How to know if you are gay

How to know if you are gay

Particularly when young, some people may ask, “How do I know if I am gay?” if they have conflicting sexual feelings. When it comes down to it, there is no reliable “Am I Gay test”, so the only way to know that you are gay (definition of gay) is to look within yourself to determine your own thoughts and feelings towards others of the same sex. You might also want to consider the possibility that you are neither gay nor straight and are bisexual or just curious.

There are also signs that you might be gay to consider.

Signs You Are Gay

There is no one way that gay people act or look – gay people are just as diverse as straight people. Just because you are a man who is effeminate or a woman who is boyish, that does not mean that you’re necessarily gay. So don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your clothes, hair or attitude determines your sexuality.

When looking at the signs you are gay, you might want to ask yourself these questions: 1

  • Have I ever been sexually attracted to the same sex?
  • Do I feel strong emotional bonds to the same sex?
  • Am I physically attracted to the same sex?
  • Have I considered having a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex?
  • Have I had sexual same-sex experiences in the past?

The American Psychological Association defines sexual orientation as an “enduring emotional, romantic, sexual, or affectional” attraction toward another person. Do you think how you feel about the same sex matches that definition?

Dealing with Signs You Might Be Gay

In all, it’s best to experiment with your sexuality and consider what you feel like when with a woman or when with a man. These feelings may give you signs that you are gay.

But take your time. There is no need to rush into a decision or tell anyone about your exploration or come out gay. Clarity often comes with time, so give yourself a chance to fully discover your sexuality. And if it does turn out that you are gay, remember that there is nothing wrong with being gay – it is just part of who you are.

Maybe the question has been on your mind a lot lately. Maybe the question hit you suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere. “Am I gay?” Either way, you’re unapologetically yourself no matter what your sexuality may be (even if you don’t even know it get). Because surprise! Being gay is really no big deal. It’s the twenty first century and if someone’s going to be a judgmental little hoe, then they don’t deserve to be in your v gay life. So if you can relate to these signs then you’re actually gay (you just don’t know it yet).

Every time you travel by plane, you hope there is a male flight attendant. You also hope he is flamboyantly expressive and full of great humor.

No hairstyle is off-limits to you. Long, short, and in-between are completely rockable. You can prove it.

You secretly wish you were a little more androgynous. You’d like to wear a dress, heels, and makeup today, and a business suit with a hat tomorrow, pulling them off with equal flair.

Salmon is a fish. Coral is a reef. Pink is a color. There. You said. Pink is a color, and you like it.

You have stolen articles of clothing from your sibling of the opposite sex. It looked far better on you anyway.

When you go shopping, choose your outfits, and a get dressed, you see yourself through the eyes of your same sex friends. You don’t mind the attention of people of the opposite sex, but you’re really trying to impress people of the same sex.

You absolutely love The L Word, and you don’t understand why it ended. You are also anxiously awaiting a new season of The Real L Word.

You get a bit excited every time you see a new list of celebrities in the LGBT+ community. As you scroll through the pictures in the list, you study each one, deciding whether or not you’d be interested in them.

You enjoy oral sex far more than penetration. Like, seriously. Way, way more.

Chivalry is dead to you and being ladylike is a bit too boring. Role reversal is where it’s at!

You know what the Kinsey scale is, and you’ve spent a fair amount of time deciding exactly where you are on the spectrum.

One of your top ten experiences was at a Pride parade where you were surrounded by the most interesting, fun strangers you have ever encountered, and no one you knew was there to judge you, or the only people you knew there were gay.

You sometimes think about what it would be like to tell your parents, extended family, and friends that you are gay. You picture their faces, imagine their responses, and make decisions about who you would tell first and how you would do it.

You believe in equality, love diversity, have liberal views, and are committed to seeing gay marriage legalized in every country.

If restaurants had LGBT+ and non-LGBT+ sections, just like they have smoking and non-smoking, you would take LGBT+. That section would definitely have a better vibe.

You have been a bit possessive of at least one friend of the same sex. You’ve even gotten jealous when that friend started dating someone.

People have accused you of being obsessed with gender and sexuality. You’re often trying to figure out other people’s genders and sexual orientations – whether they are familiar to you or complete strangers.

So what do you think? Are you gay, without even knowing it?

