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

How do I know if I'm gay? I've always been attracted to men, have been sexual with one man and loved it, but felt very guilty later. But I'm attracted to women and always have been, so I'm very confused. Can you tell me if I'm a homosexual?

Answer

Thanks for writing. It's easy to see how you could be confused. People have a tendency to think everyone is completely gay or completely heterosexual. The reality is much more complicated. Some of us are strongly attracted to members of one sex, but also feel some attraction to members of the other sex. Men who are primarily attracted to women may have some feelings for other men. Lesbians who are primarily attracted to women may occasionally feel some attraction for men.

Some of us are strongly attracted to one sex and have no interest in others, men who are only attracted to men, for instance, or heterosexual women who are only attracted to men. Finally, some people are attracted to both men and women. We usually refer to them as bisexual.

No one else can tell define your sexual orientation for you, because you are the only one who knows how you feel. Also, it's all right to let yourself be confused is that's how you're feeling. We all have times when we're confused about something important in our lives, and that's okay.

The American Psychological Association has a helpful publication about sexual orientation (http://www.apa.org/pubinfo/orient.html), and you can find lots of other useful information through some of the other Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender sites listed in our Resources Department. I hope this is helpful to you.

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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