You might have heard people talking about being “gay curious.” You may have heard someone say that they were “questioning.”
Being "bi-curious," "gay curious," and "questioning" refer to people who are unsure of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Some people question whether they are lesbian or gay. Perhaps they might be bisexual. Others question whether they are straight.
People who are "curious" or "questioning" often go through a period of self exploration. They may feel confused. They may experiment with their feelings and attractions to see what identity would best describe them.
Bi-curiosity or questioning is a phenomenon in which people of a heterosexual or homosexual identity who, while showing some curiosity for sexual activity with a person of the sex they do not favor, distinguish themselves from the bisexual label.
The term "bi-curious" is sometimes used to describe a broad continuum of sexual orientation ranging from heterosexuality to bisexuality to homosexuality.
The terms heteroflexible and homoflexible
are also applied to bi-curiosity.
The term bi-curious implies that the individual has either no or limited homosexual experience in the case of heterosexual individuals or no or limited heterosexual experience in the case of homosexual people, but may continue to self-identify as bi-curious if they do not feel they have adequately explored these feelings, or if they do not wish to identify as bisexual.
Questioning and Exploration
Questioning your sexual orientation, feeling unsure about your sexual orientation, or being "gay curious," is really common for a lot of teens
As one teenage girl said, "I am 16 years old and questioning if I'm gay or not. I'm pretty sure I am but currently have a boyfriend because I really don't know yet."
Sometimes teens can find answers by asking themselves things like:
Who do I usually have crushes on? Is it mainly someone of the same gender? Do I imagine relationships with someone of the same gender? If I have dated or had a sexual experience with someone of the opposite gender, how did it make me feel? If I dated or had a sexual experience with someone of the same gender, how did it make me feel? Do I feel strongly attracted to people of both genders? Do I think you could have a sexual or romantic relationship with either males or females?
If possible, try not to put too much pressure on yourself to come up with an answer right now. You really don't need to rush it. Remember, there is a whole lot of stuff to figure out when you are a teen. It’s perfectly normal if you are still in the process of tying to figure out your sexual orientation.
Questions for Questioning Youth
Healthy Curiosity is Normal
Consider these statistics regarding the attitudes and behaviors of typical college students:
18% of college men say they've kissed another man and
20% of college women say they've kissed another woman.
10% of college students who consider themselves heterosexual say they've fantasized about having sex with a same-sex partner.
According to the American Psychological Association:
Adolescence can be a period of experimentation, and many youths may question their sexual feelings. Becoming aware of sexual feelings is a normal developmental task of adolescence. Sometimes adolescents have same-sex feelings or experiences that cause confusion about their sexual orientation. This confusion appears to decline over time, with different outcomes for different individuals.
According to Dr. Jeffrey Fishberger of The Trevor Project:
Figuring out one’s sexual orientation can be an exciting as well as confusing and scary process, and one that is different for each person. Some people are sure of their sexuality as children, and others as teens. Still others continue to question their sexual orientation as adults.
It’s interesting that when young people state that they are attracted to someone of the same gender, they’re often told, “You’re too young to know,” or, “This is probably just a phase.” Yet if that same young person were to say that he or she is attracted to someone of the opposite gender, no one seems to question this.
The teen years can be a frightening time, as adolescents try to understand the changes in their bodies and their new and different feelings. They’re also working to become more independent and become their own person while, at the same time, struggling to fit in.
For a teen who is gay, for example, this struggle can in many instances be that much more difficult, as negative things he has heard or read about gay people can affect his journey of self-discovery. Such negative messages can also hinder teenagers’ acceptance of their sexuality and their comfort with being open with others.
In trying to understand sexual orientation, it can help a person to think about who he or she has crushes on and fantasizes about being with. A person doesn’t necessarily need to have a “full” sexual experience in order to understand his or her sexual orientation. The time to explore such issues varies from individual to individual.
It can also be tremendously helpful to have peers and adults who are accepting, supportive and open to talking about this complicated issue. Gay-straight alliances as well as safe, social LGBTQ networking sites can provide support that could be tremendously helpful to a young person trying to understand his or her sexuality.
Some curious and questioning young people are actively engaged in healthy discussions through online youth forums and teen blogs. Through these web-based venues, teens are asking questions, sharing stories, exchanging information, and trying to come to terms with their sexual identity. Clearly it is a process of self-discovery that is greatly enhanced by open and honest conversation with people who know what you’re going through.
If I question my sexuality, does that automatically mean I'm gay?
When you simply wonder about your sexuality, that doesn't automatically make you homosexual. Nor does it automatically make you heterosexual. And there is nothing unnatural or abnormal about questioning your sexuality.
