Lovehoney Pride Guide - Going Your Own Pace

A guest post on understanding your own personal path

This article has been written and contributed by a guest blogger, for Lovehoney. It includes LGBTQ+ themes throughout. If your identity sits outside of the binary, you can find more relative content like this on our main LGBTQ+ page here.


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Calum McSwiggan is a London based LGBTQ+ lifestyle YouTuber who makes content about queer culture, issues that affect the LGBTQ+ communities, mental health, and sex and relationships

I had my first crush at eight years old. His name was Thomas and he lit my small world on fire. I didn’t really understand why I liked spending time with him so much, why I loved the way he did his hair or why I loved the clothes he wore. It was very much innocent then, and I had no idea how that crush was going to be the beginning of something bigger than I could have ever imagined.

I wasn’t the same as everybody else: I liked boys instead of girls, just a small insignificant detail, and yet that meant my life was going to be different. It’s only really now, some twenty-five years later, that I’m really able to appreciate how it put me on a completely different path.

Understanding and accepting myself was just the first step. It was a challenge, of course, but what I really struggled to get to grips with was how I felt I was being left behind. My school friends were all having their first kiss in the playground, fumbling their way through the awkward school dance, asking that special someone to prom. The movies I watched and the books I read all told me this was normal – the high school experience – and yet I wasn’t getting to enjoy any of it.

One by one, my friends all lost their virginities, hooking up behind the bike sheds and bragging about the sex they had in the supply cupboard. They had boyfriends and girlfriends and told them they loved them, and yet I still hadn’t even met another person who so much as felt the same as me. My world was small then, and I felt like the only gay person in the world.

By the time I left school and started meeting other queer people, I felt like I was playing catch up. My first kiss, my first boyfriend, losing my virginity, all of it had to happen fast. I felt the pressure so intensely that I ended up engaged to the first gay man I ever met. It was a mistake, of course, but nothing in the world could have convinced me of that then. We were just like our straight friends and at the time, it felt like a win. It was only when that relationship would fall apart I would see the bigger picture.


"It’s true being LGBT+ sometimes limits our opportunities, there’s less of us, we have a much smaller dating pool, and things just aren’t always as simple. Before we can even contemplate love and romance, we have to go through the often difficult process of outing ourselves, and even then people may not accept us. We had to fight for our right to get married, adoption/surrogacy is complex, and sometimes it feels like the whole world wants to deny us the most fundamental life experiences."

I’m at the age now where all my friends are getting married and having kids, and while I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t experienced moments of jealousy, I’ve also really begun to realise how being queer can be so incredibly freeing. It goes without saying that LGBT+ people experience discrimination and difficulties in Going Your Own Pace: A Lived Experience On Understanding Our Own Personal Path By Calum McSwiggan life which others perhaps don’t, but when life tells you the rules weren’t meant for you, then you have no choice but to throw away the entire rule book and make up the rules yourselves.

It’s for this reason, in my experience, LGBT+ people are far more willing to experiment and explore. While others may feel the immediate pressure to get married, find a steady job, and have kids, queer people have the freedom to go against those norms. I believe we’re more likely to experiment with open relationships, throuples, and meaningful sex with our friends. I believe we’re more likely to find family in our friendship circles and in our wider community, and I believe we’re more likely to be experimental in the bedroom and beyond. I think I spent so much of my life focusing on the things I was missing out on, then I never really stopped to realise all the wonderful things my identity has brought along with it.

Life comes with so much pressure to do things and to do them quickly, but this is your reminder: all of that is a complete and utter nonsense. Nothing in life comes with a time limit and the same goes for people outside of the queer community too. Life will try to tell you to rush through some of the most meaningful things you’ll ever experience, but there are no milestones, and no specified age-limit on reaching them, so just focus on your own journey and forget about everyone else.

“So, wherever you are in your journey – whether you’re a teenager who’s just beginning to accept themselves or whether you’re in your sixties and deciding now is the right time to come out - just remember to do things at your own pace.”


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