A man who made a New Year’s resolution to be celibate for a year after breaking up with his boyfriend over Christmas dinner revealed how his sex-free 2018 made him realize he is straight – and he now wants to lose his virginity to a woman.
Coming out aged 14 to his family, Dominic Hilton, 27, grew up believing “110 per cent” that he was gay.
Between the ages of 18 and 19, he even worked as a male escort, and said he had no doubt he would one day marry a man.
But, after splitting with his ex, who he doesn’t wish to name, on Christmas Day 2017, he made a radical resolution to spend 2018 celibate in order to discover a little more about himself.
It was a major undertaking as Dominic, who’s had between 100 and 150 male sexual partners, had never had a long period of celibacy before.
Now, as he prepares to rejoin the dating world, he has made an entirely different resolution – to lose his virginity to a woman – after coming to the realization that he is straight.
Dominic, a model and mental health worker from Bournemouth, said: “Sex is always something I enjoyed, but this past year, that sexual attraction to men has just gone.
“If you’d have asked me in the past if a person can change their sexuality, I’d have said no – but I’m living proof that you can.
“It was a gradual thing – not like someone flicked a switch and I was straight – but now I am actively seeking a girl to settle down with. I’ve had sex with men, but not women, so want to find an open-minded girl I can lose my virginity to.”
Save for a couple of casual teenage flings with girls before he came out aged 14, Dominic has only ever dated men.
A serial monogamist, he preferred more long-term relationships to playing the field.
To date, he has had four serious boyfriends that he has lived with and each of these relationships lasted around two years.
Whenever he did find himself single, he’d try anything and everything to find love again, even appearing on Channel 4’s Naked Attraction, where contestants judge would-be suitors by what they look like in the buff.
“I’d grown up not especially confident with my own body, but I eventually reached a point where I thought, ‘What the hell?’ and decided to apply for Naked Attraction,” he said.
“I’d recommend absolutely anybody do it, it was a real laugh – though it is difficult to explain to girls now that I’m looking to date a woman.”
Dominic’s most recent relationship came to an end on Christmas Day 2017, when he split with his ex-boyfriend of two years over dinner.
In the wake of the break up, he made a vow to dedicate 2018 to himself, and step away from the dating scene for a while.
Then, after reading an online article about the benefits of celibacy, he decided to go one step further and give up sex altogether for 365 days.
He said: “To get over someone, a lot of people go and get under someone else, but I didn’t want to do that.
“I started reading up on celibacy and saw people talk about how it had helped their self-esteem, lessened their anxieties, given them more energy and generally taught them more about who they were.
“At that point, I was still feeling down about my break up, so I just wanted to do something to make me happy. I never imagined celibacy would change my life as much as it has.”
At first, Dominic didn’t tell his friends or family what he’d planned, only sharing the news with them around three months in.
He added: “A lot of my friends found it funny. I remember one saying, ‘You’ll never do it.’ But the longer it went on, the more determined I was.”
Though Dominic admitted that the first couple of months, when he’d hit the town newly single, did present some temptation, he stayed resolute.
And, after a while, the urge began to wane. Freed from the anxieties of dating, he found he had more time to focus on himself.
“It was really liberating not having anything to commit to,” he said. “Taking myself away from all that meant that the only person I needed approval from was me.
“There was no worrying about what to wear, whether dates would go well and what it meant if you hadn’t heard from them.”
He continued: “In the past, I struggled with anxiety, which was what inspired me to go into mental health work, but being celibate meant I wasn’t looking to impress anyone – I was putting myself first and getting to know myself in a different way, which worked wonders for my anxiety.”
In addition, Dominic found he also had far more energy than before, describing celibacy as making him feel as if he’d been on a detox.
He added: “I don’t know if it was all the pent-up testosterone, but I just felt like I had ten times more energy.”
The most profound change, though, happened far more gradually.
Throughout the year, he noticed he was becoming more and more interested in women until, at the end of 2018, he realized he wasn’t attracted to men anymore.
“My male friend and I were on holiday in Alicante, Spain in October, and where I’d usually be chatting about guys we could see, and if I thought they were attractive, I just couldn’t join in,” he said. “Then my friend turned to me and said, ‘You really are straight, aren’t you?’”
He continued: “I’d been wondering if perhaps I was bisexual, and attracted to both men and women, but now, I just don’t find men attractive anymore. I have no intention of sleeping with a man again.
“Telling everyone I was straight was like coming out all over again, but my loved ones were supportive and just want me to be happy.”
Now, Dominic said that everything down to his dress sense and mannerisms have completely changed.
He added: “Before, I was quite camp, whereas I’m not now. Growing up, I loved dressing in makeup like Boy George, but these days, I’m always in tracksuits.”
As 2018 drew to an end, Dominic began thinking about rejoining the dating world, and downloaded Tinder, where users can swipe yes or no to profiles based on a selection of photos. But, unlike before, he is now searching for a woman.
He describes his type as “pierced, tattooed, edgy girls,” but also places great importance on finding someone with an open mind.
So far, though he has tried to be as honest as possible when chatting with women on dating apps, he has found that telling them he previously identified as gay can be tricky.
“It can really shut down a conversation. Though nobody has said anything outrightly rude, they just stop talking, which I almost hate more as it leaves you feeling dismissed and ignored,” he said.
“I told one girl, and she ended up blocking me an hour before we were due to meet which was hurtful.”
He added: “A lot of people don’t understand it, and think that I am gay but this is a phase. I have no doubt that I am straight though.”
As for taking a break from sex – he thinks more people should try it.
“I would recommend celibacy to anyone feeling a little lost in life. Even if you don’t go a whole year, just take some time and focus on yourself – you may be surprised at what you learn.”