How to Know if You Are Heterosexual

Determining your sexual orientation can be a very confusing experience. Sometimes, it's not easy to recognize what your gut is really telling you, whether you think you're heterosexual, bisexual, or gay. If you want to know if you are heterosexual, then you have to know what it means to be heterosexual and to pay more attention to your true feelings than your past experiences. Sexuality is a complicated thing, so you should be patient and take your time to really explore this issue. Don't get frustrated if you feel like you can't figure it out right away -- you're not alone in having a hard time deciding whether or not you are heterosexual, and many people grapple with this issue.


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    Learn about the various definition of Straight; there are many different considerations on the subject, depending on who you talk to, but be honest with yourself as to what defines being straight to you. The debate on the subject is often referred to as the "nature versus nurture" conundrum. (Are you born this way, or does environment and upbringing play a contributory role?)

    • Some people believe that anyone and everyone has the potential to have a sexual or romantic relationship with a member of the opposite sex.
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    • Some people believe that heterosexuality is a biological or genetic condition; that you are naturally born straight. Others may agree that you might be born straight, but believe that it is the act of having a hetero relationship that makes you straight. Still others believe that heterosexuality is a product of one's environment and the experiences of your life, that is to say, that events in one's life contribute to your sexual orientation.
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    • Some believe that simply fantasizing about sex with a member of the opposite sex is proof that you are straight, but others believe that it is merely a sign that you might be leaning that direction.
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    Understand that fantasizing about members of the opposite sex does not necessarily make you straight. Gay people can have the occasional "opposite sex fantasy"; a woman having a strange dream involving a heterosexual experience, or a man wondering about what it feels like to snog that tough-looking girl on the soccer team, but it does not mean that they would jump on the chance when actually given the opportunity to do so.
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    Understand that if you and a member of the opposite sex have had intercourse, it does not mean that you are now exclusively heterosexual. After all, if you were gay, which indeed may be the case, you did not have to have sex with a member of the same sex to be able to say that you are gay.
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    Realise that there are many different paths to discovering your sexuality; some people may have known that they were very, very ordinary from a young age, while others take time to discover it, perhaps even in later life.
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    Understand that sexuality is a very complex issue. There is room for every degree of sexuality: some will be exclusively straight or gay, and never consider having sex outside their normal orientation. Some lesbians occasionally seek out male partners, and some gay men seek out females. There are many degrees of sexual orientation, and if you find you don't fit easily into one category, perhaps you are bisexual. Don't allow yourself to be labelled until or unless you are ready and willing to be.
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    Respect others' privacy. Do not attempt to undermine a straight friend or family member's realisation of his or her sexuality. In a matter of speaking, they chose to be heterosexual the same day you chose to be gay - think about it; you never did choose either.
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    Think about your past romantic experiences with the same sex. How did you feel when that guy kissed you? Were there fireworks when you made out with that one spectacular girl? Who did you have crushes on? What kinds of fantasies did you have? What do you feel comfortable with and enjoy doing? Try looking at "sexy" pictures of both the opposite gender and your own; study them, and decide what you find attractive, and what turns you on.
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    Examine your recent behaviour with your friends and acquaintances. If you're a girl trying to decide whether or not you are straight, has there been a close male friend you felt extra possessive, or protective of? One that you wanted to be your 'best friend forever' - and you insisted that you were his 'best friend forever', too? Did you just want to be his best friend, or did you take it a little too far? Guys, if you go for the tickle on the same girl friend at every band practice, consider whether or not you're also trying to make it to the instrument locker room at the same time. Are you more than passingly interested in her? Do you try to get a look at her body, get excited thinking about watching her change into her band jacket? Think about the way you're feeling.
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    Remember that you are not alone. There are many, many heterosexual people in the community from a variety of backgrounds who have been in your situation. Your parents, friends, teachers and other people in your life can be very supportive, if you feel comfortable talking about this with them. Talking to friends and family members if and when you are ready, and when you feel comfortable and safe can be a great help.


  • Just because someone is attracted to some people of a particular gender, doesn't mean they're attracted to everyone of that gender, and not everyone of a particular sexual orientation is going to be attracted to you. Most people in most everyday circumstances are being friendly or professional, not sexual.
  • Just because people who are "conventionally" sexy don't turn you on, doesn't mean you don't like that gender. Maybe you prefer feminine men to masculine men, or you might prefer masculine women to feminine women."
  • If you don't want to, you don't have to label yourself at all. You like who you like, and leave it at that. You can tell people that, and it's polite for them not to read too much into it. It may help to think of sexual orientation as a spectrum, or to think of yourself as loving people, not just their gender.
  • If you're uncertain or fearful about what it would be like to be a member of a sexual majority, the best way to deal with that is to meet people who are in that majority. You'll probably find that most of them seem about as normal as anyone else.
  • Try imagining doing sexual things with people of the same or opposite sex (not necessarily someone you actually know). What you find attractive, and what turns you on?
  • Remember that there's nothing that qualifies you or anything else for a particular sexual orientation other than being attracted to people of a certain gender. Also remember that Pride parades are not necessarily representative of everyday life for most gay people, any more than a Halloween party is representative of life for straight people, in general.
  • Search online for stories of people who are heterosexual and cisgender. Compare them to your own story.
  • Try to avoid bigots who say things such as "no hetero". They are just condensing people.


  • Do not shut out the gay world or your gay friends. Sexual orientation is not the most important thing about a person. It is healthy to develop and maintain relationships with a diverse group of people.
  • Do not hide from your potentially negative feelings about your sexual orientation in drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse will only make accepting yourself more difficult than it may already be.
  • Choose your friends wisely; you don't have to befriend other straight people simply because you have just discovered that you are straight yourself. Seek out caring, supportive, levelheaded people within the community who share your interests.
  • Practice safe sex at all times, unless there is an explicit agreement between parties to not use protection. The conflicting and confusing emotions that may accompany the realization that you are hetero can make it difficult to act rationally when presented with your first opposite sex experience. Take care of yourself, and try to not be intoxicated when you are exploring your sexuality.
  • Don't start sleeping around - with either sex. Some people who begin to realize that they may be hetero try to sleep with a lot of girls or guys who are attractive to them. Part of the reason a person will do this is to prove to him or herself that he or she is or isn't straight, or to prove to themselves that they are open-minded and willing to have sexual experiences with the opposite sex. This harms a person in many ways, because it cheapens the sexual experience and it does nothing to accomplish the original purpose. One would be much better off trying to push for a kiss with a person of the opposite sex rather than having easy sex with a bunch of members of the same sex. Once the gender barrier is broken the first time, it's a lot easier to tell if you are actually hetero.

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