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Anxiety, confusion, sexuality

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This topic contains 69 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 1 hour, 9 minutes ago.

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  • #271523

    afeels
    Participant

    Dear GL

    You’re correct in wondering whether my childhood ties into why I find unavailable men attractive. My father  left the family when I was 12 years old. This ties into my trust issues with men. The reason that I mention JJ is because I realised that I only could acknowledge feelings that were already existent for him once he became unavailable. We were friends for three years before I acknowledged my feelings, and looking back there had been signs all along. He is also the first man that I have been the most emotionally vulnerable with and that was a powerful experience for me.

    I started dating after the JJ incident because I could see that I needed to get to know new men and try to experience love and sex in a way that wasn’t going to be hurtful for me and that dating would help me explore myself more in a way.  But it seems to me that I just end up self sabotaging all these dates anyway … this is why I also am questioning my sexuality. Because surely if I am excited by the men I date/ attracted why do I do this? And why does my excitement feel  nuanced, uncertain  and more mild? I was used to feeling intoxicating attraction with different men earlier on when I wasn’t dating. Why when men are further away can I feel the full extent to my attraction. Anxiety likely doesn’t help the process, but my anxiety makes me wander if there is more to the issue than trust issues and actually a larger question of my sexuality.

    Regarding JJ and flirting behaviour- you are probably right, he might just be a person who flirts for fun. Actually he had a previous female friend of ours fall for him and they no longer speak so maybe he might learn from both experiences that flirting with your friends isn’t such a good idea.? I also should have learnt from that past experience, having seen another woman go through the same thing. At the time with our mutual friend however, he definitely knew she had feelings and attempted to thwart her efforts at establishing dates etc, so I really do not buy that he had no idea of my feelings. He is cleverer than that. Or maybe I am really good at concealing my feelings, who knows. I just am still a little bitter clearly and feel misled, rightly or wrongly.

    I actually do think I’m on the field of demisexuality, looking back attraction to me has always come after some interaction and established bond. I think the reason why my anxiety has attached to the issue of sexuality is because of how fluid sexuality can be. There is no certainty. And the more I date the more I realise this fact which in a way freaks me out. The sexual shame is something Im working on with my counsellor, I am very aware of where it comes from and  working on challenging it.

    I will check the book out that you suggested, thank you for the recommendation.

    As well, thanks for the encouraging words, I think I have only started the journey of trying to find myself, maybe that’s why the anxiety is so strong. I was extremely co-dependent until very recently and struggle with  a sense of self due to my abusive/neglectful childhood. But you’re right I do have hope and I hope that it takes me to new levels of discovery, joy and challenges.

    Kind regards

    #276627

    afeels
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    I think I am ready to post again.

    Iv e had two instances in my young adult life (17 and 22) whereby I have felt strong sexual attraction but only realised it when I was in the dark with these men. The signs were there well before I experience the attraction so strongly. As well there was an established communication with these men once I felt attraction.

    Speaking to my therapist about it, it seems like it’s because I am not in touch with my feelings at all and so only recognise attraction once I feel completely relaxed? I’m unsure…

    Looking back the sexual attraction has come after curiosity the first guy I found very attractive physically and the second guy I found very emotionally compelling. He spoke and something about the way he spoke to me was so intriguing, surprising and attractive.

    I guess I feel sad because of how disconnected I feel from my sexuality. Through dating I have realised I have huge barriers to face when dating men as I am prone to being very angry with them. Which is strange because surely I should be making my best efforts to attract them not to push and test. What gives?

    Am I just perpetually traumatised by men. Or do i think I’m attracted to them and not actually So?

    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by  afeels.
    #276639

    anita
    Participant

    Dear afeels:

    I may not be as focused at this moment as I wish I was. Let me know if the following addresses what you brought up in your recent post. Wait, before I continue: is it okay to address your sexual orientation issue here on this thread (I want to keep a promise I made to you)?

