Is there a lower limit to the age at which one could first determine that a child is homosexual?

If so, what age is it?

  • 2
    When they start showing sexual behavior? (So the definition of 'sexual' is back in your court now. Varies by culture.)
    – user17408
    May 3, 2016 at 22:46
  • 2
    You can never tell, and it's pointless trying to second guess. Read this: Former US Senator discovered his sexual preferences changed at the age of 70. nytimes.com/2016/04/24/opinion/sunday/….
    – Ourjamie
    May 4, 2016 at 7:26
  • 2
    Famous quote: "Argue for your limitations and they are yours." - Richard Bach
    – user17408
    May 5, 2016 at 16:32
  • Is it a boy or a girl? Isn't it a bit early to impose a role on a child at the moment of birth...it will what it wants to be.
    – user21992
    May 11, 2016 at 21:38
  • the question is not unclear IMO
    – user20585
    May 12, 2016 at 3:09

4 Answers 4


EDIT: TL;DR -->I do not believe there is an age cap. From the moment the child is born, they learn from their surroundings and parents how to act/react to all situations. Some parts of a child are nurture (how they handle anger, gender roles, etc...), some are nature (liking sports vs art, etc...), but children are just experiencing life, they do not categorize themselves like we do.

I inferred some things about the OP's question because as it stands explicitly, the answer is a very short, "No". However, I felt that was unhelpful answer so I inferred that the OP must have had more going on behind the scenes that wasn't expressed in the post.

Children learn about life by watching others and by guidance from their parents. My 5 yr old boy likes to paint his nails because he has watched my wife do it. By no means does that mean he is homosexual. He simply saw someone else doing it, and tried doing it himself.

What ever the child you are thinking about is doing, he/she is probably just getting influence from other sources like TV or school. It is up to you to guide your child as you wish. If you want them to be homosexual, by all means tell them their behavior means they are homosexual. If you do not want your child to be homosexual, realize they are just experimenting. Possibly tell them that is something the other gender usually does, but do not prohibit them from doing it because the child really is just finding out about life.

Another example is when my 5yr old was putting my wife's hair ties and such in his hair, or putting on her bra. I just told him he was "being silly, putting on mama's clothes" and such. And he really was, he just likes being silly. He grew out of that and now likes to be silly by dancing all crazy like.

EDIT: nocomprende wrote a comment that I feel should not be missed, so I got his permission to put it in this answer.

"...we [adults] have a definition of homosexuality, but children simply have preferences and behavior. We think that a definition makes something so, but there is no homosexuality until there is intent. That is in the mind, not visible. It makes no difference until intent is acted on."

As NoComprende says, we should see that our children ARE innocence. They ARE kindness and love. That is what they are made of at a young age.

As a personal rant, unfortunately in our society, "growing up" could be defined as the process of losing that innocence, love, and kindness.

  • Not sure exactly why you were downvoted. I suppose that your "If you want..." statements are rhetorical and not actually meant to indicate that you can make up someone else's mind for them. But it reads a little funny. Perhaps edit for simplicity and clarity? This could take some effort to write convincingly, since it is a dicey topic.
    – user17408
    May 3, 2016 at 22:41
  • 2
    @dwjohnston I think rather that this answer is saying that we have a definition of homosexuality, but children simply have preferences and behavior. We think that a definition makes something so, but there is no homosexuality until there is intent. That is in the mind, not visible. It makes no difference until intent is acted on. We all have ideas of doing things that we never do, for various reasons. Does that make us... anything? I think that the question is wrongly put. Like saying how do we know it will rain? When it rains. Not until. Does that make it a "rainy day"?
    – user17408
    May 4, 2016 at 3:16
  • 2
    No vote from me either way, but I feel like this answer conflates sexual orientation and gender roles. They're two very different things.
    – user420
    May 5, 2016 at 18:10
  • 3
    I disagree that this answer is well-written. Even after reading it twice, and with the addition of no comprendre, I'm still not sure I get your point.
    – Erik
    May 6, 2016 at 8:19
  • 1
    I really don't understand why this answer encourages pressuring the child to be a certain sexuality.
    – Waterseas
    May 18, 2016 at 14:12

A person may discover their preferences, or find new preferences, to almost anything at any point in their life.

  • 5
    And these may change any number of times throughout their life.
    – Rory Alsop
    May 2, 2016 at 17:37
  • @RoryAlsop You mean, sexuality is... not somehow different than everything else about being human?!? Outrageous! : )
    – user17408
    May 3, 2016 at 22:36
  • This sounds lovely but seems less like an attempt to answer the question at hand than an attempt to make a socio-political statement (i.e., it should be a comment). OP is not asking how to discover their own preferences.
    – Air
    May 6, 2016 at 19:21

At the age that the child tells you. You don't "discover" another person's sexuality, that is something each person finds for themselves.

  • I like this and I expect that it has some truth to it but given that this is an area of ongoing research, the skeptic in me demands some evidence out of this answer.
    – Air
    May 6, 2016 at 19:33
  • I'd say at the age the child tells you, and understands what he or she is saying.
    – gnasher729
    May 6, 2016 at 22:41

I have some experience with this as a parent! So speaking from experience: there is no set age at which you can tell what a child's sexual preferences, gender identity, gender expression, political tastes, favourite baseball team, or preference for cats versus dogs are/will be, but there is one critical thing you can do to make that age earlier than it otherwise would have been. Some of those things in the list are facetious, some of them are likely nature, some are nurture, and others are choices, but all of them are affected the same way by doing this one thing:

Make sure your child feels confident and safe telling you about their life, thoughts, and feelings.

Feeling safe and confident comes from knowing that they are loved and that they don't risk personal rejection for revealing something. How you react any time they reveal something they feel sensitive about is a test for the next time they have something on their minds; each time you react positively and without judgement gives them more confidence that you won't reject them, and makes it more likely you will be shared with in the future.

So though there is no age limit, you can help ensure your child will reveal personal things earlier rather than later (perhaps much later), by ensuring they feel that they will always be accepted by and acceptable to you when they do.

  • Though this doesn't exactly answer the question, it's still a lovely answer, and applicable to so many things. +1 May 5, 2016 at 1:08
  • 1
    @anongoodnurse It does say there is no specific age, which is I think as much an answer as it's possible to write that's directly addressed to the question's assumptions. I guess that's a shortcoming of the answer that I'm willing to accept. :)
    – Septagon
    May 5, 2016 at 1:48
  • 1
    I like this, as it is something that needs to be done for a child in any/every way possible. A child knowing it is loved and that he/she can come to you for anything is imperative for the child's healthy development.
    – Jeff.Clark
    May 5, 2016 at 15:14

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