AI: Take me to a gay dar

You can ‘tell’ when someone is gay. How? You just can! Maybe it’s some subtle external signal, like noticing that his eyes linger slightly longer on your boyfriend’s rear than on yours. Maybe when he’s drunk he gets a little more camp. Maybe he’s giving off some sort of musk or hormone, or simply a ‘vibe’. Your gay best friend can TOTALLY tell when someone else is gay, closet or not.

We’ve all heard this, I’m sure. Maybe some of us think we have gaydar – I have never asked the skeptical community about it before. The research seems thin – unreplicated studies as listed here. There’s a lengthy article on the subject in the New York Times about the science of gaydar, in which it is claimed gay men are more likely to have counter-clockwise hair ‘whorls’ (the swirly bit at the crown), and increased density of fingerprint ridges, plus the usual claim about index finger length. So maybe it’s possible that some people are unconsciously picking up on these visual clues, or maybe it’s just confirmation bias.

Is there such a thing as gaydar? Do you think you have it? How reliably can you judge sexual orientation?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

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  1. Either I have terrible gaydar, or excellent gaydar, depending on how you look at it. Here’s how it works: if I’m attracted to a guy, he’s probably gay.

    My favorite Backstreet Boy as a teenager is the one who eventually came out as gay.

    I had the hugest crush on Ricky Martin as a teenager. He came out too.

    Once I was watching a documentary about identical twins. I thought, “Isn’t it weird that one twin is cuter than the other, even though they’re identical?” It turns out, the cuter was one was gay (and his brother wasn’t).

    If there is some physical difference among gay men, then I wonder why I’m attracted to it.

  2. I can reliably judge a woman’s sexual orientation by asking her out. If she looks vaguely appalled then she’s gay. If she laughs in my face then she’s straight. Works every time.

    If there is such a thing as gaydar I certainly don’t have it. I’ve never spotted my gay friends until they’ve chosen to share the information, and I am invariably wrong when I guess someone is gay. If it’s important, and it rarely is, I just ask.

  3. so, i fully acknowledge that this could all be confirmation bias, but i think i have gaydar. i don’t know how it works (if it actually does). i know it is not based on stereotypes, because i have identified some very “straight-acting” closet cases and have turned out to be correct.

    i’m very interested in this research, and am waiting to see some good, replicable studies on the topic.

  4. I live in a very gay part of Atlanta. And I did notice something that is pretty reliable. If two men are leaving a grocery store together and they do not have massive amounts of alcohol, then they are gay.

    Often, I pick up some bogeys on my gaydar that nobody else sees. “He’s totally gay,” I’ll argue, but then the Men in Black come and tell me that it was only a weather balloon.


  5. If there is any sort of gaydar, it’s probably based on stereotypes and subconscious observational skills, with a healthy dose of confirmation bias thrown into the mix.

    I don’t think you can tell by looking at a picture, say, whether a person is gay (unless that picture involves them in the midst of gay sex, in which case you’ve got at least the one clue).

    When you get a couple of pings on your gaydar, usually it’s a matter of having (whether you’re aware of it or not) observed the person doing something that conforms to whatever your personal stereotypical gay person might do. That stereotype is in no way going to be accurate, not 100% of the time anyways, and certainly won’t ALWAYS match the “profile” other people have (as yours is likely influenced by your own personal experiences with and ideas of gayness).

    The fact is, no matter how good your “profile” is, there’s no way you can always know something as complicated as a person’s sexual preference from a cursory glance. If your “gaydar” works only after getting to know a person, I don’t think you’re dealing with “gaydar” anymore, but rather with the normal process of making more accurate inferences about a person as you get to know them better.

    Plus, as I said, there’s always confirmation bias. I’d be willing to bet that people with good “gaydar” are just forgetting the misses or are over-interpreting the hits.

  6. @carr2d2: Were the straight-acting individuals single? I’d be very interested to know if those who think they have gaydar can reliably identify a gay man in a heterosexual marriage (although I wonder if such cases are rarer than they used to be – perhaps with the exception of strict religious communities?).

    Can you recall any times when you’ve thought someone was gay but they turned out not to be (I have several friends I’d have sworn were gay but aren’t).

  7. Historically, I’ve been able to make use of my gaydar pretty well. It hasn’t been particularly useful to me, though. What has been useful is my douchedar. I can tell within 5 minutes of meeting a guy if he’s a douchebag, even if there are no overt signs. I’ve been asked by coworkers to go out with them to bars and be the initial screening test for potential suitors.

