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At what age is a person aware of their sexuality
Posted: 12 October 2013 01:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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FinallyDecided - 11 October 2013 07:42 AM
WuCares - 11 October 2013 06:38 AM
FinallyDecided - 11 October 2013 05:36 AM

Well, I am gay and well before puberty or any pronounced sexual awakening, I was aware of some “gay” tendencies. Even more significant, I recall having “childhood crushes” (probably somewhere around the age of 7) and they were NOT for girls. So, how do you respond to that? There are many many other anecdotal stories from other gay people with similar stories (and some I know who are are “closeted” and have no interest or political agenda (as you suggest) for making such assertions.

Also, the picture you posted may not be real. On many social media sites there are pictures an GIFs with captions saying just about anything, so I wouldn’t let something like that be the impetus for your “irritation.”

Also, there was some discussion above…sexual orientation and gender identity are absolutely different but there is no need for me to post a wall of text regarding the differences when you can simply google it and research it for yourself, if it is of interest.

The topic is not what you know of being gay now. It is what you knew then. No one is saying you didn’t have feelings then, but what you understood about the feelings you had at the time and age you had them. I don’t think I can be more clear than that. If someone can be, please do so. Thank you.

As far as the picture goes, it may very well be fake, but the question still remains about the childhood recognition of degrees of attraction.

You must account for the historical context and social milieu in which a 7 year old is making such declaration. A gay youth thirty years ago vs. a gay youth in 2013 are likely going to produce two very different levels of understanding. Seven year olds in present day society are likely to be much more aware of what the term “gay” may mean. Obviously there are levels of attraction based on age and a prepubescent individual is going to lack the actual sexual portion, so there is your answer…they can only know they are gay to the degree to which they are developed and no one can give you an age as you originally ask. In addition, there are various psychological theories that likely require consideration such as Fredian theories which seem to assert sexual development extremely early with very slow and gradual development, but that is going to depend on what theories you buy into. Aside from the original question, would you apply the same logic to a similarly heterosexual framed situation? If a male child said, “I think (insert female name) is pretty and I want to marry her”? Would you stop and ponder, “now how can he be certain he is heterosexual?” You must ensure you’re not applying heteronormative thinking. And, if you are wondering why a 7 year old may actually declare or use the term “gay,” it is most likely because we live in a heteronormative society where heterosexuals don’t have to “come out” or declare their orientation (so there is no attention given to it); however, the homosexual is a minority and is more likely to make declaration of their status as not to be mixed into or presumed to be something that he or she is not. And again, kids now are more aware of the term “gay,” so naturally it is going to be applied. In conclusion and to relate back to what you just asked, “...but the question still remains about the childhood recognition of the degrees of attraction” well, it is just that…a 7 year old is going to understand the terms of being gay to the fullest degree he or she is aware of his or her attractions (this may just be simply feeling someone of the same sex is aesthetically appealing in a non sexual way) ranging all the way up to an 18 year old who is most likely fully sexually developed with a better understanding and actual sexual attraction to someone of the same sex.

From the perspective of a gay man, that’s the best explanation I can offer. Hope it helps. :)

I appreciate your response, but I don’t really thing the information available has any effect on a child’s ability to register complex emotions.

I don’t really think the mind of a 7 year old evolves depending on the era they are in It’s not the information available it is the level of ability to understand and comprehend what they are feeling that is at the core of this. It doesn’t matter if the child is gay or not.

I think I might have skewed this post by the inclusion of the picture, but It upset me because I jumped to the conclusion that the child was being used. This is unconscionable to me. . Wither it is a supporter of gay rights or some right wing wacko trying to incite negative feelings is immaterial. All I’m asking is do you think a 7 year old child’s brain has developed enough to allow him to make a concrete determination that he is sexually attracted to any sex or even know the full implications of being married, no matter what the orientation.

[ Edited: 12 October 2013 01:47 AM by WuCares ]
Posted: 13 October 2013 05:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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I doubt that any child before the onset of puberty truly understands what sexual attraction actually means. And plenty who have reached puberty or even adulthood don’t know. Nobody has anything to compare his or her feelings to. It is a completely unknown phenomenon.  I’m heterosexual and as a girl I was attracted to boys in a way that was different than anything I felt for girls.  I liked girls and I liked boys,  for completely different reasons, which I was unaware of.  I had no real understanding of what sexual attraction actually was until I was maybe 12 or 13. Even then it wasn’t clear. Many adults say they can point to a time when they realized—from an adult perspective—that they were having special feelings either for the same or opposite sex. But it could not have been clear to the child at the time, who has no frame of reference. He knows he feels special ferlings for some people and not others.  That’s probably as far as it goes in his undeveloped mind and body. I doubt there is a child under 12 who can say, unequivocally that he is gay or straight.  There are probably many adolescents and adults who can’t say that. It’s a difficult process to go through and to understand and it takes maturity to work through it.  Adults can look back on their childhoods and pinpoint certain ideas from an adult perspective they could never have pinpointed or understood as a child. This goes for people who are anywhere on the sexual orientation continuum. It’s easy for someone to say once they have matured and decided what their orientation is that they knew all along whether they were gay or straight. I doubt that. It is obvious only in retrospect.

[ Edited: 21 October 2013 02:53 AM by Lois ]
Posted: 20 October 2013 07:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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Joined  2011-11-06

Although this will not answer the original question, one other consideration in our society is bullying. Some youth, even as young as 7, can be bullied and called “gay” or even derogatory terms by their peers based on stereotypes, whether those bullies fully understand the meaning of the term “gay” or not. While that is not a determining factor in ones orientation, of course, I think it should be considered as youth are continually labeled or called names by their peers, and may perhaps accept those labels. As a gay person myself, I’ve noticed some of the most fervent speakers about homosexuality are in fact heterosexual persons. I was called “gay” when I was younger by peers long before I “accepted” myself or fully understand what it meant. Again, some of the most ardent users of these labels, even at surprisingly young ages, seemed to be peers. The word “gay” is spouted off in all sorts of nonsensical manners…“You’re gay.” “This is so gay” “My homework is so gay.” With youth usage of the term, the only true way to know what a child who says, “I am gay” actually is thinking is ask, “And what does gay mean to you?” And then just listen to the child’s explanation. But I stand by my original claims that no one can assert what a child means, especially without speaking with the child, as I think it remiss to apply a blanket answer to a question such as, “can a (insert age) know his or her orientation?” There are going to be anecdotes for both sides, as evidenced from the previous replies. I don’t think we can say what a person knows or doesn’t know without official and unbiased research in this particular area…we can’t say, “well, I certainly didn’t know at that age, so no way any other child could have comprehended it either.”

[ Edited: 20 October 2013 07:10 PM by FinallyDecided ]
Posted: 21 October 2013 12:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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FinallyDecided - 20 October 2013 07:05 PM

But I stand by my original claims that no one can assert what a child means, especially without speaking with the child, as I think it remiss to apply a blanket answer to a question such as, “can a (insert age) know his or her orientation?”

I don’t see how there could be a single age. Sort like determining the age of puberty. The ‘normal’ range is quite wide and there are a lot of confounding circumstances. I don’t see how it could be otherwise for sexuality and sexual awareness.


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