Accepting my sexuality

Questions and discussion about your sexuality and how it's a part of who you are as a person.
Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 8460
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:06 am
Age: 31
Awesomeness Quotient: I raise carnivorous plants
Primary language: english
Pronouns: she/her
Sexual identity and orientation: queer
Location: Desert

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Theansweris42,

I'm glad you find this a safe, supportive space for you!

You know, I think those feelings (and your fears about those feelings) about your grandmother tie into a bigger pattern of what you've expressed here where you really struggle with reactions or emotions that feel outside of what you "should" be doing. Something that can be really helpful for that is to remember that, ultimately, our actions tend to be the things that matter more than our thoughts or our gut-level emotional reactions to things. I come down pretty heavily on the side of it being what people choose to do (or not do) that makes them a good person (which is a thorny category all on its own).

Too, we may have touched on this before, but it's often helpful to ground yourself in the reality that our reactions to, and feelings about, a given situation are often more complex or mixed than we assume they should be. So having those weird mixtures isn't good or bad; it just is.
Theansweris42
not a newbie
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:24 pm
Age: 19
Pronouns: She/her
Location: Europe

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Theansweris42 »

Thank you for reminding me that, it is sometimes too easy to forget such things even if I know them and  you have told me them many times. Just yesterday I was saying to a friend something along these lines, that it is absolutely okay to not understand all of our feelings, there are tens of chemicals and tens of bilions of neurons in our brain and not even the extra advanced modern science understands in detail how does all this work, so it's not surprising we can't always fit what we feel in those pretty tight and binary boxes like sad and happy or good or bad...
I don't know why I'm always so quick to judge myself so harshly, maybe because I don't interact with many people regularly I don't get much feedback about my actions so the only subjects that remain for me to judge are my thoughts.

It's just that how can there ever be some fairness when I dislike people who never did me any harm and like those who did...I know there won't ever be some ultimate justice for all, but at least in basic human interactions there should be and I don't want to treat people, however inadvertently, unfairly.
nicole
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 163
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2022 11:18 am
Age: 20
Awesomeness Quotient: I have a guinea pig
Primary language: ENG, ESP, RUS
Pronouns: she/her
Sexual identity and orientation: Queer
Location: Baltimore, MD-Washington D.C.

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by nicole »

Hey Theansweris42,

You're totally right about how it's okay to not understand our feelings--you really have a lot of self-awareness and should give yourself more credit for it! We will naturally perceive our actions much more harshly than the people around us, it's just part of human nature. This doesn't necessarily mean that anything is wrong with you or that you lack exposure to social situations.

With that, your last statement alone kind of contradicts what you told your friend. This seems like it's part of not understanding all of your feelings at a given moment. It might take some time for things to really set in and for you to reflect on why you felt a certain way at that moment and what was going on in your life/environment/etc. I do want to ask though, what makes you think that you treat people unfairly in basic human interactions? Is this stemming from your thoughts about your grandmother or something else?
Theansweris42
not a newbie
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:24 pm
Age: 19
Pronouns: She/her
Location: Europe

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Theansweris42 »

Well, she is just one of those who I have no real reason to dislike, who never hurt me or never meant to, but I still feel very uncomfortable around several of those people. And of course I'm not expressly mean or rude to those people so I'm not hurting them directly, but I myself know how terribly it hurts when someone you care about and are always kind to doesn't like you back for no obvious reason, it makes you doubt yourself, question everything you do around that person and in the end you feel like and terrible selfish attention seeker. And I don't want to make other people feel like that, it's just not fair.
And when I know I'm like that how can I ever know who really isn't a good person to be around and who just my stupid mind decided not to like. Like fucking up my own life wouldn't be enough I have to hurt so many other people including my family along the way...
Sorry, there's probably no point in trying to talk some sense into me now (or ever), I've been feeling like shit the past couple days for no reason at all, I know, it's like a never-ending cycle with me
nicole
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 163
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2022 11:18 am
Age: 20
Awesomeness Quotient: I have a guinea pig
Primary language: ENG, ESP, RUS
Pronouns: she/her
Sexual identity and orientation: Queer
Location: Baltimore, MD-Washington D.C.

