Tag Archives: Repressed

Trouble in Paradise

Name: Carey
Gender:
Age: 33
Location: Kansas
My fiancée is 27 and in the past 3 to 4 years her libido has become virtually extinct I have tried everything and she just blames her birth control what do I do

You’ve been engaged to a woman for more than 4 years? Oh wait, maybe you’re trying to tell me that you proposed to this woman in spite of knowing she has an extinct libido? Either way, darling, that’s messed up, huh? Are you hoping this is “dry spell” is gonna somehow magically resolve itself once you’re married? I wouldn’t hold my breath for that, if I were you.

It’s true of course, birth control pills can seriously impact on a woman’s desire for sex. Your fiancée is probably one of these women. Maybe she ought to consult her physician about finding another type of pill that may have a less severe impact on her libido.

Many women find that triphasic birth control pills (which deliver differing amounts of hormones every week) interfere much less with their sex drive than monophasic pills (which deliver the same amount of hormones each dose).

She could also decide to discontinue the pill altogether, and choose another form of contraception, such as a condom or diaphragm. Just realize that once off the pill, her sex drive may only return very slowly.

You see how this predicament is a double bind for your fiancée. If she is more lax with her contraceptive efforts, just to please you and your sex drive; then she opens herself up for an unplanned pregnancy. And that’s not good for her, or you. Is there anything YOU can do to free her up from shouldering the full burden of contraception? Have you’ve considered a vasectomy? Probably not, huh? What man ever imagines he ought assume the responsibility for controlling reproduction?

While I wholeheartedly support the notion that married people deserve a rich and fulfilling sex life, unless there’s mutual agreement for another arrangement; that can’t happen if one of the partners is inequitably burdened by one thing or another. Perhaps, it’s time you and the little woman to have a frank talk about sharing the responsibility for contraception. And if this little talk is successful, maybe, just maybe, you’ll get laid again.

Good luck

Name: Tony
Gender:
Age: 40
Location: Houston
I’ve loved several women and even married and divorced one. Over the last few years, I notice having similar feelings for men around me…longing, sweaty palms, difficulty thinking and wanting to be with them alone. Is this love? Am I bisexual? Am I a sick man better of dead? I have not crossed the line and I still having great sex with women. But there’s now a guy that I think about when I’m with her! Am I gay? Bisexual? Sick in the head?

My first reaction is that what you present is not particularly uncommon. Many people, just like you, inexplicably find themselves behaving in a completely unexpected sexual manner. I’d love to know what triggered you to veer off your comfortable and predictable sexual path?

There’s never a scarcity of sexual fascists out there, people who believe that sexual tastes and preferences are carved in stone, or there’s only one “right” way to be sexual. They’ll persecute anyone who doesn’t conform to their strict immutable notions of sexuality and eroticism. Despite the proliferation of these hetero-fascists, homo-fascists, what have you; they are all very wrong about the indomitable human spirit.

For the most part, humans are not sexual automatons. Given a more permissive and sex-positive culture then our own, we’d all be more fluid in our eroticism and sexual expression. Are you one of the lucky few who has discovered the joy of this fluidity? Doesn’t quite sound like it to me, at least not yet. I think you’re still in the “scared shitless” stage.

For a guy who has yet to “cross the line” and actually act on your fantasy, you sure are preoccupied with your identity. Are you afraid that someone will take away your breeder card if you actually touch a dude in a sexual way? Does having same-sex feelings…sweaty palms and all…make you a gay? Doubt it! Being gay entails a lot more than a sense of longing for something you’re not supposed to have. Are you bisexual? I can’t say for sure, but you’re certainly not exclusively straight either. I suppose you have to come to grips with the self-identify thing when you have a bit more information about your burgeoning eroticism. What I know for sure is that you are not sick.

Who knows, your homoeroticism might very well be situational. It might not extend any farther than the guy you think about when you’re fucking chicks. I know all of this is can be pretty disconcerting and it can really mess with your head. But at least you know you are still alive sexually. So many people are sleepwalking through their erotic lives.

