Sunday, January 05, 2014

Email from a reader who's not sure about his sexuality

Just before the New Year, a reader sent me the following email:

Dear GB

Just came across your blog and thought you might be of help? :)

I'm 27 and British Indian (if such a thing exists LOL). Born and raised in London. Anyways, since I can remember I've been attracted to boys, not till I was in late High School that I started thinking I'm gay! Still today I've not told a single person nor has anyone guessed. There have been moments where I thought I could be bi or even straight?! Have never met anyone (guy or girl) who I felt was the one ;( ! I even used a few dating sites and met up with a couple girls but nothing. No spark between us.

Currently I feed my feeling with good old porn and hand jobs ;) (daily). But can't help ogling guys in public, at work, on TV and weirdly some cousins! But some part of me thinks having the perfect girlfriend would make me feel just as good? Expect sexually? I think? I do use Grindr but again no one who sticks ;(. In case I haven't been clear I'm a virgin, sad I know LOL.

Anyways I feel I'm getting older and will never find someone (guy or girl). You may be thinking I should "come out" but as you may know it's tough and not willing to break my close family over.

Any advice would be great. Thanks.

I certainly don't think that this reader should "come out" because his sexuality is very unclear. I also wouldn't say that it's "sad" that the reader is still a virgin. I think it would be sad if he forced himself into intimate situations with another guy if he doesn't feel comfortable with that, in the same way that it would be sad if he forced himself to marry a woman as a result of social pressure to be straight.

It's interesting that the reader says that he's attracted to other guys, whereas he doesn't say that he's also attracted to girls. There's nothing wrong with that of course, because some guys aren't attracted to girls and fancy guys instead :-). It's also interesting that he says that he's met up with a couple of girls, whereas he hasn't said that he's met up with any guys. So it seems that he's forcing himself to try and be straight, because he says he fancies guys but he tries meeting up with girls.

My guess is that the reader has some mental barrier which is preventing him from exploring whether he really does want a relationship with another guy. To help him break down the barrier, I think the next step is to actually meet a guy face to face. To find guys to meet he could use Grindr or any other gay dating apps or web sites. Just because the reader meets up with a guy from Grindr, it doesn't necessarily mean that he's gay. Initially I'd suggest that he just finds guys to chat to and takes it from there. It's true that Grindr is oriented towards helping guys hook-up for sex, but as long as the reader is clear about what he's looking for then it should be OK. Perhaps his profile should say something like "bi-curious, looking to meet for a chat" or something like that.

One good thing is that this reader lives in London, because in general London is a very tolerant city so it's a good place to experiment with one's sexuality :-). It may well turn out that this reader is like the married guy with some gay characteristics and that marrying a woman will suit him best. However, until he explores his attraction to men a bit more, then he's not going to know what's right for him.

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this reader's email?

Update 6-Jan-2014: The day after I posted this reader's first email, he saw my response and sent me another email which was as follows:

I read your response and greatly thank you for it! You've really shed some light on my 'situation'. Some good advice and perspective on where I am. Thank you.

To expand/add some points...
  1. Regarding girls, it's right I'm not physically attracted to them but now think it's more mental / yin yang attraction? Like all gay stereotypes, girl parts put me off lol. Even if they are super hot I'd look and appreciate it but can never get sexually aroused? It's been like this since I can remember?
  2. Having a intimate situation with another guy doesn't feel right because I feel it needs to be someone I know or can trust. Plus I don't like lying to family and this would be the ultimate sin? But I do agree that marrying a woman for me is partly social pressure. Maybe what I need is a bi girl? Lol.
  3. I do use Grindr and have tried other apps/sites with little luck :(. I can't seem to find a guy who really wants to get to know me / understand me etc. Saying that, I have chatted to one guy for sometime now and had some cam wanks lol ;). He seems cool, but again there's no commitment? He never responds or does after weeks?! Never wants to go deeper than sexual. Anyways I am still looking, but like you said, it's mainly for guys looking for quick sex ;(. I'm hoping I'll see someone I know from school/college/Uni which would be great!
Thanks again.

His 1st and 2nd points suggest to me that he does need to explore his attraction to other guys. If he can't get sexually aroused with girls then I think it would be a mistake to try and have a relationship with a girl because it wouldn't be fair on her, even if she is bi. Also, thinking about a bi girl is avoiding the issue, namely that the reader is attracted to men!

I don't think being intimate with another guy would mean that he's lying to his family. I think trying to pretend that he's happy in a relationship with a girl is far more like lying, because that would be visible. If he's intimate with another guy, then if he's careful, no one in his family will find out. Also, for a single guy like the reader, I don't see understand why intimacy with anyone is a sin.

I've said it many times before but when dating, which includes using apps/sites to find a date in the first place, confidence is the the most important attribute. I can't help thinking that he's finding it hard to find what he wants because he's not confident enough. Perhaps in addition to using the apps he should visit some gay bars in e.g. Old Compton Street, even if he doesn't talk to anyone. The purpose of doing that would be to gain a bit of confidence that there's nothing wrong with gay people. Although a lot of guys on Grindr are just there for the sex, there's no doubt in my mind that there are other guys there who're looking for the same thing as this reader.

