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

I am a young man who has always been attracted to women. However, last month I found myself very turned on by another man. Now I'm fantasizing about sex with men all the time, even though I don't want to. Can this be fixed with hypnosis? I just want to be normal again.

Answer

Sexual attraction and sexual orientation are complicated and real people don't necessarily fall into nice neat categories like gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual. Some heterosexual people occasionally find themselves attracted to members of the same sex, and some lesbian and gay people occasionally find themselves attracted to members of the opposite sex. That doesn't mean their lifelong sexual orientations have changed.

Like many other mental health professionals, I do not believe gay, lesbian and bisexual people are "abnormal." It is easy to understand why you might disagree, for society still conveys a great many negative messages about those differences. However, no one has ever proven that people who are bisexual, lesbian or gay are any less mentally healthy than heterosexual people. That is why I consider it unethical to try to change someone's sexual orientation. Also, no one has ever demonstrated that it is possible to do so.

As I have said before, it is okay to be confused about your attractions, fantasies, and your orientation. No one has the right to tell you who you are: you are the only one who can possibly know how you feel. If you are interested in finding a mental health professional to speak to about your concerns, be sure to look for someone who has been trained to deal with this issue and can do so without judging you.

05/17/98


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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