Ask Dr. Jay

by Dr. Jay Nagdimon
February 1996

Dear Dr. Jay,

I have a question that desperately needs to be answered. I am gay and I'm wondering if it is possible to be gay and still have feelings for someone of the opposite sex. I have feelings for women but not sexually, only emotionally. I have no clue as to whether to indulge myself in a relationship with a woman if I know deep down that she could never satisfy me as a man could. What to do??? I tried to think about it. All I came up with is "Well, if you get involved with her you could be setting yourself up for a let-down. Especially because in order to end the relationship you would have to explain that you are gay. That could make things ten times worse." No one, besides a couple of well-chosen people know about my homosexuality. Please help me.

Signed, Phillip

Dear Phillip,

In your note you said that you have strong emotional feelings for women, but not sexual feelings. I noticed right away that you didn't describe your feelings as love. While nobody enters a relationship knowing how things will turn out in the end, it seems you have enough uncertainty or doubt that you decided to write.

Sometimes imagining a different situation can help a person understand his or her feelings better. Imagine you found a man, a man who made your heart race, a man who you were sexually attracted to, and a man who you felt wonderful with; would that not be a far more attractive starting point? I think you might be selling yourself short by trying to make a relationship work when it doesn't meet enough of your desires. In your note you talked about how difficult it would be to get out of the relationship, and your concern that it would mean having to come out to the person. Going into a relationship thinking about ways to eventually get out is a unsettling way to begin.

It's perfectly natural to have strong emotional feelings towards members of both sexes. In fact, you would hope that everyone could develop equally close feelings towards men and women. Bisexuality is the ability to develop similarly strong sexual feelings toward men and women. From your note, it did not sound as though you feel the same sexual attraction toward women as you feel toward men. While sexual attraction is not necessary for entering into a relationship, I think a person should have the hope of developing one.

You might consider this option: adopt a wait and see approach. With this approach you might make good use of your time by developing some close gay friends. In your note it mentioned that you are out to a couple of "well-chosen" people. Are these people also gay? Is there any way to meet more gay people? Do you belong to any pen pal programs? Is there a gay, lesbian and bisexual youth group in your city? Is there a way to meet people that you have been reluctant to explore? If you would like suggestions, please write back and I can go into further detail. In your search for more gay people, you might stumble upon a dream come true.

Jay Nagdimon, Ph.D. was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. His early involvements included six years of volunteering at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center's Youth Department. Jay worked on the Gay and Lesbian Youth Talkline, both as a volunteer and later as a trainer of new volunteers. He also was very involved in the Center's Pen Pal Program and youth newsletter.

You can e-mail Dr. Jay at DrJay@oasismag.com. He will try his best to respond to everyone, depending upon the volume of mail received.

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