    I think the problem with many of the “gaydar studies” is that they focus on very specific characteristics: body language without speech, eyes only, hair whorl patterns (seriously?!), or other random physical traits. The reality is more complex than that. I know for me it’s similar to how I know if someone is attracted to me- it’s in what they say, how they behave and how they interact with me and other people. The summation of all of this comes together for the overall impression.

  8. gaydar is yet another instance of wishful thinking and is based on absolutely nothing. If science has ever taught anything it is that anecdotes don’t count for anything.

    Patterns are detected by people even where there is not even a remote possibility of one existing.

    So, yes, I am highly skeptical of the so-called phenomenon of ‘gaydar’.

  9. I think my husband has terrible gaydar. According to him, our internet connection is gay and so is his PS3 and pretty much everything that happens at his job.

    I tend to hold out… until I see the PS3 actually having sex with a dude, I’m going to assume it is not, in fact, gay.

    By the way, PlayStation, if you’re reading this, it’s totally cool if you are gay. I support you no matter what, and I think you should be able to marry anyone you want.

  10. I feel I have fairly good gaydar, much like the skeptics listed above. (Maybe it’s one of those things we develop, so we can find more of all those godless gay I’m always hearing about. Birds of a feather and all…) I always say that my gaydar is more auditory than visual; I think we gays have a slightly different vocal inflection. I’m not sure how much of this is social. I’ve heard it in some before they come out, but other people say that it increases after people come out, so I don’t know.
    There’s always physical factors, too. I feel gay guys have a different muscle tone, possibly due to different workouts. There’s the big stereotype that gay guys dress better than straight guys, but meterosexuals throw that off. The Kinsey study also showed that gay men have larger penises than straight men, though if you’ve gotten that far, there may be other clues you could pick up on.
    All of this goes out the window if we’re talking about lesbians. I guess I have no real use for that in my life, which may be why I can’t do it.

  11. I think gaydar is just mistaking correllation for proof.

    If a male is impeccably dressed (sweater vest optional), can sing a large number of broadway showtunes, speaks with a rather effeminate affectation, listens to a lot of Cher and/or Lady Gaga, [insert more random stereotypes], and enjoys buttsex with the same gender – you could probably find enough correllation to think there’s a high likelyhood that they’re gay, but it’s still not a slam-dunk. And probably doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things anyhoo.

    Analogy: Turning Jeff Foxworthy’s schtick into Redneckdar.

  12. @thatjoeguy: They could be bisexual. Or John Barrowman’s alter-ego Captain “Omnisexual” Jack. In which case, the possible intermingling of sexual organs is still feasible.

    I figure in your contention, if all of the criteria matched, you’d have a much higher correllation that they’re gay than one would have to know whether or not they’d say “yes” to a date even IF gay – which is the part that’d reeeeealy matter, right? :)

  13. I still think it’s hysterical that Barrowman was turned down for the part of Will in Will & Grace because he “didn’t seem gay enough”.

    My kid assures me that if there is gaydar, he is woefully lacking thereof. Every guy he crushes on turns out to be straight.

  14. I have EXCELLENT Gay-dar. It works best when I see two guys making out or getting married. Sometimes when I see two girls making out it doesn’t always work as well though. Weird.

  15. @Tracy King: i’ve identified one married gay guy. but that was more of an ongoing process of observations leading to a suspicion, followed by one clinching action on his part to pretty much confirm what i’d come to think. so, not really gaydar.

    but, one of the other closet cases i’ve id’d, a single guy, blipped on my gaydar immediately, but then as i got to know him i increasingly thought, no. no way is this dude gay. and then he did something that revealed that my initial inclination was probably correct.

    i’ve had one false positive, that i can remember, for an acquaintance who told me that he gets that a lot.

    @Expatria: when it comes down to it, i suspect you’re probably right, that gaydar is mostly being good at picking up on subtle social and behavioral cues. i still think it’s an interesting field of study.

  16. @Elyse: I wish I could nominate you for COTW.

    I feel like I have had good gaydar in the past (college), but it mostly seemed more like my female friends were more credulous about their closeted friends’ supposed status than I was. I just think I am a generally a bit better at reading people than some of my friends are. Could be confirmation bias too.

