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Gay Guy Gets Panic Attack When Looking At Women - HELP!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Sexual Orientation' started by chopinfan88, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. chopinfan88

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    Hey Everyone!

    My name is Jonathan. I'm new to Empty Closets, and am looking forward to chatting with other members. I am almost 27 year old, and have always identified as gay. I have always accepted my sexuality, but at times have questioned it. I am out to some people and family, but not my father.

    I am attracted to men and have only ever been with men, but sometimes I get a strange feeling when I look at women. It feels almost like a panic attack that only lasts like a second. The crazy thing is that this feeling only happens when I think about it happening. In fact, it can happen when I look at just about anything, although it happens more when looking at women. I am not sexually attracted to women (I've tested this plenty of times) so I'm wondering what this feeling is. I'm starting to think this feeling may be connected to me not being completely out.

    Any comments on what this feeling could be would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Jonathan
     
  2. Gen

    Gen
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    First, Welcome to EC!

    Secondly, sudden anxiety can arise as a result of a variety of psychological reactions and emotions. When we feel irrational reactions to certain types of people, it is often caused by either past experiences or fear. Sometimes our past experiences can cause us to project the negativity or harm that we have received from someone of a certain demographic on everyone else of that demographic. Other times, our own insecurities and uncertainty can cause us to fear being exposed to certain people.

    How smoothly was your coming to terms with your sexuality? Was it something that causes you a fair amount of worry as a child? Did you spend a lot of time in the closet?
     
  3. Monraffe

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    This is a guess of one possibility. The mild panic disorder you describe sounds like it is induced by the fear of anxiety. That's why it only happens when you think about it. Fear of anxiety is caused by stress so this suggests there is a base level of stress going on while in the presence of women. This could be the result of recently coming out and a concern with how women see or judge you now. Worrying over if it causes additional stress and a feedback loop begins to build up until you have a sudden panic attack.
     
  4. chopinfan88

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    Thanks Monraffe and Gen for responding. I would say that my coming to terms with my sexuality was gradual. I realized that I was gay when I was 12, but really didn't label myself gay until I was about 18. Up until then I would sometimes deny that I was gay to myself, I guess thinking that I would grow out of it or something. I didn't deny my sexuality all the time, but enough to remember doing it.

    My family is somewhat homophobic, hence the reason for still not telling my father. Although I've told some people, most still don't know. For that reason I still consider myself to be in the closet. I've spent too much time in the closet. Stress is also something that I'm occasionally plagued with.

    Maybe being in the closet for so long (and stress) has attributed to me feeling these strange panic feelings? Another possibility that I recently thought of is the fact that I've never had a boyfriend or been in a relationship before. Maybe that's a part of the problem too?

    Thanks guys for the help :slight_smile:
    Jonathan
     
  5. Gen

    Gen
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    Closeted individuals commonly experience degrees of anxiety when exposed to the opposite sex under certain circumstances because it reminds them of the reality of their sexuality. It sounds as though these experiences are being brought on by the memories of panic and distress that you experienced during your childhood of struggling with acceptance. You likely suffered through years of seeing the opposite sex and experiencing a sense of panic because you were unsure of how you were expected to react. The thoughts that you should have been thinking, but weren't; the attraction that you should have experienced, but didn't.

    I would work on attempting to be more genuine with yourself about who you are and what you desire. Simply because we are accepting of our sexuality doesn't mean we are actively embracing it. Acknowledging the presence of our attractions doesn't necessarily bring us to a point where we are completely comfortable with them. Eventually, we have to reach a point when our attractions to the same sex and disinterest in the opposite sex doesn't still leave us feeling partially or noticeably guilty and deviant. Try to reassure yourself in those moments that there is still nothing wrong with not being attracted to the opposite sex and you don't have to scramble for reactions and emotions that simply aren't there.
     
  6. ChromeNerd

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    Have you researched HOCD before?
     
  7. stocking

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    Gen raises an interesting point, because I have went through this and still do sometimes. I'm also closeted never dated a woman in real life, and I'm semi out of the closet. I don't get panic attacks but it's more of a nervous uneasy feeling around the opposite sex.
     
  8. Candace

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    Welcome to EC! :welcome: :smilewave. I can attest from experience due to the fact that I don't really want to tell the pretty girl that's interested in me that I'm gay. I just don't have the heart to break her heart sometimes, and that's why I panic. :/
     
  9. Budweiser

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    I GET THIS ALL THE TIME!!! We can't feel what each other is feeling obviously, but I have a good feeling that it's the same thing. Yesterday it happened when I looked at the big giant lug nuts on a tow truck. And it happens a lot when I accidentally look at someone's butt, like, anyone at all. It's really annoying and I feel weird! I think it's normal, and I don't think it has a deep profound meaning but I think it may be linked to anxiety and more about that.
     
  10. Minnie

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    If you're thinking that something you don't want to happen could happen, that's bound to cause some nerves- especially if you've anxiety. I've had that too with men and have (had) GAD.
     
  11. chopinfan88

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    Thank you everyone for responding. All of the information provided has been very helpful.

    Thank you ChromeNerd for mentioning HOCD. I have researched HOCD and truly believe this is what is plaguing me. Most of the information about HOCD (or Gay OCD) that I was able to find is geared towards straight people who fear that they are gay, but gay people can also have this condition.

    My understanding of HOCD is that it can create doubt about your true sexual orientation by "tricking" you in different ways, including anxiety when looking at the sex that you are not attracted to; sounds very familiar.

    Now I just need to get over my HOCD!!!

    Jonathan
     
  12. ChromeNerd

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    I need to get over my HOCD as well. I also get anxiety when I look at guys. Especially if they are good looking or androgynous. I compulsively research what sexual attraction feels like and it's messing with me. Before I researched sexual attraction I only got anxiety and groinal responses. After I started researching it my false attraction started to be more realistic! I started to "blush" and get "speechless".