“I am not sure I am straight anymore. Since I was 15 I have been having sex with women but sex isn’t as plesurable (sic) as it used to be. I used to enjoy straight porn (I have been watching a lot of it) When I was much younger I used to fantasize about oral sex with my neighbor who is also a guy. I find gay and TV videos to be exciting but I used to have more fantasies about women not men. Now I just want to be alone but I love women. So I feel lost.” P.J., 20

Dear P.J.,

It’s disconcerting to get to the end of your early sexual life. At only 20-21, your body is slowing down as your adolescent growth spurt ends. I do not see an issue with your sexual orientation as primary. First of all it is normal for young people to fantasize about friends or acquaintances of the same gender. Secondly, sexual orientation can be fluid and even though we live in a world where every social network ask us “who we are interested in”, nobody is obligated to announce to the world their sexual orientation and making a huge fuss over it is very ‘déplacé’*. You are still growing and exploring who you are in all aspects of life. Something that could be useful to you in the next little while is putting away the pornography. I am not saying this because pornography is bad… actually it’s kind of magical. Pornography has a way of pushing our brain buttons causing excitement, surprise, awe, excitement, again and again but it is very passive. It is purposefully created to push your buttons and play you like a video game. Increasingly we see this methodology applied to social media sites like Pinterest and Tumblr with their never-ending displays of beautiful topical pictures. It’s like brain crack! However, it tires the buttons after a while causing a lowering of sex drive and sometimes depression and anxiety (or what I like to call restless brain syndrome). A way to override that tiresome effect is changing the porn. Looking at gay porn or transsexual porn is a way to put the spice back in. Again, this is not entirely unusual amongst people who watch porn regularly but it isn’t a solution.

One way to be gay is to continually encounter guys you think are cute but that’s not a guarantee. Another way to be gay is to fall in love with a guy and want to be with him all the time but that’s not a guarantee. Another way to be gay is to want to kiss, cuddle and have sex with guys and spend a considerable amount of time trying to achieve that goal. Alternatively, you could hang out with a group of gay friends and suddenly think: “Holy fuck, I feel exactly in the right place right now!” I am sorry but the simple act of fantasizing about getting a blowjob from a guy doesn’t make you gay or even bi. In order to know who you are, and you are at the exact time in your life where these questions pop up and cause anxiety, you have to explore a social life where you get to meet a lot of people and develop friendships. Try to get to know people as individuals outside of the possibility of them being potential sex partners. You can connect with these people through shared interests, clubs, meetups, etc…

It is not a good idea to seek out sexual or life partners while you are depressed. Attack the source of your depression and anxiety which is likely the regular consumption of pornography. It will cost you nothing to test out this solution with 1 month of mindful living. There might be something that triggers the need to go and watch porn, often it is simply boredom. First, take the porn off the easily accessible devices like your cell phone! One way to counteract boredom is to accomplishing something you have wanted to do for a while. Pick something that needs to be done in many steps so that whenever boredom strikes you can cross off another task on the list. This will lower your anxiety and perhaps get rid of your depression.

I was quite happy to find a support thread on the postmasculine forum called the No-More_porn Thread. Postmasculine is a very straight blog but the support thread probably contains descriptions of life situations that match yours. It also contains several descriptions of the actual benefits enjoyed by those who are taking part in the challenge which include increased libido, decreased anxiety and increased intimacy.

If after a month you still feel awful and conflicted, seek out a counselor who can provide help on a regular basis or suggest a support group. If you seek out a professional, take time finding one who is LGBT or alt friendly.

Be well and do well!,

* Déplacé is the contrary of ‘de rigueur‘ 🙂