Hey Brooke,

My 17 year old son is in Spain for his junior year of high school. He is absolutely loving it, has great friends, a girlfriend and is doing extremely well academically. He told me yesterday on the phone that he had been feeling attracted to boys in the past few weeks and he needed to sort that out.

We live in Northern California and he went to a VERY progressive high school for two years that really celebrated the idea of everyone being on the spectrum of sexuality, no one is gay or straight, we’re all a combination etc. Many of the girls in his class called themselves bi-sexual and I think it was kind of the “cool” thing.

I actually don’t think he’s gay, maybe curious or maybe responding to the super charged highly sexulaized environment that all teens are navigating right now with perfect access to online porn and entertainment that is pushing every conventional boundary. He is also a kid who loves to be different, loves shock value…

When he was a preteen we found the Sports Illustrated swim suit edition hidden under his bed, he has had a couple girlfriends including a quite serious one last year. I feel like I would know if he were actually gay and frankly, if he were actually gay, I would be 100% supportive. What I am not comfortable with is a more freewheeling, experimental “anything goes” sexuality that seems to be more the norm today with teens (at least in our area).

I totally intellectually understand that this is his journey but I also don’t want him to make a choice while living abroad at 17 that could have long term repurcussions. I am pretty sure that I wouldn’t have married my husband (whom I absolutely adore and have built a beautful life with) if he had homosexual experimentation as part of his teen years. So, my fear is that the culture is telling this boy “try it out, no problem, totally okay to experiment” but that there could be very real negative consequences down the road. Again, his journey, but as his mother I would like to advise him to proceed with extreme caution. I do think teens are getting the message that any type of sexuality is completely fine, I would like to offer a different point of view. Do you have any advice? Confused mom in Nor Cal!