I am experiencing a very difficult time in my life, and have a limited number of people I feel comfortable in turning to concerning the following issue. Any advice would be well considered and much appreciated.
About two months ago, I began to question my sexuality. In the past, right up until this point in my life, I have been very confident in my heterosexuality, yet continued questioning it anyway. After these eight weeks, it has definitely become an obsession, consuming a large faction of my free thoughts each day, while making me very confused and depressed.
The situation came about because of a combination of factors occurring at an inconvenient time. Due to a history of some sexual shortfalls (caused by various performance anxieties and general shyness towards women); I have been left frustrated as to why I haven’t engaged in a sexually successful relationship yet. At the time (two months back), I pointed the finger inwards, blaming that it was a weaker than average libido that I have. I began to walk around and look at women in a more critical manner. I would attempt to get aroused on command by looking at an attractive female in public. Often to no avail, obviously because arousal is not something which is forced, yet something which arrives naturally. In the beginning, however, I did not fully believe in the notion that arousal is a natural and organic process, and continued attempting to force it in order to reassure my libido. But at the same time, I had been working with a homosexual, and had just made friend of a friends’ with a homosexual. This was enough to pop the big question in my head which would cause this dilemma in its entirety. BOOM! Is this the answer to my problems? Could I be gay? I began to develop a fear that I was no longer interested in women at all. Those forced attempts at snap-arousal to females in public became more desperate, and thus less successful. As a result, my level of confidence in my heterosexuality declined even further.
At this point, I have sunken into this dilemma pretty deeply. With the hetero-confidence at a near rock bottom, the depression hits home very hard. I can admit, that I live, breathe, and eat for women… So any possibility that my romance life with women may become tainted or lost was taken very seriously, and hurt quite a bit. I develop a fear that I am not heterosexual enough to have a girlfriend, or someday a wife. So, I begin to try and regain my lost confidence.
I figure, logically enough, that if I do not like men, then I must be straight. So I begin to test my sexual boundaries. Perhaps, more accurate a word would be engaging in obsessions. Now every male that I see walk in front of me, I ask myself “Would you like that sexually?”, “Does he turn you on?”… At first the answer to these questions was simple. “No!”, “You are 19 years old, and have never once fantasized about any sexual relations with another male… These feelings would have surfaced by now, certainly during the adolescence years”… But, upon engaging in some research, I find that some gay men, do not realize it until 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, or beyond. I am perplexed as to how this occurs, however this blows the door wide open. The 19 years old defense doesn’t stand ground anymore.
As the door is blown wide open, it is then where I concretely realize that I am not 100% heterosexual. In my experimental fantasies including men, I realize that I am in fact aroused. It is fairly mild in comparison to my arousal to females, however considering how much I tend to worry, and make mountains out of mole hills, this was not helping out my heterosexual confidence at all. In fact, it decreased it even further. At this point, with all of this lost confidence, I am under the impression that I am simply a gay man. Completely disregarding the reality that innately, I still am pre-dominantly heterosexual. Disregarding all the girlfriends that I have had in my life, all of whom I had been attracted to emotionally and sexually.
Approaching the present, I arrive at college with high hopes that I can turn things around. I have battled with similar obsessive dilemmas previously in my life, and this is a dilemma that I can beat as well. Coincidentally, a girl I had an attraction for the previous college year, is living 2 floors beneath me for this year. We enjoy our first couple of days moving in and getting settled, and I cannot get my mind off the girl. I desire to be with her very much. But at the same time, already slightly sexually intimidated by the performance anxieties (which until this dilemma I had been defeating), now I have a cloud over my head where I continue to question my heterosexuality obsessively. Certainly, once we crawl into bed, if these thoughts arrest my attention, the sex would be if not ideal, then flat-out unsuccessful, causing personal embarrassment and damage to my reputation. Suddenly, the performance anxieties that I had spent the past 5 years correcting returns.
So today, I am simply intimidated by women. Intimidated by all my male friends around me (whom are quite sexually attractive, and are wondering why I am not). Intimidated by sex. Intimidated by life. It’s like being stuck knee high in mud. I cannot move forward on a heterosexual relationship like I had intended all summer long because of this dilemma. I simply refuse to act on this newfound mild attraction to males. All I do is doubt and doubt myself that I simply don’t have what it takes for a long-term relationship with a female. That somehow my libido for them (which I now stand obsessively skeptical of) will burn out to nothing. That somehow, someway, I’ll end up like the former governor of New Jersey, who divorced his wife, and deceived his children, all because he, at the end of the day, did not have what it takes either, as he came out of the closet as a gay man.
