It was my masturbation fantasies aged 11 or 12 that made me go 'ah ha': when I thought about a male/female couple having sex, I realised I fancied both of them. I also didn't just enjoy the sensations of having my penis stroked, I also liked stroking the penis.
I was confident that I wasn't gay, because I also wanted sex play with girls and I really don't think I ever thought I was straight. I can't remember if one of the better sex ed books of its day (the credited author is one of the co-authors of the Kinsey reports) gave this a name - I think I had that already - but did have a very good sex-positive, diversity of desire-positive approach and meant I was never going 'argh, oh no' about it.
One of the things that struck me most in a presentation at a CHAPS conference a few years back was that most young men's first homosexual partners are no longer found via school, but via the internet. I pre-date the internet :)
Having hit puberty early, I was invited around to a friend's house and, also at his invitation, a 'I'll show you mine etc' game ensued. I vividly remember looking at his (then small) erection and thinking 'that'd fit nicely in my mouth' and not being at all surprised never mind shocked at the thought.
There ended up being a lot of sex play between pupils at my boy's grammar school, and I don't remember it been stigmatised, or indeed commented on. For most, it was definitely 'situational', in they'd have prefered female partners, but they were not available for most until later and there were other boys who were. With, very interestingly, a definite 'I'll do this for you iff you'll do it for me' ethos: one of the reasons I didn't get fucked until much later is that, although I was interested in trying it, the peers I was playing with didn't want to be fucked in return.
Not all of it involved physical contact, but playing soggy biscuit turns out to be particularly interesting (even to watch) when more than one participant really does not mind 'losing'.
During a temporary job at a market research company working on the RAJAR listening figures, the blood donation service paid a visit. I got taped on the shoulder by the office Daily Mail reader and pointedly asked why I wasn't donating blood. So I told her why. All of the reasons why...
The only bad response
Around 1982, I was doing a temporary job at the (now deceased) Royal Agricultural Show. Wandering around the show ground, I was stopped by seeing a painting of a woman lying face down, legs in the air, with a frog on her bum. Tell me you've seen a picture of that, and I'll find it hard to believe you :) So I bought it. I chatted to the artist, who was a woman a year or two older than me, and over the years, I bought lots of other things from her. (I still have them, and if she ever became famous, I could be rich.)
On one visit to her home in the mid-80s, I mentioned the name of my father's then partner, who had a French woman's name that sounds like an English male one. 'Oh, is he gay?' she asked. 'No,' I said, 'but I am bisexual...' I was in the middle of paying for some more pictures and she went to an envelope she was going to post to someone, took the money out of that, and replaced it with my money.
Why yes, this was in the middle of the 'bisexuals will infect nice people with Aids' scare, and she did read the Daily Mail... but WTF?!?
She apologised for it later, but that's as bad as it's ever been.