Girl who has always liked boys, now stressing about being gay
Dear Straight Talk: I’ve always thought I was straight. I had crushes on boys growing up and currently have a boyfriend who I feel romantic kissing. But recently I’ve been semi-attracted to breasts on the Internet and TV. I haven't been attracted to them in real life and have never had a crush on a woman, but still, I have terrible anxiety that I'm an in-denial lesbian. I read on the Internet constantly about how to know you’re a lesbian and tried saying, "I am a lesbian" and didn't feel too scared. Please help. —Stephanie, 14, Springfield, Illinois
Editor’s Note: When you're young you have no idea how priceless a good sex life is later on. This simple gift of pleasure makes life incredibly bearable, even wonderful, even when the chips are down. I've often thought it was the bonus for all the trouble of being human. However, many aren't so lucky. That's because we are very sensitive creatures, and around sex probably most of all. Too many young people have unpleasant early experiences that shut down their chances of a good adult sex life. Or require a ton of therapy to get there, and even then, it's hard to completely recover when you lose something before you even got it.
So, no! Don't experiment!
Delay, delay, delay. How boring, right? Trust me, you'll get over it. Most damage stems from sex too early. This is why your parents try to protect you from it, not because they're prudes. Girls, you really are lucky if, whatever your circumstances are (strict parents, late bloomer, shy, religious or personal moral code, or just plain luck), you don't have sex until you're at least 17 and preferably 18, when you're old enough to handle whatever happens. Girls who mature quickly, who are beautiful, or who have low self-esteem, often have sex younger because they are targeted relentlessly at an age when they are too immature to fend things off or understand the future ramifications. Often they are opened roughly, or are loved and left. Giving oral sex is also opening oneself to penetration (often without any emotional connection from the male), and can have lasting negative impact as well.
Boys aren't as damaged by early sex with real girls, partly because boys are wired up differently both emotionally, hormonally and sexually, and also because they are not the one who is penetrated which has a bigger emotional impact (unless they are "experimenting" with gay sex, which is happening more and more frequently). But, early sex isn't good for them either. Hooking up without an emotional connection often leads to sex addiction, which will derail future sexual happiness big time, and the earlier hookups start, the more potential for sex addiction, or habitually removing sex from emotions.
Boys are also extremely vulnerable to being damaged by pornography. The earlier it is started, the worse the effect, including "imprinting" when it's the first thing a guy ejaculates to upon starting puberty. There has never been this many young men affected by erectile dysfunction. Not to mention traumatic social and intimacy awkwardness, and skyrocketing ADD, which is starting to be correlated with the rise in internet pornography. Notice how they both took off at the same time.
Other damaging factors for both sexes are confusion, "shoulds", manipulations (if I have sex, I'll get x), being pressured, forced, or taken without consent while intoxicated — or being the pressurer, forcer, or taker. Having sex when you're confused and do it anyway, or because your should, or you want something, or because you feel pressured, however subtly, or being taken without consent, is basically having sex when you don't actually want it. Having sex without experiencing a true wanting of it, affects your future wanting of it. We're designed to want sex, not to be shut down around it. You risk shutting down to appropriate loving sex when you have sex too young or without a true desire for it.
Inappropriate wanting: The wanting can't be stupid or you will give yourself and then be abandoned, which will affect future wanting. And the wanting can't be of a predatory nature (such as wanting to force or pressure others) — that's not true wanting, that's a power thing, a needing to "get", very different.
So, am I gay or lesbian? I went through a few of the top-searched tests for both lesbian and gay determination. They were beyond ridiculous, full of celebrity and brand-name dropping, clearly designed for advertising, and only adding to most young people's utter confusion for the sake of someone's profits.
Let's build an accurate test. Here's a start. Please suggest improvements in your comments.
1. Are you a boy or a girl? This is a huge clue because out of 100 people, only 1.6 are truly gay and only 0.7 are truly bi. So in your school of, say, 2000 students, only 32 people are truly gay, and only 14 are truly bi. This is a small club. The rest of you are obsessed over nothing, or are switching horses due to traumas, peer pressure, or "shoulds". (The bogus 10% figure that's been thrown around as the number of GLB in the population (I've even heard higher), is finally proven wrong by the huge, new NHIS survey. The survey results hold even when they remove the 44-64 crowd, i.e. the old farts.)
2. Thinking back all the way to Kindergarten, or 3rd grade perhaps (before you consumed and were affected by an average of 33,000-46,000 screen hours of media, porn, and Internet junk food), who did you have crushes on? Girls or boys? Your answer is another huge clue.
3. When you think about having gay or lesbian sex, do you feel confused or sick? Unless you are one of the small club who did have same-sex or bi crushes as children, feeling confused or sick is not a sign of being in denial! Your body is trying to tell you that this is not your biological orientation.
4. Imagine the hottest opposite-sex guy or girl in school coming up to you with a big smile that says I'm yours. Do you feel weak in the knees, break out in a sweat, or think you might faint? If yes, I'd bet money you're straight.