Am I Gay or Straight?

Photo by jenny downing - http://flic.kr/p/6543ZD - For illustration only

Reader’s Question

I am a 32-year-old male virgin, and I have been plagued by homosexual thoughts for most of my life. When I masturbate I think about small guys growing taller and much more muscular, or guys growing fatter. There is never any sex involved, just guys growing bigger. I don’t really watch porn but have been looking at non-naked pictures of fit and muscular guys.

I am constantly thinking about whether I’m gay because I do find girls very attractive and the thought of being with them sexually does feel right to me. But I also wonder whether this is just me wanting to be straight and have a ‘normal’ life. I have kissed one girl before and it felt right.

If I am gay then I will have to face that fact. I would be lying if I said I never thought what it would be like to kiss or touch another guy. I just want to figure out who I am so I can find someone to love and be loved by.

Psychologist’s Reply

Because we often think of sexual attraction and interest as being directed toward males or females, we may tend to assume we have to pick one. To be able to say we are “gay” or “straight” implies a somewhat concrete aspect of our identity. In reality, though, our feelings and desires may not clearly follow an either-or dichotomy.

Although not as commonly talked about, some people consider themselves “bisexual:” depending on the individual person they encounter, sexual attraction may be felt toward a male or female. Some people recognize at a fairly young age that they experience attraction to particular members of both genders, but many people who consider themselves bisexual started out being attracted to members of one gender. Then, at some point, these people felt sexual interest toward a particular person of the other gender. In other words, some people simply do not seem to experience gender as an important determinant in their experience of sexual interest.

Rather than put pressure on yourself to figure out (once and for all?) whether your desires and attractions fall under the typical definitions of “gay” or “straight,” perhaps it would be more beneficial to recognize that it may be natural for you to have sexual interest in both genders. If you envision falling in love and building a monogamous relationship, then the issue of whether you would be attracted to males, females, both, or neither would not affect your relationship. If you can’t foresee wanting a monogamous relationship, then the gender of the individuals toward whom you would feel attraction is less important than the fact that your partner needs to know not to expect monogamy. I guess where I’m going with this is that perhaps the most important issues revolve around building a healthy loving relationship — with either a man or a woman. Rather than trying to determine ahead of time which gender you should rule out for love, wait to see toward whom your attractions and feelings lead, and focus on that particular relationship for as long as it lasts.

Please read our Important Disclaimer.

All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. Originally published by on and last reviewed or updated by Pat Orner Oliver on .

Ask the Psychologist provides direct access to qualified clinical psychologists ready to answer your questions. It is overseen by the same international advisory board of distinguished academic faculty and mental health professionals — with decades of clinical and research experience in the US, UK and Europe — that delivers CounsellingResource.com, providing peer-reviewed mental health information you can trust. Our material is not intended as a substitute for direct consultation with a qualified mental health professional. CounsellingResource.com is accredited by the Health on the Net Foundation.

Copyright © 2021.