Sexual Orientation & Relationships

This is covered more extensively in the section on the core challenge of Identity, but there are some key relationship issues to note.

  • All teens must discover and become comfortable with their sexual orientation. It’s part of the journey.
  • Almost everything in this section on the Relationship core challenge is relevant regardless of your sexual orientation.
  • However, not having a traditional sexual orientation (masculine. Feminine, heterosexual, etc.) can complicate things.

Three Worlds to Consider

Your Intrapersonal World. Your identity as an individual. How do you see yourself as a sexual being? Heterosexual male or female? Gay or lesbian? Transgender? Etc. There are a lot of possible identities and they have implications for relationships.

Your Interpersonal World. Your friendships, groups, teams. Does your sexual orientation make it easier or harder to make and keep relationships. Relationships are never easy, but for teens with non-traditional sexual orientations, it can be tougher to find the connections.

Your Cultural Worlds. The environments you inhabit – family, school, neighborhood, faith community, etc. These worlds can influence you strongly, support or undermine you and provide places of acceptance or rejection. Again, these worlds can be a difficult challenge for teens with a non-traditional sexual orientation.

Natural Pitfalls for Teens with a Non-Traditional Sexual Orientation
There are some relationship pitfalls that are hard to avoid:

  • Harassment by peers or adults
  • People might not know how to relate to you
  • You might suffer self-doubts
  • It will be harder to find “like” individuals or groups with which to connect (it’s just a numbers issue)
  • Your sexual orientation can obscure your other characteristics and qualities (in your mind or others), because of its difference