The opportunity to enjoy sex is one of the great things about being gay. Some people say that being gay means they feel less restricted and more free sexually in terms of what they can do with their bodies, with who and when. But many people struggle with feelings of guilt, shame and fear associated with being told gay sex is not ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ or ‘right’ in some way.
These ideas that certain types of sex are ‘not normal’, ‘unnatural’ or ‘wrong’ are a result of fear and prejudice. Individuals and institutions will often quote either some branch of science or religion in defending their opinions, but at the heart of these objections there are generally delusional personal fears and complete ignorance about gay or lesbian lifestyles.
A lack of experience or unpleasant or disturbing past experiences may also make it difficult for you to enjoy sex. Some people have their first gay sexual experiences while they are teenagers, others not until their 20′s, 30′s or later. Some people are at ease with their sexuality when they have their first experiences, or are not afraid of others knowing about them. Others go to great lengths to keep sex a secret from family and colleagues. Some people have consensual first time sex and some people remember their first sexual experience as one of abuse.
We are all different and our bodies are changing over time throughout our lives so we can change as well in terms of what we like and enjoy and what we don’t.
What To Do If You Are Not Enjoying Sex
Sometimes we don’t feel good about having sex, or we feel bad after we have had sex. People can get the idea that because they enjoy sex and then feel bad later they are doing something wrong. If our upbringing or family or the dominant ideas around us have not been supportive of our sexuality, we may find it is difficult to be who we really are! Our sexuality is determined by the time we are 8 or 9.
If you are gay and you feel bad about having sex, there are some things you can do.
- Get to know some other gay men or lesbians who feel good about their sexuality
- Tell yourself that just because you enjoy sex, it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you
- Start talking about sex to supportive people, even if it is anonymously on support forums
- Remember that dominant cultural ideas have contributed to the way you are feeling, but alternative ideas about sex and relationships are very valid
- If you have experienced sexual abuse, emotional abuse or particularly childhood abuse, treatment or therapy might be helpful in assisting you to enjoy sex and relationships.
Talking about sex can sometimes help. Perhaps if you have difficulties there is a trustworthy friend who you can speak with? A counsellor or therapist who specialises in working with gay people may also be able to help.
Gerry North is a gay couples and general counsellor.