How do I know my sexual orientation?
Not everyone knows their sexual orientation or how to label themselves. If you feel this way, know that it’s common and you’re not alone.
What if I’m unsure about my sexual orientation?
This is really common, and it doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with you. For some people, understanding their sexual orientation can take years, or even a lifetime. Often, people find that they’re “questioning” for a while, or that none of the labels used to describe sexual orientation fit them.
Some people may try a label to see if it fits, and then change it to another one if it doesn’t. This is okay, too. You don’t have to decide on one label, and it’s okay if someday in the future you feel differently from how you feel now.
Some people struggle with coming out to others or even themselves because they’re afraid of homophobia and sexual orientation discrimination. These are very real issues that many LGBTQ people face.
If you’ve ever asked yourself “Am I gay/bisexual?” you’re not alone. Talking with a trusted friend or family member may help you figure it out.
Can other people tell what my sexual orientation is?
No. A person only knows your sexual orientation if you tell them. Sexual orientation describes how you feel inside, and only you know what it’s like to be you.
Some people may think they can guess if a person is lesbian, gay, or bisexual based on superficial factors like how they look, dress, or behave. These are stereotypes, or very simplified judgments, about how lesbian, gay, and bisexual people act. But just like heterosexuals, there are many different ways that homosexual and bisexual people look, dress, and behave. Using stereotypes to label someone else’s sexual orientation can be inaccurate and hurtful.
Are you confused about your sexuality? Or are you looking forward to having a fun time taking this quiz? You can try this ‘what my sexuality test’ for whatever your reason is. Not knowing your sexual orientation is very common. There are resources that can help you find where you are on the sexuality spectrum. Our sexual orientation test is one such method.
After you are done with this particular quiz, you will get the result as either: heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, or pansexual. Keep in mind that no sexuality test is 100% accurate, as the outcome will be purely based on the options you choose for the given set of questions.
What do your results mean?
Heterosexual – You are emotionally and sexually attracted to the opposite sex or gender.
Homosexual – You are emotionally and sexually attracted to same-sex or gender.
Bisexuality – You are emotionally and sexually attracted to both sexes.
Asexual – You lack sexual attraction to others or experience low interest in sexual activity.
Pansexual – For you, gender doesn’t matter. You are emotionally and sexually attracted to all genders.
Sexuality covers a broad spectrum, and is also deeply personal. It’s about understanding the sexual feelings and attractions we feel towards others, not who we happen to have sex with. There are different types of sexuality, and it can take time to figure out what fits right with you. If someone is giving you a hard time about your sexuality, find out what to do and who you can talk to.
Everyone’s sexuality is different, and it’s not necessarily as simple as being ‘gay’ or ‘straight’. Some people are attracted to only one sex, and others are attracted to a diversity of people regardless of sex or gender, with a lot of different preferences in-between.
How do I work out who I am and what it means?
When you have that first moment of questioning your sexuality, you may wonder what it means and what you should do about it.
First up, you don’t have to do anything straight away. Take whatever time you need to work out what these feelings mean for you, your identity and your future. There’s no time limit, so hit pause and give yourself a break.
You could take some time to look at other people’s experiences of discovering their sexuality. QLives has a great series of videos, and celebs like Troye Sivan have also shared videos on YouTube.
It might help to read up on sexuality – it’s a broad spectrum of feelings and experiences, and is definitely not as black and white as some people might think.
Settle in with a book or a movie that explores the lives of LGBTQIA+ young people.
Types of sexuality
People use a few common labels to identify their sexuality. Your sexuality isn’t defined by who you have sex with – it’s about how you feel and how you choose to identify yourself. The important thing is that you choose what label feels comfortable, or you choose no label at all. You might find, like many others have, that the label you choose changes over time.
Attracted mostly to people of the opposite sex or gender.
Attracted mostly to people of the same sex or gender (refers to guys – and often to girls, too).
Attracted mostly to people of the same sex or gender (refers to women).
An inclusive term that describes being attracted to romantic and/or sexual partners of more than one gender or sex. Some people in this community prefer the term pansexual, which generally describes being attracted to all sexes or genders, and others in the community may prefer the term queer.
Attracted to romantic and sexual partners of many but not all genders, sexes or sexual identities. (‘Poly’ means ‘many’.)
Not really sexually attracted to anyone.
Some people also choose the labels ‘queer’ or ‘fluid’ as a way of expressing themselves by their own personal feelings.
Your sexuality can be confusing
Don’t worry if you aren’t sure about your sexuality. Being young is a time for figuring out what works for you. Exploring and managing strong feelings is often part of the experience. Whatever is going on, questioning and exploring your sexual identity can be confusing and scary. You might be worried about how the people you love will react, or what it means for your future. It’s important to remember that, while it might feel overwhelming, you’re more than capable of getting through this tough period – and it won’t last forever.
Do I have to ‘come out’?
The phrase ‘coming out’ is often used for the conversations we have about sexuality. Most of the stories we hear about LGBTQIA+ people relate to how and when they ‘came out’ – and it can make it feel like a big event or announcement. While that can feel right for some people, it’s not for everyone.
You are the most important person in this situation, so don’t feel like you need to do or say anything that puts other people’s needs before yours. It’s entirely up to you whether, when and how you share your thoughts on your sexuality.
Twenty10 suggests that, rather than ‘coming out’, ‘inviting in’ can be a good option for some people. This way, you can share your thoughts on sexuality and what it means to you with the people closest to you.
Rather than feeling like you have to announce exactly who and what you identify as, you can just have a conversation about where your head’s at and what you think about sexuality, and take people on a journey with you.
I’m ready to talk – but how do I actually have the conversation?
If you’re ready to come out or invite in, there are some things to keep in mind:
- Think about how you will look after yourself after the conversation. You might want to put your feet up and indulge in a show that celebrates the queer community, or perhaps you’ll debrief with a support service.
- Be clear with yourself about who you’re ready to share with.
- Let those people know what you need from them. Do you want them simply to listen, or to share their experiences, or offer advice or support, or even help you talk to others?
- Give yourself the time you need to have this chat – you don’t want to feel hurried or rushed.
- Prepare what you’re going to say ahead of time so you feel as confident as possible.
- Allow people to be surprised. Give them time to process the information, and remember that it may take more than one conversation.
- Be aware that first reactions won’t always last. You may not get the reaction you want, but that doesn’t mean it will always be that way.
If someone reacts negatively, be patient but remember that you can walk away. You don’t have to cop poor treatment, so get yourself out of the situation if you need to.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to these things, so what has worked for other people may not work for you. It’s up to you to find your own way of handling it – to decide what it means for your life and how you eventually choose to identify. There’s no right or wrong way to be you, and you’re now well on your way to celebrating what makes you unique.
One of the hardest parts is deciding to get some support – and you’ve done that. We’re so proud of you! You’ve been courageous and strong just opening this webpage, so we know you’ve got what it takes to handle whatever comes next.
Dealing with people who don’t like your sexuality
It’s important to recognise that we’re all different, and that the things that feel right for us are different from the things that feel right for someone else. We should be respectful of and positive about other people’s sexuality or sexual relationships, and support their right to explore their sexuality in a safe, consensual and responsible way.
If you need help
It’s never okay for someone to harass you or make you feel bad about your sexuality. You never have to deal with this kind of treatment from others on your own. There are a number of services that can offer you support if you’re being harassed or bullied based on your sexuality.
Hear about other LGBTQIA+ young people’s experiences
Watch this four-minute video from Qlife Australia.