Problem page archive entries:
March 2015

Name [Confused] Age [19] Gender [F]


I'm 19 and currently at Uni, since around the age of 13 I've identified as bisexual, and came out to my parents three years ago and they were okay with it. Over the past few months it's started to occur to me that I might actually be gay. I had boyfriends at school and these relationships did feel valid at the time, but I genuinely can't remember the last time I was attracted to a guy, and with the exception of a couple of male celebrities I never think of men in that way at all. I'm just a bit concerned that if I were to come out again I may regret it in a few years, that it may just have been a phase or related to a hormone change brought on by my pill. I really want to be sure, but I'm not the type of person to have one night stands and so don't want to do that as a way of figuring things out. I was just wondering if you have any ideas on how I can figure myself out? Any reply would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks :)


Hi Confused,

I think it’s unlikely that medication could shape sexuality but perhaps it can obscure it for some. It can certainly affect sexual function and sex drive, which wouldn’t help someone who’s trying to work out how excited they are about either gender. I think that medication that could make a person lean one way or the other would fly off the shelves and make someone very rich; lots of scared and uncertain people would take the ‘straight pill’! I don’t think hormonal changes can make you lean one way or the other either. Even those who change gender, and undergo extensive hormone treatment, do not suddenly start fancying their new opposite.

You’ve already come out as bisexual to your parents and they were okay with it. They’ve had years to get used to the idea that you may have same-sex relationships. Your being gay wouldn’t be the leap in expectations that it would have been if your folks had thought you were straight until now. Speaking more broadly about coming out, don’t worry about doing it until you feel more confident that you know what to come out as. Even if it takes years. Any definition that makes you feel trapped or restricted isn’t helpful and only limits what you think you are allowed to be. Not only are you concerned about your sexuality but you’ll also end up concerned that you've misled people by being too quick to stick a label on yourself. It’s also valid to decide not to define yourself for others’ convenience at all.

I’m glad that you are not the sort of person to use casual sex as a way to figure out whether you like guys or girls. That’s not a good reason to climb into bed with anyone. As I always say, two people should only get it on if they fancy each other. You don't need to sleep with anyone to know that you'd like to. It would be awful to find yourself in a sexual situation with a guy or girl when your heart isn’t in it.

Your sexuality isn’t a puzzle to solve. It’s not a binary thing that will click into place suddenly and absolutely, with all doubt erased. You like girls and your interest in guys is minimal. That’s plenty of information, perhaps all the information you need. If you like someone, ask them out. Go on some dates. Join an LGBT group. Sign up to online dating. You’re not being deceptive or manipulative by getting to know people while not completely certain about your sexuality. Being around other gay and bi people will help you to understand yourself better. Being around romantically available women will likely answer many questions.

In summary:

  1. Don’t come out yet
  2. Don’t worry about pigeon-holing yourself for the convenience of others
  3. You already have useful information about yourself
  4. Meet gay and bi people

Name [Gabriel] Age [24] Gender [MF]


I've been in a relationship for a year and a half and it ended abruptly three weeks ago exactly on valentines day. And the worst part is that he didn't give any explanation at all, we had a small fight that day and suddenly he was breaking up with me. He only said that he was tired of the relationship because of the constant fighting and he said he didn't wanted to talk anymore and didn't want to see me again. I guess we didn't get along anymore and couldn't stand each other any longer. Things had changed between us and also feelings changed, I wasn't feeling the same towards him as I did in the start of the relationship. But I kept trying to make things work because I really loved him. I still don't know how to deal with this. I’m angry and sad because it's unfair to me that he decided to end everything this way without even saying goodbye or thank you after all the things I did for him. Anyway, its hard for me to let go, a part of me hates him for how thing ended and other part of me misses him and the good time we had together.

Hope you can help me please.


Hi Gabriel,

You both felt differently about each other at the end than you did when the relationship started and your attempts to keep things going had failed. You gave things a go but it didn’t work out. Breaking up was the right thing for you both, painful as that is. It always hurts more when the other person did the breaking. What you’re feeling now is completely normal. Although the logical thing was to split it’s still a big loss and there will be a time of adjustment as you get used to life without him.

It sounds like you’re angry about how he handled the breakup itself. That’s fair enough though breakups are often messy, with things left unsaid or feelings neglected in the rush to exit. Would an apology from your ex make you feel better? I’m not so sure. I think you’d still feel hurt afterwards and would likely discover new information to torture yourself with. There’s nothing he could say that would make you feel completely happy and over it. Debating the details of the breakup with your ex will prevent you from moving on. If you need to talk about what happened talk to friends.

You’re angry over how he treated you and you’re also mourning a relationship that once brought you joy; completely natural responses to a painful time that you will get over. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you can go for a pint with your ex and slip into ‘friend mode’ right away. It may be best to cut ties for good but you’ll have a better sense of what you want to do when you no longer feel this raw about everything. Gay men seem to like collecting exes but I’m not sure this is always a positive or healthy thing. Have some distance because you can’t heal when the cause of your pain is sitting in front of you talking about the fun things he’s up to. Spend time with other people and take the opportunity to focus on yourself and the things you enjoy. Perhaps you’ve lost a little of yourself while you were focussed on keeping hold of this man. Now is the time to focus on who Gabriel is, what he needs, and what the future holds for him.

