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Am I homosexual?

Q: I am a 24 years old male. During my teens, I had been very curious about sex and had sexual contacts with at least 3-4 boys of my age ranging from kissing, masturbation to oral sex. I had a very young cousin of mine who was around 5-6 years old. He once caught me masturbating and insisted that I let him touch me or else he would tell the elders. I was 12 years old then. This continued occasionally for about 2-3 years and we stopped. At around the same time I had one of my classmates who talked me into mutual masturbation and oral sex with him. We did this about 2-3 times and then I refused. This was at the age of 13 years. At about 17-18 years, I had sexual contact with one of my good friends. We used to mutually masturbate and have oral sex. We did this for about 3-4 times in a span of 3 years, the last being done when I was about 20 years old. Since then, I have never got involved with anyone. I don’t remember any instances of being abused as a child except some stray instances when I was on the receiving end of an exhibitionist. My classmates used to always call me a girl as I was never into sports and was weak physically. They used to tease me a lot and make fun of me sexually. Due to all this I am attracted to guys as much as I am to girls. Do you think I might have contracted HIV from any of these? Do you think I am psychologically ill? Am I a homosexual?

A:To know if you are HIV positive or not, the best is to get the relevant investigation done. This would relieve you from one of your existing anxieties. To determine whether one is psychologically ill or not, the patient's own subjective view of his health is important to consider. How stressed one is with his current life situation, how much does it impact him, how much does it affect/interfere with his social, occupational and personal level of functioning are important factors to study. If ones daily functioning and productivity are not getting hampered then the condition would not be alarming. However, if the impact is tangible, then seeking professional help for it is a must. Your anxiety around your sexuality is understandable but to answer your question in a direct 'yes' or 'no' would not be possible. The best would be for you to meet a counsellor/psychotherapist who can facilitate the process of self-awareness for you and thereby help you in clarifying your doubts and apprehensions.

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