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Being gay is okay: Information and advice for gay, lesbian, bisexual and unsure under twenty-fives.

Problem page > Archive > February 2012

From [Sam] Age [22] Gender [M]

Hello Jason

I went through your site and it is really impressive , the amount of time and energy you have devoted and are helping so many people across the globe, so congratulations on that.

I am Sam from Canada and i have a confusion and i will like to thank u in advance for taking time to read this.

Well i am 22 and in my final year at college.
I have been a pretty normal guy all through my life till now.
But i was bullied (emotionally , but not physically ) at school because i was depressed most of the time as i never got along with my parents and my dad humiliated me a lot (emotionally again) and it drained all my confidence.

But i am told that i am an intelligent guy and i have always been the top of my class and doing well at college too.

When i was 15, my dad was killed by some people and now i guess i may have PTSD and i may also have OCD i think and i possess many anankastic traits.

Now i am really sensitive and overcaring of people and told that i am a softie a lot! To get to the point, i have always been attracted to girls even since a small age , and ONLY girls , but now i find my feelings getting confused since the last few months and i dont know what to do. I have always seemed to understand girls like no other guy can ( i am told that by girls ). These are some facts about me that may give u a better picture of me -

1. extremely sad in childhood and teenage due to family and bullying
2. Extremely depressed since the last 7 years and probably suffering from PTSD
3. Sensitive and intelligent and calm person

I am confused as i have NEVER had any interest in men physically and a few months earlier i also seem to have developed erectile dysfunction and lost in EVERYTHING in life , including s**.

And now since the last week i have been thinking of men !
But i personally feel it may be because of my extreme depression and a failed relationship and most importantly due to my fear and low self-esteem which developed as i grew up.

I remember having a high libido and a very strong sense of attraction towards females all through my teenage and suddenly i have lost all interest. So am i turning gay?

I would be highly grateful to you if u could give me a thoughtful reply and it would mean a lot to me , as i am even having suicidal thoughts now. I have never had any mental illness and i am just a completely normal guy.

Please , it will be really kind of you to help me in some way and make me think more clearly

Thank you and lots of good wishes and wishing u a happy new year,
Sam

Hi Sam,

People don't turn gay, and you're out of that 11-18 bracket where most people who've emailed me over the years seem to have the most confusion and uncertainty around their sexuality. What does happen though is sometimes people - at various ages - discover parts of themselves that they have previously ignored or just not been aware of. You seem to have had a strong sense of your heterosexuality up until recently and people simply don't go from being happy heterosexuals to completely homosexual. I would put worries about that aside and work on being comfortable with the idea that same-sex attraction may be a part of your life, though to what degree only time will tell. We can't rule out the possibility that worrying about being gay is part of your OCD problems, rather than a real sexual interest in men.

It sounds as though you have been through a great deal, which is harder still if you're a deep thinking sensitive type (a disposition that is completely unrelated to, and not an indicator of, sexuality - to clear that up). The loss of your father and the bullying you have endured have, understandable, shaken you and have long-term implications. I'm quite open about the fact that I was bullied in school for many years and it's taken a long time to build back that confidence that was taken and to have a more normal and balanced view of the world around me. Depression and anxiety take their toll, tainting how you interpret the behaviour of those around you, robbing you of life's pleasures and causing you to get stuck in self analysis and negative thinking.

It's clear that you'd benefit from some professional counselling/therapy. A counsellor can help you to process your thoughts and make sense of what's happening in your life. He or she can also help you to get out of the cycles of negative and troubling thinking that you may have fallen into so that you can better connect with your real feelings. It may be tough to talk about some of the things you've been through and to challenge yourself but it could reap massive rewards in the long term. As I reminded someone else on this page recently: seek a counsellor that doesn't have an anti-gay agenda, so that you can be sure you're getting balanced advice on matters of sexuality.

In the meantime try to better connect with your feelings by spending less time analysing yourself and worrying, and more time doing things you enjoy and taking pleasure from your natural, unforced responses to those things. So: less worrying about possibly fancying men or losing interest in women, and more time getting on with life and noticing genuine attraction and desire when it happens naturally and unforced. It's about connecting with the simple truth of who you are that is locked away inside yourself; buried behind the things you've been through and the ensuing confusion. A counselor can help you to find that clarity with proven techniques, but you can certainly make a start on your own.

My mental health section might help too.

From [Lori] Age [?] Gender [F]

When I was 14 I experimented with someone of the same sex, and I realised at the time it was something that i really enjoyed And so did she. As time went on and we kept seeing each other I realised I had feelings for her and eventually I actually fell in love. Unfortunately her parents found out from her text messages and forced us to be apart, we kept sneaking around however until it got to the point where my parents found out too. Both families were devastated over it, so we agreed to end it and try to move on. From then on I was on the lookout for a potential boyfriend to try and show my mum and dad I was straight, the first guy (who I lost my virginity to) was sort of a rebound and I had no feelings for what so ever, and I eventually started to hate him being around, I'd never want to be left alone with him because of what that may potentially lead to, I was scared to have sex and I didn't enjoy it. My next boyfriend I felt exactly the same, There would be a short phase at the start where I thought I liked them.. But after a few months the same problem would start and i wouldn't want to spend time with them or be alone with them! After a while I knew the problem was because i was gay! But I'd never had any feelings for any other girl except for this one. I confessed my feelings for her and initially she said "i will never be accepted, It will never happen" but eventually she came round and we secretly got back together and again we both fell in love. Unlike with my boyfriends I loved being with her I loved talking on the phone to her and especially being alone and having sex with her. Now at 19 the same problem has happened, we decided to be straight with our family, but with our past and our Lies it didn't end very well, again we were forced apart and her mum told her to delete my number and try and move on! We are still keeping in touch and still desperately want to be together, I don't want to be with anyone else, and she doesn't either!! I just don't know what to do!
Kind regards lori X

Hi Lori,

Firstly I want to say how appallingly your families have behaved, essentially demanding that you throw happiness out the window and live up to their ideals, even if it means pretending to be heterosexual. I'm delighted that, despite all that nonsense at home, you have managed to keep this romance alive. You and your girlfriend obviously care deeply for oneanother and you absolutely should be together. Anyone who cares about your happiness will agree with me.