Name [Amy] Age [19] Gender [F]

Hi, I met a girl six months ago and we've become pretty close. The problem is i fancy her and recently our friendship has intensified thus, so has my feelings. I just need advice on if i should remain friends with this person because although we have never talked about each others sexuality i'm pretty sure she has no interest in me that way. Therefore, when we go clubbing and she gets with someone i naturally get a bit jealous and block her out for a bit, which is not fair for her. I also can't tell her how i feel because i am just not ready to come out as whatever i am.

In short, it's hurting me a lot and the friendship suffers as a result so i don't know if it is better to let her go and just be civil to save her more hurt in the long run if we got more closer?

Advise would be greatly appreciated.


Hi Amy,

By not allowing yourself to be honest with your friend about how you feel and/or about your sexuality you’re not giving yourself much room to manoeuvre. So you’re stuck in a pattern of mysteriously backing off and going cool when your feelings are hurt on nights out. Your friend must be puzzled about your behaviour. I completely understand your hurt, however. I’ve been there. Seeing someone you have romantic feelings for getting close to other people is painful. The only thing you have control over is how you behave when you feel that pain and, as I said, you’re not giving yourself many options because you don’t want to come out.

How about you stick to socialising with your friend in situations where she’s not going to be getting with guys? Do daytime stuff together, no alcohol involved. In the evening you could go for a meal together, the cinema or do something at your home. Stick to one-to-one or small groups. Of course, if she finds a regular boyfriend you may find things impossible unless there’s a way of thinking about the situation that helps you deal with it. For example, you could decide that it’s better to have her in your life than not at all; that it’s worth a bit of pain to have this great friendship. You’d hurt if you walked away, too, especially if she lives nearby and you’d still see her around.

However, if it’s too painful to see her at all then it may be best to back off a bit. It’s unfair, though, not to give your pal an explanation. She’ll be hurt to lose you and confused about your reasons, or lack thereof. Think hard before you do this because it may be hard to get the friendship back on track if you feel better in six months time and want to revive it. Friends can’t be turned off and on like that and she may find it hard to trust you again.

As a final note, if the friendship is as good as you say then why can’t you open up to her a little? You don’t have to tell her how you feel about her. There’s not a lot of point if she’s straight, unless you think it’d help in some way. But how about telling her you think you may be gay or bisexual? Wouldn’t it feel good to trust her and not to shoulder everything on your own? Isn't that what friends are for?

Name [Riyaad] Age [13] Gender [M]

I live in a Homophobic society and I know if I come out I will be in danger. I have come out to a very select few friends and they were cool with it

I just want to know what my best move is.


Hi Riyaad,

If you believe you are in real physical danger if your sexuality were to be generally known, then I think you have already done everything you safely can in balancing your desire to come out with the need to protect yourself. It’s wonderful that you have friends who you can trust and who have been fine with the news of your sexuality. I’m glad that you have people to talk to; it makes such a positive difference to be able to share your worries or even just let your hair down with a select few who won’t judge you.

If it’s not safe to tell anyone else at the moment, then don’t. It is better to wait until you are older and have your own money and place to live. That way if things go badly you do not have to worry about instability in the family home. You may also choose to come out via telephone or letter if you think you would be in danger if you delivered the news to certain people face-to-face. You may even decide that it's not vital to come out to everyone eg. relatives you don't often see. You may also decide to distance yourself from anyone who is especially homophobic. You don't need people like that in your life.

In order to write a balanced and fair reply, I ask you to consider the possibility that your anxiety about coming out might be affecting your judgement, leading you to catastrophic thinking ie. the world will end if I come out! But I don’t know about the environment and situation you’re in. You are the best judge.

I receive few emails that use the word ‘danger’. Protecting yourself has to take priority over your desire to come out.

Name [Amelia] Age [31] Gender [F]

Hi I am a 31 year old women who has been wit my partner male since I was 19 I slept with a girl when I was 18 but I was a virgin at the time so couldn't do much a year later I met a girl online and went and told my family I was a lesbian they refused to listen and insisted I was not gay so I just went along with it so I met my partner and had 2 children and tried to put it to the back of my mind but I have always known its starting to eat me up inside lying to every and I have recently started drinking heavily. I have noone to talk to but i don't want to hide who I am anymore please help


Hi Amelia,

I am so sorry that you felt you had no other choice but to hide your true self and behave in a way that kept your family happy but compromised you unacceptably. As you know, it’s not possibly to put your sexuality in a box and pretend it isn’t there and it must have been very hard trying. I’m sure you love your children and I hope you have a good bond with your husband but addressing your needs now, when you’ve sidestepped them for so long, is not a betrayal. In fact, you have been selfless and shaped your whole life around keeping other people happy and living up to their expectations. In contrast, your wider family have been remarkably selfish.