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by nicole »

Hi! I understand what you mean and honestly, I'm not sure how to help you change how you feel then. I've had some experiences where I just could not get along or agree with particular people based on a feeling, but not because they did anything to me to cause this dislike for them. I would just recommend staying civil and respectful, even when your emotions lean the other way. This will help the other person not feel like they're disliked for no reason. I hope this makes sense.

With that, have these people openly expressed that they feel hurt by you? In what ways do you think that they know that you dislike them for no particular reason? I'm just trying to figure out if these are assumptions or not.

Please let me know if any of this resonates with you at all.
Theansweris42
not a newbie
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:24 pm
Age: 19
Pronouns: She/her
Location: Europe

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Theansweris42 »

Thank you!
Well, the only person I can now think of who said something like that directly is my mum but probably all of the other relationships are too low-stakes for people to openly demand closeness or affection even if they'd deserve it.
Anyway, tomorrow I have the appointment with the therapist that I've talked about a lot here. Surprisingly I'm not as nervous as I thought I would be, probably because I didn't have time to worry about that for all the family trouble lately. But still, I'm far from okay regarding this...
If you don't think it's a totally bad idea I'll probably just ask her what does she think about the fact that she is also my mum's friend and I was forced to talk to her and then tell her that I'm not comfortable with that and that I don't think it's exactly ethical. Hopefully she will leave me alone after that. And hopefully she will be professional enough to not tell my mum that, because she told me to not even dare to say I'm not there willingly. But I guess it'd be quite visible anyway and I don't know how else to start the conversation. I have about hundred things I could ask her about but I probably wouldn't be able to talk to her even if I trusted her and wasn't afraid she might tell my parents.
Well, I just want it to be over and my parents and doctors  to leave me alone
Michaela
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 91
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2022 12:16 pm
Age: 21
Awesomeness Quotient: I pronounce milk like melk
Primary language: English
Pronouns: she/her
Sexual identity and orientation: Queer
Location: All over the US

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Michaela »

Hi 42,

I think it is totally reasonable to talk to her about those things and even ask about what her credentials are, her confidentiality, additionally stressing how you do not feel comfortable and safe talking to her. You could also bring up (I think it was said previously in this thread) asking her about a referral to a different mental health professional who you would feel more comfortable with.

As you've acknowledged, this has been a very stressful and exhausting time with everything you are dealing with around your parents and doctors so I wanted to add in a little comment to remind you to be kind and gentle with yourself tomorrow (and every other day). That could look like practicing some self-care by setting aside some time tomorrow to do something you find restful/relaxing or even employing some of those grounding strategies we talked about way back when if the day starts to feel overwhelming for you.

We will be thinking about you tomorrow and hoping for good things. Let us know how it goes and how we can support you after that meeting.
Theansweris42
not a newbie
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:24 pm
Age: 19
Pronouns: She/her
Location: Europe

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Theansweris42 »

If you were waiting to hear how the appointment went I'm sorry I didn't reply sooner. I wanted to wait till I at least somehow sort my thoughts and talk with my parents about what they want to do next etc. But neither has happened yet.

Anways, it wasn't that bad, or at least I think so. It could have definitely been much worse. But I didn't have any clear idea what I want or don't want from it so I don't know if it went good for me or not. But I don't understand why when it wasn't terrible or anything I've been feeling so bad since... or maybe it isn't because of that. It probably doesn't even matter.
While I actually learned, mostly thanks to you, how to cope with stress at a given moment so it doesn't get too overwhelming, there's always the background bad feeling/stress/despair or whatever that's so tiring and I can't do anything with that. And I realized that in a few weeks it'll be a year since I first came here and how much time and emotional labor you all have sacrificed to help me. And even though I've definitely learnt a lot and many things have gotten better I can't say I was able to significantly move on and change for the better, I just keep finding new problems... It's like walking in an endless swamp - pulling one leg free just to sink in deeper with the other. And the only thing I can give you back for all the time, advice and support, is my gratefulness and however big it is, it's just not enough and not fair to you, especially without the prospect that I'll get better and less dependent any time soon.
I can try to stop (over)using this place but unfortunately I'm not sure if I'm not too weak for that. So even though I know I keep repeating that I want you to know that all you need to do to make me stop coming here is telling me that or not replying at all.
nicole
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 163
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2022 11:18 am
Age: 20
Awesomeness Quotient: I have a guinea pig
Primary language: ENG, ESP, RUS
Pronouns: she/her
Sexual identity and orientation: Queer
Location: Baltimore, MD-Washington D.C.

