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Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a teen?

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by I am straight, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. rachael1954

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    I think perhaps for many of us, it caught us by surprise. 30s, 40s, and beyond, suddenly an attraction to someone or some other evidence was brought to light that you can no longer pretend it's not happening. So, reeling from this discovery, we join EC and try to make sense of it all.

    And when that happens, the natural thing seems to be to examine your attractions throughout your life and try and discover if that thing was there all along or if it just came out of nowhere.

    At this point some people find hard evidence they were just plain gay from the start. I feel that these are the lucky ones, in that at least they now know 100%, and the only hard part left is now coming to terms with it, accepting yourself, and integrating your life to wholeness.

    Others find conflicting or ambiguous evidence, which doesn't really help in figuring out who you are if there is no hard data on your attractions as a teen. It just seems to make coming to terms with yourself that much harder as an adult if there is conflicting evidence if you are gay or not, or bi, or just attracted to certain people regardless of their LGBT or gender presentation.
     
    #41 rachael1954, Apr 23, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2016
  2. greatwhale

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    It's important here to be clear about definitions (and words). To "suddenly realize" and to suddenly accept are two very different things. Awareness, indeed knowledge in general is a tricky subject, overlaid as it is with biases, fears and other things that cloud the picture.

    The mind plays tricks when it really doesn't want to believe something, it will seek any confirmatory evidence (no matter how flimsy, or contradictory) to the contrary, such as: I was married to a woman, I have had heterosexual relations in the past, therefore I must be some sort of bi...that "some sort of" is an important modifier, wen I was closeted, that modifier served as a way to avoid confronting the question, it even helped to avoid admitting that there was a question! It was a neatly compartmentalized "thing" whose name I avoided talking about. I avoided calling it anything...
     
  3. mrj2688

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    I agree with the "mind tricks" observation above. I've always known I've been attracted to guys, but I treated this knowledge like a nuisance while trying to live a straight life. It was only recently that it just hit me that I'm actually gay and need to start living my life accordingly. I just wish this breakthrough had come 15 years ago--it sucks to think I've been deluding myself for my entire adult life. Oh well--live and learn.
     
  4. Thirdtimecharm

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    Great Whale said it perfectly. Awareness and acceptance are very different.

    I was aware that I felt different towards my best friend in high school, that she made me nervous, that I loved being around her, that talking to her made my heart race, but didn't actually accept until very recently that what I was feeling for her was so much more than I liked her as a person. Her and I grew up in a very sheltered religious environment. I did not give life to my feelings. I ignored the obvious.

    After years of not speaking, marriages and kids, her and I reconnected and picked up again back to where we had left off. I figured I am married to a man, have children---she was my best friend. What I didn't think about was the fact that I had grown up, become more mature, more willing to accept.

    After some soul searching and some tough love from my therapist I finally admitted and accepted I was in love with her---that I had been in love with her for decades. This step of acceptance opened my eyes to what was really going on and I slowly went from I loved her, her personality, to I may be open to exploring my feelings for women in general, to yes I do in fact have a strong pull towards women to women being my preference.

    For me I was so much a product of my environment, but it was there. Stirring inside me. I just didn't want to listen and embrace it.
     
  5. baristajedi

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    I have to be honest, your post kind of makes me a bit uncomfortable, it feels s bit like you're putting us later in life folks on trial. But I appreciate you sharing your background and I have nothing to hide, so I'll share my background as well.

    I had feelings and attraction for girls since I was little. 10 was my first big girl crush. But honestly, my understanding of my sexuality was sort of put in a box way deep down inside, something I really couldn't quite deal with or really think about. This fear and shamewas a result of sexual abuse.

    I started "waking up" sexually and romantically around age 18. I had feelings for both men and women at tat time but I was very afraid of all of those feelings. I was particularly ashamed and insecure about my feelings for women though because of the stigma towards being gay. Because of stigma and my own personal sources of shame, I still haven't sorted through all of my feelings. Sometimes I think my feelings for men may be a way for me to feel safe and normal. So I am to the point where I know I'm queer, and I know my feelings for women are real and strong, but I'm confused about my feelings for men.

    So that's where I am in my journey in understanding myself.

    I hope that helps.
     
    #45 baristajedi, Apr 25, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016
  6. LionsAndShadows

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    Interesting thread.

    As usual I find it hard to posit my question in a way that will make sense. Let me try:

    Do you think the issue is that we struggle with ‘identity’ against we know who we really are?

    Identity is a social construction. Compared to what we know us to be it is superficial (but powerful). We learn to identify as one thing or another, or in a certain way. But we still ARE who we ARE, regardless of our superficial identity.

