July 23, 2014
advice articles
Struggling with Sexuality Labels, Vol. 2

Struggling with Sexuality Labels, Vol. 2

RJ this question is for you since you use the label of bisexual to help people understand where you are coming from. My name is Dan and I have been a long time watcher of yours on youtube. I’ve come out to all my friends, parents and sibling, and two cousins as gay. I’m 22 years old but lately I have been questioning my sexuality. I have never been sexually, emotionally, physically or otherwise attracted to women, only men…until recently. When I came out I think I was a little too unready to come out and did it to just do like a band-aid, quick and easy to get it out of the way…now I’m not sure…I was hanging out with my ex-girlfriend with whom I’m still great friends with and I don’t know if it was nostalgia hitting me or what but I’m just really confused.

I’ve heard that female sexuality is very very very fluid and my question to you is, “Do you think the same can be said for men?” Is it possible for a man who has thought he was gay for his entire childhood, adolescence and partial young adulthood suddenly realize he has feelings towards both sexes?

Thanks,

Dan from Canada

Hi Dan!

genderbread-personHuman sexuality is complicated, for both men and women, and I truly do believe that all of us exist on a spectrum, with very few people being truly “straight” or truly “gay”. Straight guys joke all the time about guy celebrities that they’d “go gay for”. And as much as gay men on this planet claim to be afraid of vaginas, many would, with enough drinks in them, gladly spend a night of passion with a girl like Emma Stone or Jennifer Lawrence. Any why not? Those women are flawless!

Thus, when it comes to labels, I feel like they often do more harm than good. We put people in boxes and categories to make them easier to understand, which is why the whole gay/straight binary is so difficult to shake once you get it fixed in someone’s head. This is why I support the way that celebrities like Tom Daley came out. They didn’t say “I’m gay” or “I’m bi” or anything like that. They said “I’m dating a guy”. Who cares what category that lumps them into? As long as they’re happy, what business is it of any of ours?

I’ve ranted over and over on the subject of labels, and how they can do more harm than good. So in your case, I’d say don’t bother with them. Follow your heart. Do what feels good and right for you. If you like a girl, then date a girl. If you like a guy, date a guy. If you find yourself attracted to someone who’s genderqueer, then have at it! It’s your job to pursue what makes you happy. It’s not your job to explain your happiness to anyone else. Period. That’s it. There’s no real reason for things to any more complicated than that! Label clothes, not people!

All the best!

About RJ

RJ is a blogger/vlogger/writer and the other half of the NotAdamandSteve duo. When he's not making videos or writing stuff online he's usually working out, gorging himself on Chipotle, traveling, enjoying scotch, or spending quality time with his new fiancé and German Shepherd.
  • LittleDreamer

    I like the idea that human sexuality is a spectrum and I’ve stopped trying to pinpoint where I am on that spectrum because two years ago I was somewhere else and two years from now, I might be somewhere else on that spectrum again. Don’t try to force a label onto yourself, especially when you might be moving on to another one sometime in the future.

  • rkieru

    Depending on how recently Dan came out; I would also say it might just be nervousness. It can be challenging to suddenly have something you’ve kept secret just be ‘out’ there. For some people that is totally liberating… for others it makes them feel extremely vulnerable. With that in mind, it may just be a combination of vulnerability and nostalgia. She represents a point prior to your being out, when your secret was ‘safe’, etc.

    And yes, you may just not not be a ’6′ on the Kinsey scale. I would encourage caution however, with pursuing your ex-girlfriend now-just-friend while you figure this out for yourself. She’s likely already been through a roller coaster of dating you and then your coming out and now your being friends. No need to put her through anything until you’re confident and know what is is that you want.

