We’ve all heard out and proud gay people talk about how they’ve known they were gay since childhood. They not only always knew there was something different about them, but they can’t even remember a time when they didn’t know exactly what it was. Their challenge was less about figuring out they were gay in the first place and more about finding a way to live their truth openly and proudly.
That’s not how it works for everyone though. Being gay may be a lot more socially acceptable than it was a long time ago, but it definitely still comes with its share of challenges. Some people just aren’t yet comfortable admitting they’re really only attracted to members of the same sex. Others have sexual feelings that are more ambiguous and tougher to figure out. So how can you figure out whether or not you’re gay? The following are some signs to consider once you’re ready to explore the possibility.
1. You’ve never had a crush on a member of the opposite sex.
Unless you’re completely asexual, you definitely have a sex drive. It’s your sex drive that sends you signals telling you you’re attracted to someone, that you’re in love, or that you see romantic potential in your relationship with another individual. While it’s true that some people really just haven’t met the right person yet, most heterosexual people at least develop crushes on members of the opposite sex from time to time. If you haven’t, it could be a sign that you’re not being completely honest with yourself about what (and who) actually gets your motor running.
2. Actual intimate interaction with the opposite sex doesn’t do it for you either.
If you date or have sex with members of the opposite sex, how does it make you feel? Are you actually into it on some level or do you feel more like you’re going through the motions? Do you ever find yourself fantasizing about people of the same sex in order to get aroused in the first place? Romantic attraction and sexual desire aren’t things you can will yourself to feel toward another person. If being affectionate, romantic, or sexual with members of the opposite sex just leaves you cold, bored, or disgusted, it’s possible that you’re gay.
3. Your sex dreams and fantasies are rarely to never heterosexual in nature.
Having sex dreams or even occasional fantasies about people of the same sex doesn’t make you gay in and of itself. Even extremely heterosexual people can sometimes dream about having gay sex or may fantasize about what it would be like to be in a homosexual relationship. However, if all or most of your sex dreams are about other people of the same sex, it’s definitely a sign that you could be gay. The same goes for fantasies that only turn you on if they’re homosexual in nature.
4. You have a history of becoming really attached to your same sex friends.
Everyone knows what it’s like to have a same sex friend that they click with really well. You have everything in common, you always have a great time together, and you just seem to “get” each other without having to try. It’s not unusual to want to spend a lot of time with a person like that even if you’re straight as an arrow. However, if you also find that person creeping into your thoughts, daydreams, and fantasies on a regular basis, it could be a sign that your feelings for them go beyond simple friendship.
5. Homosexual people make you really uncomfortable.
While there are definitely straight people out there that are uncomfortable around gay people because they’re just plain homophobic, it’s also pretty common for someone still struggling with their sexuality to feel the same way. How do you feel when you’re around gay people? Are you unusually afraid to be around them because you’re worried people will think you’re gay too? Are you often very preoccupied with whether or not other people are gay? Do you go out of your way to demean gay people for no real reason? It’s possible that you feel the way you do because you’re uncomfortable with your own sexuality deep down.
6. You have sex like you’ve got something to prove.
Not everyone who’s struggling with their sexuality finds it impossible to be intimate with members of the opposite sex. There are actually quite a few out there that treat sex like a competition for no real reason and never actually stop to ask themselves why. Do you take numerous members of the opposite sex to bed solely to be able to say you get around? Do you often feel like you’re trying to prove to those around you (or maybe to yourself) that you’re the straightest, most heterosexual person ever born? There’s a chance you could be doing it as a way to hide from the truth of who you are.
7. Or perhaps you avoid being alone with people you date at all costs.
Even straight people sometimes find themselves dating someone that they’re really not all that into. They may even actively avoid being alone with the person or dislike the idea of having sex with them because they’re not interested in moving the relationship forward. However, they don’t feel that way about literally everyone they go out with. If you find yourself dreading the idea of being alone with people you should be eager to get up close and personal with, the reason could definitely be a lack of romantic interest in the opposite sex period.
8. You’re practically obsessed with “experimenting”.
As touched on above, having the occasional fantasy or sex dream about someone of the same sex doesn’t necessarily make you gay. Having had actual sex with people of the same sex doesn’t make you gay either. Many straight people can tell you about a time or two they experimented with homosexual sex just to see what it was like. However, they also eventually outgrew that phase and realized they’re really more into people of the opposite sex. If you’ve been “experimenting” for an unusually long time, it might be time to ask yourself if it’s because gay sex actually feels more natural and satisfying to you.
9. You have a lot of family or friends that don’t approve of gay people.
Lots of people come from conservative backgrounds or very religious homes and were raised to believe homosexuality is just plain wrong. It’s been drummed into their heads from an early age that being gay is sinful, unnatural, and absolutely unacceptable. If you come from such a background, you may even have heard your parents, friends, or acquaintances talk about being gay as if it’s the absolute worst thing someone could be. If you’re already questioning your sexuality for other reasons, close relationships with people you know wouldn’t approve of your being gay could also be factoring into why you’re struggling to the extent you are.
10. You don’t fit in with the rest of your friends.
When people are just starting to experience their first sexual feelings, they tend to want to talk about it with their friends. They might be scared of these powerful new feelings to some extent, but mostly they’re excited about the possibility of dating, having romantic relationships with members of the opposite sex, and eventually having sex. Eventually, they actually have those experiences and feel they measure up to at least some extent. Maybe you haven’t and are still waiting to experience those mystifying feelings, even though you’re not exactly young anymore. Maybe you legitimately never understood what your friends were going on about all those years ago. Is it possible that it’s because you’re denying your true feelings about sex?
11. You sometimes feel like you’re hiding something, but you’re not sure what or why.
Society is full of outsiders and loners that feel as if they can’t really be themselves and live their truths to the extent they want to. They often feel like they’re playacting or wearing a mask. However, they’re also usually aware of whatever it is that makes them so different from everyone else. Do you often feel like you’re keeping a secret from the rest of the world, but also aren’t totally sure what it is? Have you also had thoughts, feelings, or experiences that you feel might cross a line into gayness? It could be time to do some self-exploration.
At the end of the day, there’s no one thing that definitely makes you gay beyond the physical, primal connection you do (or don’t) feel to other people around you. Every gay person is different and each comes to realize who they are in a different way. There’s no right or wrong way to be gay either. If you’re still not completely sure, it might be time to try your options on for size and see where you end up at the end of your journey.