  17. I think a huge part of gaydar is confirmation bias. My uncle, who has been married for 20 years and has a kid, recently came out of the closet. I never suspected that he was gay. But thinking back and looking at old pictures, it seems so obvious that I don’t know how we all missed it. Clearly those stereotypical signs aren’t as obvious as they seem; I just don’t notice them in men I assume are straight.

    My cousin is probably a lesbian, but I only know that because she bought a house with another women who is an out lesbian. I’m happy for her that she found a long-term partner, but I wish she didn’t feel that she has to keep hiding it.

  18. I work with a guy that is always getting mistaken for gay. I don’t know why, he’s a huge musical theater fan with a great sense of style and impeccably groomed.

    I was talking about it with him one day and we came to the conclusion that it’s his enthusiasm; he’s always excited about stuff. Ironically our boss is the “straightest” person I know, even his boy friend agrees.

    I don’t know about the science of it (kind of don’t care) but I think it’s like toupees; you can spot them every time, unless they are good or someone just a bad hair.

  19. I would think Gaydar would be based in our usual heuristic for quickly making judgments about other people before properly getting to know them. This is necessary for getting around the world, but not an appropriate metric for knowledge.

    Formally–> F(gaydar)=F(culture, personal bias, “gay” definition, …, X) = some Probability F(truth). :D

  20. I have terrible gay-dar…I didn’t see it coming with any of my highschool friends who are now out, and with my little brother I didn’t see it until the week he came out…and I’m pretty sure he was purposely dropping hints (like, for example, going on a date with a guy).

    But I met a guy today who I’m pretty sure is gay: he had a Lady Gaga ring tone.

  21. I seem to have CelebCrushes on people who turn out to be gay, so if I have gaydar it is broken.

    The comediannes I have liked the most tend to come out later as gay (Ellen, Whoopie (before she lost her mind), Lily Tomlin, Carol Leifler) or are confused or unclear (at least publicly) about their sexuality (Sandra Bernhard, Margret Cho, Paula Poudstone).

    Maybe my gaydar is only broken when it comes to myself…? OMG, I need to talk to my wife.

  22. As a dyke, I have pretty good gaydar, but honestly, I think that it is simply from spending so much time in the queer community that you just learn to pick up on subtle clues rather than it being some mythical gay sensing ability.

  23. I have a scarily good gaydar. I’ve known that many of my friends were gay before they came out, which generally disappoints them (“What do you mean, you knew?!”). Whenever I go to a bar/club with my one gay friend, we’ll play “Guess the Gay” when he sees a group of guys he knows. I have to tell him which ones are gay and which ones are straight. I am correct far greater than by chance alone!

  24. The biggest problem with the idea of gaydar is that sexuality isn’t always so black and white. There are many factors that can influence it, including personal choice, and so there exists a complete spectrum of preferences.

    That said, I had three male friends in high school who all hung out together constantly, and all displayed a large number of stereotypical “gay” behaviors. Didn’t really date girls. Interested in clothes. Members of the ballroom dance club. Fans of musicals, etc. Two of them have since come out. But if someone had asked me in high school which of the three was most likely gay, I would have picked bachelor #3 without hesitating. And he’s the one that wound up marrying a nice girl and having two kids. The caveat is that he’s from a very strongly religious family. It’s possible that he consciously chose to live a straight lifestyle, despite whatever predispositions he has.

  25. I concluded that if I have gaydar it doesnt work well when once of the guys I went to highschool with came out. It never crossed my mind that he could be gay and looking back I still don’t see any big hints. He never dated much in highschool but he was one of those really driven kids that was doing AP classes, sports, and a job and so that wasn’t much of a clue.

    Now I think gay men might have better gaydar than most. For example gay men never think my brother is gay but he sets off gaydar for a lot straight people who don’t know him. I’m thinking partly that’s his tendency to sing along to broadway show tunes.

  26. I think that predictions of a person’s sexuality are more likely to be accurate when a) you know them really well, or b) they display some sort of overt stereotypical behaviour.. I haven’t known too many people who “act gay” that aren’t, but I’ve known a few who don’t “act gay” at all and are.. I know 2 gay guys that I never would have guessed until someone told me (or until I saw them with their partners…). I’ve also run into old friends from high school and as soon as they opened their mouths, I realized they were gay.

