#sexual orientation
6 March 2019

Can I have sex with a boy but not be labelled gay at the same time?


i have a complicated relationship with a friend who i have known for more than 10 years, we have an off and on sexual relationship as well and he also wants the same but often,i want the same but i always panic. can i have sex with him but not be labelled gay at the same time?
thank you


Hello, Sam.

Thank you so much for your question. It was very courageous to reach out to us and share your concerns. The important thing for you to remember is that you are not alone in this. Many other people are going through similar experiences and facing the same fears. We are here to support you and help you realize that you are going to be just fine.
Based on what you’ve told us, it seems like you have a trusted friend with whom you’ve been having sex on occasion for over ten years. That’s great! If you are both enjoying yourselves and both consenting adults, then there is no reason not to continue your sexual relationship.
You mentioned that you experience panic, however, about whether having sex with your friend makes you gay. To answer your question in the simplest terms, yes, you can absolutely have sex with him without being labelled gay. Many people prefer not to label their sexuality. Sexuality is never set in stone; it evolves constantly as we live our lives and get older and learn more about what turns us on. Something that sexually excites you at this current point in your life may no longer excite you five years from now. So if you prefer not to label your sexuality at this time while you’re still figuring yourself out, that’s perfectly fine.
All that being said, though, if having sex with your male friend turns you on and is pleasurable for you, you can choose by yourself how you want to define your sexual orientation. Some men can have sex with other men from time to time, and still identify as heterosexual ; others prefer to be labelled as bisexual or homosexual. But in the end, our sexual/romantic orientation is truly personal : that means you are the only one who can define it and choose the words that you are comfortable with.
So if ever you find out that you’re not strictly heterosexual, I’m here to tell you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s possible that you have been taught by your family or your religion or your government that being gay is wrong, but I promise you that being gay, bisexual or asexual is as natural and valid as being straight. Whether you are straight, homosexual or bisexual, or neither, or somewhere in between, your sexuality is an innate part of you that you can’t change any more than you can change your height or your eye colour — and all heights and eye colours and sexualities are equal and normal.
So please breathe, Sam. Let go of your panic and be assured that there is nothing wrong with enjoying sex with your friend. If you live in a place where it would be dangerous to have people know about your same-sex attraction, then please make sure you keep yourself safe. However, you should definitely let go of your fear and shame and start enjoying yourself! It sounds like you have a good friend that you can trust. Talk to him about how you’re feeling. He might be experiencing similar concerns, or he might be able to help you work through your own. In any case, he certainly seems to enjoy having sex with you — you’re already not alone!
Feel free to read this other answer from one of my colleagues : I don’t know if I’m bisexual : what are the signs ? 
Thank you, Sam, for reaching out to AlterHeros, and please don’t hesitate to write back with other questions!