In this article we are going to talk about some signs your boyfriend or husband may be gay and what you can (and should) do.
You might find yourself here because you suspect he might actually be gay. You’ve seen some signs that have called his sexuality into question, and you want to know if you should be worried or what you’re supposed to do about it if he’s into guys and not into you.
Or you’re not here for you at all. You’re here for a friend. Right. That happens, too.
How to Tell if Your Boyfriend Is Gay
Whether you’re here for yourself or to find out if someone else could be experiencing this situation, let’s take a look at some signs that your “straight” boyfriend might actually be gay…and what you can do.
Why listen to me? I’m Crystal Jackson and I was a master’s level licensed therapist. I worked with couples and individuals and specialized in trauma recovery and empowerment. I now write content about relationships, self-improvement, and psychology. My work has been featured in large publications such as Elite Daily, Your Tango, Positively Positive, and Mamamia.
1. He Checks Out Other Men
Straight men don’t check out other men. Straight men might acknowledge that another man is attractive or considered attractive.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But they won’t typically do a double take or check out another man in a sexual way.
2. He Doesn’t Show Interest in Physical Intimacy with You
You might think your boyfriend is gay because he doesn’t seem interested in physical intimacy with you. There are other possible reasons that he may have lost interest.
He could be quietly quitting the relationship. He might be experiencing an underlying physical or mental health issue. He might be cheating on you with someone else. It doesn’t necessarily mean he’s gay — although it’s a possibility.
3. He’s Open to a Threesome with a Man
While exploring fantasies, he may have suggested or seemed agreeable to a threesome with a man where he is an active participant with the man. This isn’t straight behavior, but it is possible that he’s bisexual.
Listen carefully to what he’s saying, and if you do try out this fantasy in real life, pay attention to his interactions. Does he lose interest in you and direct it toward this male third party? Did you become the third wheel in this scenario?
4. He’s Dated Men Before or Has Expressed Curiosity About It
A man who has dated men in the past may have been exploring his sexuality and then later come to the conclusion that he’s straight. A past history with men doesn’t indicate that he’s gay.
If he expresses curiosity about exploring his sexuality, it’s possible that he could be gay but isn’t sure.
5. He Flirts with Men
Some men are just flirts. They flirt with everyone. This doesn’t mean they’re gay. But if his flirtatious nature has a sexual or romantic edge and includes men, it’s possible that he is and just isn’t out about it. Are you uncomfortable that he’s flirting at all or that he’s flirting with someone of another gender?
6. His Porn is Male Centered
Male centered pornography is one of the signs that your boyfriend may be gay. Do you know what kind of porn he’s into? It’s unlikely that a straight man is hiding gay magazines or gay porn. If you notice an interest that skews to his own gender, it’s certainly a possibility that he might be interested in men.
7. He Tries Too Hard to Seem Straight
Men who are over-the-top masculine are often hiding something or overcompensating. It’s possible your too-straight-to-be-true boyfriend could be hiding an interest in men. It’s also possible that he’s feeling the pressure of gender norms and wishes he could challenge those stereotypes.
It’s possible he’s not gay at all and just has an awareness that the ideas of “masculine” and “feminine” are social constructs that limit our development.
8. He Seems Disinterested in Attractive Women
If your boyfriend never seems interested in attractive women, he could just be a good guy who doesn’t check out people who aren’t his girlfriend. However, if you see a woman so hot you’re surprised he didn’t notice, he could be gay — or, once again, a good man.
If you’re not used to good men, you could assume he’s gay. While that’s a possibility, this one factor alone would not make homosexuality my first assumption.
9. Most of His Friends are Gay
A man who is secretly gay might have a lot of gay friends. Or he could be a straight man who is comfortable enough with his own sexuality not to feel threatened by having a variety of friends, including gay ones.
This alone isn’t enough to constitute a clear sign. It really depends on their interactions and some of the other signs on this list.
10. He Has Targeted Ads for Gay Men
If you notice your boyfriend has a lot of targeted ads for gay men on his phone or social media, it’s possible that he’s been in some online realms for gay men. His search history may be outing him with ads clearly designed for men who date men.
There could be other reasons this happens, but this actually is a good sign that he’s at least been exploring his sexuality.
11. He Acts Homophobic
Homophobic men absolutely hate when you point out that it could be hiding their own sexuality issues. But it’s true. Internalized homophobia is real. Someone who is secure in their sexuality doesn’t need to hate on someone else for theirs.
Not every homophobe is gay, but it certainly shows a discomfort with their sexuality that they probably aren’t revealing on purpose.
12. He Has “Man Crushes” on Celebrities
There’s nothing wrong with having a man crush on a celebrity — where your boyfriend says he has a crush on a male celebrity. This is a normal behavior. But are all his celebrity crushes men? Does he want to be like them, or does he want to date them?
It might make you wonder if no woman celebrity every makes his list.
