…but what if I don’t know for sure?
Trying to know for sure if you’re attracted to someone of the same sex (or both sexes for that matter) can be very confusing. How people learn who they are attracted to is different for everyone. It might take a while for you to figure it out, and there’s no need to rush. Some gay, lesbian, and bisexual people say they “felt different” when they were young. They had an idea or sensed they might be different, but it took a while to think of themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. As they grew older, they realized that those words fit in with their feelings.
Many other people don’t really learn their sexual orientation (i.e. who you are sexually attracted to) until their teens. Some don’t know until they are adults. And even if some people are experiencing a sense of confusion or wonder, they may not fully explore what that means until they are older. If you’re feeling confused, you’re not alone. It isn’t unusual to feel attracted to someone you’re close to or admire, like a close friend or a great teacher. This doesn’t mean you’re gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
You also don’t need to be sexually active with other people to recognize your sexuality. One or two experiences with someone of the same sex may not mean that you’re gay, lesbian, or bisexual, just as one or two experiences with someone of the opposite sex may not mean you’re straight.
Sexual orientation (who you’re attracted to), like many things in life, develop over time. Don’t worry if you aren’t sure. Experimentation and exploration are often a part of figuring things out. Over time, you’ll find that you are drawn mostly to men or women, or both, and you’ll know then. And over time your questions about how to express this sexual identity in a healthy way will also become clearer too.
Remember: A label is something you need to feel comfortable with, and you don’t have to label yourself today or ever. The choice is yours.
You can learn more about LGBTQ and Two Spirit health HERE.
Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times.
Special Thanks: Tommy Chesboro, Tony Aaron Fuller, Hannabah Blue