Doctor’s Note: today’s question deals with issues of race, white supremacy and sexuality. Needless to say: racist and homophobic comments are not welcome and the mods and I will be paying attention.
Dear Dr. NerdLove:
I’m a young gay man in his 20’s, and although I’ve had a sometimes rocky start to life (like many other folks around me), I’ve been able to get through it largely intact, and now have a pretty good path ahead of me.
I think I’ve already dealt with a good chunk of negative thoughts and fears that used to hang heavily over me – I used to fear I was unlovable as an awkward, overweight, nerdy Asian guy – but with successes in therapy, hobbies, friends, hookups, and my career, I’ve been able to begin to see myself in a new light. Although of course, I’m still dealing with remnants of it (your typical duo of depression and anxiety, maybe some self-hatred still in there).
There’s one big thing that jumps out at me, and it’s becoming more and more of a “hot topic” now, and I haven’t been able to figure it out productively. I… haven’t seen a single East Asian man in real life that I’ve been attracted to.
Now let me get this clear; I’m East Asian. My parents are East Asian. I have East Asian best friends, I went to school with many East Asians, whatever. I… may not be a purely aracial being, but certainly I’ve done a lot to try to stamp out racism and racist thoughts from my life. The websites that talk about this suggest that sexual racism means “you think Asians are effeminate” or “you think Asians are obedient and submissive” or something else; I don’t really think any of that.
To me, most East Asian guys I see around me or in media (here or overseas) are just… about as sexually attractive as I find women (I.e. not at all, and sometimes sexually repulsive). I’ve tried!! But after a few times, you kinda get the feeling it doesn’t work for you, and you don’t want to waste the other guy’s time either.
Even when I was younger (discovered porn around 10-12), although I have (though rarely) looked at Asian guys in porn, it was never really what I focused on.
I assume it has something to do with the media exposure I had – where white or Middle Eastern or Latino folks were ‘normal’, Black folks were often there just for the cock, and…. I’m not even sure what the western porn industry has used Asian MEN for, as a category.
But beyond that, I had my fair share dealing with negative experience with East Asian adults and peers as a kid too, especially since that sometimes formed a bulk of by upbringing. Young looking guys are still off-putting to me in general cuz of the whole bitter taste school left in me, lol.
But how do I even begin to fix this? Websites that talk about sexual racism never talk about fixing it. They just say guys that are racist are trash and you should stay away from them. Unfortunately for those folks, my depression did not win, and I continue to exist… And while “exposure therapy” might work, well, it’s hard to date someone you’re not physically attracted to when you know they’re physically attracted to you, and it’s even harder to… have sex with them (if I definitely want to say no, but force myself to say yes…). Beyond that, I don’t think it’s right of me to subject someone else to dating someone who’s just trying to “fix their racist preferences” through exposure. Otherwise, I still get plenty of exposure to Asian men through work, current (non-sexual!!!) friendships (that are meaningful and important to me), and life in general.
Got any tips, or perhaps words of wisdom? I do definitely wish I could expand my dating pool by broadening what I’m able to find attractive… but I also do wish I could address this nagging (and increasingly strong) guilt about having racial preferences / being racist in dating, especially in these times.
Want To Expand My Interests