General Question

prolificus's avatar

For heterosexuals only: What process did you undertake, if any, in order to identify and accept your sexual orientation?

Asked by prolificus (6583points) December 8th, 2010

In all seriousness, how did you know you’re straight? What prompted you to act upon your sexuality? Was the process you undertook a struggle for you? At any point in your life did you have to deny any part of yourself? What support, if any, did you receive from your family and peers when you fully embraced your sexual orientation?

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69 Answers

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I believe few people are 100% homosexual or straight. That said then I just asked myself if I had to choose, how could I live in good conscience and with no regret or supression.

mrrich724's avatar

I didn’t struggle. One day I started seeing women and thinking “I like.” That was it.

I think it is scientifically natural to be attracted to people of the opposite sex (for procreation). It just happens.

On the opposite side of the coin, almost every single one of my homosexual friends has had daddy or mommy issues growing up (including people in my very own family) which I think has a significant psychological effect on their status as homosexual. I don’t want that to sound like a generalization, but in my own personal experience, I’m hard pressed right to identify one of my homosexual friends who didn’t have (mostly father) parent issues as a youth. So while some of them have identified that, some think they had no struggle and that it was natural for them, and I just have a difficult time ignoring the trend.

My close male friends who are heterosexual, have also not had a “struggle” or “choice” in being hetero. It just happened naturally for them.

I’m interested in reading about others struggles with heterosexuality, especially b/c it is considered the most socially accepted sexual orientation in our society. It’s a great question.

Zyx's avatar

Tried to like guys, didn’t work. Just thought experiments mostly though. Thought it might be easier but never could get into it physically. Have liked girls as long as I can remember.
There’s some weird twists I probably don’t need to go into but yeah… I’m straight.

@Neizvestnaya It actually annoys me when people say that because I am one of those people who is 100% straight and I honestly don’t think I’m part of a minority in that. Not that there’s anything wrong with being part of a minority (ridiculous I even need to say that.).

Sponge's avatar

Well I’ll throw this out here not caring how close-minded I’ll seem to some: Heterosexuality is the default natural sexual orientation. There I said it! For me there was no struggle. I was born,grew up,went through puberty and saw myself liking girls…naturally.

HungryGuy's avatar

No process. During my adolescence, I just started noticing girls as a source of erotic desire…

Cruiser's avatar

I was taught and told I was straight! I was taught and told homosexuality was a sin and immoral. As I grew up I found out how soft, cuddly and pretty smelling women are and I was sold on the concept! ;)

absalom's avatar

I’m going to throw in another question to this if anyone would like to answer:

Does anyone feel that they did make a choice to be heterosexual?

I ask only because I have a friend who, in a debate between us, assured me that he chose to be straight sometime growing up. Of course he couldn’t remember when, and I thought that was preposterous, but if anyone feels the same then I’m curious to know about it.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
HungryGuy's avatar

Not really. Like I said, I just discovered girls during my adolescence. Didn’t have to think about it at all. My hormones did all the “thinking” for me.

Now, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being homosexual. Anything that’s peaceful between two (or more) consenting adults if okay by me.

Also, there’s some debate as to whether our sexual orientation is a choice or is pre-wired in us. I tend to think it’s a little of both.

@spykenij – Don’t be so intolerant. Sheesh! Ya’ can’t ask a question without the PC thought police getting their feathers ruffled…

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

As many female best friends I’ve had in life, I’ve never been physically attracted to them. After not finding a male mate in my late 30s, I once asked my psychology major niece if I might be such an inhibited lesbian that I wasn’t aware of my sexual calling. She asked me, ” Do you ever dream about being with a female?” The answer was ‘no’. She explained that I wasn’t a lesbian. She may not be right, but it makes sense to me.

To be honest, I’m sort of disappointed. There is something admirable about those that are bi-sexual. They are able to move past a gender bias, but like me, that is just the way they are. I’ve found the person of my dreams, and he happens to be a man. I’m content with that.

everephebe's avatar

I was about 2 ½, and I had my first “sexual” experience with a member of the opposite sex who was just a month or two older. But I think I always knew I liked the opposite sex, and always have been exclusively straight.

