V’s Take: Questioning your sexuality

So things have felt weird lately. Or maybe things have felt weird for a while.

You’re a girl who’s gone on a handful of blind dates, but you can’t figure out why you don’t seem to click with any guys. Or you’re a guy and find yourself absent-mindedly swiping left on Tinder, confused about why you don’t find even just one in 100 girls attractive.

Suddenly, it hits you: you’re questioning your sexuality.

Don’t panic. College is the time for discovering yourself and developing a fuller sense of identity, and an essential part of that identity is your sexuality. If you’re questioning and aren’t sure what to do, look no further. First, let’s define some terms.

Heterosexual: people who are attracted to the opposite sex

Gay: people who are attracted to the same sex

Bisexual: people who are attracted to both males and females

Pansexual: people who are attracted to all biological sexes and all genders

Asexual: people who are not sexually attracted to others

Of course, there are a myriad of other sexualities (and gender identities).  These are just some basic terms.

It’s also important to distinguish between sexuality and gender identification. Sexuality is about who you’re attracted to, while gender identification is about who you identify as. Both sexuality and gender are fluid and on a spectrum, so you don’t have to label yourself for life. Don’t try to squeeze yourself into one tight space if that feels uncomfortable.

Now that you know the basics, what should you do if you’re questioning?

Take your time. There’s no rush to find a label that fits exactly what you feel. Just focus on having meaningful experiences with people and being happy, and pay attention to what types of people you are attracted to and which you aren’t. Figure out what you want and need in a relationship (or lack thereof), too.

Don’t compare yourself to others. You might be wondering why you didn’t figure things out in high school like your friends did, but remember, there’s no deadline for self-discovery. Life is a gradual process of getting to know yourself, and your sexuality is no different. Also, don’t pressure yourself to come out if you’re not ready – it’s your decision, not anyone else’s. It doesn’t matter if your friends came out years ago – just do you.

Find your clique. Remeber that you’re never alone. Take the time to talk to friends who have questioned their sexuality, and seek out support groups and online blogs that will help you learn more. Getting to know people who have experienced the same uncertainty will help you to feel connected. If you ever need someone to talk to, you can always call the LGBT National Youth Talkline at 1-800-246-PRIDE.