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by nicole »

Hi Theansweris42,

I'm glad your appointment didn't go terribly or anything along those lines! Are you thinking about having a conversation with your parents about the appointment or are you just expecting them to bring it up to you? Everything you discuss with your therapist is confidential so you don't owe an explanation of details to anyone.

With that, did you end up finding out more about your therapist's credentials and/or confidentiality agreement? Did you ask her about any other mental health specialists that you can contact? I feel like these aspects are important to discuss before figuring out what you want to gain from therapy, especially from this provider. From what you've described, there may be some risks involved, such as the therapist breaching confidentiality by knowing your parents. We also are unsure if she actually specializes in counseling. Do you know anything about that?

I'm glad that we've been able to help you. Sometimes I also feel like life can just be endless problems, one after another, but it's just part of being human. It is ultimately up to you to stop using our platform. We do assist in general support, so you technically aren't using our services incorrectly. With that, we can't tell you to stop coming back here unless you do something against our guidelines. The decision to stop responding to the thread is entirely up to you. I want to emphasize that if you decide to stop responding for now, we are here for you when you need us.
Theansweris42
not a newbie
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:24 pm
Age: 19
Pronouns: She/her
Location: Europe

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Theansweris42 »

Thank you

So, I've realized that this "I'm sorry for everything, I'm never coming here again" whenever I feel little down but never actually proceeding to do that might stem not only from some need to create drama and get attention but also from the fact that I just can't see you as an anonymous means of getting information and advice. I see you as unique whole people who I deeply admire, like interacting with, would love to get to know better and in all honesty just overall as someone who I want to make a good impression on and most importantly someone to whose life I want to bring something good, even though I know any of these is just not possible. Plus in majority of my friendships and other relationships I've been only on the giving side and with the lack of feedback, especially negative, I can't help but feel like I'm doing everything or at least something wrong here...
So, if nothing of what I've written is not a problem for you (and that "technically" doesn't hold a sarcastic undertone) I'll try to keep in mind that the feeling that I'm doing something wrong is hopefully just mine and that you'd tell me if I was doing anybody any harm.

As for the therapist, I didn't ask her directly about that, sorry, I'm too cowardly...
She did tell me to email her if I want a reference to a clinical psychologist or CBT therapy, but I don't think I'm gonna do that for several reasons. The only thing my parents have said so far is that they expect me to continue going to her but I don't think they'll force me to any time soon as they have many far more important troubles than me right now and we rarely even talk these days.

Anyway, I even reseached if there's anything like an email/chat therapy as I think it might unfortunately be the only thing that'd work for me, but the options are very limited and it's too expensive, I don't think I'll ever have enough money to afford it...

Funny that now I've changed my mind and am actively thinking about getting some mental health care I'm not able to get it. I definitely don't need it to survive, even doing schoolwork or chores is not a huge problem for me most days, it's just that often I got no energy left for things I'd like to do like talking with and meeting new people, figuring out how to live on my own, hobbies, being a more useful part of the household, society and a better friend...
At the same time I'm thinking if and how much do I even need therapy or something like this. On one hand if someone else told me they are struggling with something similar like I sometimes am I'd definitely advice them to find a psychologist/therapist. But on the other hand I know that no matter how bad I feel it always pass and everything is more or less okay again, that my emotions don't match the severity of the situation and when I really need to to be okay I can be - I might feel like there is no hope in anything anymore but normally go to school the next day like nothing happend. Maybe what I need is to learn to suck it up and not focus on myself so much.
So even though I understand everyone is different and everyone deserves help no matter the severity of their problems, I'd like to ask - what would you consider as a seriousness of a problem that needs (urgent) attention of a mental health care specialist and isn't someting someone could deal with on their own? Especially regarding things like eating disorders, self-harm and anxiety. Some people say that the line is when it's starts to significantly impact yours school/worklife and that definitely doesn't apply to me. I just want to know if I should encourage thoughts telling me to get help or those telling the opposite, if you know what I mean.
nicole
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 163
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2022 11:18 am
Age: 20
Awesomeness Quotient: I have a guinea pig
Primary language: ENG, ESP, RUS
Pronouns: she/her
Sexual identity and orientation: Queer
Location: Baltimore, MD-Washington D.C.