Willingness and desire prompted me. No struggle until I got older and sexuality became this real thing, at that point I guess I did have to deny part of myself. I haven’t really been supported by my family, but they haven’t really been too nosy either. They just accepted that I was straight because it is the norm.

DominicX's avatar

@mrrich724 No struggle for me, no daddy issues, yet 100% homosexual. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

JonnyCeltics's avatar

Anyone interested in this questions has got to read Michael Warner’s, “The Trouble With Normal.” Seminal and current text on the queer struggle which speaks to heterosexuality and sexual dualism in general.

Coloma's avatar

I’m 100% red blooded american woman and I like penises!

I had the ‘typical’ Jr. high girl on girl exploration, but, I would say it started around 8 years old with my first massive crush on Davey Jones of the Monkees!

Oh my…my little heart was racing with desire even if I didn’t know what desire was at that time. hahaha

Nothing to accept, it is what it is, and I have zero latent homosexual yearnings.

troubleinharlem's avatar

I’m not attracted to girls.

Simple as that.

jlelandg's avatar

NSFW-basically I imagined myself inside a woman and then inside an ass and realized I didn’t want to go there…However when I was a kid I used to imagine women and men inside a bathtub so like the first person said no one is 100% straight or gay.

don’t tell anyone I told you about the bathtub thing!

Blueroses's avatar

Well my first memory of a compulsive desire to kiss somebody was another girl (I didn’t at that time). I found boys were easy to convince and being socially justifiable in my little hick Western town, I stuck with that choice only for many years.
Glad I grew out of it, but I still like boys too.

Winters's avatar

Pretty much it all happened when I was five, (un)fortunately. Parents were away, babysitter was doing homework and I was watching tv. back then we had cable and my flipping through channels landed me on the playboy channel, and my mind went to a happy place. Ever since then, I pretty much just worshiped the female body, that’s the closest I’ll get to the gates of heaven per say.

janbb's avatar

I’ve had issues about my sexuality but not my orientation.

spykenij's avatar

@HungryGuy – How am I being intolerant? I’m not the one excluding a group of people in the subject. I just simply stated my feelings on the matter. I’m not going overboard and asking to have it taken off and I’ve even discussed it further with a gentleman who was curious as to why I felt offended. He raised a good point though, homosexuals have done their research on this topic, yet it has not been as widely discussed for heterosexuals. I immediately felt excluded unfairly, but I’m still posting and no one’s crying or bleeding. Fair enough?

Jeruba's avatar

At about age 5 or 6, when I knew I liked little boys, there were no issues of sexual orientation. The existence of anything but straight heterosexuality was hidden from me until I was a senior in high school. Given the times and the conventions of the times, there was no alternative in the social structure of things. So there never was a question. It was automatic and taken for granted, and I never felt any resistance to it or any reason to resist.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@mrrich724 My god, I must let my therapist know he’s treating queers only – he’ll go nuts, lol

absalom's avatar


First you said there was no process and that you began noticing girls. And then: Didn’t have to think about it at all. My hormones did all the “thinking” for me.

But then you suggested that choice has some involvement. So I guess what I’m wondering is where the aspect of choice came in for you in particular, since your mention of thoughtless (and presumably automatic) attraction seems to contradict that possibility.

Coloma's avatar

I can speak candidly about transitioning to turbo jet orientation in my hot tub.

Beyond homo & hetero lies the land of the scrubbing bubbles! lololol

Jude's avatar

@mrrich724 I would say that around 6, I knew that there was some different about me. I was fond of other girls. When I played house with my girlfriends, I always wanted to be the Dad and be married to my g/f, the Mom. I had crushes on female babysitters. No Mommy and Daddy issues for me at that point.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@mrrich724 Maybe you missed the sarcasm. Oh, and btw, I did have issues with my father’s alcoholism and his beating us and all that, yet I have zero issues with being with men or women or trans people. To assume sexuality based on abuse is misinformed.

