A young teenage boy putting on make-up and applying eye shadow.

Knowing that we have different feelings to our friends and family can be hard. We all want to feel like we fit in. But questioning who we are is a normal and necessary part of growing up

Does it ever feel like everyone else is moving in a particular direction but you’re not sure if you want to go the same way?

Or that your friends are suddenly all talking about the opposite sex, having their first kiss, talking about going out, dating, relationships….but you’re not able to contribute?

Don’t worry. You’re not weird for not wanting the same things as them. And being true to who you are will make you a lot happier than going along with the crowd for the sake of fitting in. 

Embrace Change

There are very few people out there who truly love change but, like it or not, teenage years are when you will experience a lot of upheaval.

The hormonal and physical changes of puberty usually mean people start noticing an increase in sexual feelings. It’s common to wonder and sometimes worry about these new feelings.

It takes time for many people to understand who they are and who they’re becoming. Part of that involves a better understanding of their own sexual feelings and who they are attracted to. 

Sexual Attraction

During the teen years, people often find themselves having sexual thoughts and attractions. For some, these feelings and thoughts can be intense and confusing. That can be especially true for people who have romantic or sexual thoughts about someone who is the same sex as they are or identifies as non-binary or transgender. “What does that mean?” they might think. “Am I gay now?” 

Being interested in someone of the same sex does not necessarily mean that a person is gay — just as being interested in someone of the opposite sex doesn’t always mean a person is straight. It’s common for teens to be attracted to or have sexual thoughts about people of any gender. It’s one way of sorting through emerging sexual feelings.

Sexuality develops over time. Exploration and experimentation with sexuality is normal and common. Remember, you don’t have to have all the answers about this right now!

Sexual Orientation

When we talk about sexual orientation, we mean the emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction that a person feels toward another person. There are several types of sexual orientation, and LGBT Ireland has put the most well-known (not all that exist) in a list that you can check here: https://lgbt.ie/get-information/sexuality-and-romantic-identities/ 

You can also check out our article on the subject here – https://www.childline.ie/a-list-of-sexual-orientation-and-gender-identity-terms/  

If you need to talk to someone about this or anything else for that matter, know that Childline is here to listen whenever you need to chat. Our Childline Listening team can be contacted 24/7, 365 days a year. If you’d like a live chat, you can visit the website www.childline.ie, or perhaps you’d prefer to give us a call on 1800 666 666. 

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