my parents don't approve of my sexuality will I find love

My Parents Don’t Approve Of My Sexuality, Will I Ever Find Love?

Here’s some advice for you if, for whatever reason, your parents don’t approve of your sexuality and you are worried you will never find love or relationships.

The problems with ‘having to choose’

The way that we are encouraged to think about this is: ‘I have to choose, my parents or my sexuality’. Actually this isn’t how it works for most people. There are a lot of risks this this approach. Sadly, some parents will abuse their kids. Or threaten or actually kick them out of their home if they ‘come out’ about their sexuality (or relationships). When we are telling people big news about us, timing and trust and safety are really important.

There are also risks on the other side though. The risk of abusive relationships, where the ‘love of your life’ says they can replace the love of your parents or family. This kind of one-sided relationship can easily become abusive, or unhappy.

In fairer, better worlds, we would have support systems in place for people in very difficult situations like yours. We would have less or no discrimination (which is the cause of a lot of mental health problems, as I say in this article about the world and stress). There would be lots of easy ways to make friends and to hang out, in person and online.

Whilst we all work on the rest of this (through solidarity) we also need people like me to give sensible advice to people like you in this situation. So I’ll try my very best to give you some great advice.

I think a useful way of thinking about this is to think about root systems and plants.

Root Systems

When you’re born you are born into a root system, like this.

my parents don't approve of my sexuality will I find love

So there’s a small plant (that’s you, how cute!), and a larger plant (parents and family). Look at the root system, see how entangled that is? In nature, these plants are called rhizomes. They are interconnected to other plants and each plant is reliant on each other to thrive (as well as the soil, nutrients, water, sun, etc). So you’re all entangled up.

As you get a bit bigger your roots grow a bit more but they stay entangled up with those people who bring you up.

Your root system starts to spread out as a result of being in relation to others, as you can see in this next pic.

As you can see your root system might start to become entangled with other people, as well as being entangled up with your original root system. I’m sure this makes sense so far. We feel can feel entangled up with other people. We grow a bit in their direction, and become our ‘selves’. And we also stay entangled with our original root systems.

You’re an Assemblage or Arrangement of ‘Things’

Seeing ourselves in this way is called an ‘assemblage’ or ‘arrangement’. We’re in relation to other people. They also bring with them their ideas, bodies, thoughts, desires, likes/dislikes, values, principles, catchphrases, memes, accents, music, favourite films, etc etc. So these other plants and root systems aren’t just people but lots of ‘things’ that we can be in relation to. We bring these things with us too. As we become ourselves we do so in relation to the actual people around us (who might feed us, teach us things, and tell us to do things).

Here’s another drawing from another advice article I did about how someone who is a lesbian but has feelings for their bestie.

The L is part of the label Lesbian. This is what it looks like when you zoom in with a microscope to see what might be happening in their root system. It’s an assemblage of someone who might be a lesbian.

If you’re confused at this point don’t worry. Try drawing this for yourself on a bit of paper. Draw an interconnected root system (a few wavy lines that overlap). Write in some of the things (ideas, people, bodies, relationships, desires) that are producing ‘you’ today. You might notice that you can’t disentangle your parents from the ‘you’, even though you might have a lot of other intense relationships or feelings for people in your life.

What You Can Do

Now, this might feel like you don’t have a lot of control over what’s going on, but it’s not true. Remember, it’s not a tug of war, where you are being pulled in one direction or another. You are emerging as a result of the relationships and the root system you are entangled in. It’s about how we make use of our root systems so that we can thrive as best as possible. Your job is to become you / your sexuality, in a way that is as safe and caring towards yourself as possible.

You need to create little zones of safety, or islands you can jump onto and sit for a bit until you are ready to move again. That means sometimes doing things like:

  • Being really patient
  • Having trusted safe outlets for your feelings, like knowing who to talk to about sex, for example. You could also try the forums at The Mix or Scarleteen.
  • Contact support organisations like AKT, who support LGBTQ people with housing, or the Trevor Project in the USA
  • Acts of self care
  • Keeping your insides safe (and knowing that they aren’t your interior life isn’t necessarily ‘the thing’ about you, more about that here in my self esteem resource)
  • Paying attention to the resources that you have (try my Feel A Bit Better resource)
  • Appreciating even the smallest things that your parents might do for you (even if you don’t like them)*
  • Not having to tell the truth to people if you can’t trust them
  • Having an emergency back up plan if everything goes wrong suddenly

*Sadly sometimes parents might be harmful though, sometimes shelter and food also comes with other kinds of abusive behaviour which may be too harmful to be around.

Getting Entangled

Eventually what is going to happen, is that even though you can’t disentangle yourself from your parents, or who brought you up, you’ll be so entangled up in other root systems that it will feel easier. You might also be able to see some valuable parts of that bit of your root system, even as other parts go off in very different directions.

All of these interconnected root systems produce really resilient plants (grass and bushes grow like this, as well as some trees). So you’ll emerge in relation to all of them. You may also find that your relationship with your parents improves as a result. Of course, they are emerging and growing and changing in relation to you too.

