Tue 7 Jul, 2020 05:09 am
I am 27 years old and have always struggled with my sexuality since puberty. It was always a source of confusion for me, but after 13 years or so of questioning, I am settling on a realisation that I am gay. As I am settling on this though I am left with some repercussions of my repression of myself. I am left questioning, because of my realisation later than many, about whether I am typical. I worry that because it's taken me so long I must be lying to myself. I worry that others will see me as a fraud. So, perhaps I am wanting it validified to put my mind at ease.
With all that in mind, I will go through my thought processes over this.
I remember when I was a young teen, when I first started getting proper feelings of attraction to others, assuming I was straight. My friends would develop crushes on girls and so would I. However, this got a shock to the system one day after I googled football (soccer) players. I am a football fan, so was just using the internet for this purpose, but I came across an homoerotic photoshoot of David Beckham. All of a sudden I noticed I was sexually aroused and my heart was beating fast. The images implanted in my brain and I realised that they turned me on. I realised I was never as attracted to the girls or female celebrities as I was with men. I realised I wasn't aroused, nor did I get the same faster heart rate or giddy feeling in the stomach as I experienced when I first came across these images of Beckham or other men. I decided to see if I found other guys attractive and I did, I started developing hidden crushes on a couple of boys at school. However, life wasn't as simple as to allow me to think of myself as gay because of this.
After my feelings of arousal dissipated each time I would feel shame and confusion. I would say that I am attracted to so and so from English class or whatever. I would fantasise about girls in my class school, and women as I matured to adulthood, but I could never feel that same excitement as I could with guys. I would have to force myself to get an erection around women, whereas with men it seemed to just happen. Still, despite what look like telltale signs I said that I get crushes on women, so I must be straight. Even though, looking back, I am not sure if they were genuine crushes given that I didn't experience actual sexual attraction. I wonder if they were just fantasies driven through internalised homophobia and a recognition that these were attractive women. After all, I'm not so daft as to not recognise what an attractive woman looks like.
My confusion continued as I made attempts at dating. I have always felt uncomfortable in being intimate with women. When on nights out or through dating apps and opportunities I would always feel anxious on dates. I know we all do, but this seemed beyond normal nerves when faced with dates, but there was little excitement. I have on rare occasions let myself pursue same-sex interests and I have felt nervous, but giddy with excitement at the same time. With women there is a feeling of discomfort with being intimate, a feeling of not wanting it to happen. With men I always feel excited and wanting something more to happen, before feeling ashamed. Or, at least I did do when I wasn't comfortable in my own skin. Now I feel more so.
Another issue is that I am straight acting. As said, I like football, I am not camp and don't have many gay stereotypes. So, I could convince myself that I am not gay from this. Also, I was a shy and geeky child. I wasn't particularly popular at school, sort of like the Inbetweeners, so I didn't have many female friends. So I took this to be a feeling of discomfort that many geeky kids have at being with the opposite sex. However, I am wondering if this was just a desire to have more friends. I am older now and more confident, I have more female friends, and I think it's healthy to have platonic friends from both sexes, so maybe I am right in that assumption.
I feel like it is changing now. Lockdown due to coronavirus has caused me to rejig my thinking and led to me being more accepting of myself, including my sexuality. There's nothing I can do about it, so why not accept it? I've always had this inner voice telling me I am, when I feel like I accept it I feel content and happy with it and I like looking at cute guys. Why deprive myself of that when I can't control it? Though this has been an issue for me. The fact that I find it easier to be attracted to men and the feelings of discomfort at being intimate with women made me feel uncomfortable. I felt like it meant that I didn't value women, which hurt me, because I try and pride myself on treating everyone equally and I like having female friends. So, thoughts trying to pull me away from being close to women distressed me, and got me worrying about whether I actually respected women. I know this probably sounds mad, but it was how I felt. I have now told myself that my straight friends aren't attracted to members of the same sex, but still enjoy good friendships with them, so that means I can with women despite not finding myself attracted to them.
Sorry for the long post, but I just wanted to get this off my chest as it has been a long time 'problem' of mine. Does this resonate with anyone? Does this sound like a valid experience for me, since I worry about lying to myself after years of sexuality confusion?