Questioning your sexuality can be confusing, difficult even – especially if some of the people around you are openly homophobic. It can be scary and you may feel ashamed or dirty. It’s natural to feel like that, even if you know you shouldn’t. That’s okay though. It’s okay to feel that way and it’s okay to explore and try out new things.
A study conducted by J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group in 2016 revealed that only 48% of 13-20 year olds defined themselves as exclusively heterosexual and said they had only ever been attracted to and/or had sexual relations with the opposite sex. That means 62% of 13-20 year olds have admitted to experimenting with people of the same sex. Doesn’t that just prove that it’s okay to have sexual feelings towards people of the same gender? It is and you shouldn’t be ashamed.
When I was 12, I started to find myself attracted to girls at school. I thought they were so unbelievably beautiful and precious and I started to imagine what it would be like to date one of them. I panicked and asked out a load of guys to try and get rid of these urges and convince everyone that I was totally 100% exclusively heterosexual. Of course, I wasn’t and a few years later I accepted that. The thing is, I shouldn’t have been so worried about finding girls attractive. It’s okay to think like that and it’s not wrong. Thinking about girls in a sexual way doesn’t make you gay or bisexual – it could purely mean that you are experimenting. However, even if you aren’t simply experimenting then that is okay too.
First off, accept yourself before expecting other people to accept you. If you don’t accept yourself, how the hell is anyone else going to accept you? You need to look at yourself in the mirror and say ‘I am experimenting with both genders and that is okay.’ You needn’t feel ashamed about it or feel like it’s dirty and you should hide it. It’s perfectly acceptable and actually pretty important to hear those words aloud from you before anyone else.
Secondly, don’t pressure yourself to put a label on it. As I say, seeing girls in a sexual or romantic manner doesn’t automatically mean you are bisexual or a lesbian. It will take time to figure out what and who you are. You are still young and you have that time at your disposal, so take it slow and don't rush it. Allow yourself time to process and experiment. You can’t help who you develop feelings for. Society may make you feel like everyone needs to fit in a box but not everyone does. It would be boring if everyone was the same. Many people fit in to more than one category or no category at all, so don’t force yourself somewhere you don’t truly fit.
Finally, and this is potentially the most important thing when questioning your sexuality: remember that you are valid. You are allowed to feel this way. You aren’t weird. You aren’t excluded. You are you and that is all anyone can ask. Make sure that you remember that no matter what anyone says, that doesn’t make you any less valid or your feelings any less real. So long as you keep that in the forefront of your mind when you’re scared or worried about these thoughts and feelings then it will make the whole prospect a little less daunting.
You are surrounded by people who love you and no matter who you fall in love with, you are still the same person you have always been and that, my friend. That will never change.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers with a platform to share and help others from their own experiences while also educating others on different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all teenagers around the world and support others. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.