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Teenage Problems/My son's obsessed with One Direction and his father worries over this.

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Our 16-year-old son has recently become obsessed, and I mean obsessed with One Direction, in particular Harry Styles - he's even been caught masturbating over him by me - and was very much embarrassed [this was a celeb pics website by the way with pics of him in].
Despite this, he has a girlfriend - and he admitted to me he wanted her to look like Harry or Niall yet be feminine... and he's told us he isn't gay or bisexual, in his words "Don't sweat it dude... chill, man".

He spends a large amount of money saved up from his Domino's Pizza job on clothing - just to look like them. He even insists One Direction are the new John, Paul, George and Ringo!

His dad [my husband] is concerned, he says his girlfriend would be annoyed - not least the fact that he's been playing their single Live Whilst We're Young at full blast 5 TIMES A DAY!!!

We live in Bedfordshire, close to London.

I know some of this is typical teenage behaviour - the loud music, copying his idols, but lusting over them?
(or one of them anyway).

Incidentally, he said he isn't interested in men sexually except for Harry or Niall from One Direction, and that's it, but otherwise he's not into men, only women.

Is he confused over his sexuality? - not that it matters to me, I will still love him even if he's gay - but is it odd that he's obsessed with One Direction to this level, surely it's not normal for teenage boys this age?

I'm not annoyed with him - including about using the PC to look at celeb pics, I spoke to him, and said don't look for X-rated sites (as it were the website was very tame, just a showbiz gallery).

What should we do? My husband is a bit worried about this and I want to resolve this quickly; he's an otherwise good lad.

Answer
Hi there Gill,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me and I hope that I can help.

It is normal for teenagers to go through a phase where they are attracted to members of the same sex throughout their puberty and early adolescence. Girls develop 'girl crushes' on other girls and guys can develop similar crushes on guys. This is usually something that is bought about by curiosity and confusion than a sexual desire and is usually triggered by the hormones of the person going haywire. As hormones bounce up and down during puberty, they can cause mood swings, social withdrawal, erratic behaviour and because the teenager does not really understand what is happening, they tend to become confused about how they feel about things and who they are. It is like having an identity crisis but without really understanding the trigger. A part of this hormonal imbalance is the prevalence of sexuality and sexual urges that means that masturbating and sex becomes the dominant force in everyday life as it is novel and something that they had not really paid attention to before. Your son may have been able to masturbate for quite a while and plodded along with a girlfriend because this has just fell in to place. But now, as he begins to talk to more people, see more things on the Internet and experience new things, he has knocked his certainty about who he is and what 'turns him on'.

One Direction are everywhere and it is difficult to open a newspaper, watch TV or look on the Internet without seeing them and Harry Styles is always photographed with a different girl on his arm or his shirt off. There is this whole culture developing around them and girls and boys alike are being caught up in it. This has triggered lads to want to look like them and emulate their sexuality because this is what they think girls want. Although guys may not admit it, they are a bunch of decent looking lads and maybe this is what is causing confusion in your son. He is mistaking a sense of admiration and envy for these guys and their lifestyles with a belief that he finds them sexually attractive. His masturbating over them could be more associated with him wanting to experience their lifestyle (for example, watching Harry have sex with girls, because for him, it is easy) and not necessarily something that pre-determines that he will be gay. It could also link in to your son having a low self-image or self esteem.

Whatever the cause of this behaviour, I do not think that it is something that should cause too much concern as I think it may be something that he will naturally grow out of. If it is caused by his hormones or sexual curiosity, then again, it should naturally dissipate. All you and your husband can do is to continue to do what you are already and that is having an open and honest dialogue with him. You have already spoken to him about it and got reassurance that it is 'all good' which means that he does not see it as a problem or it does not concern him and as long as that is mirrored by the fact that he is an otherwise good lad, then just reassure him that he can come and talk to you or his dad and that you only want the best for him. It might be a good idea to also let him know that you will be checking the Internet history to clear it (if needs be, use the excuse that it is slowing the computer down if it is not deleted) and this is your way of letting him know that you are actively monitoring his PC usage.

If the issue starts to become more a focus then it is time to gently tackle him head on and offering the reassurance that you will love him regardless of what his sexuality is.

I hope that helps.  

Teenage Problems

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Daryl Taylor, BSc (Hons) Psychology, PGDip (pending certification)

Expertise

My expertise covers everything and anything to do with growing up, being a teenager or a young adult or being the parent of one of the pre-described. I can cover issues on identity, sexuality, love, relationships, families, drug/alcohol abuse and anything and everything in between.

Experience

I have volunteered for AllExperts.com for over ten years now, but even before that I was trying to use my experience to help others by working with Advice4teens.co.uk, Teenadviceonline.org and even Lycos and Ask Jeeves. My experience comes from being a teenager primarily but this lead me to work with young people from the age of 13. I have worked front line, face to face and over the telephone, e-mail and webchat for a government department called Connexions UK (aimed at young people aged 13-19); as well as being student counselor in New York, a Peer Mentor, a student teacher and working for my school, college and University to help raise the aspirations of young people. My life has not been easy and I have been through my fair share of issues; so there is little that I haven't been through in reality opposed to just reading it from a book or from my academic studies. I have been featured as a case study as achieving through adversity for a number of magazines and I have featured in a couple of books on both sides of the Atlantic; even though I am UK based.

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The Albert Kennedy Trust

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Relationships: Cathy Senker, 2012, Raintree The Dean and Chapter Positive Nation GTEN Television Aim Higher

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BSc(Hons) Psychology Post Graduate Diploma in Multidisciplinary Design Innovation Basic Counselling Skills Effective Listening Skills Mental Health First Aid

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Outstanding Student achievement Adult learner's Award

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Allexperts.com Advice4teensuk.org Teenadviceonline.org lycos.co.uk askjeeves.com Connexions Direct

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