Adolescent Same Sex Exploration and Experimentation

By OckyDub | Posted Sep 24 2014 | 16 Comments  


My other-half and I were having a candid conversation about sex (as we often do) and the topic of being honest about sexual experimentation came up. He said pretty much all of his male friends and acquaintances (regardless of their current sexual orientation) have experimented or “messed around” with the same sex when they were younger. Some examples of “messing around” would be dry humping groin to groin or groin to backside, play wrestling with erections, measuring or comparing penises, shared or mutually masturbating and fellatio.

These activities could have taken place with brothers, other relatives, or friends. The point he made was that if men were more open about their sexual exploration and experimentation that they partook in when they were younger, views about homosexuality would be more relaxed and less rigid. This could lead to less men being in the closet and less men having destructive regressive sexual dysfunctions. I disagreed.

I think its common knowledge that many children explore each other sexually, not for sexual reasons but out of curiosity. Isn’t that what “playing doctor” was all about when you were younger? I think adolescent sexual exploration and experimentation is not a true crystal ball or indicator of what one’s sexual orientation will be when they become an adult but is a part of fulfilling youthful sexual curiosity…which most psychological professionals will tell you is natural. In my opinion this is why statements like “it’s just a phase” or “you will grow out of it” are made by parents and authority figures when teenagers and young adults discuss their sexuality (homosexuality).

In their minds eye and logic; as you get older, you should know better and therefore do better. Being sexually attracted to the same sex is a phase that is a byproduct of being a mischievous kid or a rebellious teenager. Kinda like stealing candy, smoking pot, or a white girl dating a black guy to make daddy mad; it’s something to grow out of as you mature. This societal mindset in conjunction with religion, insecurities or rigid sexual views are some of the reasons a lot of adult men would never admit to their youthful sexual inquisitiveness as not to be labeled “gay” or a “homo”, even though as an adult they fall within the heterosexual side on the sexual scale.

What are your thoughts? Do you tend to lean towards my old man’s mindset on this topic or do you lean towards old Ocky’s logic? Is this a chicken and egg type scenario?

About the Author

Octavius is a founder and editor of Cypher Avenue. He's here to help speak for us and show the world that masculine gay / bisexual men of color are not a part of the stereotypical gay normal that is seen and fed to the masses. No...we are a distinct breed, filled with character and pride. Cypher Avenue is here to show the world how we are different.

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16 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. Michael Brown | September 24th, 2014

    I think you’re both right. I do believe that if men were open about their exploration when they were younger that society would be forced to take a deeper look at sexuality and sexual orientation. Also, I do think that religion has A LOT to do with the stigma. Even though people participated in said affairs, of course they are going to have a ill-feelings towards homosexuality if they are being taught that by not only the church, but indirectly by the world that what they’ve done is wrong. They will do what generations have done before them. Repress, condemn and condition the youth to feel the same way and the cycle continues. I do not believe engaging in “gay” acts makes you gay. I think there are many reasons people do what they do. So yes, if they stopped touching men because they figured out they weren’t sexually attracted to them they will believe it should be the same way for everyone else.

  2. SB3
    African King | September 24th, 2014

    I don’t necessarily think that if men who may be dating women were more open about how they may have messed with another boy (brother, relative or friend) that things would be easier as far as people’s views about homosexuality and sexuality in general. I just think that if people would not make sexuality such a big deal altogether that things would be much better.

    I do believe that children are always inquisitive and that they want to learn more about things that they don’t comprehend. One of those things relating to sex (the act, the organs, the feelings, etc). I believe that @ocky and Prince D both have valid points. One of the ways to dispel the views people have about homosexuality is to get people talking. People have to educate themselves about the things that they don’t understand instead of casting negative vibes and being fearful of those things. I believe that educating yourself about anything you don’t understand is self-empowerment. I think that if people did that regarding LGBT that it would make for less drama. That would be a large part of the greater whole where people can become more understanding of sexual expermentation and also, that would take off the stigma behind people coming out.