Nothing should lead you to believe you are gay other than being sexually and emotionally attracted to a person of the same sex. If everyone that has ever questioned his or her sexuality was gay, there would be a lot more gay people.
Questioning your sexuality doesn't make you gay. Being a man who finds men sexually attractive makes you gay. Being a woman who finds women sexually attractive makes you a lesbian. And being someone who finds both men and women sexually attractive makes you bisexual.
Being curious or questioning could also mean your sexual orientation hasn't "kicked in" yet. Give it time. Only a small percent of people are born gay. If you are one of the few, the lucky, the gifted, who are born gay, then be happy about it. Be happy with whoever you are. And being happy is always better than being miserable. You can't "push" someone into becoming gay or lesbian.
When a person is questioning his or her sexual orientation or identity, they are vulnerable to outside influences forcing them to attempt to live as something they are not. These outside influences might try to coerce the questioning or curious individual into believing that their way is the right way or the better way.
The best solution is to educate and teach people to support those who are questioning, but not to impose themselves upon the individual’s unique process of self-discovery. If people are left relatively on their own to ask questions and seek answers they will find who they truly are.
Some curious or questioning people go into denial. They are fearful of honestly addressing the question and may inwardly suspect the truth, but are unwilling to accept it. Many come out as gay late in life after having gone through years or even decades trying to be something they were not.
(From Yahoo Answers)
I'm a 19 year old male. I’m kind of not sure whether I'm heterosexual or homosexual or bisexual. I'm not homophobic. I enjoy mixing with lots of different people. Up until a year ago I would have told anyone that I was straight. I never thought otherwise. In fact I still tell people I'm straight. But I'm not so sure.
A year ago I met someone in an online forum and we became really good friends. I started to have really strong feelings towards him, like none I've ever had before for any of my other friends. I would call him my best friend. I think he is kind of cute. I almost always want to hug him and snuggle up next to him.
So my question, and I'm sure it has probably been asked a million times before... am I gay or bi or straight?
It is not always easy to know your own sexuality. For
myself, I am confident of my sexuality because I
experimented and learned things about myself as a
result. I wanted the "normal" future, wife and two
kids, letting my dad enjoy grandchildren, and really
didn’t want to accept that I could be anything other
than straight. But that was wrong for me. It was
denial. And, to be honest, I'm happier now that I'm no
longer trying to fight against it.
Now, I'm not trying to say that you are the same as me. But I am saying that you should keep an open mind and not try to work against your true nature. Discover where your love is and be guided by that.
(From Gov Teen)
Resources for Questioning Youth
Site for the National Coalition for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Youth. This site contains personal stories, online brochures, libraries, and forum.
Gay Teen Forum
Forum specifically geared toward gay teens.
Gay Teens Resources
International GLBTQ youth site that shares the latest news and fun activities while providing support and open forum discussions.
The Trevor Project
National organization that helps with crisis and suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ youth. Provides confidential questions and answers for non time-sensitive questions about sexual orientation and gender identity.
Gay Is Okay
LGBTQ website that gives information and advice and is specifically for people under twenty-five.
LGBT National Help Center
Telephone and online chat peer-counseling service that is free and confidential for people with questions about LGBTQ issues.
LGBT National Resource Database
With this site you will be able to find LGBTQ organizations and events near you.
Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance Q-munity
Website designed to help you feel connected to others with the same LGBTQ questions and concerns, specifically for youths, thirteen to twenty year olds.
Forums for teenagers to discuss puberty and sexuality, including puberty, masturbation, sex, homosexuality, bisexuality, and asexuality.
Forum for teens who are questioning their own sexuality, gender identity issues, and other topics.
Teenagers can call this confidential hotline from 6:00pm to 10:00pm PST. The website offers email, help, online chat, and message boards for any question a teen might have.
Provides information to help answer any questions concerning GLBTQ issues. This site also contains videos, comics, quizzes, and forums.
Go Ask Alice
Alice will answer any questions about sexual health and orientation.
Latino/Latina youth resource for LGBTQ teens.
Amplify Your Voice
Great youth-driven blog site that has sections like LGBTQ Rights, Gender and Stereotypes, Sex and Our Culture, etc.
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
Promotes equality is school environments in order to protect the respect and acceptance of LGBTQ students; a resource for bullied LGBTQ students.
Coalition for Positive Sexuality
Promoting positive attitude towards sexuality created by teens for teens.
Youth Guardian Services
Youth-run, non-profit organization to support LGBTQ individuals. Individuals can share GLBTQ friendly media suggestions.
Transsexual support site that offers high school stories, articles, and advice.