Sexual Orientation During Adolescence

Know about the difficulties faced by teens in determining sexual orientation.

Sexual orientation is nothing but the pattern of attraction that one individual feels towards another individual.

Sexual orientation is nothing but the pattern of attraction that one individual feels towards another individual. It could be physical, emotional, or sexual. Such an attraction could be towards the opposite sex (heterosexual), same-sex (homosexual), or towards both the genders (bisexual).

Sexual orientation is a psycho-emotional experience that one goes through. Sexual orientation is certainly different from gender identity, where the latter is just what people consider an individual to be, like male, female, or transgender. Adolescence is the period where teens tend to think about their sexual orientation. Although most often teens consider themselves heterosexual, their emotional drives might vary from what they perceive.

Difficulties faced by teens in determining sexual orientation

Because of the uncertainty in the kind of attraction they feel, teens find it difficult to express their likings. Mainly, they are hesitant to talk about the same to their elders.

Teens might not even know why they get attracted to someone. It could be someone from the same sex or the opposite sex, or sometimes, people belonging to both the genders. Sometimes, they might physically be attracted to one sex, whereas emotionally to the other sex, or both could happen towards the same gender. Such confusing, uncertain thoughts might disturb their well-being, both physically and mentally. However, this is an individual’s psycho-emotional behavior, and one cannot change it forcibly.

How can elders help teens in determining their sexual orientation?

Parents have to understand that this is the normal physiological process that every child goes through. They have to educate their children accordingly about the same.

Proper education helps avoid such self-conflicts, unnecessary depression, and confusion.

Every individual tends to take a tremendous amount of time to determine and realize their sexual orientation pattern. So the same applies to adolescents as well. They have to be supported and guided to choose and accept the sexual orientation their body asks them for.


When you consider sexual orientation, anybody can fall into any of the categories. There is no need to feel guilty or try to alter one’s choice forcefully. It is quite common to face uncertainty too. Just go with the flow and give it some time.

Special thanks to Dr. Supriya Arwari (M.D, D.G.O) for the expert advice.

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