Speaking practicalities now: you are 19 (and I assume your partner is a similar age too); you are no longer a child. While you have to adhere to certain rules while living under your parents' roof, you are an adult and perfectly capable of deciding who you want to be with and to have a firm sense of who you are. If these things clash with the rules of the family home and threaten your relationship then it may be time to think about moving out. You may not be in a financial position to do so, but it sounds like a good idea to think longer term and make some plans. You can't live somewhere where you can't be yourself. It's stifling and unhealthy.

In the meantime it seems clear that you can't openly be in a same-sex relationship around your family. They are effectively forcing you to hide it or pretend to be something else for their convenience. I suggest that you see your partner outside of both family homes and bide your time. There is no need to bring fake boyfriends home or make up lies. Simply don't engage on the topic. I have a feeling your family won't be in a rush to chat about it over breakfast anyway.

Once you are established in your own home and financially independent you can bring the topic to the fore once again, and again ask that your family accept your relationship. Never assume that people can't change their attitude - and we're not talking about choosing between family and partner here - but don't let people make your life a misery while you wait for them to see the light.

Be strong and remember that you haven't done anything wrong. Asking your family to support your relationship and share in your happiness isn't an outlandish request. Hold onto each other and enjoy what you've found.

From [Phadagi] Age [17] Gender [M]

i met my first guy last year. i loved him so i gave him my body he was 23 years old and i was 16.time went buy he started to change and treated me wrongly and he cheated so i left him. during first few months of dumping him it felt like nothing but now i cant cop always thinking of him. he came to me asking if i could give him second chance but i didn't.so right now am felling so gulty. i cant give him second chance because he is a whore. what should i do?

Hi Phadagi,

It sounds as though you have already made up your mind that you don't want to give your ex partner a second chance, so I don't think there is much that I can offer here.

If you don't feel that you can trust him again then it's best not to get involved a second time. It sounds as though there was more at fault with the relationship than just cheating, since you say he changed and treated you wrongly. It was a big deal for you to give your body to someone for the first time, which makes his betrayal all the more painful and disrespectful.

You have nothing to feel guilty about. He made a statement about how much he cared about the relationship when he slept with someone else. He caused the relationship to fail - not you. Your subsequent behaviour is perfectly understandable and justified. You will become stronger and feel less pain as time goes by.

From [Yuri] Age [22] Gender [M]

Hey Jason.

My name is Yuri and I'm really, really confused. I was hoping you could give me your advice.

I grew up as a gay child. I admit I was very judgemental, and as a child I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be straight. All was weird, because as a child I had crushes on girls my age and even thought they were attractive (in an innocent way). But I always felt sexually attracted only to older men.

After my last crush for a girl as a teenager (13), I started to feel attracted to guys my age, having my first gay crushes. I ended up giving up hope that I was someday wake up straight and everything would be fine and accepted myself.

I started living my first gay experiences and I became more open about my sexuality with close friends, although I never adopted a label. Still, I was absolutely, 100% sure I was a gay man. However, at work, I maintained a "straight" behaviour and I avoided all kinds of sexual encounters (men and women alike), as people were really judgemental. My new hope was that once I tried gay sex, everything would make sense.

And then it happened. I had gay sex for the first time and I absolutely hated it. Not only physically, but psychologically. I felt submissive and wrong. Felt even disgusted, something I couldn't understand. I was used to kiss men, hugging men, and I had a very attractive guy with me. I'm not attracted at all to bottom guys, as they don't appeal to me sexually, they lack the male raw energy I find attractive. But as it turns out, I wasn't able to feel pleasure as a bottom myself. I decided I needed sometime to think, not engaging in any sexual activity.

It was then that I was with this girl from work. I didn't want it, it just happened. We ended up dating, and I found myself absolutely attracted to her. She turned me on so easily. I began to urge different things. We committed and I was feeling attracted to girls. All girls. When I had given up waking up as a straight guy, it happens. I even came out to my parents before it happened. I really had accepted myself.

I fell out of love and maintained the relationship anyways. It was then that the urges came back and I felt attracted to men once more. This time I was as a bisexual. My girlfriend still aroused me, as did other girls, but I felt attraction to men too. I needed to understand it. Was it an urge? Was it my true essence coming back? I hated to cheat, but I needed to do it, to know what was happening. It was not that I needed to be with a man. I needed to understand myself. I tried it again but felt exactly the same way as I did the first time.

Later, I broke up with the girl and slowly I became somewhat of a bisexual. The urges come in waves. I spend 3 days as a gay men, 5 as a straight, 3 weeks straight, a month gay, 1 month straight, 3 weeks gay... Never attracted to both genders at the same time. It's like mood swings.

I completely stopped my sex life. I don't date guys or girls. I don't feel attracted to the men I used to feel attracted to, beginning to feel attracted to other types of men, and with women I don't feel like I understand the attraction. Almost like I'm going through puberty again, not knowing what to do, but after 3 days being straight, I turn towards men again, and then I get lost. I don't have time to get used to nothing.

I'm beginning to feel like I don't know myself. Like I'll never understand it. Like I'm hopeless and I'll never have a long, healthy relationship, with men OR women. It's unpredictable. I don't know who I will feel attracted to tomorrow.

I want to have a sex life, but it's like picking up hitchhikers with my car, except I don't know where my car is going. I just don't feel right when I'm flirting with people. Asking myself if what I'm doing is wrong and is in fact what I am.

I don't know if you'll be able to help me, but I ask you to at least try. I need help. Please, if the mail is too long, you can get in contact with me through my e-mail. In fact, please, do. I'm beginning to feel desperate.

Keep up the good work. Your website is amazing!

Hi Yuri,

It's important to understand firstly that sex with men doesn't have to take a form that you're not comfortable with. There tends to be this rigid idea of a passive and dominant partner; someone who 'gives' and 'receives'. But people make their own rules in the bedroom. If you don't like a passive role and prefer masculine guys, then so be it. There are men out there who you'd be compatible with. Don't let your dislike of certain sexual activities or roles confuse you when it comes to assessing your sexuality. Wanting to be sexual with a guy means that you are gay or bisexual - not wanting to do certain things with him once you're in the bedroom doesn't mean that you are straight.