  3. BlackguyExecutive | September 24th, 2014

    I think this posting is an example of how we find binaries to be comforting. Black and White, Gay and Straight, Rich and Poor. I agree that kids by their very nature curious and do things in that exploration and if people were more honest about that exploration it would shift society into an uncomfortable position. Throughout my primary school years I attended performing arts schools which was unusual in itself but I remember taking a trip to New York to attend this music competition and sharing a room with my cohorts and watching porn for the first time. There was fooling around and today I think I am the only gay guy from the bunch. I am still friends with some of those guys and we never spoke of that one literal “one time at band camp.” I don’t think that exploration of sexuality at younger years determines one’s sexuality in the future. I also don’t really believe that people turn gay and doing a gay sex act doesn’t make one gay either. I think homosexuality is inherent in the a persons nature and that it, how you were built. I think that the millennial generation understand that sexuality is fluid and are moving away from the binary perspective. I mean I have had sex with women during my closet years, it felt good, all the parts worked but I also knew that it wasn’t natural for me, I actively had to work at it but that doesn’t mean I am bisexual or straight.

  4. Jamie | September 24th, 2014

    I don’t know about this one…I think that if you have done something with the opposite or same sex as a youth, then you are to some degree bisexual. I knew I was gay in childhood, did “some” gay things with other boys, never girls. If these men did gay things growing up, something in them had an attraction to the same sex…same as if a child who’s gay did something with the opposite sex…bisexuality is more prevalent than it seems, it’s just society is rigid when it comes to sexuality.

    • lyriq88
      Lyriq | September 24th, 2014

      I hear what you’re saying, but honestly Jamie I feel like your post is another example of projecting “our understanding of how WE work” onto someone else. The same way straight folks will say “Pussy is amazing, why would a man ever want to be with another man? He wasn’t born that way! He’s choosing to engage in that behavior.”

      Statements like that are born from a person’s inability to accept any POV that doesn’t line up with their own or an experience that they haven’t had. I had same-sex experimentation as a child that involved both males and females. Some of those females are gay now. Some are straight. Some of the guys are gay. Some of those guys are VERY straight. My reasons for engaging with those boys and looking at their dicks may have been my inner homo coming out. For those other guys, they may have just been genuinely curious about what another man’s body looked like.

      Point is, we don’t know what’s going on in another’s head. And I’ve learned from my experiences as a gay man, just because someone doesn’t “get me” doesn’t mean my feelings and truth are less valid. So whenever I come across a situation with a person who’s different from myself, I just give them the benefit of the doubt. No one’s walk is gonna be the same and we have to give people the space to be who they are.

  5. Dre G | September 24th, 2014

    People will give certain things a pass as childhood behavior.You can get away with saying you and another dude took baths together if ya’ll we both small children,but you’re expected to grow out of it.Lot’s of guys even admit to peeing outside with other boys when they were young an commenting on who’s bigger,cut/uncut or has hair,but it wasn’t about attraction it was about being exposed to those variations in other males for the first time.It’s part of childhood curiosity and development,so adding these instances to the argument of whether or not homosexuality is natural will aid the viewpoint that homosexuals are really just confused and searching.

  6. ControlledXaos | September 24th, 2014

    I think many guys experimented as boys. All that was described. I remember the bragging rights for:

    “I got hair down there.”
    “No you don’t.”
    “Uhh huh!”
    “Let me see.”
    “Ok then.”

    I think when you are at that prepubescent age and the sleepovers and stuff are frequent, it’s common for these little experiences to happen. I think it’s just natural curiosity for a while. Even still, your sexual orientation was hardwired before you were born. So even with experimentation, you’ll slide over to your natural attractions sooner or later.

    I do think that the ‘shame’ that people put on being gay as well as the religious condemnation of homosexuality all play a part. If people, men, didn’t feel shame for these things there would be a better understanding of same sex attraction. I think everyone would be a lot happier than they are across the board but that’s probably never going to happen. That Greek and Roman heyday of commonplace same sex relationships is over.

  7. jusrawb
    Rob | September 25th, 2014

    I don’t believe adolescent being curious and experimenting deems their sexual orientation. Though I doubt many men will admit to same sex sexual experiences as a kid, even if they did, It probably won’t change much. Instead for people like me, who experimented with both girls and boys, would be bring on the questions that maybe we are actually bisexual or we are just choosing to be gay.

    What about the people who are involved with the opposite sex for most of their life and then later to find out they are actually attracted to the same sex? I think those situations are most interesting.

  8. SB3000 | September 25th, 2014

    In the long run, I can’t give too much credit to the idea that this would lead to more acceptance of homosexuality, even if it has the tag of ‘it’s normal’ or ‘all kids do it’, because the difference is, not all those kids grow up and end up gay.

