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I don’t think this is me.

Question:

I am extremely confused. Throughout my entire life, I have acknowledged that women are beautiful and some I am attracted to. However, I have always been extremely attracted to guys, and fully considered myself straight, because I believed it was quite normal for straight women to occasionally find another woman attractive. The thought of ever dating a girl, however, made me feel uncomfortable, because I just simply didn’t like the thought. I’ve been surrounded by gorgeous friends who are openly bi sexual for years, and yet I never had an urge to kiss them or be in a relationship with them, at least one that never strayed out of pure curiosity. The older I got however, I started to enjoy watching women.. do things together. On the internet. WHILE I thought about doing things with a guy. I never thought of this as being some proof that I am bi sexual, because anything that was sex basically turned me on. I guessed I was just a very sexual person who was open to women too but only physically, I couldn’t imagine myself straying far from just kissing and touching a girl, and I wouldn’t be thrilled to date one.

However…
recently I started taking accutane. accutane can have a tendency to mentally mess with you in a lot of ways. my anxiety went up, my depression, my stress. It also began to kill my sex drive, to the point where I was basically turned on by nothing. Right at that time too, I had been dumped for the fourth time in a row. I mentally checked out of dating, and guys for awhile. But I wasn’t becoming interested in girls either. I was simply neutral because of how hurt I was, I just thought heartbreak had humbled me, and I decided to take a long break and focus on school, friends, bettering myself before I went into dating again. I thought I was too young to be worrying about it that much anyways. I thought for awhile, that the reason why I wasn’t very attracted to any guys was because I was slowly turning gay. Suddenly, I started panicking, I felt like throwing up and crying, I would get a strange feeling in my chest. I would keep saying ‘Im not gay. I’m in love with men. why is this happening?’ because I always have been. then i suddenly couldn’t stop thinking about kissing girls, dating girls. it was slightly turning me on, and I thought maybe I could date one. But it would always go back to me being bored, and realizing that I would definitely choose a handsome charming guy over any beautiful girl. I hope this isn’t confusing or too much.

 

Answer:

 

Dear Valarie,

Thank you for writing to us about your feelings about this. I understand that you find this change of concern, but from our experience, many young people of your same age have changes of this nature going on as they engage in the process of exploring and defining their sexual orientation. Words like heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual/lesbian are simply labels we use to describe our orientation, but research on human sexuality paints a much more complex picture, with different degrees of attraction to either gender and different dimensions in those attractions. You don’t need to be in a rush to define your attractions – you can let them be what they are and decide on the label when, over the course of time, the dimensions of those attractions become clearer to you. You definitely hit the nail on the head when you wrote in your letter that anything that was sex basically turned you on. This is a normal and common response for many teens – sex and sexual attraction is still comparatively new and your bodily and emotional responses are at their peak. It sounds like you are pretty clear on what the terms mean, but, to review: In trying to understand your sexuality, it might help to remember that sexual orientation involves emotional, romantic as well as physical feelings and attraction for people of both genders (bisexual), people of the same gender (lesbian and gay), and people of the opposite gender (heterosexual or straight). It can also help to think about whom you have crushes on and who you fantasize about being with girls, boys or both. The Trevor Project has a guide that may help you clarify issues around your feelings and sexual identity called “Coming Out As YOU” at http://www.thetrevorproject.org/section/YOU – the section in this guide called “The Spectrum” is a valuable review of some of the dimensions of sexuality, sexual orientation and attraction.

The most concerning side-effect of Accutane is the possibility of depression. Depression could definitely be an explanation for your loss of sex drive, as it is a known result of being depressed. You may wish to report this to your doctor, as he/she may be able to prescribe a medication that has the effectiveness of Accutane with less-severe side effects. When you’re depressed, it can be very painful to feel and can make you isolate from your friends and family, cause you to be tired all the time and take away your motivation to do things, make you not enjoy the things you usually like to do, make you sleep and eat much less or much more than usual, and make you see everything in your life in a negative way. Sometimes the depression can get so bad it can make a person think of ending their life. Sometimes people think about ending their life when they’re feeling very depressed, feel hopeless that things will get better and helpless to make things better in their life. On http://www.us.reachout.com you’ll find facts about depression by clicking on ‘struggles with feelings.’ If the depression gets too bad and you need someone to talk to, you can call our 24 hour/7 day Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. It also may help if you can find someone in your life you feel comfortable talking to about your feelings, such as a friend, parent, relative, teacher or school counselor.

On http://www.bisexual.org you’ll find a lot of helpful information on bisexuality. If you click on resources, then bisexuality-general information, then “Bisexuality 101 from PFLAG” you can find information that may help. You may want to join TrevorSpace at www.trevorspace.org. It’s the Trevor Project’s safe, online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24 their friends and allies. It’s a great supportive community where you can connect with others who might have had or are having the same questions that you’re having about your sexuality.

Sincerely,
The Trevor Team