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Gay Life/I need help discovering who I am and I don't know what to do.

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Hi I'm 16 and when I was in primary 4-7 I used to get dry humped by this guy in my year every time we had sleep overs and we snogged and watched each other get changed but no proper intercourse. This, I fear, has severely affected the person I am today. I have never really had a relationship with a female and I never think of them sexually so I'm scared that I'm gay because of what the boy did to me (he offered to shag me and I didn't know what that meant at the time). Now I hate who I am - I want to be able to feel sexually attracted to females and I don't know if I can because I do find them attractive so is it possible that I have feelings for them hidden away? I have never really told anyone this, its a burden I've carried alone and I don't see that boy anymore. I just want to stop having to hate myself all the time and atleast discover who I am. How do I go about forgetting him and moving on? Also, the mates I hang around with at school (males) constantly cuddle each other do things that guys do playfully and they r suspicious of me because people have noticed that I don't allow them to hug me and I think its because I fear that one of them will do what that boy did to me again. A part of me wants to have sex with them and I know that they're straight and that can't happen. Also, any male I get close to I think will want to do sexual things which I know isn't right. There is this thing inside my head that CONSTANTLY makes me believe that every male wants sex with me, how do I turn this off before I make myself vulnerable and try to make a move on a guy and thus revealing who I am? So I don't know why I'm here really, I guess its because I don't know if I can go through this alone anymore... believe it has gotten to the point where I have considered suicide because of all this.

Answer
Hey there Adam

I want to first set your mind at ease, but telling you, that you don't get turned gay by any kind of stuff you do or did or was done to when you were young.  You're either gay or you're not.  What that boy did to you, was his overactive experimentation I would guess, and is actually part of normal growing up, although he shouldn't have done it with you, if you were not a willing participant.  Be that as it may, neither you or him are probably gay.  Straight boys do these things too, it is a way to discover your body and what its various parts do, including the genitals.

OK, so now that is said, let's rather tackle your challenges head on.  I think you have a few different ones, but since they all seem to feel that they belong together, you're trying to solve them together, and failing, as it feels you're not getting anywhere.  The trick here is to take them on, one by one, and succeeding!

First off, you say that you don't feel attracted to girls.  I think this is because you THINK you're supposed to be gay because of that boy, so now you have told yourself that you're not allowed to like girls.  It sounds weird, but it's entirely possible!  So here I am, a gay guy, telling you this: Adam, you cannot TURN gay and you cannot NOT know you are!  It's not a surprise that just jumps on you!  You will know if you are gay.  Gay means that you feel attracted to guys, that you want to be with them, hold them, learn to know them, kiss them, go out with them, feel happy with them, fall in love one day with them and who knows even marry!  If you don't feel this towards a guy, then you're not gay.

You state, that if you don't like girls, you must be gay.  I am telling you, that it is the reverse!  If you don't like boys, then you are not gay!  So, now you ask me: fine, so why don't I like girls then?  Well, that I think is another issue altogether.  I think it's more you not trusting your own confidence, that you feel you are inferior to be a boyfriend to any girl, that you are not 'tough' enough.  This is just because you have not given it a chance!  So here is what you do, you make some girl-type friends.  Get to know how they think and what they like in guys, and then you ask one of them out on a date one day.  You don't have to rush it, step 1 is to get some female friends in your life.  Ask yourself, what is the WORST that can happen?  You as her on a date and she says 'no'?  No real loss, you have other friends left! :-)

OK, so you feel you sometimes want to have sex with the boys in school.  That I can explain too!  You're 16!  Your hormones are all over the place at the moment and it sometimes make you think all sorts of things.  It's really normal for teenagers to sometimes think they want sex with anyone.  I am sure that given the chance you would have sex with a piece of bread!  Your hormones are just make you think crazy things.  In plain language, you're just plain horny!  I wouldn't attribute your feelings to wards them as any indication of your orientation.  In fact, it's probably why you're friends are all cuddling and hugging, it relieves that sexual tension when they touch each other.  Some boys even go so far as you masturbate together, it's all about relieving sexual tension and has nothing to do with love or gay or straight.

Adam, I have said a lot of things, but I think maybe you would want to rather take this even slower, so I am here, we can take it as slow as you want, OK?  Let's first find out if you are indeed gay or not, and go on from there, ok?  I think you're so panicked in your head that you just can't think straight at the moment.

So, you are not alone and you won't have to go through it alone.  We will make sense of this, OK?

So it's up to you now.  The cool thing is, you have taken the first step already, by emailing me.  The second step is up to you.  You can either try and see someone there in real life, a shrink that can take you through the steps, or if you want this to be more anonymous, I am ready to walk next to you, so we can discover what you stunning life has to offer!

Don't even consider suicide, it would be an incredible waste of a life, of an absolutely brilliant guy, who could make someone extremely happy one day, which I am sure you will!

Step 2 is up to you :-)

Adriaan

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Adriaan Pretorius

Expertise

Any questions on how to come out, handling people close to you, handling the pressures of being gay in society, going out, seeking a partner, etc. are welcome. I live in South Africa and may have a unique perspective on gay live, as gays do not live openly and have been scorned for a long time here. If you need to speak to someone, and no one wants to listen, I will try my best to be a friend when you have none.

Experience

I am a gay male who have lived the life as someone that had to hide it from everyone for a long time until coming out some years back. I know how it feels to be 'in' and 'out' and have had diverse experiences in relationships. I have had friends who hated gay life, gay bashers, friends who understood me.

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I have a postgraduate degree in Science. I have worked together with and currently work with homosexual and heterosexuals in my environment.

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