Sexual Orientation in Males: Theories and Therapies

From Quora.

How can you know if you’re gay?

Currently I’m 15. I felt like I liked both genders from twelve to 14, now I feel I’m gay. I don’t know if it’s just because I like to admire how guys look and wish I looked like them, or if I actually find them attractive. Have many heterosexuals gone through this in puberty as well?

My response: Few if any heterosexual men go through an early phase in puberty or before of being sexually attracted to males in any significant form.

How do I know? Personal experience and conversations with many men about this. I also work as psychological counselor and in the course of my work, I often have to a sexual orientation assessment for one reason or another as part of the therapy. Most everyone simply cooperates just fine. The average heterosexual male simply tells me that he has been attracted to females since puberty or even before, it’s been that way ever since, there’s nothing confusing about it, and that’s all there is to it.

The only men who were confused about their sexual orientation were mentally ill. The therapy in this case is to try to figure out the man’s true sexual orientation, which to me is always quite clear on detailed questioning. These are usually cases of straight men who are worrying that they are gay for no good reason. The therapy is to pound into their head that they are straight and that the gay stuff is nonsensical and idiotic. They usually get over it after a while. Going round and round with these men about their sexual orientation or worse implying that they are gay is very bad therapy and is likely to make them worse, but this is often what clinicians do nowadays.

I doubt if mentally healthy gay or straight men are much confused about this. I do not know how bisexual men feel. I have had a number of men identify as bisexual to me on interview. In general, they were quite ok about it, gave me a good figure percentage-wise (75-25 or mostly straight or 20-80 or mostly gay, for instance) and were not going round and round at all. What’s there to go round and round about? Most males are pretty clear about what turns them on and what doesn’t. If you aren’t, you’re either still young or there’s something wrong with you.

In my experience, most males who are supposed “confused” or “questioning” their sexual orientation are not actually confused about or questioning anything. Instead these are simply gay males who are having some serious problems accepting the fact that they are gay. The therapy of such a person is to first determine that they are definitely gay by questioning and then to hammer home the idea that they are gay, that their sexual orientation cannot and will not change ever for any reason, and if they hope to have a happy life, they have to accept that they are gay. I often tell them that is great that they are gay, that I can relate to them as a sort of mirror image of myself (they are the other side of my sexual mirror), and emphasize our commonality as males who share a certain male worldview.

Sexual orientation in males is surely fixed at age 15 at the latest. We do not know if or when it is fixed earlier than that, and there is no good evidence that sexual orientation is fixed at birth, though that is possible. It is possible for sexual orientation in men to change before or around puberty. There are some case reports that indicate that this is possible. Some changes have been reported in boys age 10-14, but most reports of strong changes even at that age show that actually nothing changed at all and that this person’s sexual orientation was obvious even at a much younger age. Instead of actual changes, these are more “clearing the air” experiences where the person starts to full recognize just who they are and who they have always been sexually. This is true even in females, though they can move around more than men.

In your case, it appears quite clear to me that you are gay. Not bisexual, not heterosexual, but gay. I suppose you can continue to go round and round about this in future years, but I doubt if your orientation is going to change much after today.

What’s wrong with being gay anyway? Maybe God made you this way.

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Filed under Gender Studies, Heterosexuality, Homosexuality, Man World, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Sex

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