Homophobia in a Rebooting Context

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I understand it takes time to (re)discover one's true sexual orientation under a reboot. I was wondering about something - I am homophobic around gay people (scared of liking them), but am all for their rights and happiness. This fear is in relation to my personal relations only. I recently read this article, where if you are homophobic, it is likely you are gay:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-sexual-continuum/201204/are-homo...

What do you guys think? Do you think we can be homophobic because our brains are so fucked up by porn? I would rather either be straight and not a homophobe, or gay (though preferably straight because I think I always liked women, but who knows anymore?). The other thing is I never masturbated to gay porn due to my homophobia. My escalation was in time spent masturbating only. I know the HOCD can be caused by that too, but I was wondering about the community's take on this issue.

Sorry for posting so much recently :(

Give it time

This sounds like classic OCD based on what I've been learning from you guys. You have the rest of your life to live your true orientation. Your brain is going through a serious withdrawal right now. It's not a good time for major decisions.

Also, the more you look for "tests" and "articles" on anything that's causing you anxiety...the more confused you will get. Wait. The less research the better for right now.

Be okay with the uncertainty for now. It will all become clear. You don't have to "finalize" anything right now. Don't even try.

*chuckle*

Keep laughing and watching your brain's antics. It will all settle down. I think of the rebooting brain as a swinging pendulum. At first it goes in big arcs, but eventually it settles in the center.

Hang onto your hat.

I agree with marnia

I would wait for a while until you finish your reboot and see how things play out. For all you know it could be it could just be OCD.

I also have HOCD, though it isn't as prominent as it used to be when I first started getting sober from porn months ago and it doesn't cripple or control me anymore. At times i've felt like I was gay, or I might be through some faulty reason or my feelings. I used to watch transsexual porn, and while i haven't seen a gay porno i have seen random screenshots and pictures when searching for porn. Also, my friends talk and act like their gay everytime we hang out, and I don't like it/it makes me uncomfortable. This is my take on it (sorry if it seems disorganized a bit, and long).

I know that growing up i've always been attracted to girls. I love being around them :) the way they smell to just simply holding a girl in my arms. Hell I first started watching porn to see girls... well yeah I know that my feelings and reactions to me being gay isn't something that I enjoy, something that makes me happy, something that I pine for everyday. It's the classic fear and anxiety of OCD that makes me doubt myself, in a vicious circle. Of being something I'm not. But as I said I havent felt that in a while and the anxiety doesn't accompany the thoughts anymore.

I think it all has to do with the pathways in the brain formed from years of porn use and abuse. 9ish years for me. From what I understand, for everytime I've MO'd to a MF scene my brain has created, and then strengthened that pathway, making the things in it, like a handsome, naked dude a sexual cue to good times and your brain can't tell the difference. You've rewired your brain to something new.
Sometimes at the gymn i'll see either a good looking or muscular guy and it'll draw my attention and I'll feel compelled to look. I think that I now know what a women feels like when she says that she's aroused but not in a sexual way, if that makes sence. It used to worry and scare me but now I don't let it bother me most of the time.

I hope that helped :) good luck figuring things out and in your reboot!

I have this too - due to a

I have this too - due to a penis obsession (which may have actually started before porn)...

It doesn't really matter, I mean, who cares? But it's still a gut reaction in my subconscious to tense up when people talk about gays - I'm sure some people can sense that and may think I'm bi or something. lol

Great Insight

Thank you, Along the Way! That was great to read. A lot of what you wrote resonated with me. I think a lot of this HOCD comes from rejecting the thoughts, thus making them worse. Even when I first MB'd it was to a blowjob scene on TV, and I wondered, "wow, that looks good. What would it be like to be blown by the woman?" And then, of course, I put myself in the man's position while saying, "no, no, though you want to be the man, don't think about him, that's gross!" So began my rejection of male thoughts, whether it was conditioned by my (even though liberal in many ways) culture's implied rejection of male-male partners or by my actual innate rejection of personal homosexuality (not of other peoples'). Either way, I'd say the rejection of thoughts strengthens this.

I also remember instances that while wanting a girlfriend I'd call up a female classmate and j/o to the sound of her voice (just in conversation, nothing sexual), when I was about 12. How many of us porn addicts can do that now? (This is just a side note).