Even if every item on the list applied to you, it doesn’t mean you’re gay. Gender is a spectrum, and so is sexuality. Labels are less about us and more about other people trying to put us in little boxes to help them understand the world.

Remember that sexuality is not limited to gay and straight. There are bi-sexual, pansexual, and asexual people too, and that is not an exhaustive list. It can be tempting to classify other people, or even ourselves, but stereotypes never do anyone any justice.

It’s fun to read these lists, play games, and stick labels on whether they fit or not, but let’s put honesty and happiness first. If you are gay, I really, really hope you know it, and encourage you to be your true self.

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10 Ways to Tell If Someone Is Gay

Maybe it’s your office friend. Maybe it’s your friend’s boyfriend or maybe it’s your boyfriend. Doesn’t matter who he is, the fact of the matter is that you’ve got certain vibes off him that have made you doubt his sexuality? Could he be a closeted gay? Or worse, a gay dude who doesn’t know he’s gay? All these thoughts have left you wonder – how to tell if a guy is gay?

Are there any tell tale signs? Well, yes, there are a few. But you need to understand that they aren’t set in stone. Exceptions always prevail, and there are many gay guys who just don’t fit into the feminine-gay-dude stereotype.

So, what all can you keep your eyes out for?

How to know if you are gay

10 Ways to Tell If Someone Is Gay

His friends

One of the best ways for how to tell if a guy is gay is to notice the kinda people he surrounds himself with. Gays have many female and LGBTQ+ friends, but very few straight men. Mostly because the average male man is uncomfortable in the presence of gay men, but that is besides the point.

His boys’ night out

The average Joe goes drinking, bowling or even watching sports on TVs in bars. I mean sure, different guys have different tastes, but you get what the average hetero guy likes, right? However, if your dude prefers going out for karaoke nights, love shopping at malls and other similar activities that are usually indulged in by gay men (or women in general), then you have you answer.

How to know if you are gay

He rarely eyes other women

I mean sure, he could be a gentleman. But not even looking at girls who pass by him? Don’t you think that’s odd? I mean, a normal person would at least glance, right? It’s almost as if…he’s avoiding looking at them. Or that he is uninterested in them to the point that it becomes blatantly obvious to you.

Checking out men

How to tell if a guy is gay? Simple: Follow his eyes.

How often does he look at men, as compared to women? The average man would barely glance at another man, right? But if your guy has been eyeing dudes more often than gals, then that’s a red flag right there. He’ll be subtle with his glances, of course, which is why you have to be smart (and quick) when observing him.

He’s comfortable being physical with men

Now, again. Most men cringe at other men touching them – hetero of otherwise. They’re not the most expressive when it comes to physical actions. So if your guy seems very quick to hug dudes, shake their hands, keep his hand on their shoulders for a tad too long…Then beware.

However, keep in mind that culture plays a huge role here. So while Western men prefer showing their affection with mock punches or high fives, men from the East (especially from Muslim countries) have zero issues hugging and even kissing other men on their cheek.

Eye contact

It’s exactly like physical proximity, except this time, it’s about maintaining long eye contacts during conversations. And much like physical proximity, guys from the East are much more at ease when maintaining longer eye contacts, while guys from the West become immediately uncomfortable if their eye contact lingers even for half a second longer than it should.

Other people’s sexualities

How to tell if a guy is gay? Well, have you ever felt that he’s wayyyyy too much into other people’s sexualities? Like, how he’s constantly guessing who’s gay and who’s not, who is in a real marriage and who is in it just to fool people? How certain people pretend to be straight but are actually gay? I mean, it’s great to speculate every once in a while, but if you feel he’s been doing it a little too much, you have yourself a red flag

His friends on social media

It would be very odd for a straight guy to have extremely good looking guys splattered all over his profile. It’s worse if they’re half naked in their pictures 24×7. They may or may not be gay, but there’s no way a hetero dude is this comfortable with semi naked guys plastered over his profile – in his comment section, in his photo likes and in his tags.

How to know if you are gay

Sex isn’t often on his mind

Now don’t get me wrong. It could easily mean that he isn’t a sexual person (or an asexual) or that he wants you to be more comfortable in demanding sex from him. It could also mean that he is waiting till you’re the one who wants to have sex first. Sure. Especially if he’s an older guy.

BUT, keep in mind it could also mean he’s gay and he’s totally not interested in having sex with you. All his talks about “waiting till marriage” are nothing but a sham in order to keep you on the hook so that he can have you as his fake girlfriend whom he can parade in front of family and friends.