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by  anita.
    #276649

    afeels
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    No need to respond immediately if it’s too heavy a topic right now for you. I appreciate your insight and am able to wait.
    <p style=”text-align: center;”>And yes you are able to address my sexual orientation. Thanks for asking.</p>

    #276687

    afeels
    Participant

    Topics not reflected

    #276693

    anita
    Participant

    Dear afeels:

    I didn’t know you posted about four hours ago until a couple of minutes ago (didn’t reflect under Topics). This is what I wrote to you earlier, copied it in my files so to paste later,  if I got your permission to address the topic, which I got. So  here it is:

    Having read your posts in the past, it was quite clear to me that you are a heterosexual woman, as heterosexual or straight as can be. But notice this: in a jail situation, where only women are available, heterosexual women engage sexually with other women because men are not available. It is so because pleasant sexual sensations are possible to be brought about by women, not only by men. Also, young children experiment sexually, often with the same sex because sexual sensations are pleasant regardless of the sex of the person brining about those sensations.

    One more thing, there are people, mostly women, I think, who label themselves “asexual”. But biologically, there is no such thing as an asexual human, not in 99.9% of humans (certain abnormalities taken into consideration). The asexual feelings, or lack of sexual feelings around any person are born out of fear or anger at people.

    You are not asexual, that is, you experience sexual attraction but you are also afraid and angry. It is the fear and anger that interfere with the expression of your sexuality.

    Did I address your post before last (that post still is not clear to me)?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by  anita.
    #276769

    afeels
    Participant

    Dear Anita

    Thanks for you response. Yes you did address my post before last.

    In regards to me being heterosexual… you’re right in that I have only experienced physical attraction to men in my day to day life.

    However I am really starting to doubt my orientation since I have started dating. I think fear and anger are definitely getting in my way of expressing my sexuality however it seems strange to me that when I am with men that I have dated briefly I do not feel overcome with desire. I feel some desire, sure but I also am very anxious. Thinking about whether what I am doing is right, should I lose my virginity to these men, should I tell them to wait etc etc.  I have also noticed that my attraction to men is strongest whereby there is some kind of barrier. I guess I do not want them too close. But this leads me to really doubt my orientation. Surely if I were heterosexual I would want to be with a man who I could be close to.

    I relate to the jail situation metaphor, as this doubt also coincides with the fact that I do not meet many men in my day to day life as my work environment is predominantly female. I rarely meet interesting men in casual settings also. All my friends are female now that I have left University.

    However, I have realised that I am now becoming curious about women, particularly women who are tom-boyish.  I was out last night with a friend and noticed  a girl who was tom-boyish and noticed that her body language was very similar to mine. Is this attraction? I noticed she was gravitating towards me. Is this attraction? I also noticed a few men but when one got close to me I just didn’t feel any desire or curiosity to do anything about it. I was bored, almost. Its as if I am no longer just interested in a man’s looks, I have to be intrigued in a different way… There has to be barriers for me to feel desire.

    With men everything seems so hard. I definitely have my emotional walls built so high that I can barely feel anything unless I am in a completely relaxed state. But it shouldn’t be so hard, should it? It should be natural. And I am realising that I am more comfortable around women then men. And now I am more curious about women (That are tomboyish) than men… Why aren’t I curious about men anymore. My curiosity about women I believe comes from the fact that its more taboo and so more exciting? I hope I don’t offend any members of the LGBTQ community by saying this. But I don’t know, I really don’t know anymore.

    • This reply was modified 8 months ago by  afeels.
    #276819

    anita
    Participant

    Dear afeels:

    I am familiar with what I will term now the HOCD (Homosexual OCD)  community, that is, the people, males and females, who are obsessed with the-never satisfied question: am I homosexual?

    Trying to communicate with an HOCD person, like with any person obsessed, is a very frustrating experience. The HOCD person is like Teflon, letting any and all reasoning slide off him/ her, while repeating the same old same old thoughts, a never ending barrage of recycling thoughts.

    But, going to the basics of it, it is an obsession over a label: homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual (or whatever synonymous labels exist to these three basic labels). Life stops for the HOCD person until such a time that one figures out the appropriate label.