Will you act on your inclinations? Will you test the waters, so to speak? What harm could it do? Might just open up a whole new sexual world for you. On the other hand, if you do nothing, or try and repress these natural feelings, you’ll always know in your heart of hearts that you have the desire, if not the capacity, to express yourself sexually with a much wider range of humans than what you are currently used to. And something tells me that if you choose the path of self-denial, it will eat away at you until you satisfy your curiosity.

Good luck

Overcoming a Fear of Sex: A Step-By-Step Process

All phobias can be overcome with some effort. The same is true for conquering a fear of sex. Here, I walk a young gay man through his trepidation with anal sex. We take simple, easy to accomplish steps to build confidence and dispel his apprehensions.

I’m gay, I’m a virgin, and I think I may be afraid of sex. In all the porn I’ve seen, the bottom guy looks uncomfortable and in pain— why would I want that? I’ve only done anything sexual with one guy, and I was so anxious that I couldn’t even get it up. I liked the guy, he was hot, and I enjoyed all the foreplay type stuff, but I just couldn’t do anything else. Any advice on how to get over this?
Drew

First thing—don’t ever look to porn for your sex education; you’ll surely be misled. Second, that grimace you report seeing on the bottom’s face as he is being penetrated may be a grimace of pleasure, not pain. I think you may be projecting your own discomfort on the guys in the movies.

Let me tell you a little story. Recently I was strolling in the park with my dog. We were each, in our own way, enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of nature in its glory. As we walked along, we encountered a father and son who were deeply involved in what appeared to be the boy’s first lesson in riding a bicycle—sans training wheels. Despite the father’s patient encouragement, the kid couldn’t seem to get the hang of it. He’d start out okay, but just as soon as his dad let go of the bike, it would begin to wobble and the boy would eventually crash. There were plenty of tears, a skinned knee, and the boy’s fear and anxiety were thick enough to cut with a knife.

The boy was convinced that he couldn’t ride on his own. His defeatism became a self-fulfilling prophecy. He finally gave up, sat down on a bench, his bike in a tangle at his feet, and refused his father’s pleading to give it another try. In his mind, the bike was the enemy; another attempt would only hurt and humiliate, and so the lesson ended.

What the kid lacked was self-confidence, a sense of adventure and probably more importantly—balance. I wish I’d had the opportunity to suggest to the boy and his dad that they try another ploy. I wanted to say, “Set the bike aside and work on that balance thing first.” This would surely increase the boy’s confidence, and it wouldn’t cost a blow to his ego or his knee—and it would be fun.

I’d have suggested the dad start by helping the kid walk on curb, balancing himself as he went. Then the dad could increase the challenge to include balancing on one foot, then the other. Once the kid discovered the power within him to accomplish these tasks, the bike could be reintroduced. The father would assist the boy in drawing upon his skill in balancing on the curb to master balancing on his bike.

The same will be true for you, Drew. Sex is nothing to be afraid of. Rather, it is a skill that one learns. Some, obviously, take to it quicker than others, but everyone can learn a happy, healthy sexual repertoire that will build self-esteem and bring great pleasure.

I want you to start exploring and enjoying your bottom on your own. Like the kid in the park, you need to acquaint yourself with the powers that lie within you. He needed to find a sense of balance; you need to find the Big Old Butt Pirate within.

Most all of the discomfort in anal sex is associated with your sphincter muscle trying to resist whatever it is being inserted. When this muscle resists to the point of spasming, things can become very painful. So here’s what I want you to do.

