What does ‘sexuality’ mean?
Your sexuality describes how you express yourself sexually and this involves the type of people you are attracted to.
Your sexuality is down to you and because everybody is unique. It takes people different amounts of times to understand their sexuality. Some people know their sexuality and for some people, their sexuality is fluid and can change over time. Also, some people may never fully understand their sexuality, and that’s okay as long as they’re happy with this.
What are the different types of sexuality?
People may identify as a range of different sexualities.
Some that you might’ve heard of include:
- Homosexual (Gay/lesbian) people: are emotionally and physically attracted to people of the same sex
- Straight/heterosexual people: are emotionally and physically attracted to people of the opposite sex
- Bisexual (or 'bi') people: are emotionally and physically attracted to both sexes
- Asexual people: feel no sexual attraction to others, however can still enjoy close, romantic, intimate and emotional relationships
- Questioning people: are questioning their sexual orientation
- Demisexual people: feel no sexual attraction unless they have a strong emotional connection with someone first
- Pansexual people: can be attracted to people of any sex, gender or sexual orientation.
What does it mean if someone ‘comes out’?
Telling or revealing your sexuality to someone else is commonly called ‘coming out’.
The first step to coming out is being able to tell yourself that you identity with a specific sexuality and then you may feel more confident telling others. Some people might not believe that they will be supported by others when they come out, so it can be a really difficult process. However, there are a range of services that can support you if you have concerns about this. See the section ‘Where can I get more information and support around sexuality?’ below for more information.
People are treating me negatively because of my sexuality, what should I do?
It’s never right for someone to make you feel bad because of your sexuality. It’s not fair on you and you should be able to make your own choices as a young adult.
If this is happening to you, or you know somebody this is happening to, then you should tell someone you trust about it. This can help it stop and it’s also a way that you can get support for yourself. There are also services that you can access if you don’t feel comfortable speaking to someone you know.
Where can I get more information and support on sexuality?
One way of getting support is by speaking to a trusted adult at school, such as your school nurse or a teacher. Also, if you have a friend or family member that you feel comfortable going to for support then that could be another option for you.
If you would prefer not to speak to someone you know then there are services available for you including the following websites, some of which also have helplines.
Switchboard helpline: 0300 330 0630
Helpline: 01708 765200
Helpline: 0800 1111