How did/would you know?

Have you ever met anyone that has “Gay-dar”?  Yeah, you know…that interesting super-power that some people have to guess if someone is gay or not?

The topic sort of arose in a conversation I was having about my own sexuality and my coming out.  As many of you know, the thought of coming out gives me some super major anxious fears. And this person indicated that they thought/felt some family members may or may not be gay or bisexual and they mentioned it because they were trying to encourage me with the possibility that someone close to me may already know I’m bisexual.  I’ve indicated in many previous posts, that I maintain some anonymity about my sexuality and I tend to treat it with the idea that it’s offered on a need-to-know basis. I take comfort in that aspect, but it intrigued me how many people can actually detect someone’s sexuality without being told outright.

I have told very few people in my real life that I’m bisexual. In fact, I think I can easily count them on one hand. My wife is aware. I have a friend from college, whom is gay, that I told. I told two therapists. And, I have one person I am connected to on Twitter that knows (Okay, so that’s exactly 5…). I’ve tried telling another friend of mine, but I quickly backtracked from that and played it off as a joke. Granted, the guys I have been with are quite aware, but I’m not really counting them – especially, since I don’t really know any of them now. Okay…I’m getting caught up in numbers here and that isn’t the point of this…

I think what really intrigues me about this topic is that I have often wondered if people ever actually knew of my sexuality. I don’t wave flags, I don’t advocate any agenda when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community, I didn’t volunteer it when I was dating, and I damn sure don’t feel like I put up a vibe. But I have had three situations where my sexuality was questioned or guessed at. One was with an ex-girlfriend, one was a therapist that guessed and the other was some random woman (I can’t even remember how I know this woman, just the event of her bringing my sexuality into question is remembered).

The ex-girl friend I mentioned above didn’t really guess it as much as became aware of it during our relationship. I had mentioned before some of our sexual activities (It might have been on the last blog I kept and I’ll eventually mention this relationship in my S.A.R.D.) But we had engaged in some activities together that had her questioning if I were gay or not. Of course, I knew I wasn’t gay, but at that time I had no concept of a bisexual sexuality and so I denied it to her and explained that I only wanted to be with her – which was true, at the time.  Another time, I was seeing a therapist (by far my favorite therapist and I really wish she didn’t move…she helped me so much) about my depression and I was discussing some of my past relationships and I indicated some of my attractions to guys and she asked me, “{My real name}, are you gay…?”  I told her, I didn’t believe I was, but I expressed that I was quite certain I was bisexual. She accepted this as the description I chose for myself and that is how she treated it during our sessions together.

The third one – a woman I can’t remember was a romantic interest of mine or just an acquaintance of some sort, but a question she had asked me had stuck in my mind ever since it happened. She had asked me, “How long have you been attracted to guys?” I replied, “I’m not gay…” And her response took me by surprise as she said, “I didn’t ask if you were gay…”  At the time, I shrugged it off as unimportant, because I was in complete denial of my sexuality at the time. But it had always left me wondering how many people in my life assumed I was not straight. It always made me wonder if I keep my secret, meaninglessly.

13 thoughts on “How did/would you know?

  1. Sometimes ya just know without really understanding how you know. I’d have guys roll up on me and hit on me for sex and it was like I had a big sign on me that everyone but me could see. I’d ask those guys what made them think I’d be interested (and even if I was) and they’d just say they knew and could tell just by looking at me.

    Then there’s this: Once you do it with guys, it kinda makes you a little paranoid and you think that now that you’ve done this, everybody on the planet somehow knows that you did even though you also know that if you’ve not said anything about it, there’s no way anyone can know that you did.

    And sometimes, some people just know it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such an interesting question. I am new to your blog (I came here via your liking my comment on Anna’s post) so I don’t know the history yet; but although the word “gay-dar” feels a bit negative, I believe that many people can sense things that are “under the surface” and thus levels of attraction and/or lack there of, as well as levels of suppressed emotion or *being* as it were, or lack thereof. Also vibes of masculinity vs femininity… For example, based solely on your brief but warm and kind (and disarmingly self-unsure-seeming) interaction on Anna’s blog, along with your sweet username and sunny, lovely profile pic, I (wrongly) assumed you were in a woman’s body. One could argue that that is a problem of my own societal conditioning, or one could say it is your own societal conditioning expressing your femininity, or one could say it is neither, and you just are who you are, which is (deep inside) a sunny, acquiescent soul, which many might see (whether due to societal conditioning or not) as feminine, regardless of housing. Ultimately the housing matters little in matters of the soul.

    You say, “But it had always left me wondering how many people in my life assumed I was not straight. It always made me wonder if I keep my secret, meaninglessly.” You might be on to something there… I wonder if secrets cause far more damage to one’s self, than the (false?) sense of security they provide is worth?

    I admire your blog very much. You express aspects of human experience here that many can relate to and/or learn from.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is so much here in your comment that had filled me with joyful realization. I am anatomically male, but I am oddly comforted by people assuming I exhibit a feminine personification. Of course, if you get a chance to peruse a few of my other posts, I discuss my gender identification. Honestly, the blog I kept previous to this one began exploring that aspect of myself in much more detail – sometimes, I think I should delve down that path again.

      And I find my secret to be one of preserving a semblance of protection in my real life. Of course, it’s probably preservation of my own making.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agonized about whether to leave that part in… and now your reply fills me with gladness and comfort… thank you! I think self-preservation is natural and normal and perhaps can be defined separately from secret-keeping — i.e. we “owe the world the truth but not every detail of our lives at all times and in all situations” — I think I read that in an interview with “Love Warrior” Glennon Doyle somewhere. Have you read her book perchance? Beautifully written and it explores her marriage and her history with addiction: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31845516-love-warrior?from_search=true (Incidentally the story around the publishing of the book is amazing as well, since just at the time of the book’s publishing she had separated from her (previously unfaithful) husband and had fallen in love with and was about to marry soccer star Abby Wambach (a woman)… against career advice she decided to remain truthful to the world and not keep her love a secret… but she has kept details mostly to herself. To me these would seem a model example to understanding the balance required in life in general… be honest always but yes, learn that you don’t owe the whole world everything at all times, you can also keep things “private.” Not secret, but private, according to situation. My problem is I don’t create boundaries for myself… I was raised to tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” and I’m afraid I take this to an extreme and that self-preservation thing goes out the window which doesn’t feel great either and ultimately makes me want to self-destruct (or just self-destruct my blog at least ;)). One thing I will say is that when people respond kindly (likes or comments) it seems to keep me “afloat” as it were, but sometimes that can also feel overwhelming because I get the urge to somehow “live up to” my perception of their imagined perception of me… and in doing that I ruin everything I built up before it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I will look up that book you recommended. The reality for me, is that I am so tied into what other people think of me, that my primary reason for maintaining my secret is because I don’t want to lose anyone’s respect. I also have this little tidbit where I think that I need to be at a point where my sexuality is not even on the radar, because who respects someone based on their sexuality? Don’t people respect the over-all quality of a person? Honestly, that’s where I really want to be.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. ❤️❤️❤️ I can relate to the outside validation thing big time. And I guess we can remind ourselves that people will respect in proportion to whatever we project. What if every time we had a self-negative or doubtful thought we exchanged it for a positive one? Such hard work to persist at it but when I remember to do it it works wonders.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I guess i don’t understand why you would be so fearful. In this day and age, people can be proud of who they are. Who you are attracted to doesn’t define you. I have the worst taste in men ever! I’d hate for that to be my life label.

    You can’t help who you are attracted to, regardless of what’s between their legs. Celebrate and accept you. The world will follow 🖤

    Liked by 1 person

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