Question: If I catch myself staring at this one boy’s muscles, does it mean I’m gay?
What I love about my shared humanity is the incredibly powerful biological drives. Certainly there’s more to being human than this, but let’s just look at the gross biological. We eat and keep on eating well past when it is healthy, and/or place items in our mouths that are not nearly as nutritious as we hope they are, all based on a desire, a drive, for nourishment and calories.
Similarly, our bodies exude sexual energy in near everything we do, the act of movement itself a creative enterprise driven by the need to build, to make, to become. Frankly that’s sexual and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. Now, as in the need for calories, our need for sexual release can be exclusively focused on to an unhealthy degree and the things we do to satiate it may not be nearly as helpful as we initially think. The ethical considerations for this are numerous and worth exploring, though at no time should the mere existence of a sexual thought/feeling be judged as shameful or wrong or serve to define the entirety of who you are.
Let me be very clear here, there is absolutely nothing wrong with looking at someone of the same gender and finding they or an attribute about them sexually appealing or attractive. People are beautiful and sexy, period. Ignoring that fact will only encourage a confusion when such thoughts about someone else come up. With that in mind, finding anything attractive about someone else in no way points to any particular sexual orientation.
Now, as to being gay or some other orientation, I’ll be honest and note that I find the whole orientation labeling a practice of limitation. I get why it’s done and for many there’s an empowerment in deciding to focus on an orientation as a means of identity. That’s wonderful and I support them utterly in that. Unfortunately what all too often happens is that the thoughts/emotions arising from within our internal/external interconnected worlds do not care about keeping within the boundary of an orientation or any other label for that matter. One way to deal with this is to create new labels and spend our time and energy parsing behavior to such a degree that the label becomes meaningless. Frankly I think we already have a great name for our experience, one that differentiates us from other biological creatures and yet still holds plenty of space for exploring what it means for each person: humanity.
Like who you like, appreciate them for any and all of who they are, always being mindful that there are depths and possibilities for each person hidden from any single perspective. Whether you decide that you’re gay, or lesbian, or any other orientation is secondary to dwelling in the magnificence of what is to belong to this shared living experience called being-human.
© David Teachout