Sexuality Confusion

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Dear Hoopers,
I’ve been confused about my sexuality since I was 15 years old. I’m 23 with past experience with both men and women. I’ve come to think (only think) that I’m a lesbian. Now, what gets me befuddled is that I hate sex with men. I love being with women but I can only see myself marrying a man? Is this possibly due to my upbringing since my father is a Christian and that everyone expects me to marry a man? I’m tired of the confusion and I need some clarity. Any way that you can help?
-Sexuality Confusion

Dear Sexuality Confusion,
For something that is supposed to be so natural as sexuality, it sure can be confusing. There are many things that influence our experience of sex and our relationships including attraction, culture, and the people around us. As you mentioned in your question, expectations from family and friends as well as your father’s religious beliefs may be influencing you.

While these may be important to consider, you are the only person that can decide what is right for you. Know that whatever relationship you pursue, your family has the choice to support you. If they decide not to do so, that is a choice they will have to live with. I would encourage you to put yourself and your needs in the driver’s seat for this decision, as it is your life and your body. Depending on how important christian beliefs about sexuality are to this process for you, I would encourage you to read christian writers holding differing opinions.

Lastly, if you have any friends who identify as homosexual or bisexual in your life, it could be valuable to reach out to them to hear about their experiences and how they moved forward in their own process.
-Dr. Ryan

Dear Sexuality Confusion,
Sexual orientation isn’t linear, as you have already figured out. It’s okay that you haven’t assigned a clear label to your sexual orientation. Some people are sure of their sexuality as children, and others as teens. Still others continue to question their sexual orientation into adulthood. You’ve learned that figuring out your sexuality isn’t something that happens overnight. In your case it sounds like your understanding is still evolving. You aren’t alone here.

You want to marry a man. You like women. Prejudgment and discrimination can make it tough for many people to come to terms with their sexual orientation identities, so pronouncing you are a lesbian, gay or bisexual can be hard. It can also be tough when you think your family may not accept you for who you are. Although you don’t have to figure this out now, I think it is important to know that there are communities of support across the spectrum. The only person who can define your sexual identity is you.