Went from assumed straight, to thinking I was an aromantic heterosexual after realizing I'm not romantically attracted to girls, long before even considering the possibility of liking guys, and then realizing I'm only romantically attracted to guys, but my actual sexual orientation still feels impossible to pin down, feels like it changes every five minutes, and I can't tell at any one moment if I like girls, guys, both, or nobody. A lot of people here say that the split attraction model isn't real and doesn't have any research nor evidence to back it up, which I hope is true, because in that case I'm simply gay, but if it's real, I could be a homoromantic heterosexual or some other horrible sounding, unfulfillable orientation.

    Hi! First of all, I'm a male sophomore in high school, and this is my first post here. Actually, it's the first time I've talked about the possibility of me being anything other than straight anywhere other than in my own head. To any mods that might care, sorry about putting my age at 25, it's just a habit I have to make myself an adult while signing up anywhere online, and by the time I realized that it didn't matter if I was 13 or 90 here, it was to late to change it.

    Second of all, as you already know by know, I'm completely confused, things haven't been getting any clearer, and I really don't know where to turn for advice. Just for some background, I never thought about girls at all, period, until my only two friends at the time-- and throughout the rest of elementary school-- started talking about them constantly beginning in the fifth grade, and talking about them as if getting with one was the ultimate goal of the life of any male human being. We'd always been the strange, insecure outcasts that nobody wanted anything to do with, so for one of us to be liked by a girl would've really meant something, even if at that age it didn't mean anything. Then, I started to think about girls all the time, namely about conquering them as trophies, ego boosts, and proof to the world that I was cool and valuable. I never once thought about how much I'd love to be with a girl, how much I'd love to kiss one or date one, but only how much better it would make me feel about myself. I took on my friends' sad and misguided ideas about girls just to be part of the group, and since my parents also went through a disastrous divorce when I was seven that I took as a cautionary tale about commitment and especially marriage, my image of romance going into middle school was severely broken. Not to long after this point, I hit puberty hard and become obsessed with straight porn, going straight towards female domination genres like femdom, JOI, and taboo situations such as stepmom or teacher/student porn for some reason. I'm past that now.

    Then, to make a long story short, I spent two straight years from the seventh grade to the ninth in six back-to-back straight relationships, with the first being a year long, and the others rapidly declining in length. I was the one to get asked out each time, and each time I just replied "yeah, okay" or any other way to convey "sure, whatever man." I never particularly desired to be more than friends with any of the girls I knew, but once they asked me out, I didn't see any reason why not to say yes, and each time, I confused the MASSIVE ego-boost of having a girlfriend, and to a lesser extent, maybe moderate at best sexual attraction with romantic attraction. I emotionlessly took literally whoever threw themselves my way, and I kept them for however long they'd stay, just as long as I could say I have a girlfriend, because it made me feel better about myself. I played more of a caring best friend role than anything, and I was completely fine with not even having kissed my first girlfriend for the first eight months of our relationship, and when we did, it was an accident. I went through the motions of four more relationships, and by the end of the fifth one, I started thinking that I didn't actually want to be with these girls. I despised the idea of competing and fighting with other guys for girls who wouldn't in a million years do the same for me, even though that wasn't anything I ever had to go through, and I despised the idea of being the dominant protector in the relationship, and eventually, the provider. I wanted somebody to do that for me, or at least have the roles be equal. Looking back, I had quite a few gay thoughts and attractions, and even a whole week in seventh grade when I had a gay revelation that I suppressed so hard for the sake of my relationship that I almost forgot about it. But anyways, realizing my complete and utter lack of romantic attraction for girls, I labeled myself an aromantic heterosexual for about half a year, until some bi-curiosity and then rapid flip-flopping between homosexuality and heterosexuality set in, and I realized that I was only romantically attracted to guys with my first male crushes. They weren't super strong, but I instantly and finally understood what everyone was talking about when they talked about romance and how it feels, and in a way that I know I'll never feel for girls.