    As if life will be smooth sailing if only and when a label is determined.

    You wrote: “I have realized that I am now becoming curious about women, particularly women who are tom-boyish”- why not attend a lesbian club and there, approach a tom-boyish woman for a conversation, take it from there, experiment in Reality (that will be a step in the right direction, away from obsessing and toward making things happen)?

    anita

     

    #276851

    afeels
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    I think I have a problem with reality which is is why I am at this predicament.

    Reality rarely matches up to fantasy which is why I have gone from knowing I am straight (but realising once dating that there s so much baggage and nuance and uncertainty) to questioning.

    You say why do I not go out and experiment. I don’t want to. And the thing is whenever I felt Attraction for men in the past I didn’t want to act so much then as well? Does that make sense.

    I feel scared and stuck all the time and always have in regards to sex and relationships. So I opted out of them. Once I opted back in all this anxiety and confusion started.

    #276865

    anita
    Participant

    Dear afeels:

    “all this anxiety and confusion” will rain on the parade  of anyone, regardless of sexual  orientation. And it does, it interrupts sex and relationships for gay people and straight people alike. The problem is not sexual orientation. The problem is anxiety, this ongoing fear.

    There is no  greater human challenge than living with ongoing fear, day in and day out.

    Fear keeps us away from experimenting, from exploring. It keeps us paralyzed in overthinking, in the abstract of thinking and obsessing. It is like we figure we are not going to start living before we figure it out in our heads, in an abstract way (without experimenting in Reality, that is).

    anita

    #276921

    afeels
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    I know I am stuck overthinking. Constantly. And I hope you don’t find the following as too much overthinking. Let me know if you do. (You most likely will) As well you do not need to respond, because at this point I am aware that I am using this forum as a diary and that can get exhausting.

    I think I have somehow imagined that getting with a guy, any guy needs to be fireworks/ crazy/ out of this world even in the beginning with little emotional connection. The reality is that sex and relationships are incredibly vulnerable, scary, fear inducing as well as pleasurable, joyful experiences. But all I see and feel at the moment is fear. I am a very fearful person and my first experience of strong attraction (17) was so powerful it frightened me. I was initially enjoying the moment with the guy, flirting etc. But then came fear and I put a stop to feeling.  Instead of exploring further I felt frozen, not knowing what to do, not knowing how to handle these feelings. It led me to push the guy away.

    I have had moments of connection with a few guys,which leads me to know that I need to carry on experimenting with men. I didn’t realise it at the time as I have gone so long ignoring my feelings but on reflection I have had experiences whereby I know that attraction/ spark? has been present if somewhat dulled, do you understand what I mean?

    In regards to women who are tom-boyish… I just feel like its a bit of a cop-out. I think my mind is attaching to exploring with women because its ‘safe’ I haven’t yet experienced real life attraction to women and so its a distraction from going down the more powerful route of relationships with men which includes being vulnerable. Vulnerability is excruciating for me and something I have fled for a long time but it is something I require in order to delve further into my sexuality. I need a supportive partner who is understanding of my anxiety.

    I hope this isn’t triggering for you to read but Ill put in a warning for you- TW: mentions of physical abuse

    As a child I was beaten harshly when I was caught kissing two children. I was so young- 5 years old. But I think this is where my freeze and flight response comes from in relation to my sexuality. From then on, I think I internalised guilt and never explored my sexuality as other children/ teens do. I still got crushes and the like, but after each crush, after attempting to act on these crushes, I felt overwhelming shame. As well, being originally from a culture that so heavily shames women for being sexual has not helped at all, and seeing my mother in my teens being shamed for attempting to find another partner, after my father left, doesn’t help at all.

    Okay I think I need to do the following;

    -Build inner confidence, start exercising more and work on hobbies etc. The more insecure I have felt the less confident in my sexuality and then hopefully it will all fit in place.

