Hi Loren – thank you for your question. Most people of your age start to wonder about their sexuality and a lot of people question what their sexual orientation is. Sexual orientation is defined as the romantic, affectional, or erotic attraction that an individual feels. There are several sexual orientations that someone may identify with: heterosexual (someone who is interested only in members of the opposite sex), homosexual (someone who is interested only in members of the same sex), bisexual (someone who is interested in members of both sexes), transsexual (someone who identifies as or desires to live as and be accepted as a member of the gender opposite to that assigned at birth – they may be attracted to members of either sex), and asexual (those who do not experience sexual attraction).
Some people identify very strongly with one of the sexual orientations listed above and may know by their early teens what their preferences are. However, for others this can be a more difficult question to answer. This may be difficult for several reasons. First of all, adolescence is not an easy time. Our bodies are going through a lot of changes, which include physical and emotional changes. Feelings of arousal start to develop and these feelings may initially be unexpected and scary. Secondly, we may also have a sense of what it is that society/family/friends expect us to become and who we think we should be. Sometimes, our attractions do not agree with these expectations. That can be very difficult, as we attempt to understand who we are and why it is that we feel attractions that we don’t think we should feel. If, for example, you do feel you are sexually attracted to girls and this really bothers you, then you should find someone to talk to, like a school counselor, a friend, a nurse, or someone from a group like AlterHeros. This can be really helpful for those who are confused about their sexual orientation.
Going to an all-girls camp is not going to “make you homosexual”. Simply by being around a lot of individuals from one sex cannot cause one to change their innate sexual orientation. However, if this is the first time that you’ve been exposed to a lot of girls who may share similar interests and inspire you, then you may start to experience physical attractions that you had not felt before. At the same time, you may simply have strong feelings of respect for these individuals and associate that with feelings of attraction and of wanting to be around them.
The best thing to do may be to give it some time, think about how you feel about girls and boys. Spend time with members of both sexes and be open to how your feelings of attraction develop. Adolescence can be a very confusing time and sometimes it is really helpful to spend some time thinking about what you want and what is important to you before jumping into a relationship.
Whomever you end up being attracted to, remember that you have the right to feel good about it and to accept yourself just the way you are.
Good luck, and please contact us again if you have other questions,
-L, for AlterHeros