Problem page archive entries:
October - November 2013
Name [Nikki] Age  Gender [F]
I really don't know who to turn to but I came across your website over a year ago now! I found out my son is gay. No issue to me because he is my son and that will never change nor will how I see him! Reece is very precious to me, I was 16 when I had him, I am 34 now and he is nearly 18. The problem is he is very emotional and today discovered he is self harming! So gutted for him and so so so upset. I want to take his pain and have it myself!
He has been messed around by boys and bi-sexual lads. I'm an adolescent psychologist and self harm is what I specialise in, but when it's your own it's very hard to have that emotional detachment! Please help as I just want to give him the right guidance and support here!
Your son is fortunate to have an accepting and caring Mum. I don’t think there’s anything I could tell you about self-harm that you don’t already know, but perhaps I can give you some general food for thought.
It’s a shame your son has been messed around by guys. Being given the run around in love isn’t unique to gay people and there are nice guys out there who would appreciate your son. But I know it hits twice as hard when you’re a sensitive person, especially if he’s a deep thinker who struggles to let things go and to move on. As a sensitive person myself I used to think it was a curse to feel so deeply, but a good friend changed my perspective when he suggested that being sensitive was a gift and not a curse. Being sensitive means you pick up on things others miss and that you can empathise deeply with others. Emotional pain might be more acute and it means being generally more aware - perhaps too aware at times - of the behaviour of others, but that also means special insights and the ability to understand the pain of others.
Being a gay man can be lonely at times and it is harder to meet potential partners than it is for heterosexual people. It’s simple maths: there are less gay men than there are straight women. But your son is still very young and will no doubt meet lots of good people as his world expands into further education or work.
But right now I think your son needs to steer clear of relationships and focus on himself and feeling better about his situation. Self-harm means he’s struggling with his emotions, so getting involved romantically with someone who might mess him around is the last thing he needs. Looking to a man to make him feel better is a mistake. He needs to feel happier before letting someone in. He will get over the pain caused by the guys he’s been involved with and I hope he soon discovers that there are decent people out there who will treat him well. When a decent candidate comes along, your son should take it slow and be sure the guy is worth it before giving too much of himself.
Name [Totally Confused] Age  Gender [F]
I am having some (I expect fairly cliche) problems. I came out earlier this year (to some people anyway) and everything with that is fine really. My problem comes in the form of a straight girl - she's on my course at Uni and I've had a sort of baby crush growing for a few months. Which I know is stupid and I have no aspiration towards anything happening but I was at her party a few days ago and whilst drunk she asked me to sleep with her- I said no obviously and laughed it off (like I said- she was drunk) but then I slept on her floor and in the morning she was still talking about how she would sleep with me if she swung that way. I thought I was okay with it and just found it funny- but now I just feel so- ugh- I don't know- obsessed with her. Even with the crush I had never felt awkward with her before- I've even helped her hook up with a couple of guys before and now I just feel totally weird. I don't know what to do to stop myself feeling like this and how to make sure I don't start acting weird around her.
It sounds as though this friend may genuinely be interested in experimenting sexually with you. What you do with that information depends on whether you want to sleep with her or not. On paper, her suggestion may sound like a dream come true since you have a crush on her, but I know it’s more complicated than that. For a start, if she’s ‘curious’, would you want to be her experiment, knowing it may not lead to anything more? Could you cope if things between you were awkward afterwards? How would you feel if she got a boyfriend after you’d shared that intimate experience with her? Would the friendship be better with those ‘extras’ or would you rather keep it as it is now? Is the fun worth any fallout you may experience? On the other hand, maybe she’s bisexual and you might end up with a girlfriend via letting her get closer. It’s a gamble but maybe you’ll gain more than you imagined if you tell her how you feel about her.
It’s amazing that despite your crush you’ve helped your friend hook up with guys. You’re obviously a good and selfless person. But in this case you really should put your feelings first before considering a physical encounter with your friend. Would you regret not having that experience, even if it’s a one-off? Or is it better to keep a boundary in place and ensure that the friendship doesn’t alter? I have asked more questions than I’ve answered, but hopefully by answering them yourself you’ll be in a better position to do the right thing for you.
Name [Amy] Age  Gender [F]
I am finding that I have a sexual attraction towards both guys and girls and I was wondering if it was normal for this to occur.
My friends have said it is a normal thing to go through a stage like this although I have noticed I've had this for over a year now.
I was wondering if you would be able to provide me with some advise or direct me as to where I can get some?
It would be much appreciated.
Yes, it is normal for some people to be sexually attracted to both guys and girls, though not necessarily equally. I’ve written a page about bisexuality here.
