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Sexual Attraction and Sexuality

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Being attracted to people

Not everyone is only attracted to people of the opposite sex. There are a lot of different words and labels for people who are attracted to other people of the same gender as them, or who aren’t attracted to anyone at all. Some people use these labels to describe themselves. AVERT's page about homosexuality discusses some of these words and feelings.

Coming out

Telling someone else that you are attracted to people of the same sex as you is sometimes referred to as ‘ coming out’. It can be hard to do and it can be difficult to know when to do it.

Being comfortable with your sexuality isn't always easy, and going public with the information can be really difficult. When you've accepted your sexuality, it's natural to want the rest of the world to be happy for you. But you can decide for yourself when and who you want to tell.

If other people are out at your school, that can make it a bit easier. But some gay people get tormented by their classmates who use the words 'gay' or 'queer', which are often used to describe something negative. This is an example of prejudice, and it's natural to want to fit in. Coming out in the wrong place or at the wrong time can have a negative result, but most gay people say that coming out on their own terms at the right time was a good thing to do.

Remember - you get to choose the time and who you tell.

What are gay relationships like?

“There was the idea that relationships just don't happen - gay men want sex, not relationships... But then you find out there are people who have been going out with people for years. It seems exactly the same as everywhere else.” - Adam

Gay relationships are no different to straight relationships; they can be just as loving, difficult, fulfilling and last just as long. Our page on ‘ relationships and feelings’ applies just as much to people who have same-sex relationships as anyone else. We’ve also got information on having sex, for people of every sexual orientation.

What about being bisexual?

Bisexual people are attracted to both genders - men and women. Some people say that everyone is a little bit bisexual. If you're bisexual, you might have relationships with men and be attracted to women. Or the other way round. It's not true that bisexual people fancy everyone - they fall for people as individuals, just like gay or straight people do.

“He's the best looking guy in my year, and he's also dating the best looking girl in my year. She too is gorgeous. It's like I fancy them both. It's really weird. . . sometimes when she is talking to me its like 'I wonder what she would do if she knew I fancied her and her boyfriend?” - Steve

Being unsure

Many people continue to question who they are attracted to, and whether this makes them gay or straight or bisexual or something else. Some people may decide that they don’t need a label for their sexuality at all! Remember that whatever you decide, it doesn’t have to define who you are. Make a list of all the things about you that you can possibly think of. Who you are attracted to will probably be one of many, many things that make you, you!

I need some support…

Many young people who have alternative sexual identities face stigma and discrimination. Remember that there will be others out there who have experienced similar issues. As Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said on the subject:

“Please take care of yourself, educate yourself about HIV, protect your partners, honour and cherish them. And never let anyone make you feel inferior for being who you are.” 1

For help and advice about the issues discussed on this page, see here.

Where next?

References

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Page last reviewed: 
15/04/2014
Next review date: 
15/10/2015

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