A lot of teens want to know if it is normal to experiment sexually with a same sex friend and if doing so means they are gay, lesbian or bisexual.
Hooking-up with someone of the same sex can mean a lot of things and it can mean different things to different people. But whatever it means, you should know that same sex hook-ups are common among teens who identify as straight, among those who identify as gay, and among those who are questioning their sexual orientation.
A lot of teens experiment sexually with someone of the same sex. Sometimes this helps them figure out whether or not they are gay, lesbian or bisexual and sometimes it doesn't.
One reader explains how same sex hook-ups meant really different things for her than they did for an ex-boyfriend.
"As a girl, I've experimented with my friends. You know, have a little fun. I came to the conclusion that I'm not quite straight. My ex-boyfriend, the straightest guy I've ever met to the point of almost being homophobic, has kissed a couple of his guy friends, so obviously some guys do it too."
Though experimenting with a same sex friend can be an indication of your sexual orientation, this isn't automatically the case. That can be confusing to a teen who doesn't identify as gay, but who enjoyed the hook-up. Keep in mind that it is normal for adolescents to go through a process of figuring out their sexual likes and dislikes. As About's Guide to Gay Life explains, "Experimentation is a very normal and healthy part of our development. [Same sex experimentation], in some form or another, helps us develop sexually. Often times, though, our true sexual feelings don't become clear until much later in life."
Another teen writes that for him experimenting was related to being gay, but this was not the case for the two guys he hooked-up and with whom he did not have the same approached to the hook-ups.
"I experimented with two friends I like and told one I liked him and the other that i was just gay. The friend I told I liked kinda blew me off and still sorta does. The other friend is a lot closer now."
If you are the teen who identifies as straight then it is important to realize that if you experiment with a friend who is gay, then that person might view this less as an "experiment" and more as something where romantic feelings might be involved. And if that person has feelings for you that you don't share, then he or she could get really hurt in the process.
The best way to avoid this is by being up front about where you are emotionally. Don't pretend to be something you are not, and avoid "experimenting" with someone who is interested in you if you don't feel the same way.
Of course, some people aren't comfortable with the term "experiment" to describe same sex hook-ups. As one teen whose parents refuse to believe he is gay writes, "I hate the words experimenting and phase They're the most common things any parent says." And while it is true that sometimes people use the term "experimenting" in a dismissive way, this can also be a pretty good description of what a teen is experiencing.
Ultimately, while same sex experimentation might help some teens figure out whether or not they are gay, for others it is just an event in their sexual development on par with various others.