Am I gay? Coming to terms with your sexuality

By Oli McAuslan, updated 4 days ago in Health / Mental wellbeing

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So, you’re questioning your sexuality. This is okay! This is normal. We’ll take you through some of these feelings to put your mind at ease.

A common experience for queer and straight people alike, ‘questioning’ even has its own letter in the LGBTQ acronym.

If you’ve typed in ‘am I gay’ in your search bar, leave the silly BuzzFeed quizzes alone and tune in for some helpful tips on coming to terms with your sexuality.

What is sexuality?

Sexuality can be the feelings and attractions we feel (or don’t feel) towards others.

Things to remember about sexuality:

  • Questioning your sexuality is a very normal part of life.
  • Sexuality is different to gender and sex
  • It is experienced uniquely by each person, and there are many different sexual identities.
  • Your sexual identity can change over time.

What sexuality am I?

Sexuality is often referred to as a spectrum, meaning that there are many ways people can identify their sexuality. Check out some of the different sexualities and their flags at Rainbow Inclusion.

You might be:
Gay: attracted to people of the same gender a.k.a. homosexual
Straight: attracted people of a different gender
Bisexual: attracted to more than one gender
Queer: a broad term for people who identify other than straight
Questioning: someone who is unsure about their sexuality
Asexual: no or limited sexual attraction to anyone

How to come to terms with your sexuality

It can take time to figure out your sexuality. Take it slow; you don’t need to rush into anything.

What to do from here:

1. Explore your options

Learn about different sexual identities that may fit your experiences. Labels aren’t always perfect, so you might not want to identify your sexuality. That’s okay.

Some good resources you could read include:

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2. Personal reflection

Take time to reflect on your feelings, thoughts and relationships with others. Maybe try journaling. Here are some journaling prompts from ReachOut to get started:

  • Who am I attracted to? (This can be people you know, celebrities, or a particular gender – whatever you feel most comfortable writing down.)
  • How do I feel when I use the word [sexual identity] to identify myself?
  • How would it feel to say, ‘I am [sexual identity]’ out loud?
  • Who do I picture when I think about who I’d like to be in a relationship with?

3. Experimentation

It‘s good to explore your sexuality. This could be through fantasising, masturbation, going on dates or having sex with different people. Remember to use a sexual health strategy like condoms to protect against STIs and HIV. And if condoms aren’t your thing, there are other ways to stay protected.

4. Getting support

When questioning your sexuality, it can help to talk to someone who knows about this stuff. If you’re struggling, consulting a sex and relationship therapist could help. If this is not an option, chatting with a trusted friend or queer person could give you clarity. If anonymity is important to you, maybe turn to online spaces like reddit or chatting to some people on gay dating apps may help.

Here are some hotlines you can call if you’re feeling overwhelmed:

  • QLife: Call 1800 184 527 or use webchat for anonymous LGBTQ peer support to talk about sexuality, feelings or relationships, daily between 3:00 pm and midnight.
  • Lifeline: Call 13 11 14 any day of the week, 24 hours a day.
  • Beyond Blue: Call 1300 224 636 any time, any day of the week.
  • Find state-based LGBTQ services in this article.
  • For same-sex attracted men in straight relationships, Dale is a safe online space to get the info you need and connect with other men who get where you’re coming from

5. Coming out / inviting in

Telling family and friends about your sexuality is a big step. It can take a while before you feel comfortable coming out. Some people don’t come out to everyone or anyone. ‘Inviting in’ is another way of thinking about coming out, where you invite people into this part of your life.

Remember that it’s completely normal and okay to be questioning your sexuality. Take your time to explore, and don’t put too much pressure on doing everything at once.

When you are ready, a warm, inviting community will be waiting to welcome you!