  • Before you start playing with your hole—relax. Take a relaxing shower, a warm bath, and/or try some deep breathing exercises to center yourself.
  • Have a ready supply of a water-based lube handy. Silicone-based lubes are swell for these exercises too. However, this type of lube isn’t recommended for use with a condom.
  • Start with a little self-pleasuring. Stroke your dick with your lubed hand and get into your happy place.
  • Gradually slather some of that lube on to your balls and taint. With legs open, find your hole and play with your rosebud. Gently massage the area around your asshole, but don’t slide your fingers in just yet. Simply get used to the sensations at the opening of your ass.
  • Let your play include the tip of your finger entering your ass.
    If you do this while you’re stroking your cock, you will find that your hole will actually open and invite your finger. That’s the great thing about pleasuring one part of your body while learning to pleasure another.
  • Once you are comfortable with your fingertip inside, try pushing it in further and move it around a little. Try pushing it and pulling it out of your ass. You know, like finger-fucking yourself.
  • Locate your prostate. (It shouldn’t be hard to find if you’re all horned up.) It will feel smooth and hard, like a flat stone. Give it a nice gentle massage. If you’re still stroking your wood, don’t be surprised if this prostate massage gets you to ejaculate. In fact, you will find that your prostate actually enlarges a bit and becomes more firm just as you are about to shoot. As you jizz, you’ll notice that your sphincter muscle will tighten around your finger and pulsate with each squirt.

Continue these self-pleasuring exercises until you’re comfortable inserting a couple fingers in your ass. Then try a small vibrating dildo. In no time at all, you will be ready to jump on your bike and ride…so to speak.

With these exercises behind you—no pun intended—the first time you actually fuck with a partner will be the incredible experience it is meant to be. If you encounter any discomfort, you’ll know what to do: deep breathing to relax and priming your hole with a lubed finger or two.

  • First, attend to your personal hygiene. Make sure you’re clean inside. This will help you avoid an unsightly and embarrassing mishap that might mess up the big event.
  • Remember to take it slow. There’s no rushing pleasure. Remember, you’ll be the one in charge of what goes in your ass, when, and for how long.
  • Warm up with some foreplay, kissing, sucking, licking, rimming, touching and massaging.
  • Have condoms and plenty of lube near at hand.
  • While you’re warming up, start loosening up your ass with your lubed fingers, just as you did in your self-pleasuring exercises.
  • Once you’re comfortable, offer your ass to your partner. Have him replace your fingers with his own. Try some finger-fucking first.
  • After you’re relaxed and loose, lie on your side with your partner behind you. Have him slowly push his cock against your rosebud.
  • Try pushing out like you are trying to take a dump. This will help open up your sphincter for his entry.
  • As he enters you, have him stop so that you can breathe deeply. Give your ass the time it needs to adjust to the new sensations. If there’s pain or discomfort have your partner reverse course and go back to finger fucking before you proceed.
  • Make sure that your partner knows that if you ask him to stop, he will stop. Trust is essential.
  • As he fills you with his dick he will hit your prostate. This will send waves of pleasure through your body and signal your sphincter to open for even more.
  • You may find that you’ll even want to push your ass back to meet and engulf his cock.

By the time this happens you will happily discover that you are riding your bike all by yourself.

Good luck!

Forbidden Fruit Redo

And now, by request, a popular column I wrote several years ago. This is for you, Armand.

What is it about things we’re not supposed to have, or even think about, that make them so tantalizing? In a sex-negative culture like our own, where sexual roles and gender expectations are so buttoned down, where much of the vast array of healthy human sexual expression is proscribed. It’s no wonder we often feel compelled to deny who we are or turn ourselves inside out to avoid the conspicuous. Two correspondents come immediately to mind.

Doc,
Like I’m totally straight, right. But my roommate is gay. He’s hot and all with a great body and he’s this total sex addict. Sometimes I hear him pounding ass through the wall. When he’s drunk he tells me about the guys he’s fucking and it’s like all this really nasty stuff.
I’m like totally not into cock or anything, but I can’t help but wonder how it would feel to touch one. I see my roommate naked all the time. He’s like this total exhibitionist. Sometimes he even has a piss hardon in the morning. Nasty!
I don’t pay much attention, but I sometimes just want to reach out and grab his thing just to see what he would say. I just don’t want him to get the wrong idea. If my GF ever found out she’d freak. So do you think my roommate would mind if I copped a feel? It’s not like it isn’t already hanging out and stuff. Do you think he’d rat on me to my GF?
— Curious

Like you are so totally NOT straight, dude. You are like the biggest closeted flamer in the whole wide world. You’re just itching for the opportunity to smoke yourself some pole, but you can’t admit it. Hmmm, sounds like several prominent Republicans I know…but I digress.

