March 5, 2015

Q&A: I Really Want To See If I’m Gay. Help Me.

You’re curious about being sexual with another man! And there are plenty of ways to explore this.

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Restroom sign.

Restroom sign.

Question: I’m a straight guy that has been curious. I’ve been fantasizing about being with another man. I want to do this but I don’t know who to talk to or where to go. At first I want to keep it on the down low. I really want to see if I’m gay. Help me.

If you say you’re a straight guy, that suggests to me that you have some romantic or sexual attraction to women. Is that the case? Or have you just identified as straight as a default position or because people around you assumed you were straight?

If you’re into women, then exploring with men may help you find out if you are bisexual, as if you are romantically and sexually into women, it’s unlikely you are gay. But enough about labels, because they only get us so far anyway.

Ways to Explore

You’re curious about being sexual with another man! And there are plenty of ways to explore this. Some men begin by just getting to know other men around them and seeing if they have romantic or sexual attractions to men. Other times, guys who are curious about their attractions to men might go to a gay bar or explore Manhunt or Grindr.

Take a Trip

If you want to explore gay spaces, like gar bars or cruising spots, but don’t feel you can do it in your hometown, why not take a trip to a city you don’t live in where you can be a bit more anonymous? Many people explore in places they don’t live in, so they can feel less inhibited.

I’m not sure where you live, but cities like Chicago, New York, Miami, LA, and San Francisco all have a number of gay bars, though by no means are they the only ones. Wherever you decide to explore, give yourself room to see what it feels like. You may need to go several times, or a lot of times, before you really get a sense of whether you want to connect with men in this way. Some men who eventually come to identify as gay or bisexual don’t initially feel comfortable in gay spaces, or even making out or having sex with other men.

Comfort is Important

When you grow up in a mostly heterosexual world, where everyone assumes people are straight and where some people even say negative things about gay or bisexual people, feeling comfortable in gay spaces or situations isn’t always easy. For some people, it takes time to feel comfortable enough to open up. And also, many people of all sexual orientations have to like someone – and I mean, really like someone – before they can feel totally turned on or able to sexually perform with that person. If you’re like that, then you could be in a gay bar and meet a very attractive man but unless you happen to connect, you might not experience that part of yourself fully.

Learn More

New York Times columnist Charles Blow wrote beautifully about this process both in the Times and in his book, Fire Shut Up In My Bones. However you choose to explore, keep in mind that sexuality is fluid: you don’t have to decide on a label – straight, gay or bi – if you don’t feel that way right now.

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