Figuring out my sexuality

I feel I have always been ashamed of and had to hide a big part of me. Some recent events made me realize the harmful effects of being in denial about this, but it seems hurtful either way so here goes nothing. If anyone here could shed any light on my sexuality based on the following, I would appreciate the help

  • I have had a few crushes and physical attraction to mainly females from an early age, but I was also close friends with a few male friends at school.
  • I saw some gay porn at college, but over the last couple years or so I have felt addicted to it.
  • I have dated a woman long-term, and dated a few men over brief periods of time.
  • I enjoyed sexual relations with my female partner and some of my male partners.

Is there a way to better understand if I am gay or bisexual? Am I becoming gay or was it always there but suppressed? Are there other important things here I might be missing out to figure this out?

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I can’t say I’m an expert on the issue, especially if someone is wanting to fit into a specific category. I can safely say that no category fully encapsulates anyone’s sexuality. Sexuality is as individual as a fingerprint, so identifying as a this or a that, will always leave a portion of an individual’s sexuality outside of that category.

Sexuality exists on a continuum, and some will say, “I’m 30% hetro, 70% gay,” or something like that. When it comes to attraction, often there are feelings that one may feel are out of character for them, for example identifying as gay, then feeling attracted to someone of the opposite sex. Sexuality is also fluid, meaning a person may start out feeling quite hetro, then later on, discover same sex attraction.

Affection may be mistaken for sexual attraction. For example I’m okay with hugging guys, as they can be quite loveable. I also like to hug dogs and cats. Once I felt a twang of attraction for a guy, but it didn’t last. I’ve looked at some guys, wondering what kind of love life they had because it looked like they should’ve had a helluva good one. In other words, I’m happy to admire same sex attractiveness without worrying about such regard becoming sexual. I think women are generally more comfortable acknowledging each other’s looks without thinking there’s something weird about doing so.

Additionally, both sexes can have personality or even physical traits that are commonly associated with the opposite sex. That means a primarily hetro guy may be flustered by another guy who embodies attributes he usually associates with the opposite sex. I think that’s why homophobes exist, as they suppress and/or fight such attractions.

Both genders can have any number of fetishes, which makes it more complicated, as perhaps one of the same gender may be able to fulfill the desires of the fetish, while looking to the opposite gender for the fulfillment of other desires.

For you, the first thing I’d recommend is RELAX. Maybe even learn to do some kind of meditation. A calm mind is better at introspection. Rather than decide, "I’m a (fill in the blank), or both a this and a that, just ask yourself what you’re feeling in the moment. It is good to ask yourself if you’re suppressing something, but I think once you relax and can face yourself with compassion and confidence, you’ll be able to integrate your sexual feelings, whatever they end up being focused on.

Self-understanding is a lifelong learning process. You’ll still be figuring out new things about yourself after 70. Sexuality evolves too, so it’s necessary to be open and accepting of your feelings as this occurs.

I hope this helps.

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Hi, f-m. Welcome to Heart Support!
It can bring us much comfort to find a label that matches some part of ourselves, and I want to commend you for being open to reconsidering your identity!
There are a few schools of thought regarding one’s sense of self.
Some posit that the self changes over time, often in response to events.
Some posit that the self is secret, and we spend our lives seeking it.
When dealing with labels such as “gay” and “bisexual,” it may be worth considering how you see yourself!
It’s okay to not have all the answers.

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Hello finding-me and welcome to HeartSupport!

Thank you for coming and sharing this with us and trusting us with how you are feeling. Trying to understand your sexuality can be a lifelong journey and I’m proud of you for not wanting to hide who you are or be in denial with yourself.

I have faced a similar journey trying to find myself as well. So I want you to know that I understand the desire to have a label that can define who you are and how you are attracted to others in a nice concise little package. But life is not always so simple. All humans are different. Many people who identify as a certain orientation are not 100% that label. We are all unique. The important thing is to find words to describe yourself and your interactions and feelings in a way that feels right for you. I would say there are definitely labels that do not fit you but there may not be an exact single term label that does fit either.

Wings touches on what I also want to say when they talk about types of affection. There is more to life and attraction than simply sexual attraction. The two most commonly discussed attractions that make up relationships (especially intimate ones e.g. dating) are sexual and romantic attractions. Romantic attraction is something that does not always get discussed or taught to others but it can be as important to understand about yourself as sexual attraction. Some people are romantically interested in a gender they are not sexually attracted to and vice versa. This disjoint can make relationships with someone of that gender confusing. I don’t want to type an entire essay on the topic (though I have done enough research in my own journey to do so :sweat_smile: ) so I encourage you to look into the varied aspects of attractions on your own to help you better understand yourself. I will help you out by leaving these two links that have helped me tremendously. The first is from WebMD and useful for understanding yourself and attractions and the second discusses several types of attraction in depth that goes beyond romantic and sexual but can be very useful for understanding the different ways we love and care for the people who come and go throughout our lives.

I hope that these resources help you on your journey of discovery and please feel free to come and share here anytime. Just remember what matters is what fits you best and how you see yourself and how you can express yourself to those you care about more than finding a label you can spout when asked. Good luck on your quest to finding yourself :hrtlegolove:

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