I’m afraid that I’m gay

I've been going through a rough time lately. I been into nothing but women. I’ve never thought about men until a week ago. I’m very upset and depressed about this. It's not normal to me. I looked at gay porn more than once to prove that I’m not gay. I get the same results each time, and I feel disgust. This is tough on me. I'm scared that I looked too many times. I keep thinking about it and shake all the time.

Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

Are you able to give yourself some peace of mind while you take the time to further address whether or not you are gay?

Whether or not and to what degree a person accepts their sexuality, depends on dense factors such as the culture of your family, the beliefs about gay people with which you were brought up, and your own tolerance for being a unique individual.

Examining these factors, whether inwardly by yourself, in online blogs and sites, or live with other people, requires patience and effort.

The more you are willing to commit to figuring out your own truth, the greater is your chance of finding it!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Shawn Thomas Berthel, M.S., LMHC
Shawn Thomas Berthel, M.S., LMHC
Step into your new life path.

Hello. Coming to terms with the idea that you might be of a sexuality other than the one in which you were socially raised to be, can be emotionally disturbing, and quite unsettling. It creates anxiety, maybe even panic, and leaves us feeling confused and uncertain about our own sense of identity. It becomes important to first ask yourself how you feel when you are thinking of being intimate with guys, or if you desire them to be intimate with you. It is important to know what impact this has on you, because it can determine your level of follow through and desire in pursuing sexual activity with someone of the same sex. I am not going to pass judgment on you either way - even for having the thoughts. I have worked with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community in various ways over the years. Many I speak to, say they had to struggle to come to terms with this awareness about how they see themselves sexually. Maybe you are bisexual, and don't have an exclusive attraction to the same sex. You might consider doing some searches online for community support groups in your area, to explore the feelings and issues around this topic. Talking to someone who you trust can be helpful too. Running from your feelings is not a good idea, and others in a support group for sexuality issues, might be able to relate to you and what you're going through right now. This will offer you perspective, as you think on how this plays out in your life.

Counselors are typically well trained to provide clinical services to clients who are experiencing feelings and thoughts much like the ones you are having now. I encourage you to consider reaching out for help. You are not crazy or insane for thinking of working with a counselor, nor of having feelings of same sex attraction. If you decide you are indeed gay, then know that you are not alone and never will be alone in that feeling. There is a huge community of support for you. Additionally, we all need help sometimes dealing with all sort of issues. A counselor can work more in depth with you to examine the motivations behind the feelings, and help you come to terms with them more directly. I hope that you come to a place where you feel less alone and more secure with yourself as you examine this area of your life. No matter what, do not fear being yourself. Again...you are not alone, I promise.

Warm regards,

Shawn Berthel, M.S., LMHC

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Lynda Martens
Lynda Martens
Marriage & Family Therapist, MSc, RP, RMFT

Hi Brookfield, It can be unsettling when we feel something as fundamental as our sexual orientation shifting. I like that you're honest enough with yourself to say "I'm struggling with this". To accept that there is a question is a brave place to be. And...it doesn't necessarily mean you're gay.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture that wants to put people in slots...male or female, straight or gay...we tend to not like those grey areas so much as a culture. The truth is that, if we grew up in a society where there wasn't this categorization...if we felt free to explore and grow sexually, we might be surprised at who we are attracted to. You don't have to put yourself in a slot. Our sexual preferences are more fluid than we think, and it can change over time.

We also live in a culture where there is prejudice against homosexuality or "differentness" in general. The wish to not be gay can be powerful. Many people who are gay spend years believing they were heteroxual...fighting against, repressing  or ignoring their gay thoughts. This is needless pain. If you are gay, there is no shame in that and you can still have a glorious life filled with love and passion.

Having said all that...just because you have thoughts about men or get turned on by gay porm doesn't mean you're gay. Many heterosexual people have thoughts and fantasies about the same sex; it's arousing because it's naughty...we're curious about the forbidden, or we're just curious. Becoming aroused by gay porn is normal for many heterosexual men. 

Sexual orientation isn't just about sex either. A different gauge of who you are sexually can be found in your emotions towards men or women. Are you drawn into emotional connections with men more than women? Who do you feel the urge to explore and be close to?

Exploring your sexuality through being open to different experiences can help too. How does it feel to kiss a man, to touch a man, as compared with a woman...sometimes this feels like such a big and forbidden step that it's a barrier to discovering ourselves. We don't want to open that door. 

I wish you well as you do exactly what you are supposed to be doing...exploring and discovering yourself. It's an exciting journey and you might want to find a trusted person to talk more about this with. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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