It seems pretty clear that you are bisexual, as you have found both men and women attractive. The way your sexuality seems to swing from being pinned solely to one gender at a time is unusual and not something I've heard about before: almost changing from heterosexual to homosexual and then back again. I suspect this is more a case of perception and not really a cycle of shifting sexuality. Your strong sexual feelings are pulling you in different directions and it feels confusing and disorientating. Many gay, straight and bisexual people experience strong sexual feelings that can before distracting and intrusive.

I wonder if things would feel clearer for you and settle if you fell in love and felt invested in something special with one person. Committing to one person always means leaving other romantic and sexual possibilities behind. It's a sacrifice people in love make, because they feel that the person they are with is special and worth not being with anyone else for. This sacrifice is especially relevant for a bisexual person, because they are not only committing to one person but also one gender. But a person in love is not spending time feeling sad and frustrated that they can't experience sex with other people. He or she is too busy enjoying the special connection they have with their partner.

I can't give you advice on how to control your sexuality because it's not possible, and not healthy to try. You may continue to experience strong sexual interest in both genders, but don't let this put you off investing time in someone who you like. You seem afraid to even flirt, but I think you're over-thinking things. Not flirting with a woman that you like because of fears over also liking guys, or vice versa, is going to make life feel restricted and lonely.

Be sure that you are being completely honest with yourself. Don't try to hide from or control any feelings that you have for either gender. It's only when you face the truth head on and deal in facts that you can make a plan of action that feels right for you. Do you really completely lose interest in either gender at any time? Do you think it's impossible, if you really care for someone, to be happy and go without sex with someone else? Do you think it's possible for a bisexual person to be happy with one gender in a monogamous relationship? These are loaded questions, sure, and you can probably tell what I think, but it's important for you to answer them.

I think you can be happy and find the love that you want, but you have to stop panicking and being afraid of the fact that you have an interest in both genders and that you will likely continue to, even if you're with someone. I don't stop being attracted to other men when I'm with someone, but I can't let that paralyse me into not investing in and committing to someone I love. It's like being afraid to eat chocolate ice cream because there are 6 other flavours - you'd be missing out on all 7.

If you are attracted to someone, flirt and enjoy it. Don't over-analyse, don't worry about tomorrow and don't filter all of life's great joys through your sexuality concerns. If you like someone, embrace it, and don't let the fact that you also fancy male A or female B stop you from forming close and special relationships. Things will settle and make more sense given time and a calm, honest and fearless attitude toward your sexuality.

From [Michelle] Age [20] Gender [F]

Hey Jason,

Being gay is considered as a taboo in my country. My parents found out about me three years ago thanks to my homophobic older sister who keeps on stalking on me and since then my life turned to hell. We had so much difficulties keeping our relationship strong because we barely hang out, we used to see each other only once every two weeks and definitely not in public and every time they knew she was talking to me they took my phone and laptop away. My dad wanted to disown me! He had beaten the sh*t out of me times and times again and so did my sister. And let us not mention the days I was kicked out of the house. Literally none of my family was supportive. Above all this we managed to keep in touch very often but in all those three years we were always under pressure. My dad threatened he would kill us both and I know he's capable of doing so.

My girlfriend finally decided to leave the country for good. What hurts the most is the fact that I didn't even had the chance to tell her goodbye. She immigrated to Quebec on the 1st of September 2010, 76 days AFTER it was the last time we saw each other. However, Im really happy she's in a country that respects human beings the way they are and I really want to escape this hell I'm living soooo bad and of course without my parents knowing. What we're facing right now is just so unfair.

Our first 8 months of the long distance relationship were just fine we used to chat, skype, text everyday and call each other almost twice a week but I started noticing some changes since the beginning of June.. we started fighting a lot over silly stuff, we didn't talk for 2, 3 days.. I know that communication is the key but the time difference is just killing it. Now we're just not talking at all even though there wasn't a significant problem that caused the break up..

She called me last week.. and I cried my eyes out that night because I all really wanted for christmas was her!! My mom saw me crying and she instantly knew that Im crying over her so she started asking god to 'give me a brain' and saying stuff like ''I will turn all my love to you into hatred if you're thinking about leaving us one day, and no one will ever talk to you again''

It really sucks that your own family wont get you but Im not willing to change for anyone, I want them to accept me the way I am and if they dont, it's their loss! Im just sick of them telling me that I am sick!

My only wish in 2012 is to leave this country and hug my baby 24/7 :(

Hi Michelle,

You sound like a strong person and you should be proud of that strength, and your self belief. Everyone deserves the love and acceptance of their family, and it's not something anyone should have to hope or wait for. I can't imagine how painful it must be to hear such vile statements coming from the people who raised you. You don't deserve it and you've done nothing wrong.

It certainly sounds as though leaving, as your girlfriend has done, for somewhere more tolerant and accepting of difference is a good thing to do. I know leaving the country is a big step, but this is about your future. Regardless of whether you leave the country or not, you certainly can't stay at home indefinitely in an environment that is so hostile toward you in matters of sexuality. You can't become heterosexual to please your family, and your family seems unwilling to reassess its views on same-sex relationships. It's an impossible stalemate and I think your happiness depends on changing your living conditions.

Your relationship with your partner has been under great strain from the beginning, with the people around you making threats and creating obstacles. And now you are in a position where you are trying to maintain a relationship against that same strong opposition while also over great distance. Something has to give: you either take the plunge and move to be with her or I think the relationship will likely not last. Technology can help couples through periods of time apart but it's no substitute in the long term for being physically close and sharing your daily lives.

If you still love each other and want to be together, and if your arguments are just frustrated squabblings, then you have to make a plan to be with her. Otherwise both of you have your lives on hold, preventing you from meeting other people and making other plans. Though you have both been aggressively forced into your current situation, it's not realistic or fair to hope someone will be content with Skype and phonecalls if there's no end in sight.

