Sunday, March 18, 2007

An email from a young reader who's not sure if he's gay

A few days ago, I got an e-mail from a young reader asking for some advice. Underneath my e-mail address in the right hand column here, it says "Requests for advice welcome, but please be prepared for anonymous publication in the Dear GB category", but none the less I still usually check with the sender to make sure they're happy for me to publish their e-mail. However when I replied to this reader's e-mail it came back "mailbox unavailable", so I unfortunately I haven't been able to check in this case. Furthermore, without any other means of communication with this guy, the only way to respond to him is to do a 'Dear GB' posting so that is what I've decided to do. The e-mail was as follows:

Dear GB,

hullo. im expecting you get a lot of emails from people so i dont have high expectations of a reply :). hmm this is kinda weird me writing to you but i like to think im a good judge of character and from what ive read on your blog you are a really awesome person.

i have a problem and im just going to write simply: im not sure if im gay.

im 18 (and your probably going to think im some immature idiot), but already working (i dont really enjoy studying!!) and im pretty good at what i do :D.

for about 2-3 years at high school (i went to a boys only school) i was sorta completely obsessed with a guy there (was one of my best friends). like, very strong feelings about what id like to do (i never said anything) and im sure you can imagine hehe.

i actually have a psychiatrist but since i dont even know if im gay i dont really want to talk to him about it because i dont even see him as my psychiatrist anymore but just as an adult who always makes me feel better (i dont see him very often only when im feeling a bit sad, maybe like once every few months).

so i was hoping you would be able to let me know like how you knew you were gay or something along those lines, any advice would be fine.

im quite attracted to girls, im a bit uncomfortable around them sometimes, but with guys i dont know why i liked that one guy so much but (sorry i cant even express what im trying to say here). im not sure if i like guys or liked him cause he was a substitute for a girl

anyway i really like gay people. i can see myself being really happy being gay. i kinda wish i knew girls who were as nice and friendly as gay people.

im very confused (and yeah probably an idiot)

btw great blog and i wish you lived here so i could meet you


So how DID I know I was gay? It's a good question. I've often heard gay guys say that they 'always knew deep down', but couldn't admit it to themselves. That was certainly true in my case.

Whenever I used to think about who I wanted to share my life with, and share intimate moments with, I always used to think about my close male friends. I never felt attracted to women in that way. Actually I've never really had any close female friends, like some gay guys have. I'm the sort of gay guy who feels most comfortable in the social company of other men, gay or straight, rather than women. I'll happily chat to women in the office, or at parties, but I never seem to make any close female friends.

In terms of the situation of this reader, if it was just the one guy that he was attracted to as a teenager, my guess is that he's not gay. He also says that he's quite attracted to girls, so perhaps he's metrosexual or something similar, but not gay. I never found find women sexually attractive. I've often heard people talk about teenagers of both genders 'going through a phase' where they find their friends of the same gender attractive. It wasn't a phase for me, but it could well have been a phase for this reader.

The one caveat is that sometimes, in these situations, it can be hard to be honest to oneself. I'm sure that I told myself when I was 18 that I was attracted to girls, because I didn't want to be be gay. Sometimes, honesty with yourself can be the hardest thing of all. So if his old school friend really is the only guy that he's found attractive, and if he really is attracted to girls, surely he's a straight guy who just went through a phase.

If you're reading this and you're the reader who sent me this e-mail, I hope you find these comments useful. Please let me know. It was strange that your web-based e-mail address didn't seem to be available when I tried to reply to you. And I hope you don't mind me posting your e-mail here.

Do any readers have any other thoughts on this subject?


muse-ic said...

I'd just say to the guy to go ahead and experiment; don't worry about attaching a label to your sexuality.

You are who you are.

close encounters said...

totally agree with muse-ic ...

this may have been the only guy he ever fancies, or it may be the first of many ... he needs to just live life and see what it brings ... no need to get hooked up on whatever pigeon holes society likes to assign people to ...

Anonymous said...

mmm... a whole lot of us seem to agree that he shud just xperiment and not worry too much abt labels. esp since he's only 18 - and he's living in a a pretty chilled out place like london - and not a third world nation like urs truly. :)
as for how we 'know' we're gay - my xperience was similar to urs, GB: i was fantasising abt gay sex long before i'd actually done it, so my first time went ez as clockwork. lol.

Tales of the City said...

Yes Agreed - why label things gay, straight or bi.. go with what feels right and comfortable... And besides it is nobody else's business bar yours and the person you are in bed with.

Wyndham said...

I agree with your comments and these as well and would just add the following.

If he does experiment he should know that one, or even a few "experiences" with another man, does not mean he is Gay nor will it make him Gay.

Just go out and find out, with one caveat. Find someone you like and trust, as your first time should be good and the best way (for me) to achieve is to go with someone who will treat you well.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Well, I've ever known I'm gay. Even because male bodies have always made me crazy!lol!
Anyway, I have some gay friends who have this kind of question. I mean, they know they are gay, but they can't admit it to themselves. Understand?
I rarely have this kind of question with readers of my blog. But I can see that often in other blogs.
Well, see you!

Will said...

Once I'd come out to myself--the first and most crucial step, I feel--I could remember events and feelings I had as early as age five or even four and see the through line from the earliest manifestations to fully functional gay man.

My husband told me once that he knew I was gay--and strongly gay-- from the moment he first saw me. It had nothing to do with how I dressed, moved or spoke as I was naked and lying on a massage table at the time. But that was years after I accepted being gay. What did it was my final admission to myself that I was consumed by interest in and desire for MEN. Also, I realized that, like the young man who wrote to you and like yourself, I was happiest and most productive when immersed in groups of men, preferably gay or mostly gay but straight was fine just so long as they were guys.

I'd fooled around in college with a boy but when I had my first fully adult, complete sexual experience with another man it was like watching the sky clear rapidly after a storm. Everything made sense, all the pieces fit together and I never looked back.

Anonymous said...

For me, one of the killer points was who I was looking at when walking along a street, and it was always the guys. I was married for a while, and I remember being on a beach on my honeymoon checking out the guys, and thinking how I'd got it wrong. Tough to be honest with yourself, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I think gaydad has a point.
Even if a person denies for himself that he's gay, he can't switch off his subconciousness...
Try to remember who you dream about at night, or phantazise about wen you masturbate...That will tell you alot about yourselve.