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I talked to a counselor but a little surprised

Discussion in 'General Support and Advice' started by Braj, Jun 6, 2021.

  1. Braj

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    I have posted earlier in Sexual Orientation forum about my doubts regarding my orientation (https://forum.emptyclosets.com/index.php?threads/confused-about-my-feelings.487608). I got great advice and comments. I talked to a counselor. She offers counselling for LGBTQ+ people, marriage and relationship issues and sexual health issues. But I was somewhat surprised by her response. I told her that -
    • I feel sexual attraction and have sexual desires and fantasies for men while I have no such feelings for women. I think my attraction for women is more aesthetic and appreciative.
    • I have these feelings from around 15 years of age.
    • When I was asked to look for women for marriage I didn't feel it right.
    • I feel that I want to spend my life with a women but I am afraid that it would be a platonic relationship. Whereas, I feel sexual attraction for men but can't visualize a long term relationship.
    • I started watching straight porn (though only occasionally) at the age of 19 and gay porn only after a year or two because I didn't like straight porn and I was only interested in the men there.
    • I found that I am not very fond of watching porn and more interested in watching short gay films.
    • I try watching again and again straight porn to find if get an arousal but nothing unless I think hard. I revert back to gay porn where I feel satisfaction.
    • I have no arousal for women in real world or in digital world. I told a few real world incidents too.
    • I was not a stereotypical boy in childhood. I enjoyed playing with dolls. I enjoyed playing with girls. I enjoyed dressing up and roleplaying female characters.
    • I am confused that whether my feelings for men are real or a manifestation of childhood experiences (like playing with girls, spending more time with them than boys) or a jealousy towards good looking men (because I am not good looking) or a reflection of my personality traits (an attraction towards masculine because of my soft nature)
    Her responses/discussion -
    • Only sexual attraction cannot define your sexual orientation. You have to see who you want to be with in a society. Who do you want to spend your life with. To which I replied that I have had emotional attachment too with men. And then she told me to think what I actually want taking everything into consideration.
    • If you watch only a particular type of porn you will be satisfied by only that. To which I reiterated that I never watched only one type of porn and in fact I started with straight porn.
    • Sometimes mothers dress up their kids as girls and therefore you may be okay with dressing up as girl. And she asked if I still feel like dressing up as girl. I told that I used to dress up on my own when I was alone in the house and I didn't tell that my mother dressed me up and I liked it. Also now I don't dress up as girl but I don't hate nor disgusted by the idea.
    • She clearly denied that childhood experiences while growing up and personality traits may not have any effect on sexual orientation.
    • Also she asked if I was more comfortable with men or women which I didn't understand and even though I tried to clarify it, I wasn't sure what she intended. I guessed she was asking comfortability about spend life with. So, I replied that as a platonic relationship I am equally comfortable with both. As a sexual relationship I am comfortable with man... actually not comfortable because of the societal image of such a relationship but I wish for to be with a man. I am not sure of a sexual relationship with women... sometimes I think maybe I can manage. To this she again told to think and come to a conclusion to what I want after taking all factors into account.
    • She also asked if I notice any change in my behavior, in my expression or in my body and do I hate my body as a male. I told that I do not notice any change and I like my body. I think this was to see if I am also seeing a change in my gender.
    So overall okay but I felt that she was in more denial that me. I know that in Indian society living as gay is very difficult but it seemed as if for this particular reason she wanted me to reconsider my orientation. I guess in a sense she didn't just accept what I was saying and wanted me to be 100% sure.

    After talking to her when I was speculating, though sometimes I felt more strongly that I am gay but also the doubt that what if am making a mistake and I am actually straight emerged again. I was able to take off my mind from thoughts of denial and work towards acceptance and meeting people from the local LGBTQ+ community to feel more accepted but following thoughts reappeared -
    • I notice women on street passing by. And sometimes, fantasizing about woman does get me aroused. Maybe I don't get a strong arousal because I am nervous. It happened even with men on dating app (that I loose the arousal I had earlier) when they asked about meeting up and I get nervous. It would be all right when I meet the right woman.
    • I have not had sex with a woman. Is it OK to say that I can't have a relationship with them which involves sex? I have not even dated a man, so can't I say that my sexual attraction towards them is just a temporary desire and may not evolve in a relationship.
    • But then I have met both men and women in my life. I didn't want to date a woman because they would expect me being straight which I am not and I may hurt her and just waste her time. I could not date a man, because I don't know if the other guy is gay. Am I blocking my feelings somewhere here either for men or women or both? Could it be some kind of obsession/compulsion?
    • May be I am just afraid of marriage and commitment. And I chose to being gay as it will get rid me of marriage.... and now I can't get back to being straight.
    I am somewhat surprised about the counselling session, how she was in denial.