From [Charley] Age [20] Gender [F]

Hi, my name is Charley, I'm 20 years old and several months ago my fiance (male) ended our 5 year relationship. Before we got together, when I was about 14 I had been questioning my sexuality, and had even come out to my parents and close friends as bisexual. In the time that we were together, and since then I have felt like I'm far more attracted to women than men, I also feel like perhaps I'm gay and he was the exception. I think its complicated also by the fact that I haven't ever had sex with a man or a woman and I don't really want to at the moment. But thats not to say I'm not sexually attracted to anyone, my partner was a christian and felt that we shouldn't have sex until we were married, and I'm not really sure what I think about that. I do apologise, none of that is a question yet. I think my question really is, could it be that he was the exception? Could I be gay? I loved him, I'm sure of that, but in general I'm not sure if guys really do it for me. I'm questioning and confused, I hope you can help. Thanks, Charley

Hi Charley,

You certainly don't have to have had sex with anyone to know that you'd like to or, at least, that you fancy someone. You were with your ex-partner for five years so you will have some sense of how you felt about him physically.

You accepted a non-sexual arrangement until marriage. This can be quite hard work when two people are very attracted to each other and nature wants to have its way. Did you have a sense of that frustration at any point? Did you fancy your ex? How did it feel to be close to him? Was it hard to settle for a kiss and a cuddle, or was there no desire for more? Did it feel 'right' when you were close. Regardless of decisions about when to have sex, the body communicates what it wants very loudly when you're close to someone you find attractive. You loved him, but was that the love of two people who know each other very well and have a rapport or the love that comes bundled with romantic feelings and physical desires? They feel quite different from each other. I don't want to offend you or belittle what you and your ex had, but just prompt you to look at things differently to better understand yourself.

Yes, I do think there are one-offs and exceptions, when someone identifies as gay or straight but once in while someone comes into their lives who turns the rules upside down. Technically, that's bisexual, even if the 'straight or gay part' is very small and selective.

It can be hard to get to know yourself when you're in a relationship: those years of figuring things out are done while you're already involved and don't really have room. I think time, now that you are single, is going to be good for you in learning about what you like and want from future relationships. Don't be in a hurry to get involved again and instead spend time thinking about the things I've posed to you and how you respond physically and emotionally to people in general: Who do you notice? Who are you attracted to? But don't be stressed if you don't yet have the answers to these questions.

From [Kristian] Age [23] Gender [M]

To whom may concern,

My name is Kristian, I'm 23 and need some serious advise on sexuality. I don't know if you can help or if your the right people to email but any advice would be useful.

Over the past few months I have discovered that I may be bisexual, after an entire life unquestionably 'knowing' i was heterosexual, which hasn't been easy. Without going into too much detail, this confusion about my sexuality, along with other outside pressures has caused me to go through one of the most darkest times in my life. I've been depressed to the point where I have actively self harmed and tried multiple suicide attempts. At this time I think most of that is behind me now, but I do still feel lost with no idea what to do.

Currently I still don't know my sexual identity. I don't know if these feeling and thoughts towards men are just pure fantasy or just a phase. I don't know if my feelings and thoughts towards women are just me trying to retain what I previously had and just me trying to be 'normal' (I use the term very loosely). Or simply I may just be bisexual I have to live this conflict for the rest of my life.

I just don't know what to do, every single feeling or thought I have these days is under constant personal assessment and nothing feeling right anymore. I 'think' I would prefer a relationship with a women but recently I have found it very difficult to connect with women, emotionally or sexually (a problem I have never suffered in the past). The thing is I know if I have a relationship with anyone it would be purely to try to prove my sexuality, something I don't want. I'm just sick of worrying and thinking about sex.

I just need some advice. How can you have a relationship and be thinking about a different sex? I don't want to do anything I regret and I don't want to hurt anyone in the process. So what do I do, because I truly have no idea.

I haven't told anyone of this problem, nor of the suicide attempts or self harming. I know that my family and my friends would be completely fine with me being gay or bi but I'm not comfortable with it. And with me trying to end my life, would put unimaginable strain on my family. The thing is I know I can obsessively think about things and therefore I can wrongfully convince myself that I'm one way or another. I don't really want to go see anyone professionally or go to any group or anything like that. But I do need advise what should I do? How can someone have a sexually exclusive relationship and be bisexual? And if your bisexual how do you know your with the right sex? And simply is this normal?

Thank you for you time and effort.

Kindest regards

Kristian

Hi Kristian,

I think, as you've also noticed, that you analyse your feelings and thoughts to such a level that it makes it hard to know the simple truth of what you want. You're putting so much energy into thinking about whether you like guys or girls that it's impossible to see clearly. Fancying, and wanting to be physically close to, someone is a very instinctual and base-level thing that many people take for granted. The sense of fancying men or women and noticing attractive people in the street is something most people don't need to think about; it comes naturally and doesn't expect or require analysis. Someone who is comfortable and at peace with being bisexual would experience this in the same way, but potentially spot both men and women who appeal to them. That simple truth, of fancying and having sexual feeling toward someone, can get buried and confused, especially for someone who's assumed they were straight until recently and has tackled mental health issues.

A bisexual person would not be doing anything wrong, or entering into a terrible struggle with their nature, if they fell in love and committed to one person. When anyone is in a monogamous relationship they are saying that they think the person they are with is worth being monogamous for; that they won't have sex with anyone else. That doesn't mean they won't think about other possibilities or meet people they also find attractive. It just means they are happy in love and think that the person they are with is worth being faithful for. This is the same for gay, straight and bisexual people. I suppose, in theory, it's possible that there are some bisexual people whose sexual desires are so equal and powerful toward each gender that committing to one person wouldn't be possible, but I've never heard from or met someone who has found themselves in this situation. Bisexuality is not 50-50, any more than homosexuality or heterosexuality is 100%. We're all on a scale, even if you are so far up one end that you can confidently identify as straight or gay and experience sexual interest in the other gender. The point of this paragraph is to try to reassure you that even if you are bisexual it doesn't mean a stormy love life of swinging from gender to gender. I don't think bisexuality means an inability to commit, and becoming a victim of highly changeable sexual desires.

The key to feeling better and understanding yourself is to learn to connect with your real feelings and to control your negative and over-analytical thoughts. I know that you don't want to see a counsellor, but I strongly advise you to do so. Sometimes people need help and there's nothing wrong with that. You say that you think your dark patch is mostly behind you, but that doesn't change the fact that you've been through a lot and and are clearly struggling with distressing thinking habits and finding the clarity you need in matters of sexuality. The answers are all inside you, and I think you just need a little help in connecting with them. In the meantime, I have some general tips on training your brain to be more helpful and less obstructive in my mental health section.

