Signs That a Guy is Gay

Gay couple
Though there might be clues, there are no universal signs that can tell you that a guy is gay. Image (c) Kristie Wells

Whether you personally identify as gay or straight, at some point, you've probably wondered if a guy you met was gay. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to really know. Despite what you may have heard, there are no real signs, and the only way to be sure is if he tells you himself.

Although there may be some hints, there's no foolproof way to know. This is because there are no universal signs that apply to everyone all the time. In the past, there were many myths and stereotypes about what it meant to be gay, and people believed a lot of misinformation about sexual orientation.

According to the Guide to Gay Life,

"Many decades ago, some gay men would use left and right side signals to indicate their sexuality or preferences in bed. This was back in the days surrounding Stonewall when being gay meant an instant beat down or arrest. We had few choices but to use Bat Signals to find each other. These indicators, though no longer used today, lived on and spread outside of the gay community. They eventually developed into perhaps one of the silliest stereotypes about gay men. Every man was terrified that if they got their ear pierced on the wrong side they would be tagged a homo."

Signs That a Guy is Gay

If you're a male, there are some signs that people believe may suggest that he might be gay. However, they're largely just stereotypes: 

  • Asking to go to a gay bar.
  • Disclosing that he's had sex with other men.
  • Not looking or checking out other women (and instead, checking out other men, possibly even getting touchy-feely with them).
  • Putting extra effort and interest in his personal appearance.
  • Saying homophobic things or acting uncomfortable around gay men. Unfortunately, there are some men who are ashamed or confused about their sexuality and express their frustration in harmful ways.
  • Seeing him join other gay dating apps (even if he says it's as a joke).
  • Showing an obsession with other people's sexuality.
  • Wanting to try oral or anal sex with you.

Seeing If Your Crush Is Gay

Although there are no real signs, many people of all sexual orientations still look for signals that a guy is gay. Sometimes there are clues that may suggest someone is gay, and other times, something that seems like a real indication is just a product of stereotypical beliefs or the hopes and fantasies created by someone with a crush.

One teen describes his crush at school,

"So there's this guy from my school who I'm starting to fall for. He was in my health / PE class last year and that was when I really started noticing that I like him. One day he smiled at me really big at the grocery store which really caught my attention and started to make me wonder if he's gay too.
Throughout the semester I noticed that he would lift weights next to me but I don't know if it's just coincidence. One time, he even asked to be my partner for this exercise, but I was stupid and chickened out when he asked if I wanted him to hold my legs down. I know that was a big mistake and I'm kicking myself for it. Now this year, I have no classes with him which sucks. But every time I see him in the halls my heart beats really fast.
What makes this even more complicated is that he doesn't know that I'm gay because I haven't exactly come out to everybody yet. Any advice would be great."

Of course, there's no way to know if these anecdotes mean that this guy is gay. One idea would be for this teen to come out to the person, as it might prompt the guy to do the same. However, this tactic can be hit or miss since the guy might be gay and still not come out, or not be gay in the first place.

This teen could also ask him simple questions, like "What do you think of gay marriage?" While the answer might not prove to be anything conclusive, it could be a good way to start a conversation about being gay. Finally, there's always the direct approach: asking a guy if he's gay. Although it can be intimidating or scary to ask, it's the only way to truly know someone's sexual orientation.