Coming Out (Or Questioning Oneself) As Gay, Bisexual Or Lesbian

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Many young women and men question their sexual orientation at some point when they are teenagers or college-aged.

Many young women and men question their sexual orientation at some point when they are teenagers or college-aged.

Questioning Sexual Orientation

Some may have questions about their sexuality simply because they haven’t learned much about what influences someone to be gay, bisexual, lesbian or heterosexual and so they wonder whether they are a certain sexual orientation if they have kissed someone of the same or other sex, or because they have had sexual dreams about someone of the same or other sex.

Sexual orientation is more complex than random kissing or dreams, however, and is more often described as the pattern of a person’s romantic and physical attraction to others, based on one’s own gender and the gender of those that he or she is attracted to.

Exploration Is Normal

During adolescence and one’s early twenties, young women and men may experiment with kissing, making out or otherwise being sexually involved with same- or other-sex individuals. Exploration and experimentation are common parts of development and they don’t “mean” that someone is gay, straight, lesbian or bisexual.

To learn more about sexual orientation, and to find supportive resources in your community, visit the web site of the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) – a site that can also be helpful for family and friends who would like to learn more.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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