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Question
Posted by: jason | 2006/07/20

needs or wants??

I am a 23 year old male with a partner 15 years my senior. Eventhough we adore one another there are times when I feel the need to break away and discover myself and true my identity. Am I wrong or immoral in wanting to explore my sexuality and how far do I go in my expllorations. i tell myself that I need to discover being gay, yet I know deep down that my place is with him and we can discover lots together. Is it true that one needs to learn how to be gay and experience and embrace the gay culture or can one jusr be a normal person in society with an attraction for the same sex without having the need to be part of a specific culture. I am confused and afraid of losing friends in my own age group and losing the love of my life.what should I do?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageGay, lesbian and bisexual expert

Hi Jason, welcome to the forum and thanks for posting. And please accept my apologies for my late response.

There's nothing wrong or immoral in what you're feeling - your conflict between wanting to explore your sexuality while also remaining monogamous is something many people experience. Irrespective of the age difference in their relationship and indeed irrespective of whether they’re gay or straight. If you cook the gravy down to the basic essence, there's little difference between us (gay and lesbian) and straights in this context. Our relationships are more complex - what role-models do we use? how are roles determined? how is power resolved? where are our support systems? - but at the end of the day there is no one concept of a collective gay identity. In Cape Town, for example, being a gay man living in the city bowl is very different from being a gay man living in Guguletu, or in the Cape Flats. This isn't purely based on race - white, black or coloured - but constructed by ways in which we experience and express our gay identities.

The concept of "identity" or "gay culture" is significant - what, exactly, does this term mean to you and what exactly does it include? Does it include the gay bar and club subculture? Most gay men don't frequent gay clubs. Does it include anonymous sex? Many gay men who engage in anonymous sex wish they were in monogamous relationships. Being gay is not about choosing to live a particular lifestyle.

By the same token you should not be losing any friends on the basis of their age. Your partner doesn't have the right to determine who you socialise with. You shouldn't be choosing between your friends and your partner, and if this is happening you may need to be sitting your partner down and exploring what this is about.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Thoughtful | 2006/07/21

For me - there is no right answer as each couple experiences their relationship differently. I'm about your partner's age, and for me, part of exploring my sexulity is exploring life. Some people are attracted to people of the same age, others are attracted to characteristics in another regardless of age.

Being in a relationship is about discovering and exploring things together. If there is enough mutual interest to keep you together without losing your individuality, then the relationship remains exciting because you are being nurtured by the idiosyncracies that each posess, and the shared things that you enjoy as a couple in relationship with each other.

You need to ask yourself: What does it mean for yourself to "discover your sexuality"??? Growth and development comes from experience, taking chances, taking risks, making mistakes - but being mature enough to say - hey I'm not perfect, but at least I'll savour life as it comes my way. The ideal to be able to do this with your partner - but if you decide that this is something you need to work through yourself, at least communicate this with him and acknowledge each other in that decision because ultimately it's going to affect both of you.

I hope this offers some light on the subject - may not be what you're looking for, but I hope you can take something away from this. Good luck.

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