Like I’ll bet you totally jerk off while your hot roommate is pounding ass next door. And I think your GF is this pathetic beard too.

She’s got her eye on you, don’t ‘cha know. She knows that if she turns her back for just one minute, you’d be taking it up the poop-shoot before she can say “Friend of Dorothy”.

Let’s face it; you want your GF to find out about your secret obsession. BTW, what kind of self-respecting straight chick dates a closet case like you anyway? I mean, like how could your roommate rat you out when everyone already has your number? Darlin’, when you find out you’re a big fat homo, everyone will know.

Dude, like you are totally gonna grab your roommates package one of these days real soon, regardless of what I say or what he may think about you doing it. Like you are totally self-deluded about not caring that he walks around the house sporting a giant boner. And that shit you’re trying to feed me about being scandalized by his nasty exploits, that’s like totally obvious too. Me thinks you doth protest too much.

Listen up! If your roommate is a nice guy, and you aren’t the total skulking dweeb you appear to be. And if you have the balls to come clean with your roommate about your true identity. And he’s hasn’t pounded any ass in the past 12 hours. And if he’s feeling really generous, and you ask him real nice; Yes, I think there is a slim chance he’ll bone you big time. It will, of course, be a mercy fuck for sure, but at least you’ll finally know total bliss.

Like, totally go for it, dude. Sheesh!

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And then there’s this…

Hey Doctor Dick,
I got more of a story than a question. I’m a gay. Kinda average looks, kinda big, kinda burly and I really dig sex. Problem is, cuz I don’t look like your typical fag, all gym buff and everything, I’m not gettin laid like I should. I’ve tried everything, online personals, internet chat rooms, phone hook up lines, everything. WTF?
While I’m online lookin for a hookup, I start to notice something that blows me away. There are a lot of queers lookin to hookup with straight guys. At first I’m thinkin, dudes this is fucked up. There are all these homos out there, like me for example, who ain’t gettin their share and you wanna suck off a straight dude? Fuck!
Now I’m gettin all depressed. Ok, so then I try this little experiment. Next time I’m online, I post an ad like always, same stats same everything, only this time I say I’m straight. Damn if I don’t get hit up by a half dozen guys right away. Guys that wouldn’t have given me the time of day when I was “gay”.
I decide to go for it, like now I just want to see if I can pull this shit off. Guess what, I got the best sex I ever had. I turned guys away even. This is really messin with my head, but I’m gettin some really fine ass so I ain’t complaining…too much.
I decide to really get into this. I start sayin things like my girlfriend can’t suck dick for shit and I got this five day load of straight man spunk hold up for some faggot cocksucker. I can barely keep a straight face, no pun intended.
I put this picture of my sister in a frame by my bed and tell all my tricks she’s my girlfriend. I’ve even got this chick at work to join in the fun and call me when some dude’s blowin me. I have her start raggin’ on me like some real girlfriend and then she wants to know what that sound is in the background. This fuckin drives my trick wild, cuz he thinks he gettin authentic straight man dick. BTW, the chick from work thinks it’s a riot.
This works for sure. Fags are so gullible, it’s fuckin Incredible. But I worry cuz I want a boyfriend and this isn’t gonna get me one. Even if one of my tricks turns out to be the man of my dreams, I couldn’t respect him or trust him knowing he’s tryin to make straight guys.
— Scott

What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive! All this just to get laid, Scott? Holy Cow!

While the good doctor is truly entertained by your delightful story, he is as depressed as you to learn the lengths a gay man has to go to these days just to get another gay man to suck his dick. I don’t recall it being so convoluted when I was a younger man.