Blueroses's avatar

@Coloma mechasexual: The other option!

JilltheTooth's avatar

For me it was never a choice or a struggle, it just simply is as it is. I did a lot of growing up on Fire Island so I was in my teens before I found out that people who had different feelings from mine were not the “norm” and had to struggle with friends and family to be who they were. That confused me more than anyone’s orientation.

Coloma's avatar


Technology infiltrates vast spaces. lol

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m new here and perhaps you know each other and that makes it easier to read this thread. It is very confusing to read the statements thinking it is comments under the topic: For heterosexuals only.

Anyway, I am 100 percent hetrosexual. As far as sexual attraction, I love men. I love their smell, their looks, their attitudes, their bodies, their hands, their broad shoulders, the way they want to take charge. I like hair on a man’s chest. I love the look of a man’s bottom. I love to feel a face with a little bit of stubble…mmm, mmmm to me that is so sexy. I love to feel protected and taken care of by a man.

It wasn’t something that developed. When I reached puberty, I knew I liked boys. Never had to ask myself who turned me on or who I was attracted to. It was always the opposite sex.

Don’t get me wrong. I have three sisters and wonderful girlfriends. The relationships are wonderful and very special with each of them. I have relationships with them in a way I can’t with my husband in many respects. But there is nothing that brings about a feeling of sexual desire or any sexual passion when I’m around another woman. Lots of wonderful emotions and sharing, but nothing sexual when another woman has held me or I have held another women in an embrace of comfort, support or celebration.

Nullo's avatar

There was no process. One day about a decade ago I realized that, aside from my sister (subhuman monster that she was~) girls were pretty awesome.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Bit of a non sequitur, wouldn’t you say?

El_Cadejo's avatar

Well, one sex puts lead in my pencil, the other doesnt. Pretty cut and dry.

everephebe's avatar

@CaptainHarley & @bkcunningham, I think the question is a valid one. Besides there are 36 answers now. That means it’s generated enough answers thus far before you two called it non sequitur. So it’s a little late in the game to go around calling it that now.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@bkcunningham There is nothing wrong with placing a restrictor on a question like ‘heterosexuals only’ or ‘parents only’ – it is for a reason that the OP decided to limit the scope of the question and because you are new, you don’t know that this OP meant nothing other than ‘these are the people from whom I want this information’ when putting that since plenty of our other questions have explored this very thing in queer populations.

bkcunningham's avatar

@everephebe, I was referring to the statement, “Bit of a non sequitur, wouldn’t you say?” I don’t know what you are referring to. I posted a response to the subject of the thread as a heterosexual woman.

Mikewlf337's avatar

I see sexuality as something that is aquired. No one chooses it. I am striaght and everything I find attractive in a woman is something I aquired through my formative years. I figure homosexuals found their sexuality the same way. you can’t fight who you are. Might as well accept it. Some people hate certain things I like in a woman. Some people are cool with it. I however love what I like. I always knew who I was and I just accepted it.

Afos22's avatar


everephebe's avatar

Non sequitur is Latin for “it does not follow.” It is most often used as a noun to describe illogical statements. Since @CaptainHarley didn’t @ anyone I can only assume that the question itself was the target of his statement. I feel like the question is valid, and thought provoking in it’s limitations for heterosexuals only. So it does follow, is all I am saying because I don’t think that sexuality is black and white. It might be for me personally, but not everyone.

CaptainHarley's avatar


It wasn’t intended as an insult. It was only intended to indicate that, for most people, there really is no “choice” involved in sexual preference.

everephebe's avatar

@CaptainHarley Oh, word, my misunderstanding.

squirbel's avatar

I never had a struggle… I never questioned whether I liked guys or not – I just did. When boys touched me, who I thought were attractive, my stomach got all light and fluttery. When they flirted with me, I felt coy and playful.