You are a young woman and there’s still plenty of time to take steps toward embracing who you really are and finding the love you need. It’s quite clear that you’re ready for this change and can’t carry on as you are. Obviously, you cannot continue to adhere to the expectations of a heterosexual marriage and it’s with your husband that the changes need to start. He won’t be delighted but you need to tell him how you feel in order to move forward. The alternative is to carry on as you are but that’s not fair on you or him. To give him another reason for a break up is something you might choose to do but it’s not very fair and he may well find out the truth one day. I won’t lie about the fact that none of this is going to be easy. Your husband may feel deceived and confused and may wonder if he knows you at all. He may feel guilty about ‘putting you through’ sex with him. He may look back and question the whole relationship. Or perhaps you’ve drifted over the years anyway and settled into more of a friendship. Regardless, always remember that you did what you thought was best, under the burden of great pressure from those you respected. You have gone to great lengths to keep others happy, tucking your own happiness and needs away. You never set out to hurt or manipulate anyone. You are not a bad person.

Telling the kids will come next. Your kids just need to know that you’re still the same Mum they know and that you love them, that their foundation is still solid. They don’t necessarily need to know everything yet - maybe wait until you meet someone - but they need to understand what is and isn’t changing at home. Unless the grandparents have been taking your kids to homophobia rallies, they’ll adjust to Mum eventually having a girlfriend. Then it’s time to tell your parents and whoever else had an issue with it all those years ago, if they’re even important (ask yourself who brings positivity and support into your life, and maybe think about cleaning out the Christmas card list). I doubt your folks will be any happier about the news today as they were before you married, but it’s not their life. You’ve already given them quite a chunk of it, playing the part they wanted you to play. Now it’s your time.

You’ll have practical things to think about too, like living arrangements and finances. It may all seem incredibly daunting right now but it’ll come together with time. Tackle it bit by bit. Do you have friends you can call on for support? As I already said, the alternative to facing these challenges and coming out the other end a happier person, is to carry on as you are; there is no inbetween. Drinking too much and going without the things you desire is no way to live. Be brave and start living for yourself, not daft and selfish relatives.

Name [George] Age [17] Gender [M]

Hello so i am a gay 17 year old guy in the closet and at first i thought i could be in the closet forever but it has started to feel terrible. I want to come out and i know my mother will support me but in Greece families are really close so i see my grandparents and uncles 2-3 times a week. So telling my mother means that eventually i will have to tell all of them and i don't feel ready for that. I don't know how they are going to feel about it especially the men of the family (and my father) since greeks are very traditional. What should i do? How can i handle it?


Hi George,

One option is to come out to your Mum, since you think she will be supportive, but leave the grandparents for another time - maybe even years later. Does the whole extended family need to know that you like guys? Is it a topic that comes up during your average visit together? I doubt it. Perhaps they ask you if you have met a girl you like but you can just say you haven’t! It's not a lie. Perhaps you could say that you’re shy about talking about your love life. This is another normal response and a polite way of moving the topic of conversation along. You might decide not to tell the wider family until you’ve met someone who is special to you. You might decide - if its likely to cause a lot of problems and your grandparents are very old - not to tell them at all. But as you say, culturally it’s different from the UK; while I didn’t tell my grandparents because I didn’t see them often and it wasn’t worth the hassle, you see yours regularly (which I think is wonderful) and they’re a big part of your life. Maybe your Mum will have an opinion on what to do, but don’t let your fear (and perhaps hers) stop you from doing what feels right. Sometimes it is worth a bit of strife to risk a stronger, closer and more honest relationship with family. As I always say, take your time. You’re in full control over who finds out and when.

Name [Auburn] Age [13] Gender [F]


I'd like to ask you for some advice, if that's okay.

I'm 13 years old and I'm not too sure about my sexuality. I found this website in the library at my school, and I think this would help me out a lot. I think I might be bisexual, but I don't know. I'm definitely sure that I am attracted to guys, but I'm not sure about girls. I got my first crush on a girl when I was twelve. She doesn't go to my school or anything, she's a famous viner called Mahogany *LOX*. My mum said she thought I was gay because of her but I always denied it not knowing that I could possibly not be straight. I started to change the way I thought about my sexuality when I got my second crush on a girl (she does go to my school). Today I found out that she has a girlfriend and I feel really jealous.
Ever since my second girl crush I have been seeing many girls that I like, band members, girls from my sister's theatre school, etc.

I think I might be bisexual, and if I am I'm too afraid to come out. Purely because my dad's side of my family are homophobic and I think I might have to move in with them. My mum however, I don't know if she is homophobic or not, she gives off both signals. Nobody apart from myself (and now you) knows about this, I'm too scared to tell anyone.

I really hope you could tell me if I really am bisexual or if this is just a teenage phase I'm going through.

Thank you,
Auburn ^.^


Hi Auburn,

Why worry about coming out when you’re not sure that you need to? You say you are definitely attracted to guys but not sure about girls. Would you come out as ‘might be bisexual’? That’s not what coming out is. You’re very young, too, so there’s no rush to stick a label on yourself. That doesn’t mean that I don’t take your feelings seriously. I hate it when people say things like “You’re only 13/14/15/16 - you don’t know anything!”, because it’s nonsense. Of course a young person knows how they feel and those feelings are valid and should be taken seriously. A lot of under 16s know full well that they are gay, bi or simply ‘different’. I also hate the way we still tell young people who question their sexuality that it’s ‘probably a phase’. It’s true that some young people do experiment with both sexes and it’s also true that same-sex experiences when young do not necessarily indicate homosexuality into adulthood. But the whole ‘phase’ thing is overstated, old fashioned, and more about comforting worried parents than helping young people.

