With high school starting soon, I've slowly been drifting out of the social staleness I've adopted over the course of summer. I've started texting friends more often, being friendlier and generally preparing for the overbearing social situation of school. With me texting more, I came across the name of a crush that I have. His name is Matt.
Might seem simple to most people. Text him, develop a relationship. I wish it was that easy. Wanna make the situation a little more complicated. My name is James.
Want to make it even more complicated? I've yet to come out to my parents and dating another guy while my parents still think I'm straight is a rather hairy situation. I've told a few close friends and they've been supportive.
One of my main problems is doubting if I actually have an interest in males. I keep telling myself that it could be hormones or teenager impulse or something else associated with teenship that I could blame this one, and I keep imagining a scene where I'm in my boyfriend’s embrace and I realize I'm not gay. That would be one of the worst scenes I could imagine. A simple "Just Kidding" wouldn't defuse that situation.
What should I do? Thank you Papabear.
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You don’t disclose how old you are, but I will assume that you are a young male probably in your late teens or thereabout. That is a tough time for everyone when you really begin to solidify who you are, and part of that discovery is your sexuality.
First of all, you must rid yourself of the notion that sexuality is black and white, hetero vs. homo. Human sexuality is far more complex than that, with most people falling somewhere in between. It is, actually, quite normal for men who later settle into a heterosexual relationship to have experimented in some fashion with a homosexual one. In fact, the famous Kinsey Report makes note that somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of males have, at some point in their life, had a homosexual experience of some kind. This did not mean that they were strictly homosexual, just that they had an erotic experience with another man. Sometimes this was an isolated occurrence, sometimes not.
If it weren’t for the pressures that society puts upon us to be straight, such freedom of sexual expression would be much more common and we would be less neurotic about it. As the Report notes:
If homosexual activity persists on as large a scale as it does, in the face of the very considerable public sentiment against it and in spite of the severity of the penalties that our Anglo-American culture has placed upon it through the centuries, there seems some reason for believing that such activity would appear in the histories of a much larger portion of the population if there were no social restraints. The very general occurrence of the homosexual in ancient Greece ... and its wide occurrence today in some cultures in which such activity is not as taboo as it is in our own, suggests that the capacity of an individual to respond erotically to any sort of stimulus, whether it is provided by another person of the same or of the opposite sex, is basic in the species [emphasis mine].
Alfred Kinsey developed what is called the Kinsey Scale to illustrate sexuality in a spectrum, as follows:
0: Exclusively heterosexual
1: Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual
2: Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
3: Equally heterosexual and homosexual
4: Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
5: Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual
6: Exclusively homosexual
Later, a psychiatrist named Fritz Klein continued this work and developed the more elaborate Klein Sexual Orientation Grid, an explanation of which can be found here: http://www.bisexual.org/kleingrid.html.
ANYWAY, the reason I note all of the above is to validate your inner questioning about your sexuality. Some people are lucky and realize for certain that they are gay or straight at an early age and can proceed with their lives accordingly. Others, like you and me, struggle more with this identification for a longer period of time before we figure it out.
Papabear’s advice to you, James, is that you do not enter into a serious, sexual relationship with Matt until you have resolved this question within you one way or another because it is unfair to both Matt and you. Stay friends, but refrain from sex until you are sure what you want. Once you do figure it out, though, don’t be surprised if your sexuality lies somewhere in the grey area between gay and straight and that you do, indeed, want to explore a romantic relationship with Matt. Along the way, be sure that Matt understands what you are doing and what your motivation is by communicating with him.
In a world where there is so much hate, prejudice, and misunderstanding, it is sad that we still fear loving other people just because they do not fit societal norms. We have progressed somewhat in the areas of race and religion here in America (although there is still a lot of prejudice here), but we have a long way to go when it comes to homosexuality. Wouldn’t it be great if we could love someone just for the spirit that resides inside them, regardless of what is on the outside? Then, you could love Matt openly, James, without these types of worries because you love the person that is Matt, regardless of whether or not he has a penis, not fretting about your own sexual orientation because it would be a nonissue.
But we live in a world where we are hung up about sex. You and Matt live in that world, too, and it is rife with land mines that could explode if you are not careful. Take some time, James, to figure out where to tread, and once you do, I hope you will take Matt’s paw in yours and walk together.
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