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Forums / Sexuality and gender identity / Anxiety around sexuality, just want to calm down and let it happen naturally.

Topic: Anxiety around sexuality, just want to calm down and let it happen naturally.

12 posts, 0 answered
  1. Marcus 33
    Marcus 33 avatar
    14 posts
    3 February 2019

    Hi guys, have read many great threads on here over time and wanted to reach out and get your insight on my personal issue.

    About 3 years ago, I developed a crush on a male friend (I'm a guy), it was non-sexual or physical but a feeling of deep love and acceptance. We had a great relationship always but this really caught me off guard. I wondered if I felt this way about a same-sex friend then does this mean something more, does this mean I am "becoming" gay, or is it something that's changed in me as I had only ever dated girls in the past.

    I was just scared and have since had huge anxiety around sexuality in general, I've been seeing a therapist for the last 2 years and discussed topics around OCD, Anxiety, and they have aimed at teaching me to be more self-compassionate and accepting of any confusion as it's very normal. Even though I have no desire towards same-sex people, I still think about it obsessively and just want to make peace within myself.

    Sometimes I just want to know what this all is and just calm down around sexuality and it not be such a topic of deliberation for me, it's also not something I've felt comfortable to discuss in depth with people close to me, I have spoken about it generally but am not completely clear about what to think or how to just let it be. I've also had some lovely LGBTQ friends that I've only known in a professional setting and not completely comfortable enough to talk to them about personal things only because we don't know each other super well.

    If anyone has been through something similar I'd love to hear your thoughts and if there's anything that I can elaborate on please let me know (being mindful of word count!)

    Thanks for reading.

  2. Doolhof
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
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    Doolhof avatar
    7057 posts
    4 February 2019 in reply to Marcus 33

    Hi Marcus,

    It is understandable that you may have mixed feelings and emotions about what has happened for you regarding your male friend.

    If you don't mind me asking, is he gay at all? Do you know if he picked up on how you were feeling towards him?

    Can you determine if it was a sexual feeling or did you need what he was offering in regard to connection and friendship? I believe we can love a person of the same sex without it being sexual.

    Sometimes it is easy to talk to a person we don't know well, so your friends from the LGBTQ community may be able to help you make sense of what you are feeling.

    Do you still see this guy as a friend?

    As a female, I think we get away with being close to each other more than guys do in a way. We can have quite close, loving and caring relationships with each other without it being sexual.

    I'm sure many of us question our sexuality and how we feel towards other people.

    Hopefully you will find ways to not be so anxious in general and that will help to release some of how you are feeling. Writing about issues certainly helps me, so I hope sharing your story and feelings here helps you as well.

    Cheers for now from Dools

  3. marcus_c
    marcus_c avatar
    92 posts
    4 February 2019 in reply to Marcus 33
    Hi Marcus 33, I think Dools has made a really good point. I don't think men have the kind of vocab to describe having feelings for each other apart from thinking 'that's gay'. You've used the word crush, but then you've said it's definitely not sexual or physical. That's not a crush in the traditional sense of the word.

    It sounds like you have met an amazing friend who (hopefully) is still a part of your life. What was it that you enjoyed about his company? How was/is it different to your other friendships/relationships?

    The continuing anxiety you're having around the possibility of being gay is probably worth digging deeper into with your therapist. The fact that it is such a source of anxiety for you sounds like it's something you fear a great deal. You say you're having no same-sex attracted thoughts, only thoughts about having those thoughts, which is not the same thing. What's behind this thinking that's upsetting you so much? What would it mean to you if you were gay? How would that feel for people to think that about you, your friends, family?

    You don't have to answer any of these questions here if you don't want to, but hopefully they might give you a bit to think about.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Marcus 33
    Marcus 33 avatar
    14 posts
    4 February 2019 in reply to Doolhof

    Hi Dools and Marcus,

    Thanks for your response on this.

    He's not. In times we've spoken about it in general, he's told me he has thought about it in the past but it was safer to just "not go there". I did tell him as it became too hard to hold in and things had gotten kind of awkward between us since the time I started to have those thoughts and doubts. We've always been friends who were very open about our feelings and inner lives and had a really close bond.

    It wasn't a sexual feeling, but if I can explain. I was the friend who was a little more insecure and unsure about himself back then, and he was the outwardly confident guy who always knew what to do and what to say, I think that I developed a bit of an emotional dependence and attachment to him in that sense as it made me feel more confident to follow him around.

    If I can best explain, it was a feeling of safety and acceptance at the time, and that "nothing can go wrong" when we're together. Safe to say I was a very socially anxious and shy person. Not so much anymore (in my late 20s now).