He could be a bisexual

How to tell if a guy is gay? Well sometimes, you can’t. And that is because he isn’t gay, but he’s bisexual. That means he’s attracted to both men and women. A lot of bis prefer men and women equally, while others prefer one sex to the other. Whatever the case may be, his preference can only be discussed when he’s willing to discuss his sexuality. Being a bi doesn’t invalidate his feelings for you – just because he likes guys doesn’t mean he’s incapable of loving you!

How to know if you are gay

There are times when conflicting feelings cause a person to ask, “Am I gay?” This is a natural question and one many people ask at different points in their lives. Indeed, some people do not come to the conclusion that they are or are not gay until well into adulthood.

But how do you know if you’re gay? Is experiencing sexual attraction to the same sex all there is to being gay? Is there a test that can tell you whether you’re gay?

Am I Gay – Is There a Homosexuality Test?

In the 1950s and 1960s, it was believed, in some circles, that it was possible to test for homosexuality and such a test was developed in Canada. During the test, the subject’s pupils would be measured as they looked at images ranging from mundane to pornographic. It was thought that the subject’s eyes would dilate when they viewed an image in which they had sexual interest. 1

However, this test was based on many faulty assumptions and it has long since been shown that no test can tell you whether you are gay or not. “Gay tests” that are seen online are not valid in any way and cannot indicate whether or not you are gay.

Gay rating scales, like the Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale (sometimes known as the Kinsey Scale), do exist, however. These rating scales aim to classify people not as “gay” or “straight” but rather indicate that most people do not experience exclusively gay or straight experiences. Most people, regardless as to their sexual identity, do experience both homosexual and heterosexual feelings and/or behaviors at different times in their lives. 2

Gay rating scales allow individuals to rate themselves rather than assigning a rating.

How Do You Know if You Are Gay?

It can be hard for some people to know whether or not they are gay, but it’s important to remember that deciding you are gay is a personal decision and not a clinical one. Some people that have homosexual experiences continue not to identify as gay while others that have never had a homosexual experience and rather, just have homosexual feelings, may call themselves gay. Moreover, some people identify as gay at one point in their lives and then identify in another way at other points. Sexuality is personal and many consider it to be fluid.

The label “gay” then is one that is best identified by oneself based on one’s sexual attractions and behaviors.

Remember though, there is no rush to decide whether you are gay or not. Sometimes feelings of sexuality come on slowly and initially are confusing and hard to identify. 3

“With time, someone who is gay will realize that not only are they sexually attracted to members of the same sex, but that this attraction is not transitional, or as often described ‘just a phase’. This realization could come at any time during their lives. Many people become aware of gay feelings during their teenage years, as this is when they begin to learn more about their sexuality and identity. However, the difficulties associated with accepting these feelings and coming out gay mean that many gay people don’t identify themselves as gay until later on in life.”

If someone is hiding their orientation, then it might be hard to figure out their real self, but here are some signs to tell if someone is a gay.

How to know if you are gay

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Looking for gay signs

It is not easy to come out in the open and accept one’s sexual orientation even when the outlook of society has changed. There are many out there who have been successful in keeping their preferences under wraps. What if your husband is gay? This is one question that haunts many women when they realize that something is amiss in their relationship, even though everything seems perfect. There is a certain uneasiness between partners that remains unexplained. These confusions raise one question, ‘Is he Gay?’ The wives who come to know about their husband’s sexual orientation feel devastated and cheated, but the fact is that their husband was probably too scared to tell someone about his preferences. He thought he could lead a normal married life with a woman and keep all his feelings and thoughts hidden in the closet. But, what they don’t realize is that when the cat comes out of the hat, they will have to accept the truth anyway, so why not do it beforehand?

A post shared by 🏛ノ◊иysι◊ѕ🏛 (@jonysios) on Nov 14, 2017 at 10:12am PST

Signs that tell someone is gay

If you have had an encounter with gay people in the past, then you will know that there are some common traits through which you can tell that someone is gay. Here we are listing 25 signs that tell whether someone is gay or not.

