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ISSUES OF SEXUAL IDENTITY 

Sexual identity, or sexual orientation identity, is the way in which a young person thinks of him or herself in terms of who he or she is romantically attracted to.

General Information

Adolescence is a time of growth and maturation in a young person’s life. The hormones and physical changes that occur throughout one’s youth are immense. More specifically there is typically a noticeable increase in a young person’s sexual thoughts, feelings and attractions. Though for many years, one’s sexual orientation was thought to be a choice, American society is beginning to become more open minded about the fact that this is not necessarily the case. There will always be a debate, but it is now more widely believed that sexual orientation is inborn. Furthermore, that a person’s sexual identity can shift throughout his or her life, as sexuality is a spectrum.

There are many types of sexual orientation. Some of them include heterosexuality, homosexuality, pansexuality, bisexuality, and asexuality. Heterosexuality is when a young person is emotionally, physically, and or romantically attracted to a person of a different gender. Homosexuality is defined as a teenager that is physically, romantically, and or emotionally attracted to a person of the same gender. Pansexuality is described as a teen that is attracted to someone regardless of gender or sex. Bisexuality is when a teenager is attracted to people of the same gender and to people that are another gender. Asexuality is when a young person does not experience sexual attraction. As previously stated, is it not uncommon for a young person’s sexual identity to change throughout his or her adolescence and or life, as sexuality lies on a continuum.

Sexual education is imperative for an adolescent. This can assure that a teenager is aware of safe sex practices, as well as provide a safe outlet for sexually related topics. Having a safe space to ask questions and learn about all the changes that occur in one’s body and mind regarding sexuality can be incredibly helpful for a teenager. All that accompanies the emergence of a young person’s identity can be overwhelming. Though American society is becoming more open minded regarding sexual orientation, there is still, unfortunately, significant prejudice, stereotypes, and biases that are ingrained into American culture. Teenagers who identify as a non-heterosexual may experience anxiety and distress due to outside judgments and preconceived notions. On the other hand, discovering one’s sexual identity can be a positive, exciting, and liberating experience for a teen. Having the freedom to explore one’s true sense of self as an adolescent can help to cultivate confidence and a healthy self-esteem.

There are many influences that can affect a teen’s perception of self and comfort level with his or her findings. As a parent or loved one of a young person, the best way to be supportive of a teenager learning his or her sexual identity is to be open minded and accepting. The tumultuousness of adolescence is challenging enough, and support throughout this time can make a positive difference in a young person’s life. This may be difficult for some individuals, and if so, speaking to a mental health professional can be helpful. A mental health professional can help provide a loved one with productive language and assistance in relating to, and or connecting with his or her teenager. Pacific Teen Treatment ensures an emotionally and physically safe environment for all of its residents. It does not tolerate any bullying or intolerance towards others, as it is an inclusive residence, welcoming any and all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation and identity.

Further Information

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. In order to maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Seeking support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.

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