It's very normal to masturbate. Most people do at some point in their lives, and continue to do so, even if they are in a relationship. It doesn't mean someone is sad or desperate if they masturbate; it's part of human sexuality and self-expression and is also an important part of learning about what you enjoy sexually. There are no rules about how much or how little someone should masturbate and it is common for people your age to masturbate regularly. Just make sure you are masturbating in a private place like your bedroom or bathroom.

We sincerely hope so. Because you are asking this, we guess that you may have a reason to believe that they might not be supportive. However, although some parents may find the news that you are gay difficult, and may struggle to accept it, parents’ love tends to run very deep.

It’s normal to feel nervous and vulnerable when you are thinking of coming out, so here are a few tips put together by counsellors experienced with the LGBTIQ+ community.

  • Firstly, remember that it is totally up to you whether, or if, you want to ‘come out’ and talk to your parents about being gay. This is your personal identity, and there is no rush to share it with anyone until you feel ready.
  • Be clear first about your own feelings about being gay, and make sure you are feeling confident and positive. It may be best to get some support first, perhaps from a counsellor or support group. You can get some great information and phone or online support from https://qlife.org.au/ and mental health support for young people from https://au.reachout.com/. In Cairns there are groups that meet at YETI (07) 4051 4927 and Headspace has an online youth LGBTIQ+ support group that meets weekly https://headspace.org.au/lgbtiqaplus/ .
  • Prepare your parents/friends by saying something like "I want to talk to you about something that's really important to all of us…" Be positive and assertive.
  • If you do decide to tell them you are gay, remember that you can’t control your parents’ initial reactions. If those reactions are not positive, that is not your fault or responsibility. It's not your responsibility to make it easier for anyone but you!
  • Remember that if things go badly at first, it’s unlikely that it will be like that forever…things generally get better with time.
  • Don't try to come out when something else important is going on in the family - weddings, funerals, birthdays, Christmas etc…
  • Sometimes parents already suspect that their child is gay, but sometimes it can come as a shock. Let your parents know you are willing to give them time to adjust… there is plenty of time…
  • Stay connected to your supports and make sure you have people you trust and can rely on to be supportive – whether in person or via the online support systems mentioned above.

Plenty of people have worried about coming out, and are happily surprised to find their parents are supportive and accepting. We hope that this is the case for you – you deserve unconditional love and acceptance, but it does make sense to plan for a range of reactions, so well done for asking and looking for advice.

You haven’t mentioned what kinds of problems your friend has with girls, but it is true that porn shows a very distorted image of relationships, so that is unlikely to help him in developing healthy relationships. People have very different feelings and opinions about porn. For a lot of young people, viewing porn is their first experience of sex so it is important to remember that porn can give people unrealistic ideas about sex, sexual acts, what women look like, what men look like and what people enjoy in sexual relationships.

 

In particular, watching porn can lead people to believe myths such as:

  • Men want sex all of the time
  • Women like men to behave in an aggressive sexual way towards them
  • Men have to be in charge and women have to take a submissive or passive role in sex
  • Safe sex (ie use of condoms) is not important
  • More extreme sexual acts (group sex, violent o rough sex, anal sex etc.) are normal (hint: they’re not!)

 

All of the above myths are untrue – healthy intimate relationships start with enthusiastic consent, and are about a deep emotional connection – things rarely seen in any porn video.

 

You are a great friend to be thinking of ways to help. One thing you can do is when your friend says something about girls that you don’t agree with, make sure you speak up. You don’t have to start an argument or lecture, but say something like “Really? Where did you get that idea?” and let him know that stuff in porn is far from reality. There is lots of good information on this website, https://itstimewetalked.com/young-people/ that you might like to look at yourself, or maybe show your friend. You found our website, so maybe flick him our link too. At the end of the day, everybody has to make up their own mind about what they choose to do, and how it lives up to their values or not, but well done for looking for support. If you are at all worried about your friend’s mental health or the safety of him or others, make sure you also talk to a trusted adult at home or at school and get some more specific advice.

You have the right to feel safe all the time, and it is not OK for a parent to hit you. It is very important to talk to someone and get help - but make sure you do so in a way that will keep you safe.

If you are being abused you should talk to an adult you trust, like a close friend, your doctor, School Based Youth Health Nurse, Guidance Officer or a teacher. People like teachers, doctors and police are ‘mandatory reporters’ and are required by law to make a report if they think you are experiencing, or are at risk of experiencing abuse.

If you are in immediate danger of being hurt or abused, do not hesitate to call the police on 000 and if you can, try to go to a secure place like to a trusted family friend, your school, a police station, or a medical centre.

There are also several telephone services that can give you support and advice about violence and abuse.

  • Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800: This is a service for people between 5 and 25 years of age and they are available 24 hours. There is also lots of information on their website, along with web-based chat - www.kidshelpline.com.au
  • Family and Child Connect on 13 32 64 – This is a Queensland based service that is there to provide free, unlimited and confidential advice, and can help you to make a confidential report if you choose to do so.

Finally, well done for choosing to speak up and ask this question. It is not at all easy to talk about family violence, and it took a lot of courage to submit this question. Please stay safe, and we wish you all the best.

~ Bonnie