1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How long did it take you to know?

Discussion in 'Sexual Orientation' started by Paige3002165, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. BiBarefeet

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2018
    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    65
    Location:
    UK
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    A few people
    Once I noticed a sexual attraction to guys it was a complete shock to mex and even after a couple of same sex encounters I still felt in denial. It took me a good couple of years to realise I wasn't totally straight but about 5 years to realise I was bisexual. It's taken almost another 10 years to accept myself as bi-gay. I feel like I'm in a relatively happy place now. The only way it could be better is if everyone knew and no one gave a shit either way. Unfortunately, in the world we live in, with various degrees of homophobia indoctrinated into people from their family, peers, the media and society in general, full acceptance by everyone just isn't going to happen. So I'm still largely in the closet...but most importantly, I'm out to myself, and that's a big thing as it means that I now know who and what I am and I do not have to fear it or have sleepless nights about it anymore...validate it and move on in life is the best way for me.
     
    Paige3002165 likes this.
  2. Paige3002165

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2017
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Ladera Ranch
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Questioning
    Out Status:
    A few people
    I'm not sure, honestly. For a while I really did think that they cycles of being fairly confidence were getting more frequent and longer, but lately I've been in a long phase of really doubting it. One thing I will say, though, is that the periods of doubt seem to strongly correlate to times when I'm not doing so well. When I'm in a better emotional and mental state. I tend to be more confident. I'm not entirely sure what to make of that, but it seems potentially significant.

    If there's any one thing that really gets to me, its that I seem to react more strongly towards men than towards women. I've never really obsessed over a woman, but I have over a few men. And even though I haven't really had a crush (or what I used to think was a crush?) on a guy in years, I have significantly more hyper-awareness, anxiety, fluttery feelings—everything I've always associated with crushes—around men. All of which sounds pretty heterosexual to me—or at least bi with a strong preference for men.

    Except ... those emotions towards men don't feel particularly good—especially ever since I started questioning (although part of me thinks that's because I've latched on to this weird desire to be lesbian, which either is because I am, or is kind of disturbing ...). Before that it was sort of fun to have 'crushes,' and a part of me definitely wanted to be liked back, but
     
    Silveroot likes this.
  3. Paige3002165

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2017
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Ladera Ranch
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Questioning
    Out Status:
    A few people
    (this is coming in two parts because for some reason only half of what I wrote went through the first time—sorry if its confusing!)

    Except ... those emotions towards men don't feel particularly good—especially ever since I started questioning (although part of me thinks that's because I've latched on to a desire to be lesbian, which either is because I am, or is kind of disturbing ...). Before that it was sort of fun to have 'crushes,' and a part of me definitely wanted to be liked back, but even then I didn't really want the crushes to develop into a relationship. Or maybe I did? I don't know. I just know that of the three 'crushes' I've had on guys one of them liked me back, and despite having crushed on him for a year I ran for the hills and could never bring myself to regret doing so. And I can pretty confidently say I wasn't terribly attracted to any of them. I mean, my most extravagant physical fantasies were with the third guy: I wanted to hold his hand while walking sometimes and hug him when he was sad. I was in college. (But also I was so bafflingly oblivious that it didn't really sink in that this was unusual until senior year, so maybe I was just disturbingly innocent?)

    As for girls, imagining being with another woman physically and romantically makes me happy, as opposed to the anxiety I feel when imagining the same with men. But although I look back and see what might have been crushes on woman in my past, they were never anywhere near as consuming as when I obsessed over men. It makes me wonder whether I'm capable of having strong romantic feelings towards a woman, despite how much I seem to want it in theory.

    And although I know how this sounds, I don't need a specific label right now; just getting to 'straight or not straight' would be a start. But I guess I keep returning to these things because I keep trying to understand my feelings through comparison, but its hard to know how to compare what I feel for women to what I feel for men when I'm so confused about both.

    Sorry, that got longer than intended ... I guess I was wondering whether you can relate to any of that, especially since you were with a man romantically for an extended period?
     
    Silveroot likes this.
  4. faceup

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Hill Valley
    Gender:
    Male
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Not out at all
    I knew I had same sex attraction since I was 12 around that age, but I was thought it was a phase, and at the time I read a lot of things that it will be just a phase and will pass, so I had my first gay kiss at 31, so it took me almost 20 years to have the balls to take the first step !!
     
    Biguy45 and Paige3002165 like this.
  5. bi dystopia

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2013
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK
    Gender:
    Other
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    All but family
    I first knew I was attracted to both about 12 but the only terms I had heard of were straight and gay. Spent 4 years not being sure until i heard the term Bisexual at 16. Came out at 17 and got with a few guys, went back in at 18 after a lot of hostility and had some relationships with women. Came out again to a couple of people at 22 and got with a few guys. Then gradual coming out over the last 5 years to the point where most people know now.
     