People often talk about young people going through sexuality stages or phases. It was a much bigger concept when I was in school (20 years ago - ouch!) and popular with adults who were keen to have straight children. It’s a shame this cliché is still the first thing a lot of people roll out when confronted with young gay or bisexual people. I liked guys from the start and that’s never changed, but at 14 years old I was advised that it was probably a phase and I shouldn’t ‘act on it’, else I regret the same-sex hand-holding when I wake up straight the next day. As an adult I realised that we never tell children who express heterosexual leanings to wait it out in case they decide they are gay later on. We applaud boys and girls, of any age, in play acting scenes from adult marriage, but tell kids with same-sex crushes to put a lid on it because it’s bound to go away once the hormones settle down. In other words, sadly some adults still view same-sex behaviour in young people as a sign that something is wrong or, at least inconvenient. Since the UK has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Europe, perhaps we shouldn’t be so keen to ‘celebrate’ heterosexuality before the 16th birthday either!
You are a 16 year old girl who has experienced same-sex desire for a year. Your feelings are real and valid. They should be taken serious and treated with respect. What you do with those feelings is up to you.
You might find that you always like guys and girls, or you may find that you greatly prefer one over the other as you get older. Some people report that their sexuality isn’t totally rigid throughout life, but people certainly don’t wake up with a different orientation from one day to the next. As long as you’re comfortable with who you are - and who you want - then there’s no problem here.
Name [Sophie] Age  Gender [F]
First can I just say that what you are doing is really great and I wish more people could be like you.
Ok, I know that I like girls because it just makes sense with who I am. I like this girl and she is bi and I want to get to know her but I don't know how. I don't want to talk to her over the internet, I want to get to know the real her how do I arrange to see her alone when I hardly speak to her???
Thanks again, Sophie
Thank you very much for the lovely compliment in your message.
It’s can be hard to break the ice with someone you don’t know. Even very confident people may have to work at gathering their courage to approach someone they like. We're all scared of rejection and embarrassment, but we don't get anywhere without risking it sometimes.
Hard as it is to make that first move, it’s the only way to begin to develop a friendship. Still, we have tools like social media sites to make things easier these days. Maybe she’s in a group online that you’re also in, or could get yourself added to. Maybe you can say hello online and develop an initial conversation there first. That might make talking face-to-face easier, since you’ll already know a bit about her and her personality. You could use the internet to arrange an in-person meeting, which takes the pressure off of trying to ask her in front of people.
If the internet isn’t an option or you simply don’t want to use it, then you’ll have to take a deep breath, be brave, and approach her in person. As she seems to be open about her sexuality it follows that she likely won’t be freaked out by being chatted to by you or even asked out. There’s every reason she’ll be flattered. There are some more ideas on breaking the ice here. Good luck!
Name [Aimee] Age  Gender [F]
Firstly, you're awesome for running this site. You've helped a lot of people. Secondly, my problem is that a lot of people I know/am meeting at college keep using gay as a descriptive word, or an insult. I told one guy how much I hate it and we got into a debate about homophobic/racist/sexist jokes and I thought he'd stop; at least around me but he just keeps laughing about it. A lot of little things like that annoy me and none of my friends (even my bisexual/gay friends) have ever understood it, in fact they laugh at me for taking offence, is it just me overreacting/being oversensitive? Im starting to worry that it is.
I don’t think you’re overreacting. Using ‘gay’ as a pejorative or negative term to define or dismiss something is offensive. If we imagine people started saying ‘That’s so black’ to define anything they thought was crappy or stupid, you can imagine how quickly schools would stamp it out. A gay person putting up with this sort of language can feel bullied, and rightly so, even if they haven’t yet told anyone about their sexuality. Language like this creates barrier between people and communicates that gay people are seen as lesser and deserving of derision.
Here’s what Stonewall say:
'Homophobic language and bullying are motivated by prejudices against lesbian, gay or bisexual people. Stonewall’s research, The School Report 2012, shows that more than half (55 per cent) of gay young people experience homophobic bullying and almost all (99 per cent) hear the phrases ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘you’re so gay’ in school.'
The reason a lot of people around you don’t seem bothered is because this causal use of the g-word has become so common now that I doubt many people give much thought to what it means or the impact it might have on others. It’s a form of ‘casual homophobia’, where it is offensive and wrong but most people do it and it doesn’t tend to come under scrutiny. You say that your gay and bisexual friends laugh it off too, so even they have forgotten that to some ears this language can hurt. There have been times when I’ve got home after work or a social event and thought back to earlier conversations and realised that some quite offensive things were said, but I didn’t notice because this sort of low-level or casual homophobia often passes through my filter undetected i.e. a straight friend being teased by another straight friend about their sexuality because they did something recently that others perceive as not manly.
It’s hard if you’re the only person who seems to recognise that it’s not right but I think it’s important to challenge these small, daily snippets of ‘acceptable homophobia’. Homophobic bullying in school is still a huge problem, whether that’s being beaten up or hearing someone use ‘gay’ pejoratively in the corridor. It’ll only change if people stop thinking it’s acceptable, in however small a way, to degrade gay people. If you were feeling brave, you could raise this issue in a general way to a teacher i.e. not report anyone, but just say you’ve noticed that it’s a widespread problem and that awareness should be raised. I’d certainly urge you to keep pointing out to friends that it’s not right. Besides, it's a rather immature and lazy use of language and sidesteps the need to think more intelligently and creatively about suitable words to get points across.
