3 February 2008

If I masturbate while thinking about men, does this mean I'm gay?

I think about men when I masturbate but I like women. I don’t know if I’m gay or not because of this. I get called gay at school because of my voice. My voice has deepened a little bit since the 7th grade. I have had sex with a girl already and I’m totally straight. I love women. But I have emotional feelings for women and I don’t know why I can’t have physical feelings. So what I’m trying to ask is… if I masturbate while thinking about men and have physical thoughts, does that mean I’m gay?

sarah eidelmans

Hi Adam,

Thank you for your question. I believe you are asking about sexual orientation and how to tell whether you are homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual. I do want to state first that around the ages of 12-18 yo –the age of puberty-, many people start to wonder about their sexuality and a lot of individuals question their sexual orientation. This could be part of a transitional phase you are going through which can help you figure out who you are. Although no one can predict exactly where that reflective process will lead, some people end up identifying very strongly with one sexual orientations, while others find it more difficult to determine.

This is because, around adolescence, your body is undergoing many biochemical changes while your mind is exposed to various new experiences and thoughts. You report being attracted to women on a more emotional basis, while you seem to be aroused physically when thinking about men. This does not necessarily mean you are gay or bisexual. However, if you do feel a persistent attraction to men, I also believe you could allow yourself to experience this type of relationship between two people of the same gender to gain a better understanding of where you stand and what you want from a relationship. This experience will not necessarily give you a final answer in terms of your sexual orientation –which can be something requiring more time to figure out- but it might help.

The most important thing is to remember you have the right to be attracted to whoever you are attracted to, and that there is no right and wrong in terms of sexual orientation. You could also be attracted romantically to people of one gender and physically to another gender.

On the other hand, gay and straight are just labels you can choose to identify with or not – if you want to identify as straight, I think you have every right to do so. Sometimes not feeling sure about sexual feelings can be very confusing, but I do not think that having thoughts about one sex or the other (or both or neither) necessarily means anything. Sometimes thoughts just come up when someone is masturbating or having sex. I don’t think that anyone at school (or anywhere, for that matter) has the right to call you “gay” if you a) don’t identify that way and b) don’t like being addressed that way. Sometimes people say things impulsively, without realizing these things are hurtful to you. I think that no matter what you think about when you masturbate (and only you really know how that makes you feel), it is up to you to choose how you feel about yourself and the type and sex of individuals you are attracted to.

I hope this helped. Feel free to write back again if you have further questions!

– S. for Alterheroes