[Qnet usually doen't allow people over 25 to post here, but given the circumstances and tryingtounderstand
's honest questions, I'm inclined to allow it. Any other moderators on here agree? I'm hoping you'll approve]
Firstly, thank you for your post. It sounds like there's been a lot for you both to deal with all of a sudden, and I think you've handled it admirably. Quick note about MSN: my concern (if I was a parent) would be who is your son writing to? Just check it's not a random internet person, for safety reasons (clearly).
There are a lot of helpful web sites around about staying safe online, and books (possibly leaflets at the library to, I'd imagine) and I'd recommend that you both study up and talk about internet safety as well as sexuality. You've said it's a friend so I'll assume that he's an actual, real life pal that your son keeps in contact with via the internet; just remind him to be careful.
As for your questions:
a) I wouldn't be suprised about masterbation at 12 years.
b) is he too young to know his sexuality? I honestly can't say. I've been attracted to guys since, literally, four. But it took me a while to figure it out (nearly 17 years after that). All I can say is that sexuality can be fluid, and certainly I have moved backwards and forwards along the Kinsey scale in recent years.
To me, it sounds genuine that your son expresses it as a "gut feeling". Having said that, 12 is waaaaaay to young to be thinking about having sex, whether hetero' or homo' activites. I think that's where you should be most concerned.
c) Is it normal? Yep. Well,
I guess it depends on your personal definition of normal. I view my queeriness (LOL) as normal to me, but not conventional. Certainly we're not in the majority.
d) hormonal surge? I'm not a doctor, but from what I've read, increases in testosterone don't change 'sexuality', they just sort of 'boost' those existing feelings, or amplify them. For instance, you can't 'change' gays or lesbians by horomonal shots; I would assume the same applies to straight people. Having said that, puberty is a very confusing time. If I had a son, I would tell him it was alright to have these feelings, but not to act on them until he's more mature.
e) and when did I know I was gay? 21. At 21 I knew. At four I felt it and didn't know what it was called. I repressed it in early teens. And yes, at about your son's age (maybe slightly younger) I had a crush on a guy at school.
Finally, you've said some lovely, and loving things. It's great that you're showing this interest and concern, and that you've gone to the effort of finding these resources. Your son is questioning his identity; he might discover later in his teens that he is in fact gay, straight, or somewhere in between, but the obvious constant is that you love him and the two of you can talk openly
To me, that's reassuring.