Do people know about their sexual orientation before experiencing first sexual attraction?

So Playboy had an article about nekkid women in drug stores? :wink:

I was also a kid that got his first crush around 5. Never any question.

But I do want to point out that there is a broad range of inner awareness. Some people think about what they are thinking about and some are at the opposite end. No self introspection at all. People towards the latter end of the scale might not realize “something was up” until actual intimate activities are underway. (Or even much later in life when an “Aha!” moment with someone hits.)

In short, people are all over the place.

Female here, mostly straight. I didn’t discover that boys were interesting until college. I had an occasional crush before that, usually on a teacher or camp counselor, some of either sex. Even after I discovered boys, I mostly only saw them as hot when I was ovulating. My only really erotic dream ever featured a character Whoopi Goldberg played.

So I really didn’t know my sexual orientation until college. And maybe my orientation is that strong.

Straight male here… sometime around kindergarten/first grade I started realizing that some of my female teachers and girls in my class were more pleasant looking to me than the vast run of everyone else- less attractive women and males of all types. There was one girl whose name I have forgotten in first grade with me who I thought was just the prettiest girl I’d ever seen- first crush, I suppose.

I’m going to go in the opposite direction as most opinions here. This was just last week so it is fresh in my mind but I literally was there as my 16 (almost 17) year old daughter came to the conclusion that she was heterosexual. She had long been unsure or “unknown” and had even repeatedly asked her younger brother how he knew so strongly.

The conversation was more extensive as we were watching the Series 1 of the UK Sherlock Holmes reboot, but summarized went something like:

Daughter: I don’t understand, but Benedict Cumberbatch is both incredibly handsome but also funny looking and his hair is not good, but he is very attractive. Jon Hamm is also very attractive but doesn’t have anything weird about him but is not as attractive as Benedict.

HerMother: Have you ever looked at a woman and said, “I see her flaws but I still find her incredibly attractive.”?

Daughter: No, but I do see woman as attractive.

HerMother: I think you are straight and are just more attracted to men is all.

Daughter: Huh?.. oh… OOOOHHH!

As her parents, we clearly do not care and have made that abundantly clear. She played softball and soccer in a bright pink skirt over her shorts/gray pants and had pink cleats for all of her games. Skirts were her identity and she wore them every single day until her freshman year. Now, she is in several gay-straight alliance-like clubs. Her best friend is non-binary-identifying.

This is all to say that some people don’t just inherently know from an early age. I suspect that there is similarly a broad spectrum in self-identification (I, myself, knew by 1st grade that I wanted girls to think that I was the best boy there- but the sexual component was several years later.)

Sometimes, the hormones don’t quite get settled down until the later teens. I attribute this to the crush I had on a fellow female teenage co-worker when I was about 15. Nothing like that ever happened to me before, or since, and I know now that it is not uncommon at all. (She never knew, BTW.)

Can someone please unpack this “before sexual attraction” thing for me?

It would appear that you seem to be implying that you remember back to a time when you were not merely ignorant or unclear about adult sexuality and what sexual feelings meant, but also were not having any? No feelings that you later looked back on and realized “oh, ha ha, those were sexual feelings before I knew what it was all about” ?

Yes, that’s absolutely true of me. I didn’t have any feelings that were sexual until i was in high school, and didn’t have any feelings that I recognized as sexual until college.

OK, so I’m just a pervert. I knew it all along :slight_smile:

Seriously, I had sexual feelings in 1st grade. Didn’t know what they were (didn’t know what “pervert” meant either but I could wrap my head around “if people knew, they’d make fun of me and think I was disgusting”).

Even before I (male) knew the mechanics of sex, I paid a lot of attention to girls, and I wanted them to pay a lot of attention to me. It would be years more before I understood exactly what it was all about, but I was a ladies’ man from the get-go.

There was also a neighbor kid who was trying to put his dick in my face on the regular, but for me this registered as nothing more than an uninteresting annoyance.

I believe you realize your sexual orientation in the same manner you realize you’re hungry. You don’t think about it until it happens and then it’s difficult not to think about it…

In grade one I noticed this cute girl in the other grade one class. She was very pretty and I just liked the way she looked.

In grade two we were put into the same class and I was thrilled. There was just something about her that I liked.

At that age I had no idea what sex even was, but she was a sweet, pretty girl and I wanted to be friends with her.

I talked to her and this lead to me going over to her house after school on a few occasions. We were, what, seven years old? I absolutely knew that I liked her, and although she was a very nice girl the main reason that attracted me to her was her looks. I was six when I noticed this!

She moved away at some point and that’s the end of the story: almost. When I was in college I went out for a meal with another classmate. Our waitress came to the table and it was her! I recognized her, and she recognized me. We hadn’t spoken in over 10 years yet I still felt the same attraction, and I think she did too.

I haven’t seen her since. That last time was like 37 years ago. I still remember her. My heterosexuality was pre-programmed into my brain. I have no doubts.

Why are Americans so obsessed with topics about sexuality? Is that the most important thing in the world? Everything nowadays is about genders, orientations, non-offending,etc, even tv shows, you can’t even watch a tv show without having those topics thrown on you… I can understand lgbt people wanting their rights, but if anyone has those rights, it’s people in America and the west, so what’s the point of so much toxicity and drama? Why do entire seasons of TV shows have to be turned into this?

Moderator Note

This is a bit too much of a hijack for this thread. Feel free to start a new thread though.

Sorry, hadn’t seen the simulnote.

This. Another hetero cis male here: I had crushes on girls from the time I turned six. I did not have any remotely similar feelings for boys.

Sometimes it is. :slight_smile:

Reading the thread, I think I am more the outlier than you. But I’m curious to hear from other women. What I am mostly reading is that men knew as boys that they were interested in girls.
But I will give an observational story about my son’s sexual orientation. We took him to a square dance club starting before he hit puberty. He was a little uncomfortable with the girls (women older than me and all males were okay) so he probably had some pre-sexual feelings for girls. But one month he grew about 5 inches, started to stink, and three women from the club asked me to tell him to stop staring at their breasts. So I’m pretty sure the nature of his interest in girls changed that month.

Since at least age 5. Girls were pleasant to look at, boys were invisible.
But they were all of them vicious and filled with treachery, and to be avoided when at all possible. That never really changed.

Hetero male.

I remember at the age of about 8 or 9, I was in my neighbor’s garage, and he had a calendar with a naked woman on the wall. I was immediately uncomfortable with seeing that. But then about a week later, something clicked in my head and I had to do whatever I could to see that thing again, but didn’t know why. Don’t think I hit puberty until several years later

Prior to this, I had a little crush on a girl in my class since kindergarten, but it was just a “she’s cute” thing. So I liked girls prior to puberty.

Hetero female here. I liked a boy when I was in kindergarten, so about five years old. I wanted to kiss him.
I think I knew even before that. I have always liked the boys very much. :smiley: