As people pass from childhood through the teen years and beyond, bodies develop and change. So do emotions and feelings During the teen years, the hormonal and physical changes of puberty lead to an awakening of sexual feelings. It's common to wonder and sometimes worry about new sexual feelings.It takes time for many people to understand who they are and who they're becoming. Part of that involves having a greater understanding of their own sexual feelings and who they are attracted to. 

What Is Sexual Orientation?

Sexual orientation is the emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction that a person feels toward another person. There are several types of sexual orientation. For example:

  • Heterosexual. People who are heterosexual are romantically and physically attracted to members of the opposite sex: Heterosexual males are attracted to females, and heterosexual females are attracted to males. Heterosexuals are sometimes called "straight."
  • Homosexual. People who are homosexual are romantically and physically attracted to people of the same sex: Females who are attracted to other females are lesbian; males who are attracted to other males are often known as gay. (The term gay is sometimes used to describe homosexual individuals of either sex.)
  • Bisexual. People who are bisexual are romantically and physically attracted to members of both sexes.

Why are some people straight and some people gay? There is no simple answer to that. Most medical experts, including those at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Psychological Association (APA), believe that sexual orientation involves a complex mix of biology, psychology, and environmental factors. Scientists also believe a person's genes and hormones play an important role. Most medical experts believe that, in general, sexual orientation is not something that a person voluntarily chooses. Instead, sexual orientation is just a natural part of who a person is.


Sexual Attraction and Orientation

Transgender People

The Four Stages of Coming Out

It Gets Better

Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)

Want to make a lasting difference in your school?