Wise Council From Susan Quilliam: Could I Be Gay?

Dear Susan,

I’m a man of 23. I have no problem having an erection when I’m on my own, when I’m with a woman I just can’t keep things going. None of my relationships have lasted long, and recently I’ve had a lot of one night stands – but I’m now getting more and more nervous about even trying to have sex with a woman. I also have occasional dreams about men. Could I be gay?


Hi Laurence

I couldn’t say whether you’re gay or not, not on what you’re telling me. If you are, then coming to terms with that fact will certainly help you be more able to get aroused because you’ll be having sex with the gender you truly fancy. If you feel that’s what’s happening – or if you’re worried that that’s what’s happening – then by all means ring the Lesbian and Gay Switchboard ( www.llgs.org.uk) who are fantastic at helping callers think through their sexuality.

But it’s also entirely possible that you’re only dreaming about men because you’re stressed around women. You’re nervous of the opposite sex, you feel a failure around them, every hiccup makes you feel more anxious and you’ve not yet had a solid, stable, long-lasting relationship that would help you get your confidence back.

So I’d concentrate on that. For the moment, put sex on the back burner and concentrate on making friends with women, getting to know them, getting to like them, feeling safe around them. Resist the temptation to have sex just to prove you can, and instead hold back until you really know that whatever happens in bed, your partner is going to be there in the morning, that she can hang in and support you with your lack of erection. My motto is ‘make friends before you make love’ – and that’s exactly the advice I would give you. Good luck!

Susan Quilliam also offers email, phone and face-to-face coaching on relationship and sexuality issues. Contact her here.

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