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How can I not know I'm gay?

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by Leah061, May 23, 2018.

  1. Leah061

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    I'm only asking because it's what I'm currently going through. How can someone not know that they're gay? I mean I sort of knew I was attracted to women, but I was never overwhelmed by it. I could understand how someone may not recognize that they're bi/pansexual, as they might be able to go along with their heterosexual leanings without having to fully realize their sexuality. I just keep reading coming out stories and how/when people "know" that they're gay. More often than not they say that they either always knew or figured out in their teenage years and began to actively repress it. That's just not what my story looks like and it makes me feel a little insecure for some reason. I feel obligated to call myself bi and like I don't really get to call myself gay because I didn't have a miserable teenage life.
     
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  2. sjax0628

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    I only realized I was gay when I was 30. I never really had an active dating life growing up, with either gender. I had crushes on guys, but they were very superficial and in no way obtainable. Once I did have boyfriends, it just never felt right and I never had any connection with them beyond friendship. I only realized I was into girls after some serious soul searching.

    I never had crushes on my female friends growing up, nor do I now. I know my story is far from the normal, but it is what it is. Everyone is different, and you aren’t less valid just because you didn’t realize it sooner or didn’t have a miserable childhood.
     
  3. Bazinga87

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    I a male but here is my experience. I feel my sexuality has come in waves. The younger I was the easier i could float above them and keep moving. The thing is, the waves for me have gotten bigger each time and it's harder to stay afloat. I can't swim over them and repress it anymore. I made myself straight until I couldn't anymore.

    Explore your feelings, don't compare your journey to others and most importantly find a way to accept you for you. Once the self honesty starts you can start planning for YOUR future
     
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  4. Limiteded

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    For me sometimes I’m not sure because there are occasions where thoughts of being intimate with a female turn me on. But it happens more with men.
     
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  5. greatwhale

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    Hi Leah061,

    This is a much deeper and interesting question than it appears. The underlying assumption is that we think we know that we know...

    If you examine closely any fact of which you are certain, you may be surprised at just how tenuous and unreliable that "fact" is. Most scientists worthy of the title "know" that any theory is always subject to possible revision and replacement by a better theory to explain the same evidence before our eyes. For example, it seemed obvious, based on our sense data alone, that the sun revolved around the earth, but of course, we have a better theory to explain the same phenomenon.

    So then...what we think we know is in fact something we build in our heads...even what we see with our own eyes is very much something that our brains create and interpret (a person who was blind from birth and who is suddenly able to see would only "see" an incomprehensible pattern of shades and colours).

    In the same way, you may have felt certain desires but have had no need to interpret them as anything important, or better, more significant than you at first deemed them to be. To "deem" something means to evaluate, to bring some judgment as to the importance of a certain fact. If we are not open to the possibility that there are other possibilities, we are, as the blind person suddenly able to see, completely incapable of understanding what is happening.

    In such circumstances, the Zen approach of keeping a "beginner's mind", by deliberately seeking "stuckness", or not immediately reaching for certainty, through standing still and quieting the mind, can lead you to listen to that still small voice that is whispering something to you that is much more significant than you had ever appreciated before...that is what we are talking about when we recount the sudden insight that most of us have been seized by; that sudden flash of recognition that yes indeed, this is what we are...
     
  6. sparki

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    You don’t know what you don’t know. It is like anything in life. You learn as you go. As you explore this facet of your life, allow yourself to feel, and accept the you that has most likely been buried under many layers. Your story is just that, it is yours. I am betting there are many others thinking what you wrote so take heart.
     
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  7. silverhalo

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    Hey my story is similar. I grew up completely thinking I was straight until I got to my mid 20's and all of a sudden bam there it was. I'd never really been into guys but I'd also never noticed any attraction to girls, don't be too hard on yourself you are most definitely not the only one. I grew up in an accepting supportive environment, I think sometimes it's just the way it works.
     
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  8. Biguy45

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    I figured it out around 13 but repressed it. It wasn’t exactly a hardship living as a straight man but I now realize I’m bi
     
  9. Love4Ever

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    Well I think it is very possible to not know. I'm bi so that's a little different but it's similar. I've known I liked boys since I was eleven and probably longer. But I had my first real crush then and it just made sense to me. I never thought I was anything other than straight until a few years ago. It started out as being curious, and at first I thought there was no way I could be into girls, but now here I am craving a woman so much. People are complex and multidimensional. I don't think we always know exactly who we are and what we want. It's a life long journey.
     
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  10. Peterpangirl

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    I think people can have latent same sex feelings - buried so deep they aren't aware of them themselves. These can be dredged up by various life events and perhaps unexpectedly falling in love for a member of the same sex. I had an intense and incredibly gentle emotional and romantic dream for a woman many months before I recognised and acknowledged that I had fallen in love with her. Later I also then had both involuntary sexual/ romantic thoughts that were unlike what I had experienced before: I wanted her so badly and had such tender and passionate feelings I had to face the facts. I had assumed I was heterosexual. I was wrong. Stark new facts disproved my earlier assumptions.
     
  11. normalwolverine

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    Not knowing seems remarkably common in women. This thread is probably the most lack of clarity I've ever seen coming from guys, whereas it seems like almost every other female out there is not quite sure...even if she's not actually "gay."

