Straight Talk Advice

Jul 02, 2013

13-year-old confused about sexual orientation

Dear Straight Talk: Please don't judge me! I'm 13 and very confused about my sexual orientation. I don't know if I'm straight or bisexual. When I see a cute guy, I daydream about him constantly. When I see a pretty girl, I'm only like, she's pretty. But I think I might have a crush on this one girl and am very confused about my feelings! Could you help me see if I have a crush on her? She is outstandingly pretty but I don't daydream about her. Yet, as I'm starting to want to know her, I'm finding it gross! I'm crying. Should I get to know her? I'm so confused. I really like men. I'm a girl. Please help! —Tess, Columbus, Ohio

Taylor 16, Santa Rosa, Calif. Ask me a question

Based on what you’ve written it seems you are attracted to men. Being nervous over a pretty girl doesn't mean you are gay!

Sarah 15, Monclova, Ohio Ask me a question

My friends and I call this a “girl crush.” You think she's beautiful and find yourself “attracted” to her appearance. It's totally natural and normal to have girl crushes, even if you're straight. Please stop over-analyzing this! If you want to get to know her, go for it!

Frankie 24, Sacramento, Calif. Ask me a question

When I was young, there wasn’t the pressure to figure out “what you are” so early. Even with today’s pressure, please wait until later in life to sort out these feelings! It’s emotionally traumatic to explore them so young. I remember in high school having feelings for my best friend. Because I waited to sort them out, I was able to make the incredibly rational choice to keep them to myself. One, I really respect my female friendships. As I've gotten older, these friendships have become almost sacred, and I don't want romantic feelings interfering. Two, my best friend trusted me. Divulging my feelings for her in high school would have destabilized her — not to mention possibly destroying what I held so dear — our FRIENDSHIP!

Go ahead and get to know the girl. “Girl crushes” are normal. But don't act sexually on the attraction or even try to figure it out! You are too young! If feelings for girls are still present in your twenties, and you are no longer afraid or ashamed of the feelings, figure it out then.

Rose 25, Auburn, Calif. Ask me a question

You seem to be confusing sexual attraction with attraction to this woman’s traits. I am attracted to strong, successful women. You could call it a “crush” but without the sexual part.

Ochatre 23, Kampala, Uganda Ask me a question

You sound like any human who sees something beautiful and appreciates it. I believe your feelings toward the pretty girl are normal since you are daydreaming about boys, not her. Go ahead and talk to her. You will make good friends and start seeing her that way.

Dear Tess: I agree that you sound straight. And don’t worry, I wouldn’t judge you if you weren’t. The truth is, we receive many letters from straight-sounding girls with this dilemma. The pressure to label one’s feelings as “bisexual” is increasing in middle and high school and many straight girls are in agony over what used to be considered just normal attraction to other females. Like Sarah says, don’t over-analyze this! The angst, depression, substance abuse, or other at-risk behaviors that come from worrying about it aren’t worth it. (Gays and lesbians are three times more at-risk for harmful behaviors than their straight counterparts — and bisexuals rank even higher.) If you’ve always liked boys, you’re straight! Enjoy that! If bisexual feelings crop up, find relief by overlooking them until later in life. 

Editor's Note: Tess, I wish you had used a valid email address. We could have reached you much sooner with our responses. To you and other girls going through this same dilemma, Frankie’s advice is spot-on to wait until you are older to sort through these kinds of feelings. Our culture has become hypersexualized (no thanks to the pornography industry), and there is huge angst and worry by otherwise straight girls that just because a pretty or exotic-looking girl is attractive that it means something sexual and must be labeled and acted upon, or you’re not being “true to yourself.”

There are brain studies,* the results of which were presented in at least one earlier Straight Talk column, indicating that most heterosexual females have some hardwiring for bi-arousal. This means that it’s normal for most straight women to be attracted to females as well as males. Most have simply preferred to turn this attraction into emotionally rich and deep friendships. It didn’t occur to most women to do otherwise. Such friendships — which, if you think about it, often resemble romantic relationships in their emotional depth — are arguable one of the biggest prizes about being female. Prior to the hypersexualizing of youth by the porn industry and girl-girl action being commonplace across popular media, women hardly gave bisexuality a second thought. Now, many girls are conditioned to think in this direction.

*(The research is actually complex for both men and women, and there is a lot of good scientific argument going on. A paper by J. Michael Bailey will take you directly to some of the top original studies if you are interested.)

Even as our culture is softening legally toward gays, lesbians and bisexuals, in middle and high school most are still cruelly marginalized or bullied. In some other countries, they are stoned to death. Whether one keeps a bi relationship a total secret or is “out,” both approaches lead to tremendous angst and emotional turmoil, right when you need it the least, namely, in adolescence — when everything is in turmoil and angst already. As I pointed out in today’s column, bisexuals are even more at-risk than gays and lesbians for depression, isolation, drug or alcohol abuse, cutting, eating disorders, and other negative behaviors that can result from emotional trauma.