I truly believe my drive has always been towards female companions, but I've also had a drive towards male friendship, and the porn (lack of libido towards females) has thrown this all into limbo. I am waiting to rebalance to find out the truth, preferably the one where I've loved women in the past. Based on all I know about an unchanging sexual orientation, I'd think that I have good odds :)

Interesting discussion

I've been battling HOCD for years. 7, to be exact. After a daily PMO habit for the previous 7 years, actually. Things come in 7s, I guess! I've had all the typical HOCD symptoms and avoidance behaviors. I've had that "compelled to look" thing many times too when it comes to good looking dudes.

At first the worries about being gay and/or attracted to men really really scared me. It dominated my life. Now a days, it's an annoying obsession. The visceral fear isn't there anymore, since it's been going on for so long. Sometimes I just find myself in a debate with myself about my sexuality. Which is odd when you look at the facts, every time I've masturbated it's been to a straight fantasy or straight porn. I've never had sex, or even kissed, a man in my life. Fortunately, I never got into the trans or gay porn in my habits. That being said, I've had the stray same-sex thought here and there, but always was able to brush it off easily before HOCD because I knew I loved women so much. I figured pretty much everyone has those odd stray thoughts.

Interesting note about how watching straight porn can wire us to sexualize the male body, in that it triggers a sexual response in us because of how many times we've seen it in sexual situations. I think that has happened to me. A naked male body can arouse me in the sense that it triggers my brain that sex is going to happen. If that makes sense.

But I'm not going to look at porn again, or at least for a long time. At 3 weeks of PMO free, and counting.

I just spent an afternoon google-searching male bisexuality. It didn't do me any good, just ratcheted up my anxiety. I think my feeling of this HOCD intensifying may be due to my PMO withdrawal. I also feel oddly un-masculine these days, which is bothering me. I want to have that confident masculinity "swagger" back.

But right now I'm just going to keep avoiding the PMO.

I agree that HOCD could be porn based...

But overall, I think it's more a matter of what we're "taught" (in other words, trained). Caveat - I've long known, as has my wife, that I qualify as bisexual - minimal practice doesn't change that. Anyone who has a psychology background may discount this as a bunch of crap, all I can do is accurately claim that I know both sides of this, having grown up with an older lesbian sister who made my mother a raging "what did I do wrong, dear God don't let me make the same mistakes with my son" homophobe (no, I don't think it's genetic/inherited, that's a different soap box). I am going to word smith here so it doesn't get graphic.

My honest opinion, potentially skewed by that caveat - is that in men, it's a combination of what we are trained, and what we know/experience. Many of us - not all, but many - get brought up having the evils of being with another male beaten into us by family members and friends/schoolmates. Then, we totally forget all of that when we figure out masturbation. At that point, it's all fun for a while, we don't need to think about a whole lot of anything specific, till we overdo it, find ourselves having to push harder by mental visuals or by changing how we go about it. And suddenly we don't necessarily have control over what's running through our heads when we go about it. But what is one thing that we do know in our own experience, even before exposure to stereotypical female objects in advertising, before we even learn what porn is? Our own bodies, our own experience, hands on, visually. Come on, guys, I dare you - deny that it's very rare that you don't enjoy watching your own climax.. We've wired ourselves to think that masturbation and the pleasure/rush is penis focused. We KNOW how those work - so especially as we're shown in conventional porn, it's all about that unmistakable visual that erect penis and ejaculation equals everything we're supposed to want/be. We aren't necessarily directly aroused by males in porn, but that's the end goal of the porn - the money shot (pardon the term). So, in our heads, completion/fulfilment of a sexual urge translates to male orgasm, it's hammered into us, it's visual, it's unmistakable as a "yup, somebody came" validation. So, take it from a guy who actually is bisexual by instinct and knows it, I never was a porn junkie and don't have to be on this one - when porn gets a foothold, you're programmed to go for what you're seeing, you know that odds are (not always, but usually), you can't rely on the conventional porn woman's pleasure/response/orgasm as being genuine - but the male ones, you can. Don't be so quick to worry that you may be bi or gay - it's not really that the visual/fantasy of being with a male sexually is what's getting YOU off - it's that when everything you see trains you that it's all about the visible erection and orgasm, in your head, you are putting yourself in that position. You train your body to orgasm when you see or think about a male orgasm - it doesn't mean you want to cause one or experience one with anotherof your own gender.

Marnia, Gary, anyone - as usual, feel free to step in and streamline that to where it's lucid, no pride of authorship.

Lazarus,

Lazarus,

Interesting perspective, and I tend to agree with your assertion that the male orgasm is arousing to males for the reason you stated: it reminds of us our own orgasm. As they say, "sex is sex." We put ourselves in the male position when we watch porn. And then if a male orgasm or male pleasure is arousing to us, some of us get scared that we're gay/bi/whatever.