    The gay thoughts scared the shit out of me, to be honest, and I really did obsess over it for a long time. I don't know my LGBTQ friends well enough to discuss something personal like this at the moment, but I'll look to create a moment where we can or look for an opportunity to talk if possible.

    I still see him as a friend, but we've grown apart since. We've had some misunderstandings over the years, and I feel like this may have been a catalyst to some of it... but not so sure. I've really had a hard time communicating honestly with people since this was such a large area of my life that i kept to myself and never felt like i could be open. Mostly because I didn't really understand it and wasn't comfortable.

  5. Marcus 33
    Marcus 33 avatar
    14 posts
    4 February 2019 in reply to marcus_c

    Hi Marcus,

    Thanks for your questions as well, will try to answer my best.

    If I'm completely honest, I'm most scared of being judged. In a lot of ways, for not knowing what my identity is, for not knowing my sexuality, as being someone who's unsure about such an important part of their lives, I feel like people will look down at me as someone who has no idea about themselves. I'm ashamed too. I'm scared to explore it even if it's something real, it's just a lot of fear that I've internalised. And the crazy thing is, I don't really think i have any desire towards men in that way. But I will say that the anxiety and uncertainty has culled my desire for women too at the moment, sorry for the overshare but I thought best to try and be completely open about this.

    My fear/thoughts are of "what if I'm not who I think I am, what if I really am gay, maybe I'll like it if I try it" (without a desire to do it) as if I'll be putting myself through an experiment. "Maybe you're in denial."

    Maybe I would feel like an outcast to my friends and family, I don't know how it would feel... I think people would laugh at me. Not because of being gay, but because it's because of my identity that I think I have. I think I wouldn't be accepted for it by people close to me. That might be the real fear. That I'd be rejected and made fun of.

    I feel like this has made my personal life a bit of a mess and I want to aim and get real about this and deal with it. All the advice I've gotten in the past I feel has been very passive and along the lines of "there's nothing wrong with you" and "I'm sure you'll figure it out" but it is something that I pretend doesn't bother me, but clearly it kind of does.

    I just want to know what to do.

    Thanks guys, I know this might come across as a little neurotic but it's really great to talk about. And thinking about your questions Marcus is making me frame things differently in my mind.

  6. marcus_c
    marcus_c avatar
    92 posts
    5 February 2019 in reply to Marcus 33
    Hi Marcus 33, I'm glad the questions were helpful. It sounds like that friendship was really special and helped you during a difficult time. It also sounds like maybe it was a bit of a crutch, a shield against your own fears about yourself and who you are in the world. It makes sense to me that someone who gives you those 'safe' and 'invincible' feelings would make you feel a lot of love, warmth and gratitude towards them, especially if you had never felt that way before.

    And like I said in the last post, sometimes we don't know how to interpret those feelings. Have you ever been outside when it's really really cold, and you can feel a burning sensation against your skin? But normally burning feelings are when it's hot, right? Your brain goes a bit crazy trying to figure out the feeling, because there's no different label for it. I think emotions like this are similar, but a lot more complicated.

    One thing I've learned along the way about that fear of being judged, and it was in a saying I heard that went something like, people don't think about you nearly as much as you think they do. Everyone is way too caught up in themselves to be thinking that deeply about you or your choices. And even those closest to you are primarily worried about their own lives - and probably if they are worried, it's about what you think of them!

    If I can say one other thing that might help you frame up all the stuff that's going around in your mind, it would be to think about the reactions you're having to the different scenarios you have in mind, and try to separate out 'what others will think' from 'what I want'. It's the second part that's most important, the first is something you have no control over, and will often get wrong through making assumptions.

  7. Doolhof
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Doolhof avatar
    7057 posts
    5 February 2019 in reply to Marcus 33

    Hi Marcus 33,

    One of the great things about this forum is that we can write down what is in our hearts and minds openly and share thoughts and issues we might not feel comfortable sharing with others.

    marcus_c has provided you with some wonderful ways of looking at your situation and ideas on how to view your life choices through your own eyes and not through the possible consideration or criticism from others.

    It does sound like your friend made you feel safe maybe, like you mattered and you gained from being with him.

    Hopefully you will be able to channel your own strengths. Look at the positives in your life, consider your talents and abilities and enhance those.

    It can be tough to trust people when a previous situation has not turned out as we expected or hoped. For me, I go into new relationships and connections with an open mind. If they work out well, that is fantastic, if not, then I will accept that and move on.

    People don't stay in our lives forever. Situations change. Even sexual preferences change. I'm sure there are many of us who have thought about all kinds of sexual ideas, been too afraid to try them or too ashamed maybe. I guess we have to make our choices and live with them and the consequences.