    Biguy45 and Paige3002165 like this.
  6. Limiteded

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2018
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Virginia
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Some people

    Same thing here about it lasting longer each time I am going through a phase. It’ gets more comfortable each time.
     
    LostInDaydreams and Biguy45 like this.
  7. Silveroot

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2017
    Messages:
    154
    Likes Received:
    85
    Location:
    Athens
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Questioning
    Out Status:
    A few people
    I've never been with a woman romantically really. I've been with a guy on a relationship and on some dates with several men which I ended as soon as possible each time.

    I think it's a matter of time. Like you when I am less confident I doubt my same sex attraction and are in a sea of confusion about any perceived opposite sex feeling.

    It will get better, it does get better. I think we all know the truth deep down.
     
  8. Limiteded

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2018
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Virginia
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Some people

    Agree with you about the truth statement. Not it’s just figuring out how to handle it and what the next move is.
     
    LostInDaydreams likes this.
  9. LostInDaydreams

    Full Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2016
    Messages:
    1,351
    Likes Received:
    412
    Location:
    UK
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Lesbian
    Out Status:
    Not out at all
    Don't worry about the length of your post. :slight_smile:

    I get this too. When things seem to be going well I feel more confident about my whole situation, i.e. being gay, telling my partner, etc., but when things aren't going so well, then I start think maybe I could/should stay with him, I feel a bit hopeless, etc. As others have said above, I think I still know what the "truth" is, but I don't feel as able to handle it.

    I've had "crushes" on guys, but like you, they weren't good feeling. I think there was always a sense of fear almost. Also, it the idea that I was attracted, not the reality of being with that person, i.e. I never imagined kissing them or anything. To be honest, the idea of having to spend time alone with them made me anxious. When I my current partner asked me out, I said yes because I figured it might as well get it over with, i.e. first date, etc. I was amazed we got on so well and I enjoyed his company, but all the way through it's been him pushing our relationship forward. If it had been left to me, we'd probably never even had out first kiss, because I feared it more than I wanted it.

    I'm saying all of this with the benefit of hindsight, of course. At the time, I just figured what I was feeling was normal as I was a fairly shy person anyway.

    I've felt exactly this. Don't go back through all my posts/threads, but I definitely expressed this concern myself towards the beginning of my questioning. I wanted to be and label myself "lesbian", but wasn't sure whether I qualified. A year or so before I joined EC I thought that I might be bisexual, so before I seriously started questioning my sexuality. For me, and this is just my experience, that thought didn't really set anything off, but when I considered that I might be gay, my whole world was turned upside down, I couldn't think about anything else, etc. So, for me, I knew on some level that the questioning process wasn't about whether or not I was bisexual, but whether or not I was gay.

    But at the time, I wouldn't have been able to explain why. Again, I'm saying all this with the benefit of hindsight. It's not so easy see when you're in the middle of the storm.

    I can relate this. Whenever I had a "crush" on a guy, it was fun - I enjoyed joking about with them, etc. - and like you, I wanted them to like me back, but that was it. Once it was clear that they did like me back, it stopped being fun and it made me anxious. Like you, I've turned down guys that I've had a "crush" on because I just didn't want anything to happen. I think it's normal for it not to register how "unusual" all these things are because we rationalise it all in our heads and we only have our own experience to go from.

    For me, it's taken a little while for my attraction towards women to present itself in reality, which is probably in part getting comfortable with the idea, as well as having a lot going on in the rest of my life. However, I can see myself want to act on a crush on a woman and doing so. My desire to kiss a woman, have a relationship, etc. outweighs my fear of the unknown. As a teenager, I could never understand how my friends seemed to get over this fear so easily and why I didn't have the drive to.

    I can look back and think of women that I've been attracted to, and like you, at the time it wasn't anything significant enough to register in my mind. For the most, I can only acknowledge it with hindsight. For me, I just don't think I was ready to feel or acknowledge it. Similar to you, at the beginning of this process I felt that my attraction towards women was theoretical, but non-existent in reality. For me, that started to change when I ran into a women I used to work with and then things started to fall into place. It's a taken months for me to get comfortable enough with my sexuality to be able to notice women in day-to-day life. I've doubted whether or not I'm capable of it too, probably because for most of my life I've assumed that my romantic partner would be male. It's taken time to become comfortable with a different way of thinking.

    That would be a great step. It was for me. I identified as "not straight" for about a year or so whilst I was still working things out. Just acknowledging that I wasn't straight helped me gain clarity and allowed me to focus on the extent of my feelings for women.

    I know. It's not easy so don't be hard on yourself. Take your time. It's not a race. :slight_smile:

    I hope this has been helpful, and to be clear, I'm not trying to lead you towards any particular conclusion. I'm just sharing my experience.

