He Worries He's Gay
Q: Here's a funny question that has been bothering me for 10 years. When I was little, I liked girls a lot and disliked guys sometimes. But as I grew, I found that I got interested in guys' body shape. Although I don't LOVE guys, I'm curious about their bodies. I kind of lost feelings for girls. For example, when I see a sexy girl, I won't be turned on. Though I won't have any reaction when seeing a hot guy, I still like to see them sometimes, especially in the men's shower room. I'm 23 already and have never had a girlfriend or a boyfriend. But once I spent a night with an older guy, and then felt extremely guilty. Could it be that my sisters told me so much about them loving hot and sexy guys that I unconsciously became my sisters' "sister"?? But I'm straight acting. Am I considered a bisexual, gay, or still straight? I want to start loving girls, but for some reason I just don't have any sexual feelings for them. Please help me!!! (I don't want to be like the 40-year-old virgin in the movie.) -- Tiger
Dr. Susan: When society says it's weird for guys to be attracted to guys, most young men would be more relaxed about their identity if they reacted physically to women. But the fact is, you are more turned on by other men than by women, and you have felt this way a long time. You can't figure out what you are by looking at how you act (plenty of gays are "straight acting"). And you can't judge by the guilt you felt when you spent a night with an older guy. Guilt is the normal reaction when you do something you know your family wouldn't accept. Because such ambivalence can have an intensely negative affect on your sense of yourself, I highly recommend you talk to an understanding counselor. You needn't necessarily give up on girls yet. You may be expecting the sexual feelings to come before the loving feelings, and it doesn't always work that way. Date some girls you feel an affinity toward, and see if something doesn't develop after a while. If they might as well be your sister, even after several dates, and you still find your eyes and other parts reacting to the sight of guys' bodies, it's possible your orientation is indeed homosexual. That can be a scary thought, so do get some support. And beware of anyone who promises to "change" you from gay to straight. That hasn't been found to be effective and can only make you more miserable. Accept whatever you turn out to be, and go on from there. Learn what activities are safe, too. Good luck!
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.