    Talking to a counsellor may well help or use a phone help line service if you don't feel you can talk openly to someone about this.

    Writing down what is bothering me helps. I try using some Cognitive Behaviour Therapy ideas to really get down to what the issues are and how I can help myself understand the situation better.

    Cheers to you from Dools

  8. Marcus 33
    Marcus 33 avatar
    14 posts
    5 February 2019 in reply to Doolhof

    Hi Dools and Marcus,

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and insights with me, it's really meant a lot. I've been thinking about what you've both told me and it's made me glad that I reached out. I do want to think about some of the things you've said but just wanted to write to say that I'm doing ok and to say thanks.

    Marcus, this part has helped me reframe things in my mind the best - "The continuing anxiety you're having around the possibility of being gay is probably worth digging deeper into with your therapist. The fact that it is such a source of anxiety for you sounds like it's something you fear a great deal. You say you're having no same-sex attracted thoughts, only thoughts about having those thoughts, which is not the same thing. What's behind this thinking that's upsetting you so much? What would it mean to you if you were gay? How would that feel for people to think that about you, your friends, family?"

    And it's really been the fear of even thinking the thoughts that have affected my life the way they have. I'd love to sit on this for a moment and come back to talk more if that's ok with you guys.

    Really appreciate your help Dools and Marcus.

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Marcus 33
    Marcus 33 avatar
    14 posts
    6 February 2019 in reply to Doolhof

    Hi Dools,

    If i can separate what I want from what others will think, I really want to move on from this relationship. It's been years since we've had a good connection, in part due to the issues and confusion that I was in. I think that we've grown apart and in a large way I've wanted to keep the relationship because of this experience and the kind of relationship we once had, but things just aren't the same anymore.

    I don't feel like we're on the same page at all, and deep down I was a little scared that if I wasn't in good stand with him that he would talk to people about my experience that I've kept hidden. I know that sounds immature, but I'm linking it back to my fear of judgment.

    That experience isn't something we've spoken about in depth since it happened, and we've sort of just swept it under the rug, but it has been very stressful for me just because i don't feel as if I've ever really cleared it up, and I want to be open about things to others when I'm ready to be.

    So, I'd like to almost share my feelings about the relationship in general and also clear the air on what happened back then so that we're on clear and honest terms in case it's best to move on from each others lives.

    Would be great to get your thoughts on this. Hope you are well.

  10. Marcus 33
    Marcus 33 avatar
    14 posts
    11 February 2019 in reply to marcus_c

    One thing I've come to realise that a lack of relationship with my father and not having a strong male figure in my life and feeling like I needed someone to guide me, which has been something that I've looked to males who have been outwardly confident and the "man with the plan". Anyway just some insight.

    I was recently seeing a girl and was really anxious about wanting to have told her about this experience, I wonder if you think I need to talk to potential partners about this? I thought that I would tell her in time if we ended up seeing each other for a while.

    My goal this week is to just try and calm myself and relax around all my thoughts and feelings, especially the ones that are about sexuality. I'd been trying to fight them off before every time they came up and that's what was making me anxious all over.

    Hope to keep chatting.

  11. marcus_c
    marcus_c avatar
    92 posts
    11 February 2019 in reply to Marcus 33
    Hi again Marcus

    That's an interesting insight to come to. I can relate to that a little as well, but more from the point of view of not having grown up with an older brother. We do look to others in our lives to fill roles that we didn't have when we were younger, or even to replicate relationships that we did have.

    In terms of, should you tell potential partners, I guess the question would be, what do you hope to gain by telling? How do you think telling a girlfriend would affect your relaltionship? Why would she need to know?

    I think you're on the right track with not trying to fight thoughts, they will appear in your mind just like other thoughts do. If you can get to a place where it's more like you're sitting on the beach watching the waves crash, without judging what's appearing in your mind, then eventually the tide goes out.
  12. Marcus 33
    Marcus 33 avatar
    14 posts
    8 April 2019 in reply to marcus_c

    Hi Marcus_c

    Hope you've been well since last messaging.

    I wanted to loop back and let you know that I'm doing well with this part of my life and managing a lot better than before. I think the thing I'm most comfortable saying is that while I don't have any sexual attraction towards men, I've always felt more comfortable with men and prefer their company to women, and I've always had deeper relationships with men, be it friends, mentors etc.

    I've not had a relationship with girls recently as it just feels weird, even though I still find women attractive, I get scared that my confusion will come up and women will find me undesirable. I think it's still a topic of confusion, so my strategy has been to just lay low and treat myself kindly for this time that I'm in where things aren't 100% clear and being ok with that.

    Anyway, I thought I'd check back in to say hey and let you know that our last chat really helped.

    Thanks

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