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Dear Tom Robinson
i am a 16 year old male and just recently i have been questioning myself, i am attracted to girls and boys, then some times i will look back at the person who i thought was nice and go, ummmm maybe not, it happens both ways and i am very confused... anything you can tell me would be helpful, as now i am wondering whether i will stop liking girls for good or boys please help!
yours sincerly,

Dear Richard,
Thanks for your email - being attracted to girls and boys is actually not all that unusual. Far more people feel this kind of attraction than usually admit it - most keep very quiet about it. Both boys and girls can be, let's face it, pretty damn attractive.

It isn't helped by some of the advertising images we get bombarded with, some of which seem to be subtly calculated to linger in people's minds by being sexually disturbing... There aren't any very reliable statistics around, but I seem to remember The Kinsey Report many years ago suggested 37% of all adult men had had some form of sexual experience with a member of the same sex at some point in their lives.

You wrote:
>some times i will look back at the
>person who i thought was nice and go, ummmm maybe not

Yeah - but sometimes we may kid ourselves without realising it. We'll see someone, fancy them, then look a bit closer and find "err, they're not actually that attractive after all" and look away again. But then we may see them again, perhaps out of the corner of our eye, or on another occasion, and fancy them all over again.

Because it's such an incredible risk to even admit to yourself that you want a particular person sexually (let alone actually admit it to them) it sometimes feels much safer to find a reason why we don't really want them after all,cos it lets us off the hook. All this is unconscious - we often don't even realise that's what we're doing.

>anything you can tell me would be helpful, as now i am wondering whethwer
>i will stop liking girls for good or boys !

The main thing is don't worry too much about defining yourself as "someone-who-likes-boys" or "someone-who-likes-girls"... the society we live in is WAY too keen to stick labels on everyone and human reality just isn't like that. People's sexuality isn't fixed... it shifts and twists throughout life, sometimes in surprising ways.

For what it's worth - I've been to bed with men who were straight - to all intents and purposes. They never did it with another man before or since. It was women they looked at and fancied in the street. But in my case something just happened between that particular man and me at that particular moment. We felt close, we felt attracted and it seemed the most natural thing in the world that we end up making love. At that moment gender just seemed kind of irrelevant.

For me personally it was the complete opposite. I fancied other boys from the age of ten or earlier and didn't find girls attractive AT ALL (though at school I used to try going out wth girls to see if I could make myself like it: it never worked by the way). Took me ages to come to terms with the idea of being "a queer" but when I finally did, and stopped caring who knew about me life became very sweet indeed. Bizarre thing was, that I *then* started having sex with women for the first time. It happened because I *knew* I was gay there was no big deal anymore about talking to women... Once I stopped trying so hard and didn't care whether anything happened, things really did start to happen. Actually I still find men *much* sexier than women, but ten years ago I nonetheless fell in love with one woman in particular and settled down. We've lived happily together ever since and have 2 kids. And she really likes the fact that I'm mostly gay... less danger of me having an affair with another woman, she says ! So you see - life can be full of surprises.

So don't be too worried about definitions. You're not "gay" or "bi" or "straight".... you're RICHARD. Just look beyond "what sex is this person" and ask whether you like the person themself, whatever sex they are. Be yourself, whoever that may turn out to be - and don't let *anyone* else tell you how to live your life.

Hope this is some help - you may also find this site useful:
Guide to coming out
It's a guide for gay and bisexual boys and men who are thinking about coming out. It deals with coming to terms with being gay or bisexual, how to tell friends and relations, and the basics of safer sex.