Having gathered and considered
the evidence regarding your sexual orientation, you may have reached one of
several outcomes: you obtained clarity, you cannot come to a conclusion despite
substantial evidence, or you realize that you need more evidence. Let’s consider potential next steps for each
of these outcomes.
If You Obtained Clarity
. . . and you have concluded that you neither straight nor mostly straight, you may experience some struggle to obtain and maintain a positive view of your sexuality. You may wrestle with one or more of the obstacles identified in Part 5. Your challenges my include
If You Cannot Come to a Conclusion Despite Substantial Evidence
. . . be patient with yourself. You may simply need more time to contemplate the evidence. Additionally, there may be one or more factors that make reaching a conclusion rather challenging for you. For example,
I have learned from my work as a psychologist that some men and boys experience an additional complicating factor that requires its own paragraph to describe. Some guys have known only "macho" guys who avoid intimate conversation. (Intimate conversation includes expressing empathy and putting one's feelings into words. Intimate conversation facilitates emotional bonding and long-term relationships between two people.) These male clients cannot imagine intimate conversation and emotional bonding with another guy, yet would love to have that experience with a guy they found to be physically attractive if it were only possible. (Yes, it is possible, though it may require relocating to a city or town with a larger population of gay and bisexual men.)
Regardless of the reasons that you continue to be confused, you would probably benefit from talking with an LGB-affirming counselor. Part 7 provides guidance for finding such a counselor.
If You Need More Evidence
. . . then you’ll need more time. Perhaps you are too young to have generated much evidence. Perhaps you have poured yourself into school or work, which has “safely” kept you too busy to experience or contemplate your emotional and physical attractions. Be patient and allow yourself as much time as you need to gather sufficient evidence about your emotional and physical attractions.
If you need to generate additional evidence, then I encourage you to behave like a scientist: observe and experiment to generate data for interpretation. As an observer, pay attention to your emotional and physical attractions to others. Who catches your eye in your daily life? Who stirs you emotionally?
As an experimenter, you have several options, depending on what is
acceptable within your moral code. You
can date appealing people regardless of their biological sex. You can experiment sexually either directly
or vicariously. Direct sexual experimentation
would potentially include both non-genital physical contact (even hugging and
kissing is “sexual” in the broad sense of the word) and genital contact, being
sure to use safe
sex practices. Vicarious sexual experimentation would include
viewing same-sex and male-female sexual videos and/or reading erotic fiction. Through observation and experimentation, you
will generate additional evidence to consider.
Regardless of where you are in your coming-out process, you can benefit from utilizing some of the many "Resources for the LGB Person's Journey" that are available, which I'll describe in Part 7.