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11 Feb 2006

Problems dealing with being gay, wanting to be heterosexual
Hello everyone

i was sexually abused when i was a young boy by another older boy, and now have rather strong homosexual feelings. I strongly, strongly wish to be a heterosexual, not necessarily because of the judgement of others but because i want a family of my own with my own children - i simply want to live a normal, happy, though admittedly stereotypical life where i can come home to my wife and my children and talk about my relationship to a woman with friends and collegues. Does anyone feel that the sexual abuse i endured as a child may have programmed me to be sexually interested in men? Though i understand homosexuality is not a disease and cannot be cured, is there really any type of therapy or treatment that can assist in me becoming sexually attracted to women? I know that i can repress my attraction towards men, and I feel that i can form strong emotional relationships with women, but i know that without the ability to provide her and myself with a strong physical relationship it would be near impossible to have a fufilling relationship or marriage. Please give me any suggestions anyone may have, i apologize if this question insults any other homosexuals because i dont wish to embrace my attraction to men - im really just searching for what will make me a happy, more complete person. Thanks for all your time.
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Gay, lesbian and bisexual expert
gay, lesbian and bisexual expert

01 Jan 0001

Hi C, welcome and thanks for your post, which is not insulting to anyone. Many gay and lesbian people experience similar thoughts at some point during their lives. Invariably these are associated with our heterosexist socialisation.

Think of the children's story, 'The Ugly Duckling' - we are born into a world of ducks and completely programmed by society to adhere to duck norms. Our nursery rhymes are about ducks, the media presents the world from a duck perspective, our history books are about ducks. Anything other than 'duck' is painted in a bad light. The realisation that some of us are swans is not easy, even when we begin to realise that there are other swans and that it is OK to question duck norms - we've been programmed to conform. In spite of your saying that your wish to be heterosexual (to be a duck) is "...not necessarily because of the judgement of others..." I think you need to acknowledge the incredible power of our socialisation to strive for what constitutes a significant element of duck happiness - creating a duck family and more baby ducks so that the cycle of perpetuating a heterosexual cycle of socialisation is not interupted.

The allure of living in Straightville can be misleading - the divorce rate and the prevalence of single-parent families speak for themselves. As a gay man you are also capable of forming a family; there are countless same-sex couples and many of them have children, forming highly functional family systems. Unfortunately these relationships and family systems are often not very visible, leading many gay lesbian people to believe that enduring same-sex relationships and families are a myth.

There is no indication that your childhood sexual abuse made you gay. Childhood sexual play, both heterosexual and homosexual, is normal exploration and yet only a tiny group of children grow up to become gay. This also applies to children who suffer childhood abuse. There is no therapy that can change your sexual orientation. Previously, aversion therapy was used to try to change sexual orientation. This entailed administering electric shocks to men who when they were aroused by naked images of other men. It didn't work.

You can't suppress your sexual desire for men - these powerful sexual urges would be forced to a conscious level and you'd be incapable of denying them.

At some point you will need to come to terms with your sexual orientation. You are a gay man. You need to find acceptance and meaning in this; denying an essential and integral part of yourself would most certainly not be setting yourself up for happiness. Returning to the children's story, you aren't a duck and you need to find a way to live your life as a swan - even if that sounds daunting to you. Speaking to a gay-friendly counsellor would certainly be of value to you.


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