    Also, one more point that while I was trying to be more accepting of the fact that I am gay, I sometimes felt very disgusting about myself as if I am doing something bad, something wrong and I felt gloomy and couldn't sleep properly one night. How can I overcome such feelings?
     
  2. out2019

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    It could be as you say, Indian society and wanting to be sure - more than a few 'ocd' types have posted on empty closets so it seems to be a 'thing' now, -also it might even be the way the profession is practiced there -it's more of a 'social cost' so they have more 'just to make sure' questions.

    And it could be that answering these questions in the affirmative will help you clarify your own feelings. I am not an expert on therapy and I don't know if that's how it works, it almost sounds like you have to 'defend your thesis' :slight_smile:

    yes me too. I can 'probably' get aroused by women even now, occasionally I see a woman I get excited about but it's nothing like the intensity and longing I have to be with a man... I came across this post and immediate, I had a gut reaction that this described me to a t:

    I haven't been with a man yet, but I know this is exactly what will happen and my gut reaction is I wanted it to happen.
     
    #2 out2019, Jun 6, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2021
  3. out2019

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    I felt/thought like this too - and I asked myself -if it were the other way around- that your feelings for women were as strong as they are for men and your feelings for men were as weak as they are for women, would I for a second doubt that I was straight? No, I would have jumped at the chance to use that evidence as confirmation, yet in the reverse, I made up all sorts of rationalizations and excuses.
     
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  4. Braj

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    @out2019 , yes it is a huge social cost here to be an LGBT+. And I too think probably that's why I have to 'defend my thesis', just as you said :slight_smile:

    OGS's post you quoted above stands out for me too and I too have a gut feeling about how I would feel with a man and also how I would feel with a woman.

    I had known my feelings since a young age. I didn't ever feel the need to experiment for the sake of testing or validating or proving my sexuality. But, I also thought that I would never have to confront it and would be able to cruise along the life as single. I guess I overlooked/ignored and now I am at this stage of confrontation so late in my life. Now while confronting, I realize the social consequences and out of fear I try to deny and doubt and question my sexuality and (quoting @out2019) "use all sort of made up rationalizations and excuses" even when everything was so clear before. I started weighting social and personal consequences of accepting myself vs not accepting.
    If I accept myself, cons would be - I would have to come out to my parents so that they don't worry about my marriage and also to a few friends. I and my parents wouldn't know what to tell to other relatives. There is also a possibility that my parents may still not accept the fact. It will be difficult to find a partner and it may take time.
    And pros will be - I will be living a truthful life which is very important for me because hiding anything or lying about anything stresses me out too much.
    If I do not accept my self, cons will be - I would be cheating someone and living in fear, shame and guilt of denying a happy life to someone. I would myself be stressed and unhappy about the whole situation. And pros - I can't think of any.
    So, I don't see any point in not accepting myself.
    If I am oversharing, sorry for that but writing my thoughts here helps me in the present and I think would also help me in the future whenever I have doubts; I can come back and look at my posts.

    Also, when you think of it, people may get aroused by fantasizing about an erotic situation. Therefore, (my thought) it is who you naturally gets attracted to without any effort and wish to be with them what may really define your sexuality. I think this is what my counselor meant when she told, "sexual arousal is not the only factor" and "who do you think you are more comfortable with". I think she assumed that "I also get aroused by thinking about men", when I clearly told that I get aroused involuntarily by men.
    Anyways, I guess I am more affirmative of my feelings now when I had to prod them to answer her.
     
  5. Unsure77

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    For what it’s worth, my original therapist asked me a bunch of questions about who I noticed and who I gravitated towards early on.

    As for if you are or aren’t gay, it seems like an acid test I’ve seen @Chip use on here again and again for men is masturbation without porn. If you’re masturbating just using your imagination, do you picture men or women or both? Which stimulates you more? I’m a cis lesbian, so take that for what it is. Lol. But it does seem to be his go to advice.
     
  6. Braj

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    @Unsure77, while masturbating without porn, I only imagine about men.
     
  7. Unsure77

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    Pretty sure that means you’re gay. Or at least that’s what the gay men on here have historically told men who were questioning.
     
  8. out2019

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    Yes I went through this and still go through it sometimes unconsciously.. I then check myself and ask, if all those external factors, all those 'shoulds' weren't there.. who would I be happy with?

    Thinking about it 'all at once' could be pretty overwhelming. A lot of people here prefer to tell people they don't know (like a therapist) vs family and some friends depending on the situation. For example, I had an older woman friend who I felt pretty comfortable with telling her I was gay (it was still hard) - and I realized how wonderful it felt to not be living a lie anymore... on the other hand there are people I don't feel the 'need' to tell.

