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Am I Gay? 3 Ways to Handle Sexual Confusion


(Springfield, MO)--How do I know if I’m really gay? It’s a question many young people ask themselves if they experience romantic feelings towards peers of the same sex. Now, one author is exploring this tough question in his new novel.

“It’s not unusual to have feelings for someone of the same sex, even if you’re straight,” says Ryan O’Reilly, author of “To Nourish and Consume,” a dramatic novel whose characters are anything but certain about their lives. Brian Falk, the main protagonist, returns to his hometown after a decade away to find that he still has feelings for both of his best friends--one female, one male--who happen to be married to each other.

“In recent years, Americans have become increasingly accepting of both gay characters in popular culture and gay people in public life. But long before someone comes out, he or she has to deal with the confusion that can surround the discovery that he or she might be gay,” says Mr. O’Reilly. “I wanted to explore those moments.”

And he isn’t alone in his thinking on this matter. In 1948, Dr. Alfred Kinsey conducted his famous study of human sexuality and found that most people are not exclusively heterosexual or homosexual but somewhere in between. Dr. Kinsey created a scale to determine how much of each sexual preference we each carry.

“Brian isn’t sure of how to deal with his feelings,” says Mr. O’Reilly, “because how do you handle such life-changing feelings?”

Ryan O’Reilly suggests the following three steps for handling doubts or confusion about sexuality:

1. Be honest about your feelings, even if they go against your preconceived notions
of who you are. You can only lie to yourself for so long.

2. If you have feelings for someone specific, respect his or her own life choices and handle any discussions of your feelings with care and consideration.

3. Keep an open mind and seek the advice of someone you can trust. There are tremendous resources for people who have questions or who are just confused, including Web sites, hotlines and forums.

“It’s hard for Brian to deal with his feelings because he’s also facing other challenges, including family struggles over money and lingering resentment because his best friend married the girl they both wanted,” says Mr. O’Reilly. “Sexual identity questions don’t happen in a vacuum. Be prepared to deal with them in some chaos.”

Ryan O’Reilly is a freelance contributor to newspapers and periodicals across the country. He is also a member of the National Writers Association and the Writers League of Texas. His previous critically acclaimed novel, “Snapshot,” was published in 2007 and received rave reviews from Kirkus, the Midwest Book Review, fellow authors and his many devoted readers and fans.


 human sexuality
 sexual identity

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