August 4, 2011

Q&A: I Feel Guilty About My Same-Sex Attractions

The way people live their lives and the way they feel doesn’t always line up into mutually exclusive boxes.

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Question: A friend and I got drunk and had oral sex. This was my first gay experience and I have never been so aroused. Afterward I felt guilty. When I masturbate now I need to fantasize about shemales or sucking penis to get aroused. I might try to experiment with another same-sex partner but if I’m not gay, would this be dangerous to my guilt?

I Like What I Like

Although people have different ways of conceptualizing sexual orientation, it’s often considered to reflect a general pattern of romantic and sexual attraction based on one’s own gender and the gender of those one is interested in.

As an example, a man who is generally romantically and/or sexually attracted to men but not women is often considered gay. A man who is generally romantically and/or sexually attracted to women is often considered straight (heterosexual).

This seems nice and neat but life is not always nice and neat; it’s often quite messy (and I mean that in a good way). The way people live their lives and the way they feel doesn’t always line up into mutually exclusive boxes.

Sometimes women, for example, can only imagine themselves partnering with, or being romantically involved with, men and yet they feel sexually attracted to some women. Does that make them lesbian? Straight? Bisexual?

Or what about a man like you who remembers early attraction to girls, a significant amount of sexual experience with women, one sexual encounter with a man, but a significant number of fantasies about shemales and being sexual with other men?

I can’t tell you what this “makes” you or what you should do about it. But if you are not into women, why do you continue to have sex with them? Are you having sex with women who are into you but who you’re not into? Has there been any women you can think of in the past few years who you have felt sexually interested in or attracted to?

Feeling Bad About Feeling Good

As for sexually exploring with men, is it only fear of guilt that keeps you from acting on your interest? If so, how come?

You might consider connecting with a gay or bisexual related organization in your town or with Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays for resources related to sexual orientation.

You may indeed find that you would like to date or be sexual with men and only men. Or you may find that it’s really only the fantasy or the taboo aspect of having sex with men that interests you and that you only want to be with women, albeit with a woman that you are genuinely interested in. Or you may be into women and men, or all kinds of people (including she’males*, a term some use to describe women with male genitals but that is more commonly used in porn and sex work and would be considered offensive when applied to transwomen).

More Information

I’d also recommend checking out the new book from Dan Savage and Terry Miller’s It Gets Better Project, called It Gets Better as it details many people’s stories about their early struggles coming to terms with their sexual orientation, coming out and/or being accepted by family and friends. It also goes well beyond the struggles to chronicle the wonderful lives that so many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals have created for themselves.

You deserve to have a pleasurable and satisfying sexual and romantic life, but it may take some courage and self-exploration to pinpoint exactly the kind of life you’d like to have.

Next Question: Did Masturbation Change The Shape Of My Genitals?

I’ve masturbated since I was a kid, but now my inner vaginal lips are longer than my outer lips, and they’re also out of shape. Is this because I’ve masturbated so much?

Read Dr. Debby Herbenick’s response.

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