    The issue is, though, that I'm solidly homoromantic, but my sexuality is all over the place, and I swear to god it changes every five minutes. I've seen a lot of people say here that the split attraction model has no evidence and isn't real, and I really hope that's true, because I'd rather be a homoromantic homosexual, sure of what I am, instead of riding the bi cycle with the added complication of strict homoromanticism until the end of time.

    Anyway, what do you guys think? The last few months have been extremely confusing, and at this point, I really just want to get to the answer of it all, and find out what I really am. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. QuietPeace

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    A few of my thoughts are
    • You have plenty of time to figure this out
    • I think labels are really like all language, about communicating things to other people. They should not limit us and if what we use no longer works then change it.
    • Porn and fantasies have less to do with who we really are inside and what is right for us in life than many people think
    I think that the split attraction model is very helpful for many in communicating their lived experiences.

    I know a lot of women who would never be in a relationship with a man and only want relationships with women but are fine with having sex with both (most of my friends for years have been women and more often label themselves as lesbians than otherwise). I myself say that I am panromantic and demisexual.

    Just for now from your description it seems that you could be homoromantic and bisexual with your preferences sexually varying, which happens. Ultimately though only you can decide what works for you.
     
  3. Chip

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    Hi, and welcome! You're totally in the right place.

    First things first... while there's a lot of discussion about the idea that one can be hetersexual and homoromantic, there is -zero- credible evidence, or even credible anecdotal evidence among professionals, to support this idea. It started showing up maybe 8 or 10 years ago, and it's proven to, for the most part, be just something that creates confusion for people like you. What is described as "romantic" connection has another phrase that's been used for at least a few hundred years: emotionally intimate friendship. And what you describe about your relationship with your girlfriends is pretty much exactly how most people would describe the typical GBF (gay best friend). Think Kurt on Glee, if you ever watched that show.

    The one thing you really haven't talked about here is your sexual fantasies, and that's crucial. If you masturbate without porn, where does your mind go? Are you thinking about guys or girls? Both? More one than the other? If you only masturbate using porn, what are you paying attention to? The guys? Or more the girls? When you're out and about, are you looking at guys and finding them hot and imagining them naked? Or doing that more with girls? Or about equal?

    One last piece: The divorce likely impacted you more than you consciously realize. For a seven year old, family and parents (and the stability they represent) plays a much larger role in the formation of our view of the world than for a 15 or 16 year old, and so the disruption there creates anxiety. If there were significant arguments or any sort of physical altercations, that has an even more severe impact. And that, in turn, makes it difficult to imagine healthy relationships, and also actually impacts (at least until you change it with more positive images/experiences) how your brain develops, to the extent that it can impact your capacity to feel love and connection.

    So... if you are comfortable talking about the sexual attraction piece, that will provide some clarity that will illuminate the rest of it more. If you're one who enjoys reading, you might find Gabor Maté's wonderful book "Hold On to your Kids" helpful in explaining how the impact of the child's home and upbringing impact their emotional health.

    The good news is, at your age, everything in your brain can be altered pretty easily with positive experiences. And I think as you are able to get more clarity about your attractions, that will also bring you some needed calm so you can make sense of your world.
     
  4. Ipalara

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    First of all, a stereotypical gay best friend is EXACTLY what I acted like in retrospect, I guess that just never crossed my mind before. Every girlfriend I had thought my best feature as a boyfriend was the fact that I'd listen to them, console them, and deeply talk to them about all sorts of things without prying them for sex or other sexual activity that they weren't ready for, like most horny teenage boys would do. That ironically got me further with them than other guys my age, but I never initiated anything, I just let it all happen to me.

    Where does my mind go without porn? Well, it depends. Normally, my mind goes to girls, since that's just what I'm used to with porn as well and it's the easiest to visualize, and only with a certain handful girls my age that I know in real life in extremely specific, odd, and taboo scenarios; I've never been nearly as interested in mature, adult women, or even more developed girls my age and I've always been aware of that. But when I'm tired, and I just let my mind wander instead of consciously building scenarios in my mind, my mind always wanders to the male side. With guys, I don't just think about extremely specific scenarios with a specific handful of underdeveloped guys like I do with girls, but about more general and a lot less strange, taboo scenarios, and with a strong emphasis on the more, well, gay memories I've had, like when I slept over a couple times with one of my friends last summer who I'm ALMOST CERTAIN is at least bisexual, for example. I have a harder time consciously forming scenarios with guys in my head, and instead they just pop into my head and I'm very happy with them.

