This is my first time doing this, so I’m a bit nervous, please forgive me. So you know how everyone has a sexuality? Like bi gay straight pan or any other that I missed. Well I’m very confused with my sexuality. In real life‚ I like girls, but I’m not sure if I like guys. But with the Internet and furries, I tend to like guys a lot more than woman. I’m not exactly sure what I am. I’m very very confused. I come to you because I can’t go to anyone else. My parents said if I was ever gay they would kick me out of my house. Plus I’ve read a couple of your answers to letters and you seem very knowledgeable. So please help me if you can.
Jake (age 18)
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Thank you for writing and reaching out to someone when, sadly, your parents aren’t there for you as they should be. It makes this bear weep that there are so many judgmental parents who would rather have their own children homeless than love them unconditionally for who they are. (40% of homeless children on American streets are LGBT kids whose parents kicked them out; that’s criminal in my book). Never forget, Jake, that your sexuality, whatever it may be, does not make you a bad (or good) person. It is what it is, no less and no more.
At your age, it is normal to be confused at times about your sexuality. This is a time for discovering who you are. Sometimes, people who are young and getting in touch with their sexuality experiment, so to speak, with various people and sexual practices. This is normal, too. Sometimes, too, someone who is unsure of his or her sexuality may have relations with someone of the same sex. Most will decide it is not for them and go back to a traditional heterosexual relationship, but some will decide they do like it and discover that they are gay or bi.
In the past, such experimentation would be conducted in the real world, but now we have this entire new virtual reality that offers sex play on the Internet. This is unprecedented in human history and is something that society is still coming to terms with. Nevertheless, it has become a testing ground for experimentation, with its good and bad points. The bad point is that having some role play, say, in SecondLife, does not afford you the tactile and other sensory pleasures of real life; the good point is that, when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases, you cannot get safer than the virtual world (unless you pick up a computer virus!)
Just like in real life, you can try things online to see how you feel about them. You might not like them and then try something else. But, here’s the thing that’s really unique: you might like them in the virtual world but not in real life. I can attest to this personally. There are things that Papabear has done with role play online that I would never ever do in real life, either because I don’t think I’d find them very pleasurable IRL or because, LOL, they would be physically impossible. Therefore, just because you like something online, Jake, it does not necessarily follow you would in real life. Online, you might have sex with a gay wolf or lion, but in the real world you could still prefer women. And that’s perfectly fine.
On the other paw, it could be, as you suspect, a signal that you have some subconscious desire to be intimate with another man. The important thing right now for you, Jake, is to not push yourself one way or the other. Rather than telling yourself, “I have to be straight because of my parents so I will only date women,” or the opposite, “I have sexual desires for men so I must be gay and have to find a man now,” simply hang out with people of your age group in comfortable social settings and see whom you meet. Look for someone you can love as a person regardless of their gender—that person whose smile makes your heart flutter in your chest—and you will find your answer.
As for your parents’ reaction, well, you are 18, which is about the time for you to start fending for yourself anyway. Your parents are no longer legally obligated to support you, although one would hope they would still support you emotionally and not reject their flesh and blood because they fear gay cooties, or the rage of those whose farts warm the seats of church pews, or whatever goes through the minds of people like that. It’s disappointing they feel that way, and a poor reflection on them, but more important than what your parents think and feel is how you think and feel.
It is time for you to discover yourself, and, once you do, consider yourself very lucky no matter what others think. So many people in this world lead “lives of quiet desperation,” as Henry David Thoreau put it, because they allow themselves to be ruled by society rather than ruling themselves.
Put your fears aside, Jake, for they will befuddle your mind, and you will see yourself as you truly are.
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