Girls never had that effect on me, and I saw them as my rivals….the prettier ones than me, that is. :) Didn’t have too much passion for females at all, nope nope!

It’s for these reasons I have a hard time accepting that homosexuality isn’t a choice. I don’t argue that people have their own lifestyles and shouldn’t be judged, but since my experience has been so one-tracked I can’t help but not understand.

Odysseus's avatar

Smell and sound. Two senses that are way under-rated.

Modern civilization seems ruled by sight , then touch /taste.

I appreciate that the sight and the touch of the same sex may be almost equal to the opposite but the smell of a woman wins the game for me, followed by sound. (The tone and the words)

Sarcasm's avatar

There really wasn’t a process. There was just nothing that boys “did” for me, while girls did give me certain funny feelings. Parents never gave me “birds and bees” or relationship talks and still haven’t, and I can’t recall having any other strong influences in my life teaching me “boys and girls go together! boys and boys don’t!” It was just the natural state for me.

I do have to admit that I’ve never experimented with guys or girls to see if anything “worked” for me in the moment.

The closest thing to a relationship talk I’ve gotten from my parents was when I was 16. “Son, you and [ex] seem to be more than just friends.” “Yeah.” “Good. She’s a nice girl. I don’t want you doing any funny business in your room.” “I’m not. And also, gross, I don’t want to hear that from you.”

flutherother's avatar

When I was growing up I didn’t even know you had a choice.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Sweet holy moly I seen a Penthouse magazine around 12 or 13 and popped a mean ass woody; it was as easy as that.

iphigeneia's avatar

I did think about it. Growing up on the internet, I was exposed to a lot of discussion on the topic that I wouldn’t have had with friends or family. In particular, there was a lot of “OMG total girl-crush on so-and-so!” and ”[I’m not gay, but] I would totally do her.” and so on. But the more I thought about it, I realised that not even 1950s-era Bettie Page interested me enough to make me go sticking my head up skirts, so to speak.

Kayak8's avatar

It is so funny reading what the 100% heterosexuals describe as their experience. I grew up liking girls and I still do, didn’t question it, I knew what turned me on. Now as a 100% adult lesbian, I have to chuckle that our experiences were so incredibly similar—we just were who we were.

iphigeneia's avatar

Just thought of something else I wanted to add (please excuse me while I treat Fluther like my therapist)! This sounds a bit weird now, but there was another reason I did so much thinking about my sexuality. Bearing in mind this was around 13–15 when insecurity abounded, I almost wanted to be a lesbian because it would make me feel better about my inability to form relationships with boys. That phase ended when I told myself “Oh please, you couldn’t get a girlfriend even if you wanted one. Now go and finish your homework.”

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mattbrowne's avatar

Observing arousal.

janbb's avatar

@mattbrowne What a scientist!

bunnygrl's avatar

This is an excellent question. I do think the question is phrased very well too since it serves to even things up a little, (even though in practice I would never dream of asking such an intimate question myself) but how many of our gay/bi or transgender fellow jellies must have been asked this over the years? Well, for my answer, as with so many other jellies above, I never thought about it I suppose. I was maybe 8 or so and I remember My Grandmother going round early on a saturday morning to get our local paper because for quite a while they gave away a mini poster each week, alternating between the Osmonds and the Jackson 5 and I absolutely knew that Michael Jackson and Donny Osmond rocked my little world, (even before then I watched Star Trek every week and made moon eyes at Dr McCoy, before I even knew what love was but I digress lol).

I suppose I had a very, protected upbringing. I was raised by my Grandmother and I was always excouraged to go talk to her if anything bothered me, or if I didn’t understand anything. She was never too busy for me. I remember, I suppose I must have been 10 or 11 maybe, hearing someone at school call someone else “queer” and when I got home I asked her what it meant. I told her I knew it must be a bad thing because the other person got upset.

