I Think I'm Gay -- What Should I Do?

Some Things to Consider If You Think You're Gay

teen couple
Image (c) karpov the wrecked train

I recently received this question from a reader: "I have a girlfriend, but I think I'm gay. What should I do?"

The reader went on to say, "I'm 18 and I'm not sure if I'm gay, straight or bi. I have a girlfriend, and we have had sex. Don't get me wrong. I do love her, but I have looked around on the Internet and I am aroused by men, too. Many people think I'm gay, or at least that's what I've heard from rumors around the school.

"I guess I would have to try something with a guy to know. I'm just not sure what to do. I would like to get some help. I do have some friends that are a part of the gay community, but I don't want to do something that would hurt my girlfriend. I'm just confused and curious to sum it up, I guess."

Here's My Answer 

This does sound like a confusing situation! 

The only person who can determine your sexual orientation is you. You might want to read Am I Gay? to help answer some of your questions.

Although it might seem really painful, sometimes people hurt the ones they love. Relationships can bring a lot of happiness, but they can also raise painful issues. Whatever conclusions you end up drawing about your sexual orientation, it would probably be best to talk to your girlfriend sooner rather than later. If you decide that you're gay, the harder and more hurtful the whole situation could become if you wait. It can be really hard to talk about issues like this, but not talking about them isn't going to make them go away.

If you're not sure you're gay, consider telling your girlfriend about your feelings without labeling yourself. Then study your feelings and reactions to those of the same sex and those of the opposite sex. This isn't a race to the finish line and a conclusion — it's about figuring out what makes you happiest. 

You should also know that plenty of people figure out their sexual orientation without having sex with someone of the same sex. 

I know that figuring out answers to this question can be really tough, but it's great that you're already reaching out as you go through the process. If you do decide that you're gay, finding community can be a great way to get support. You can also check out some great organizations for gay teens. 

If You're Not Ready to Reach Out Yet 

Remember that this issue isn't always totally black and white. Don't feel that it's necessary to pigeonhole yourself into a corner. You might not be gay, and you might not be straight, either. In fact, most people aren't 100-percent either one. You might be bi. 

Something else to keep in mind is that an individual's sexual orientation isn't carved in granite for all time. It can change throughout your lifetime. 

Good luck.