Saturday 19 October 2019

Dear Mary: I'm frightened of being a lesbian

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Mary O’Conor

I'm a 14-year-old girl and I'm afraid of becoming a lesbian because I don't want to be one. I just hear so much about people finding out that they're gay and this troubles me. I'm afraid of doing the same. And it has become such a regular thing in our society lately and it just scares me.

I recently read on a website that thinking about gay things can make you gay. Is this true?

When I compare being with a guy and being with a girl in my mind I feel better about the guy but I'm afraid that I'll start being attracted to girls.

I know it's a bit silly but if you have any advice for me I'd be eternally grateful.

Mary replies: Your worries are not at all silly and I'm glad you wrote to me. You are at an age where all sorts of things are going on, both in your body and in your head because you are in the midst of changing from a girl to a young woman and this will continue to happen over the next few years.

Everyone develops at a different rate - I'm sure some of the girls in your class are much more developed physically than others and some will have had menstrual periods for quite a while whereas others are just beginning.

It's the same with sexual awakening. Some girls will already be very interested in the whole sexual area while others will have no interest whatsoever. But it is only natural that you have questions regarding your sexuality.

The most recent poll that I saw estimated that about 4pc of our population in Ireland is homosexual and thankfully Ireland fully recognises that they have the same rights as everybody else regarding acceptance and marriage. But the LGBT community is still a minority, and sometimes it is difficult to be in a minority group.

The good thing is that it is now OK for people to come out as being gay, rather than having to keep it hidden which is what happened for so long. As a result it is much more spoken and written about, which is probably contributing to your anxiety about the subject.

To answer your specific question, thinking about gay things will not make you gay. You have asked yourself the very reasonable question as to whether you would prefer to be with a guy or a girl and you have found that you would prefer to be with a guy.

So just go with this feeling and don't beat yourself up too much about it. When you start experimenting with guys - and please start slowly - you will probably find that this is what you like and you will want some more.

It's all ahead of you - and when the time comes remember to practise safe sex always.

But above all please remember that being physically attracted to somebody and then acting on that attraction is supposed to be fun.

You are in danger of taking the fun element out of it all and that would be such a shame - there is a whole lot of enjoyment to be had.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting or email her at or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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