For many teens, these experiences are simply part of the process of sorting through their emerging sexuality. Some teens may experiment with sexual experiences, including those with members of the same sex, as they explore their own sexuality. Teens are beginning to discover what it means to be attracted romantically and physically to others. They might feel they need to deny who they are or hide an important part of themselves. No one fully understands exactly what determines a person's sexual orientation, but it is likely explained by a variety of biological and genetic factors.
These fears of prejudice, discrimination, rejection, or violence, can lead some teens who aren't straight to keep their sexual orientation secret, even from friends and family who might be supportive. They feel comfortable and secure about being attracted to people of the same gender. Many parents face their teen's emerging sexuality with a mix of confusion and worry. That's where support groups and other organizations can help. These changes involve both the body and the mind — so just thinking about someone attractive can cause physical arousal. People who are bisexual are romantically and physically attracted to members of both sexes. This is called coming out. Thinking sexually about both the same sex and the opposite sex is quite common as teens sort through their emerging sexual feelings. They often feel different from their friends when the heterosexual people around them start talking about romantic feelings, dating, and sex. They may feel like they have to pretend to feel things that they don't in order to fit in. They feel they have known all along, even before their teen came out to them. Others wonder whether the news is really true and whether their teen is sure. How Gay Teens Might Feel Like their straight peers, gay teens may stress about school, grades, college, sports, activities, friends, and fitting in. The term sexual orientation refers to the gender that is, male or female to which a person is attracted. In a recent survey, teens who had come out reported feeling happier and less stressed than those who hadn't. Once aware, some gay teens may be quite comfortable and accept their sexuality, while others might find it confusing or difficult to accept. For many teens, these experiences are simply part of the process of sorting through their emerging sexuality. But many lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens who come out to their friends and families are fully accepted by them and their communities. Some also struggle to reconcile their teen's sexual orientation with their religious or personal beliefs. People who are heterosexual are romantically and physically attracted to members of the opposite sex: It can take time for gay teens to process how they feel and to accept this aspect of their own identity before they reveal their sexual orientation to others. And despite gender stereotypes, masculine and feminine traits do not necessarily predict whether someone is straight or gay. Gay people are represented in all walks of life, across all nationalities, ethnic backgrounds, and in all social and economic groups. Despite myths and misconceptions, there is no evidence that being gay is caused by early childhood experiences, parenting styles, or the way someone is raised. For them, it can feel like everyone is expected to be straight. No one fully understands exactly what determines a person's sexual orientation, but it is likely explained by a variety of biological and genetic factors. And if their child is gay, it may bring a whole new set of questions and concerns.
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