It’s impossible for me to embrace “gay” as a label as this point, seeing that it doesn’t reflect how my attraction is so confusing…

Are my feelings normal? What should I do? I don’t know if I can stand these feelings.
I’m struggling a lot with my sexual orientation in recent years. Till 2 years ago, I found myself attracted to boys in my class, constantly trying to catch a glimpse of their butts or bulge. I also enjoyed gay porn, and loved looking at pictures of men in underwear. However, over the year, I began to look at straight porn, often in form of animations. My sexual feelings also changes, as I find myself aroused from watching straight porn. In fact, I suddenly find myself less attracted to guys, even though romantically, I still can’t imagine myself with a girl. Swimsuit models often give me semi-erection or outright hard on, while gay porn becomes dissatisfying. Though I usually have gay sexual fantasy, I sometimes imagine being a hot girl having sex with hot guys at school. Nowadays, I develop this deep worry that my gay feeling were fake, and nothing but a phase, which deeply troubles me since I feel so much more comfortable being gay or at least bi. I began to pay attention to how I conduct myself to see if I was “too straight” or “too gay”, trying to match my internal feelings. Contact with guys doesn’t seem to turn me on like it used to, even if I find them attractive. When I’m at my worst, I sometimes focusing excessively on gay guys and gay porn, trying to masturbate to them to confirm my emotions. Yet, I often ended up watching straight porn, and becoming more aroused by them. After each straight masturbation session, I feel bad for enjoying them – a feeling I never had with gay porn. Even when I tried quitting porn for an extensive period (usually a week or more), I find myself in the same situation. At this point, I don’t even know what to do anymore: I tried accepting my feelings, but my hetero side just doesn’t feel right. At the same time, it’s impossible for me to embrace “gay” as a label as this point, seeing that it doesn’t reflect how my attraction is so confusing.
Hi Hyperion!
Thank you for trusting AlterHeros with your question.

First things first, yes, your feelings are normal. Sexuality can be complex, and it is completely normal to feel confused about your orientation. For many, figuring out our sexuality is a journey that can take a lot of time and self-reflection, and many of us find that our sexuality changes and evolves over time. Although we may have been sure of a certain label at one point, we can become less confined to that label as we learn and experience new things.

Now, let’s talk about porn. Porn can be an accessible and healthy way to experiment with our sexuality, and it’s normal to find that different kinds of porn might arouse us in different ways. It’s also very normal to find ourselves aroused by something in porn that we didn’t previously realize that we were interested in. Sometimes this can be a sexual activity that we enjoy watching in porn, but are not interested in doing ourselves, while other times we might see something in porn and want to try it out. It is very common for people to watch porn that looks very different from the sex that they are having in their real life. Something else to consider is that porn is designed to arouse us, and so, for a lot of people, watching porn is inherently arousing regardless of the genders of the performers.

We can use porn as a tool to help us figure out things about our sexuality, but enjoying or being aroused by a certain kind of porn does not define your sexuality. Only you can define your sexuality.

I’d also like to let you know that many people go through periods in their life where they are more prone to arousal than usual, and so they might find themselves aroused by people or situations that they wouldn’t have previously been aroused by. This doesn’t mean that their sexuality has changed, it might just mean that they’re extra sensitive to arousal during this time. For men, this often occurs in the late teens and/or early twenties.

In terms of labels, they are really not as clear-cut as it sometimes seems. There are plenty of people who identify with a certain sexuality but sometimes feel arousal or attraction that is not in line with that sexuality. Examples of this include: men who identify as straight but are sometimes attracted to men, men who identify as gay but are sometimes attracted to women, and much more diversity. These people might engage in sex that could be seen as “conflicting” with their sexuality, but that doesn’t change or invalidate their identity. A gay man can still be gay even if he sometimes feels attracted to or has sex with women, while a straight man can still be straight even if he sometimes feels attracted to or has sex with men. They may also choose to identify as bisexual or pansexual, but they don’t have to. You can read this answer from my colleague : Can I have sex with a boy but not be labelled gay at the same time?

You describe negative feelings and discomfort regarding your arousal when you watch straight porn, and I want to reiterate to you that although there is nothing wrong with these feelings, they also don’t define your sexuality. If you don’t feel comfortable labeling yourself as straight, then don’t. You can label yourself as gay, bi, queer etc. or choose to go without a label at all for now (or forever). The world we live in likes to categorize people, and that can be stressful for those of us who don’t quite fit into a category. Some eventually find a label that they find fits their feelings, and some never do, but what’s important to remember is that it’s up to you how you choose to identify.

Your other big question was “what should I do”. I’m going to keep it simple for you. You don’t need to do anything besides accept that your feelings are a normal and valid part of your journey with your sexuality. You don’t need to change anything, you don’t need to label yourself or change your label (you may choose to, but you don’t need to). This is so much easier said than done, but it is something that almost everyone around you is also going through in their own ways. You’re not alone and you’re not abnormal.

If you want, you can write us back and tell us in which area in Canada you are living, so we could give you some interesting resources to reach out!
Thank you, Hyperion, for reaching out to AlterHeros, and please don’t hesitate to write back with other questions!

About Matthew Scott

Matthew completed a BSc. in Psychology at the University of New Brunswick before moving to Montréal where he currently resides. He is passionate about queer issues, volunteerism, community involvement, music, and houseplants.

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