Exploring your sexuality takes time and courage

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By Danika, TeenSource Blogger

Sexuality is a very beautiful thing, unique to each person. It is also a process of discovery. No one is born knowing everything about their sexual pleasures, desires, preferences, or feelings—all of these are things which people discover the more they learn about themselves. And none of these discoveries are right or wrong, they are just a part of who you are!

When we say it takes time:

Allow yourself to explore and experiment. It’s okay to find out what you like. Sexuality can actually be a very fluid thing, meaning that there is not one set choice you have to make—you don’t need to feel rushed to be “straight” or be “gay” or identify any certain way. There’s always time to find yourself along the way. Take advantage of that time. Remember that in the end, the only person who can define your sexuality, is you. 

Also remember that while you’re defining your sexuality you should still be taking  care of your health! There’s nothing wrong with getting tested regularly and, if you are being sexually active, using protection! Sometimes it’s easy to get so caught up in trying new things and exploring these new territories that you forget to look after yourself and make sure you’re staying safe.

When we say it takes courage:

You may not be met with complete support regarding your feelings of exploration. Sometimes courage is necessary because you feel like you do not have anyone to share your feelings with. Maybe you have to will yourself to accept certain feelings that you haven’t wanted to confront within yourself. Nevertheless, know that no matter the issue, you can do it and you will get through it.

The reason it is so important to remember that is because of these very frightening and saddening facts:

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24.
  • LGBT youth are 4 times more likely, and questioning youth are 3 times more likely, to attempt suicide as their straight peers. 
  • LGBT youth who come from families who do not support their identity are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGBT peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.

If you find yourself experiencing feelings of depression or thinking about suicide, there is help out there for you. You can call the Trevor Helpline, 1-866-488-7386, specifically created for LGBT youth experiencing thoughts of suicide. And know that anything you are currently feeling will eventually pass. Do not give up.