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'm a 27-year-old man and have been in relationships with men before, but right now I'm dating a woman. I'm confused because I'm attracted to both men and women. Is that normal? Is it possible it's because I was sexually abused as a child?

Answer

People who are attracted to both women and men often identify as bisexual. There's nothing wrong or abnormal about that: some people feel strong attractions for members of one gender, some are attracted primarily or exclusively to men, and others are attracted primarily or exclusively to women.

The claim that being sexually abused as a child determines your sexual orientation is an old myth that's been around for years. So far as I know there is no conclusive evidence to support it. What's important is that you treat the people you date with respect and caring, regardless of their gender. Being a good person is a whole lot more important than how you define your sexual orientation.

07/24/98


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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