What to do when questioning your sexuality

Being young is a time for figuring out who you are and what you like. Exploring and managing your feelings is often part of the experience. Questioning and exploring your sexual identity can be confusing and scary. You might be worried about how the people you love will react, or what it means for your future. Here’s my advice.

Gender identity vs. sexuality

Gender identity and sexuality are often grouped together, but they’re different. Your sexuality is who you’re attracted to, whereas your gender is about what you identify yourself as. Different types of sexual identities and sexual orientations are presented in the acronym LGBTQIA+.

Sexual orientation can also change. This is known as fluidity. If you’re experiencing a shift in your attractions, your sexuality may be changing. There’s nothing wrong with that. As we grow older, we get to know ourselves more, and what we once found attractive might change over time.

Steps to take when you’re questioning

If you’re questioning your sexual orientation, there are some exercises you can do to help understand your attraction on a deeper level. Start by asking yourself one or more of these questions:

Who are you attracted to? 

How do you feel when you refer to yourself with this new gender and sexual identity?

When you close your eyes and think of your perfect partner, are they a specific gender? If so, is their gender different than the ones you’ve had relationships with in the past?

How do you feel when you picture yourself in a relationship with this person? 

Resources to help understand your sexuality

There are different types of sexuality, and it can take time to figure out which one you identify yourself as. No matter what you’re experiencing with your sexuality, there is no need to go through it alone. Questioning your sexuality is perfectly normal and talking about it with others, can help you work through it better.

If you’re comfortable discussing this with a loved one, talk to them. Choose a friend or family member you know you can trust, who is an ally and will have your best interests in mind.

If speaking to a friend or relative isn’t possible, consider speaking to a professional. There are many resources to help you understand your orientation. Organisations such as OUT and Triangle help support the LGBTQIA+ community.

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).