Status coming out


I’m from a small town and it’s normal there to slag people off as “gay” or “fags”. I’ve gone along with everyone else and it’s always been a laugh. I left home two years ago to go to college and I’ve started hooking up with guys recently and I really like it. I’m not interested in girls and realise I never really was. I’m terrified someone at home will find out. I think my family would disown me and my friends would dump me. I don’t know what to do.


I’m delighted to hear you’ve found fun and connection at college. Being away from home can provide crucial space for self-exploration and exposure to new values and behaviours.

It really isn’t anyone’s business who you’re sleeping with, and if you were sleeping with girls we probably wouldn’t be corresponding. It’s unfair and unjust that people who are trying to find their way sexually, need worry about being “outed” or explaining themselves before they’re ready (if ever).

Following your heart, finding fun and happiness, and being true to yourself is what most parents really want for their kids, and that’s what you’re doing. But when it comes to sexuality, people feel they have a right to dictate. “I want you to be happy, but it has to be my way”. Just because they have strong views, doesn’t make them right, and it sure doesn’t make you wrong.

Unfortunately, Ireland is really small and people talk, so there’s always a chance word could get back to your hometown. I can’t say how your people will react, but I can suggest that you dive deeply into your social life and make good friends who know you and love you for who you are. Be a good friend and be proud of the person you’re becoming.

The important thing is that you get solid and strong in your identity, with good friends. If you need more help coming to terms with your same-sex attraction, consider counselling from an LGBTQI friendly counsellor. It’s impossible to be Irish and not homophobic, even for many same-sex attracted people. Jokes and stereotyping are the thin end of the wedge, and unfortunately calling someone “gay” is at best, used without thought, and at worst used as a weapon on hatred.

One might see you’re coming out as a gift to people who otherwise may go through life not realising their language is offensive, or that their values are archaic and harmful.

Be happy, be healthy and be proud. Contact me any time and know that you have support and love and that this mail will probably help others in a similar situation.



Can a straight man have sex with men and still be straight? I’m married to a woman for 15 years. Sex is fine but a bit boring and routine. She’s not into new things or experimenting so we do the same things all the time. I’ve been getting more interested in the idea of having sex with men recently and have started going to places to watch men have sex. It’s really exciting and I’ve had offers. If my wife can’t give me what I want, is it wrong to get it elsewhere?


The days of understanding attraction/orientation as binary are long gone, as we now know that orientation is a continuum. At one end of the spectrum are the purely same-sex attracted, and at the other are the totally straight. The majority slide up and down the scale at different times in our lives, depending on how open we are to our fluidity.

Binary labels of “gay” or “straight” can create extra blocks for those who wish to slide on the spectrum. There’s nothing wrong with “gay” sex or being attracted to men. But your situation is more complicated than that.

In Australia a large study found that 40% of men who identify as “straight”, have sex with other men. Generally the sex they have is anonymous, unsafe and somewhat demeaning (at least in their heads) because they’re homophobic and can’t accept that part of themselves, or the men they’re having sex with. They’re often in heterosexual, monogamous relationships with women who have no idea. Many of these men state that they can’t ask for the sex they want from their women, and they like being able to compartmentalise sex with men as meeting a need rather than an orientation, or cheating.

You’re married, so going outside the relationship without the agreement of your wife, no matter who it’s with, is not okay. It’s cheating. You can’t compartmentalise it because it’s with men, and you can’t diminish the act because it’s “only sex”.

Lots of men get bored in their relationship and those that look for excitement don’t always look to men. You may be entering a new phase in your life that includes sex with men. It would be a pity to have it sullied by cheating on your wife. Tell your wife how you feel about your sex life and be clear that you need more. But before you do that, take some time to understand your attraction to men because I suspect it may be more than simple boredom. If you were having red-hot sex with your wife would you forget about men?

You have every right to enjoy sex with other men, but you don’t have a right to cheat on your wife. It’s that simple. By doing so, you steal her opportunity to make a choice based on all the facts. Right now, she chooses to be married to a man who is monogamous and she thinks she has all the information. If you want to open up the marriage and have sex with other people, she needs that information so she can choose to stay or go.

Sex with other men is not the issue. Going outside the relationship without your partner’s agreement is. I wish you well.



I walked in on my daughter and her friend a few weeks ago. They were clearly snogging and were mortified. I was mortified. They’re both girls, and 15. I had no idea my daughter is a lesbian. I held my ground and they scooped themselves up and the friend left. I told my daughter she wasn’t to have her round on her own any more and if they kept that behaviour up I’d tell the other parents. I don’t know what to do. She’s not talking to me now. I never thought this would happen to me. Her dad would go ballistic. Could it just be a phase? What can I do to encourage her to date boys when she’s old enough?


What a surprise you must have got! It’s always a surprise for any parent the first time they see their child kissing anyone. But at 15, it’s perfectly normal and healthy for kids to be kissing and exploring their bodies and pleasure. Would you have reacted differently if you caught her kissing a boy at this age?

There’s no way to know that your daughter is a lesbian from what you’ve seen. Orientation is not a binary system where everyone is either gay or straight. It’s a continuum, and many people find themselves at different points on the continuum throughout their lives.

What you saw was your daughter exploring pleasure with a friend she feels safe with. Maybe she’ll kiss more girls, maybe not. Maybe she’ll fall in love with someone who doesn’t identify as either male or female. There’s nothing you can do to “encourage” her to date boys because if she doesn’t find them attractive, you’ll be expecting her to go against her heart.

This hasn’t happened to you. You’ve happened to your daughter. You only know what you saw, and that’s not enough to make any judgments on her sexuality at this point. If you have a problem with her kissing anyone at 15, you need to sit her down and explain rationally why that is. If your problem is with her kissing a girl, I suggest you educate yourself about same sex attraction, teenage girls experimenting, and just how damaging a parent’s negative reaction can be.

This could be an amazing time for you and your daughter to bond over one of her early experiences. I wonder how she’d feel if you were excited for her and willing to listen to her? I’m sure she has lots of fears and hopes and questions. You could be such a great support to her or, you could maintain your stance and the rift between you, which may impact any future wish on her part to tell you anything.

You have an amazing opportunity here to be an incredible parent. I hope you can find it in your heart to leave your comfort zone and to reach out to her with an open heart and a quiet mouth.