The Aha Moment In A Dude's Sexual Development

Welcome to the first edition of Guysourcing, where a panel of helpful gentlemen answer and your questions. This week, we're starting with sexuality — specifically, if a dude identifies with a specific orientation, when and how did that come about?

And now the good part: the guys answer.

Early bloomer

My mom actually knew I was a heterosexual much before I did. I had a bad habit of putting my hands in my pants when I was a toddler — front and back. But whenever I saw a stunningly beautiful lady, I would reach up and tug on my mother's arm with my free hand and point at the lady in question. My occupied hand was always in the front by the time she figured out what I was pointing at. She says the smile on my face was always ear-to-ear.

"The Anatomy of a Boyfriend"

I remember when I was 9 years old I was sitting on the floor of my kitchen, looking through a massive pile of Sassy Magazine's that my sister kept lying around the house. Many people would argue that just having two older sisters with, uh, forceful personalities was enough to "make" me gay. (My sisters included, who suspect that years of sharing a bathroom with them removed any hint of desirability from the their gender and shifted me to guys.) In fact, the moment I "knew" was when I happened to pick up an issue of Sassy and found an article called "The Anatomy of a Boyfriend." They had an anatomically correct sketch of a naked guy with arrows pointing to various parts of him, explaining what they are. I took a special interest in the "testicles" arrow (which is funny, because I'm not really a balls guy now) and from there it was history. I remember thinking "yup, guess I'm gay."

Soulmates

[My First Love] was born on the same day in the same hospital as me. Our families became friends and I remember knowing before I knew much of anything I liked her in a special way. She was a cute kid from what I can remember, blond hair and blue eyes — adorable in a [MFL] sort of way.

When I think about that first romantic moment, those first butterflies, the headache I got whenever anyone would say [MFL], in some sort of way I don't really feel like I had choice. I definitely don't remember "identifying" as anything, and maybe this is the hetero/homo/bi -sexual tragedy; never feeling like you've made a choice, that the choice was made for you in a way. With so many other parts of our lives, we have a choice, and in this we're completely powerless.

"I Just Don't Believe In Love"

I actually self-identified as asexual for a long time; like, until I was eighteen. I had tried making out with people— girls— & it just wasn't for me. So I figured, anyway. That being said, it was pretty clear that it was women I was making out with. I guess the trick ended up being that making out with someone you LIKE is the tipping point. & maybe I was a late bloomer, I don't know. My parents would occasionally take me aside & put on their "serious voice" to ask if I was gay, & I would tell them "no, I just don't believe in love." As for liking girls over boys, I don't know. I remember always swimming in a pretty hetero-normative soup; when I was a little kid I knew that my parents & their friends would joke about how I was supposed to grow up & marry their daughter, & in second grade I had a "recess girlfriend" so I never really questioned the "boys & girls" default. I happened to luck out on that, since I am heterosexual.

Paperboy

I remember very specifically a moment when I was about 13 or 14 and I was riding my bike delivering newspapers when I realized that the feelings I had toward a rather dreamy boy in school (who later grew up to have his throat slashed in a drug deal gone wrong) were more than your average feelings of friendship. At the time, I didn't realize that I was entirely gay and thought, you know, maybe I was bi. By the time I was 17, I was ready to come out as a full-fledged homosexual and never looked back. Well, except for when I experimented with heterosexuality in college. I'm glad I got to see how green the grass was on the other side, but after that, I knew for sure I was really, really gay.

Kisses and Boners

I've been primarily attracted to girls as long as I can remember. I have a vague but embarrassing memory of getting an erection as a boy (probably three or four years old) watching a sex scene on TV with a man and a woman, but remember pretty distinctly that seeing the woman was the exciting part. (I also remember showing my mom and sister and being all "look at this!" I don't remember my mom's reaction, but it must have been notable enough that I filed the experience away so that at a later point in life I could be properly mortified remembering it.)

Like most boys, though, I wasn't a stranger to homoeroticism. Aside from lots of relationship-like feelings of "best friend" ownership, actual wrestling, ball-punching, and other more aggressive forms of expressing what I think was probably sexual energy, I also have a very distinct memory of kissing another boy on the lips in first grade. That memory is actually pretty similar to the erection memory, in that I felt a little strange about it at the time, then felt much weirder about it when I remembered it later.

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