Feminine “Preferences” and Male Sexual Identity

As a guy do you think it means I'm gay because I've always had a preference and appreciation for feminine and "girly" things? I've been this way since I was a small boy, I'm not sure what to make of this.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

It’s difficult to answer your question in a helpful and meaningful way until we’ve defined your terms. What exactly do you mean by “a preference for feminine and ‘girly’ things?” For some, this could mean that they engage in cross-dressing – that they experience pleasure from wearing frilly blouses and French negligees. Or, on a different order, maybe you’re simply suggesting that you like art, music, poetry, gardening, or cooking better than football, cars and hunting? As it stands, your statement leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

Different people define “feminine” and “girly” in different ways. So do different cultures. Modern American society has its own ideas on the subject – ideas that are powerfully propagated, enforced, and inculcated in the public mind by means of a wide variety of subtle and not-so-subtle psychological tactics. The fact of the matter is that some of our most common assumptions about masculinity and femininity come to us directly from the drawing boards of marketers and advertisers. It’s important to understand that these notions aren’t necessarily valid or consistent with God’s design. Some may think that only “girly men” cry or show their emotions, but Jesus Christ obviously took a different view of things.

Our initial response to your question, then, is to suggest that you may need to broaden your concept of masculinity. The fact is, there are many healthy, red-blooded, fully masculine men who earn their daily bread as painters, musicians, chefs, hairdressers, doll-makers, interior designers, and fashion consultants. Believe it or not, there are even some who enjoy hobbies like knitting and sewing. It would be a serious mistake to make judgments about their sexual attractions or overall sexuality on the basis of these activities and preferences.

In addition to your talents and interests, it’s also important to look at your relationships. Whatever their age and stage in life, guys need healthy relationships with other guys. Are your closest friendships with women? Or with men? Even if you’re not into sports and cars (a pretty narrow range of “masculine” interests if you ask us), it’s vital to be connecting with other males. If this is difficult for you, as it is for many men, you might want to start by forming relationships with other men around an activity you enjoy. Or you might ask another man to mentor, disciple, or coach you in an area where you wish to grow.

Even more importantly, you may want to start exploring Scripture and asking God to reveal to you the deeper meaning of masculinity. Our maleness points to deeper truths, truths that go beyond mere roles, relationships, and interests. Masculinity has to do with creating, proclaiming the truth, protecting, providing, initiating, standing for righteousness and justice -and more. It would be a good idea to think, pray, and read about masculinity as God intended it to be.

Aside from roles, relationships, and the real meaning of masculinity, there are, of course, other people who have a serious problem with something psychologists call gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is a condition characterized by confusion or disconnection between a person’s natural or genetic gender and his or her “perceived” sexual identity. The causes of this condition are as many and varied as its specific expressions and can be quite complex . Indeed, perhaps the most important thing we can say about gender dysphoria is that – while the sciences like medicine and psychology are still learning about this topic – the issue is deeply interwoven with a person’s relational and developmental processes which affect one’s sense of gender and “gender-belonging.”

If you have reasons for believing that this is an accurate description of your situation, we’d advise you to sit down and discuss your thoughts and feelings with a trained Christian counselor. At the same time, we would urge you in the strongest possible terms to resist the temptation to jump to unwarranted conclusions. Whether that be applying conclusive labels about “gender dysphoria,” the term “gay” or anything of the like, gender dysphoric is not necessarily the same thing as homosexual. You need to bear in mind that feelings or even attractions don’t determine identity and that identity labels are rarely helpful, especially where personality and sexuality are concerned. If you really want to find answers to your questions, your best bet is to slow down and make a conscious effort to rise above our culture’s tendency to put false or en vogue typologies onto one’s sexual concerns. Shut out all the political “noise” on this subject and take a close and careful look at your options. Remember that “gay” is just an artificial mental construct: a word that means what other people say it means – nothing more, nothing less. We’d encourage you to not allow yourself to get locked into that category.

If you think it might be helpful to discuss your concerns, call our Counseling department for a free consultation. Our therapists can also provide you with references to reputable Christian therapists practicing in your area.


If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer.

Secure Daughters, Confident Sons: How Parents Guide Their Children into Authentic Masculinity & Femininity

Fully Alive: A Biblical Vision of Gender That Frees Men and Women to Live Beyond Stereotypes

What’s the Difference? Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible

Growth Into Manhood: Resuming the Journey

Desires In Conflict: Hope for Men Who Stuggle with Sexual Identity

Healing the Masculine Soul

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Thank you [field id="first_name"] for signing up to get the free downloads of the Marrying Well Guides. 

Click the image below to access your guide and learn about the counter-cultural, biblical concepts of intentionality, purity, community and Christian compatibility.

(For best results use IE 8 or higher, Firefox, Chrome or Safari)

To stay up-to-date with the latest from Boundless, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.

If you have any comments or questions about the information included in the Guide, please send them to [email protected]

Click here to return to Boundless

Focus on the Family

Thank you for submitting this form. You will hear from us soon. 

The Daily Citizen

The Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family exists to be your most trustworthy news source. Our team of analysts is devoted to giving you timely and relevant analysis of current events and cultural trends – all from a biblical worldview – so that you can be inspired and assured that the information you share with others comes from a reliable source.

Alive to Thrive is a biblical guide to preventing teen suicide. Anyone who interacts with teens can learn how to help prevent suicidal thinking through sound practical and clinical advice, and more importantly, biblical principles that will provide a young person with hope in Christ.

Bring Your Bible to School Day Logo Lockup with the Words Beneath

Every year on Bring Your Bible to School Day, students across the nation celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends. This event is designed to empower students to express their belief in the truth of God’s Word–and to do so in a respectful way that demonstrates the love of Christ.

Focus on the Family’s® Foster Care and Adoption program focuses on two main areas:

  • Wait No More events, which educate and empower families to help waiting kids in foster care

  • Post-placement resources for foster and adoptive families

Christian Counselors Network

Find Christian Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatrists near you! Search by location, name or specialty to find professionals in Focus on the Family’s Christian Counselors Network who are eager to assist you.

Boundless is a Focus on the Family community for Christian young adults who want to pursue faith, relationships and adulthood with confidence and joy.

Through reviews, articles and discussions, Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live.

Have you been looking for a way to build your child’s faith in a fun and exciting way?
Adventures in Odyssey® audio dramas will do just that. Through original audio stories brought to life by actors who make you feel like part of the experience; these fictional, character-building dramas use storytelling to teach lasting truths.

Focus on the Family’s Hope Restored all-inclusive intensives offer marriage counseling for couples who are facing an extreme crisis in their marriage, and who may even feel they are headed for divorce.