Dear Suzie, I am 20 years old and really struggling with my sexuality. For a few years, I knew I was attracted to guys, but still felt physically attracted to women sometimes. In fact, I despised the thought of actually being in a relationship with a guy, and more than anything, wanted a wife, some kids – what is generally referred to as a “normal life” – despite not being SEXUALLY attracted to women. I had never had any kind of encounters with guys before until a couple of weeks ago, when a really nice boy was clearly flirting with me and I flirted right back. We had a hot little dance together, which was made better by the fact that no one could even tell we were dancing together. To be honest, nothing much happened, other than a couple of semi-intimate moments between us, and it probably meant very little to him, but it seriously messed with my head because I had always thought I wouldn’t want a proper relationship with a guy, and now I can’t stop thinking about him and what happened. I went back to the same place the week after, hoping to see him and fully expecting – and wanting – something more to happen, but he didn’t appear.
I really have no clue what to do. Despite hating the idea of being gay before, this one encounter has changed me slightly. I’m still not fully there yet though. No one knows, or even suspects I’m gay – I have a lot of heterosexual male friends, who are quite homophobic, and it worries me what will happen if they find out. But I really want something to happen with this guy, despite not even knowing much about him, other than he’s a friend of a friend.
The thought of a gay relationship still does creep me out a bit, but now that I’ve had this one encounter, it has changed me a little, and I really don’t know what my next “move” should be. People are beginning to notice that there is something up with me, as I am constantly down in the dumps. I feel it’s only a matter of time before I blurt everything out, but I honestly don’t know if anyone will understand, especially due to the fact that I can’t stop thinking about someone I don’t even know.
Thanks for your help.
The biggest problem with anxiety about sexuality is that we often know so little, and what we think we know is false. We have this picture that other people are gay, not us or our friends. We think being gay means being outcast. We see being gay as weird an unusual or even unnatural. Well, it’s none of those.
Being gay is a lot more common than you think. You say you have a lot of heterosexual friends who are homophobic. Do you make anti-gay jokes with them, to seem part of the crowd? Or at least let the jokes pass? If so, how do you know you’re the only one in the group wondering about your sexuality?
I don’t think sexuality is an either/or thing. Some men and women are totally straight, never having any feelings for members of their sex. Some men and women are totally gay, never having sexual feelings for anyone of the opposite sex. And the rest are strung out on a line in between, tending maybe one way more than the other, or swinging between depending on the person, the circumstances or their time of life. In other words, the sort of emotions you’re describing are really very common indeed.
Please knock on the head the idea that being gay means not having a normal life or one without family of your own. Gay men adopt, gay men have their own children with straight or gay women and above all, gay men marry.
I can’t tell you whether you’re gay or not, or whether a gay fling would allow you to work out some of your worries or anxieties and sort out what you want to do for the future. I can certainly say if you are tempted to follow up on this flirtation, get and carry some condoms and damn will use them if you do have sex. Any kind of sex – gay or straight – should be an absolute no-no without protection and saying “Oh, I don’t mean to do it” doesn’t get you brownie points.
What I think would really help you would be the chance to talk it over with someone who could understand and be sympathetic and wouldn’t be shocked at all. I’d suggest calling The London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, who operate a nationwide service, on 020 7837 7324. For more information about them go to The London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard
They also have a site called Queery which has loads of support and advice on coming out and links to both sources of help and of social events. Once you have a chance to talk it over with someone other than your friends you will have a better idea of whether you’re just ‘bicurious’ or whether this is something you have to do to be true to yourself, and how to go about it. Good luck!