When did you know that you were gay?
While we are often hearing coming out stories like the Try Guys’ Eugene Lee Yang’s, we rarely hear about the moments and time periods when gay and bisexual men started to suspect that they weren’t straight.
For me, it was between the ages of 12 and 14. It was around this time that I started to have feelings for other boys. Fantasies about friends and classmates became the norm.
But, even more importantly, this is when I discovered yaoi/Boys’ Love (or gay romance content from Asian media). I can still remember googling pictures of anime characters Naruto and Sasuke holding hands, hugging, and expressing their love. I can also remember watching a very intense gay scene in the anime Mirage of Blaze.
But it appears that I’m not the only man explaining the moment and time period when I started to discover my sexuality and sexual orientation. One internet user on the Reddit forum Gaybros asked fellow users when was their “Oh shoot I am gay” moment. And plenty of users responded.
It appears I wasn’t the only person to realize his sexuality and attractions after watching tv. Many responders shared their mutual thirst for one of the brothers on early-2000s tv show Malcolm In The Middle.
“Francis on Malcolm in the Middle always made me feel something I could only describe as a mixture of admiration, want, and jealousy,” wrote one Redditor. “A uniquely gay feeling that I realized wasn’t universal.”
“Yep, Francis was also my awakening,” wrote one response. “I loved the scenes where he came up, it became pretty clear after that.”
Several more commenters responded in agreement and others mentioned a thirst for Reese (who was my personal favorite from the show).
And it seems that crushing on celebrities and entertainment characters was a big theme in the thread, as Zac Efron also got major love.
“Zac Efron in high school musical, I was 6 or 7,” shared one Redditor. “I remember searching ‘Zac Efron shirtless’ on Google, and, even at that age, I already wanted to get pictures of him naked.”
The commenter then shared that he didn’t realize he was gay from his infatuation with Efron, but did realize that his interest wasn’t the norm between his friends.
“Maybe I didn’t know about that word yet. But I remember talking about Zac Efron with a (female) friend and trying not to come off as too interested since I knew it was girls who were supposed to be attracted to him, not me.”
As for other celebrities and shows/movies, there was a long list of options. There was Chris Evans in Not Another Teen Movie and Fantastic 4, Devon Sawa at the end of Casper the Friendly Ghost, Casper Van Dien in Starship Troopers, the human form of Zachary Binks in Hocus Pocus, Matt Dallas in Kyle XY, Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, Ryan Reynolds in Blade 2, and much more.
For other gay and bisexual men, they say gym class was a confusing and glorifying time as young people.
“Starting in grade 7 we had to change into different clothes for gym class,” wrote one commentor. “There was one really athletic guy in our class and I couldn’t help but stare at him/find excuses to talk to him while he’s half-naked.”
Another man agreed that gym class helped him to realize his sexuality:
“When I was 8 in gymnastics and doing splits with my coach in a private lesson, across from each other, with our feet together, and I saw his big bulge in his shorts, and our crotches came near to touching as we split further… Yep. GAY.”
A third shared that his middle school gym teacher started his sexual awakening, “My gym teacher in middle school. He gave physical education a whole new meaning.”
The commentor later elaborated by saying:
“I was in middle school (between 11-13) and he was in his 30’s. There was no sex. Nothing pervy from him. He was the reason for my sexual awakening. He was handsome and had an amazing butt. I could not keep my eyes off it or him. I wanted his attention so bad that I scraped my knee on purpose so he could clean it up and bandage it. I had some wood when he touched me on my knee and I’m sure he noticed but never overstepped bounds. He could not have been nicer. He was my first gay crush and the reason I knew I was gay. Sorry if my story is not too exciting.”
But possibly the most detailed sexual awakening story came from the below story of a bully becoming a friend and crush.
“5th grade. This guy “Ronnie” in my carpool [and a year older] had it out for me. He would seize upon every moment to make a jab or mock me in front of the other boys (all-boys private Catholic middle school). He was kinda a bully, and my parents had taught me that bullies need to be confronted. So, one day after recess, I waited for him and proceeded to beat him up on the steps leading up to the school pool area. Oh boy… Our parents got wind of the situation and decided – as punishment – that we needed to all our time together at each others’ homes until we became friends. Well, here we are on the first night, and Ronnie suggested we zip two sleeping bags together so we could be comfortable in the same one instead of squeezed into one single.”
“The moment the lights went out, I started feeling weird, like that tense/nervous feeling, which I later came to recognize as horny. Ronnie turns to me and asks, “Have you ever kissed a girl?” I replied, “Of course … when my sister has her friends over, they always want to play spin the bottle, and I am the only guy; so, I end up kissing all of them.” He straight up asked if I could teach him. In hindsight, he meant with words. I leaned in and started making out with him. He did not stop me. In fact, once we were done, he asked if he was a good kisser. I said, “Yes”, and just said good night and rolls over. I laid there for at least an hour thinking how much I wanted to touch him. I knew that night that I liked guys.”
So when was your sexual awakening? Do you remember a time period or specific moment that made you realize “Oh shoot, I’m gay?” If so, feel free to share it down below.