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Question
Posted by: G | 2008/08/25

Possible to change sexual preference?

If someone isn' t " born gay"  but through circumstances and conditioning " becomes"  that way, would counselling ever help to get that person to deal with their issues and no longer feel attracted to the same sex. This person has never been in a same sex relationship and has only been with one person (of opposite sex) for 8 years and is married- but has, thoughout their lives felt more attracted to the same sex than the opposite sex. This person used to dress up in his mother' s clothes and make-up when he was little and his parents actually bought him dresses when he was small, he only used to play with his female cousins and never with little boys and when he was in primary school, was " molested"  in his sleep by a close male friend. This is why i wonder, if your first sexual experience is with the same sex touching you inappropriately (without consent), you would obviously get aroused by someone touching your genitals. Would this not have an affect on your sexual preference later in life? This person also took on a " motherly"  role as he was older than his siblings and when their mother got ill, he took care of his siblings as a mother would. He says he does not want to feel this way but obviously you can' t help what you feel. I' m just curious if counselling would help such a person? thank you.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Much of the evidence suggests that one is indeed born gay --- even if this isn't obvious until some circumstances in life render it obvious to you. After psychiatriy had the wisdom to stop considering homosexuality as a disease or disorder, there were some who wanted to keep recognizing what was called "ego-dystonic homosexuality", that is, homosexuality which the individual rejected or felt highly conflicted about. I think here the mistake was to see this as something about homosexuality rather than to recognize the reality of ego-dystonic sexuality as such.
The person you are describing needs to see a good local psychologist for a full assessment. Remember that cross-dressing is quite common in heterosexual males, and isn't about homosexuality per se.
Kids tend to experiment sexually at a younger age than most adults care top recognize, and generally such encounters don't seem to shape later sexual orientation.
Anyhow, counselling could well help the person ; not to "cure" his homosexuality, but to help him enhance self-esteem and confidence, and to explore and accept himself, rather than to find labels to wear.

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