From [David] Age [17] Gender [M]

I am stuggling to live life. I hate not telling the truth about my sexuality, every time i get asked and i lie its like i am tightning knots to some weights as i am drowning. I have no self esteem, and just happen to live in a very homophobic area. I hate my body and my life and all this is making me want to end it. I have been cutting myself for the last two years, as i can't deal with any of this pressure and stress. I hate the world we live in and not being able to talk to anyway. my mother is a catholic and i am afraid if i told her she would hate me. She is tough on me as it is. I need help i dont think i can take much more of it.

Hi David,

You really must speak to someone if you're having suicidal thoughts. You also need professional help with your self harming. Speak to your doctor about being referred for counselling, and call the Samaritans if you're ever feeling desperate. Remember that you don't have to come out to your family to admit that you're low and need some help. I do, however, suggest you are open about your sexuality with any counsellor you might see. Patient confidentiality means discussions about sexuality will stay between you and your counsellor. There are links and some further information about counselling here.

Do you have a close friend you could talk to? It's easy to label a whole area as homophobic, but people think differently to one another and some are more open minded than others and willing to see different points of view or accept things they hadn't previously given much thought to. I felt very isolated when I was 15. Bullied in school and a rocky home life. But I took the plunge to come out to a friend and it changed things for the better instantly. Confiding in someone doesn't solve all of life's problems, of course, but it is a confidence boost to tell someone about your sexuality and it opens the door for greater honestly and openness in your life. It's a cliche, but it does make things feel better and seem manageable once you talk to someone.

Things can get better, David. You're a young man with a great deal of time ahead. I've had desperate moments when I was a teen too but I'm glad I stuck around. If you're not here you'll never know if it could have got better. If you're unhappy with how you look then you might, in a healthy and balanced way, think about how you might change. For example, if you are overweight you could investigate healthier eating and start some form of exercise (good for mood and overall mental health too). While it's a good thing to work toward positive, achievable change, you also have to learn to accept who you are. The world isn't full of supermodels. Not being stunning doesn't stop people from being happy and finding love.

Thinking toward the future may help you to feel more positive. You'll be 18 soon: what plans have you got for your next step? Further education or job? If things aren't great at home, what about moving into a house share? This is a good way of making friends and having the space and freedom to connect more with what you want from life. It can be a bit scary to start with, but try to be brave and embrace changes that address the things that are getting you down. My mental health section might help to give you some more pointers.

Please take steps to get some support.

From [Josh] Age [11] Gender [?]

Well my name is Josh and I think I'm bisexual lots of people say it's hormones. It's not, I've just started high school which is even worse, I need some advice on what to do, help? I'm also scared I'll never meet anyone although I think I'm bisexual I like boys more. Please reply.

Wow Josh: worrying about never finding anyone at 11 years old! You have plenty of time for finding love and I think it's a touch premature to worry.

It's quite common that an under 16 is told that they're under the thrall of hormones or 'going through a phase', when confronted by talk of bisexuality or homosexuality. Nobody tells a 12 year old boy with a girlfriend that he should take a few years to consider, though.

Some people struggle to get a sense of their sexuality, as it gets buried in analysis and worry, while others, like yourself, feel that they know their sexuality from a young age. Do be open minded though, as you may find your feelings shifting and forming over the next few years. There's no rush to pin a label on yourself.

My page on bisexuality may help to answer further questions you may have.

From [Tim] Age [17] Gender [M]

i have feelings for this gay guy who i meet sometimes after collage, im not sure what sure i should do. Because no one knows i like guys and i really just want to tell him. i nearly kissed him when i was waiting with him once but i dont think he knows im gay either. should i tell his and my best mate who is a girl first.

im really confused should i tell the guy how i feel and see wot he says, can u please help me :) thnk u

Hi Tim,

I don't think you're confused; you're just scared of opening up and getting hurt. That's normal. It's tricky when trying to decide whether to tell someone that you like them - ever more so for a gay person because:

  • You can't be sure the person you like feels the same
  • You don't know if they are gay or bisexual
  • Telling that person how you feel means coming out to them which could, depending on how they take it, inadvertently mean coming out to everyone

Perhaps a good plan is to speak to your best friend first and get her input. Coming out to her will also be good practice and a confidence boost. My coming out section will help with that, and my common questions page will help you make a plan for handling the situation with the guy you like.

From [Alicia] Age [17] Gender [F]

I live in a very religious part of the U.S. were being gay is not considered okay and most of my friends think that way too. I want to come out to my friends but I'm afraid that I won't be accepted by them and my mom thinks that I'm just going through a phase and I feel like I can't talk to her about liking girls. Should I come out to my friends or should I wait one more year until I finish high school? Should I let my mom know that this isn't just some phase that I really like girls?

Hi Alicia,

You've already told your mother that you like girls which is a big, significant step that must have taken courage. I don't think doing it again and saying, 'Yes, I really do like girls, for real... honest' is going to make much difference, since you mum dismissed it with the good old faithful 'phase' response that parents love so much. I would wait a while before tackling the subject matter again - perhaps until you've met someone and the issue becomes more pressing. You may also be taken more seriously by your mum if you are actually in a same-sex relationship and the matter cannot be so easily dismissed.

The decision to come out is tough for many, but it's much harder when a person is so certain that the response won't be good. Living in a religious part of the US where homosexuality is viewed negatively means your coming out may not be straightforward. Your desire to be open and honest with the people close to you is universal, regardless of environment; it's normal to want to share your life - your real life - with family and friends. In an ideal world they would want that too.

You mention maybe finishing high school before you come out. Is this because you intend to move away for college then, or just because coming out after leaving the pressures of school behind seems like a good idea? It can be tough coming out at school, where news travels fast and you can't hide from the opinions - good and bad - of anyone who feels they want to express them. Some kids can be cruel and judgemental, repeating things they've heard at home about issues they don't yet have any real basis for opinions on. They haven't yet developed that filter in the brain that asks, 'Should I say that out loud? How will that affect someone else?'. Certainly in my experience, the jump in maturity and acceptance in pupils was very apparent when I left school and started college, and again when I went to university. You stop dealing with kids and start dealing with young adults. Whether you wait a year or not, always remember that you haven't done anything wrong and that you aren't the only person worrying about coming out in your town.