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by nicole »

Hello! There was no sarcasm at all in my response, we're happy to help! We also get to know our users well and form good relationships so they feel comfortable coming to us with their questions. I'm glad that we've created a welcoming space for you.

In my opinion, I think everyone could benefit from seeing a therapist. You don't have to necessarily be going through something to see one, it's just all part of self-care. Seeing a clinical psychologist or pursuing CBT therapy sounds like a great idea, but I understand that it can be costly and you're having second thoughts. I do want to mention again that we aren't professionals so seeking other forms of guidance might be useful as well.

From your last paragraph, I think it might be beneficial to share some of these thoughts you're having with a therapist. You wrote "I might feel like there is no hope in anything anymore," which in and of itself sounds concerning. Telling yourself to "suck it up" might not be the best way to go about it--there might be more that you need to unpack with a professional. These feelings may not be hindering you from everyday tasks, but who knows what'll happen in the near future. Also, you spoke about genuinely wanting to improve yourself as a person--therapy can help with that! With all of that being said, I think therapy would be really helpful for you. It might just be part of being proactive for your overall well-being. If anything, we can definitely try to locate some resources for therapy that is virtual and/or inexpensive. Are you interested in that?
Theansweris42
not a newbie
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:24 pm
Age: 19
Pronouns: She/her
Location: Europe

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Theansweris42 »

Thank you,
right now I can't see how it'd ever work out, especially when it comes to my parents and money. But if anyone wants to try searching for some options I'd really appreciate it! If it turns out to be impossible right now I will at least have some good resources to recommend to other people around me.

(I also wanted to share one other thing - you might remember that some time ago I complained about not being allowed to keep my hair short. Because I don't spend much time with the rest of my family these days I've hoped noone might notice and cut my hair. Just a tiny bit so visually it's not much of a difference, but it feels incredibly amazing anyway : D ! It's probably a bit silly to be so emotional about a few millimeters of hair but I guess it's mostly having control over my own body that makes me feel so good.)
Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 8460
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:06 am
Age: 31
Awesomeness Quotient: I raise carnivorous plants
Primary language: english
Pronouns: she/her
Sexual identity and orientation: queer
Location: Desert

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Theansweris42,

Hooray for getting to make changes you want to your appearance, no matter how small!

When it comes to mental health resources, it does look like Betterhelp and a few other online/app-based resources might be accessible in your area. We may have touched on this in the past, but if you're in school a counselor there (if you have one) might be able to help you find a more accessible, local referral.
Theansweris42
not a newbie
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:24 pm
Age: 19
Pronouns: She/her
Location: Europe

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Theansweris42 »

Hi,

Sadly there's no counselor ar our school right now and there won't be any time soon.
Thank you for that recommendation, unfortunately all options I've seen so far are still way out of my budget (most countries are just expensive for us in comparison with
our country).
What I'd like the best would be an option to tell a few things to some mental health care specialist and get their unbiased clear opinion, preferably over an email or something similar. They are things I can't talk about here or anywhere else but I probably should do something about them.
I've found several providers offering this "one enail question and one email answer" servis online but all either don't take new customers or are too expensive for me... But I'd I got an expert's opinion if, why and what kind of help I might potentially deserve or need, it might then be even possible to ask my parents to agree with or even pay for therapy if I don't make any mistake until then and play it right.
I hate how my relationship with them sometimes seems like a game - if I do what I'm supposed to, say, do or wear things they want me to,  I can win approval, kindness, freedom, privacy and, really importantly, their or other people's happiness. And sometimes it's so hard not to play by their rules, sometimes I'm unable to follow them and sometimes I don't even know what the rules are. It's probably because Christmas preparations are something that happens more or less the same every year so it makes it quite easy to compare the years with each other, but I'm realising how significant have the relationships and overall atmosphere in our family shifted for the worse during this year and I can't help blaming myself for that and I don't know what to do about it either. I wish I could skip Christmas and other family activities altogether, it's just pretending we are something we are not...