A post shared by 💫💨✨ Budznbeardz ✨💨💫 (@budznbeardz) on Nov 14, 2017 at 11:04am PST

1. Flirty look to a guy

If you are with a guy who is taking more interest in other men and what they are wearing, then it is one sign to prove that he might be gay. You might think that it is normal to check out what others are wearing every now and then. If it is once or twice, then you are with a straight guy, but if your guy is only checking out men and winks at them in a flirty manner, then it is a clear sign that your guy is gay. When he is complimenting someone and that person doesn’t return the compliment by saying something good about his appearance, then he will get upset. If your guy is doing the same thing, then my friend your partner is gay.

A post shared by TWO and a half MEN! (@burganandbrine) on Nov 12, 2017 at 12:49am PST

2. Avoids dating a girl

You are trying to hook up your guy friend with this hot chick whom other guys find quite attractive, but he seems reluctant and quite uncomfortable with the idea of dating a girl. There are chances that he is gay and that is the reason he is turning down the idea.

3. Telling a tale late at night

Night time is best suited to carry out any kind of secretive conversation as everybody is off to sleep and the night provides all the privacy that one is looking for. If your husband is gay, then there are chances that he will be texting or chatting with someone behind your back. When you are off to bed, your husband can either be on the internet browsing explicit sites or he is calling up someone special. It is a clear sign of cheating when a husband is keeping secrets and taking calls only when his wife is not around. Talking to someone in a very low voice and hanging up on hearing someone’s voice tells that he is hiding something.

How to know if you are gay

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Although there are no sure-fire ways to tell if a woman is interested in you, there are some signs that may reveal the truth. It may be difficult to determine if a woman is just being polite or actually has the hots for you. Bisexual and lesbian women may especially go out of their way to point out their sexuality if they like you. For instance, she may bring up what it’s like to be LGBTQ+ and what it was like to first come out. This is just one sign of her hinting that she likes you.

Signs That a Woman Likes You

One of the most common things a woman who likes you will do is try to make direct eye contact. When you glance her way, see if you catch her looking back at you. These are all signs that she may be intrigued. However, it may not be in a romantic way. Pay attention to the context to see if these are clues that the lesbian at the bar is into you or it’s just an employee at work gazing in your direction.

Additionally, notice if she’s making any physical moves. If she makes it a point to be with you, she might be trying to get closer. It can happen in many situations:

  • Noticing a woman always sitting next to you in staff meetings at work
  • Seeing a friend constantly take the seat right next to or across from you
  • Consistently coming up to you in person to ask a question or start a conversation
  • Finding ways to lightly touch you, like on the knee

Similarly, if a woman is making a consistent effort to engage with you, she might be trying to let you know she fancies you. For instance, she may always come by your cubicle at work to check in on a project, when it can easily be talked about through email. Perhaps this lady always shows up at your softball games, at the club where you bartend, or outside of your classroom. These are all signs she could be into you. Then again, it could just be another co-worker, boss, or classmate. Pay attention to the details in these situations and go with your gut.

Signals That Show She’s Into You

One of thing a woman might do when she likes you is constantly laugh at your jokes. If she does so (especially if you believe they’re not very funny) it’s possible that she is interested in you. If she’s more forward and finds ways to physically touch you, it could be another sign. Examples of physical touch include touching your hand when asking to see your ring, sitting close to you on the couch, and giving your shoulder a squeeze when you pass by her.

Of course, if you find that she’s constantly complimenting you, she’s probably flirting with you. Flirting includes compliments like saying you have pretty eyes or a nice smile. If she says nice things about material items like your shirt or shoes, it’s possible that she’s just being friendly. Consider if she’s acting a certain way toward only you, or if she is generally a touchy and flirty person.

Additional signs that she might like you:

  • She constantly talks about her queer experience, what your experience was like, what it’s like to come out, and otherwise brings up the topic of gender frequently.
  • Observing that she’s very socially or physically awkward when she’s around you. She might be nervous or shy.
  • Remembering the tiny things you say. If she brings up little details that you’ve told her in the past, this could be a sign that she’s going out of her way to really get to know you.
  • Initiating physical touch, especially in more intimate areas. This includes affectionate and romantic gestures, like helping you put on your necklace, fixing your hair, and trying to hold or cuddle you.

Listen to Your Instinct

It’s hard to know if someone likes you as a friend or something more. If she’s constantly joking around with you, she could have a great sense of humor or uses her jokes as an icebreaker. If she likes you, she’ll probably take some action by teasing, joking, and/or flirting with you.

