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Sexual orientation and masculinity - ServantofGod - 07-07-2014

I want to share a bit about myself, and if you all would please share your thoughts on these things, I would surely appreciate it.  In short, I'm confused.

When I was little, I was girl crazy.  As I got older and into middle school, I was attracted to girls.  I struggled with pornography and masturbation, like most kids to (though I thought I was the only one.)  I was extremely overweight, and lacking of confidence.  My dad told me I wasn't manly enough all the time, and forced me to lift weights and such.  My rebellion against him was gaining more weight and taking care of my body less and less.  I hated him because I felt like he didn't love me for who I was.

When I was in school, I certainly liked girls, but I never dated, because I felt like I wasn't as manly as my friends, and not manly enough for the girls. 

When I got to highschool, I discovered the underground bohemian culture of pre-WWII Europe.  I loved reading about secret hideaways where societal norms went out the window and people could be whoever or whatever they wanted.  I felt like I would be accepted in such a culture.  Looking for it in my surroundings, I found the LGBT community.  I used to be repulsed by homosexuality, but soon I began to see that the gay world had an "anything goes" type of atmosphere.  I loved it, because I didn't have to be manly enough for anyone, I just had to me myself, and I was good enough (that's what I thought.) 

I really admired other guys who were "manly", good at athletics and all.  I loved having close relationships with them, especially since my dad left us and I didn't have many males in my life.  I am beginning to realize that my admiration and envy for other guys was so confusing to me that I began to see it as sexual attraction.  This worked for me, because I could claim to be part of a community where there was a seat for everyone at the table (or so I thought.)

In highschool, I had two deep relationships with girls, one in real life and one online.  Neither moved on beyond being good friends, because I thought I was gay.  To be truthful, I wanted to initiate a romantic relationship, but I was insecure about my body.  I now see that I used "being gay" to stop me from actually have relationships.  I wasn't attracted to women, so I was safe from the sexual tension I would experience when interacting with them.  I now see that I used it so I wouldn't have to deal with my feelings of not being good enough.

I'm confused.  I don't think I'm actually gay.  I think I just liked identifying with it, because it gave me license not to be as "manly" as everyone else.  As I've grown up, I'm not unmanly.  I can't sit through a game of football, but even so, I'm pretty okay.  I've come to accept myself, which is awesome, but I can't figure out this sexual attraction business.  I don't want to have sex with men, but I can certainly tell when a man is attractive.  I do not experience romantic feelings toward men, however.  I have difficulty telling when a woman is attractive or unattractive - women are sort of all on the same level for me.  I do feel romantic feelings for women after getting to know them, if we're compatable.  However, and this is the issue, I don't know if I'd ever want to have sex with a woman.  Because of that I am hesitant to call myself heterosexual.  I am probably hereto, just not sexual.  If I love someone, I want to make them happy.  To be crude, my worry is that my body wouldn't want to do what it's supposed to. 

So that's my situation.  Father Prior called me from the monastery to ask me a few questions, about my sexual orientation being one.  He asked some very difficult questions, and I wasn't able to give him an definitive answer.  I am thinking of seeing a therapist on campus about this. 

What do you think?  Is this kind of confusion normal for guys my age?

Re: Sexual orientation and masculinity - triumphguy - 07-08-2014

Lots of guys go through periods of confusion.

Having been abused I was repelled, fascinated and confused by sex.

Be kind to yourself, and yes, get counselling.

And be as honest with Father Prior as you were with us.

Re: Sexual orientation and masculinity - Clare Brigid - 07-08-2014

(07-07-2014, 09:06 PM)ServantofGod Wrote: I've come to accept myself, which is awesome, but I can't figure out this sexual attraction business.  I don't want to have sex with men, but I can certainly tell when a man is attractive.  I do not experience romantic feelings toward men, however.  I have difficulty telling when a woman is attractive or unattractive - women are sort of all on the same level for me. 

ServantofGod, I would suggest that you look into two possibilities:

1.  You could be hypogonadal.  That is, your testosterone level is abnormally low.  I think this is the most likely scenario given your history and being overweight, which is consistent with it.  See your primary care physician and tell him about your concerns.  Ask that your free testosterone levels be tested.  If testosterone is prescribed, take it as directed.

2.  You could be asexual.  This is less likely, but possible.  Some people simply have a low sex drive and are not particularly attracted to one sex or another.  That is the definition of asexuality.  If this is the case, you might benefit from psychotherapy.

Re: Sexual orientation and masculinity - ServantofGod - 07-12-2014

If you all don't mind, and whether this gets more replies or not, I wanted to share a little bit of an insight my new therapist helped me see.

As I said, when I was younger, I had several experienced that made me seriously doubt my self worth.  As a result, I began to question my sexuality, and found the "accepting" gay community to be a place where I could be myself without the judgement and condemnation of others in the community.  I thought I could be whoever I wanted, and I would be affirmed and loved.

This all happened while I was, at the same time, on my faith journey as a teenager.  I soon found out that the only person I could expect love and affirmation from was Christ, and so I made the choice to forsake the idea of living an active gay lifestyle when I was confident enough, and throw myself on His mercy.

