A Note From Dr. Gay Nerd: We’ve had a recent influx of questions submitted and in the interest of answering everyone’s questions in a timely manner, I’ll be doing my best to post double articles every week to get you the feedback you’re looking for!
Dear Dr. Gay Nerd,
I have a question that I hope you can help me answer. Its not necessarily about me, but rather my boyfriend. I am female, he’s male. I know I myself am straight, but he’s questioning his sexuality. Let me enlighten you:
We have only been together for a little over a month, but i feel like I’ve really formed a bond with him. I have known him for a while now and feel like I understand his personality. Before he was in a relationship with me, he was in a longer relationship with another girl, and she broke up with him which was hard for him to go through. He’s never once been attracted to guys, or if he has had interest, he’s never expressed it. He’s 16 years old, so I think questioning your sexuality may be normal at his age? But I’m not sure if he’s doing it for the right reasons.
Two days ago, he lost his virginity in an unemotional manner. His first experience with sex was not how its supposed to be. For loss of better words, he was raped. He experienced some bad things that evening and will now live with that for the rest of his life. The woman that did it to him shows no remorse. She was double his age, and she was cruel. I can go on and on about how I feel about her, but for now i’m concerned about him.
He keeps telling me he thinks he might be gay after that experience. He has no attraction to women anymore. After such an experience, I can understand where those feelings may be coming from, but I wonder if an experience like that can actually change one’s sexuality. I know this seems rather strange, but he used to be pretty attracted to women. He used to talk about ‘his love’ for boobies quite often, now they disgust him. He’s taken many online tests to try to figure out if he’s gay or not, and he’s now pointing out all the ‘gay’ qualities he finds in himself. Some are stereotypical, for example how he says “like” more often that other guys, or how he gives such great advice. But from what I remember he’s always been like that. It’s just now when he’s more aware of it that he’s pointing them all out. He says he finds sex unappealing altogether, but for now, he sees himself doing it with a guy more than with a woman, just because of what happened.
I guess my question to you is, what determines a persons sexuality? Can an experience like that change the way a person feels about their sexuality? What do you think this means about his future? Will these feelings he have ever go away? He and I decided to go on break for a while until he figures things out, but it worries me how he’s so confused about this. If you have any advice that I could tell him to make him feel better about the situation, or make him feel better about sexuality i would greatly appreciate it.
Thank you for your time and help.
I’m sorry that both you and your boyfriend have gone through this experience. I think you should strongly encourage your boyfriend, however, to seek some professional help regarding this situation. I like helping people out, but there is only so much that I’m able to do. This is something that’s way out of my league and I want your boyfriend to be as healthy as he can possibly be. That’s something that a professional should help you with.
You should also seriously consider telling an adult about what’s happened. Statutory rape laws are different for some some states, lowering the age of consent, so I don’t know if your location is one where this woman can be prosecuted for what she’s done. However, I don’t like the idea of her using her age, influence, and power to cause the harm that she’s doing. If she’s abusing power to do these things, she needs to be stopped before she can continue along this path of harm. That’s why you should encourage your boyfriend to come forward about this.
I can still do my part, however, and try to bring you a little solace by answering your questions. Yes, the teenage years are when many people begin to question their sexuality. It’s a normal process that many people go through, often around the age of sixteen or so. The situation you described, however, is not one which would make someone question their sexuality in a normal manner.
You said that this event happened two days before you wrote me this letter. Quite honestly, that’s not enough time for your boyfriend to even begin to process what’s happened to him. It was a traumatic event and for him to make a declaration that he’s no longer attracted to women anymore is a bit hasty. This is precisely why he needs to talk to a professional. Turning to superfluous online tests to decide whether or not he’s gay isn’t going to do him any good and may actually end up causing some harm to his psyche.
Despite the fact that some still debate this, sexual orientation is something which we’re born with. That’s evidenced by the fact that homosexuality has been documented in nearly every species of animal that’s been studied. People don’t decide that they’re suddenly gay because they had a bad experience with someone of the opposite sex. It just doesn’t work that way. One possibility though, however hard it may be to face, is that this situation is serving as a catalyst for your boyfriend to face feelings which he’s had deep inside. He hasn’t “turned gay” from what happened, though.
That doesn’t mean that an experience like this couldn’t influence your boyfriend’s actual sexuality, however. A traumatic experience involving sex can disturb an individual to the point where they can lose a connection to their sexual energy and may even become asexual. That’s not a healthy outcome to what’s happened. This, again, is why your boyfriend needs to get some help to deal what’s happened with him.
What you can do, since you obviously care about this boy, is to support him and encourage him to get the help he needs. This may not be as easy of a task as you’d like. I can’t tell you for sure whether your boyfriend is actually gay or not, for that’s a question which only he can answer. If you really care about him and you have the strength to support him through this however, be ready to work through his insecurities, fears, and potential pain that he has. Don’t do more than you have the strength for, however, as you need to take care of yourself as well.
I hope this helps you and I hope that you begin to find the healing that you both deserve.
-Dr. Gay Nerd
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