What Are Sexual Feelings?
People with sexual feelings:
- Often want to be close to someone in a sexual way.
- May fantasize about touching someone sexually.
- Might touch themselves sexually.
People might have sexual feelings about:
- Someone they’ve known a long time.
- Someone they just met.
- Someone famous, such as an athlete or actor.
- Someone of the same sex, of the opposite sex or people of both sexes.
Some people don’t have sexual feelings. You may develop them later in the future as you go through phases of change in your life. While this is less common, it’s also OK.
What Makes Sexual Feelings Happen?
Your body produces hormones(chemicals) that can cause sexual feelings.
Your mind may respond to experiences or thoughts in a sexual way.
Things around you can influence sexual feelings:
- Where you are
- Who you’re with
- What you’re doing
- What your friends believe about sex
Different Sexual Feelings
These terms describe different kinds of sexual attractions:
Heterosexual (straight) – A person who has sexual feelings for the opposite sex (a woman attracted to men, or a man attracted to women).
Lesbian – A woman who has sexual feelings for women.
Gay – A man who has sexual feelings for men. Sometimes used to describe lesbians too.
Bisexual – A person who has sexual feelings for both men and women.
Transgender people challenge traditional ideas about gender.
- Transvestites are men who dress in women’s clothing. They see themselves as men, not women. They may be straight or gay.
- Transsexuals are people who feel they are a different gender than their bodies – a man in a woman’s body, or a woman in a man’s body. They may be straight or gay. Some have sex-change surgery. Others don’t.
No one knows for sure why some people have sexual feelings for people of the opposite sex, some for the same sex, and some for both sexes.
Most scientists believe that these feelings may be something people are born with, like the color of their hair or eyes. Experience and learning probably play a role too.
Myths:  People do not become gay or lesbian because they were molested by an adult of the same sex.
 Parents can’t “make’ a child gay.
What Can People Do About Sexual Feelings?
Sexual feelings and attractions can eventually lead to having sex. But there are many other choices to think about too.
The First Steps:
It’s important to:
- Notice that you have sexual feelings.
- Accept the feelings and accept yourself.
- Choose to act on the feelings in some way OR choose not to act on the feelings.
Things You Can Do:
If you choose to act on your feelings, there are many different ways to do this:
- Talk to a friend about your feelings.
- Write about your feelings in a journal.
- Talk to the person you’re attracted to.
- Fantasize about being close to that person.
- Spend time with that person. Go to the movies, for a walk, or out to dinner.
- Hold hangs, hug, or kiss, if the other person also chooses to do this.
- Touch each other sexually or have sexual intercourse, if both of you choose to. If you decide to have sex, be sure to protect yourselves from STI's.
- Accepting your own sexual feelings means accepting differences in others.
- Help your friends and families understand these issues.
- Don’t tease someone who is gay.
- Let your family and friends know that you’re comfortable with people who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
If someone is attracted to you and you don’t return the feelings, talk with the person privately and honestly. Say that you are flattered , but be clear that you don’t feel the same way.