    I hope I have the strength to accept myself no matter what my orientation. Prior it was my health that I was obsessed with and now orientation. Obsessed with certainty.

    #276939

    anita
    Participant

    Dear afeels:

    “I need a supportive partner who is understanding of my anxiety”- reads most sensible. Notice he, whomever he is, will also suffer from anxiety, we all do, not in exactly the same ways and intensity, but we all do in similar ways, so you will have to understand his anxiety as well. Helping each other is key.

    “I have somehow imagined that getting with a guy, any guy needs to be fireworks/ crazy/ out of this world event”- time to let go of that romance novel/ love story movies expectation. It makes a good movie, but think of that: if this was the case that on a regular basis young men and young women would get together and it is all “fireworks/crazy/out of this world” feeling, why the massive use of alcohol and drugs among young men and women; isn’t out-of-this-world a good enough feeling?

    The beating you suffered, I was beaten too. To this very day, decades later, I still avoid physical contact, I am not feely-touchy. I stay away. We can’t help but suffer the consequences of abuse and we do absorb the cultural messages of shame.

    Back to the most sensible suggestion you made in your last post, a supportive partner. I don’t think there is a better or any other solution, really, to your “Anxiety, confusion, sexuality”. A hook up will not do, no matter how common the practice in the city where you live, or in any city.

    I will very soon be away from the computer for about sixteen hours. I hope to read from you when I am back.

    anita

    #276993

    afeels
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    It makes me sad how much my emotional issues with men make me struggle with them. I’ve had male friends in the past but dating men makes it most apparent.

    I wonder if my curiosity about women is because I feel its just ‘easier’, less emotional baggage. But that makes me sad. I want to be able to fully explore with men but the hurdles are tough.

    I don’t have much to say other than that.

    Oh and yes, a hookup will  not do.

     

    #277003

    anita
    Participant

    Dear afeels:

    Regarding your “curiosity about women”- I bet there is hardly a woman in the world who once aware of the possibility, is not curious. We are naturally curious about a lot of things, especially as children. Sex, because on one hand it is such a taboo, a shamed topic and on the other hand it is everywhere in full view, as in videos easily available, we do get curious.

    When I look at your curiosity, I see you singling out this particular curiosity and making it way more than it is. It is just a curiosity, something the brain is inclined to do, ponder different possibilities.

    The main problem you have at this point, as I see it, is being “stuck overthinking. Constantly”. The solution is to take the elevator, so to speak, down from your overthinking brain, to the rest of your body, to your legs (go someplace), to your arms (do something), to your eyes (see something new), etc. In  other words, start living and stop overthinking.

    As scary as it is, there is no other way for you to proceed, not that I see. Life is not a theoretical venture, something to think about. It is something to experience!

    Why not aim to have a real-life  relationship with a person (man, woman, I  personally don’t care), not for the purpose of having sex, aka a hookup, but for the purpose of getting to know each other, checking each other’s values and motivations, goals and building an honest, loving relationship  over time?

    anita

    #277063

    afeels
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    You’re right in that I need to go out there and experience life more. Since graduating from University I got a full time job which has slowly made me feel more and more trapped. I don’t meet people anymore my age and there are no opportunities for friendships/ relationships forming really. The work environment is very anti social, nice and corporate but very antisocial.

    As well, rent here is expensive so I have forced myself to move back home to my mum’s. And I realise that this is affecting me. My current job does not pay enough for me to move out- despite the good experience. I love my city, but I don’t know how much longer I can go on like this without needing to move.

    I see friends maybe once or twice a week, if lucky. Going from an environment whereby I was around my peers constantly to being in full time employment with people older than me, who already seem to have their lives figured out makes me feel lonely.

    And you’re right in that I’m obsessing too much about curiosities. I don’t know how to build relationships. This is why I said I need to start working on myself, my hobbies, working out etc so I can gain inner confidence.

    So I feel very stuck. And lost. I feel like I am in quicksand. I am 25 and I feel as if I have already lost the ability to play and experience life joyously.  And so, my head starts over analysing and more.

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