I’m a guy and have really hairy legs. I hate the way they look and want to shave them. Does that mean I’m gay?

Nope! How you groom yourself says nothing about who you’re attracted to. Whether you shave your legs is a personal choice and completely up to you.

In our culture, there are a lot of stereotypes about what it means to be a man (and what it means to be a woman, for that matter). When someone doesn’t fit those ideas, they may be stereotyped as gay. For example, this could be when someone likes art more than sports, cries instead of getting angry, or wears their hair long instead of short. You can probably think of a lot more.

But nobody perfectly fits those stereotypes, and it’s unhealthy to try to. Doing or wanting to do something that isn’t considered traditionally masculine does NOT mean that you’re gay.

While it’s more common for girls to shave their legs than for guys, it’s not abnormal for you to want to. Like we said, shaving is a personal choice. People shave for all sorts of reasons. Swimmers shave their legs because it helps them move faster through the water. Some (like you) just don’t like the way the hair looks. That’s all completely normal and ok.

If you do decide to shave your legs, make sure you do it safely. Use a fresh razor, warm water and shaving cream. Shaving in the direction the hair grows will help prevent ingrown hairs.

Of course, if you are gay (meaning you’re only attracted to people who are the same gender as you), that’s completely fine. Sexuality is a big, complicated and exciting thing. Who you’re attracted to or how you identify may feel obvious (“I’ve always liked girls.”). That’s completely normal and ok. Sometimes, figuring out who you’re attracted to can be more complicated. That’s also completely normal and ok! Everyone’s sexuality will change and develop over time. You don’t have to be 100% sure about yours right now.

If you’re 10-22 years old in NYC and want to talk to someone about what you’re feeling, you can make a free, confidential appointment at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center. No judgment, no charge.