6 December 2010

I get more excited about women, but would prefer to have a boyfriend

About a year ago, I began to be attracted to gay men, in looks and stereotypical personalities, and watching them “do stuff” turns me on. I became sort of obsessed with the gay community and started watching logo, reading gay books, etc, and standing up for gay rights whenever it’s mentioned. I thought I was a little weird, but still considered myself straight, just something of a “fag-hag”. But, lately, I’ve found myself more attracted to women than guys. When I think of women, I tend to get more excited than I do with men, but I like the idea of a bf more than a gf. I feel like a total hypocrite saying this, but I’m terrified of the thought that I might be a lesbian. I’ve always hidden my “gay obsession” from my dad because I know how he’d react, but my mom knows and she asked me once if I was a lesbian and I gave her a definite “no”. I feel like I’d be betraying her if I decided I was. I’m very shy and have never had a boyfriend, crush, or male friend since I was 7. What do (…)

Kelley R

Hello Nicole,

First off, I would like to commend you on standing up for gay rights and supporting the gay community! I know it is not an easy thing to do to stand up to your peers and confront them about something important to you.

In your statement, you said that you feel that you are more attracted to women than men. At the same time, you are “terrified” at the thought that you are a lesbian. You have previously said to your mother that you are not a lesbian, and would feel like you were betraying her if you said that you were a lesbian.

At age 15, you're young and are just at the start of your journey in finding romantic partners. You may be relieved to know that many people do not discover their sexual preferences until a bit later on in life. There are several stories of people coming out when they are in their middle-age years, such as individuals who discover their sexuality after having children and being married for several decades. Therefore, do not feel like you have to identify and proclaim your sexuality right away.

Furthermore, don't feel like because you have already said you were straight you have to stick with that identity. Sexuality can be seen as fluid, dynamic and subject to change. Your sexual preferences can be based on your own personal experiences and feelings. Allow yourself to see and experience what you like and don't like in order for you to explore yourself and your sexuality better. Try getting to know both guys and girls; perhaps you may want to engage in a romantic relationship too! Let things naturally happen, don't try to force something to happen just to try and find your sexual identity.

You also mentioned that you have not had a boyfriend or crush and your last male friend was at the age of 7. I would encourage you to seek out acquaintanceships and friendships with guys. Perhaps there are guys you know in classes at school or extracurricular events you enjoy. If you work or do sports, you can also cultivate friendships through these avenues as well. Get to know them and assess how you feel about them. Would you like a romantic relationship with men? Look at your feelings towards them and then think of how you would like a romantic relationship to be either with a male or female. It's all about what you feel comfortable with and enjoy.

With the above points, I would still like to consider why you like the idea of a boyfriend more than a girlfriend? Is it because of society's pressure to be straight? For instance, the social norms placed on dating, love and marriage can be difficult to handle when your romantic or sexual preferences are either ignored or not given the same rights as heterosexual love. It may very well be that you feel that you would be more comfortable with a male partner than a female one. No one can provide a clear answer for you on this but yourself. Revisit your attitudes and feelings about having a girlfriend or boyfriend. Is there any thing that you feel you would benefit from in having a boyfriend (or girlfriend)? It is important to know and understand how you feel about this in order for you to feel comfortable with yourself.

Having a trusted friend, family member or teacher can be beneficial during this time for you. I would suggest seeking out others who may feel the same way as you do. Many high schools across the U.S. have Gay-Straight Alliances that you can attend and share your feelings and get support.

I wish you all the best in this time of exploration. If you have any further questions, you're welcome to come back to Alterheros and ask another question.

From the Alterheros team,