    I feel a very real attraction to both genders, at least right now, but romantically, I'm completely certain that I'm only attracted to guys. The split attraction model probably isn't real, and doesn't have any evidence (I decided to do some research too, and came up empty), but my romantic and sexual orientations don't seem to have lined up yet for whatever reason.
     
  5. Ipalara

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    Given the split attraction model's real, I suppose I could be a bisexual homoromantic, though so far I feel less "bisexual" and more "straight, gay, bi, and asexual all at the same time and shifting every five minutes" XD.

    You're right, I got a lot of time to figure this out, and given a year I probably will. I've always been the kind of person to feverishly and instantly try to solve every single uncertainty in my life, and I'm sure that's not how I should approach this.
     
  6. Chip

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    First, a disclaimer: In the following, it might sound like I'm assuming you're actually gay, but I'm not. This is all basically a supposition to give you something to think about. It's important that whatever you do, you come to it from your own conclusions. Now, that said...

    The discordant sexual/emotional attraction thing is something that never even was discussed until about ~10 years ago. Prior to that, when people were in the early stages of figuring out they weren't totally straight, they labeled themselves bisexual. (This is not to say there aren't genuinely bisexual people, but that a *lot* of people, in the early stages of coming out, used to use that label. But what I have seen more recently is that people use this idea of discordant sexual/romantic attraction in place of using the bisexual label.

    Now... as to why either one of those... well, Kubler-Ross' work on stages of loss is useful here. It has some flaws, but for the most part, it's pretty helpful. The idea is that as we process any sort of loss, there are stages we go through: denial-anger-bargaining-depression-acceptance. The stages are not always sequential, and one can go back and forth between them. But for someone in the early stages of coming out, "bargaining" might look like "Well, OK, I am attracted to hanging out with guys, but I could never see myself having sex with one" or "Well, I might like guys now, but I still like girls too, so I can still end up in a "normal" marriage with a woman and a house and a picket fence and a dog and two kids."

    With the above said, it does sound like you've got at least some same-sex attraction going on, and probably more than you're fully aware of/owning right now. That's a guess, not a certainty. So what might be interesting, if you're willing to do some experiments, is to masturbate without porn for a day or two or five, and think only about guys. Imagine, for example, the fantasy from the experiences you've had. Or a guy you find really attractive (whether physically or emotionally). See how that feels, and what sort of arousal you have. And then do the same thinking about girls. Usually you'll see a pretty clear distinction between the two, in that one will be a much stronger level of arousal than the other.

    One other piece here: As you process this, denial and anger can come into the mix. Nobody *wants* to be gay, so as much as we think we're OK with it, there's a part of us that hopes it isn't. And so, for example, it isn't uncommon to masturbate to a fantasy about a guy, have a really intense experience, and then feel super disgusting right after orgasm. This is basically a combination of the hard-wired drop in neurotransmitters that happen after any orgasm (otherwise, we would never have left our cave to search for food) and the conscious going "Nuh uh, I'm not gay."

    In a way, the first piece is figuring out whether you have attraction to guys or not. If you do, then as you start to accept that, you see how it impacts your attraction to women. For many people, they find that the attraction to women fades as they accept their attraction to guys. For others, they find that it stays fairly equal to both. In your case, it's hard to know for sure, but the fact you seem to have almost zero sexual attraction to women might tend to point in the direction of being closer to the gay end of the spectrum, but again, it will take some time to figure out.

    Keep us in the loop as to what happens :slight_smile:
     
  7. Ipalara

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    First of all, thanks for all the such in-depth replies, I really wasn't expecting this amount of help from these forums, but I'm glad to have it :slight_smile:

    Second of all, I think I'll try my hand at that experiment you mentioned. I never really gave myself time to just focus on one or the other, and more so trying to compare my attractions for both genders within the same couple minutes.