[Two Pronged] Gay and impotent
Rappler's Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.
Jeremy has a master's degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives.
Hi Dr Holmes and Mr Baer,
I would like to get your advice on my situation. I am about to turn 38 and I'm still single. I think I am gay since I've never had any relationships or sexual encounters with women since birth. On the other hand, I've had numerous sexual encounters with men but never had a long-term relationship. I still get attracted to some women and this makes me confused if I am really gay. Only a couple of friends know my being gay. I have not told my family about it but I think they have an idea and just don't discuss it with me.
They are also pressuring me to get married since I am already in my late 30s. One of the things that make me wonder why I have not had any sex with women is because of my impotence. I came to this realization because whenever I have sex with men and they want me to penetrate them, my tool loses its hardness. That is why whenever I have sex with men, I only have them perform oral sex on me and I will have to masturbate in order to ejaculate. I am also a chronic masturbator since I've done this every day since I was a teenager. I hope you can give me advice on what is really wrong with me.
Thank you for your email, which reminds me of one of my favorite (though possibly fictional) Turkish proverbs: "A woman for duty / A boy for pleasure / But a melon for ecstasy."
You say that you think you are gay because you have never had a sexual encounter with a woman, you imply that you are gay because you have had encounters with men, yet you also acknowledge that you still are attracted to some women.
Without knowing more, it is of course impossible to be definitive but this combination suggests that you are more likely to be bisexual than either gay or straight.
Never having a relationship with a woman can be down to a variety of causes, e.g. shyness or an unpleasant personality, and the longer the condition continues the more difficult it seems to overcome it. Failure can then become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course, what you don't tell us is why, when you are attracted to a woman, nothing comes of it. Do you make a move and get rejected, or feel that you will inevitably be rejected anyway and therefore not make a move, or something else entirely? Shining some light on this would have been helpful.
Then there is your experience with men. This seems to be a mixture of success and failure. The success consists of actually having encounters though to be quite frank, this is not necessarily much of a triumph given that some men are not exactly discriminating when it comes to their sexual encounters. The failure is of course your inability to sustain an erection. Have you given any thought to the notion that it is entirely possible that your erectile issues may stem from the fact that you are considerably less gay than you think? Alternatively, you may have a medical condition and a visit to a urologist would help clarify this.
Lastly there is your self-description as a chronic masturbator. Well, I am sorry to disabuse you but mere daily masturbation is unlikely to qualify you as "chronic," more as simply "enthusiastic." However, having said that, it is quite possible that over time your body has become accustomed to achieving orgasm a particular way that only you can replicate and this is why you have difficulty ejaculating under any other circumstances. Again, a consultation with your doctor might help.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your letter. Your issues, as Mr Baer noted, seem to be the following:
- You hypothesize that you are gay because you have never had a sexual encounter with a woman, although you find some of them attractive;
- You hypothesize you are gay because you have had encounters with other men;
- You hypothesize your erectile dysfunction both as a reason for having sex only with men and not with women, and also as an effect of your "chronic masturbating."
In fact, in my opinion, Mr Baer has not only summarized, but responded to your issues more than competently, so I am left with the happy result that I can respond to anything I want, instead of need, in your letter.
Dear Alvin, I know you are hoping we can advise you about what is wrong with you, but that is not something we feel comfortable doing. In your case, it is difficult to do anything more than hazard a few guesses since we don't have enough information on hand.
There is, however, something we can suggest you do: Validate your hypotheses and/or question your conclusions.
- You hypothesize you're gay because you've never had a sexual encounter with a woman? Why not try and have one then?
- You hypothesize you are gay because you have had encounters with other men? Ask yourself (and be sure to answer as honestly as possible no matter how brutal the answer might be): Are there reasons I have for having sex only with men aside from being gay?
- You hypothesize your erectile dysfunction is a reason you have sex only with men and not with women? Ask yourself (and explore as deeply as possible no matter how your answers make you flinch) Why is it not okay to have sex with women because of your erectile dysfunction and yet okay to do so with men under similar circumstances?
If you come up with some more hypotheses regarding your sexual orientation, please write to us again and we shall do our best to help you discover yourself more deeply. But we need something more substantial to work on, okay, dearest Alvin? Preferably things having to do with what you've actually tried to do and the life you've actually lived, instead of armchair theorizing.
Otherwise, our answers cannot be more than armchair theorizing and simply generic also – things I am sure you would not be excited about (and neither would we).
Looking forward to hearing from you again and please take care.
Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.