For what it's worth, I was not brought up "having the evils of being with another male beaten into" me, I know that if I was homosexual, or bisexual, my family and good friends would have no problem with it and I would be accepted. I know that isn't the case for everyone. For me, HOCD has nothing to do with the fear of what others would think of it (although that has gone through my mind).

I'm curious: why do you identify as bisexual?

Primarily I'm glad my goal got through

as far as trying to explain thoughts re: attuning one's self to male orgasm as a male not making one potentially gay/bi. Sometimes something is clear as a bell in my head but I manage to completely fail to explain it. With respect to your question, while it is a rare thing, I am occasionally strongly physically attracted to a male, it's not uncommon for dreams or fantasies to go there, and while limited, I have experienced being with a male, and it worked well for me that, while completely different than with a woman, I enjoyed and found fulfilling on a number of levels that weren't based on sex/orgasm reward, because it is not often that I climax with a man - it is an admittedly different form of the sharing/giving. While I do not seek it out due to being committed to my wife, we both know that if I were not in a committed relationship, it is unlikely that I would be strictly hetero.

This topic of sexual conditioning and brain plasticity

is a really interesting one. Humanity has a lot to learn about it.

If any of you want to read a relevant review...which kind of bows to political correctness at the end instead of going on to the logical conclusion that tastes can be plastic...here's a recent one: Pfaus_Sexual_Reward_2012.pdf Note that scientists have successfully conditioned mammal sexuality to all kinds of things. And reconditioned it...although the earlier experiences are "stickier," which makes sense given adolescent brains. (Remember that, unlike rats, we can consciously choose which stimuli to orgasm with.)

I think it's going to turn out that many porn-use-induced sexual tastes will be reversible. Already we're seeing a lot of evidence of this...more every day. But convincing the sexologists is another matter. Many are so paranoid about "reparative therapy" for sexual orientation, that they're willing to condemn porn-addicted brains rather than consider that addiction can lead to symptoms that result in people getting off to things that have nothing to do with their fundament sexual orientations.

Eventually, this will all get sorted out. But you guys are caught in the crossfire. Better to rely on your experience and people's actual experiences with rebooting and watching their interest in earlier cues return as their sexual response increases in sensitivity - I should think.

 

I'm sorry

but I didn't understand the point of the study (so many science-terms!). Is this in support of us rebooting and going back to original sexual settings? Or is this saying that our sexuality is fluid (like Kinsey was saying)?

My issue is that during this reboot, as my mind becomes clearer (day 15), I finally see a gay guy on TV and am genuinely attracted to him. Like he's cute and I'm in love with him, despite the fact that his character is quite stupid. Is this normal during a reboot that my mind gets cleared up and I realize my own natural attraction, or is this just a phase in the reboot? And I was feeling my girlfriend and was (with pleasure) picturing the chest of my great-looking friend. I was always into women, had sex with plenty, loved plenty, but always felt I was gay though my fantasies were exclusively about women and didn't like men like that. Like maybe I was sheltering myself from being gay by going only to straight/lesbian (lots of) porn? Is it normal to start finding gay men attractive during early phases of reboot if you're straight? I see women and find them beautiful, but I have no libido towards them yet. And I don't really get such joy from bonding with my girlfriend like I did a few days ago. This makes me sad, though looking at gay people doesn't upset me like that anymore, but is almost relieving. Ugh. This sucks. Or is this normal HOCD/rebooting?

It sounds pretty typical to me

You're right. Forget the science. Just know that sexuality can be conditioned...and you have conditioned yours. Until you reverse it (which you're doing), you won't know anything with confidence.

So wait.

Also, have you visited YBR? Here's a good thread for you:

Beating HOCD

I think the experts have been

mixing up "sexual orientation" with "porn-conditioned sexual tastes" when they really need to distinguish between the two. I suspect the first is "irreversible," while the second is generally reversible. So "reparative therapy" won't change someone's orientation. It's too "deep." But conditioning (porn addiction, for example) and re-conditioning (rebooting and rewiring) will often change sexual tastes.

My point is that you don't know for sure where you are until you return your brain to balance...which means you have to do so in the face of the extreme spikes you guys sometimes have.

However, I've said it many times before and you just aren't hearing it: stop analyzing. You're giving your brain little addictive hits of anxiety (a neurochemical rush) by analyzing and "testing" in your mind. Stop it. Allow your brain to reboot without this. It's not much different from fantasizing about porn and that's why it's so compelling while your dopamine is low during withdrawal.

