Time To Come Out, Gay OR Straight

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Today is National Coming Out Day.

And it’s not just for gays and lesbians.

Gay people aren’t the only ones who need support in coming out. In America, We all do:

* People who are afraid their genitalia smell or look weird
* People who fear their fantasies
* People who hide their masturbation
* People who ache to be touched differently, but won’t tell their partners
* People who wish sex didn’t hurt
* People who have an STD
* People who fake desire or arousal
* People who fake orgasm (women and men)

Why do so many of us hide our sexuality? Because as we’re growing up we’re told that it’s bad, it’s weird, it’s dangerous. We learn to reject our own sexuality, so we project that onto others and assume that they will reject our sexuality as well. We learn to fear that if we honestly expose our sexual feelings, desires, or bodies, we’ll be judged and abandoned.

Every week, my patients, lecture audiences, and anonymous correspondents ask me the same question—“sexually, am I normal?” And every week, my heart aches for them. It aches for the men and women who have a divine gift—their sexuality—and they can’t accept it, much less enjoy it. They can’t embrace it, so they can’t share it.

So October 11 is a good day to come out—just a little. It doesn’t have to be all the way—just a little. Take the time to tell a lover something about your eroticism. Or at work, confront a sex-negative joke you don’t like—say, something about certain women being frigid, or about certain men needing Viagra. Challenge someone’s inaccurate stereotype about a sexual variation you’re familiar with—like ‘S/M is all about men beating up women,’ or ‘couples who swing are afraid of intimacy.’

OK, maybe Thursday is an awkward day to celebrate your sexuality. But the weekend’s just minutes away. Think about how you want to come out, just a little.

And by the way, have a moment’s compassion for gay people, for whom coming out can also mean jeopardizing their jobs, residence, healthcare, religious support, or their family’s love. Not to mention having to deal with a bunch of politicians building their careers by demonizing gay men and women.

For more on participating in the big Day, click here.

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