Leave coming out until you feel more confident about what to come out as (most people don’t come out as straight, so you might not need to bother!). But what you might like to do is to speak to someone about the fact that you’re unsure about your sexualitry. I think your Mum is a good candidate, since she has already acknowledged the idea of you liking girls. Talking to her means you get to let off steam and explore the ideas without declaring yourself as bisexual to the world. Remember, you are the only person hassling yourself about this. Nobody else is asking you, at 13, to know everything about yourself and to have all the answers. You can’t rush things like this. As you go through life, and especially over the next 5 years or so, you’ll get a lot more insight into who you are and what you want. You don’t have to do anything special to figure out whether you are bisexual or not. Just get on with your life. Your body and feelings will tell you everything.

Name [Kate] Age [30] Gender [F]

Ok, where shall I start, I'm pretty sure my ex, who is very religious is trying to suppress his true sexuality. He's my ex and he can shove off, (I mean that in the nicest way) but we have a son together. My son is very young, but I see he may possibly be gay. I'm totally fine with that, but how can I help him to embrace his sexuality instead of trying to bottle it up and pretend he's straight like his dad does... I wish happiness for my children. I am not religious, my ex (when we were together) refused to let me hang out with anyone who was gay. It really shocked me and broke my heart. He said being gay was a sin and we couldn't hang around them. Ridiculous. My fear is he will instill that kind of bullshit in his child's mind. How can I help guide our child to happiness? Any ideas?

Thanks Kate


Hi Kate,

What a fantastic attitude you have as a mother and beyond. I could have done with you around 25 years ago! Yes, your ex's hang ups are his own. He's an adult and if he can't embrace his true self and enjoy life then that's his loss. He can, as you say, shove off. But, as you know, your son's happiness is something you do have a big influence on and play a big role in shaping. How he feels about himself, for good or bad, starts at home.

You don't have to even say the 'g' word to communicate to your son that it's okay to be whatever he turns out to be. Normalising same-sex relationships in the family home is easy, and is shaped by how you react to gay people on TV or the things you say about gay people you know or read about in the news. If your son sees that love is the only important thing - not gender - and that sexuality is not a big deal to you or in general, then he won't be taught to feel shame around feelings that come naturally to him.

Of course, you can't control what your ex says when he spends time with your son. I suspect, from what you've told me, that your ex probably doesn't talk about these sort of matters anyway, and probably actively avoids them (the way he may be avoiding his own sexuality). He may make disparaging remarks about gay people, and this is a worry, but you can always encourage your son to talk about the time he spends with his father and any worries he has. He'll know if he hears anything that feels bad or wrong to him and he'll want to talk to you about it. Try not to actively look for problems in things your ex says or ask your son to watch out for problems or report back. That's not fair. If your son is gay then he will likely one day want to tell his father too and I think that's when the real issues will appear. At that point your son will have to decide how he feels about his father's homophobic outlook and what that means for their relationship. Until then, I suspect it won't be too big an issue and likely not a topic that will come up. I've written more about how parents can support their gay child here.

Keep being fantastic!

Name [Teagyn] Age [18] Gender [F]


A few months ago, my parents found out through my school that I was in a romantic relationship with a girl in my grade. I go to a Christian private school in a small conservative town in Texas. a note was found between my girlfriend and I and it was given to my parents. my parents reacted HORRIBLY. my mom said that my family would abandon me and I would not be allowed to be in contact with my little sisters whom I have practically raised. my father said "we didn't raise you this way" and they are both really devout Christians. I tried to explain to them that I believed God loves me no matter what and they disagreed. in response to their reaction, and the fact that I could possibly be expelled from school, I told my parents that I was no longer in a relationship with her. I never told them that I wasn't gay, but I did say I realize it was wrong and fed them a bunch of other crap just so I could have some peace until I graduate which is in 3 months. when I graduate I plan on telling them again that I am still gay and in a relationship with my girlfriend. but I have no idea how to do this. I don't want to lose my relationship with my family, and since I told them we had broken up, I don't want them to feel betrayed. I have no idea what to say or how to explain my feelings for her. they have acted like it never happened so far and always suggest guys for me to date. but I always just say "no I'm not interested" hoping that they will realize the truth of my sexuality. I want to be with her so very much but I also want to maintain a relationship with my family. I don't know how to tell them that I have decided to maintain my relationship with my girlfriend. also, her parents are completely supportive..if that would have any affect on your answer. thank you. please give me advice I can't find anyone else to help.

thank you so much.


Hi Teagyn,

I want to assure you that you have done nothing wrong in all this. Your parents have placed you in an impossible situation where you’ve had no choice but to bend the truth, simply so you can function within the family home. You’ve been told that you will be abandoned and denied access to your sister if you are gay. Your sexuality is not something that you have control over, but your parents have full control over who they extend compassion and understanding to. I believe that if god exists, a being who created everything, then surely he does love you just the way you are. You’re not a bad person simply because you find females attractive. That’s not evil. There’s nothing evil about sex and being in love.