Ultimately, you need to go with your intuition. Often, the energy between two people is palpable. Feel for it, but understand that you can never be sure if it’s one-sided. Of course, the only real way to find out if she likes you is to ask her. If you get intimate, however, things are definitely looking up.

Be Cautious

Implement good boundaries. If you’re wondering if a co-worker is interested, you can ask her to hang out outside of work. Don’t hit on her while in the office, as this is highly inappropriate and uncomfortable for other parties.

Whatever you choose to do, use caution. While many signs may add up to her liking you, take it slow and get to know her better. Otherwise, it’s possible that you’ll do something rash or foolish. Finally, you may decide to ask her if she’s gay or bisexual. She may not even know yet herself, but if you come out to her first, she may have a suggestive response.

How to know if you are gay

Legend would have you believe that once you’ve earned your gay card, a Harry Potter–like ceremony occurs where, instead of the Sorting Hat, a giant magical butt plug divides all gay men into two houses: tops or bottoms.

This is clearly not the case, especially for those people who consider themselves versatile (HIYA). But often, penetrative sex can feel divided into rigid binaries that make being a top or a bottom seem like a cult you’ve signed up to for life, and one that you have to declare as soon as two (or more) consenting men decide to take their clothes off and rub up against each other. These two subdivisions have their own rules, stereotypes, and in-jokes, and can sometimes seem as if they’re at war with each other, rather than both working together for mutual sexual pleasure.

All of this can make trying different things daunting, especially if you’re a baby gay venturing into this world for the first time. But it ought not to be impossible to sexually switch things up. Sure, people have a preference, but now could be the perfect time to escape the top or bottom prison you live in. So, with the help of some experts, let’s take a moment to dismantle what you think you know about topping and bottoming. It could open up a world of possibilities.

Human beings are very good at trying something once and deciding indefinitely that we don’t like it. In the case of anal sex, this is usually because of an experience from when we were young and hadn’t quite realized the importance of lube (USE LOTS OF LUBE). So how do you go about testing new waters?

“I believe in what I call taking your erotic temperature,” explains Woody Miller, the author of the books How to Bottom Like a Porn Star and How to Top Like a Stud, “which is basically having a conversation with yourself about what it is you like.”

Miller argues that gay men should examine their relationship with power. Where do you align when it comes to being dominant or submissive? One way to question this, he posits, is to approach something other than penetrative sex.

“Look at kissing,” he says. “If you initiated the kiss, you’re the dominant one. If you received the kiss, you’re the submissive one. There is no aspect of sex that doesn’t have, at its core, an aspect of power. So part of the thing that you have to ask yourself is, ‘What am I comfortable with? Do I like initiating sex? Do I like telling my partner what to do, or do I like being told what to do?’ ”

What’s important is that there might not be a right or wrong answer to this. You might like taking your car for a service just as much as servicing it yourself. That’s part of the fun, right?

Clearly, if you’ve tried topping and bottoming a few times and figured out which of them is for you, that’s great. But I believe that many gay men pick one side, stick to it, and that some of those individuals choose topping—you’ll have seen their profiles marking them as “masc dom tops” on the apps—because of its ties to traditional masculinity.

As Miller explains, there are outside forces that, dating back to the ancient Greeks, have prevented gay men from truly digging into what sexual behaviors we might actually enjoy. “What I mean by that,” he says, “is that cultural forces within the gay community prize topping over bottoming.”

The ongoing fetishization of masculinity means that the traditionally submissive role of the bottom is associated with effeminacy. “With bottoming there is the perception that you’re giving up your masculinity because receiving a penis is something that women do,” Miller adds.

Dr. Chris White, an expert in health promotion and the director and principal investigator of the Safe and Supportive Schools Project at the Gay-Straight Alliance Network in San Francisco, takes this one step further. “If you’re a bottom, you’re sometimes seen as a slut,” he says. “You don’t ever hear tops being called sluts, just bottoms. So there’s some shaming there. And it’s feminine type shaming, as well. Not only are you saying that it’s more masculine to be a top, but you’re saying that you should be ashamed to be a bottom.”

Basically, it could be time to seriously check yourself and ask exactly why you don’t like bottoming (or topping, TBH). If you believe that topping is preferable because it doesn’t threaten your masculinity, then have a strong word with yourself. Similarly, if you’re a bottom-only queen, ask yourself why. Not getting fucked doesn’t make you any less gay.

