Monday, October 20, 2008

Q & A: A same-sex friend of mine and I got together last night, and, well, we had sex. Does this mean I'm gay/lesbian?

Q. A same-sex friend of mine and I got together last night, and, well, we had sex. Does this mean I'm gay/lesbian?

A. In a nutshell, no. It means you made an experiment, and only you can say what the results of that experiment are. Perhaps you're gay, perhaps you're straight, perhaps you're bisexual. Perhaps more experimentation is in order! :-)

One way of thinking about sexual identity that works for many people is to think of it as a scale or a spectrum -- from "completely straight" at one end to "perfectly bisexual" in the middle and to "completely homosexual" at the other end. Most people don't land exactly on either end, or exactly in the middle, but rather are somewhere in between. Experiments can help you figure out where you fall on the spectrum. But, an experiment, in and of itself, doesn't automatically mean you're gay, straight, or anything else.

And it's actually more interesting than that. For one thing, sexual orientation is fluid, and can vary over time. Some people have same-sex partners for part of their lives, and opposite-sex partners for other parts.

For another thing, you can also think about different aspects of your sexuality: there's how you identify yourself ("I'm a straight man..."), there's what you fantasize about ("... who daydreams about other guys..."), and there's what you do ("... and who seems to sleep mostly with women, but has had occasional flings with other guys in the past.")

Finally, remember that experimentation is a great way to become a better lover. Although this might be disturbing to you at first, you may find you've learned things that will make your sex better whether your future couplings are with the same or the opposite gender. And that's cool!

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