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Could My Son Be Gay?

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My 18-year-old son has admitted that he's gay, but he hasn't had sexual intercourse with a male or a female. He is very smart academically, but I think he lacks social skills. He has dated girls and has had many straight guy friends in the past. Now that he's attending a liberal college, he has many lesbian friends. I want him to be sure before he comes out. How can I tell him this?

A: One doesn't need to have had sexual intercourse with a member of the same sex to know that one is homosexual. A continuing sexual attraction to members of your own gender is sufficient to identify yourself as homosexual in orientation. It's possible that he is confusing an interest in seeing what homosexual lovemaking is like with actually being gay. If that's the case, he will come to his own conclusions naturally. Your son has probably had more opportunity to explore his sexual orientation in his present college atmosphere than he did when he was attending high school and living with you. The fact that he has had many heterosexual male friends and that he has dated girls does not rule out the possibility or fact that he's homosexual.

I would suggest that you allow him to talk to you about his thoughts and feelings regarding his sexuality, free from blame. Whatever his sexual orientation, he needs to know that you will always love him.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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