  27. In hind sight I’d have to say all my friends in high school who came out later as gay were not a surprise at all. I had no idea at the time because it was nearly impossible to be openly gay then and there, and because they were dating girls and trying to look straight. It was only later that I heard about the anxiety and depression my friends were dealing with in high school. As for my own gaydar I’m not sure if I have a functioning one or not. I wouldn’t know most of my gay friends were gay unless I knew the gender of their partner.

  28. Well like many posters, if I have gaydar it is sorely malfunctioning. I can think of several “misses.” One of these guys I ended up dating for a year, so as far as I know that’s a miss.

    My town seems to have a profusion of tiny, young, adorable butches. They’re very out and very tough-acting, but miniature and tend to hang out in groups. So they’re easy to pick out, with their short hair and little tank tops and swaggers. However any but the butchest girls I don’t tend to pick up on, despite spending plenty of time at our local gay bar and having almost exclusively out lesbian friends.

    An amusing anecdote: my one teacher, who is married to her partner, was discussing the dynamics of butch-femme dating. She said that when she moved here (a growing, but still largely resource-based pulp mill town in northern Canada) she was blown away by the number of “butches” that were everywhere! Then she realized that it’s just rather common to see middle aged ladies with short hair/mullets and plaid shirts here.

    I think there are certain characteristics that become exaggerated and turn into stereotypes. In my experience, gaydar seems to be based on observation of the style, body language, and other outward characteristics of a person. That may be reliable insofar as (again, just from experience) out individuals seem to change their mannerisms because it becomes acceptable for them to do so. However if these ancillary cues were removed, I would be skeptical about the effectiveness of gaydar.

  29. I have terrible gaydar. I recently found out that two of my high school friends were gay. The female friend is someone I had a crush on.

    In my case, it’s probably because I’ve been accused of being gay in the past, so I’m not as willing to jump to conclusions about someone’s sexuality as some are.

  30. I generally find out my friends are gay by having them observe that members of their sex are attractive, so if I have a gaydar, it’s horribly, horribly broken. That said, I’m not very good at reading people in general. I suspect that if gaydar does exist, it’s simply another form of being able to pick up subtle clues about a person.

  31. I’ve always believed that the reason that gay men have such good Gaydar is simply due to the fact that we don’t automatically assume someone is heterosexual.

    For instance, if I meet a man, be it on the street, at work or in a conversation in a pub – I don’t ASSUME anything about his sexuality because I don’t know what it is yet.

    There may be an unconscious heterosexual assumption that all people are heterosexual until proven otherwise, whereas me and my fellow gay brothers and sisters wait for confirmation until we make such assumptions.

  32. I think gaydar is really just observation coupled with stereotypes. Mostly making a logic guess. It’s like what they do on Psych or the Mentalist.

    The more you’re around queer people & the queer community, the more hints you’re going to pick up.

    Interestingly enough, in my own experience, I don’t set off most people’s gaydars. Well, ever since I grew my hair out & stopped making out with girls in the high school’s hallways. Which was quite a while ago.

    (I’m also bisexual so anyone who meets my male partner usually assumes I’m straight.)

  33. Duuuuuuuuuuuude.
    I am an out lesbian, but I have a friend who swears he has perfect gaydar, who still insists I am not gay.
    I wear comfortable shoes, get my hair cut like a 12 year old boy, and deliberately wear flannel.
    Top this off with I’ve told him repeatedly and clearly that yes, I really am a lesbian.
    For some reason his gaydar is not pinged.
    As for my own, I’ve had one or two spectacular hits and more than a few spectacular misses. Eh.

  34. My gaydar runs at 100%. In my life, I’ve been asked to dance by guys twice, and I’m quite certain each of them was gay.

    BTW, me? Not gay, so their own gaydar is in need of tuning.

  35. I have pretty good Gaydar but terrible Lesdar. I’ve been told by most of the women that i’ve been involved with that Im gay but I think it’s mostly just because I enjoy shopping and have pretty good style.

  36. despite me being married to a skepchick, i sometimes feel like the official gay friend to each skepchick (though unlike most gay male friends to females, i don’t get to touch their boobies when commenting on their clothing choices).

  37. I’ve pegged a few aquaintances as gay before they told me, but I don’t know how many I haven’t picked out who simply haven’t told me yet.

    I, however, though straight, have been hit upon by many guys. Or at least I did back when I was young and cute. One of them even went on to star in gay porn. That’s another story.

    And a number of the women I know, though I lust after them horribly, seem intent on making me their gay friend. Even though I can’t dance and have no style what so even.

