I provide a full array of psychotherapeutic services for gay and bisexual men, as well as for men who are questioning their sexuality. The therapeutic needs of gay men are often somewhat different in character than needs of heterosexual individuals. In particular, gay men often acknowledge that they were aware of their “differentness” early in life, despite not knowing what to call their sense of differentness. Growing up in a family or community while feeling fundamentally “different” than others has a psychological impact on anyone, and this is a common theme in the therapy of gay men.
When coming out of the closet, many gay men report expecting a welcoming and affirming community. However, feelings of disappointment and confusion may ensue as the men come to understand that many other gay men may be struggling with self-acceptance and other issues of their own. Seeking a safe-haven and a community for exploring one’s self, many gay men can feel lost and alone. Adding to the complexity, some men fear the response their families may have to the disclosure of their sexuality. While some men are surprised that their families are as accepting as they are, others are disappointed to learn that their families are more rejected than than anticipated. Whether your familiy supports you in your sexuality or not, it is important to feel supported by others as you explore your sexual preferences. Therapy is one place to find such support.
Issues of internalized homophobia and pressure to conform to societal stereotypes of masculinity leave many gay men confused or conflicted about their expression of who they are as men. In particular, the subculture of the gay community can at times be more welcoming to the “masculine” gay male, elevating those who conform to traditional norms of masculinity to higher status than those who are “less masculine.” Gay men often face, without even knowing it, internalized notions of the superiority of the “masculine” gay man and the lower status of “less masculine” men. It is no wonder that so many gay men struggle with self-acceptance. Not only are gay men members of a sexual minority, but the gay subculture at-large can be less welcoming to those who do not conform to masculine norms. The irony is that the gay subculture’s elevation of traditional masculine ideals as somehow superior is an identification with the aggressor and an expression of internalized homophobia. In fact, the psychological underpinnings of such elevations of masculinity are often built to help gay men feel more conforming to masculinity. Sadly, being “not masculine” is a more shameful possibility for many gay men than their sexual orientation. The tendency for gay men to have more shame around their sense of masculinity than their sexual expression seems to be increasing as gay people become more commonly accepted by our society.