Given your circumstances, saying that you are not interested in dating guys is a good way of staying true to yourself while not angering your parents. You aren’t lying, as such. It may not be possible to say “I am gay, stop trying to find me guys”, but you’re doing the next best thing. Don’t feel guilty about not being able to be completely honest with your family. They have taken that option away from you and placed conditions on their love and your place in the home ie. you will be straight and you will date guys or you are not welcome. I’m sure they are not bad people and I imagine they think they are good, but their behaviour is wrong. You want to be honest with them and have open communication but they’ve made that impossible. Is it Christian to kick your kids out because they said things you don’t like? Is it Christian to prefer your kids hide things from you or are afraid to be honest? Is it Christian to want your kids to date people they aren’t attracted to? Is it Christian to only permit your kids lives to play out the way you had designed?

Now the positive! It’s fantastic that your girlfriend’s family is supportive. That means you have somewhere to go to spend time together where you won’t be judged. Also, you’re 18; It’s a lot easier at your age to have a bit more control over your life and not to have your every movement monitored. It’s also a time in your life where you’re thinking about your future: what job you might like, where you might live etc. You can take into account your problems with your family when making these decisions. For example, it might be better to think in terms of moving out sooner than perhaps you’d imagined before your parents made their feelings on your sexuality clear.

I would suggest you do not push the topic of your sexuality or relationship until you are living away from home and financially independent. This will protect you in case your folks follow through with this threat of abandoning you (they might just have been trying to scare you into conformity but it’s best to be cautious). It’s clearly very important to you to be honest with your family, but they’ve made it clear that they don’t want to hear anything that doesn’t suit their ideas about what your life should look like. So you need to come out - again - only once you’re all set up on your own. Your parents can then decide if they would rather accept who their daughter is (a good person who is gay) or follow through on their threats and miss out on shared joy and positive experiences with you.

Your sister can make up her own mind about having contact with you. You can call and email each other. Once she’s older she will be free to visit you when she likes. Is she old enough to understand the issues? If so, it’s a good idea to speak to her and explain the situation, especially since it seems likely your parents will impress homophobic viewpoints on her.

The price you may pay for being honest is losing your folks or, at least, the closeness you used to have. This is something outside of your control and completely unfair. But I don’t think you’re prepared to shack up with a guy just to keep your parents happy, nor should you be.

Name [John] Age [27] Gender [M]

Hey so I'm 27 i've always found men attractive but also sometimes women...sexually....I have this feeling inside even though i find men attractive i feel like i could never be with a man in a relationship NO OFFENCE TO ANYONE i'm totally cool with your choice it just doesn't feel right to me its hard to explain Ive not come out coz I dont know what to say writing this email tonight as today i was LABELED gay by 2 family members and told to come out....I can't explain it anymore attracted to men sexually but i could never be in a relationship with a man


Hi John,

There seems to be a bit of a blockage around your attitude toward men and their role in your life. You use the word ‘choice’ when talking about being in a relationship with a man. While it is always a choice to enter into a romantic relationship, it is not a choice for a gay man to be attracted to men and to desire physcial closeness and companionship with them.

You are attracted to guys but say that you could never be in a relationship with one. Why is that? Presumably you have thought about being intimate sexually with a guy and enjoyed that thought. Maybe you've already slept with a guy. Why can’t you imagine that attraction, that physical thing, turning into an emotional connection too? For most people the two things are bound together and cannot easily be separated. Some people choose to have casual encounters and deliberately avoid becoming emotionally involved, but this doesn’t sound like the case here. You’re not choosing to keep it casual. You’re saying you could never be in a relationship with a guy. That’s a massive statement and I worry you may become lonely unless you can change your outlook.

Perhaps it’s not a problem if you are bisexual and can find a woman who you fancy and love and feel fulfilled with. Nothing wrong with that. But if you prefer guys and your sexual interests are focussed on them, then you have to work on the way you look at them and the role you can and can’t imagine for them.

Don’t force it, don’t focus on it. Just get on with your life, getting to know guys, going on dates etc. Don’t create obstacles. Simply get to know people. Don’t put your feelings under a microscope, but allow them to flourish naturally. If you get on with a guy and you fancy him let nature take its course. Go on dates, have a laugh, see the whole wonderful person and not just the body. You have nothing to lose and much to gain.

As I said, if you’re bisexual and blokes aren’t much of an interest, then perhaps none of this is an issue. Perhaps you’re not all that interested in guys and see them as an occasional fancy - fine! But if that’s not true and men are your preference then you have to work on breaking this wall down. It will enrich your life.

Name [Dusky] Age [19] Gender [F]

Hi Jason,

sorry this is likely to be a little convoluted.

I have an issue that's becoming more and more aggravating: I am unsure of my sexuality, but I can't work out how to explore it without hurting other people. As far as I can tell I'm bisexual. I have never come out, but then I've never really been closeted either. Thankfully I grew up in a very safe, supportive environment, and knew a fair amount of lgbt people as a teenager. However, despite having a few crushes on girls and guys I've never had any relationships. Compared to my friends I think I've fancied relatively few people, and was never really attracted to celebrities etc. in fact for a long while the idea of sex or any level of physical intimacy made me feel incredibly uncomfortable. This has decreased with time but still the most I had ever done before uni was kiss a girl, briefly, whilst very drunk. This is where the issue has arisen.