I now find that compulsive masturbation helps to alleviate the anxiety. It helps me foster hope that the above in boldface letters is not true. One would think that compulsive masturbation to my favorite female porn-stars is a loud and clear sign that the boldface above is not true. But, this is the part where the anxiety comes in. I simply do not have the reassurance mechanisms built into my psyche to be there and suppress the obsessions concerning the boldface above.
Very needless to say, this dilemma has made my life significantly dysfunctional. I cannot separate the empty obsessions from genuine desires anymore. I just want to know where it is on the sexual spectrum I am located, so I can move on in my life. I am fully aware that I would much rather live my life as a lonely man than a homosexual man.
Just as consideration in addition to all of this... These sort of obsessive dilemmas have been numerous in my lifetime. It is extremely difficult for me to control anxiety once it reaches its heavy hand into things. For example: out of the blue a few months back, I worried that I was HIV-positive. There is very little evidence for believing this to be true, but somehow, for some reason I do not remember, I convinced myself that I had contracted it. I took an HIV test, and it returned that I was HIV negative… At that point, I began to obsess that I was given a false negative result. I say this just to showcase that my anxiety seems to be evolving to something even more powerful and crippling than previous years.
I know that you will all likely advise me to seek help from a mental health professional... And I am doing so, however due to my health insurance limitations, it is a long process for me to select the proper one. So in the mean time, I would really appreciate any words of advice for how to cope with this situation.
Your story has been played through tens of thousands of peoples minds before. Like the poster below, spend some time on the OCD board. If interested I would be more than happy to give my experiences and advice on that board.
For now though I will say: 99.9% not homosexual. Sorry for the reassurance but that might get you through a tough spot and get you to where you need to be: battling the OCD.
Life throws us so many curve balls! Let me tell my story, and if it doesn't help you it may help some other reader. Like you when I was in my teens, I loved the girls and gave know thought to a sexual orientation. There was no question. As I approached your age, 19 years of age I discovered that I could become aroused by looking at guys as well as girls. Well, this freaked me out! I thought, there is no way that I'm gay. Pulling out books and doing research on the subject, all the books was trying to tell me that I was. How could this be? I love girls, and really never gave thought to guys. Long story short, though I refused to except what the books were telling me, saying that I was gay, I stressed over what would happen on my wedding night. Would I be able to perform? This was the question that haunted me self concousley up until the very night of my honey-moon. You see, I waited before having sex. Being a christian man, I wanted my first time to be with the women I planned to spend the rest of my life with. Well, praise be to God the honey-moon was great! I performed like a champ. Lol.. So the question I guess you would ask is, where do I stand in my sexual orientation. I never excepted the idea that I was gay. If anything a man that's bisexual. I've never share this with a living soul besides you! I've been married for 23 years and I have two wonderful children, a son 15, and a beautiful daughter starting college. I don't act on the fealing I get from time to time. You see, thats the blessing, if you can call it one of being bi-sexual, having the ability to choose which road in life you want to take. All the homosexuals that I know, say they don't have that choice to choose! They are what they are, and can't change it if they wanted. Hetorasexual, or bisexual? It's your choice, you can go either way. I chose to live a normal heterosexual life. Stop stressing yourself out over being aroused by a guy! Choose women and go on with your life. If you were gay, you would have no desire to be with a women! I don't know any homosexual man that honestly get a boner when looking at, or kissing a women. To be honest, they have no desire to be with one. So, just saying that every man that's turned on by another man is a homosexual is a false statement. There are many levels to our sexuality. Since you wrote such a long explination of your problem, I thought it would help you to take my time and share this with you. There are men that love the male anatomy, getting highly aroused looking at it, but as for as sleeping or being with another man, they have know desire. Some of us like prostate stimulation (self stimulation) it feals great, but we don't want some guyes penis doing the stimulating. I can go on and on, but I'll stop here. It really sounds like you have a serious compulsive (if I've pronouncing the word correct) dis-order. Getting profession help was your first possitive step toward recovering..No that you're fine! If you sleep with a girl and nothing happens, so what! A lot of guyes sleep with girls and can't perform. It's most likely because of the stress you're putting yourself through.
My point of view is much like cleansweep's. I'm a monogamous bisexual, who would never consider sex with anyone but my wonderful wife.
There is a terrific book on OCD which helped me a lot. It's called Brain Lock, by Jeffrey M. Schwartz. You can get it used for $5. The solutions are easy, they just take practice. Good luck.