  38. I can’t believe how few skeptichickal people have gaydar. It’s not about exposer to a culture. It’s about picking up who finds you the least bit attractive. That’s why guys can only have male-gaydar, women can only have woman-gaydar and PS3s can only have PS3 gaydar. You also have to be at least a little attractive to the person you are gaydaring.

  39. @Erica: I hear you. My partner is male, so people assume I’m straight. This whole discussion is obnoxious to me because it is assuming a lot of absolutes. A man making out with another man isn’t necessarily gay.

    When I was in high school, there was a t-shirt slogan everyone thought was funny: “I’m not a lesbian, but my girlfriend is.” To me, it just seemed like a strangely literal shirt a lot of people could wear without irony.

  40. There have been instances where I’ve guessed correctly that someone was gay. Usually, the person exhibited some behavior that is stereotypically associated with either gay men or lesbians, and even though I know stereotypes don’t always match reality, I thought, “I wonder if _____ is gay.” There is probably confirmation bias going on here, though, since I don’t focus on all the instances of heterosexuals who match gay stereotypes (I have a vague memory of a heterosexual male who was into show tunes, the only male I’ve known to be into them). :-) In fact, as I think about the question, I’m recalling two heterosexual woman with cropped hair.

  41. @Elyse: Good for your PlayStation.

    I’m actually one of those people the right wing goes on about who wants to make it legal to marry a goat: As long as both the goat and human consent, I have no problem. The trick is how to determine whether the goat consents.

  42. @Pete Schult:

    I’m one of those people who thinks being able to marry inanimate objects should be legal… because people who want to be monogamous with a car aren’t going to make more people like them. And happy is happy.

  43. @Cygore:

    What I think is sad is that the words “accused of” are ever paired with being gay. No one is ever “accused of being straight”.

    I think my gaydar is just off. I don’t care so I don’t guess. Who you want to stick things in and who you want to stick things into you is none of my business… unless you want me to be the sticker/stickee. But even then I don’t care if you’re gay or not… unless you are a gay guy and you think I’m a dude… because that would hurt my feelings. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a dude! I mean, if you’re a dude, good for you. I’m happy for you and good luck and all that. Really, dudes are great! Some of my best friends are dudes, so I can say that! My dad is a dude! I just don’t want to be one… or thought of as one.

    I voted for Obama! And he’s a dude!

  44. I agree that it’s just stereotypes + confirmation bias. What is funny is when people can’t accept when the stereotype method doesn’t work. Several years back my lesbian office-mate used to insist, very seriously, that my husband was gay. Just because he liked to cook, cried during movies and spent one year in an all male drum corp resulting in many photographs of tanned, shirtless, sweaty gay men sitting on his lap on the tour bus. She changed companies too soon, though, and missed out on him quitting his job to effectively become my househusband, decorating our new condo, and learning to use the sewing machine to make drapes for the dining room.

    If my husband were actually gay, I’d be getting a lot more sleep.

  45. I have excellent gaydar: If I’m attracted to a guy, I’m probably gay. If I’m attracted to the girls, I’m probably not.*
    Sadly, I can’t use it to detect whether anyone else is gay.

    *So far, I’ve repeatedly detected that I’m not gay.

  46. No, I don’t believe in it…I think there are some people that do believe in it, though. I think chistat has it about right: It’s mostly stereotyping and confirmation bias with an occasional lucky guess.

    I agree with elyse that it’s sad that the word choice “accused” is used, but many times that’s exactly what was happening. I’ve seen people falsely “accused” of being gay due to someone’s alleged “gaydar” more than once.

    Just because a woman looks “butch” to someone or a man has some feminine gestures, dresses or dances well does not mean that they are gay. Humans have way too much variation for that.

    I really don’t care what someone’s sexual orientation is. If a gay guy hit on me, we’d both have a good laugh over it and that’s about it. I don’t think there are too many people more straight than I am, probably due to my generation and upbringing.

    Like I keep saying, “I don’t care WHAT you are, I care WHO you are.”

  47. Some good points brought up

    @QuestionAuthority: I agree, I don’t care about a persons sexuality. And as I’ve matured I’ve turned off my gaydar because not only do I not care but it’s kind of rude IMO to place a judgement on someone for no reason.

    @Bemmie: & @Erica: you’re right, it is way to easy to assume a preference for a person. I’ve also known a few gays that insisted everyone (they found attractive) was gay.

