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Kevin’s (50) Question: Dear Dr Dick. I enjoy looking at pictures of naked men. I am married to a woman. I have had sexual experiences with other men before. Does this mean I am gay or bisexual?

Dr Dick’s response: No, the fact that you enjoy looking at naked men and that you have had sexual experiences with men previously does not necessarily mean that you are gay or bisexual. I would like to normalise your possible anxiety in this regard by telling you that you are not alone. Research has shown that there are many men who are in heterosexual relationships who has / has had sexual experiences with other men. Literature distinguishes the following:

a) Sex: Whether a person is a male bodied or female bodied person (biological traits)
b) Gender: Traditional masculine and feminine roles which were constructed by society (masculinity vs. femininity)
c) Sexual orientation: Whether a person is heterosexual, homosexual (lesbian or gay) or bisexual. It is much more than just a sexual attraction. Sexual orientation also includes various other levels of attraction, including amongst others, emotional, spiritual, psychological, intellectual etc. Sexual orientation refers to “who you want to build a life with”.
d) Sexual play: Refers to sexual experiences of an individual – not dependant on the person’s sexual orientation. This means that a heterosexual man might enjoy sexual experiences with other men for whichever reason – this does not mean that he is gay or bisexual. A heterosexual woman might also engage in sexual activity with other women from time to time – this does not imply that she is lesbian or bisexual. Your sexual orientation does not determine who you have sex with. People have sex for various reasons.

It is difficult to give you a direct answer. Sexual orientation is a wonderful journey of discovery for an individual. It might be beneficial to approach a sensitised and affirmative mental health professional who can provide guidance while you discover your own sexual orientation. Also remember to always “play safe” by using condoms and water-based lubrication and other barrier methods to reduce the risk of STI transmission.