    I think there are at least three reasons for people not knowing their sexual orientation:

    1) I'm really realizing that most people lack self-awareness. That is, so many people don't know things about themselves that are pretty obvious to everyone else...not to say that your orientation is obvious to everyone else, but if people don't know things about themselves that are obvious to others, then why wouldn't many of them not know something private about themselves such as their exact sexual orientation?

    The main thing about all this lack of self-awareness is it's almost always related to stuff that the individual considers in some way to be negative, or that the individual is aware that society thinks is negative. And at least half of society pretty openly thinks being LGBT is negative. Sure, sometimes people are repressing, but there are also just tons of people who really are clueless about themselves. I'm pretty sick of it, actually--not so much in this type of case where you don't know your sexual orientation, but I'm just sick of how people suck in all these different ways and then swear up and down that they don't.

    2) We were first taught that everyone is hetero, whether we were taught indirectly or directly. Then we learned that some people are gay or lesbian. Then other identities slowly started trickling in, i.e. bi, pan, trans, bi-curious, etc. So many people out there try to convince us either that everyone actually is straight or that no one is 100% gay or 100% lesbian. I highly suspect the truth is that the average person is somewhere in between 100% gay/les and 100% straight, even though I am not one of those people. But this is pretty much never what we hear. That's why this is so confusing to so many people out there. In case you're wondering how this applies to you, I'm saying...there's a pretty good chance you're not 100% "gay." But ultimately, that's for you to figure out/realize.

    3) If you're a teenager, or even early-mid 20s? I mean...you haven't met enough people, you haven't had enough life experiences and you definitely don't have enough self-knowledge/self-awareness. For more people than you think, it takes undoing #2 to realize what their sexual orientation is...and that takes a lot of time. And/or it takes meeting the right person to spark a self-realization. Just because you like girls, for example, doesn't mean you can like any girl or every girl around you. So, it's possible to get to be 25 and not have met someone who made you realize you're a lesbian or bi or whatever. And I think the reason more women seem to question themselves than men do is because women need more than the physical to become seriously attracted to/interested in someone more often than men do. And it's harder to make an emotional connection with people--especially nowadays--than it is to make a physical one.
     
  12. Love4Ever

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    I relate to this so much! I would love to chat more in detail.
     
  13. Leah061

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    So did you realize that you were gay then? Were the feelings you had for her comparable to what you had felt for men? For me, that's where I'm getting confused. Because I know that I like girls now and that I always have, even though I didn't completely understand that. But I also thought that I liked boys, and I know that when I was dating boys, it never felt completely right. I can't say that I felt nothing, but I knew that what I felt for my boyfriends was not exactly the same as what my other friends felt. That's why I kind of feel like I need to actually be with a girl so that I know where my feelings really are so I can know if I'm gay, or if I need to lower my expectations and sex/relationships are really that boring and I'm bi.
     
  14. SevnButton

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    Yes! Me too! I was getting raging waves of gay about every third month. I was riding the one in January when I found Empty Closets. I've been posting, exploring and learning since then and really coming to terms with my sexuality. I've been waiting for the next wave, but instead I seem to be on more of a steady flow.
    So, in the context of this thread, at least in my experience, sexuality is not a steady constant. I can totally see how it would evolve in a person's life.
    =Sevn
     
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  15. Leah061

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    How do you mean you had crushes on guys? I'm just trying to contextualize the relationships and feelings I've had for men in the past now that I know I like girls.
     
  16. SevnButton

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    Yes! Me too! I was getting raging waves of gay about every third month. It was during a wave in January that I found Empty Closets. I've been posting, exploring, and learning ever since, and waiting for the next wave. But it seems that since I'm coming to terms with my sexuality, the waves have smoothed out into a steady flow. So yeah, sexuality changes over time.
     
  17. Peterpangirl

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    Yes. I did. It was an incredibly painful experience as my marriage fell apart due to this and other aspects of relationship and I couldn't have her or even telk her as she was unavailable. I've been in love with a man once (my soon to be ex husband). I enjoyed being together with him and got some physical pleasure out of sex. I have felt drawn to some men and some women throughout my adult life. But I always felt shy and inhibited about the intimate aspects of sex. I assumed I just wasn't that into the more romantic side. I am now in a relationship with a woman and feel completely relaxed and am proactive with intimate acts in the bedroom. I now feel I was always a sub-standard lover to my husband but much less so with my girlfriend!!! I have always found it difficult to climax but with her I truly love the journey and get a real thrill out of seeing her turned on...
     
    #17 Peterpangirl, May 24, 2018
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
  18. Lia444

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    Great post,thanks. I’m all 3 of those. Might have to bookmark that for when I get the question of how did you not know haha
     
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  19. sjax0628

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    I just like guys that I thought were cute, but they usually fit a very specific mold. Whenever the time came for something to actually happen between a guy and me however, I would get super nervous and sabotage it. I just never felt comfortable being with a guy. Although, I’ve never actually been with a woman either. But even in my head, it feels more comfortable.
     
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  20. Biguy45

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    It’s definitely not a constant. I know I’m bi, but some days I feel nothing for men. The last few days all of my thoughts, largely inappropriate, have been about women. It cycles like this, although I’d say the straight emphasis outweighs the gay. Maybe that’s internalized homophobia, I don’t know. My attraction to women is very real though
     
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