She asked me where I heard it, and I told her all about what had happened at school and she told me that it was a bad word intended to hurt people. She explained to me that not all girls and boys grow up and get married but some girls like other girls and some boys liked other boys. There was nothing wrong with this but some people are very stupid and think that there is. She said I had to always remember to like or dislike a person for what was inside, for what kind of person they were, not to be like those intollerent people who make their minds up before even getting to know a person and concern themselves with matters that are none of their business.

I asked how people know whether they like boys or girls, did somebody tell them? (it seemed to my young very innocent mind like a fair question) She said when I was older I’d meet somebody I knew was really special and then I’d know “who I was”. It was only when I reached adulthood that I began to realise what a wonderful, common sense approach she’d chosen to explain the differences in people’s sexualities to me. She didn’t go into details, she didn’t have to, at that age I still played with my Sindy dolls and swapped “scraps” with my pal Joan. I’d asked a question and she’d answered it, and life went on. She was an amazing woman and her views shaped mine while I was growing up, as all parents shape their children I suppose, and I’m so grateful for that because she was the gentlest, kindest, most open minded soul I’ve ever met. You know that old saying about how a certain person would give you the coat off their back, my Grandmother really was one of those people.
hugs honeys xx

Afos22's avatar

@janbb if it interests you, I included more scientific data in my response above.

HungryGuy's avatar

@absalom – For me, there was no process. I just started noticing girls during my adolescence, and that’s all there was to it.

Science currently leans toward that our sexual orientation is pre-determined by our brain chemistry. But nothing is certain. What’s scientific fact today can become yesterday’s ignorance, and visa-versa.

By choice, I mean that it might possibly be overridden by environmental factors. For example, a gay child growing up in a fundamentalist Christian household, being taught that being gay is “evil,” and suppressing his gay tendencies to the point that he’s not even aware of them.

deliasdancemom's avatar

One doesn’t select their sexuality, I am a married straight woman but have had sexual experiences with women, I perfer men its just who I am, I however perfer the company of homosexuals as friends as I have more common interests in general with most homosexuals

bkcunningham's avatar

Can I say something without everyone throwing tomatoes at me? @deliasdancemom, isn’t that stereotyping at its worst? I mean, homosexuals are individuals and making a statement like that, to me at least, sounds like you are placing most homosexuals in a certain slot. It seems like you are making a statement that most all homosexuals have the same interests. Does that make sense?

It would be like me making a general statement that I have more in common with most straight people. That would be silly because, until I get to know them as individual people, I have no idea what I have in common with them.

absalom's avatar


I’ll try to keep this to a head of lettuce instead of a tomato, but no, I don’t think she was saying that.

I think she was only making the observation that, generally, she has more in common with the homosexuals she’s known than with the straight men or women she’s known.

Nothing wrong with that.

mattbrowne's avatar

@janbb – We should keep things as simple as possible. We need processes when we build complex software. But we don’t need processes for everything. In most cases (not all) determining sexual orientation is relatively simple: Are you being turned on by the opposite sex? Or not? Or both?

spykenij's avatar

To think that any sexual orientation is a “default” is ridiculous, to me personally. I was never shown anything gay, didn’t know what it was, never met one…none of that and I knew at 4 yrs old that girls just tickled my fancy. When I came out (more like was outted, rather and to be technically correct, I am transgendered, living as a lesbian – meaning, I am female outside, but I don’t identify as female inside), I was 13 yrs old and my step-father said I couldn’t possibly know what I want, unless I tried both. Um…sometimes you just know what you want and what you don’t want. Maybe for him (and I think it was), he had to, but I didn’t. For the vast majority of people out there, I think they fall somewhere in the middle of the scale, from 1 -10, as bisexual – either leaning more towards one or the other or right in the middle.

