QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

Sometimes having fantasies about sex with another man helps me reach orgasm, both when I'm masturbating and when I'm with women. My only actual encounters with men have been after the breakup of a heterosexual relationships.

I'm not fond of labels, but am probably bisexual. Why do I feel regret after the sex with men? Why do I feel disgust after fantasizing about sex with men but not when I imagine sex with women? Can you help?

Answer

Thanks for writing. It takes courage to ask for help about these sorts of feelings.

It's unfortunate but not surprising that you feel disgust after fantasizing about men. Most of the world still looks negatively at sex between men, and that attitude is conveyed in innumerable ways. When we grow up and are surrounded by negative attitudes, it's too easy to inflict them on ourselves. It is, however, possible to change what you tell yourself about sex with men (whether real or imagined).

I wonder why you've only had sex with men after the end of relationships with women. Is it possible you view sex with men negatively and are punishing yourself for the breakups? Or telling yourself you're not good enough for relationships with women?

I suggest that the crucial issue here is not about what you do, either in fantasy or for real. Instead, what's important is dealing with those feelings of disgust and regret. You may want to seek professional assistance. If so, make sure the person you consult is trained and open-minded about issues of sexual orientation and behavior. You may want to contact the nearest gay center for names of therapists.

3/14/98


Author and psychologist Gail S. Bernstein, Ph.D. has a psychotherapy practice in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Bernstein speaks and writes about gay, lesbian and bisexual people for both general and professional audiences, and is the author of the new audiotape, NOT HETEROSEXUAL: An Educational Program About Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People.

 

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