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Is Being Gay a Choice?
Wikipedia: Questioning Sexuality and Gender
New York Times: When Teens Question Their Sexuality
Am I Gay?
have heard people talking about being “gay curious.” You
may have heard someone say that they were “questioning.”
Being "bi-curious," "gay curious," and "questioning"
refer to people who are unsure of their sexual
orientation or gender identity. Some people question
whether they are lesbian or gay. Perhaps they might be
bisexual. Others question whether they are straight.
People who are "curious" or "questioning" often go
through a period of self exploration. They may feel
confused. They may experiment with their feelings and
attractions to see what identity would best describe
Bi-curiosity or questioning is a phenomenon in which
people of a heterosexual or homosexual identity who,
while showing some curiosity for sexual activity with a
person of the sex they do not favor, distinguish
themselves from the bisexual label.
The term "bi-curious" is sometimes used to describe a
broad continuum of sexual orientation ranging from
heterosexuality to bisexuality to homosexuality.
The terms heteroflexible and homoflexible are also
applied to bi-curiosity.
The term bi-curious implies that the individual has
either no or limited homosexual experience in the case
of heterosexual individuals or no or limited
heterosexual experience in the case of homosexual
people, but may continue to self-identify as bi-curious
if they do not feel they have adequately explored these
feelings, or if they do not wish to identify as
Questioning your sexual orientation, feeling unsure
about your sexual orientation, or being "gay curious,"
is really common and natural for a lot of teens
As one teenage girl said, "I am 16 years old and
questioning if I'm gay or not. I'm pretty sure I am but
currently have a boyfriend because I really don't know
Sometimes teens can find answers by asking themselves
Who do I usually have crushes on? Is it mainly someone
of the same gender? Do I imagine relationships with
someone of the same gender? If I have dated or had a
sexual experience with someone of the opposite gender,
how did it make me feel? If I dated or had a sexual
experience with someone of the same gender, how did it
make me feel? Do I feel strongly attracted to people of
both genders? Do I think you could have a sexual or
romantic relationship with either males or females?
If possible, try not to put too much pressure on
yourself to come up with an answer right now. You really
don't need to rush it. Remember, there is a whole lot of
stuff to figure out when you are a teen. It’s perfectly
normal if you are still in the process of tying to
figure out your sexual orientation.
Being Gay Curious
Do I Have to Have Sex to Know I'm Gay?
Are Too Young to Know if you're Gay?
Curiosity is Normal
Consider these statistics regarding the attitudes and
behaviors of typical college students:
18% of college men say they've kissed another man and
20% of college women say they've kissed another woman.
10% of college students who consider themselves
heterosexual say they've fantasized about having sex
with a same-sex partner.
According to the American Psychological Association:
Adolescence can be a period of experimentation, and many
youths may question their sexual feelings. Becoming
aware of sexual feelings is a normal developmental task
of adolescence. Sometimes adolescents have same-sex
feelings or experiences that cause confusion about their
sexual orientation. This confusion appears to decline
over time, with different outcomes for different
According to Dr. Jeffrey Fishberger of The Trevor
Figuring out one’s sexual orientation can be an exciting
as well as confusing and scary process, and one that is
different for each person. Some people are sure of their
sexuality as children, and others as teens. Still others
continue to question their sexual orientation as adults.
It’s interesting that when young people state that they
are attracted to someone of the same gender, they’re
often told, “You’re too young to know,” or, “This is
probably just a phase.” Yet if that same young person
were to say that he or she is attracted to someone of
the opposite gender, no one seems to question this.
The teen years can be a frightening time, as adolescents
try to understand the changes in their bodies and their
new and different feelings. They’re also working to
become more independent and become their own person
while, at the same time, struggling to fit in.
For a teen
who is gay, for example, this struggle can in many
instances be that much more difficult, as negative
things he has heard or read about gay people can affect
his journey of self-discovery. Such negative messages
can also hinder teenagers’ acceptance of their sexuality
and their comfort with being open with others.
In trying to understand sexual orientation, it can help
a person to think about who he or she has crushes on and
fantasizes about being with. A person doesn’t
necessarily need to have a “full” sexual experience in
order to understand his or her sexual orientation. The
time to explore such issues varies from individual to
It can also be tremendously helpful to have peers and
adults who are accepting, supportive and open to talking
about this complicated issue. Gay-straight alliances as
well as safe, social LGBTQ networking sites can provide
support that could be tremendously helpful to a young
person trying to understand his or her sexuality.
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