Another reason that a woman or man experiences sexual dissatisfaction or has sexual prob­lems in a heterosexual relationship can be a desire to be involved with individuals of the same sex (Althof, 2000). Although much progress has been made in establishing gay rights, following one’s homosexual orientation still involves facing significant societal disapproval, if not outright discrimination. To avoid these repercussions, some homosexual people attempt to live in heterosexual relationships despite their lack of sexual desire in such relationships.

Sexual difficulties can also occur in homosexual men or women who are in same-sex relationships but have not yet been able to rid themselves of internalized negative beliefs about homosexuality (Nichols, 1989), as this woman explained:

It had been a 10-year struggle for me to accept myself as a lesbian. I tried dating men, but always found that a special, meaningful feeling was missing. I had sev­eral relationships with women that didn’t work out. then I met Carol. I liked her, respected her, and was very attracted to her. I was looking for a long-term relation­ship, and the compatibilities and feelings were right. Sex was great until she told me she loved me. a switch went off, and I stopped feeling interested. In therapy, I was able to realize that the lingering feelings of my mother’s disapproval had stopped me cold from allowing myself to be fully happy and complete in a "queer" relationship. I worked through those feelings and am now enjoying my sexuality in a loving, committed relationship for the first time in my life. (Authors’ files)