Let’s call bullshit on the concept that if two people are tops they’re incompatible, because the positions that you enjoy don’t define who you are. “I think that’s part of the problem. We’ve literally made identities out of sexual positions,” Miller says. “It’s a sexual thought prison.”

Of course, if someone knows that they only really enjoy one aspect of penetration, then let’s not discount that. But as with everything sexual, these things are usually on a spectrum that is often contextual. “It can change depending on where you are in your life, how old you are, how fit you’re feeling, and what you’re in the mood for,” White says. “If you think about people’s everyday behaviors, I don’t know if there’s a difference between someone who acts or comes across as more masculine and the role that they play in sex. We like to pretend that there are, but they’re not necessarily true.”

Sure, declaring a preference if you’re on the hunt for a quickie will save time and energy, but don’t get all caught up in labels. There’s really not an eternal sparkling scarlet letter marking you with a “T” or a “B.”

According to a 2011 study by The Journal of Sexual Medicine that surveyed 25,000 gay men in America about their last sexual encounters, only 36 percent said they had bottomed and 34 percent said they had topped.

So, in reality, we’re not actually fucking all that much. It makes turning someone down if they don’t match your preference, especially if it’s just for a one-off, even more preposterous. “We seem to place more psychological importance on anal sex than physical importance, because we’re not doing it that often,” Miller says. “So why are we making such a big deal out of it?”

How to know if you are gay

Legend would have you believe that once you’ve earned your gay card, a Harry Potter–like ceremony occurs where, instead of the Sorting Hat, a giant magical butt plug divides all gay men into two houses: tops or bottoms.

This is clearly not the case, especially for those people who consider themselves versatile (HIYA). But often, penetrative sex can feel divided into rigid binaries that make being a top or a bottom seem like a cult you’ve signed up to for life, and one that you have to declare as soon as two (or more) consenting men decide to take their clothes off and rub up against each other. These two subdivisions have their own rules, stereotypes, and in-jokes, and can sometimes seem as if they’re at war with each other, rather than both working together for mutual sexual pleasure.

All of this can make trying different things daunting, especially if you’re a baby gay venturing into this world for the first time. But it ought not to be impossible to sexually switch things up. Sure, people have a preference, but now could be the perfect time to escape the top or bottom prison you live in. So, with the help of some experts, let’s take a moment to dismantle what you think you know about topping and bottoming. It could open up a world of possibilities.

Human beings are very good at trying something once and deciding indefinitely that we don’t like it. In the case of anal sex, this is usually because of an experience from when we were young and hadn’t quite realized the importance of lube (USE LOTS OF LUBE). So how do you go about testing new waters?

“I believe in what I call taking your erotic temperature,” explains Woody Miller, the author of the books How to Bottom Like a Porn Star and How to Top Like a Stud, “which is basically having a conversation with yourself about what it is you like.”

Miller argues that gay men should examine their relationship with power. Where do you align when it comes to being dominant or submissive? One way to question this, he posits, is to approach something other than penetrative sex.

“Look at kissing,” he says. “If you initiated the kiss, you’re the dominant one. If you received the kiss, you’re the submissive one. There is no aspect of sex that doesn’t have, at its core, an aspect of power. So part of the thing that you have to ask yourself is, ‘What am I comfortable with? Do I like initiating sex? Do I like telling my partner what to do, or do I like being told what to do?’ ”

What’s important is that there might not be a right or wrong answer to this. You might like taking your car for a service just as much as servicing it yourself. That’s part of the fun, right?

Clearly, if you’ve tried topping and bottoming a few times and figured out which of them is for you, that’s great. But I believe that many gay men pick one side, stick to it, and that some of those individuals choose topping—you’ll have seen their profiles marking them as “masc dom tops” on the apps—because of its ties to traditional masculinity.

As Miller explains, there are outside forces that, dating back to the ancient Greeks, have prevented gay men from truly digging into what sexual behaviors we might actually enjoy. “What I mean by that,” he says, “is that cultural forces within the gay community prize topping over bottoming.”

The ongoing fetishization of masculinity means that the traditionally submissive role of the bottom is associated with effeminacy. “With bottoming there is the perception that you’re giving up your masculinity because receiving a penis is something that women do,” Miller adds.