My coming out section covers - you've guessed it - coming out in detail, so I won't repeat chunks of it here. You may also find my religion section of interest, especially if you're struggling with the idea of being open and true to your sexuality while still having religion in your life.

From [Callum] Age [21] Gender [M]

Hi,
I found this site a few years ago when I needed some advice coming out and found your advice extremely helpful. Sorry this new problem may take some explaining, but I need an unbiased opinion on the matter.

I met one of my now close friends (Jake) back in September 2009 whilst I was in my second year at University away from home. He began dating a good friend of mine (a girl, Lisa). Jake and Lisa were together for around a year and throughout their relationship me and Jake began to become closer friends. Jake became aware of my sexuality a few weeks after I met him, he was shocked, as alot of people are, that I was gay and inquired alot into it and frequently said how it was a refreshing change to be friends with a gay lad who wasn't "camp" (although he doesn't have a problem with camp lads at all). Back then, I would only ever see him whilst he was with Lisa (i.e. if I went to Lisa's house and Jake was there). Back then we weren't good enough friends to organize a night out or anything away from Lisa. The summer of 2010 when we all departed to go home for the summer holidays, Lisa decided to travel Asia for the three month holidays leaving Jake at home. I should make it clear at this point me and Lisa where (and still are) very good friends and me and Jake were no more than just what you would call mates. In the middle of out holidays / Lisa's travelling, one day I noticed her Facebook had changed from being in a relationship with Jake to single. I did not inquire into this with either of them as Lisa was in Asia and I didn't consider Jake a close enough friend to discuss it with him (not to mention I didn't see it as any of my business unless either of them wanted to discuss it with me). A few days after I had noticed the relationship change on Facebook, Jake popped up on Facebook chat and began to discuss the break up with me. When I asked what had happened, he said he just felt like crap and anxious all the time about it and couldn't be with Lisa anymore. He didn't make much sense, and I assumed he meant that he was anxious about Lisa possibly meeting other guys and broke up with her. (To this date Jake won't explain why he broke up with Lisa and claims he was "anxious", but what he was anxious about, nobody seems to know). During the same conversation he kept asking me when I was returning to University and that we should meet up for a drink when I was back, which I agreed to. The remaining two months passed and we all returned to University. Within a few days of returning, I received a text off Jake asking me to meet him and some of his friends for a drink, which I did. It was around this point I began to think that something was strange as he seemed to be very keen to become friends with me, seen as he was aware I was very good friends with his ex-girlfriend. A few days after this, he asked me if I would like to attend a Cheerleading try out for our University team with him. At this point my suspicions were definitely raised as to his sexuality. I'm not one to jump to conclusions about stereotypes but things where becoming strange as he is a rugby-built type and is a cage fighter part time. I agreed to go so he would have some support for the first "meeting" (however we both subsequently enjoyed the experience and became squad members). During the rest of the academic year from September 2010-June 2011 me and Jake became extremely good friends. Things became more confusing (for me anyway) when he began to invite me around to his house for us to have a few cans of beer and watch films just me and him. I would be lying in saying that I wasn't developing feelings for him, as I was. Mutual friends of ours would comment, sometimes jokingly and sometimes seriously, that he fancied me and was in denial about his sexuality. For instance, he is very touchy feely with me and also "pretends" to kiss me on nights out in front of people but backs away before out lips touch, which I also do too. We are both aware of what people say about us and we discuss it with each other. He tends to laugh and say it is for dramatic effect and how it annoys him why people would assume that just because he is
straight and I'am gay we are together or having a relationship beyond friendship. I have never asked him if he is gay or bisexual, as curious as I'am, as it is for him to tell me and I don't want him knowing or even thinking I have the slightest feelings for him as we are very good friends and I wouldn't want to ruin that.
I didn't linger on the question of whether he was or wasn't gay/bi and carried on with my own relationship en devours. I began seeing someone around early 2011 which Jake said he was happy for me but always kept telling me to be careful and that I could do alot better than most of the guys out there. During July 2011 I found out the lad I was seeing was cheating on me which caused alot of emotion distress for me from then until around Xmas time 2011. Jake was an amazing friend, for the most part, but would also seem very distant if I ever talked about some of the good times I had shared with my "ex" and didn't seem to want to discuss them. One night I invited Jake around for a night out. During the night I became upset about what had happened with my ex and Jake grabbed me, looked me square in eye with a tear in his and said how he thought I was better than any lad out there and I should remember that and I deserved someone who would treat me right, and how much he wanted me to be with someone who would treat me properly. Me and Jake do tend to talk about deep things when we have had a drink but this seemed to be on a different level to anything else that we had ever discussed, and it even made me feel slightly nervous at the time. However, Jake's actions can be very deceiving sometimes. As he has now graduated from University and I'm still here, he often comes and visits for nights out, and we share a bed. He often begins to spoon me in bed, yet as soon as he realizes he is doing it, he will retreat straight away. I should mention at this point, Jake has a new girlfriend who he doesn't seem to like very much as whenever I ask him how it is going he always says badly and he doesn't know why he is with her. During the Xmas vacation just passed (2011), I invited a few friends around to my place at University to celebrate. During this party around 6 am people began to go to bed or start falling asleep. Me, Jake and another person where in the living room where there is a small sofa and a large sofa. Me and Jake where on the larger sofa "top and tailing" and the third person was on the smaller sofa on his own. Whilst we were drifting off, Jake asked me to come over to his side as he "couldn't sleep with my feet in his face". He then lifted his arm and placed my head on his shoulder and we feel asleep in that position. In the morning he awoke and hastily told me he was going back to his girlfriends and darted out the door.

I guess I'm just very confused as to whether he is hiding his true feelings or if I'am reading too far into this. I'm very much airing on the side of caution and just saying I'm reading too much into this as I don't want to deceive myself and think something is there when it isn't. But I just need to know what someone else thinks, who is impartial to anyone I know. It seems to me that recently things seem to be changing for him and I have a feeling or gut instinct even, that if there is something different that he hasn't told me yet it will be soon that it is going to happen. Yet this leaves me in a predicament as I'm extremely good friends with both Lisa and Jake and I would not want to ruin my friendship with Lisa if Jake was to tell me he had feelings for me, as Lisa is still very much hung up on him as she tells me often. I think I should say as well that I'm not in love with Jake (well I don't think I'am) but there is definitely feelings present, on my part, beyond friendship.