Anyway, other people's thoughts are still welcome :-).


Harry Go Lucky said...

First post of the new year and it's pretty interesting! Here's my take. I would tell this guy not to worry so much about (i) not knowing "what" he is (i.e. gay or straight), and (ii) he's still a virgin at 27.

Human sexuality is a very fluid concept. Some people are 100% straight, some people are 100% gay some are completely asexual and there are the rest who occupy the whole spectrum in between. In general, we've been conditioned from a very young age to adhere strictly to a rather rigid sexual identity. Boys are supposed to like blue and girls should always choose pink. These are expectations imposed on us, not necessarily something that's natural. Even at this day and age, some pseudo liberals still have problem accepting bisexuality; accusing bisexuals of sitting on the fence and failing to acknowledge their homosexuality. That's absolutely preposterous.

In this situation, the guy obviously needs to start exploring his sexuality. Take it slow. I agree it would be nice if he starts meeting up with guys to see where it leads, sexually or not. However, I discourage the use of mobile apps for this purpose. Most of these apps are filled with seasoned "predators" and they're not really the best people to hang out with when you're still questioning yourself. You're like a minnow in a tank full of sharks. Hence, look elsewhere. Why not join an LGBT-friendly sports / book club, or attend some support groups for people who are questioning themselves? A simple Google search should reveal some options, especially in a big city like London.

You're more likely to meet like-minded people through social groups than mobile apps. It's certainly less dodgy to deal with real people as opposed to stranger's profile on your mobile devices. In addition, you might find some comfort in knowing that no one's going to judge you and expect you to conform in a social support group. Everyone has his or her own issues to deal with.

Given enough time, you might eventually realise and be secured enough to accept your sexuality. Let 2014 be the year you discover yourself! All the best!

Kenski said...

Yep. Break it down into bitesize chunks.

If he's being aroused by gay porn then the chances are he's at least somewhat homosexual.

Step 1: have sex with another man. Don't have high expectations. It may or may not go wonderfully. BUT it'll give you better info about how you really feel about it.

After you've got Step 1 out the way, worry about the rest.

Unknown said...

My situation was like his but went on much longer. Finally at the age of 34(!), that mental barrier disappeared and I embraced the fact that I'm gay. It was the most wonderful, liberating moment of my life. The best is still ahead for this guy.

Anonymous said...

I think I am a lucky one who always know I am gay since I was young. I would say don't put pressure on yourself. Some people do change - from gay to bi to straight or other way around and you shouldn't be defined as your sexuality. Follow your heart and follow your feeling, and you don't need explanation for love and attraction.

And it's not a bad thing to be a virgin when you are 27. I was! And didn't regret it. It's best to have sex with someone you fancy rather than do it for the sake of sex. Stephen Fry has never had anal sex but yet he is still who he is.
Good luck!!!

Sebastian said...

GB, do you believe in bisexuality? I always thought it's like a lie. Some guys who are married or committed to women keep messing around with other guys in private and that bothers me! They live a double life and claim to be bi but in fact, they are actually closeted gay men who decided to be with a woman due to social pressure or religious reasons. Am I right?

GB said...

@Sebastian, I do believe in bi-sexuality. Although saying that "I believe …" makes it sound like my religion LOL!

Some of the guys you describe who're married and mess around with men on the side may well be gay. However, I've met guys who'll be serially monogamous, switching between men and women each time their relationship ends. It's like, they can't get all they need from a monogamous relationship with either gender. In my mind, without a doubt that behaviour is bisexuality!

GB xxx

Sebastian said...

GB, How do you define a guy who is with a woman, long term girlfriend but keep several "play mates" (Guys) for play (Sex) in discreet?

Is he bi or gay?

GB said...

I think the key question in that situation, Sebastian, is whether he still enjoys sex with long term girlfriend! If you know the answer to that the question, then the answer to the bi/gay question is obvious :-).

GB xxx

Toby said...

Thanks to GB, the reader and the commentators for (as always!) a very interesting discussion. It's very useful to get your perspectives. I recognise that I need to 'explore' my sexuality on the gay side but have yet to try in a serious way. I really want to, though, as right now I'm not sure whether a gay or straight relationship would suit me best and, as a result, lack the confidence to pursue any relationship. Tx

Anonymous said...

I have a similar situation to the reader. However I know I am gay, know that when I come out my family will have mixed reactions or just be disappointed. At the same time my mum has told me of stories of marriages that break up because one of them lie. So it was always clear to me that I would never marry a women (& now as I write this -does my mother already instinctively know! Is that why she told me the stories?)

At this point I am 28, moved out my parents home and moved to London to ideally meet up with guys on dates and to potentially have my first bf who could potentially be the man I marry.

I use grindr - but find that guys are looking for sex. Fortunately at this point I haven't gone further then kissing and touching. As mentioned above I am still quite new to everything and for me I would need to make small progressive steps in tune with my ability to cope with the changes that would happen.

It is challenging especially when your family around you don't know you and as an individual you can't rely on their emotional support in such a challenging time of my life.

Therefore my approach is to dip my toes into the water and test it slowly. I think it I go any faster I'd probably have a nervous breakdown!