Sexual Orientation

Sexuality and sexual orientation is about who someone feels physically and emotionally attracted to. This can be romantic or emotional attraction, or both.

As children and young people grow up it’s natural for them to develop and express their sexuality in healthy ways. For example, older teenagers might start dating or having relationships, while younger children might show curiosity about sex or the changes that happen during puberty. Many young people also feel unsure about their sexuality or who they’re attracted to, or find that their sexuality changes over time.

Your sexuality and sexual orientation is down to you and because everybody is unique. It takes people different amounts of times to understand themselves and for some people, this is fluid and can change over time. 

Also, some people may never fully understand their sexuality, and sexual orientation and that’s okay as long as they’re happy with this.

People may identify as a range of different sexualities.

Some that you might’ve heard of include:

  • Homosexual (Gay/lesbian) people: are emotionally and physically attracted to people of the same sex
  • Straight/heterosexual people: are emotionally and physically attracted to people of the opposite sex
  • Bisexual (or 'bi') people: are emotionally and physically attracted to both sexes
  • Asexual people: feel no sexual attraction to others, however can still enjoy close, romantic, intimate and emotional relationships
  • Questioning people: are questioning their sexual orientation
  • Demisexual people: feel no sexual attraction unless they have a strong emotional connection with someone first
  • Pansexual people: can be attracted to people of any sex, gender or sexual orientation.

One way of getting support is by speaking to a trusted adult at school, such as your school nurse or a teacher. Also, if you have a friend or family member that you feel comfortable going to for support then that could be another option for you.

If you would prefer not to speak to someone you know then there are services available for you including the following websites, some of which also have helplines.

  • Stonewall provide resources and information for LGBT+ people. If you would like to talk to someone call 0300 330 0630 (10am – 10pm) or alternatively you can ring the FREEPHONE information line on 0800 050 20 20 (Mon-Fri 9:30am to 4:30pm).
  • Mermaids UK provides resources for gender-diverse kids, young people and their families 
  • London friend provides advise and support for the LGBT+ community in London.
  • SupportLine is available for confidential emotional support Helpline: 01708 765200
  • Child line 24/7 support, online, one the phone, anytime Helpline: 0800 1111