Any help or advice would be much appreciated, and thank you in advance!

Hi Callum,

You're clearly a sensitive and thoughtful person who's considering everyone's feelings before you take any sort of action, but it's not a bad thing to think about your own needs and wants. The line between friendship and something more seems blurry when it comes to you and Jake and it would make life less complicated if you knew how he viewed the relationship so that you could make an informed decision about how to proceed.

It could just be that you and Jake share a close friendship; two people who feel very comfortable and relaxed in each other's company. Sharing a bed and talking about personal matters are things that good friends do. Where things become less clearly defined is how Jake behaved when you shared the sofa and the way he felt the following day. It could be, again, that he's just very comfortable with you and wanted a hug. Two straight guys don't often have that physical closeness, but he knows the 'rules' are different with you and he doesn't have to hold up a macho front or be 'one of the guys'. Most guys, even ones who are fairly chilled out about sexuality, don't snuggle up with male friends on the sofa. Maybe there are times they'd like a buddy's arm around them because they've had a crappy day, but you just don't tend to find that behaviour between heterosexual guys. This is likely tied up in what's traditionally expected of a man's behaviour, and worries about what other people might assume if they don't honour that.

Jake's rapid departure the following morning could be because:

  • He feel's something for you that goes beyond friendship. He enjoyed being close to you but he's not completely comfortable with that part of himself. Rushing off to visit the girlfriend was a way to reassure himself that he's 100% heterosexual and to 'get back to normal'. Perhaps feelings for guys aren't something he's experienced before and perhaps that side of his sexuality is quite small but has awoken with you. It's new and scary. It challenging his beliefs about himself. His foundations are being shaken and he's scared of the changes this discovery might bring about if he embraces it i.e. breaking up with his girlfriend, having a boyfriend, dealing with peoples' reactions to the news of his new-found bisexuality etc.
  • He might know you like him and he felt guilty about being close to you because he's a straight man and he doesn't want to lead you on or give out mixed signals. He wanted that closeness on the sofa, but it was an expression of friendship - nothing more. He's worried you might think there's more to it and he doesn't want to inadvertently be a tease.

There are more questions than answers here, of course, and as his close friend you are the best judge on the situation. Something clearly happened between you that night on the sofa, but it's not clear what that was. You have to decide whether to take the plunge and ask or to carry on as you are. It's all very well treading gently with Jake and having nice moments like the night on the sofa, but it's not good for you in the long term if you're missing out on Mr Right because you are waiting for Jake to state his intentions.

From [Liam] Age [?] Gender [M]

Hi Jason,

You may remember me, i emailed you once before last year. I'm sadly still in the closet, and i don't have the courage to come out. I have no desire to go to the LGBTU group in college neither, because at the end of the day, it's my private life. I think that my parents would be OK, as they have a few gay a Lesbian friends, and they get angry when i slag them off. I only do this because i'm bi myself (80% gay-20% straight) and i want to deflect attention from me, and i think my parents would be OK with it but when they see gays on the TV they call them 'queers' and 'poofs' ETC, and i'm afraid they'll do the same to me. I'm getting depressed because of it. I got close to a teacher who was a religious nut, and she turned me into one, and now i'm regretting being one myself because i'm gay, and i've turned into a nasty, bitter homophobe and slagged a load of gays off, for example-"spawn of the devil", "they're all going to die off AIDS", and it felt like a knife going through my heart. I want to have relationships with men, but the thought of kissing them or sex which them repulses me, i am attracted to certain women but would never have sex with them. I'm like a bisexual Asexual. What can i do?

Liam.

Hi Liam,

It does seem as though you are a homophobic bisexual man, which makes life very hard when what you desire is to be in a same-sex relationship. To be able to be happy you need to reassess your behaviour and take steps to change.

You dismiss the LGBTU group in the opening part of your email but don't give much of a reason for doing so. By going to a group like this you give yourself the opportunity to meet others like you and get over these anti-gay sentiments you have adopted. It may also pose romantic opportunities. It's true that the very act of going to a group like this makes a statement about your sexuality, as other members of the group will assume you are gay or bi, but it doesn't mean laying your private life bare. You can give as much away about yourself as you might in any social situation and, equally, be as guarded as you like too, though you'll get more out of the experience if you let people in a bit.

You say that your parents would probably be fine about it, since they have lesbian friends who they defend. It's sad that you use offensive language when they do. I'm a bit confused by how your parents behave when they see gay people on TV; they're sending out mixed signals about their feelings on homosexuality. Perhaps they're just looking for a reaction, and it seems you're certainly giving one: just not in a good, positive way. They may, in their clumsy parent way, be giving you a nod to come clean.

You are aware of how the homophobic teacher has imprinted some rubbish in your mind, so you haven't been brainwashed or hypnotised into anything. Being aware and understanding your behaviour and what it is based on means you are in a perfect position to challenge this and change. It hurts you to say unpleasant and untrue things about gay people so... don't. Every time one of those destructive and negative thoughts and urges occurs, name it and push it away. It's not true; it's not helpful; it's not making you happy; it's not going to make you an appealing friend or boyfriend for a gay or bisexual person; it's hurting you and will make you lonely. You get to make up your own mind about gay and bi people, so get out there and see what they're like instead of repeating rubbish that a teacher decided for you.

Coming out and being at peace enough with yourself to be close to a guy and enjoy sex can come with time. Your starting point is fundamentally getting over your prejudice toward others and yourself.

From [Andrea] Age [20] Gender [F]

Dear Jason,

First thank you for this site and your effort in helping reach out to other in need of advice. This girl had a crush on me during the summer and the strange thing I found is a returned the feelings. I am a very open minded person and have never had any problem with LGBT people. However, I find I am having a problem with myself dating this girl. We have been dating for almost three months and I truly truly love her. My friends support me and they have met her and love her as well. However, I have one friend who constantly tells me I need to make a choice. He says that I need to choose between my family approving and me approving of my relationship. He says it is not a complicated decision. The thing is, he has always had pretty healthy relationships in the past.

