Dear, loving Papabear,
Let me say first that your advice has helped so many others, and I couldn't think of anyone I would trust more right now...
Papabear, I think I'm bisexual. In the sense that, I'm sure I don't just feel love for one sex - even though I know I get aroused by both genders, I don't base my desire for a relationship through sexual arousal. I'm looking for that feeling of love, the inner qualities, and I'm open to all possibilities. So far, in my life, even though I've been open to both genders for about 2 years, I've only found myself falling in love with girls, and I've only had relationships with girls. Lately though, I've started having a little online date with a guy, and I do love him...
But I don't know how much I can trust myself...because I'm only 16. I'm not sure if I'm mature enough to realize that I'm bisexual. When I was 12, I thought I was gay, and I kept that for about a year, until my counselor helped me realize that I was just sexually jealous. I've grown a lot in those years, but I still don't know if it's going to be like this for the rest of my life, or if it's just a phase, and to that effect, I don't know if I'm going to come out or not, and I don't know if I should allow myself to continually be open to both genders.
I don't have much of a problem with coming out, my parents have always been loving, supportive and caring, but they sometimes poke fun at effeminates (which they mistakenly refer to as "gays") when we're at home. And, we're a Christian family. I'm happy that no one in my family has ever used religion against the third gender, but I think it's also because no one in our family is part of the third gender...I might be. And that fact taken in, I'm worried of what conclusions they might jump to if I tell them.
I'm a masculine person, stoic, my friends have described me as "manly" and at face value, no one ever expects me to be the affectionate and open person that I am...so, I'm not even sure if they can believe me if I tell them I'm bisexual. As you might have noticed, I have a strong feeling that I am not straight. But even I can't be sure now...
Papabear, what do I do? Should I wait for myself to grow up to the right age, and should I still continue pursuing these dates with the boy? Should I tell my parents right now that I have some problems with my gender, or should I wait until I'm sure I have something to come out with?
I'm sorry if it's a bit much.
With gratitude and hugs,
* * *
There are a number of things in your letter that I think you need some assistance with and some clarification. First, let’s clear up some things. 1) There is no such thing as a “third gender.” Biologically, you are male or you are female. Unless you are talking about hermaphrodites, who can have the physical attributes of both, but that is not your case, I’m sure. 2) I have no idea what “sexually jealous” is, but I strongly suspect you went to a counselor of the Christian persuasion who believes that homosexuality is a disease and tried to convince you that you were just going through some kind of jealousy of females in love with males. 3) Not all gay people are effeminate. I certainly am not, and there is a whole community of bears, leather men, etc. who are gay and definitely not effeminate. So, yeah, you can also be effeminate and NOT gay. Good observation on your part.
So, you are 16 and confused about your sexuality (not your gender), which is really very common. Whether you are gay or bi, you clearly have some attraction to males as well as females. In the world of sexuality, things are not always black and white. There is a broad spectrum of sexuality ranging from 100% hetero to 100% homo and everything in between. The majority of people actually are somewhere in between, though people who profess to be straight usually deny it.
At 16 you should not be pushing yourself about sexuality. You really, in this bear’s opinion, are too young for sex and shouldn’t pressure yourself over it. I agree with you, then, that for now you should chill out a bit. Concentrate on school, making friends, discovering your personal abilities and hobbies. In our society, there is far too much emphasis on sex. Instead of pushing yourself, let it come to you naturally, organically. Instead of worrying about what gender attracts you, allow yourself to be attracted to the PERSON you meet, whether a boy or a girl. Fall in love first, and then let the sexual experience be an enhancement of that love. When that happens, you will be ready to tell your family more about who you are. Remember, sexual preference is just ONE aspect of who you are. You are many other things, too, that make up the entire personality of who Dael is as a person.
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