Dealing with doubts about your sexuality
Questions and doubts about your sexuality can arise at any stage of life…you may be a child or in your teens and noticing for the first time that you are attracted to people of the same sex… you could have been married or in a heterosexual relationship for many years ….
Although the attraction to people of the same sex in itself is not a problem at all, sometimes we can feel fearful about the reaction from family and friends, the impact it will have on our current life situation and the possibility of prejudice from the rest of society.
Am I straight or gay?
The only person who can tell you whether you are gay, straight or bisexual is you. The question that you might wish to ask yourself is “ Who do I feel sexually attracted to? Men, Women or both? “ You don’t have to have sexual contact to identify yourself as gay or bisexual. It may be that you connect emotionally more easily with men or woman or both.
Sometimes it can be very clear to you that you are attracted to only people of the same sex and have always felt that way.Although it is clear to you, it may not feel quite so easy to actually act on those feelings and you may have assumed this attraction was a “passing phase” or tried hard to change or deny to yourself how you feel.
Sometimes the situation can be more complex . Because there is still an assumption made in our society that people are by nature heterosexual in our society, it’s common for people to have had heterosexual relationships or experiences first before realising they are attracted to someone of the same gender. Often people have lesbian or gay relationships secretly whilst in a long term heterosexual relationship. This can make you feel torn and guilty.
Falling in love with someone of the same sex can feel liberating, inspiring “like coming home”, but it can also feel overwhelming and scary too because we live in a society that surrounds us with messages that tell us it’s wrong.
This can make it hard to reach out for support from family and friends . Even though being gay lesbian or bisexual is lawful and discrimination is unlawful under the Equality Act 2006, there are still sectors of society where discrimination exists..
How counselling can help.
Counsellors can support you by listening carefully , treating whatever you say with respect, empathy and responding honestly. They can also help you clarify the thoughts and feelings you have by providing a safe space for you to “say it all” and get some perspective on what’s going on inside. They may also have ideas for support groups and information, as well as suggestions for life skills you can develop to help you feel more comfortable with yourself.