Discovering and celebrating one’s sexual identity is something that everyone must deal with as they are growing up.

Heterosexuality

Heterosexuals are sexually attracted to others of the opposite sex (male heterosexuals are attracted to females and female heterosexuals are attracted to males), and their sexual activity is usually limited to interactions with the opposite sex.

Homosexuality

Homosexuals are sexually attracted to others of their own sex (male homosexuals are attracted to other males, and female homosexuals, often called lesbians, are attracted to other females), and their sexual activity is usually limited to interactions with the same sex. Sometimes homosexuals are also called “gay” or “lesbian”.

Bisexuality

Bisexuals are sexually attracted to others of either sex (male bisexuals are attracted to other males as well as females, and female bisexuals are attracted to other females as well as males), and their sexual activity is not limited to either sex.

Questioning

People who are questioning their sexuality are exploring their sexual attraction to others and trying to make sense of their feelings. These individuals are reluctant to classify themselves as having any particular sexual identity, and instead embrace their attractions whenever and with whoever they occur.

Coping with Any Sexuality

Recognising and coping with any sexuality can be stressful, embarrassing and frustrating. Many people simply assume that they are heterosexual because it is the predominant sexual orientation today, and it is only later that they realize that in fact they are homosexual, bisexual or questioning. Coping with your sexuality can be tough so here are some pointers for you:

  • Don’t ignore your natural feelings but acknowledge each attraction your experience.
  • If you look for a pattern in your attractions, it will point you towards your natural sexuality.
  • Never deny what you know. If you are homosexual or bisexual, don’t try to convince yourself that you are heterosexual. Instead be proud of who you are.
  • If you are not ready to classify yourself as a specific sexuality, then don’t.
  • You seek support. If you feel isolated due to your sexuality, look around your local, regional or even national or international community for organisations that will support your lifestyle.
  • Announcing your sexuality to anyone who will listen isn’t necessary. Show your maturity by respecting yourself and your relationships and giving them the attention and privacy that they deserve.
  • Be honest with yourself and others. If you realise that you are a particular sexual identity, don’t keep it a secret from those you love.

Coping with one’s identity is something that all teenagers must come to terms with as they mature. This process is never easy, but it can be less stressful if you recognise your natural inclinations and seek support when needed.