    But most people feel more comfortable building a 'community' first. Coming out to people you know can be hard, but I realized when I talked to gay therapists, help lines, counselors, I felt perfectly 'normal' saying I was gay around them.

    Not overwriting at all - this is the place to write your thoughts out... and like you said come back to it when you need to!
     
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  9. out2019

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    His post had a profound effect on me because at the time I was in denial and trying to argue myself out of being gay here... I read it and my gut feeling of wanting to experience what he experienced, and knowing that I didn't have to wait for that experience to know I was gay...and his observations about his experience with women and the 'attraction' shattered my rationalizations I was using.

    After I read it I was so frightened about what it revealed to me about myself that I didn't post here for a week.. but eventually I realized that it was just the beginning of the damn of denial bursting.
     
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  10. Braj

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    Once I am hard by picturing some men, afterwards I focus only on myself. I don't vividly picture. Just a few erotic glimpses of men popping in my head.
    Same thing goes with porn. Once I am hard, I ditch the porn and focus on myself.

    I don't know what this may mean.
     
  11. Unsure77

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    I think it means you’re gay (or at least un-heterosexual). If thinking about men arouses you...that’s always been the acid test. The heterosexual ocd people can’t get aroused thinking about men no matter how hard they try. That’s always how they know they’re straight.

    Again, I’m sure you’ll feel better if a dude chimes in. But, just having seen these threads before, I’m pretty sure that’s what they’re gonna say just based on what they’ve told people in the past.
     
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  12. Braj

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    And that's why I was drawing my conclusion from my experiences in real life with men and women. I have met both men and women in my life. I know my feelings for them. There are a few men and women with whom I have spent a considerable amount of quality time (it may be seen like dating). So, I should trust my feelings which I developed for them while spending time with them. Which were clearly like a platonic relation with women and a romantic relation with men.
     
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  13. Braj

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    One more thought which came to my mind which is quite comforting for me. Though I wrote my first post here on EC as questioning and listing the thoughts which make me confused, what triggered me to post is the fact that my parents are asking me to marry and I will now have to face them. It was that fear which made me deny and question my orientation. Nothing which should actually trigger my questioning happened. I had not fell in love with a woman nor I felt aroused by seeing a woman or straight porn or whatever other valid reasons to start questioning. I just realized the social consequences of coming out and out of fear I try to deny and doubt and question my sexuality and use all sorts of made up rationalizations and excuses even when everything was so clear before. I was living my life knowing that I am gay and I thought I would not marry and was okay with the fact that I may have to live single for the entire life because I know that it will be difficult to find a gay partner in India. I didn't think that I needed to come out because I didn't know any benefit of coming out in finding a partner or in any other ways.

    Sorry for writing in pieces instead of a single post.
     
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  14. Ram90

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    Hey @Braj . Coming out can be anxious, but satisfying too. I say this from my personal experience. But at the same time, I understand how hard it is to find like-minded and open-minded people in your friends and family circle who may be supportive enough to understand and make you feel comfortable to come out to them.

    Indian Society, like many others, is largely heteronormative and patriarchical at that. I understand the cultural pressure of having to marry, have children and move the "line" along. It is unfortunate that most people in society today haven't risen above that, and put their childrens' happiness ahead of so called societal norms. I struggled for years in the same fashion, since I did not know how to make my happiness and interests fit into the square box of the Indian Society.

    I did, however find people who I could talk to and hang out with, just to experience a warm culture. I understand it is hard, since at the end of the day you will return home, where you cannot be "yourself" and have to "pretend" in front of family and friends. The closet can be a very lonely place. So I encourage you to try and find people you can hang out with. Have you considered getting a job in another city? Perhaps towards the west or north of the country? So that you can live apart from your parents, where you can date openly and not fear of being recognized or outed? I'm not saying you have to abandon your parents, but perhaps some time apart can help?
     
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  15. Braj

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    Hey @Ram90 ! It is good to hear from you.
    My job is in a different city and I am staying away from my parents. So, I can date and I have already started using some apps. I hope post covid lockdown things will be better.
    It's just that I didn't realize the need to date and to come out till now. Also gay demeaning comments from people around was also discouraging. But now, I have to tell my parents so that they don't force me into marriage and I have tell people I am going to date. I don't care about others because that doesn't matter much and they will know slowly and eventually. I am out to those I meet on the dating apps.
    In the case of telling parents, I also wonder if I should first make some supporting connections before telling them. In case of any adversity I would have someone to support me. And it is always good to have friends who are supportive.

    Thank you.