The good doctor also concurs with your statement that you’ll probably not find a BF this way. And I’d like to point out the obvious. What’s with this bullshit double standard you have? You say you couldn’t respect or trust any guy who is out trying to make straight guys. Yet you don’t call yourself on the mammoth deception you practice. Curious how we can point out the sliver in another man’s eye when while we still have a plank in our own.

You do, however, get extra points for your creativity. I love the touch of having the chick from work call you while you are in flagrante delicto. That’s beautiful. A+.

Good luck

The Dark Heart of Homophobia

No podcast today, but there is this…

I’m riding the bus when we come to a stop near a local high school. Five teenage boys get on. They’re all jocks—football, probably. Their jackets are emblazoned with varsity letters and they appear to be fresh from practice. Each carries an oversized duffel.

They are boisterous and full of menacing bravado. The bus is immediately overwhelmed with a rush of testosterone. As they move toward the back of the bus, they purposely jostle everyone in their path. They’re rude and crude and every other word is fuck.

The bus lurches forward, and my fellow passengers instinctively know not to make eye contact. The older women clutch their belongings tight to their bosom. Everyone is tense.

The pack mentality emboldens the young men, who are flush with their newly discovered sense of male privilege. Hormones rage in their adolescent bodies, yet there is an awkward childishness about them too. They are alpha, but only in as much as they are part of a pack.

They have off-color comments for everyone around them. Girls are singled out for the most abuse. They make insinuations about their sexual prowess, while pawing at their groins. The women blush with embarrassment.

Despite being loud, obnoxious and brutish, they lack conviction. They giggle too much, indicating self-consciousness. It’s apparent that, at their core, they are still very uneasy about themselves, and have yet to grow into and own the alpha maleness they mimic.

The bus approaches the next stop, and several of us get up to exit. A nerdy boy with glasses and a violin case accidentally trips over one of the teen’s duffel bags. This is the spark. The jocks erupt, lunging at the offending kid. He is easy prey. He’s petrified, but his survival instincts kick in, and he quickly maneuvers further up the aisle. I grab his shoulder and push him toward the door ahead of me. He makes his escape.

Now I’m in the line of fire. The rear door is only a couple steps away, but I stand my ground. The jocks size me up. I’m not an easy mark; I’m older and more dominant than any of them as individuals, but they trump me as a group. I may even be dangerous. In a split-second, the teens reevaluate the situation and instead of coming at me, they try to take me down with their best verbal shot: “You motherfucking fag!”

I move to the door. This could end very badly for me, but I will not show any weakness. Adrenaline courses through my bloodstream. I alight from the bus, holding the door open so I can briefly yell back. “Hey, thanks for the recognition. Oh, and for your information, its father-fucking, brother-fucking and/or son-fucking fag, never mother-fucking. Get it?”

By the time the jocks realize what’s happened, the bus is in motion, and I am safe.

The teens thought better of physically attacking me, so they did the next best thing. It’s what most threatened males do: they tried to diminish the threat by calling into question my masculinity.  And they do it in that time-honored way—by inferring I was a defective male, a queer, and a sissy. Trouble is, I am queer, and I owned it—right in their faces. On top of that, I stood up to them and even had the temerity to publicly shame them. So that had to be unsettling to them on several levels.

How did the derogatory epithet fag become the quintessential means of destroying the male ego? Why has the only somewhat less offensive slur, “that’s so gay,” become emblematic for everything stupid, negative or girly? These questions get to the root of our culture’s deeply ingrained homophobia.

I contend that homophobia is rooted in a fear and hatred of women. It’s no accident that when we want to denigrate a man we call him a pussy—the same word we use to refer to female genitals. In our culture, men are superior to women—it’s the oily by-product of male privilege. A man who falls short of this lofty ideal, or, god forbid, assumes a passive role in sex, cheapens the “privilege” for all other males. This is a particularly sensitive issue for ostensibly heterosexual men.