Anyway I hope all of you especially in the US are safe and warm in the cold weather
Mo
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 2286
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:57 pm
Awesomeness Quotient: I'm always wearing seriously fancy nail polish.
Primary language: English
Pronouns: he/him, they/them
Sexual identity and orientation: queer/bisexual

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Mo »

I know this time of year can make family difficulties a lot more stressful. There can be a lot of pressure to do everything the "right" way, or take part in traditions you don't enjoy or feel connected to because that's just the way things are, etc. It can add a lot of strain on relationships that are already difficult!
I know we've said it before, but it isn't healthy or fair to you that they make you feel like you have to follow these rules you aren't even being told about in order to keep the peace. :( I hope you're able to have some time to yourself that's soothing or at least peaceful.
Theansweris42
not a newbie
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:24 pm
Age: 19
Pronouns: She/her
Location: Europe

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Theansweris42 »

Thanks!
I in fact had a really nice day yesterday. Everyone else went away for the afternoon to visit my grandma in a hospital but I couldn't go because I have a little cold so I stayed at home to do the cooking and other stuff. But I managed a short walk and I felt safe enough to watch one queer film, my first ever, and I really enjoyed it! That's kind of an advantage of not having an access to queer media on a daily basis, I'm always extremely happy when I can watch/read something :D

I also wanted to ask if maybe someone knows some books that are considered 'classics' that have LGBT+, feminist or any other nice-to-read/inspirational topics or at least subtext. Because many libraries have a lots of classic or older literature available online for free (plus most people wouldn't think it's an queer book). That's how I for example was able to read Orlando by V. Woolf, the Handmaid's tale, the Parable series by O. Butler or the Picture of Dorian Gray. I really liked all of these and would love to read anything similar. I'd of course prefer to be able to buy books and support bookshops and authors but right now I can't. So if there are any other books like this that you know about I'd really appreciate any recommendations :)
nicole
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 163
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2022 11:18 am
Age: 20
Awesomeness Quotient: I have a guinea pig
Primary language: ENG, ESP, RUS
Pronouns: she/her
Sexual identity and orientation: Queer
Location: Baltimore, MD-Washington D.C.

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by nicole »

Hello! I'm glad you had a nice day yesterday! What movie did you watch? You definitely caught me at the right time because I love sharing queer, feminist, or queer-adjacent literature with people. Also, I really like The Picture of Dorian Gray--Oscar Wilde is so good. All of the books you read are fantastic!

Most of these are available online, here are some recommendations for now:
  • Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde (I love this book so much)
  • Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg (major trigger warning as there is content with sexual assault and police brutality)
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (not queer but very powerful read for women and femmes)
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker (gothic classic, kind of homoerotic)
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (a classic, not exactly queer but many, including myself, interpret it as queer)
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (not a classic but still good)
If you have any other specific themes in these genres then please let me know and I'll brainstorm some other books!
Theansweris42
not a newbie
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:24 pm
Age: 19
Pronouns: She/her
Location: Europe

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Theansweris42 »

I watched  The half of it (because I discovered it's possible to delete Netflix viewing history) and for me it was a really nice mix of lighthearted but touching, cute but not too romantic and funny but real.

Than you so much for the lovely list! I can't even decide what to read first :D. Probably the book by Audre Lorde. Some time ago I read a short essay by her (I can't unfortunately remember it's name), it was really powerful and ever since I've wanted to check more of her work but never did.

I've never realised the potential queer interpretation of The Great Gatsby but thinking of it now definitely makes sense. I remember how I liked how I wasn't exactly sure who likes who through the story. Thank you for the new perspective!