My second kiss was in the first weeks of uni with a girl on a night out, and I felt nothing. Even though it was only casual, it sort of freaked me out because it led me to reassess all my previous crushes. I now know this girl a lot better and I really, really like her. I think I fancy her, and I want to ask her out, but I'm terrified that if we reach any level of intimacy I'm going to discover that I don't enjoy/want to be with her physically. I dont know if I would have the same reaction with a guy or not. But Im scared to try either way. Just having a casual relationship/purely sexual relationship doesn't appeal to me, as I so rarely find people attractive just for their looks/bodies. However I equally feel like I can't have a relationship because I don't want to bond with someone in that way only to realise I've led them on. This girl I've met is wonderful, I love talking to her, and get nervous every time I see her but I know that's not really enough. I feel like I need to explore my sexuality before trying to have a relationship, but I know I can't. It's cruel to treat other people as 'experiments' but short of remaining celibate I don't know how to figure this one out. I dont want to risk her feelings. I feel this is even more complicated by my age, most people I know discovered their sexual preferences throughout their early adolescence before starting to develop mature relationships. No one my age wants to be dealing with the mess of attraction that I experience, which is more akin to the sexual confusion of 14 year old than someone in their 20s. I don't want to hurt other people in the process of discovering my preferences, but I equally don't want to be intimate with anyone outside a relationship.

How on earth do you responsibly explore sexuality as an adult, without risking emotionally harming your partners?


Hi Dusky,

My usual advice to anyone, regardless of whether they've had 20 relationships or never had so much as a snog, is never to climb into bed with anyone unless you really fancy that person; unless they turn you on. If in doubt, don't. I don't think it's fair to yourself or the other person if you get into an intimate situation when you can't answer this question: do I even fancy him/her? When I say 'doubt', it's perfectly fine not to know whether the person in front of you is everything you ever wanted and it's okay not to know them inside and out. However, if the doubt is fundamentally about whether you fancy that person then it's best to keep your clothes on.

It is absolutely okay not to have a clue what you want, or simply not to want anything but friendship and a cuddle. It is okay not to be thinking about sex 24 hours a day, or even not at all. I know it seems like everyone is obsessed with it, but everyone is different in their sex drive (or lack thereof). I'm a 'think about it every 7 seconds' guy, but I have friends who barely even mention sex. There are people at work who I'm convinced have never so much as realised they have genitals! We think everyone else is at it all the time because those with higher sex drives and greater sexual confidence are more visible. Those who place sex at a lower priority naturally behave less overtly sexual and fade into the less sexed-up background. It's a perfectly fine place to be if it suits you.

You have to try not to compare yourself to other people or have a timescale in mind for when you should have done thing A or thing B. It's not a useful way to think about things. You are unique and so is your experience. I went with a guy for the first time when I was 19. I didn't fancy him. It was crappy. But I thought, "I'm 19, better get a move on!". I wish I'd waited until I was with someone who had me passing out with passion! Better to wait, as long as it takes, than to lie next to someone afterwards wishing you hadn't bothered. Perhaps you just don't want to bother at all. That's fine too.

Spend time with people you are drawn to and don't sit there analysing your feelings and responses or waiting to feel turned on. Just be in the moment, enjoying people. You're not making promises or deceiving anyone by getting to know them and letting nature take its course. If someone moves in for a kiss and it feels good, go with the flow. You don't have to know you want to marry that person to have a cuddle on the sofa and see what develops over days, weeks or months. Just be honest with that person and then they can decide if they're happy to be patient or jump ship. It's all you can do. To look at your situation differently: if you're not craving sex then you're not missing anything by not having it! You don't sound like a lonely person who's fed up with not being in bed with someone. You're more inclined to fret because you're not experiencing the responses to people that you think you should have. Give yourself a break. You get to make the rules about what you do and don't do and at what speed things move at.

Name [T] Age [16] Gender [M]

I've known that I'm bisexual for about seven months, and came out to a few people at the time. Now I've reached a point where I want to start telling people, so I've told a couple more, and I feel comfortable telling my friends a batch at a time.

The problem arises when I find myself wanting to tell my parents. I think the scariest thing for me is not knowing how they'll react. They're Christians (like me, which is another kettle of fish), and whilst I don't think they'd throw me out of the house for it, I'm worried they'd brush it off as a phase, or worse, make me go to some conversion therapy or something.

I think the thing that's holding me back is the knowledge that they'll stick around even if no one else does. So I don't want to tell them in they don't accept it, and I lose my last port of call...

I really need some help - it's the last thing I need to get over before I come out fully, and it's really getting me down.


Hi T,

I think coming out to parents is the toughest step for most people, but I also think it’s something that most would consider essential. Keeping your sexuality to yourself means deceiving to your folks indefinitely. It may be easy to brush off the occasional "Do you have a girlfriend?" now, but it gets trickier as you get older. Eventually that may mean hiding your partner away - or asking him to lie too - and making up stories to explain the ‘friend’ who you live with. It puts a strain on romantic relationships and means you can’t fully relax and be yourself whenever you communicate with family members. Some people live this way but I wouldn’t recommend it.

I’d be surprised if you could find anyone in the UK offering ‘conversion therapy’. It’s immoral, doesn’t work, messes people up, and has absolutely no scientific basis. Here in the UK homosexuality was declassified as a mental illness in 1973. So don’t worry about being sent off to convo camp or given shock therapy this weekend!