    If you ever have any questions, you know where my wall is.
     
    #29 LostInDaydreams, Apr 14, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  10. BMC77

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2013
    Messages:
    2,907
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    A few people
    The amount of time it takes varies from person to person.

    In my case, I guess I began occasional questioning in my 20s or early 30s. I think I accepted that I was attracted to men by my early/mid 30s. I joined EC when I was 42, and--soon after--concluded "gay" was the best label for me.

    That said...I had clear signs that I wasn't straight by the time I was 13 at the latest. But I lacked good information about sexuality, so I wasn't able to "connect the dots." When I did have that information, I was in denial because I also knew enough to know that society--and some people close to me--thought it was "bad" being gay.

    At the same time, I'm on another forum with a number of gay men who are older--and they managed to figure things out at a much younger age than I did.
     
    #30 BMC77, Apr 14, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  11. Jaquesadit

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Scotland
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    A few people
    Hi! I'm in a similar position to you. I'm 21 now and I'm finally ready to come out and tell my friends and family that I'm gay but I'd been questioning my sexuality for about two years before I really realised what I am. I would say it was about six months ago that I knew for sure so I spent a similar amount of time questioning it. If there's one thing I've learnt from being on this website it's definitely that everyone figures it out at their own pace.
     
    Limiteded likes this.
  12. anonmember

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2018
    Messages:
    230
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Somewhere in the United States
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Some people
    Suspected that I might be for 6 years now and confirmed at 18 through therapy and just being honest with myself.
     
    #32 anonmember, Apr 14, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  13. Limiteded

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2018
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Virginia
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Some people

    So was it through experiences you learned or just looking at yourself internally?
     
  14. Jaquesadit

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Scotland
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    A few people
    Kind of a mixture of both to be honest. I've never been intimate with a guy but I have been with women and it just didn't feel right, which is when I started to question it. From there it was more internal and I began to notice myself being attracted to men. It's been a long process and I've still got stuff to figure out for myself.
     
    Limiteded likes this.
  15. lynramos

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2018
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    philippines
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Other
    Out Status:
    A few people
    actually i dont know if i am a bisexual, lesbian, fem or whatsoever, the only thing i realized is that.. i loved being with the same sex... i love kissing women.... i love making love with them....
     
    Limiteded and BiBarefeet like this.
  16. scs96

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    OH
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    All but family
    Looking back, I have had little moments here and there but I've dealt with internalized homophobia for a very long time and didn't realize those things until I came out almost fully.

    When I was seventeen seemingly out of "nowhere" I ended up falling for my new best friend at the time. I basically fell so in love with this person that nothing else I'd ever thought I felt compared to it. It felt so natural and so kind and so right. But I'd been taught from a very young age that is was wrong and I ultimately screwed it up. I ended up leaving them, for a boy that treated me like garbage because I thought that I needed to try to be straight. I did do that and it didn't work. I entered a physical relationship with a guy and felt miserable the whole time. I thought that I'd had the feelings for my friend because I was "over-emotional" or possibly just lonely. I made every excuse I could to try to debunk the reason as to why I thought I'd had these feelings.

    Fast forward about a year and it happened again. I didn't realize it at first but I'd managed to get completely crazy over a girl, again. A close friend at the time. She told me she got a girlfriend one day and I was crushed. I spent weeks and weeks listening to sad music and crying and couldn't figure out why, still, somehow. My friend pointed out to me that the behavior seemed odd and I still somehow didn't get it.

    The same thing happened a couple more times and despite this being right in front of me since 2013 (I was 17) I wasn't very confident I liked girls until I fell for a friend in 2016 (20 then, a whole three years after the first time) and realized that I for sure still felt those things. (not to mention the feelings I had for the first person didn't fade from 2013-2017 I consistently continued to like them for a very long time due to unresolved feelings stemming from my internalized homophobia)

    Looking back on it post-coming out to my parents and almost everyone in my life, I definitely had attractions to girls earlier than 17. I remember once when I was 13, seeing a female friend on webcam and thinking about how beautiful her hair looked and immediately scolding myself for "seeming gay". Those things aren't coincidences when I never felt strange about girls prior to that. Also, when I was 10 I had a crush on a female friend and couldn't put what that meant to words until years later. (she is also into girls, oddly enough)

    People don't always know, if you're questioning and unsure because you're older, don't fret. It's gonna be okay.
     
  17. Libra Neko

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2014
    Messages:
    900
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    the world my mind created
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Some people
    I was always bi. I'm not sure if a somewhat traumatizing experience with girls at school contributed to that or not. My first kiss was with a girl. But I was much more interested in guys until my late teens. When I was 17, I finally realized I was bi. I came out at 18.