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What I Wish I Knew Before Kissing My First Man in College

What I Wish I Knew Before Kissing My First Man in College

What I Wish I Knew Before Kissing My First Man in College

You might not have that aha! moment...


I was called, "gay" throughout middle and high school. Rarely in a playful manner. Gay was thrown at me as a pejorative. It was a word intended to hurt. To cut deep into my skin and make me feel shame. Gay was also whispered behind my back. Speculations about my sexuality were nonstop, and rumors were constantly spread without my knowledge. I denied the rumors the best I could, and pushed my same-sex attractions deep down. Being bisexual (although I didn't know it at the time), I focused my attention on women. But in the back of my mind, there were always a ton of what if's that nagged at me. What if I am gay? What if I tried kissing a man? What if they're all right?

So when I got to college, I decided I wanted to try it. And by it, I mean men. I wanted—no, I needed—to have a sexual experience with a man. I wasn't sure how the experience would look. I wasn't sure if I would like it, but I knew I had to give it a shot. The nagging urge was clearly not going away anytime soon.

It didn't take long for it to happen. My second week of college I hooked up with my first guy. In order to get to that point where I allowed myself to be intimate with another man, I got hammered. So drunk that I left midway through kissing him to go vomit. After the experience, I was more confused than I was before. It offered no clarity. It was so meh. I thought I would have this epiphany. Either I'd love it or I'd hate it, but when neither happened, I began to question my sexuality even more. I realize now my confusion stemmed from the fact that I wasn’t in the correct headspace to explore my sexuality. So here are 7 things I wish I knew before making out with my first guy in college.

1. You might not have that aha! moment

I had built up the moment I first kissed a man to be this huge, enlightening experience. I had heard so many stories of gay men who kissed a man and immediately knew they were gay. They claim it felt "so right." While this does happen to many gay/bisexual men, this may not happen to you. If you're like me, your insecurities and internalized homophobia run too deep. Because of this, it may take a few (or many) times for you to loosen up and actually enjoy the experience.

2. It's almost impossible to explore without immediately being labeled as gay, but there are things you can do

The double standard is real. If a woman gets drunk and hooks up with another woman, the perception is often that she is not gay or bisexual. She was just drunk. She was exploring her sexuality. If a man gets drunk and hooks up with another man, he is 100% gay. If he claims he's not, he's in denial. This isn't true, and honestly, labeling every man who experiments with another man as gay does no service to those men or the LGBTQ+ community. I have straight friends who experimented with men in college, and no, they're not gay. They're not even bi. They were, however, open-minded, and confused about their sexuality, so they gave it a shot. After exploring and realizing that they weren't gay/bi, they faced a lot of flack and were constantly rumored to be closeted. Be prepared for this to happen. The best way to deal with it is to be open about your exploration. You also shouldn’t feel any guilt. When you deny that it happened or you claim you were super drunk, people aren't going to believe you. When you say calmly, "Oh yeah. I did make out with him. I thought I may be into it, but I was really not," then people are more likely to believe you.

3. Don't be hammered/super high

A little tipsy, sure. But I hooked up with men all throughout college. Every single time, I was sloshed. I was too nervous and scared to hook up with a guy sober, but I really wish I did. I would have had more clarity much sooner about my sexuality.

4. Anal sex is intimidating

I've asked other gay/bi men if they had a fear of anal sex and because of it didn’t initially think they were queer. I was surprised by the number of men, who, like me, were turned off by the idea of anal sex, and therefore unsure if they were interested in men. Anal sex can be intimidating and intense at first and it may preclude you from engaging in it as you start to explore your queerness. That's completely fine, but you can still be gay/bi without wanting to have anal sex. And once you get over your reservations regarding anal, I bet you will absolutely love it.

5. Kissing a beard at first can be weird

The first guy I kissed had a beard, and I got some of his facial hair in my mouth and was like, this is gross. Now I love guys with beards.

6. Penises are bizarre

I absolutely love d*ck now, but at the time, I would look at a penis and be like, what is this thing? What's appealing about seeing it? I already have one. Sucking it? Gross. Boy, have times changed.

7. You may not be gay, you may be bisexual

It's true! You may enjoy men, women, and any other gender. Don't assume because you like men that you must be gay. There are so many other queer sexual orientations.

So kiss some boys. You may love it, or you may realize it's not for you. Either way, make sure to have the right mindset when exploring your sexuality. Otherwise, like me, it may take the better part of a decade between kissing your first man and identifying as queer.

(Lead photo by Thiago Barletta on Unsplash.)

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Zachary Zane

Zachary Zane is a writer, YouTube influencer, and activist whose work focuses on (bi)sexuality, gender, dating, relationships, and identity politics. Check out his YouTube channel here.

Zachary Zane is a writer, YouTube influencer, and activist whose work focuses on (bi)sexuality, gender, dating, relationships, and identity politics. Check out his YouTube channel here.