This prohibition is so deep-seated in our culture, one can trace its roots back to the Bible. Leviticus 20:13: “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death.” In biblical days, women were nothing more than chattel. For a man to behave like a woman—particularly in a passive, receptive sexual way—back then was an even greater insult to the male privilege than it is nowadays (which explains the whole capital punishment thing.)

Women are also objectified as sexual objects before men dominate them. A woman is not so much a person as she is a collection of parts—tits, pussy, ass, etc. A heterosexual man, familiar with and practiced in this dynamic, will not tolerate another male objectifying him as a sexual object, either real or imagined.

These cultural triggers are exceptionally easy to trip. With very little effort at all, we can debase a man simply by suggesting that there’s a whiff of the feminine about him. In turn, the slandered male is burdened with proving the contrary, which often leads to overcompensation. To deflect suspicion, some men affect a macho bravado so as to appear even more masculine than their peers. And how better to do that than to suggest someone else is a pansy?

I can say for certain that all those boys on the bus had been, at one time or another, accused of being a fag. It’s exceedingly common in sports for even teammates to insinuate a fellow athlete is not performing up to expectations. Each of them must have known the sting of that reproach. Some may even have had self-doubt about their own sexual tendencies. That’s why they hurled at me what they knew would hurt any other self-respecting male the most.

What they didn’t count on was that I had, long ago, inoculated myself against this poison. I own, even revel, in my queer sexuality. An insult doesn’t work if the one insulted self-identifies as the slur.

Institutionalized homophobia, on the other hand, is more insidious. The dominant culture enshrines male privilege and, like the boys on the bus, punishes anyone who attempts to undercut the paradigm. Discrimination is so widespread, ingrained—and sometimes so subtle—that many non-gay people don’t even notice most of it. But those of us on the receiving end of the bigotry are keenly aware.

It’s a particularly acute problem for young people who know they are different, and different in a way that isn’t tolerated of by the dominant culture. They are much more vulnerable because they have yet to developed the emotional resources to counteract the oppression. They don’t yet realize that it’s society’s problem, not theirs. Their peers mercilessly persecute them. And for the most part, authority figures don’t even try to stop the torment. That’s why young gay people commit suicide at a rate of about seven times that of straight kids.

You may have noticed that I’ve framed this presentation in terms of the natural world. Dominant and submissive behaviors in other species often have sexual overtones, especially in other primate species. A dominant male will harass a male subordinate until he submits and presents his rump. This establishes a pecking order in the troupe: a subordinate male is submissive and the dominant male is in control.

Some straight men see gay men as a threat, instinctively fearing a supposed challenge to the established order of things; who is in control. It’s basically a struggle for dominance and troupe status. A gay person who is a productive member of society, who is indistinguishable from his heterosexual counterparts, ups the ante. He’s a threat to anyone who believes what he may have been told all his life—that gays are perverted, miserable, lonely people who live short, desperate lives.

Institutionalized homophobia impacts so many aspects of our culture. It may be obvious how it skews our notions of sex and sexuality, of who can do what to whom and when. But did you know that it is often an underlying cause of much male sexual dysfunction? It also contaminates national policy in terms of public health issues, military readiness and the rights and freedoms we afford our citizenry. The business sector also suffers. Harassment and intimidation of gay workers result in loss of productivity costing businesses millions every year. But the most tragic is the toll it takes on individual relationships. Families are torn apart, friendships end, and people sometimes are killed or kill themselves over a futile and misguided attempt to uphold the status quo.

The Root of Our Discomfort

Name: Maya
Gender:
Age: 28
Location: UK
Hi there! I recently found out that my brother in law is gay. I wanted to know what makes people gay? Is it choice, genes, hormones, etc? Please clarify because his condition and opposition to his choice of sexuality has made him depressed and he’s on antidepressants and not very healthy. Please answer.

Back in 2007 Solon.com featured a little piece called: Don’t Ask the Sexperts in their annual sex issue: State of the Sexual Union. Slate asked seven people who earn their livings thinking and writing about sex, what they’ve never been able to figure out about sex or sexuality.

