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Exploring your sexuality

It’s totally normal to have questions about your sexuality when you’re growing up. Am I gay? Bi? A lesbian? What does it mean if I fancy my friend? Confused? TheSite.org is here to help you explore your sexuality.

Boy and girl confused about their sexuality

Scratching your head is all part of the process.

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We’re desperate in our society to attach labels on everything and everyone. Gay. Straight. Bi. Lesbian. We like to push people, and their sexualities, into teeny tiny boxes but….

…SEXUALITY DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT.

It’s much more fluid and complicated, so no wonder you’re confused.

“For some people their sexuality is very fixed,” says Carol-Ann Cunningham, an online youth worker for LGBT Youth Scotland. “But for others it’s flexible and changes over time; you can be anywhere on the sexuality spectrum. Whatever you are, you’re normal.”

I’ve been thinking about the same sex, am I gay/bi/a lesbian?

When you’re growing up, and working out what you do and don’t like sexually, it’s totally normal find yourself thinking about your own sex.

Does this mean you’re gay/bi/a lesbian? Not necessarily.

“A lot of young people go through these feelings at some point,” says Carol-Ann. “It definitely doesn’t automatically make you gay. It’s up to you to label yourself and there shouldn’t be any pressure to be a certain thing. Your sexuality is nobody’s business but yours.”

I’ve developed feelings for a friend, what does this mean?

Sexuality is all about emotions, not just the type of sex you have. And close same-sex friendships can invoke strong and confusing feelings if you’ve always seen yourself as straight.

“Somebody may fall in love with a friend of the same sex but have no other attraction to anyone else of the same sex for the rest of their lives,” says Carol-Ann. “Nothing has to be black or white. No one else but you can decide what your feelings mean.”

Am I gay if I watch gay porn?

If TheSite had a quid for every time we were asked this question… well, we would be so rich we could buy everyone a lifetime supply of gay porn.

The answer? No, watching gay porn does not make you gay. Masturbatory habits are often based around whatever sexual fantasies get you going – but it doesn’t mean you’d want these fantasies to happen in real life.

How do I know if these feelings mean more?

Some gay people say they always knew, from a really young age, that they only fancied the same sex. But for many people it’s not that clear, so it’s natural to want to explore.

How far you go to work this all out, and what it ultimately means, is entirely up to you. Although we do suggest you take things slow – maybe building up to ‘bigger’ activities so you don’t do anything you’re uncomfortable about afterwards. Safer sex is always important – whatever category you place yourself in.

“My advice is to take your time,” says Carol-Ann. “A lot of young people panic and want to know what label they are straight away. But try not to rush. Ensure you always feel comfortable and safe.”

I’ve worked it out. I’m NOT straight, and I’m freaking out

Tragically, we live in a world where people get bullied for being different. So if you’re worried you’ll get a less than ecstatic reaction from friends and family about your sexuality, that’s not surprising. Read our coming out article for some reassurance on what to do next.

And remember – these are your feelings, your experiences, your label and your decision about what to do with all that.

Next Steps

  • Visit Madly in Love to discuss mental health and relationships, share stories and get support and advice.
  • Got a worry about relationships? Whatever the question, get free anonymous advice from one of our relationship experts.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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Updated on 07-Aug-2014

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