The really good news about this is that all relationships emerge in this way. I’ve been writing a lot lately about how to get a girlfriend / boyfriend / themfriend, or even how to make friends. There’s lots of excellent, research driven, actionable advice on how to find people, find love, and become you. When it feels safe to do so, try them out.

Hope you find this helpful!

Justin

Please leave a (nice) comment below if you like or ask me a question here.

© Justin Hancock, 2024 Find out more about me and BISH here.

See what else you can find out about today!

Or search by category

Or search by tags

A-Z of Porn About You Abuse Arousal Ask Bish Body Image Clitoris Communication Condoms Consent Contraception Coronavirus Dry Humping Ejaculation Erection Feelings Friendships Gender Kissing Law Love Masturbation Oral Sex Orgasm Parents Penis Pleasure Porn Positions Pregnancy Pressure Relationships Safer Sex Saying No Self Care Self Esteem Services Sex Education Sexting STIs Teach yourself Team Bish The Right Time Trust Vagina

If you have a question that I’ve not already answered you can contact me here

Did you find my advice helpful? How would you make it better? Please let me know in this quick survey. It would really help me a lot and it’s also really nice to hear to hear from you!

Most of my readers like to stay updated via email. So sign up here and get an automatic email every time I post a new resource on here.

And you can also keep up with me via social medias (I’m not very active but I try to post when I’ve done a new thing). TikTok. Insta. Twitter. YouTube.

Did I mention that I’ve written a book? If you buy it via my Bookshop then I earn more money and that helps me keep this website running.

This website is free and free of adverts and thousands of people visit it every day. To keep it that way it relies on your support. Here are all of the ways you can support BISH and keep us going.

I’ve been a sex and relationships educator since 1999 (with a background in youth and community work). In that time I’ve taught and given advice about sex and relationships with thousands of young people in person and millions online. I’ve worked with many charities, local governments, schools and youth organisations facilitating training and workshops. My two books, Enjoy Sex (How, When, and If You Want To) and Can We Talk About Consent? are widely available around the world. I’ve been on the telly and the radio and have written articles for newspapers and magazines. I’m also a member of the World Association for Sexual Health. Read more about me and BISH here. Find out about my other work here Justin Hancock

If you’re over 18 and would like an advanced version of BISH check out my podcast Culture Sex Relationships. Also I’ve written a sex advice book for adults with Meg-John Barker called A Practical Guide to Sex available wherever you get books. We also did some zines to help you to figure out what you want from sex and relationships. They are at our website.

If you are an educator please don’t just show this website in class, they aren’t designed to be used as teaching resources. Instead, facilitate your own really great RSE with my resources at bishtraining.com.

9 thoughts on “My Parents Don’t Approve Of My Sexuality, Will I Ever Find Love?

    1. You can only give an infection if you have the infection. Just like a cold, or Covid. Only a small fraction of people who have sex have an infection. So if the man doesn’t have the infection, he can make someone pregnant without them getting an infection (because he does not have the infection). There’s more about sex infections here STIs – The BISH guide to sex infections

    1. I’m not sure what you’re asking exactly, but you can only give someone a sex infection if you are already infected. You can’t pass on what you don’t have. Most people don’t have a sex infection. If you’re trying for a baby it’s a good idea to have a test for an infection, from a sexual health clinic, because some infections might be harmful during pregnancy / birth / can be passed on to a child.

  1. and id like to know know that in order to get a woman/girl pregnant does the man need a condom or not or like the semen wont go through the condom so how can a girl/woman get pregnant with a condom and theres no infections?? (please explain everything im new to this)

    1. Condoms are around 98% effective. That means, if you have regular penis in vagina sex (2 or 3 times a week), with full ejaculation inside the condom inside the vagina, over the course of a year then there is a 2% chance of pregnancy. If they aren’t used properly they can break, but if you use them properly they provide really excellent protection against unplanned pregnancy and infections. There’s more about condoms in my how to use condoms article. Please also read through all the links that I gave you too, they have answers to all your questions.

  2. hi
    Im in a very hard situation for me because when i have sex my bf puts his penis i just get too scared if something happens to me soo what can i do ??

    1. Hmmm. Well, perhaps I might give a longer answer to this as an ‘Ask Bish’ but what concerns me is that your boyfriend isn’t really making space for your feelings about this. Maybe he is new to sex and doesn’t really know how to do this, but it’s really important to be able to communicate, before, during, and after sex. Sex isn’t just something you have to ‘go through’, it can be something that is really fun for you and him, if you do it properly. So I’m just going to leave you some links here to resources that you might find helpful. Here’s one about working out what kind of sex you might like OMG Yes, No, Hmm: work out what kind of sex you like, here’s one about enjoying sex without anything going inside anyone Amazing Sex Without Having ‘Sex’ here’s one about enjoying penis in vagina sex without pain Painful sex – how to have penis in vagina sex without pain and here’s one about a partner not being interested in whether it’s safe or not Partner Putting You at Risk and there’s a whole section on how to make sex safer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.