James W. Hicks, M.D.

Ask the Doctor

In Ask the Doctor* on January 10, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Q: If I had a gay experience when I was a little kid, but I’m horrified about it now, am I straight?

A: Your experiences do not define your sexual orientation. Even if you had a pleasurable gay experience as an adult, you could still be straight. Your orientation is defined by what you desire and enjoy, not by what happens to you. This is especially true of children, who may engage in sexual play out of natural curiosity or because an older person involves them in sexual activities that they are too young to understand. Unfortunately, these experiences can lead children, as they grow up, to feel ashamed and to question their sexuality. You may have reason to feel horrified if you were taken advantage of by someone more experienced, but there is no need to feel ashamed of youthful sexual experimentation, which is quite common. If you are currently only interested in the opposite sex, then you are straight. If you have some sexual interest in the same sex as well, that’s nothing to be ashamed about either.

[This is a new series, answering your questions about sex, sexuality, and sexual relationships. You can e-mail your questions to me at flexuality@hotmail.com, or post a question anonymously as a comment. The answers I post are for informational purposes only and do not constitute individual treatment.]

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