One of the contributors was Dr. Ruth Westheimer. She’s the author of 31 books about sex and relationships. This what she said still remained a mystery to her.

“I’m sure there are many, but one nagging one is what causes homosexuality. I admit, I am curious—but the real importance in getting to the bottom of this question is that the answer would be helpful to the homosexual community. I suspect that the cause is genetic, which would mean all those people who say that gays and lesbians can change to become heterosexual would have to sing another tune. Instead of trying to “fix” a situation that doesn’t require fixing, they would have to learn to accept homosexuals. But I am not a scientist, so I can’t set about finding out the etiology, the cause of homosexuality. All I can do is act as a cheerleader to encourage scientists to come up with the answer.”

I was astounded when I read Dr Ruth’s comment. Here is one of the most popular names in the field of human sexuality saying such a startling thing. It’s not that she misrepresented the state of scientific inquiry into the issue of sexual orientation. What she said is true. We don’t precisely know what “causes” homosexuality, but more importantly…and this is what she leaves out…we haven’t a clue what “causes” any sexual orientation — straight, gay, bi, what have you.

What troubled me so about Dr Ruth’s comment is that, perhaps inadvertently, she perpetuates the myth that homosexuality (as opposed to say heterosexuality) has a cause. And when she uses the word “cause”, she denotes to her audience that there’s a cure. All I want to say is that if there’s a “cause” for homosexuality, there is certainly a “cause” for heterosexuality. If there would ever be a “cure” for homosexuality, there would certainly then be a “cure” for heterosexuality.

Do you see how obvious and pervasive the prejudices of the dominant culture are? I absolutely expected better from old Dr Ruth, don’t cha know. It’s true that she goes on to say that she thinks the “cause” of homosexuality is genetic, therefore us homos can’t change or be “fixed”. She then suggests, if this IS the case, the dominant culture would then simply have to learn how to accept homosexuals for how they are. I went, HUH???

Dr Ruth, darling, do you honestly believe that if, or more properly, when we discover the determining factors of sexual orientation — and I do believe there are more than one — the sexual bigots among us won’t militate to have the deviant orientations “fixed”? All I can say is to think otherwise shows an alarming naivety about human nature.

When Dr Ruth, or anyone else for that matter, separates out one sexual proclivity from all the others and suggests that it has a cause, whatever it might be, the rest of us run for cover and wait for the other shoe to drop. Imagine if instead of sexual orientation we were speaking about racial or ethnic characteristics. What causes black people? What causes Asian eyes to slant? What causes flat noses? What causes nappy hair? What causes short people?

Well you see where I’m going with this, right Maya? Questions like these presuppose that there is a norm — tall white people with round eyes, perky noses and straight hair. And you know what? There are a multitude industries out there poised to prey upon all the short, non-white people with almond eyes flat noses and nappy hair who feel they must conform to any and all arbitrary and culturally induced norms in order to be happy. It’s shocking.

So on to your brother’s case. If sexual orientation is chosen, why would he have embraced a lifestyle that makes him sick and depressed? It simply doesn’t add up. The self-hatred and internalized homophobia that is at the root of your brother’s discomfort is culturally induced, but it is also self-inflicted. We don’t know what “cause” homosexuality, but I can tell you for certain what causes homophobia. And that, my dear, is bigotry.

It’s up to your bother to fight this first within himself and then in the popular culture with every ounce of his strength. Because that’s what all us well adjusted, comfortable in our own skin queers do if we want to live happy healthy integrated lives. None of us is waiting around for someone to tell us what caused us to be the way we are, because we know that whatever “caused” us caused all the other differences and variations that appear in human kind.

And one final tip for you, Maya — despite your good intentions, the more you indulge your brother’s pathologies and commiserate with him, or wonder aloud with him why he is queer then you are part of the problem, as opposed to being part of the solution. I encourage you to challenge him to buck up and get right with himself. Help him throw off the yoke of his shame and guilt, to own and embrace his uniqueness and celebrate his sexuality, which is his norm.

Good luck

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