    Sometimes what we know ourselves to be conflicts with what we identify as. Which side wins out is important. Two scenarios:

    A: Im going to be who I know I actually am – be it straight or LGBT
    B: Im going to be who I would like identify as.

    Some people get to answer A when they are tiny. Others chose B and only get to A when they are much older.

    WTF I don’t know where this is going. But I hope you get the drift.
     
  7. rachael1954

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    I wonder what is it that makes certain people choose path A, and others B and then A. All of us later in lifes I guess are the 2nd group.

    Are the A people just more self-aware? Do they have more supportive parents, less homophobia in their home and school growing up? Do they have more self-esteem? Are they less sensitive to the needs of others and more sensitive to their own needs than the other group? Good post.
     
  8. TomboyGoth

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    I'm 28 years old so not middle aged yet but i thought i'd still answer. As a teen i thought that i was bi. I think that my first interests were towards males but pretty soon i became interested in females also. I lived in a small town and there weren't lot of gays. I only knew one guy who was gay.

    I met my now husband when i was 14 years old and we have been together ever since. I have a diagnosed neurological disorder and i have been starting to think that i have others undiagnosed as well. That has greatly affected why i haven't noticed i'm gay before. I'm probably a bit too dependent of my husband and i'm working towards getting myself to be more independent. I just find some things to be a struggle and i now understand that those things are pretty easy to normal people. So that's why i'm planning to go to doctor and maybe get a diagnose for other neurological disorders i might have.

    When i was 19 i came out to my husband (then boyfriend) as a bi. It took me that long to actually admit that i was interested in women although i had known it from the age of at least 12-13, maybe even younger (don't remember exactly). From there on, my interest in women seemed to grow and interest in men diminish. I started to examine my interest in women and watched some lesbian series etc (back then it was mostly L word).

    Soon all my thoughts were about women, when i played rpg games, i chose a female character and romanced another female, i always rooted for women getting together in tv series etc. But i still continued to believe i was bi, i just thought that i had more interest in the lesbian side, because i had no experience with it.

    I was pretty depressed and usually felt that i really didn't have a lot to wait for from the future. But last year in the fall i started to understand better my neurological disorders and deal with them. It's been a roller coaster after that and now i finally have quite accepted that i am gay (95% sure). And life actually seems pretty much ok, i feel a lot better now despite i'm facing a divorce and a lot of new challenges. In retrospect i should have known a lot earlier but i think my brain was just a mess and i couldn't handle all the things, so i just suppressed my gay side and fooled myself into thinking that i'm bi.
     
  9. Snuggler

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    Hello everyone,

    I'm new here and feel compelled to let the OP know that in High School I didn't have any feelings for men at all. I had crushes on women, but remained a virgin until I was out of school. I was painfully shy and very introverted and my face was covered with acne, so I didn't have much in the way of self confidence. I have to say though, it really bugged me that people thought I was gay. I'm really not sure why they did. I fantasized about women, masturbated thinking of women, and never really considered sex something you could do with a man.

    Now after decades of relationships with women, in which I very much enjoyed the sex, I'm finding myself attracted to men, though I don't understand it. It was in my twenties that I first felt my heart rise when seeing an attractive man with his shirt off. Now I feel a compulsion to orally please a man. And yet, kissing or anything else seems gross. Argh. I'm too old for this.
     
  10. MS001

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    I knew I was gay as a teen and came out and then went back in the closet. Don't underestimate the power of denial and compartmentalizations! There is always a little reason to doubt you are really gay or another way to push aside your feelings when it is too hard to deal with being gay.
     
  11. Morse Code

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    I'm 32 so not quite middle-aged but getting there. I had girl crushes throughout school but tried to supress them. I suppose it helped that I also liked guys and there was so much peer pressure to focus on them so I guess that's what I did.

    When I was 20 and working my first professional job, I met someone who really made me focus on the side of myself I had hidden. She was a law clerk, really down-to-earth and cool. She winked at me a lot and went out of her way to talk to me and smiled a lot. Then I started dating this stupid felon who rode my bus and came on to me really strongly. She kind of found out when another coworker asked me how my "main man" was doing when she was down there one day. She kind of teased me about him and ended up moving away shortly after that. But yeah that was the beginning of opening my eyes.
     
    #51 Morse Code, Apr 25, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016
  12. LionsAndShadows

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    Hi Rachael,

    "Are the A people just more self-aware? Do they have more supportive parents, less homophobia in their home and school growing up? Do they have more self-esteem? Are they less sensitive to the needs of others and more sensitive to their own needs than the other group? Good post."

    Thanks.