13. He’s More Interested in the Back Door
His interest in back door activities over front door ones, to put it delicately, are not necessarily a sign that he’s gay. Many straight men are big fans of the back door and its entrance. But if it seems like a primary interest for him, you might wonder if he’s gay.
It’s certainly something to talk about if it makes you uncomfortable, but this is not a clear indicator of his sexuality and may instead reveal an area of sexuality that you simply feel uncomfortable exploring.
I mention it here because it’s one of those “signs” that might not be a sign at all but is worth discussing if the real issue is that you don’t prefer it.
14. He Talks About How Judgmental His Family/Town/Colleagues Are About Gay People
If your boyfriend spends a lot of time talking about how judgmental his family, town, colleagues, and society in general is about gay people, he might be expressing some concern about what it might be like to come out as a gay man.
With good reason. Society’s prejudices aren’t subtle, and gay people still have to deal with bigotry and hatred.
If he fixates on the subject, it could be because he has a heart for social justice — a commendable trait. Or he could be afraid of the very real consequences of owning his sexuality in a world that isn’t kind or inclusive.
15. He’s Told You He Might Be — But Expresses Fear
This is one of the clearest signs your boyfriend may be gay. If your boyfriend says he might be gay but expresses fear, you already know that it’s a possibility. You just might wonder what you’re supposed to do now that you have more confirmation than you had before.
The fact that he’s admitting to an interest or curiosity is an open door to further explore this.
What You Should Do if You Think He May Be Gay
Be Aware of Bisexuality
First of all, it’s important to talk about the erasure of bisexual people. People aren’t just gay or straight. They may be attracted to both men and women. They might even identify as pansexual or multisexual with an attraction to all genders and non-binary individuals.
Your boyfriend might like girls — but not exclusively. If he’s with you, then you are the person he’s attracted to and choosing to partner. You might want to explore any bias you might have against bi or pan individuals if you feel uncomfortable with any sexuality but straight.
Recommended read: Omnisexual: What Does It Mean and Signs It Might Be Your Orientation
Don’t Take It Personally
If he is gay, don’t take this personally. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with him. It might hurt your feelings if you find out that he’s not attracted to you or your gender after all, but it’s important to consider the societal reasons that made him feel like he should be.
You are entitled to your feelings but remember that his sexuality really isn’t intended to hurt you.
Don’t Try to Change His Mind
Never invalidate another person’s sexuality by presuming you know more about it than they do. Don’t try to convince him he’s not gay if he reveals that he is. He might think you’re attractive and an ideal partner, but that doesn’t have anything to do with his sexuality.
You can’t shame him or manipulate him into changing his mind — and shouldn’t anyway.
Show Empathy When You Talk to Him About It
The most important thing you can do during this process is to show empathy. However you approach this topic, be empathetic to his feelings, fears, and concerns. This is not a place for your judgment.
You are entitled to his feelings, but if you care about him, you’ll take care to bring empathy to the table for this conversation.
Recommended read: 12 Surprising Signs You’re a Super Empath
Don’t Pressure Him to Come Out
If he is gay, you don’t need to pressure him to come out. He will if and when he feels ready. It’s not your job to baby step him out of the closet. You just need to decide what it means for your relationship if he admits that he’s exclusively attracted to men.
Coming out of the closet is a huge decision — and it’s not for you to make.
Don’t Out Him Because You Feel Rejected
The worst thing you can possibly do is to out him because you feel hurt, angry, or rejected. It’s not your place to tell other people he’s gay. It’s completely inappropriate and harmful to do so.
If you break up because of it, you can always lead with “we wanted different things”. You don’t have to share that he wanted a different type of relationship altogether.
To expose someone’s sexuality and open them up to the consequences of it before they’re ready is reprehensible. No matter how hurt you feel, this isn’t the appropriate way to handle it.
Don’t Try to Set Him Up with a Man
It’s a terrible idea to try to set up your gay boyfriend — or ex-boyfriend — with a man. Just because he’s into men doesn’t mean he wants you to set him up on a date, find him a partner, or sign him up for a dating site.
You might not know his type, and even if you do, it would be really awkward for you to try to matchmake after dating him.
Support Him and Be His Friend
The best thing you can do is to support him. You cared enough about him to date him. Do you care enough about him to support him as a friend even if you’re not dating? Do you care enough to explore issues of sexuality in a kind and respectful way?
It’s possible the boyfriend you suspect is gay just isn’t straight. He might be bisexual, pansexual, or even trans.
You won’t know if you don’t talk about it. You need all the information to make an informed decision, but if personal prejudices comes up for you in the process, you may want to explore those, too.
Discomfort with bisexuality or pansexuality might be more about you than him.
It’s possible that your boyfriend is a member of the LGBTQ+ community. When you’re ready for a kind and respectful conversation, you can initiate it with your partner. This may be a difficult conversation for both of you, but if you care about each other, you’ll manage it with an equal amount of care.
Recommended read: What Does LGBTIQCAPGNGFNBA Really Stand For?