How come I get aroused by shirtless men? I’m sure I like women.


Hey Alex thanks for your question,

First off you are 15, it is perfectly normal at your age to be confused, you are basically right in the middle of adolescence. Most boys start feeling attraction to the opposite sex, attraction to the same sex, attraction to both sexes and/or sometimes attraction to no one, starting around age 11 or 12, some boys feel attraction even earlier, before puberty at 8, 9 and 10 because of all the sexuality around them, in movies on the internet, their peers or siblings. – basically other teenagers in their immediate circle.

What I believe is happening is circumstantial, your brain is being triggered by half dressed or even naked bodies; usually people are undressed when they have sex, your brain knows that. So your brain is just reacting to you being in a certain location and seeing certain things (in this case a locker room). Even if you are embarrassed by theses unwanted erections in the locker room, and even if other guys notice and harass you about being erect, it changes nothing, because for the moment you are in the process of sexual maturation (during the adolescence period). Your brain will decide when you have an erection. Sometimes there are triggers, but sometimes their are no triggers… it is simply called unwanted erections. You can look this term up on the internet, it is very common for teenage boys to get these, it doesn’t have anything to do with homosexuality nor heterosexuality.

It’s really too bad schools have taken away sexual education, because I’m certain other boys at your school are experiencing the same thing and since no one talks about this, it put’s an unnecessary stress on your shoulders. I think being a teen is tough enough already.

Have a look at other similar questions that where answered on Alterheros about questioning one’s sexual orientation:

https://alterheros.com/english/ask_experts/ask.cfm?QID=1200

https://alterheros.com/english/ask_experts/ask.cfm?QID=1094

https://alterheros.com/english/ask_experts/ask.cfm?QID=1870

In another question that I answered about unwanted erections, I also mentioned clothing. If you wear certain soft underwear, track pants, shorts, etc. items that you would wear on weekends that could make you go hard easily, then it’s better to wear something else when going to school or sports activities.

Sometimes during school sports you don’t have a choice and most guys do not like to wear tight speedos, tight football pants, wrestling singlets or other gear. In these cases all I can recommend is do what the pro’s do! Some football players have a small towel right at the front which they tuck into their waistband. It’s a towel actually meant to wipe their hands on, so the football doesn’t slip when catching or passing. Pro swimmers always have their chamois (little absorbent towels) close buy, it’s also a good way to hide an unwanted erection – or you can just jump into the pool, cold water usually does the trick. For wrestlers, some wear black coloured compression shorts or padded bike shorts under their suits, this can also help.

For locker rooms: try to go in quickly, take a short shower and get outta there fast, the more time you spend in a locker room, the more chances you will see naked guys.

Now, to answer your question about being homosexual and of attraction to the same sex. Being a bi-sexual or a homosexual or simply wanting to sleep with men, is a process of discovery, if you start fantasizing or feeling an attraction to other boys or men, or you feel you need to be near them; being more than just good friends, pals. If you feel lust (sexual tension) or love toward the same sex, now or later in life, then it is possible that you are bi or gay. The process of discovering and confirming one’s personal sexual orientation is a process that can take a few weeks to a few years, sexuality in humans is fluid and can change over time.

The process can sometimes be a difficult because our society is still geared towards heterosexuals, and reproduction (this comes from religious beliefs). You will notice that most nice and positive images we see around us in all forms of media, from advertising, to tv, to movies, magazines, the internet, and the press is centered around a couple consisting of one man and one woman and preferably 1 or 2 children. When we see homosexuals portrayed in media it’s usually negative, or homos are shown as people with stereotypical exaggerated characteristics, flailing hands, high voice, flamboyant clothing. All this negativity and false portrayal of homosexuals does affect the confidence teens and young adult have to being out and having stable and fulfilling lives. In many countries outside North America, boys, teens and adults cannot come out as bi or gay, they risk being shut out by their families or it can even be life threatening to them.. an example is the country of Iran. We are quite lucky in comparison, to live in North America.

JP, for the Alterheros Team.


About JP Duc

JP has over 10 years of experience working with GLBTIQ youth organizations. He has been also a dedicated volunteer for over 16 major events including conferences & social functions for the gay community in Montreal. He also has done studies in creative arts, audio-visual and communication.

I enjoy challenging myself to find interesting ways of transmitting unbiased and practical information/solutions to common problems teenagers, and gay people face concerning sexuality. Seeing feedback from our visitors in the guestbook proves to me that a need exists for AlterHeros services and the thousands of volunteer hours that go into this organisation are appreciated by people from all over the world.

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