How To Tell If You’re Gay

I’ll turn 67 next month, and now that the heart transplant has allowed me a future, after last November when I thought I had none (I’d quit buying new clothes—why waste the money?—I already owned a perfectly good suit for my burial), I decided it was time to see if there the possibility of romance in my future. As readers of this blog know, I’ve had three major loves in my life: my ex-wife Charleyne (4 ½ years), David (4 ½ years) and Jerry (12½ years—when Jerry and I were together he worried there was a four-year expiration date coming). I’m pleased to say we’re all on good terms, and all three might attend my birthday party September 25th. Jerry and I broke up in 1997 (and someday I’ll post the story of the day he left, which was surreal), and while there were a few mini-romances since then, I’ve to learned to live alone and enjoy it. But, still, could I get it going again after all these years? I decided to join the local chapter of Prime Timers, a social group for aging gay men, and lately I’ve attended two of their functions.

At one of these, held in the late afternoon at a local gay bar, there was a young man who was celebrating his 39th birthday, and we got to talking. He told me he was married and that his wife would join him shortly, coming from her workplace. Why was he is a gay bar? I asked, and he replied that they were thinking about celebrating by having a three-way with a gay man. “Are you gay?” I persisted. He shrugged. “I don’t know,” he told me slowly. “I’ve thought about men for a long time, but only had sex with women. That makes me straight, right?”

As it happens, and as I’ve explained before (see “Marijuana and Me, July 11, 2010), I myself was once locked in the same room he’s currently pacing. I told him this, and then something about my escape from that room.

Plus, of course, I did have some advice for him.

First, I urged him, don’t let society, or religion, or your family decide the issue for you. This is your life, and it’s a major mistake not to play the cards that were dealt to you as well as you can. There are problems with coming out, but there are rewards as well.

Second, forcing yourself to be heterosexual if you’re not in fact heterosexual is a guarantee of trouble. Say, for example, you get married. That pretense will last for a long time, perhaps all of life, and if you finally blow the whistle on your own fumble, you’ll hurt a family you love.

I know. I did.

Third, the most important signpost of sexual orientation is paying attention to what the right side of your brain has to say about the issue. It’s the part of the brain involved in sex, sexual attraction, sexual performance, and it won’t steer you wrong. In dreams, for example, the right brain will guide you to what sexually interests you most. Or, walking along a street and observing people, notice who makes your head swivel with sexual interest: men or women? Or possibly both? If the latter, why then you’re bisexual. In a prior post (“Homosexuality: The Iceberg Theory,” April 25, 2010), I described the Kinsey Scale used to measure homosexual desire. It runs from zero (completely heterosexual) to six (completely homosexual), and individuals between those numbers are, in various degrees, bisexual. The five and six levels account for the “10% of the population is homosexual” statement that you often hear. I was once amused at the results of a scientific study trying to determine what object a group of men could identify first from a distance (and the men viewed hundreds of different objects). The winner was “naked running woman,” but for only 90% of the men was this found to be true. The scientists were puzzled as to why it wasn’t universal, but the study was done decades ago, and the answer in 2010 is neon obvious.

My birthday man in the bar listened seriously to my little sermon, and, to my astonishment, when I finished he shook my hand. “Very, very useful,” he said. I hope he’s right and I wish him well. I’m certainly not out to recruit anyone to homosexuality (and perhaps I should mention that I was not attracted to him—thankfully, my tastes have aged as I have, thus he was far too young for me), but a gay man lying to himself can cause no end of trouble for the many people he knows, starting with himself. And so, teacher that I am, I offer these tests as guidelines to anyone reading this who’s struggling with self identification. I wish them all well.

What I’ve said above applies to lesbian desires too, of course. But, as Kinsey found out, sexuality in women is a very complicated subject, and I say no more lest my lesbian friends descend on me with a measuring tape for the effigy.

Joining Prime Timers has had a happy beginning. Last Wednesday—hmm . . . how can I put this delicately?—it led to a renewal of an activity I’d thought was over forever. I’ll say no more about that either, other than yippee!
Related Posts:
"The Aging Gay Rights Activist," March 24, 2010
"Frightening the Horses," April 4, 2010
“Homosexuality: The Iceberg Theory,” April 25, 2010
“How I Lost a Gay Marriage Debate,” April 29, 2010
“Straight Talk,” May 10, 2010
“Marijuana and Me,” July 11, 2010
“The Thunderbolt,”September 3, 2010
“How To Change Gay People Into Straight People,” September 20, 2010
"How Many Homosexuals Are There in the World?" November 8, 2010
"Choose To Be Gay, Choose To Be Straight," January 25, 2011
"The Homosexual Agenda To Conquer the World," February 8, 2011
"Seducing Straight Men," March 3, 2011
"Coming Out: How To Tell People You're Gay," March 27, 2011
"Jumping the Broom: How 'Married' are Married Gay Couples?" July 17, 2011

"The Legacy of Homophobia," August 2, 2011
"Going Undercover at an Ex-Gay Meeting," September 19, 2011
"The Presumption of Heterosexuality and the Invisible Homosexual," October 2, 2011
"Gay Bashers, Homophobes, and Me," January 27, 2012
"On Being a Gay Sports Fan," March 9, 2012
"Sexual Labels: Straight, Gay, Bi," April 15, 2012
"The History of Gay Rights in Columbus, Ohio," June 4, 2012
“I Support the Right of the Boy Scouts To Ban Gays,” July 24, 2012
Straight People: Thanks From the LGBT Community,” November 20, 2012
“Gay Marriage, DOMA, Proposition 8 and the Mysterious Supreme Court,” January 15, 2013

“A Gay Hoosier Lawyer Looks at Indiana’s RFRA: The Religious Bigot Protection Act,” March 30, 2015;
“A Guide to the Best of My Blog,” April 29, 2013


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