Now, as someone who is finally overcoming a dependance on pornography and masturbation, and is building up more self confidence, I'm finding my previous ideas about myself to be false.  Specifically, regarding my sexuality.

I loved calling myself gay.  I never identified with it publicly, but in my head, it was always a sort of safety blanket for me.  If someone didn't approve of something I liked or did, I didn't have to feel insecure "because I'm gay."  It was great, and it also made it so I could talk to girls without the sexual tension, because I wasn't attracted to them, anyhow (I told myself.)

Lately, I've been seeing a therapist.  I'm not a believer in "conversion therapy" or what have you, but I have some genuine conflicts.  When I was younger, I was crazy for girls.  I wanted to get married and have 10 kids.  The pornography viewed was of women.  I was overweight, and the pornography gave me a false sense of fulfillment, since none of the girls were really interested in me.

When I got a bit older, I started noticing guys.  It wasn't sexual at first - I envied their athleticism and "manliness."  I always felt that I wasn't good enough, and my dad always reminded me how un masculine I was.  I didn't have any self esteem.  Then, I started playing around with the idea of being gay.  I knew this wasn't a choice, but I think I chose to identify this way, subconsciously. 

Being "gay" gave me a license to be as un masculine as I wanted.  Like I said, it gave me an excuse to be whoever I wanted.  That was, I soon found out, anyone except a good Catholic who was celibate.  I was too gay for the Catholics, and too Catholic for the gays.

I started seeing a therapist two days ago.  We've met three times.  She helped me to make a realization that is kind of freaking me out.  I guess I'm sharing this for support, mostly.  I'm not actually gay.  I don't want to have sex with men, I just like identifying with the label.  I feel like I'm not actually good enough for women, that I'm not manly enough.  I was skeptical about this until I realized - in highschool, I was head over heels in love with this girl, and I think she felt the same way. I just didn't do anything about it because I thought I was "gay".

Anyway, I'm starting to come to the realization that my sexuality is a very, very tiny part of who I am.  My sex drive is almost nonexistant.  I still get aroused and what have you, but as for the urge to pass on my genes, I'm not interested.  One of the reasons I thought I was really gay was that I was only very rarely experiencing sexual attraction to girls after I was about age 15.  It takes a lot for me to have romantic and sexual feelings for someone, and in the last few years I only ever felt it for this one girl (not counting the internet one. ;) )

I still feel like I'm not manly enough.  I really would love to go to a monastery, as celibacy is something I can for sure see myself doing for the rest of my life.  All the same, the possibilities this mini breakthrough presents are mind boggling for me (and I use the term "breakthrough" loosely, I think I've always known this and was only looking for confirmation.)

I'm waiting to do anything with my vocation other than pray and think for the next few years, at least until I finish college.  I need to get these issues with my manliness and feelings of incompetence taken care of, I think they're hindered my spiritual life for far too long.

I just wanted to share this with you, because you all have helped me out quite a bit. :)

I'm keen to hear your thoughts on my situation.  These last three visits with my therapist were a trial type deal, and I'll start seeing her more regularly when school starts (it's campus-based.)

Re: Sexual orientation and masculinity - Dirigible - 07-12-2014

I don't think I have anything useful to add, brother, but I'm glad you're getting there.  :)

Re: Sexual orientation and masculinity - RyanPatrick - 07-17-2014

It is possible that, more than anything, you need to reconsider what your expectations of manliness are. Being good at sports is all well and good (and God knows, I wish I were better at them too), but it does not define a man. Have you spent a lot of time meditating on what manliness is or have you been mostly focusing on how you don't meet some ambiguous standard of manliness?

Re: Sexual orientation and masculinity - PatienceAndLove - 07-17-2014

Are you looking for strictly male replies, or can a lady reply?

Re: Sexual orientation and masculinity - divinesilence80 - 07-17-2014

(07-17-2014, 01:08 AM)PatienceAndLove Wrote: Are you looking for strictly male replies, or can a lady reply?

Just give your reply. Others might be interested in it if he isn't......

Re: Sexual orientation and masculinity - ServantofGod - 07-18-2014

(07-17-2014, 09:08 PM)divinesilence80 Wrote:
(07-17-2014, 01:08 AM)PatienceAndLove Wrote: Are you looking for strictly male replies, or can a lady reply?

Just give your reply. Others might be interested in it if he isn't......
...he is, though. :)

Re: Sexual orientation and masculinity - PrairieMom - 07-22-2014

In truth, our sexuality is just a small part for most of us. I know our culture leads you to think otherwise, but it's only a fraction of who we are and what we do. I agree with RyanPatrick, maybe it's your perception of what a "man" is that's the root of your issues. You mention your dad and his unhelpful comments. Have you explored this with your therapist?

You are not alone in struggling what it means to identify with one's gender. There's a semi-related thread on the women's side that might offer some helpful insight:,3464546.0.html

Clare also offers from good advice for looking at the medical side. She has some knowledge in this area if you weren't already aware.

As for body image, etc, that's something that can be worked on. Again, ask Clare. She's lost like 160 lbs or something in the past couple of years.