I’m Alexander Cheves, a writer, author, and sex educator. My nickname is Beastly. I give adult advice on this blog — no question is off-limits. To ask me something, email AskBeastly@gmail.com or send a message via the Ask Beastly contact form.
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I’m 19 years old and I feel so lost.
Since my childhood, I was different than other kids. Especially boys. I was very fragile and shy (I still am). I played with dolls. I was hanging out only with girls. I wasn’t interested in sports, games and cars like boys were. Nothing has changed tho. In middle school, boys started to tease me for being feminine and hanging out only with girls.
Then, puberty came. Boys started to chase girls, girls were talking about boys and I was nowhere. I was wondering what’s wrong with me because I wasn’t sexually attracted neither to boys and girls. Suddenly, my hormones literally exploded. I discovered pornography and it was like whole new dimension to me. The problem was, I wasn’t into straight porn. I started to watch gay porn and I felt some strange emotions inside me. I felt desire but also shame after I’ve done some things while watching (hope you know what I mean).
This is where my problem starts. I watch gay porn since I was 13 but I feel such shame. I find male body and gay intercourses very sexually attractive in porn but in reality I don’t see men in that way. I’m kinda scared of men because I don’t have good relationship with my dad and I never had father figure in my life. I don’t have male friends. I don’t feel like man enough.
Is that because I’m afraid of admitting myself that I am gay?
I’m very dissatisfied with my looks and myself in general. I don’t know how to accept myself. I’m denying my real identity because I care what others will say. I’m not brave enough. I don’t have strength to fight for myself. I’m in very negative phase for three years. I’m very passive and anxious towards my life and future because I don’t live the life I want. I’m afraid I’m feeling like this because of repressing my sexuality.
Also, I live in very homophobic country and society here is very negative towards gay people.
My mom is supporting gay community and she asked me twice if I’m gay but I said no. Again, my fear of dealing with my struggles.
I’m in constant battle because I don’t find girls or boys attractive but I’m attracted to naked male body and sexual intercourses between them in porn.
What should I do?
Thank you, Shyboy11
I think you’re brave enough.
You might not feel brave — no 19-year-old queer person does — but you have what it takes to have an enjoyable life. I know that because your life sounds identical to the lives of countless queer men who, at your age, were uncertain about everything and anxious about their futures. Today they are happy, proud, out-of-the-closet queers. They made it. You can too.
Read my answer to someone in a similar situation. You two sound similar, except I know a little more about the other guy — I know he’s much older than you and is completely unwilling to help himself, so his situation will likely not improve. He wants to be passive and wait for someone to come along who will fill him with confidence, change the negative ways he sees his body, take away his shame, and turn him into a confident, happy man. No one is going to do that.
You might meet wonderful people who help you develop your confidence, but you must do some work to find them. You have to seek them out.
You are allowed to feel uncertain about your future, your body, your desires, and your sexual identity — because you’re 19 years old. No one has the answers at 19. No one feels certain about the future at 19. No one is sexually confident at 19.
Your fear, confusion, and uncertainty will probably lessen with age. That’s what growing up is. Right now you are in a world of new emotions and new experiences (porn, desire), and for queer people, these emotions and experiences are often frightening, conflicting, and difficult to understand. Maturing is harder for us than others because we are forced to contend with the fact that we are different from those around us. The world assumes heterosexuality, and when we don’t meet that expectation, the isolation and shame can be traumatizing — and usually is.
So, what do we do? We create our own part of the world. That’s exactly what generations of queer people have done — and they did it so well, and fought so hard for their culture and lives, that the world is now more embracing of queer people than ever before. It’s not perfect, of course, and some parts of the world are worse than others. But globally, you are coming of age at a time when it is easier than ever before to be you and to find others like you — and that’s what you have to do. Finding others should be your top priority.
There’s nothing I can say that will solve all your problems. You have to make mistakes, try new things, and grow. Again, you’re 19. You’re not supposed to know how to do anything yet.
I understand that you live in a homophobic country. Sadly I don’t know which country that is, so I can’t offer specific resources based on your location. But I can tell that you are lucky because have one major advantage: your mother supports gay people and she obviously knows you’re gay (she’s asked twice). That’s more than many queer people in homophobic countries have. That’s more than I had. For many of us, parents pose the greatest threat of homophobic abuse. It doesn’t sound like that’s your situation. Quite the contrary: it sounds like you might have at least one parent on your side.
Let me tell you something about parents: they’re older than you, they’re adults, and they know. Your mother has taken care of you since the moment you were born. She knows you’re attracted to men. She probably knew you were attracted to men before you did.
That attraction should feel perplexing right now because it’s a new thing for you. It would be strange if you weren’t at least partially conflicted and frightened by it. Nearly every queer person is uncertain of their desires at your age. My boyfriend didn’t begin to explore his attraction to men until he was several years older than you are, and today he is the most confident, sexually mature, proud gay man I know.
When I was 19, most of my friends were girls. I was afraid of men, particularly ones I thought were attractive. I didn’t have a great relationship with my father. I still don’t. You see? Most of our stories are the same. What we do with them — whether we fight for ourselves or succumb to fear — defines our adult lives.
In the coming years, you can’t wait for someone to come along who provides you with all the answers, because that person will not come. That’s a fantasy. To borrow Christian verbiage: You must take a leap of faith. Trust your feelings, even when they’re confusing and conflicting. Even when they make you feel embarrassed and ashamed.
Take risks. Talk to guys online. Try sex. Go to a place where you know gay people are. Save up money and travel to other countries that you know are welcoming of gay people. If you can, move to a country that is more welcoming. Your feelings may feel complex until you simplify them and realize you only have one choice to make: you can do whatever is necessary to explore sex and enjoy your life, or you can’t. The choice is fully yours.
You are probably a gay man. You don’t have to own that identity yet or feel comfortable with it, and that may not be the identity you settle on — you may be bisexual or pansexual or fluid or simply queer. But right now, just focus on staying safe and getting through school or finding stable work, and worry less about what you are — labels really don’t matter. Read this post and this post and this post and this post, then read this slideshow I wrote in The Advocate.
I wrote all these things for beginners like you. Because I was you. And I love you. And I’m honored to be part of the culture you’re growing into. Your people are my people. We’re family.