The types of situations and difficulties faced by homosexual people often are different to those faced by heterosexuals. The homosexual problematic is due, to some extent, to the fact that homosexual people belong to a minority in this society. There is frequently some confusion between statistical and clinical normality. Majority determines statistical normality, while clinical normality is defined by health professionals.
The response of the environment towards the person’s sexual orientation sometimes implies a strong pressure. That is why it can lead a gay person to states of stress, confusion and anxiety. The homosexual can feel vulnerable and confused about where to go for counseling and on whom to trust in order to express his or her experience.
The word “homosexual” can describe the sexual orientation, the sexual history or the identity of the individual. The term comes from the Greek prefix “homo” –which means “the same”− and the Latin root “sex”, which means “sex” too. This term was coined in its written form in a German brochure in 1869 by the Austrian novelist, Karl-Maria Kertbeny.
Some people reject the Word “homosexual” as they consider it too clinical, arguing that it does not refer to, or does not contemplate the romantic feelings of the person. As a result, they propose the terms “gay” and “lesbian” to make reference to the sexual orientation more specifically. On the other hand, there are people who prefer the term “homosexual” more than that of “gay”. They reckon that the first describes the orientation and the second is related to the cultural and socio-political group –with whom they do not feel identified−.
The attitudes of the general population towards relationships among people of the same sex have been changing throughout history. Some time ago, it was expected that all men and women established heterosexual relationships and the acceptance of social conventions. For a long time, transgression of these rules was condemned and considered sinful. In Spain, there have been periods in which people have been jailed because of their homosexuality. There are countries where being gay implies the capital penalty, even in the present.
Most countries allow consensual sex between people of the same sex, as long as the age of consent is respected. Some jurisdictions –such as ours, for example− acknowledge identical rights –including marriage and adoption− for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Many homosexuals have been “coming out of the closet” in the last years as discrimination attitudes have relaxed. The “coming out” usually has two phases. The first phase is that of “self-acknowledgement”. The person realizes that his or her sexual desires include people of the same sex. Then he or she is open –to different degrees− to relationships with people of the same sex. Generally, this phase is described as an “internal coming out”.
The second phase implies the decision to communicate to other people: family, friends, colleagues… Currently, this can happen from age 11 –in some precocious cases or in environments where homosexuality is taken naturally−. However, it can take place long before that point is reached. There are men who wait for years and years to come out due to the fear of the consequences that it can imply. Some actually do not get to face their orientation, they get married and have children with their heterosexual partners… We have seen cases, both of men and women, who have taken years to become fully conscious of their homosexual orientation.
“Coming out” can lead sometimes to certain crisis and, in fact, it can include suicidal thoughts –even suicidal attempts−. The suicide’s rate is bigger among adolescents with homosexual tendencies than with heterosexual ones. This is due to the pressure that is felt to deny their sexuality.
There are still homophobic attacks and insults toward different groups in our society. Often, people do not realize that a single word reflects a whole attitude of our society. It is so that intolerance is expressed, lack of respect to the differences still existent.
In the Zubieta Psychology and Sexology Centre we guarantee a respectful and personalized attention to homosexual people. We are aware of the problems faced by homosexual people and derived by the fact of belonging to a minority in our society. We have experience helping homosexual men and women, both on an individual level and as a couple.
We have experience dealing with the following difficulties:
- Confusion due to sexual orientation
- How and when “to come out”
- Addiction to Internet
- Addiction to sex
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Premature Ejaculation