There’s nothing unusual about worrying about losing the supportive foundation that the family offers but you cannot come out without risk. So you either do it and risk a degree of rejection or you go for option A (see paragraph one).

My advice from here is the same as I’d give to anyone and I think you’d find my coming out section useful. Broadly though, think about how your folks have behaved in the past when you’ve needed them, or how they’ve handled something you did that they didn’t necessarily agree with. That might give you some clues about how they might behave when you come out. Also consider that there’s no rush on this unless you’ve got a man and the wedding is already booked. Remember that their initial reaction might not represent how they’ll be in a few weeks time (or six months) when it’s sunk in and perhaps they realise it’s not such a big deal. Speculating isn’t always useful because you can conjure up all sorts of scary outcomes but think logically, based on things you know about your parents, and make an informed decision.

Whether your parents throw a coming out party or sweep the news under the carpet doesn’t change the fact that telling them the truth is an important step that lifts a burden from you and encourages honest and open communication going forward. I think telling this truth is worth a bit of strife. You’ve done nothing wrong, after all. Coming out is a positive thing that gives others the opportunity to reciprocate with equal positivity (or to let themselves down by being awful). How someone else reacts to something good that you do is outside of your control and is not your responsibility. It's part of life that not everyone will be pleased with all the things you do. You can't let that paralyse you.

Name [Pierce] Age [14] Gender [M]

Hello I am a gay Guy who is afraid to tell my family I'm gay because I already don't have friends and my dad hates gays, and my siblings wont like me if I'm gay. I'm homeschooled now because I told my mom I need to be taught at a slower pace but really I fell in love with my friend and I thought it was wrong so I left, but I need your help on what to do, I've been so depressed lateley all I wanna do is cry. Please help me, thanks for reading.


Hi Pierce,

I think being stuck at home all the time probably isn’t the best thing for you. You say that you don’t have any friends but being at home means you won’t be able to meet people of your age very easily. I understand that you have conflicting feelings around your sexuality but falling in love is not a bad thing and is not something that you did wrong. Those feelings are a natural part of life. I’m sure most people have fallen for someone they can’t be with but have to face every day. I certainly have. I think you overreacted by running away because you feel bad about your attraction to this guy but you are as gay at home as you were in school and the problem hasn't gone away.

If you are sure that your Dad and siblings would react badly and life at home would become unbearable, then put your coming out on hold. Nobody is asking you to declare your sexuality and it is not impossible to enjoy life without everyone at the dinner table knowing you like guys. It’s not all that relevant a lot of time. It’s true that I’d recommend everyone be as honest as possible and that ultimately coming out to everyone is the ideal but sometimes it’s not safe to do so. Sometimes it’s wise to wait until you’re a little older and more independent before coming out. That doesn’t mean you can’t make friends at school and enjoy family life at home. If someone asks about girlfriends just say you’re too young to worry about all that or say you haven’t met anyone that’s interested you ‘in that way’ yet.

What about you Mum? How do you think she would be if you came out? Perhaps you could consider talking to her. Not only would it be good to have someone to talk to about all this, your Mum might have some valuable insights into how other family members may react.

Take your time with the coming out and don’t be so hard on yourself. Choosing not to come out right now does not make you a deceptive or bad person. If the people around you are hostile toward homosexuals, that means they are giving you no choice but to keep that aspect of your life hidden. For now. Please give some serious thought to going back to school. I think it would be good for you.

Name [Trevor] Age [23] Gender [M]

My name is Trevor. This is the weirdest thing that I have done, but I really need some advice. I am 23 years old, and I live in Denver. I have known my friend Sarah for 4 years. We talk about everyday. She just moved to Seattle. Since I have known her guys are always making sexual advances towards her, and she doesn't like that and it hurts her. Here is the deal:She is just a lost soul. She lives around no good friends and keeps going to bars by herself, and the guys are buying her drinks to get her drunk so they can sleep with her. There is no way that she can be oblivious to that. She admitted getting physical with a guy twice that she doesn't like. I was pretty upset with her, but I never told her that. I will be talking on the phone with her tomorrow. How does this sound?
I think so highly of you. You are a true friend. While living here in Colorado you have told me that you don't like when guys make sexual advances towards you. You moved away, and I am so proud of you for following your dreams. I am glad that you can be open with you, and you can be open with me. I'm trying to understand your logic and feelings. I am just trying to understand why you are letting this guy get physical with you when you don't like it at all.


Hi Trevor,

Since it’s been a few weeks since you emailed (apologies, I’ve been unwell) I won’t comment on your proposed text to Sarah. You may well have already sent it (good!) and it’s certainly a good thing that she knows how much you care about her wellbeing.

Sarah’s behaviour seems self-destructive to me. It isn't healthy or rational and could be a form of self-harm. She may not be enjoying the physical act itself but she’s getting something out of these sexual encounters. Maybe she’s punishing herself in some way. Perhaps she is lonely and enjoys the attention. Maybe she has confidence issues and being desired by men makes her feel attractive and valued. Whatever is going on, it’s no good. Giving herself to men she doesn’t like must chip away at her self worth; sharing her body is a big deal that should be saved only for those she truly desires, in an environment where she feels comfortable and safe. Alcohol only makes it harder for her to make the right decisions about men, her body, and her safety. Sarah has full control over how much she drinks and who she goes home with. She may need to remind herself of this.