And yeah, Oscar Wild is great! I liked pretty much everything by him I've read so far and I have A LOT of notes full of quotes from his work :)
Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 9050
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
Age: 52
Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
Primary language: english
Pronouns: they/them
Sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Chicago

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Heather »

Hey there, my fellow Hitchhiker's fan. :). I just wanted to swing by your thread while I was here today and check in on you.
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
Theansweris42
not a newbie
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:24 pm
Age: 19
Pronouns: She/her
Location: Europe

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Theansweris42 »

Hi and thank you so much, that's so kind of you <3

(Whenever I put in my username I remember how I first came here and you knew what it means, it was such a nice surprise :) )

I don't have anything new to talk about at the moment, I'm just tired from all the holiday and family stress. But thank you so much for checking in, it made my day and it means more to me than you'd think.

Hope you and everyone else are well!
nicole
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 163
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2022 11:18 am
Age: 20
Awesomeness Quotient: I have a guinea pig
Primary language: ENG, ESP, RUS
Pronouns: she/her
Sexual identity and orientation: Queer
Location: Baltimore, MD-Washington D.C.

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by nicole »

Hi! Definitely make sure to get some rest and take some time to do things that make you relaxed and happy! I know this time of the year can be stressful and overwhelming, so please try to find some time to take care of yourself! We're always here for you when you need us!
Theansweris42
not a newbie
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:24 pm
Age: 19
Pronouns: She/her
Location: Europe

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Theansweris42 »

Hi and thank you for those kind words <3

I would like to share something off topis but after a long time something that's not entirely unrelated to the name of this thread, lol.

Because of some medical issues I've had a lot of ultrasound examinations and several times it incidentally showed an ovarian cyst (that type that's absolutely normal and goes away after some time). I never cared about it, but yesterday the doctor uttered that the often occurrence might mean I have higher levels of testosterone. First I didn't think about it much and even kind of liked the thought (but I'm not sure if it's because I kinda like to adapt a more 'masculine' appearance lately or I was just happy the examination was over and projected it onto this). But soon it just made me really confused, even if I'm not sure testosterone really plays a role in an appearance of those cysts (some online sources mention it but most don't, but I also have some other traits that might be a result of higher levels of it), I can't help thinking that if it was true then it means it also affects my mind and somehow caused my sexual orientation or how I want to look like and that my feelings are therefore not real and not deserved.
I know it goes directly against the fact that bodies don't define who we are and stems just from some prejudices and misconceptions. But I can't help overthinking it... (or maybe I'm just projecting stress from other parts of my life on that). I know that if I told about this my family or many other people they'd say that it's definitely just a result of hormones and I should be lucky I'm not actually queer or something like that

I'm not sure why I'm writing all this, I guess I just want a reassurance (that even if I had some hormonal disbalance it wouldn't make my feelings less valid) but I don't know how to ask for it...
Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 9050
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
Age: 52
Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
Primary language: english
Pronouns: they/them
Sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Chicago

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Heather »

Hey there. I actually love talking hormones, and had to dig deeper in research about the hormones often called “sex” hormones for my last book, so this is totally up my alley.

I need some more coffee and to get settled in for the day first, but I’ll circle back on this shortly!

Don’t panic. ;)
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
Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 9050
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
Age: 52
Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
Primary language: english
Pronouns: they/them
Sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Chicago

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Heather »

So, not only do bodies not define who we are, hormones don't either. They also don't have a lot of the properties that have been assigned to them by people, and don't work in a lot of the ways many of us have assumed they must because of those cultural frameworks they have been given.

One thing that really struck me when I was doing the menopause book was how much I saw out there that would talk about hormones -- particularly estrogen, progesterone and testosterone -- being "unbalanced" and ways to "balance" them. There's a lot that's problematic with that.

First up, we can't actually "balance" hormones, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that there isn't one right or ideal "balance" of them. Not only are the levels of those and other hormones in a constant state of flux, namely because our whole bodies are, there's also no one or even general right way for hormones to be, and that very much includes our ideas about them when it comes to things like gender or other parts of our identities. We can do some things to influence those hormone levels -- like with medications that provide synthetic versions of them, or by some behaviors, like increased exercise -- so that we feel more like we may want to in some regard, but ultimately, the diversity of hormones in all our bodies is so great that, IMHO, the whole notion of an objective "balance" or "imbalance" of them is a problematic viewpoint. (It also is in line with a lot of the ableism we see in medical frameworks, that suggests there is a right or normal body, and all other bodies are deviations, you know?)

