Click to talk to a trained teen volunteer.

UnderstandingYourOwnSexualityGender

Understanding Your Own Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

There are many different types of sexual identities and gender identities. It can be hard to decide where you fit, especially if you are unsure of who you’re attracted to or if you feel like your gender and sex don’t match. This can be difficult and uncomfortable when you are a teenager and your body is growing and changing.

You may already know and be comfortable with your sexual identity and gender. Or, like many people, you may be unsure.

I’m not sure about my sexual identity or gender!

  • Lots of people are not sure about their gender or sexual identity.
  • Many people need time and may explore different sexual identities and genders throughout their teen years and even during their entire life.

I think my sexual identity or gender identity might not be what people expect. Is that ok?

  • Yes! We are all different in many ways, including our genders and sexual identities.
  • Having sexual attractions or feelings about your gender that are different from what you see on TV, in movies or in books doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you. It means that you are thinking about your sexuality or gender and working out what feels right for you.

I fantasize about members of the same sex. Does this mean I am lesbian, gay or bi?

  • Not necessarily. Your sexual fantasies provide a way for you to explore feelings and desires, safely, in the privacy of your imagination, without acting on them. They help you learn more about yourself and can help you as you explore your sexuality.
  • Sometimes, fantasies are just fantasies. If you have sexual fantasies about people of the same sex, it may just mean that you are curious or exploring possibilities.

I fantasize about being another gender. Does this mean I am trans?

  • Not necessarily. Your fantasies are a safe way to explore your identity and your feelings about your gender. They help you learn more about yourself and can help you as you think about your gender identity.
  • Sometimes, fantasies are just fantasies. If you fantasize about being another gender, it may just mean that you are curious or exploring possibilities.

How do I know what my sexual identity is?

  • The only person who can define your sexual identity is YOU.
  • By reflecting honestly you can begin to understand what sexual identity will work for you.
  • Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself:
    • What attracts me to different people?
    • What and who are my sexual fantasies focused on?
    • What types of bodies, acts, and porn/erotica arouse me and why?
    • If I had a sexual encounter with a member of the same sex, do I think I would enjoy it and want to do it again?
Useful Tip
There is a difference between sexual identity and sexual behaviour.  You may identify as straight but still be attracted to or have sex with members of the same sex/gender. You may identify as gay or lesbian and still be attracted to or have sex with members of the opposite sex.

How do I know what my gender identity is?

  • The only person who can define your gender identity is YOU.
  • By reflecting honestly you can begin to understand what gender identity will work for you.
  • Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself:
    • What gender do I feel most comfortable expressing myself in?
    • Do I feel comfortable with my biological sex?
    • Am I comfortable or uncomfortable with my sex-specific body parts? (for example, do I have breasts and wish I didn’t?)
    • Do I wish I had body parts that I don’t have?

For more on how to understand your sexual identity and gender identity, check out:

  • Identifying as LGBQ [Link]
  • Identifying as Trans [Link]