Understanding Homosexuality

This may or may not be a problem. For those who are not homosexual themselves it may be a problem because they do not understand homosexuality and cannot comprehend why a sizeable minority of the population behave in this way. Let us say to these readers that medically we recognise that homosexuality for some individuals is a valid form of sexual expression which may be either temporary in nature or permanent. The fact that an individual is homosexual does not necessarily mean that he or she is in any way ill, although the homosexual, like any heterosexual individual, will be at the mercy of ordinary illnesses and anxieties or fears about sexual performance. Such anxieties and fears are often heightened for the homosexual by society’s attitudes towards this minority group.

For the homosexual, there may or may not be problems concerning sexuality. Frequently we encounter patients who are not sure whether they are homosexual or not, or are frightened of homosexual thoughts or inclinations. Such patients often need professional counselling. Many teenage boys and girls go through a transient phase of homosexual inclination which may include active homosexual acts, before finally settling on a heterosexual form of behaviour. This transient teenage homosexuality may worry parents but generally should not be any cause for concern.

The confirmed homosexual may well have problems concerning the expression of his sexuality. The law in the United Kingdom is obviously ambivalent about homosexuality. Lesbianism (i.e. sexual relationships between women) is in no way illegal, but it is only legal for two men to have a sexual relationship in private, with consent and if they are both over the age of 21 – except in Northern Ireland. Our culture does not tolerate any show of affection in public between two individuals of the same sex, especially if they are both men, and so homosexuals tend to meet covertly. This sometimes makes it difficult for the homosexual man or woman to meet others. It may also be difficult for him or her to make friends with heterosexual people. Often the homosexual will not feel free to discuss personal problems with heterosexual people, so problems may well remain unresolved.