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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Identity » Orientation

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Author Topic: Orientation
ellaeagirl
Neophyte
Member # 36298

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Hi scarleteen,

I'm hoping for help on sexuality and identity. I've only ever dated men, I had a long term relationship a couple of years ago and a few brief ones since. They don't work out because of the same factor which ended the long term relationship, which I guess started to become more obvious to me and has got worse (worse? increased, maybe not a bad thing). I think to summarise, I'm not attracted to men. Or maybe I'm not. I can look at a strong man and think they look handsome but on a physical, genital level I'm not. I think guys assume that I'm shy or something like that when I've dated them and not wanted to do anything sexual. It's not shyness, I just really don't want to touch them or do anything with them, so I don't want to go further because it seems unfair.

That said, I don't think I'm asexual, I have, er, relations by myself. I've had sex before too and I've enjoyed it, near the end of the long term relationship I think it started to be that I enjoyed it but didn't want to have it with him. But I did have sex, to a point, out of being used to him or something, since then men haven't appealed at all in my head.

I don't know if I should be thinking I'm gay. It seems like an obvious leap to me - if I don't seem to fancy male bodies maybe it's female ones? I have fantasised about women, I used to do it more but I felt guilty about it, as if I wasn't allowed to encourage the idea of it, it might make it real, but I'm trying to think more accepting-ly about myself. In reality I try to imagine being with a woman and I go blank, I can't, I can't imagine how it would be.

Dating, with men, recently has been getting so awkward. I get on with them well and I think a lot of them but as soon as the sex question comes up (any kind or form of sex) it's as if my mind shrinks away from them very fast.

Do you have any help you can give me to figure this out? Thank you.

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Ella

Posts: 2 | From: Scotland, United Kingdom | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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We say this a lot, as you may have noticed reading other questions like this, but orientation is about who a person is attracted TO, not who a person is NOT attracted to.

So, in asking, "Am I lesbian?" The pertinent question isn't "Am I not attracted to men?" but "Am I strongly or exclusively attracted to women?"

In thinking about this, put aside however you feel about men. It isn't relevant. What's relevant is how you feel about women. And sexual orientation isn't just physical: it's about physical AND emotional attraction.

If you come to the conclusion that you're also not strongly attracted to women, or don't feel comfortable with female genitals either, it may simply be that at this point in your life, you're just not at a point where you're up to close physical intimacy. Or, it may be that you haven't met anyone you got close enough to for that to feel right, you getting up close and personal with any given set of genitals or a whole body. Maybe even with that long-term partner, you liked him, you lived him, but you weren't all that sexually attracted to him (without real sexual chemistry, it can feel weird and oddly clinical to be sexual with someone).

But what I'm hearing so far is that you're attracted to men in every way but wanting to be close to their genitals, and have fantasized about women as well, and think you might be gay because of not feeling attracted to male genitals. And as of right now, those things alone don't really spell out lesbian. They don't make it not so, either, but as I explained above, when someone is lesbian, the primary focus of conversation when it comes to orientation will tend to be about women, not men; about being strongly attracted to women physically and emotionally, not about an aversion to one aspect of men. When you meet a girl (or girls) who really, truly leaves you jelly-kneed, spins your head around and makes your heart ache, and you find yourself just thinking ohmyGAWDshe's SOamazing -- and not just per her genitals, but her whole person -- then it's salient to be thinking about homosexuality or bisexuality.

Make sense?

[ 12-30-2007, 10:30 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ellaeagirl
Neophyte
Member # 36298

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Thanks Heather, yes that does make sense and I see what you mean. It's got me thinking about it.

It muddles me up a bit that I went to an all girls school for a lot of years. I remember when I was an early teen having sort of ideas of things happening with some of the girls around me, but I knew they weren't 'right' ideas and dismissed them, kind of. I then got sent to a mixed school and was told to expect to fancy lots of boys, I was really surprised that I wasn't attracted to any of them.

I think I developed a kind of attraction to men from their personality. I get on so well with them and it's easy around them, but that was the problem with the long term boyfriend - I was attracted apart from the physical. I think the physical just started to become more important to me as I got older.

I feel awkward around women a lot more and it's harder to make friends. I know I see women and think they're stunning but I assume everyone thinks that, yet I don't really think that about men. I'll have to think about this more, I'll post again. Thanks.

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Ella

Posts: 2 | From: Scotland, United Kingdom | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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In terms if feeling awkward around women, a couple of thoughts:

That awkwardness CAN be romantic/sexual interest. Sometimes it does make us feel flustered, after all!

Too, it's pretty common (nature or nurture, who knows which) for women to have a tough time connecting, especially in young adulthood. There are certainly a lot of cultural barriers put up between women that encourage that disconnection, after all.

So, might want to think about those things, and it might also be helpful to figure out of that emotional comfort you have with men is really about attraction/sex/romance or if it's more about platonic friendship. It's possible that like you were told very directly, you've gotten the cultural message that you are "supposed to" have sexual feelings for boys and men, and so that's influenced you.

Again, as a third party, the best thing I can do in a situation like this is to make observations based on what you say and pose some questions for you. Can't deliver an edict on any of this, but usually questions do tend to lead to answers. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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