When we hit puberty, our lives seem to almost turn upside down. Our body changes, there are almost volatile mood swings and our mind almost immediately starts on a quest to discover our ‘identity’ and who we are. Sexual feelings and emotions enter our lives (and never leave)!
During this age, amidst all this emotional chaos, we discover attraction, experience a first crush and head out on our first dates. But it is also at this age that we start questioning our sexual identity.
It’s normal for girls to think about girls in a sexual way, and for boys to think about boys in a sexual way. Some people might realise they prefer people of the opposite sex, while others feel like they prefer people of the same sex. Some people realise they are gay, lesbian or bisexual at an early age, while others may not know until later in life.
Some young people may also be not be confused about their sexual identity at all. They may be asexual, where you're not interested in sex at all, or transsexual, where people believe there is a mismatch between their biological sex and identity as a boy or girl.
If you’re experiencing conflicting sexual feelings, it’s okay to ask “How do I know if I am gay?” But at the same time, there’s no reliable ‘Am I Gay Test’ that you can simply take to know. You simply have to look within yourself to try to determine your own thoughts and feelings towards others of the same or opposite sex.
Rubbish stereotypes away, and remember that there is no one single way that members of the LGBTQ community look or behave, to identify as a part of the group. Gay people are extremely diverse. Some might seem very masculine, while others come across as being effeminate. Don’t ever fall into the trap of thinking that your clothes, hair or attitude determines your sexuality.
The best way to determine your sexuality is to explore this side of you. Experiment with your attractions. You should ask yourself: How does it feel when you are with a man as opposed to a woman? Are you attracted to both on a sexual and emotional level, or just one?
The American Psychological Association defines sexual orientation as an “enduring emotional, romantic, sexual, or affectional” attraction toward another person. Do you think how you feel about the same sex matches that definition?
Take your time through this journey of exploring your sexuality, because it can truly be a beautiful one. There’s no right or fixed answer to the question that has been raised, since sexuality is remarkably fluid. The Kinsey Scale is a possible way of determining if you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer or simply curious. However, since this method was devised in 1948, it’s highly inaccurate.
There are so many other youths (and adults too) out there who are questioning their sexual orientation. Clarity often comes with time, so give yourself a chance to fully discover your sexuality. And remember, you are definitely not alone in this journey.