Am I gay? Am I straight? What am I?
New research published by Promundo in partnership with Lynx, Unilever’s leading male grooming brand uncovers what it truly means to be a modern man. The research finds that there is a ‘Man Box’ – a set of masculine ideals, that guys are pressured to conform to.
At least 57% of guys surveyed said they had been told a “real man should behave a certain way” at some point in their lives. This is preventing guys from showing their true feelings, with 48% of guys surveyed agreeing with “in my opinion guys should act strong even if they feel scared or nervous inside.”
One startling statistic was that 30% of UK participants agreed strongly that a gay guy is not a “real man”, which makes it much harder for guys to feel like they can explore their sexuality without it impacting on their masculinity.
It’s completely normal to question your sexuality, regardless of gender, life experiences or however you see your masculinity or femininity. We’re desperate to attach labels on everything and everyone but working out what you do and don’t like sexually and doesn’t have to be so scary. In fact, we question pretty much everything else in our lives so why would our sexuality be any different.
Here are 8 things you need to know about questioning your sexuality:
1. It’s OK to question it.
You can’t control the things you’re inherently attracted to. It’s perfectly normal to question and explore your sexuality, it’s also surprisingly common. Ditch the Label research finds that half of us don’t identify as being 100% straight anyway.
2. No judging.
Explore. Explore. Explore. We can’t emphasize this enough. Exploring won’t, however, be beneficial to your self-discovery if you keep judging yourself for your actions. Deep breath. Stop thinking. Start doing.
3. Its nobody else’s business.
People love labels and for things to be clear. But that does not mean you need to rush to pick one to satisfy anyone else’s impatience, including your own.
4. It isn’t as big of a deal as everyone makes out.
Who you get jiggy with is absolutely nobody else’s business but your own. As long as it’s safe, legal and consensual – who gives a damn? The people who are most likely to judge you are only doing it largely because they are insecure about their own sexuality. The lion never loses sleep over the opinion of sheep. Be the lion, not the sheep.
5. You can be honest.
If the dreaded sexuality question comes up and you are not ready to answer it. You are 100% allowed to unashamedly say you’re not sure.
6. You are not alone.
No matter how different your sexuality may feel, there are others out there like you. Just remember that not everybody is comfortable talking about it, so talking online first could be a safe way to get the information and advice you need.
7. Talk to us.
We get it, this stuff is not always easy or straightforward (no pun intended). Join our community here and share your questions anonymously, I guarantee you are not the only one asking them.
8. The confusion doesn’t last forever.
I know right now it might feel pretty uncomfortable but I promise it does get better.