QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
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.
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?
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
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.
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.