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Last year, there was an incident widely reported in Media. It was regarding suicide of a young woman medico when she discovered after 2 years of non consummated marriage that he was a gay. Ghosh! Was there no other option left? Probably she panicked the moment she found the reality. What to do if you find your partner is homosexual ? Can a homosexual individual lead a normal married life if he marries a person of the opposite sex ?
The questions are many and vital too !

Let us understand what is homosexuality. Sexual orientation is a dimension of human sexuality involving sexual and romantic attraction with other individuals . Please understand – it is only attraction or the way someone identifies oneself . Sexual behaviour may or may not be corresponding – means a homosexual person may feels attracted to males but never indulge in male to male sex .  If it is towards people of same sex , it is being Gay in men and Lesbians in women . Some have attraction to both genders and are called Bisexuals . There is a fourth group as well . They have attraction to neither gender and they are called Asexuals . Asexuals are different from people with reduced sex Desire because they have no distress and it is present since beginning

How does sexual orientation develop –

There is no consensus on the exact mechanism . There are indications of a chromosomal variation in X chromosome . First degree relatives of homosexual individuals have higher chance of having homosexuality . Environmental factors are important . Intrauterine exposure of androgen may be responsible and homosexual people have difference in brain structure than heterosexuals . So homosexuality is not a choice – people are born just like it . Then if you stay in an environment such as hostel or jail where such activities are found in abundance and availability of partner is easy, the chances to develop homosexuality is more .

How common is homosexuality –

Conducting research on homosexuality is very difficult because there is a huge stigma . It has been like this since centuries People look down on such persons with disgust or derision in general . In India , this is a criminal offence . Till recently , it was considered a mental problem . So the real numbers may never come out. Homosexual people live in groups to avoid such hostile attitude of society . Still data from Europe suggest that 4-5% of adult population is gay and 1-2 % lesbians. There are 2-3 % bisexuals and 3 % Asexuals .

How does this affects a person’s life-

Homosexuality has been with us since time immemorial. It has been discriminated , derided and disdained . They have been treated as  second  grade citizens so people rarely come forward with their inner most truth . So much so that a medical doctor sent a mail to me from a neighbouring country asking for help. He was 38 years age and family members were pressing for marriage to a girl they had chosen . He was a homosexual but was not finding courage to speak to his own family members . He was asking me whether he should avoid talking to family members and marry or tell them the truth . My response was simple- It is better to face whatever happens once than risk everyday’s tension of unhappy married life so talk to family . What happens to the individual himself when he/she realises that he is different from others? Sometime back, Sunil, a young boy of age 30 was brought to me by family members . He was married for 2 years to Neeta , a beautiful girl of 28  but the couple had no sex . The matter came to light when Neeta was asked by family members for ” good News” . Very reluctantly, Sunil told me that he was a gay. He had noticed this during college days and was shocked to realise that he was different from his other friends . He got horny by his male friends but female colleagues had no effect . He remained depressed and consulted a doctor , who promised to treat this . He had married because he thought it would cure his homosexuality but he had never tried sex with Neeta because he felt totally helpless . He was very very depressed and wanted to commit suicide . These were typical of the effects of realising that the person is homosexual. I suggested whether he was ever aroused with a girl or had masturbated with female fantasy, to which he categorically denied . They separated later but this could have been averted had he discussed with family or consulted a qualified sexologist .

Does homosexuality change over time –

This is a very important question to answer . Is this trait a fixed asset or fluid which may change over time? The answer is – yes , it can change . Homosexuality can be understood by the spectrum model – one end of spectrum is pure homosexuality and other end pure heterosexuality. As one moves from homosexuality to heterosexuality , the inclination changes as well . People along the path are called bisexuals and the component of homosexuality depends on the place he finds himself- the nearer to homosexual end means more chances of homosexuality . People in the centre have equal attraction to either gender . Over the period of lifetime , one can move away from homosexual end towards heterosexual end . It depends on the availability of partner and pleasure obtained from it , the more pleasure with opposite sex and easy availability like post marriage will incline the person to heterosexuality more and more . STILL remember, if males are easily available or the pleasure from heterosexual contact reduces, chances to try homosexual encounter will increase  as happened with Rakesh
Rakesh is a 40 year old executive , married to Priya , age 35 for 12 years . He had twice penetrative sex before marriage . He is quite impulsive , involved in a case of road rage , had a police case for assaulting his colleague and involved in gambling . He is showing many symptoms of OCD . His homosexuality was discovered by Priya which resulted in severe marital discord and almost no sexual interaction for last 2 years . Rakesh promised to Priya that he will not involve himself
again in homosexual acts but couldn’t keep the promise as he had it 3 days before the couple came to me . I found there was reduced need to sleep and marked distraction as well , suggesting he has Bipolar Disorder with OCD.  Priya was very upset and thinking of a divorce but I suggested to give it another try . Rakesh was started on appropriate medicines . He has responded well , now he remains calm and no history of gay activity in the last 2 years . I also encouraged to have regular sex so regular heterosexual sex also helped Rakesh to abstain from homosexual activity

Can homosexuality be treated-
Pure homosexuality is not a disease , hence no question of treatment. People have to accept and let them be what they are . Only Bisexuals are likely to change to some extent or if it is sign of some other mental problem, it an be treated.

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