Name [STR84GAYConfused] Age  Gender [F]
Could anyone advise me please on my situation?
I'm a straight woman, totally straight although all of my friends are bi or gay. I have one or two female friends but I'm definitely a mans woman, especially a gay man.
I don't feel comfortable with women, lesbians included, sexuality is irrelevant.
I'm told that I'm very feminine in the sense that I dress like a girly girl/lady, heels and hair extensions etc but that I have masculine energy in the sense that like a man I don't give a crap regarding how others perceive me, as long as I hurt no one I do as I please.
At the start of the year I was in a gay club and I spotted a guy who captivated me. There was just something about him. I pointed him out to my best friend who, pretty shocked, introduced me as they are cousins!
We soon became friendly and are now inseparable!
The guy who I'll call Paul is the biggest diva on the scene! He's as camp as Christmas! However he's also tall and masculine and protective. He is my everything. And I am his.
This is where it gets complicated, we've started to play sexually. We've been kissing in clubs for months and platonically bed sharing but now it's more.
It started at a guys house, a guy who uses a lot of mind games and control over Paul and who he was besotted with. We were all pretty drunk and ended up all playing together and later that night brought another guy round.
This has happened several times now only each time it's become more focussed between Paul and I.
I love touching him, him touching me and I love our cuddles and spooning. I also love watching him with other men! I've really gotten into male gay porn and find heterosexual porn etc a turn off. I am not involved with anyone else nor do I want to be but when I think of sex with a straight man it turns me off. What the Hell is going on with me?? My female best friend thinks I want to be a man, a gay man who dresses as a woman. That'd be pointless to me and incorrect. I love being a woman! I just love my gay man.
Paul often says he wishes he was straight as we'd be the perfect couple and he's said he feels confused. We've not had 'the chat' sober, I know I'm scared too. Our mutual friends say he looks at me how I look at him but I can't help but fear it's a one way street and that he just loves me as a friend but likes to play sometimes.
One of our mutual gay acquaintances friends thinks that it's biology. I am attracted to him as he is a male and I'm straight and my friendship feelings have gotten confused. He thinks that I'm secreting testosterone higher than oestrogen and that's attracting Paul to me.
My best friend thinks that Paul is gay but has fallen for me.
The friend that we play with has said there is clear attraction between Paul and I and the friend has also said that he himself enjoys being sexual with me. He said he's only ever had slight foreplay with a woman at 15 and he felt repulsed but with me he keeps wanting it.
Can anyone help me? I am so confused. Thankyou x
It don't think you are transgender since you say you like being a women, so put that worry out of your head. You clearly have very strong feelings toward Paul and respond to him as a straight woman whose attracted to a man would. I think you’re quite besotted and this is putting you off the idea of being with any other chap. Perhaps only gay men do it for you, which I suppose isn’t impossible but just very unfortunate for you! It’s certainly not odd for a straight woman to enjoy watching male gay porn, just as it’s not unusual for straight men to enjoy watching women together. Do you think there might be other reasons you tend to focus on gay men though? Could it be that part of the attractions is their unavailablility, which makes for exciting and unpredictable drunken nights? What if Paul woke up straight tomorrow and wanted to get into a committed relationship with you. No more group playing and maybe an end to drunken club nights. Wedding plans, mortgages and dishwashers. Would that be what you want or would that be somehow disappointing and dull?
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with these experiences you’re having. As long as nobody is getting hurt or messed around, there’s nothing wrong with having a great time with Paul and seeing what adventures you find yourselves in together. After all, you say that you are confused - not lonely, depressed or sick of it all. You’re a young woman who is drawn to gay men and you get something out of the experiences you have together. Problems only arise if you find yourself wanting more.
Even if Paul has a small tendency to be attracted to the odd woman after a few drinks, that is not nearly enough of a basis for anything more than a friendship. And this is a problem you’ll have with most gay men. It takes a lot of bottle to come out as gay and guys who do it usually mean it i.e. they simply don’t fancy women or, if they do, it’s such a miniscule part of who they are that they feel ‘gay’ is an accurate label.
To summarise: as long as you’re happy, there’s no reason not to carry on as you are. It sounds like you’re all having fun and it’s not getting too heavy. There’s nothing wrong with you, and I don’t think you’re hormones are an issue either! But if you want a boyfriend you’re going to have to cast the net a bit wider and find a guy who not only has the qualities you like in gay friends but also has the capacity to desire you in all the ways you deserve. I'm sure there are straight and bi guys out there who would fit the bill. I've certainly met guys who I was sure were gay - and desperately wanted them to be - but they were straight.
You may get tired of being the drunken play of a guy(s) who may never be able to truly fancy and love you. And perhaps if he could flick the straight switch and dance off to Ikea with you, that might be less fun than you think.