People Always Have Questions About Being Gay, So I Thought I’d Answer Them
A lot of the time when people find out that I’m gay, they tend to have questions.
I like it when people feel comfortable asking me about it. To me there’s a difference between acceptance and understanding, and I think that it’s in these conversations – not just about sexuality, but anything – that people really get to know what it’s like to be, as an example, gay.
I get it. People are curious. And isn’t that how school essentially works? We get to ask someone a shit ton of questions who, presumably, has all the answers.
That doesn’t have to stop just because we outgrow the classroom. It doesn’t ever really need to stop to be honest, or at least I think it shouldn’t. When we get to ask questions, we get to better understand the rest of the world and the experiences of others.
Plus, having these conversations time and time again always helps me to better understand not just myself, but other people too.
I’ve noticed that, when it comes to talking about my sexuality, there are a few questions that people always seem to have. So I thought I’d write a little something answering some of these common questions, just in case anyone else out there is yet to find someone they can ask them to in person.
If you still have some questions after reading, get in touch! Like I said, I like having these conversations with people.
Mum, Dad. This one gets a bit personal, you might want to give it a miss. You have been forewarned!
When Did You Know You Were Gay?
One of the earliest times I remember noticing that I was different from my friends was when we were just discovering porn.
I can remember one time very vividly. We were a group of about four early teenage boys, and we’d all gone round to one of our friend’s house while their parents were out. We gathered around their family computer in the study – this was back in the old days before we were all hooked to our smartphones and laptops – and someone pulled up some naked pictures of a woman.
My friends lost their shit, and I just sat there wondering what all the fuss was about. I felt nothing.
It took me a bit of time to develop an awareness of what was making me different to my friends; that I wasn’t attracted to girls. It wasn’t until I was 16 that someone pointed out that I had been flirting with a boy, and I realised that they were right.
Do You Think You Were Born Gay?
This question comes up time and time again. Essentially, it’s someone asking if I have always been gay.
I have no idea if we are born anything. But in the same way that I’ve never spoken to a straight person who one day ‘decided’ that they were going to be straight, I never made a ‘choice’ to be gay.
It just always was what it was.
What’s One Of Your Earliest Memories Of Being Attracted To Boys?
My family and I went on a weekend holiday when I was about eight years old. I used to love swimming. Still do!
I begged my parents to let me go for a swim in the hotel pool before we went out exploring. They said I could have half an hour. I remember, after my swim, being in the changing room and seeing a man showering.
I think it was one of the first times I’d ever seen a naked man in real life, other than my own dad! I remember really liking it, in a completely pre-sexual way (come on, I was eight!), and really trying to take my time to get changed so I could keep looking.
It’s kind of creepy of me when I think back at it!
Do You Think Sexuality Is A Spectrum?
In all honesty, I’m still figuring this one out.
I had relationships with girls before I accepted the fact that I just wanted to be with boys. Does the idea of being with a woman “gross me out”? No, not at all. I’ve had sex with women, and I could – in the physical sense – do it again. Do I have any desire to? No, none whatsoever.
I’ve met people at polar opposites of the spectrum; some who claim to be definitely gay and others who identify as totally straight. But I’ve met plenty of people who sit somewhere in between the two: bisexual people, curious people, sexually open people, whatever.
I wouldn’t want to generalize and say that everyone who dabbles in same-sex relationships must just be repressing the fact that really they’re gay, or anything like that. So yeah, I’m leaning towards sexuality being some kind of spectrum.
When And How Did You Come Out?
I never really did. I kept a diary when I was 16, and one day my parents found it and read it. That’s how they found out.
Around the same time, I told a few close friends I thought I might be bisexual. Then this went back to being straight. It wasn’t until I got together with my first boyfriend that it became much easier to tell other people that I was actually gay.
But coming out, I have learned, is something I have to continuously do. Sure, I don’t have to tell people. But as someone who is trying to live an authentic life, I want to be able to reference my “ex-boyfriend” if it comes up in conversation, or to mention a “guy I went on a date with last week” if it’s relevant.
I am aware almost every day of the fact that I come out in some way or another, i.e. I tell someone that I’m gay. It’s not just something I did once to get a membership badge I can wear all the time. It’s endless.
How Did Your Straight Male Friends React?
I had a couple of friends in particular who completely rejected me after they found out. They had been friends who, in all honesty, I remember thinking were ‘too cool’ for me to be hanging out with anyway. I couldn’t understand why they wanted to be my friend in the first place.
But after they found out that I was gay, they completely stopped talking to me. Our friendship stopped, we stopped hanging out, and we never spoke again. There wasn’t any badness said, in fact, I think it was that everything remained unsaid that hurt so much.
But other than these guys, in general I’ve always tended to be quite selective with my friends. Most of the time I’ve surrounded myself with open-minded, warm, and accepting people. So 99% of my straight male friends didn’t mind at all.
They just had a lot of questions.
Can You Tell When Other Guys Are Gay?
Honestly, if only we did get a membership badge! Joke…
Sometimes, yes. A friend of mine once described this thing called ‘gay eye’. You know when you make eye contact with someone, how pretty quickly you both look away feeling awkward? ‘Gay eye’ is when two gay people make eye contact, and they hold for just a split second longer. It’s almost like a silent nod of awareness towards each other, and it totally does happen!
But most of the time, no I can’t. It’s not like we’ve evolved with some sort of gay sonar, although admittedly Grindr does pretty much tell you within feet how close you are to other gay people.
Are Gay Relationships Mainly Focused on Sex?
This is a really interesting question. It has been my experience that gay men can be quite promiscuous, like the stereotype suggests.
But I’ve not exactly experienced what it’s like to date straight men as a woman. Perhaps they are exactly the same?!
There are a few theories that suggest that one of the reasons gay men are so sex-orientated is because they are trying to validate themselves. These theories suggest that most gay people are afflicted by something called gay shame; an internal feeling of shame felt by growing up gay in a straight world. What results from this gay shame is essentially feelings of not being good enough, or accepted, truly for who you are.
And that’s where the sex comes in, it can make you feel wanted, appreciated, and validated.
So yeah, there can be a lot of sex when it comes to gay relationships. And there are definitely a lot of conversations about open relationships, monogamy, and all sorts of things.
But that’s not all! I have met plenty of happily monogamous gay men, couples, husbands. There are Instagram accounts of gay men preaching that monogamy is possible. I’ve even met gay people who have never even had sex for one reason or another.
So, it’s not all just sex. There can be romance too, sometimes you just need to look a little harder!
Are You A Top Or A Bottom?
I mean, come on. Do I ask you how you have sex…? Get to know me personally, and then maybe I’ll answer that one for you.
Is One Person Usually The Top?
So if you don’t know about gay sex, the top is the person who does the “fucking” (for want of a better phrase), and the bottom is the person on the receiving end.
Some gay men are “just a top”, some are “just a bottom”, and some are what we call “versatile”, which means that they do both.
And yes, people do tend to have a preference, you know in much the same was as heterosexual people have things that they do and don’t like.
So that’s it. My little gay 411. But like I said, if you have any other questions at all, just ask away. That’s how we make change people!