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Sexual orientation

A female couple.

During your teen years, your sexual feelings will develop. These sexual feelings are part of the body and of the mind. It is normal and natural to have sexual feelings, even though you may feel embarrassed by them sometimes. Many teens feel confused by their new sexual feelings. If you feel that way, you are not alone.

The term “sexual orientation” means the kind of person to whom you are romantically and physically drawn to. There are three main kinds of sexual orientation:

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

To learn more about sexual orientation, including whether people “choose” their sexual orientation, read “Sexual Attraction and Orientation.”


Content last reviewed September 22, 2009
Page last updated October 31, 2013