It seems likely that Sarah would benefit from talking to someone about all this. She needs to step back from the situation and reassess her behaviour. She needs to ask herself some tough questions: Why do I sleep with guys I don’t like? Why don’t I respect my body? Why don’t I think I deserve a man I am attracted to? Why do I allow men to get me drunk? Perhaps she’ll talk to you but I also think professional guidance might be worthwhile. If Sarah was just a wild young lady who likes her drink too much and has bad taste in men I may have said differently but I think there’s more going on here. She’s got a good friend who’s looking out for her. That’s a good start.

Name [Robert] Age [16] Gender [M]

Dear Jason,

My name is Robert and I'm a junior at a completely new school. You could say that I've started high school with a new slate. I'm a closet gay, but what seems to be since I've transferred I've had strong feelings for a senior, Jake. Jake is proudly out as gay, and everyone in school and his family knows. For these past few months Jake has given me a lot of attention and I suspect he has a crush for me too. What do I do? Should I stay as his friend and hope that one day he asks me out, be the one that asks him out, or stay safe and take this clean slate gratefully? He is a senior, so the relationship won't last when he heads to college, and he deserves to be with the guy he wants to share his senior year with. Plus, I'm a closeted gay! I read Conrad's post (thank you Conrad!) and I agree that coming out and dating kind of go hand-in-hand. Also, Jake should be able to proudly walk through the halls with this bf, not in secret. I don't know if I could do that yet.



Hi Robert,

You’ve come up with a good few reasons not to pursue Jake. They’re all very practical and sensible concerns that I can't discount. Let’s say you came out to everyone and asked Jake out and he said yes… he’s still going to head off to college quite soon, which would be very painful for both of you. Making a relationship work long-distance is tough even for the most committed couple and you’re both young men who will meet many potential partners and temptations. On the other hand, some would say not to worry about tomorrow and think of the happiness you could share today. I couldn’t disagree with that angle either.

If you were to ask Jake out and he said yes then that would challenge your current status as closeted. You’d be asking him to keep a secret and behave in a way that is contrary to his openness. It’s not very fair, though he might be prepared to put up with it while you find your courage, if he likes you enough.

Asking Jake out would mark the beginning of your coming out, even if he's the only one who knows. Coming out to a gay person is surely the easiest way to test the water, though. Even if you just stayed friend I think it would be wonderful for you to have someone to talk to about your fears of coming out. Someone who understands and can offer advice. Someone you can be yourself with.

Ultimately, I don’t think any of your options are bad or the wrong move. Staying in the closet for a bit longer until you feel ready is fine. Passing up on an opportunity for romance because of compelling practical reasons is fine. Saying “To hell with it!” and asking him out anyway is fine. Coming out to Jake only and developing the friendship is… actually a very good idea and will likely inform all your other decisions. Do that!

Name [Ryan] Age [18] Gender [M]

I'm having a hard time work out my sexuality. On November last year I came out to my mum as gay but on a night out to bowling with some straight guy friends there was a girl working there and all my friends were teasing me about her saying I liked her and I went along with the joke. When I went home I told my mum I did but I'm not sure if I really did like her or I just wanted to tell her what she wants to here. I'll be honest, my head is everywhere and I could explain in one email. Any reply will be loved, thanks


Hi Ryan,

It must have taken a lot of courage to come out to your Mum. You must have given it a lot of thought before deciding to do it. You must have felt strongly that you preferred men or you wouldn’t have said anything to your Mum. In other words I think it’s unlikely, having felt so strongly about your homosexuality, that seeing a nice looking girl at the bowling hall could suddenly reveal a latent bisexuality (or even heterosexuality). It’s certainly not impossible that a part of you likes girls, though, but then why did you take the step to come out as gay? Was the bowling girl the first and only girl who made you question your homosexuality? It’s unusual to imagine that happening suddenly, right after you've come out as gay. Perhaps you’re worried that, having made a big statement about who you are, you’re somehow committed to a path and have ruled out other possibilities. Perhaps, although you believe you are gay, declaring it has made it suddenly real and not just a concept in your head. Telling people that you are gay also alters the way they perceive you and that’s not something that can easily be undone. Scary stuff, though all of these are completely normal concerns that other gay people experience. You’ve made this big gesture and now you’re panicking because you can’t take it back. But should you want to take it back? Not if you fancy guys, no!

About the girl at the bowling hall. You know what it feels like to fancy someone, to be attracted to someone physically, to be excited by thoughts of closeness and sex with that person. You feel that way about guys, strongly enough that you came out to your Mum. Did you feel something like that toward the bowling girl? Do you feel that way about any girls? Answering this question will tell you everything you need to know about yourself and where you stand with your sexuality. Your feelings will become more concrete as you get older but the foundations are already there and likely clearer than you might have thought. And let’s say you did discover that you find some women attractive (they 'turn you on', as opposed to just thinking they look nice), and you decide to tell people that you are bisexual instead - so what? Labels aren’t always helpful anyway, especially if you’re giving yourself one that you’re not convinced is a good fit. Stop worrying about defining your sexuality for other people.