    @Tim3P0: I have a ton of female friends and our relationships are just like “girlfriends”. I love hanging out with guys too but the few times I’ve worked in all male environments I’ve found it tiring. I need the balance of female input to fill out the social environment.

  48. @Expatria:

    If there is any sort of gaydar, it’s probably based on stereotypes and subconscious observational skills, with a healthy dose of confirmation bias thrown into the mix.

    To use a straight metaphor: you nailed it. Exactly right.

    I will add that my own gaydar, if it exists, seems a bit more accurate when gauging people of my own social class. I chock this up to simply being better able to read the subtle cues of people I grew up with.

    My boyfriend seems to have a gaydar cloaking device built into him. Women hit on him all the time and he isn’t aware of anything he’s doing to encourage it.

    So, I agree: Gaydar is a function of social stereotypes, subconscious observation and confirmation bias.


  49. I have no radar of any sort whatsoever.

    On first impressions I cannot tell if someone is gay or straight. I also cannot tell if someone is interested in me or not.

    I am completely obtuse when it comes to these initial relationship signals and I always have been.


  50. I have terrible gaydar!! One time, after having sex with this dude I met at a party, he told me he didn’t want to give me his number because he “usually doesn’t do this” and is “not a faggot”! Imagine my embarrassment!

  51. @Pseudonym

    I *did* pick Haggard, instantly. But he was kind of an easy one.

    I think I have excellent “gaydar” but of course, I wouldn’t always know if I were wrong – especially if I never see the person again.
    I don’t overly concern myself with someone’s sexuality but I can’t turn off the gaydar, partly because I loves my gays so much. :D

    With gay men it’s especially easy to spot for some reason. I (with no proof, of course – just my own observations and we all know how “reliable” that is!) think it has something to do with a certain type of gay male’s facial structure. (Like Ted Haggard’s) That “gay speech pattern” helps as well, of course. Though I’ve seen a few (very few) straight men with a similar way of speaking and there are plenty of gay men without it altogether.
    I just assume it must be many different factors that a large section of the gay male population share that I observe without even noticing.

  52. My unproven, but surely well thought of, theory:

    In my experience… I mean, I have carefully observed the following (therefore it must be true)…

    Many a straight person is not all too bothered with picking out the wheat from the chaff (or is it the other way around?), as there is not much need for it.

    I.e. A heterosexual woman hits on a gay man, what is the worst that would usually happen? Bruised ego, perhaps? Whereas, if a gay man hits on a straight man, there is more chance of trouble – ok, so perhaps I am stereotyping heterosexual men in this case, but like it or not, being gay is still not widely excepted and more importantly the fear among gay people of getting shtick because of their sexuality is still out there (big time).

    As a result, a gay person could often spend more time wondering who is and isn’t gay, for various reasons. (finding friends/a partner, fear of shtick) A gay person could possibly start observing (consciously or not) which possible (gay) tells there might be – there’s the stereotyping again – and you end up practicing and honing your skill of picking out the gay peeps – wheat…chaff. This would involve more then just stereotyping.

    My point being,… Oh, poop! I forgot my point. Darned! And it was all making perfect sense before I started writing this.

    Conclusion: There definitely is something like gaydar, sadly it mostly exists in our imagination.

  53. @Magnus H.: One of my problems with mainstream porn is how careful the males are to avoid even touching each other (sometimes it’s unavoidable, for instance, when the woman is blowing both of them at once). I mean c’mon guys, even if other guys don’t turn you on, what’s the harm in contact with them?

  54. What about bi-dar? Because you may determine that someone is gay or straight, but in reality they swing both ways.

    I wonder if you’d be able to tell if my male BFF was bisexual, or if you’d ping him as gay or straight. (He’s married to a woman and also has a long-term male partner.)

  55. To know for sure you would have to do studies, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised. We have evolved to pick up on social cues, and sexual messages are naturally extremely important. “Gaydar” seems like a natural development of the evolutionary pressure to understand group relations.

  56. I’m with Catgirl in that my gaydar is primed to be attracted to gay men. Not the prancing gay men, or course but the secret, masculine ones. (Ricky Martin is gay?! No way!! I choked when I read that. He was so hot on General Hospital once upon a time.)Other than that I have nil gaydar. Hopeless. I’ve been friends with women for six months and not known they were lesbians – even after meeting their partners. I simply do not look at people and imagine who they have sex with or how they have sex. (The exception is my own fantasy, which is where all the trouble begins.)

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