My preferences and desires are confusing me at age 13.
I am a 13 year old boy. I’m just confused. I’m turned on by both women and men, but I can’t envision an actual relationship with a man, only something sexual. Also, I get extremely turned on by dressing up in female clothes, but times I wish I could just be a girl. What’s up with me?
Hi Paul thanks for your question
At 13 you’re at the beginning of the sexual maturation process of when your body goes through major transformation of childhood to adulthood. You can read more about sexual maturation here https://alterheros.com/english/ask_experts/ask.cfm?QID=1870
This period of time lasts only a few years but brings huge transformation, your voice, your body, muscles, hair growth on genital area, you start to sweat more, you get erections, you feel sexual attraction, and have sexual needs .. it's often a period when parents get discouraged because you need new jeans and new shoes almost every 6 months because you just don't fit into your current ones. This sexual maturation process and time of change referred to often as the teenage years, is not an easy process. And for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender youths it’s just an extra challenge.
Here is a question by a student in college who thinks she is bi-sexual that you may find useful: https://alterheros.com/english/ask_experts/ask.cfm?QID=2006
Basically it's up to you, Paul, to figure out what is your true sexual orientation, but give yourself time, because it's over a period of a few years that you will be able to affirm and feel fully comfortable identifying yourself. With a few sexual relations and human relationships that you develop with both females and males, over time will help you affirm more and more your true sexual orientation. I encourage you to talk to and socialize with lots of people. Don't hesitate to make lots of friends, both at school and outside of school (sport/art activities, camp, people in your neighborhood) you will see what kinds of people you like and have an affinity with, which other young people are like you, share your interests and could possibly make a good friend or even a sexual partner. Social interactions and human relationships are not something we are born with but something we have to learn as children, adolescents and as young adults. As we learn about and how to manage these interaction with others, we learn more about ourselves.
Remember only you can know your own sexual orientation whatever it may be, even if it is not defined under the common categories: gay, bi, curious, straight, etc.
You bring up a second point about dressing in girls clothing. Quite a few young males do this during the years of sexual maturation. It is part of the whole human sexual development process of discovery: gender roles, sexuality, fetishes, fantasy, anticipation, desires, curiosity, physical contact, stimulation. Younger boys may feel they want to be girls because they see how girls are usually treated at your age, by parents and by society. Children and pre-teens see clearly the difference of how people treat and talk to little boys and little girls, we live in a very linear gender based society.
This is only a generalization, but, 13 year old girls, can talk about boys, can have posters of boys or girls hanging on the wall of their room, their mother and father cuddle them more, have a tendency of talking to them in a softer voice, screaming at them less, etc. As a 13-year-old boy, you are expected and told to be tough, play sports, don't cry, don't be like a girl, etc All these behaviors that come from adults and society are thrown on boys; which explain why young boys sometimes think in the way you mentioned in your question.
Please note that there is a big difference between thinking of this lightly oh sometimes I wish I were a girl, my parents, teachers, coach would maybe treat me better. Versus really wanting and truly feeling you where born as the wrong gender: called Transsexualism (it's a condition in which an individual identifies with a physical sex different from the one they were born with) If you do have these strong feelings that you are a really a girl not a boy, than it would be important to get information from a Trans support group, seek help from a psychologist or a health professional familiar in gender issues who can guide you to the proper, unbiased resources. People who need to change genders must be supported, it is a difficult process with many challenges. Everyone has the right to live in the gender and sexual orientation that truly is theirs. We often forget we are humans, living biological beings, we are not machines, we are sometimes born differently. Just as in the animal world we study differences within one species, there are differences in the human Homo sapiens species as well.
I can understand at age 13 the question of sexual orientation can seem sometimes overwhelming, you might be thinking about it often or even all the time!! Just give yourself a chance; keep yourself informed like reading our website or talking with someone from a GLBT youth support phone line or group, concentrate on meeting people, developing your social skills, taking care of yourself (eating well, exercise and sleep), handling school, sport and family stuff according to your age group. With the right tools and over time, questions you have will start answering themselves and answers will become clearer and clearer to you.
JP from Project10