They say you remain your mum’s baby forever irrespective of age.
I was therefore not surprised when Mary walked into the consultation room at the Sexology clinic with her 30-year-old son and declared that she had brought her child for treatment.
“If you can treat my child I will pay you anything you want,” she said, “my pressure has skyrocketed to very high levels in the last one week, and my diabetes is getting out of control because of this child.”
I nodded with understanding as I turned my attention to Cedrick to find out what his problem was.
“I have no problem,” he said, “you just need to talk to mum who seems to be getting sick because of my partner. I think it’s the mother in-law’s jealousy.”
“How can you say that? This child is for sure out to ensure that I die of stress,” Mary shouted. She then broke down and cried emotionally.
I decided to medically interview Cedrick by asking direct questions.
Cedrick, an actor, was the only boy in his family. He had two sisters. He was a drama teacher in a theatre college.
At his age, he had never brought a girlfriend home and his family was getting impatient with him.
His mother had threatened to arrange a marriage for him if he was unable to get a partner. It is out of this pressure that Cedrick decided to bring his partner home.
“Can you imagine he brought a fellow man home and introduced him as the partner he was planning to marry?” the mother interjected, “Don’t you see what I mean when I say my child needs treatment? He is sick, very sick in the head!”
Cedrick was gay. He had been in a relationship with his male friend for over five years.
They kept the relationship a secret over homosexuality-related stigma.
I did a sexual orientation test on Cedrick and he was a pure homosexual, fully sexually attracted to the same sex and with zero feelings for the opposite sex.
In some cases we find homosexuals who have some feelings for the opposite sex.
In fact there are people who identify as heterosexual but have sexual feelings for people of the same sex.
Suffice it to say that sexual orientation is a spectrum and in many cases things are really never black and white. As they say there are many shades of grey.
“You should tell mum that there are many people out there who are like me, that I am not weird and that I need no treatment!” Cedrick interjected.
He was rather emphatic, which only served to hurt his mother more.
According to statistics, up to 20 per cent of the population has at one point or another in their lives had erotic feelings for the same sex.
In many cases, the feelings are not strong enough and are not acted upon, and may not be recurrent.
About 6 per cent of men and 4 per cent of women, however, act on those feelings and are fully attracted to persons of the same sex. They identify themselves as gays or lesbians.
There are a category of homosexuals who maintain heterosexual relationships but have clandestine same sex relationships. They are bisexuals meaning that they have sex with both men and women.
“I keep asking myself what wrong I did to end up with a boy with this kind of behaviour,” Mary interjected, “I have prayed, spent nights awake and even thought of suicide, but ended up with no answer on why a man would want to marry a man.”
Many theories have been proposed to explain sexual orientation but none is found to exclusively give an answer.
There are theories that pin it down to genetic make-up — that our sexuality is written in our genes.
Then there are theories that blame it on socialisation- that it’s the way we have been brought up that makes us behave the way we do sexually.
At one point, some scientists even believed that homosexuality was a psychiatric illness.
Repeated studies have, however, shown that this is actually not the case and that homosexuality is not an illness.
“Yes, tell my mother that! I am not sick,” Cedrick said.
“I think what I am trying to say is that this is a difficult subject and I have no answers, but I can only give you information that’s out there,” I said.
One thing that homosexuals needs to know is that their sexual orientation can be a difficult reality for their relatives and friends. Further, religion, culture and the law can strongly oppose homosexuality. “Being conscious of this context helps manage relationships with the people who care about you.” I said.
“So you are not providing treatment for my child after all,” Mary asked.
I booked her and her son for separate counselling sessions, which they went through.
At the end of the counselling, they were able to have open discussions and agree on how to manage the unique situation as a family.