I on the other hand, have had an emotionally abusive relationship that ended very poorly and my girlfriend is none of that. I am very attracted to her and she makes me happy everyday. We are doing long distance which is difficult for me and I find it difficult to me open in public with my affection towards her. My dad supports me and my mom is just okay with it. I feel like if I choose her I am stuck and will not be able to have a normal life. There are other factors that come into play as well.

My girlfriend is in AA and she carries a lot of baggage. If I did decide not to be with her, it would be based on the fact that I am not sure I can have a successful future with her. I believe I am thinking about this too objectively when I think there is room for subjectivity. My friend who tells me to choose is thinking about it only from his point of view of weighing the pros and cons. I have always been one to follow my heart, but in this case there are a lot of societal influences telling me that is the exact wrong thing to do. Is there any advice you can give me?

Thank you,

Andrea

Hi Andrea,

Since your family don't appear to have an issue with your same-sex relationship, I am not sure why this friend of yours - who is not part of your family - is prompting you into some sort of choice. Perhaps he has his own agenda and isn't comfortable with shifts and new developments in his friend's love life. Friends don't ask friends to end relationships that make them happy. His behaviour is offensive and I can happily advise you to dismiss this nonsense.

The real choice you have to make is around whether to continue with your relationship with this woman based on practical and emotional factors. It's sensible to look at things objectively when looking at a relationship where one person is clearly bringing potential hurdles along with. That your partner is an alcoholic is not a small matter you can ignore. Not only is alcohol abuse more than worth pausing over, there are likely reasons she became that way in the first place; demons she may need to banish with professional help and long-term support.

These problems don't make someone a hopeless case and incapable of being a loving partner, but they present more than a small consideration. You have to think about your own well-being too. You likely don't want to be a nurse or a carer to your partner, and you'll be wanting to see evidence that she's addressing these problems and wants to change before you make further commitments of your own. Getting a proper feel for all this isn't easy when conducting a long-distance relationship. The relationship will stall, alcohol issues or not, if you are indefinitely separated. You need to develop some sort of plan to be together in the future if you're both going to commit to exploring what you have and making it work.

Weighing up your partner's problems against how happy she makes you are the only things you need to consider when thinking about the future of this relationship. Worries about how people in the street react or what society has told you is right are only obstructions that stop same-sex relationships flourishing and people being happy. And as for 'decision friend': you already know what I think of what he says.

From [Luan] Age [12] Gender [M]

Well, hi, I'm a 12 year gay guy who lives in Ireland. See, my problem is is that my mom thinks it's just a phase. What happened is that 3 weeks ago, I was listening to the radio and I said I could tell when someone was gay, and my mom then asked me if I was gay. I said "maybe" because my little brother was in the room. She said lot's of kids think they're gay. The next day she asked me again, and I said maybe again.

Today, the topic came up again, and I said that I was gay, and really confirmed it for the first time. She said it was a phase, and that I wasn't gay. I can't live with her like this, what do I do, what do I say?

Hi Luan,

Try to be patient with your mother. Parents don't get taught this stuff in school (and sadly same-sex relationships don't seem to get much of a mention in 2012's UK classrooms either). Your mum wasn't expecting to have a gay son and she doesn't understand it or, more importantly, understand that there's not a great deal to understand.

I'm not sure that a lot of kids do think they are gay, in your average mix at school. But it's really not the case that most under 16s are going through 'phases' and will all pop out as straight people when they've matured a bit. As I often find myself saying in my problem page replies, parents do love to use the P-word but experience suggests that, while it's not a myth, same-sex phases aren't nearly as common as people think and sexuality isn't as clear-cut as that. There's a difference between two young boys experimenting and exploring each other's bodies, as a way of learning about themselves, and actually being attracted to and wanting to be close to someone of your own sex.

I think that because you are very young your mum may understandably assume that you don't quite know who you are and what you want yet, as you're telling her things that have adult implications. It's true that your sexuality and personality will develop and form more fully as you get older and you'll learn more about yourself with time.

Be patient with your mum, and let the topic lie for a while if conversations about it at home frustrate. As you get older she'll be more likely to respect and accept your feelings on your sexuality.

From [Martin] Age [47] Gender [M]

Hi,

My son has recently told us that he is gay and he is 14 years old. I realise that this was a very big decision for him to make and that he may be struggling to get the right level of support, as it is all very new to him. Would you recommend any form of councelling for him at this stage? If so, then where would be the best place to go to help him understand better how he is feeling?

Regards
Martin

Hi Martin,

Thank you for writing to me.

I think it's important to recognise that being gay isn't a problem, as such, that requires counselling. I also note the use of the word 'decision' when you talk about your son's sexuality. Sexuality isn't a choice. These are two important points that often come up on the website, especially with those who are trying to understand and help a family member or friend who has recently come out.

You may find my advice for parents and friends useful.

The main difference bwteeen your son and a heterosexual young man isn't how he's feeling (i.e. experiencing new romantic and sexual feelings), but that feeling of being different and being gay in a 'straight world'. It can be very isolating, so a lot of young gay people are keen to make contact with other young gay people so they have people around them who understand. Unless your son is struggling with depression or other mental health issues, I would recommend a gay youth group instead of a counsellor.

Have a look at my links pages to see if there is one in your area, or give the London LGB Switchboard a call and see if they know of any, or other resouces he might take advantage of.

You son may also benefit from joining the forum at bgiok, to chat to other young gay and bisexual people.

Has your son confided in any friends? Coming out to friends can be a positive step and, again, give him opportunities to talk about his feelings and anything he's finding difficult. Obviously, this depends on what his friends are like in terms of maturity and their outlook on homosexuality.

I think your son may well find some answers to common questions on my website. I've tailor written it over the years to tackle the issues that seem to most concern people who visit.

Please remember that what your son is feeling isn't vastly different from what you felt at 14, but he's also facing the extra pressure of how other people will react to these new developments.

I hope this helps.

The Samaritans (UK and ROI) provide emotional support, 24 hours a day, by email and telephone for people in distress.

BGIOK receives no funding, so all costs are met by myself. Please click the donate button to help with the running costs of BGIOK. Thank you, Jason.