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teens sexual orientation

(7 Posts)
humblesims Wed 28-Sep-16 08:22:11

I have a DS17. He has always been quite a shy child and likes his own company. He has friends at school (boys school but mixed 6th form) but rarely meets up with them outside school. He's a bit of a loner. He does get involved with group activities such as DofE and enjoys camping out and that sort of thing so even though he is quite shy he doesnt hide away because of it. He gets on well with people and happily speaks with confidence but not necessarily about his inner feelings etc. So far so teenagery. He has never had a girlfriend (asked a girl on a sort of date and that was ages ago. No further dates) or a boyfriend. Not unusual I know and I have kept my nose out and not talked to him much about these things as he is quite private and I dont want to be a nosy mum.
Yesterday I was helping him to fill in his UCAS application (early app) and in the personal details we came up with a section on sexual orientation, a drop down menu including straight gay bi and a couple of others including 'prefer not to say'. The question took us both off guard a bit and he quickly said "I dont have one" and chose to leave the question. I said "You can always chose the 'prefer not to say' option" and he still decided to just leave the question.
As we were deep into the process of filling in the application and as I didnt feel prepared to question him right then so I left it and we carried on with the form.
Now I have a few questions and I am not sure whether I should have a chat with him. I'm not sure if he meant that he actually has no sexual orientation at all or whether he is unsure of it or whether, as a virgin, he understood the question to mean sexual activity rather than orientation.
Anyway, I am not sure if I should just butt out and mind my own business or if I should try and discuss this with him. I have always said to him that I am here for him and that he can tell me anything. I realise of course that the last thing a private teen wants to do is talk to him mum about sex but... I dunno. Is is possible to have no sexual orientation at 17? Another thing that I have noticed (warning TMI...) is that when I change his sheets there is no evidence of masturbation (compared to his 15yr old brother for example). Of course he may masturbate somewhere other than his bed. But I kind of wonder actually if he even does masturbate. Of course I would feel a bit odd asking him that. Generally he seems like a 'normal' teenager in the sense that he is happy sometimes and grumpy sometimes. We have a good relationship but I have never pried too much into personal things with him and wonder whether I should.
Sorry this is so rambling. Any advice?

Otherpeoplesteens Wed 28-Sep-16 15:28:45

I was your DS once upon a time. It is not at all beyond the bounds of possibility that a 17 year old has given very little thought to his sexual orientation if he's never really had to confront it before. At that age I was also shy and reserved, but fully immersed in most of the healthy pursuits a teenager should have. Whilst I was aware that I had feelings for individuals of my own sex I was also very aware that - for a variety of reasons - acting on them was always going to be a long way in the future. I could barely articulate my orientation then but I had also never been asked to, and would have been similarly flummoxed had I been presented with the question.

The alternative, of course, is that he knows full well what the answer is but for whatever reason could not bring himself to select it in front of you. That's entirely his choice and you MUST respect his privacy if you want to retain his respect. Without directly referencing this particular experience, continue to let him know you love him and care about him regardless, and that you are there if he needs you.

Leave it at that. His sexual orientation, lack thereof, late bloomer status - it's his life. Don't make it about your curiosity.

And, whatever the situation, do not mention masturbation evidence to either of them!

WilLiAmHerschel Wed 28-Sep-16 15:34:39

When I was that age I had crushes but not in a sexual way, more a child like way if that makes sense. I have a long term dp and a child now. I sometimes felt embarrassed that my friends had boyfriends and I didn't, but I didn't really want one. I just hadn't matured in that way yet. I think it takes some people longer than others. I was and still am very private and would have wanted the ground to swallow me up if my mum had tried to speak to me about it. You know him best so you'll know whether he wants to talk about it, but personally I don't think it is a problem that needs solving.

WilLiAmHerschel Wed 28-Sep-16 15:38:27

Actually thinking about it, I'd have been completely embarrassed having to answer that question in front of my mum!

humblesims Wed 28-Sep-16 16:40:53

Thanks for replying both. You've reassured me somewhat and I think thats all I needed. Youre right Otherpeoplesteens i will keep my nose out and continue to support in a passive way.

Otherpeoplesteens Wed 28-Sep-16 17:06:50

You're welcome humblesims.

Two other observations, in no particular order:

1) It's difficult because it's so counter-intuitive, but the best way of keeping your children close to you as older teens and adults is to let them go.

2) A mother's mind is possibly the ONLY place on Earth where her uninvited enquiry into her 17 year old son's sexuality doesn't come across as at least a teeny bit prurient.

MyNewBearTotoro Wed 28-Sep-16 17:19:59

He could be asexual.

A sexuality is a recognised sexual orientation in which the person doesn't feel sexually attracted to people of either gender (they may still feel a romantic attraction) or where they are only sexually attracted to people under very specific circumstances (eg: after growing very close to them platonically.)

Some asexual people may enjoy masturbation but others have a very reduced or non-existent libido. Perhaps your son is asexual, or perhaps he just hasn't discovered his sexuality yet.

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