Hormones don't have gender.

Everyone has all of these sex hormones in our bodies, and there also isn't one amount of each that makes us a given gender. How these and other hormones worked, and their levels, in utero have to do with how our bodies develop and what kind of reproductive organs we will have. The same can be said for how they are in puberty in terms of how those organs and systems (which have zip to do with our sexual orientation) further develop and on what timetable. Even the framework of having "higher" or "lower" hormone levels is just based on very broad and yet highly limited averages, and/or what a given person who uses those frameworks has personally observed. In reality, based on what we know from both science and from truly diverse observations, all of this -- like so much of human life -- tends to be much more variable and diverse than people think.

There's no science out there that I have ever seen that supports the idea that how high or low hormone levels of things like estrogen and testosterone are has anything to do with sexual orientation, but I can think of a lot of study that supports the premise that they do NOT. You're right: the idea they do, be it yours or a family members, is going to be coming mostly from ignorance about the science of hormones and from homophobia and other bias. To boot, even the historical scientific framework of these hormones (and people) as male or female is itself based on bias and on the idea that our bodies and people are much more binary than we actually are. A sounder and more modern scientific framework of all of this tends to reject binarism and instead support a more diverse framework.

You're right: the idea that ovarian cysts are about "increased" or "excess" androgens isn't really supported. PCOS, which can be one cause of these cysts, is associated with higher testosterone levels than many people with a uterus and without PCOS, but that's a separate conversation.

That all said, we all get to feel how we feel about any hormones -- be they sex hormones or stress hormone or thyroid hormones, what have you. If they feel like part of our identity, we get to have them feel that way. If people want to associate them with gender for themselves, they get to. I'd just always vote on checking in on making sure that's serving you. If your associations make you feel bad instead of good, it might be worth a rethink.

I'm happy to babble on more about this or dig in deeper to some part of it if you want!
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
Theansweris42
not a newbie
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:24 pm
Age: 19
Pronouns: She/her
Location: Europe

Re: Accepting my sexuality

Unread post by Theansweris42 »

Thank you for the long and great answer and explanation! Sometimes I just need a new perspective of a problem to see that it's actually not in fact even a problem.
You really helped me ease those unreasonable worries (and the Don't panic reference was helpful too :D ).

Every day I see how much I still have to unlearn, learn and understand about myself, people and the world. It's just so much and I won't ever know everything and maybe even not enough but I'm so grateful to this place for an immense help with the learning and understanding of many important aspects of life. (I say its so much to learn but on a second thought it all comes to just a few things like - everyone is expert on their own body, feeling and experiences.)

And the more I learn the more aware I am of how much the society and the world has yet to learn and change. There is still so much hate and ignorance present in so many forms. Politicians and other people with power argue that their hands are tied that there is a pandemic and a war and not enough money to make any changes and people's life better. But so much good could be done and so many people could be happier without money but rather just by opening our eyes and hearts for diversity, other people's stories and feelings and for the possibility of change. I feel like so much could be different if those in power who can make their voices be heard did just this one small change in their thinking (everyone would benefit from this not just those who are now seen as different). It seems so easy but almost impossible at the same time. And I wish that one day I'll learn enough and get stronger to be able to be part, however small, of this potential change for the better, because I believe it's possible.

Sorry, got carried away a little. I guess I'm just in this 'overidealistic, overinvested, not-understanding-all-consequences' stage of life, lol.

Anyway, back to the topic and me personally. I'm probably just really caught up in being afraid of what people around me might think or say that I forget to check what I feel. So rethinking some ideas like you suggested would probably be really helpful. Lately I'm slowly trying to learn to recognise and step away from all these prejudices and assumptions especially about gender, because right now it's just stressing me out and I hope that one day I'll be stronger or will get away from those people whose judgement I fear so much and freely and on my own figure out who I am and maybe even discovering I don't even need to know it along the way.


I have just one hormones related question - is there some scientific explanation to why might some changes in them, for instance during menstrual cycle or menopause, cause changes in mood? Sorry if there is no answer to this.

And if you'd like to talk about anything more or had some other resources to share, I'd be happy to learn more as I find all of this really interesting :)
Post Reply Previous topicNext topic