  9. Chuck Woolley | September 25th, 2014

    An interesting argument. I remember, back in the early 70’s, when I was young. The only experimentation I remember with friends was either checking out each other’s “equipment”, or watching each other beat off. I don’t remember me or my friends touching each other. Back then, you were either str8 or queer. Looking wasn’t seen as “bad”, but touching was. I think the implied ‘shame’ that people put on being gay, as well as religions condemnation of homosexuality all play a part. I think that if men didn’t feel shame for these things, then there would be a better understanding of things outside the str8 sphere. I think everyone would be a lot happier, across the board, if we could accept people for who people are. Well, in a perfect world….

  10. Deacon
    Deacon CJ | September 26th, 2014

    Ocky I have to somewhat disagree with you, for me the difference adolescent sexual exploration and experimentation comes down to intent. For many guys who have that feeling of being different at a very young age but don’t knowing exactly what it is for them I would call that adolescent sexual exploration and for those that are just playing around with other guys as something to do I would say are participating in sexual experimentation. By the time men are pre-teens most know whether they did or didn’t like what they did and also by that time have heard so many homophobic slurs and anti gay sermons that if they are gay their too afraid to come out. When I was about 7/8 yrs old me and a few of my boys I grew up with played around with each other, dry humping & kissing, me and another kid named Randy liked it but for the other guys it was something kids did and moved on from it. Growing up my best friend never let me forget how me & Randy dry humped each other, what he didn’t know was that by the time I was 14 Randy and I had moved on beyond dry humping to actual sexual intercourse, I knew I was gay but I wasn’t telling anyone. Just as we played around with one another we also played kiss the girl, not that I liked it. Straight kids from my hood were sexually active by the age of 13 and what they did learn about sex was from either school or the older guys that were around, by the time parents talked to us we knew more than they did. It would help if parents did talk to their kids starting at a young age between 3-6 starting with the body parts then by 10 they could be more detailed but that’s just the mechanics, it’s the parents attitude about homosexuality that will determine how comfortable the child is about being gay if and when they will come out.

    • ControlledXaos | September 26th, 2014

      “The Birds and the Bees” is a talk that parents do wait too late to have. By the time kids are 13, they know a lot. Parents have to learn to be comfortable with this topic.

      I always say: when they start to ask where babies come from or when Leif asks why he has a penis and why Fiona doesn’t, it starts there. Age appropriate and progressive as time moves on. Especially now as children are maturing earlier.

      Kids are going to mess around. Some will at least. It’s best they be prepared and informed.

      Few of kids go from nothing straight to penetrative sex. It’s still a progressive process with experimentation and buildup.

      • SB3000 | September 26th, 2014

        Talk about bein too late for the discussion, my mom actually asked me if I was a virgin while I was home for winter break my freshman yr of college. Mind u, I had been fukn all up n thru the house since I was 15..smh

    • John | September 29th, 2014

      But school tells you no? We started to learn biology from 3.My parents were typical distant and strict African parents but thank god my Dad worked so hard to make sure we went to good schools because even though they were religious schools, they were still private, therefore competing with other schools for the best grades, so where my parents said nothing, school taught us everything. Plus the libraries at school!

  11. Rod Turpin
    Rod! | September 26th, 2014

    Same sex experimentation is far more common than a lot of guys would admit. It’s not even necessarily an indication of homosexuality/bisexuality, often times its just young guys figuring out their bodies and all. I definitely agree that if guys were more open about this experimentation than we wouldn’t have a lot of this “macho-man” homophobia that we see. The problem is in some of the stark differences with how we view male experimentation compared to female experimentation (which is in many cases much more accepted).

  12. Aejae
    Aejae | June 22nd, 2015

    Unfortunately I didn’t ‘experiment’ my sexuality when I was a teenager. Hell, I didn’t even do it when I was in my early 20s. And that’s one of my biggest regret. I’ve turned all of my attractions and urges to the Internet, from looking at men naked, to them posing having sex, and even clips of pornos (back in the 2000s the luxury of things like MyVidster). With the fact that I was so scared, very quiet and reserved, and not all of that attractive to even get the eye of at least one dude, I didn’t have no choice. And I wasn’t going to just hit on somebody because in my mind, I was the only gay person I knew. Everybody around me, including family, school, and church, were homophobic, and that’s probably why I still feel this way today. But I do believe that some men can ‘experiment’ with the same sex and they may still turn out to be straight. Some people may not be all the way, but for me, I always knew. I just wish I had that chance of having some sex or even some physical affection in anyway in my teenage years, hell, even now.

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