Dr. Chris White, an expert in health promotion and the director and principal investigator of the Safe and Supportive Schools Project at the Gay-Straight Alliance Network in San Francisco, takes this one step further. “If you’re a bottom, you’re sometimes seen as a slut,” he says. “You don’t ever hear tops being called sluts, just bottoms. So there’s some shaming there. And it’s feminine type shaming, as well. Not only are you saying that it’s more masculine to be a top, but you’re saying that you should be ashamed to be a bottom.”

Basically, it could be time to seriously check yourself and ask exactly why you don’t like bottoming (or topping, TBH). If you believe that topping is preferable because it doesn’t threaten your masculinity, then have a strong word with yourself. Similarly, if you’re a bottom-only queen, ask yourself why. Not getting fucked doesn’t make you any less gay.

Let’s call bullshit on the concept that if two people are tops they’re incompatible, because the positions that you enjoy don’t define who you are. “I think that’s part of the problem. We’ve literally made identities out of sexual positions,” Miller says. “It’s a sexual thought prison.”

Of course, if someone knows that they only really enjoy one aspect of penetration, then let’s not discount that. But as with everything sexual, these things are usually on a spectrum that is often contextual. “It can change depending on where you are in your life, how old you are, how fit you’re feeling, and what you’re in the mood for,” White says. “If you think about people’s everyday behaviors, I don’t know if there’s a difference between someone who acts or comes across as more masculine and the role that they play in sex. We like to pretend that there are, but they’re not necessarily true.”

Sure, declaring a preference if you’re on the hunt for a quickie will save time and energy, but don’t get all caught up in labels. There’s really not an eternal sparkling scarlet letter marking you with a “T” or a “B.”

According to a 2011 study by The Journal of Sexual Medicine that surveyed 25,000 gay men in America about their last sexual encounters, only 36 percent said they had bottomed and 34 percent said they had topped.

So, in reality, we’re not actually fucking all that much. It makes turning someone down if they don’t match your preference, especially if it’s just for a one-off, even more preposterous. “We seem to place more psychological importance on anal sex than physical importance, because we’re not doing it that often,” Miller says. “So why are we making such a big deal out of it?”

Gay kids are coming out earlier — sometimes in middle school — and many are finding acceptance. But some parents and teachers wonder if these kids are too young to really know their sexual orientation.

In a long and affecting new New York Times Magazine cover story, Benoit Denizet-Lewis looks at what it’s like to come out at 14, 13, even 12 years old. Encouragingly, being young and openly gay seems to be getting easier. Denizet-Lewis writes that when he started working for the gay men’s magazine XY in 1998, “we received dozens of letters each week from teenagers in the depths of despair.” Three years later, he says, “a new kind of gay adolescent was appearing on the page – proud, resilient, sometimes even happy.” He explains,

That’s not to say that gay teenagers didn’t still suffer harassment at school or rejection at home, but many seemed less burdened with shame and self-loathing than their older gay peers. What had changed? Not only were there increasingly accurate and positive portrayals of gays and lesbians in popular culture, but most teenagers were by then regular Internet users. Going online broke through the isolation that had been a hallmark of being young and gay, and it allowed gay teenagers to find information to refute what their families or churches sometimes still told them – namely, that they would never find happiness and love.

Thanks to the Internet and to increasing cultural acceptance of homosexuality (an increase marred, we should note, by measures like Proposition 8), kids who might once have waited until high school or even college to come out are now doing so earlier. At least 120 middle schools in the country have gay-straight alliance groups, and others let students observe the national Day of Silence in protest against anti-gay harassment. Denizet-Lewis visited LA’s Daniel Webster Middle School on that day, and found 50 kids, many of them wearing pink shirts, filling out cards with slogans like “You Are What You Are – Embrace It.” They were not, however, silent: “Good luck getting middle-schoolers not to talk,” the school counselor said.

The youth of the Webster kids and other gay middle-schoolers is a sign of how far gay rights have come — but it’s also these kids’ biggest obstacle to acceptance. A telling anecdote comes from Nadia, the mom of a gay 15-year-old named Austin. She says, “We just couldn’t wrap our heads around the idea that Austin would know what he was at 13, and that he would want to tell other people.” But she had actually asked Austin if he was gay when she found out he had called a gay chat line. The irony of a parent suspecting her kid is gay and then refusing to believe he could know his own orientation highlights how much more difficulty some parents have with burgeoning gay sexuality than they would with a straight kid’s desires.