I blew it too, by sending you that article...which is by a gay sexologist by the way. Sorry. Fool

How's the daily snuggling going? (answer on a separate thread, as you need to let this one go Wink )

 

True

You're so right about the "buzz" we get from checking and testing. I never really saw it that way. But I can see now that I'm kinda addicted to it.

Especially in these past few days, my checking has kinda been out of control. I've been spending hours everyday testing myself and checking by researching sexuality online. In a similar way that I used to use PMO.

Crazy how interconnected this stuff is. Just gotta keep going and get through it.

Good point

It's not really different than the guys here who give up porn and then catch themselves getting their "novelty searching fix" on FB for hours. The brain can be very sneaky looking for those fixes.

Try exercise or daily meditation or any of the many ideas guys have suggested here:

♦Solo Tools

♦Tools to Connect

All of them help balance the brain so the craving for the fix decreases. And if you have someone you can cuddle, that's some of the best medicine out there.

I read the study. And the

I read the study. And the conclusion seems to be that your early sexual experiences tend to dictate your sexual orientation as you get older.

As someone who has had worried about being gay for the past 7 years without ever having a gay fantasy, who had a couple same-sex masturbation experiences as a kid, it's very frightening to consider what that may have done to me.

One thing they say on the HOCD forums that are more centered around the OCD part of things, and not the sexuality side of things, is that reading studies like that is just a form of checking and will ultimately make you more anxious and not answer any questions for you. I can see why they say that.

Really?

Musician,

(commenting on your comments on the linked-to site)

You've actually read stories about men who masturbated exclusively to women and then met a guy and never went back to women? This is pretty much the HOCD sufferers worst nightmare. You've read these things first hand? Because every thing I've read has basically said that your orientation is what you masturbate to. I know it isn't always that simple, but that's the idea.

I also struggle with that "feeling" of being gay/bi. But you know, gay/bi people don't "feel" it in that way, they just ARE. At least that's what I've read. I also have a hard time with libido, although I didn't use to. My libido in my mid-20s was absolutely through the roof (Im 32 now).

How could you be in love with some guy you saw momentarily on TV? I don't get it. I'd question the validity of that attraction.

Be careful about giving too much weight to these compulsive thoughts. I don't get how youmthinkmyour gay when your fantasies are exclusively about women. But, I'm in the same boat. This is an odd beast.

Here is a link - Spike Warning

Hey ATL,

Thanks for the comments. While I wasn't able to find the link with the "straight" man who found a better gender in men (though he did admit liking something girly in the past - idk), here is a link - this should spike you nicely Wink about people realizing they're gay later in life.

http://emptyclosets.com/forum/support-advice/7566-realizing-you-gay-late...

Yeah, if you're right about me falling in love with this gay guy on TV as a spike, that would be awesome! I mean, I've done some gay stuff in the past - completely dopamine induced, I'm sure (I'm not getting into it, but it was sexual and totally getting off to it - and really fucking disgusting - but totally addicting and not romantic in any way), and I had one crush on a boy when I was like 12 (but I did acknowledge his mom was friggin hot, though I felt unworthy to bang an older babe), but it doesn't discount the myriad crushes on chicks I've had my whole life (but it could be suppression of my "other side"). The gay guy on TV was so hot and the way he moved was just divine. I told my girlfriend who was watching and she immediately wanted to change the channel. But then I saw a movie with Ashton Kutcher, who is the epitome of great looking guy, and I didn't crush on him, but instead the girl in the movie was incredible Biggrin . And I never thought once of him in That 70's Show as a kid, but loooooved Mila Kunis (though I was watching enough porn to be in denial of my true straight orientation, I think). So, who knows? I hope I figure it out, and I come out to everyone as nice and straight! But day 15 of no PMO is still rough territory. I hope everyday will lead me to what I loved always as a young man (loooooved women, or so I thought, unless I was in complete fucking denial).

Boys and girls, in short, porn addiction is a MOTHERFUCKER!!! and withdrawal is goshdiggity darn rough too Blum 3

i think we are all kind of both straight and gay

to some extent I find men and women attractive sometimes. I think the human body can be awesome. I still admire guys' bodies sometimes. I find them attractive. But would I go to bed with a guy? No, I've had the opportunity but turned it down several times. It just doesn't feel right for me and my brain.