    I guess the answer is: all of those things. Childhood experiences and environment, what we learn, how we think about ourselves as kids has a profound impact on how we respond when we realise we are LGBT. If the circumstances are right the child will respond with complete acceptance of their sexuality as being simply expression of their inner self, a new expression of who they have always been in a non-sexual way. If the circumstances are not right, the conflict can be so immense that the child will reject their sexuality, deny it, do anything to avoid it.
     
  13. I am straight

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    Greatwhale, did you know about that "some sort of" when you were in high school?
     
  14. greatwhale

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    Only in retrospect do I recognize my fascinations as being what they were, so no, I did not at the time mentally recognize any sort of anything with respect to my sexuality, other than to assume that I was attracted to women.
     
  15. SHACH

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    Thanks for posting this. I feel similar to this. I really did have some interest in guys but I feel like this might just have been because I wouldn't let myself be interested in girls... because since I've accepted attraction to girls and come out to my best friend... my interest in women has grown and my interest in men has diminished as you said. And yeah... I often feel that I'm more interested in the lesbian side of things because its new... like I never really thought it through properly or let myself fully fall for girls or kiss girls before. But I'm starting to feel like the amazing heightened attraction I'm feeling for girls is actually just how its supposed to feel... I dunno.
     
  16. I am straight

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    What does "your fascinations" mean exactly?
     
  17. greatwhale

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    Before high school, I was in an all boys school, I remember finding some of my classmates cute, so I wanted to play with them. In high school, there was a young man with whom I really wanted to be friends with, nothing happened, of course; there were some masturbatory fantasies in those early days that, again in retrospect, were on the same-sex side of things. Did I call these anything? Nope, I didn't know what they meant, other than they were strictly fantasies, nothing more (I know better now).

    Do you recognize any of these things in yourself?
     
  18. I am straight

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t


    You were the first case I witnessed where someone just realized that they were gay out of the blue, but when i dig deeper on this, it seems like you fit the bill for the second paragraph of my opening post. Here is the paragraph i'm writing about :

    "There are men here who have said that they didn't know that they were gay until they were in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s. What I suspect is that these guys who said that they did not know that they were gay until they were middle aged is that they always knew that they felt some physical attraction to some people of the same sex, but they did not equate that physical attraction with being gay or bisexual."

    You masturbated to the same sex, yet you say you didn't know you were gay. Therefore, You had at least a tiny bit of awareness that you felt some attraction to some people of the same sex, but you just didn't know what it meant. You're natural sexual preference didn't change when you were trying to sleep on that couch in February 2013. I suspect that the other people here who just suddenly realized that they are gay in middle age are the same way. I think the gay people here who say that they never had even an inkling that they felt same sex attraction probably did have an inkling but just forgot it.







    No. I liked hanging out with other male children when i was a prepubescent child, especially from about age 3 to 10, but i liked hanging out with them because i was big on platonic companionship and having playmates. I never found any of my male friends to be cute. I never wanted to hang out with any of them because of how they looked. They could have been the ugliest people on Earth and that would have been totally irrelevant to me. I've never once masturbated to a male in my life.
     
    #58 I am straight, Apr 26, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016
  19. brainwashed

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    Per quote above. Awareness. I can now "see, feel, reflect" on the fact I am gay. Couldn't before I cam to ECs. And now I'm on a path to accept me.

    ---------- Post added 27th Apr 2016 at 06:48 AM ----------

    No this is not the case at all - per the text quoted above. No I did not have an inkling. I think you fail 'I am Straight', to understand how shame works in some people. I cant remember the psychological term(s) and I do not have time to find it, but maybe you've seen movies where a person witnesses something horrific. It's so horrific they block the event out of there memory. They don't have a clue of the event.

    Although there are two different brain mechanisms at play here, shame based oppression looks the same way. I encourage you to read The Velvet Rage. Very good book.

    Another good book:
    https://books.google.com/books/about/Coming_Out_of_Shame.html?id=EhPJAAAACAAJ
     
  20. baristajedi

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    Re: Did any of you not know that you were attracted to the same sex when you were a t

    'I am Straight' (original poster) -

    With all due respect, if you are in fact 100% hetero, you don't have a clue what it's like to live in a society where you are told that your sexuality isn't deemed worthy or natural. And you cannot claim that we who are LGBT must have been feeling x y or z or that we say one thing but actually what we really feel is ___.

    Questions and earnest interest in understanding our perspectives is all well and good, but your approach is very distasteful in my opinion.

    You might do well to humble yourself a bit and ask genuine questions without presumptions entwined into them.

    Perhaps I'm the only one who feels negatively about this post, but I just feel that it has to be said.
     
    #60 baristajedi, Apr 27, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016