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Gender and sexuality

You might define your sexuality in a variety of ways. As part of growing up, you will spend time exploring your identity and developing a sense of who you are. Whilst this can include things like what you want to do after school as a career or what hobbies you may have, this also includes thinking about who you are attracted to (your sexual orientation), how you feel about your gender (your gender identity), and the different ways you can express this.

More information about gender and sexuality

Sexuality and sexual orientation are about who you're physically and emotionally attracted to. Everyone is different, and sometimes understanding your sexuality can be confusing. There are lots of types of sexuality and its okay if you don’t fit into just one. For some people, their sexuality is fluid and can change over time.

Some common terms used to describe sexuality

  • Aromatic – not feeling romantically attracted to anyone

  • Asexual – not feeling sexually attracted to anyone

  • Bicurious – people who don’t see themselves as either heterosexual or homosexual, but may also sometimes be curious about the gender they're not normally attracted to

  • Bisexual (or ‘bi’) - feeling emotionally and physically attracted to both sexes

  • Crossed orientation (or mixed orientation) - people who experience a romantic or emotional attraction that is different from their sexual attraction - for example, someone may feel emotionally attracted to girls but sexually attracted to boys

  • Demisexual - someone who doesn’t have any sexual attraction unless they have a strong emotional connection with someone first

  • Gay/lesbian/homosexual - feeling emotionally and physically attracted to people of the same sex

  • Heteroflexible - people who think of themselves as heterosexual but may also sometimes be attracted to people from the same sex - for example, a heteroflexible boy would mostly be attracted to girls but may occasionally be drawn to other boys when the situation feels right

  • Homoflexible - people who think of themselves as homosexual, but may sometimes be attracted to someone of the opposite sex, if it feels right - for example, a homoflexible girl might identify as a lesbian but might sometimes find boys attractive too

  • Pansexual - feeling emotionally and physically attracted to people of any gender or sexual orientation, which includes transgender and non-binary people

  • Polysexual - someone who is emotionally and physically attracted to some genders, but not all

  • Queer - some people use this as an insult, but other LGBTQ+ people will use it to describe not fitting into other sexualities or categories

  • Questioning - feeling unsure about your sexual orientation

  • Straight/heterosexual - feeling emotionally and physically attracted to people of the opposite sex


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Useful books

  • The Big Book of Blob Trees by Pip Wilson

Useful apps

  • Talkspace is an online therapy app which provides counselling to people experiencing a vast range of emotional distress: depression, anxiety, relationship issues, eating disorders etc.

Self-help materials

CAMHS Resources - This site was created for young people, carers and professionals to pool together lots of helpful resources from across the internet that are available to help support mental health and well-being.

Centre for Clinical Interventions - Self-help resources for mental health problems

Get Self Help - This website provides CBT self-help and therapy resources, including worksheets and information sheets and self-help mp3s

onyourmindglos - Helpful guides about emotional health

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Useful videos

Watch videos in our gender and sexuality playlist on our YouTube channel.

Games

However you're feeling, it can be great to express yourself and do things you enjoy. Take your mind off things with games, finding new ways to handle your emotions.

Get more support

Galop - provides confidential and independent advice and support for LGBT+ people who have experienced sexual assault, abuse or violence

GIRES - a UK wide organisation whose purpose is to improve the lives of trans and gender non-conforming people of all ages

Kooth - Free, safe and anonymous online support for young people, accredited counsellors for mental health needs

Mermaids - Helping gender-diverse kids, young people and their families since 1995

Mind - Mental health charity providing guidance and support

Samaritans - Mental health charity providing support and guidance to all

The Mix - online group chat/discussion boards supporting children and young people with a variety of mental health issues

Young Minds - UK charity fighting for children and young people's mental health

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