Masturbatory fantasies aren't our sexuality. I masturbated to bondage fantasies for a long time but acting that out wasn't gratifying and never felt right. I've occasionally in the past masturbated to gay stories and ditto, same thing. It doesn't mean anything. It's powerful though because what's forbidden or extreme is hot. Now I know that has to do with dopamine and it makes sense now.

There is a huge confusion between *thoughts* and *actions*. Thoughts don't mean you will take action or even want to. The thought of having sex with someone is just a thought.

I believe really that it is VERY helpful to visit TheWork.org and do "The Work" on some guy you find attractive. Just to get the truth and play with your thoughts. The key to happiness is not believing your mind. Just because you think something means nothing at all. Thoughts are like clouds, they pass over and stay and then they go away. Means nothing.

Since starting Karezza all that is behind me. I think the orgasm train for most people never arrives at the station, if that makes any sense. Meaning, you never reach a state of real balance. When you do all becomes clear.

I think if I thought I was gay I'd try having gay sex and see what that was like. It's no big deal anyway. The big deal is the hell you put yourself in. But I would wait awhile before trying that, just to get your brain back into balance. The point is, it's all good. Once you see that, the power of these thoughts will go away, regardless of what you "truly" are sexually.

 

Amazing post, Emerson!

I can see what you're saying. And the HOCD really messes with your brain. I'm on day 16, and as I was meditating today I realized that the reason my meditation practice was so inefficient for so long was because I'm looking for answers and I can't find them.

I've been thinking back to my middle school years, especially to this one boy I had a crush on (dopamine rush). Something hit me today as I was meditating: I thought back to the girls I liked then (I had already convinced myself there were none), and I just got memories of dressing up for them (as dorky as I was, and being made fun of - which did hurt me in my inexperience), and of this one girl I took on a date when I was about 13 to the local pizza shop after school. It didn't work out, but I wanted to hold her in a way I didn't want to hold that boy I was crushing on. And I'm sure there were other instances with girls like that which I completely forgot about. And maybe I could begin to see how happy I am underneath all this misery with my girlfriend. At this point in the reboot, I don't know if it's the whole picture, but it seems more like me BiggrinBiggrinBiggrin

But remembering this missing link of past girls and how good it felt to like them actually made it easier to return to the breath (mindfulness) because I felt more in my own skin. So the reboot can be a guide to meditation because as your return to normal, you're not searching for answers because you KNOW much better who you really are (you're not obsessing), and you can just sit with the breath, remaining more present than you were before Smile

So I shouldn't analyze,

even if it puts me in a good place? Knowing my love for women has put me in a very nice place today, and knowing that I will be ok. And when the negative thoughts come back, I can always attempt to let them go. And I'm bonding with my baby today which is beautiful, so with that in mind, analyzing isn't so necessary.

Acceptance

The idea is that reassurance is just a temporary band aid. Yes, it can make you feel better in the short term. But it's only short lived. The questions, doubting, analyzing, testing all come back, sometimes more intensely. It's a never-ending loop.

The theory behind acceptance of the thoughts, of the fact that you can never know for sure what your orientation is, is to remove the importance of the question in your brain. That's how you get lasting relief. That's the theory, anyway.

Yes true

I am really thinking that the HOCD is correlated to porn use, if not caused by it for many. As I have read accounts of other peoples' HOCD dissipating a lot, if not completely, during reboot, it gets me thinking that as the brain gets whacked out it loses ground of what is sexually/romantically important to it. As I reboot, and having been in HOCD-specific therapy before for a couple of months, I am finding that only now it's becoming easier to accept those thoughts. As I bond with my girlfriend, I have less intrusive thoughts and more love, so now I know that if I have an "I'm gay, go suck a dick thought", I still may spike, but I can laugh about it much more.

Off topic, I'm apparently not that internet savvy, but how do you find/do those awesome emoticons?

I think you're right

If ever you happen to read our book, you'll see support for the idea that supernormal stimulation (such as the constant, pleasure-numbing novelty of the Internet) turns up the volume on the Coolidge Effect (appeal of novel partners). It then can quiet the volume of the normal bonding signals by comparison.

Just stumbled upon this research that quantity of porn use has a reverse correlation with commitment.

A Love That Doesn't Last: Pornography Consumption and Weakened Commitment to One's Romantic Partner

Read More: http://guilfordjournals.com/doi/abs/10.1521/jscp.2012.31.4.410

Sounds corny, but there are sound brain reasons for this effect. The good news is that if we want to bond and stay bonded, we can consciously steer for that outcome by keeping the brain in balance.