Patricia Redlich

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Am I Gay?

18th October, 2009


I am a very successful 30 year-old man and should be happy. But my thoughts are driving me to distraction. I think I'm gay. I'm willing to accept this should it be the case, but I can't seem to decide.

I used to date girls and would give anything for the husband, dad, family life-style. I now realise, however, that I am attracted to guys. The problem is that I can't separate my desire for the married life from the realisation that I like guys. The resultant loneliness of not knowing who I really am is hard to bear. I don't know if coming out would allow me to get out and meet guys and move on. Or is my attraction to guys the result of a lack of male relationships growing up? How can I sort all this out and finally find some happiness?

Maybe in the days when everyone was hiding their homosexuality, 'coming out' might have helped you meet guys who would then feel free to approach you. I doubt that meeting other men is the trouble right now for you because it's so easy. It's more likely that you're hoping 'coming out' will force you to choose, and solve your distress. It won't.

Part of the problem is the modern insistence on instant acceptance of homosexuality, with the accompanying dogma that being gay is beautiful, carries no personal cost, comes without heartache. That's just not true. It may for many be the only choice, but it comes with a price-tag. That's what your grief right now is all about. You always wanted the dream - wife, children, family lifestyle. No matter how many social, biological and psychological norms are stood on their head - same-sex marriages, surrogate children, two-father households, sex-change - you will have to give up on the dream. That's hard to face, and made harder by society's denial, masquerading as liberal thinking, which says it's all the same. It's not.

You ask me if the lack of male relationships growing up caused your attraction to guys. And here, my friend, we're on a seriously sticky wicket. Everybody wants to hear that homosexuality is inborn, genetic, entirely beyond any social influence. That way, nobody has to think about the influence of parenting, the impact of emotional experiences, or the subtle power of social engineering. We all want sex - and sexual orientation - to be strictly biological, and get angry with anyone who says otherwise. But it is otherwise. Sexual tastes, orientation, and even the depth of desire, are impinged on, if not indeed entirely shaped, by our environment. Sexuality is the product of social experience. Maybe it's not entirely so. Maybe there are, as yet undiscovered, subtle biological differences in some men and women, which predispose to homosexuality. But what makes the difference is the world around us.

I don't, of course, know if your lack of male relationships was a contributing factor in your current uncertainty. Your emotional life would need a lot more exploration than that. But I will say one thing to you about that. Yearning for same-sex emotional closeness can confuse us. Real adoration of same-sex teachers was accepted when I was young. Having heroes and heroines you admired, wished to please, adored even, was seen then as a rite of passage. Now it would instantly label you 'homo' in the school-yard, and not meant kindly. What I'm saying is that longing for closeness with guys doesn't necessarily mean you're gay. Not even if there's a certain amount of sexual fantasy involved. Sexual orientation is a lot more complicated than that - something else our modern liberal world doesn't want to hear, with its emphasis on declaring where we stand, proclaiming it aloud, and celebrating.

Why not go to a counsellor you feel you can trust, to try and tease out what is happening you emotionally? Meanwhile, take it gently. The huge plus side of the world we live in now is that you'll unquestionably find acceptance, whatever your sexual fate, or choice, turns out to be.
Irish based professional therapist and journalist. Website By : Deise Design