I remember I was not allowed to tell my sister I was gay until she was about 12–13 yrs old and at 21–22 yrs old myself, I made sure to tell her that just because I am gay doesn’t mean she is or isn’t and she doesn’t have to prove to anyone as to which she is. What I meant by this was very important to me. I know a lot of siblings where one is gay and the other isn’t and many times I have seen extreme promiscuity in “the normal one” to prove that they were not themselves gay. Basically, you don’t have to be a major hose-beast to prove you are straight. Now, my mom said when she was in her teens, and my sister went through this a little too, she thought she might be gay, It was confusing during puberty for them as to why they were so attached to a best friend of the same sex or a teacher they thought was pretty. I really think its the surge of hormones, during puberty, in all of us that can confuse the bejebus out of us.

Not too long ago, I was in a gay/leather/bear bar with some friends and I had new cologne on and I asked a sexually secure female friend to smell me and some guy leaned in for a sniff too. I was wearing a nice shirt, tie, dress pants and shoes – all tucked and buckled and everything, lookin dapper as hell and I felt him give me a little peck on the neck, which I thought nothing of because the gay subculture can be vert affectionate and then…he bit me a little, so I pushed/backed away real quick and had to say, “Hey, you know I’m a chick, right?” He laughed and said, “Honey, if you wear one, I’d take it!” We all laughed and I was flattered, but nothing happened in my pants. The odd part is, if I were a male, I would probably be bisexual. I wish I were able to detach sex and love, but as female there is no sex without love and commitment and a whole mess of feelings. I personally (and this is just for me alone and everyone else has their own right to feel however they want without judgement), but I would not feel comfortable being with another dude, unless I were a dude myself. I just don’t understand why a woman would want to be with a man, probably just the same as straight people wonder why the hell two women would want to be together and how would that work without them gouging each others’ eyes out. I don’t think I have ever met “a real man”. To me, a real man can swallow his pride, be completely faithful and monogamous, take flattery and still keep it in his pants…someone who is chivalrous and emotionally supportive and unafraid to have and show his feelings. To be a real man is what I strive to be in my relationship. Unfortunately, when you get sick and lose your job, it’s like being neutered.

So…how much more confusing have I made this for all a ya’ll? :)

deliasdancemom's avatar

As in intrsts I should probably clarify, my interests are mainly political and the highest of which are gay rights/equality….something I like to discuss often and at length which frankly bores my straight friends, so to lump gays into a catagory that they are interested in gay rights and activism is for the most part true…it is a lot easier for me to sit down with a group of gat friends and discuss the political and social need for gay rights activism than with straight friends, I probably should have clarified that in my first post but neglected to do so as I was lacking sleep

bkcunningham's avatar

@spykenij to be honest, you lost me at “I am transgendered, living as a lesbian – meaning, I am female outside, but I don’t identify as female inside),... The odd part is, if I were a male, I would probably be bisexual.” Honestly, no offense, but my head is spinning keeping up with that, and I am sincerely trying.

spykenij's avatar

@bkcunningham Believe me, I know it is confusing. I think if I were physically male, I would be much more comfortable in my own body enough to sleep with a dude and assuming I would be less emotionally attached sexually as most guys are or whatever it is that allows you to be able to have multiple partners without the feeling bad about it or guilt. Seriously, ask away if you don’t get it. I’m glad to try to explain.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@bkcunningham :) – makes sense to me.

Fyrius's avatar

Like a lot of people, I never had to struggle with my heterosexual feelings. I fell in love with a few girls, and since nobody had ever told me that was abnormal, it was all cool. I suppose gay people in, say, ancient Greece would have had just as little trouble accepting their sexuality. They would’ve been given no reason to consider it a big deal.

I have been a sort of “closet” straight person for most of my childhood, being bizarrely shy about girls and love. I imagine it’s probably just about as awkward as actually being in the closet.
I’m also pretty sure the fact that I never talked about how much I wanted to bone hot wenches made some people’s gaydars give false positives.

absalom's avatar


That’s funny. I give false negatives, which is frustrating when I’m too scared to exit the closet because that combo amounts to 0 romance.

I imagine it’s probably just about as awkward as actually being in the closet.

I don’t doubt that you might be incredibly awkward around girls (which ‘resonates’ with me), but I do doubt this statement a bit.

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