Are you experiencing confusion about your sexual identity? This article might help you to discover where you are on the continuum between heterosexuality and homosexuality.
"I'm feeling confused," stated Aaron in our first session. "I've always known myself to be straight, but now, at 22, I'm feeling attracted to men. Does this mean that I'm gay? And if I am, why has it taken me all this time to know it? And why have I been attracted to women? Does this mean that I'm bi-sexual?"
More and more I find people who are questioning their sexuality and unsure about their own sexual truth.
There may be many reasons behind Aaron's confusion, one being that sexuality is generally not black or white.
Some people are very clear from the time they are little regarding their sexual orientation. They know they are straight, or they know they are gay and they have no confusion about it. But many people fall somewhere between straight and gay. In other words, many people are essentially bi-sexual.
As Aaron and I spoke, it became apparent that he had a very big father issue. Not only was his father rarely around, but when he was around he was distant and critical. Little Aaron had craved his father's approval and affection. It is possible that Aaron was currently sexualizing a need for warmth and connection with a man.
As we explored his attraction to a male friend, Aaron realized that what he really wanted from his friend was his attention and approval. He wanted to be held by his friend in the way he had wanted to be held by his father. He knew of no other way to get this need met other than to have sex. The longer we spoke, the more apparent it became that his sexuality was primarily focused on women, but his need for an emotional connection with men was driving him toward men. However, he didn't know for sure what he really wanted, since he had experienced sex with women but not with men. He decided to give himself permission to experience sex with a man in order to learn more about his sexual truth.
In order to come to our sexual truth, we need to be willing to explore what would truly bring us joy. Many women, for example, find themselves sexually attracted to men yet emotionally connected with women. This may create some confusion regarding their sexuality if they want to be held by women. Sometimes this is a mothering issue - a need for the mothering they didn't receive as they were growing up. Sometimes they discover that, while their basic sexual orientation is heterosexual, they may equally enjoy sex with women due to the deeper emotional connection.
Yet other times both men and women discover later in life that they far prefer a same-sex relationship. It may have taken them a long time to discover this due to their fears of judgment from their families or from society. Fear can certainly get in the way of one's sexual truth.
Fear was definitely a part of Aaron's challenge. He was fearful of the judgment of his parents who, in his words, "are very conservative in their thinking." The thought of ending up with a man created deep feelings of loneliness regarding his family. He was torn because he wanted to pursue his sexual truth, but he didn't want to lose his family. He needed to reach a place where he was willing to risk losing his family rather than lose himself through not discovering his sexual truth.
It is important in opening to your sexual truth to understand that sexuality is on a continuum between heterosexual and homosexual, and anywhere you are on that continuum is what is right for you. This is about discovering what brings you inner peace and joy. In order to discover your own sexual truth, you need to give up looking for an objective right or wrong and remember to listen to and honor your feelings. Whatever brings you peace and joy is what is right and loving for you.
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