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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Identity » Lesbian, or Overly Anxious??

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Author Topic: Lesbian, or Overly Anxious??
AleseMiller08
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Well, for the past month or so, I have been constantly questioning my sexuality, something I've never really done. I started looking back on past experiences, and worrying that they made me gay. Prior to this month, I had never had thoughts about other women, but what worried me was my past experiences with watching lesbian porn and having a few fantasies about other women. But these never interfered with my emotional and sexual relationships in the past. Now, I have these thoughts about being with another woman, or having sexual encounters with other women, and even feeling scared that I may have a crush on a female friend of mine.
These thoughts won't go away. They scare me and make me have panic attacks. I really want to be straight, but these thoughts are making me think otherwise. I have talked to my parents about the thoughts, and they told me it is perfectly normal to have occasional thoughts and even fantasies about the same sex. However, they agree it is not normal to obsess and worry this much over a supposedly normal behavior.
I know that being gay is something you're born with, and if I were gay, I would most likely not feel very comfortable being with men. I have even looked into HOCD, which is a fear of being a sexual orientation, and the symptoms describe me to a tee, for the most part. The only thing that is different is according to these articles, I would feel disgusted by same-sex relationships, and I don't. I just feel scared and anxious that I may be getting aroused when I don't want to. Like I said, I have watched lesbian porn, and I did get aroused by it. In fact, I would read what could be considered lesbian fan fiction when I was very young, about 10-13 years old. But I had never felt any urges to women when I went about my daily life.
In short, I know no one can tell me what my orientation is. I guess I would just like to know if I sound like a closet lesbian, or an obsessive compulsive straight girl. Please help me.

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Molias
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Sexual orientation isn't always - or necessarily even often - about being just gay or straight. Some people have a more fluid sense of their sexuality, where they are attracted to different genders or types of people at different times in their lives. Also, plenty of folks are bisexual and are attracted to people of various genders! So you're not limited to just being gay or straight, or to having one orientation your entire life. It's possible that your orientation is shifting a bit right now, or you're becoming aware of a facet of it you didn't know about before - it's also possible that you've just been thinking about women in a sexual way, or consuming lesbian media lately so it's been on your mind, and that those things aren't related to your orientation at all.

This article on orientation will probably be a helpful read, if you haven't seen it alraedy: The Rainbow Connection: Orientation for Everyone
I don't know that there's any definitive reasoning of how people's orientations wind up the way they are, but I don't think there's a way that reading or watching porn can make you feel a sexual attraction that wasn't already there.

Can you talk a little bit about why the thought that you might be attracted to women is so upsetting to you?

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AleseMiller08
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I guess I just feel like it isn't me. Like, I just feel wrong when I think that way. Now, I don't mean that as in I think homosexuality is wrong. I grew up in a very accepting household, and with supportive friends. In other words, if I were ever in a situation to 'come out', I wouldn't be shunned. Anyway, that isn't where my anxiety is even focused. Everytime I think those thoughts, I tense up and feel flustered, like I'm embarrassed. Sometimes I feel a twitch or something in my vaginal area, but it hardly passes for arousal.
I guess I feel like its a change I don't want. I have just graduated high school, and I'm about to be moving away to college. I am experiencing some big changes, and this feels like an irrational, unwanted fear. I want to stay attracted to guys, and this whole experience is making me feel sad and unconfortable. I just want to go back to feeling like I used to.

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AleseMiller08
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I guess I just feel like it isn't me. Like, I just feel wrong when I think that way. Now, I don't mean that as in I think homosexuality is wrong. I grew up in a very accepting household, and with supportive friends. In other words, if I were ever in a situation to 'come out', I wouldn't be shunned. Anyway, that isn't where my anxiety is even focused. Everytime I think those thoughts, I tense up and feel flustered, like I'm embarrassed. Sometimes I feel a twitch or something in my vaginal area, but it hardly passes for arousal.
I guess I feel like its a change I don't want. I have just graduated high school, and I'm about to be moving away to college. I am experiencing some big changes, and this feels like an irrational, unwanted fear. I want to stay attracted to guys, and this whole experience is making me feel sad and unconfortable. I just want to go back to feeling like I used to.

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Karybu
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What I'm hearing from this is that you're not concerned about reaction from friends or family if you were attracted to women, but more that you feel like you're unsure about part of your identity whereas you weren't before, and that's scary for you. Is that about right?

If so, it's understandable that you're feeling uncomfortable; dealing with a change (or possible change) in how you see yourself and who you understand yourself to be can be scary and uncomfortable, especially if it comes at a time when there's a lot of other changes happening in your life as well. It probably won't be the only time you experience something like this, though: we all have to deal with change, sometimes in big ways, throughout the whole of our lives. At times that change is intentional, like going to college, other times not so much, like realizing that your feelings about someone have shifted. But that doesn't make you any less YOU, if that makes sense.

--------------------
"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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AleseMiller08
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I get that, but from the time I was little, I have been attracted to boys. Even now, if I feel any arousal over a woman, there is no emotional attachment. My fear is that this phase will completely turn my life around, and not in a good way. I want to be with men, to get married and have children and the like, and that feeling hasn't changed. But this fear of not being attracted to men anymore is shaking me up really bad.
I don't know if this has anything to do with my fears, but right now, I'm in a dead end relationship with my boyfriend of 9 months. He's a really great guy, but I just don't feel with him what I've felt with other guys. And since I'm going off to college, we're probably going to call it quits. As well, my first and only love has completely stopped talking to me for the first time in about 3 years. I don't know if I'm just feeling lonely, or afraid, or what. But the way I see it, if I truly don't want to forge romantic relationships with other women, I certainly don't have to, right? Is it possible this phase will pass?

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Robin Lee
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HI There,

You absolutely don't have to act on any attractions you have for anyone, regardless of their gender, just as you don't have to act on anything that you think about or desire. You have free will.

In terms of the way you feel towards or about women or men, it's not uncommon to feel aroused in different ways towards different people. Sometimes that's based on gender, sometimes it's not. So, the fact that you feel sexual arousal for some women but no emotional attachment doesn't make that arousal any less valid.

Again, though, you don't have to act on any of this. There's no way it can have an impact on your life--good, bad, neutral, or in between--unless you want it to and take actions that would lead to it doing so.

Were you able to take a read of the article Molias linked you to?

There's also some information in the advice column I'm going to link you to below about phases and sexual orientation.
http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/how_do_i_find_out_if_im_bi_or_not

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Robin

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