    • Daniel

      I came out when I was 21 turning 22

      • Daniel

        PS: I came out when I was 21 turning 22 and I am 23 turning 24 now. My inquisition regarding my sudden attraction to women has come up once when I was 16/17 and then nothing until I was 22/23 (the past year)

  • Sjczz

    If, after living a super straight life, a guy can also fall for another guy all of sudden, be in love and can spend rest of his life with him. As well as a guy who has always recognized him self as gay all his life and started to growing feelings for a woman out of blue and be together all life! It’s not turning “gay to straight” or “Straight to gay”, it’s about being with and loving the person you have fallen for. That straight guy may felt that way only for that specific guy, and the gay guy only for that specific woman. So nothing is stone written.

  • Mark

    I think RJ said it pretty well and I agree. Do your best to be comfortable with yourself, whatever your attractions may be. I’m a senior undergrad psychology student focusing on adolescence and sexual minority youth. From what I’ve seen in the research, sex is definitely more fluid that people portray it to be. Typically, there are stronger findings for women being more fluid (mostly in identity, not necessarily attractions) the same can be said for men. I think that the graphic posted in your response is a great way to look at all the different aspects of sexuality. My boyfriend and I recently had a conversation where he told me he might be attracted to women as well as men. I wasn’t expecting it but it wasn’t a surprise to me. For me, I’d say I’m a “gold star gay”; I can’t think of a time in my life when I actually fantasized about having sex with a woman. Sure, I notice when they’re attractive and I love them as friends a family but I can’t imagine having sex with them or being in a long-term relationship with a woman. I hope I was able to share some insight!

    • Daniel

      thanks Mark, that’s a real help for me!! :D

      and to be honest I’ve given a lot of thought to what I’m feeling and I think my attraction for women over the course of my life has progressed to the point where I feel that I may be attracted to both men and women but to what degree am I attracted to women, I’m not sure.

  • Ricky

    Are we floating on a “sexuality spectrum”? I think for some people yes for others no, a friend of mine (KD) a guy I’ve known since high school, KD was over the top gay boy even he said he was over the top, if you met him most people would ask “he’s gay isn’t he”? I thought KD was the most gay guy I new seems like he had a dozen boyfriends in high school and college. Today KD is married to a woman and has two kids and still identifies himself as gay, at a get together we ask him why he married a woman, he answered us saying because I love her. As for me I am gay and I never wanted to have sex with a girl but I will admit I thought about it before, but I was to in love with boys to go there. So I guess some of us do question are sexuality and if the spectrum is straight all the way to the left and bi is in the middle and then gay is all the way to the right, I would (guess) KD is somewhere in the middle, and me all the to the right. I guess it just matters who we fall in love with.

  • Daniel Park

    Just as with the “Struggling with depression” article, this piece rightly questions our obsession with making black and white decisions about ourselves. Making a nice clean and clear decision about big issues such as this may “feel” comfortable and logical, but we’ll invariably end up second-guessing ourselves at some point in the middle of the night. Sometimes you can’t make a clear-cut decision and why should you have to? The world is changing and so are you – what makes sense one year may not be so sensible the next – we outgrow our opinions and views (and thank goodness that we do or we’d still be keeping slaves and stoning gays)
    However, in our culture, making a “temporary” decision or not making a decision at all because you “just don’t know yet” due to the complexity of your feelings, is judged as weak. The moral judgements of many novelists have crept into our psyches and education systems- Jane Austen for example regularly posits that it is perfectly acceptable to be a hero or a villain just as long as you are what you are – to change you mind is the only true crime. Well, sorry Jane, but you lived in Napoleonic times, and I think we’ve all moved on from Regency balls and tight trousers being the fashion….though now you come to think of it….

  • Tom

    Great response that said a LOT, in a few words, that will hopefully be very enlightening to lots of young people. I think your next shirt design should be a “down With Labels” shirt. They keep telling us that the brain area that manages executive functions – like decision making – is not fully developed until age 25 – and some suggest it may even be later than that. (Another spectrum maybe?). Life itself is fluid Dan, so like RJ and the old song say: Don’t Worry! Be Happy!

Shep689: A Gay in the Life

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