21 January 2008

I am worried I might be a lesbian

I am worried I might be a lesbian. I like these girls but I don’t know if I just look up to them or if I really like them in that way. I don’t want to be though. I have always dreamed of growing up with my husband and having kids and living a wonderful life. I go to an all-girls camp for eight weeks also. So I don’t know if that would influence it or not. I am only thirteen though so I don’t know if you can tell by then. I would appreciate it if you would just give me some background and tell me your thoughts. Thanks a lot!

Lorin Young

Hi Loren – thank you for your question. Most people of your age start to wonder about their sexuality and a lot of people question what their sexual orientation is. Sexual orientation is defined as the romantic, affectional, or erotic attraction that an individual feels. There are several sexual orientations that someone may identify with. The most common are : heterosexual (someone who is interested only in members of another gender), homosexual (someone who is interested only in members of the same gender), bisexual (someone who is interested in members of many genders), and asexual (those who do not experience sexual attraction).

Some people identify very strongly with one of the sexual orientations listed above and may know by their early teens what their preferences are. However, for others this can be a more difficult question to answer. This may be difficult for several reasons. First of all, adolescence is not an easy time. Our bodies are going through a lot of changes, which include physical and emotional changes. Feelings of arousal start to develop and these feelings may initially be unexpected and scary. Secondly, we may also have a sense of what it is that society/family/friends expect us to become and who we think we should be. Sometimes, our attractions do not agree with these expectations. That can be very difficult, as we attempt to understand who we are and why it is that we feel attractions that we don’t think we should feel. If, for example, you do feel you are sexually attracted to girls and this really bothers you, then you should find someone to talk to, like a school counselor, a friend, a nurse, or someone from a group like AlterHeros. This can be really helpful for those who are confused about their sexual orientation.

Going to an all-girls camp is not going to “make you homosexual”. Simply by being around a lot of individuals from one gender cannot cause one to change their innate sexual orientation. However, if this is the first time that you’ve been exposed to a lot of girls who may share similar interests and inspire you, then you may start to experience physical attractions that you had not felt before. At the same time, you may simply have strong feelings of respect for these individuals and associate that with feelings of attraction and of wanting to be around them.

The best thing to do may be to give it some time, think about how you feel about people of one gender or another. Spend time with members of many genders and be open to how your feelings of attraction develop. Adolescence can be a very confusing time and sometimes it is really helpful to spend some time thinking about what you want and what is important to you before jumping into a relationship.

Whomever you end up being attracted to, remember that you have the right to feel good about it and to accept yourself just the way you are.

Good luck, and please contact us again if you have other questions,

-L, for AlterHeros