Gay is a term that primarily describes a man whose primary emotional and sexual attraction is towards other men. However the term is also used to describe both men and women who are attracted to members of the same sex. Having sex with men doesn’t necessarily make you gay.
Being Gay, Homosexual, Same-Sex Attracted, whatever you want to call it, simply means finding the same gender (male) sexually attractive. This does not mean that you need to be having sex with men, as actions do not always match your sexual orientation or how you identify.
Not every guy who is attracted to another guy is necessarily gay. Throughout our lives, most of us go through periods where we experiment with and explore our sexual feelings and desires, times when we discover and re-discover ourselves emotionally, physically and sexually. Sometimes it might be with girls, other times, with guys.
Some men find themselves attracted to men a lot later in life than others. Some carry through with those attractions and have sex with other men, some don’t. Some find they completely change their orientation, while a lot end up having sex with both sexes. Some guys say they get their emotional needs met by a female and more of their sexual needs met by a man. Everybody is different.
Gay is simply a label which people use to identify themselves as attracted to the same gender. Rather than using labels it can be more beneficial to view yourself on a sexuality continuum. Dr. Alfred Kinsey’s 1948 work Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male outlines a sexuality continuum which he uses to describe human sexuality. On this sexuality continuum Kinsley estimates that 10% of people are heterosexual and 10% are homosexual and the other 80% of people fit somewhere between. A person may identify as predominately Heterosexual, or Homosexual, and depending on a number of factors like environment (being away from home), individuality (a particular person who is found to be attractive), opportunity (feeling comfortable at the time), emotionally, etc, they may move further along the continuum towards the opposite sexuality. Using this scale, Bisexual would mean a person who identifies closer to the midpoint or 50% mark on the continuum rather than at either end.
How do I know I’m not gay?
Many men report; “I tried it once and it wasn’t for me”. However, that may not mean they aren’t same-sex attracted because each sexual partner is a different individual. If that first experience wasn’t enjoyable, it might mean simply they were with the wrong same-sex partner and didn’t hit it off sexually. Sometimes, people can even ‘freak out’ during their first same-sex experience; but that doesn’t mean a person isn’t same-sex attracted, only that the societal taboos against homosexual sex were too strong in their mind at the time. In some instances, men know that they are sexually attracted to other men but they are ‘stuck’ in denial, sacrificing their needs and desires because of societal pressures.
No one has the right to judge you by your sexual attractions. What you do, or don’t do, does not determine you as a particular sexuality; sexuality can be fluid. But if you are uncertain or questioning, it helps to start by being honest with yourself about your sexuality, your needs and desires. Only then can you decide whether or not a label is right for you and which one. Here are some tips to help you check your sexual desires and sexual attractions to work out if you are same-sex attracted:
– Looking at attractive men or women or pictures of them, to see if you are sexually excited by them.
– Observing yourself while behaving heterosexually to see if you are really “enjoying” it. For example: when perving at women with your mates
– What gender do you fantasise about when you masturbate?
– Being honest with yourself what gender you fantasise about to reach orgasm.
Some people acknowledge their bisexuality after a period of identifying as gay or lesbian. At first, you may not know what to call your sexual feelings or whether you feel sufficiently attracted to both sexes to consider yourself bisexual — but there’s no measuring stick to decide what amount of attraction to other genders is necessary to identify as bisexual. In addition, you may hear some of the common myths about bisexual people — that they can’t make up their minds; that they can’t commit to long-term relationships.
Don’t listen as these are simply ignorant prejudices. Bisexual people are simply attracted to people regardless of their gender. And don’t feel you need to hurry into a decision. Coming out — whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender — is a precious journey.
Men who have sex with men (MSM)
The term, MSM, is often used to describe guys who are ‘in the closet’. This doesn’t mean that they don’t accept their sexuality, this is individual, but an MSM male would be thought to keep his sexual liaisons with men extremely private and would not incorporate any part of homosexuality into their visible lifestyle.