I don’t judge anyone for their sexual orientation. And I don’t pretend to understand its mechanisms. I just want everyone to be happy and healthy. To that end, I do hope those who are young and still developing emotionally (read my lips: all teenagers and many college students) and who are basically straight (meaning you’ve mostly daydreamed about boys if you are a girl, and you’ve mostly daydreamed about girls if you are a boy) will hold off, if experiencing bisexual feelings. Overlook them, turn them into great friendships, let them go, however you want to think about it, but don’t give them a second thought. You’re normal! Attraction is normal! Let it go and enjoy life!

It’s actually a huge plus to be able to control one’s feelings rather than have them control you. It’s so much better, for instance, when you’re starving, to eat dinner instead of that bag of Oreos — even though your body is hardwired to want that instant sugar infusion! Your good sense overrides that craving and makes the smarter choice to have dinner and not traumatize your system. After your system is stabilized, a couple of Oreos won’t kill you. Others don’t even want them anymore. (To clarify, here I am talking about straight people feeling bisexual urges, not gays or lesbians.)

I give this advice strictly for your sake. I want you to enjoy your life and your sexuality, instead of being traumatized by it. There will be a time when you are stable, away from the toxic rumor-mill of high school, independent of parents who will have their own intense reaction, when it will be much safer to explore more of yourself if indeed you still feel the need. —Lauren

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  1. By Katelyn, age , from Azusa, Calif. on 07/02/2013

    It’s hard to take this question seriously. Everyone I’ve met or heard about who thinks they’re “bisexual,” eventually gravitates toward and settles down with one gender.

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  2. By Nicole, age , from Santa Rosa, CA on 07/02/2013

    I’ve always considered myself straight and have dated many men in my life. However, in high school, I was in love with a woman friend. We kept it private, so private that we didn’t speak about it even between ourselves until years later. I love her and she’s a dear friend to this day. I personally believe that physical appearance is but a small part of the “connection” we call love. Slow down! Avoid labeling and judging yourself.

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  3. By K.K., age , from Roseville, CA on 07/02/2013

    I have a similar issue, but it has much more serious ramifications.  I’m 16 and have a 9 year old stepsister who I share my room with on visitations every other weekend and even though I never felt I was gay, I started having sexual feelings toward her when she undressed and I saw her naked.  To make matters worse, we were sharing a bed and I would sometimes feel temptation to do things that would have been very, very wrong.  I had never felt that I was gay as I am attracted to boys and don’t get these feelings about my girlfriends my age, even when I see them naked.  I felt there was something really wrong with me and was afraid I might be gay and even a pedophile.  I wrote to Straight Talk and got very helpful advice from Lauren and the Panel that was not judgmental.  The best advice which I got from just about everybody was to change the bed sharing arrangement.  I couldn’t tell my mom the real reason, so I told her that my stepsister was moving around and coming over to my side of the bed and I wasn’t getting enough sleep, so could we get twin beds or bunk beds?  It was no problem and we now have bunk beds.  Even though the feelings haven’t totally gone away and I still feel sexual stimulation when I see her naked (which I try to avoid now), with us in separate bunks, there is no way I’m going to act on the feelings which is a great relief. 

    I think that confusing sexual feelings are not that uncommon, but the important thing is not to act on them in a way that will be harmful to anyone, including yourself.


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  4. By S.H., age , from Redding, CA, U.S.A. on 07/02/2013

    It makes me feel better to know that you can have sexual attraction to another girl without being gay. My best friend and I decided to have girl to girl sex as an experiment just to see what it was like.  We just intended it to be a one time thing, but it turned us on so much that we have continued.  I have a double bed in my room that we share when we have sleepovers, and we just can’t stop ourselves when we’re in bed together.  Other than this, neither one of us has ever felt attracted to other girls and we are both attracted to boys.  She has a steady boyfriend.  I don’t, but I have dated and would like to have a steady boyfriend.  I therefore don’t think we could be completely gay, but this makes me think we might be bisexual, and that worries me.  The girl to girl sex worries me and makes me feel guilty, but it’s hard to get away from especially with my best friend when we’re frequently sleeping nude in the same bed.

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  5. By Amy, age , from Carmichael, CA on 07/03/2013

    In my case it was my older stepsister on whom I had a crush.  I was 13 and going through puberty and she was 17, 4 years older than I was.  I ideolized her and wanted to be just like her and would do anything for her approval.  We shared a room on weekend visitations like many stepsisters.  I was just starting to have sexual feelings and they were very confusing to me.  My stepsister has a very attractive body and was very casual about nudity in front of me in the bedroom and also slept in the nude.  We did not share a bed, which was probably a good thing based upon things I have read in Straight Talk! 

    I developed a huge crush on her and was overwhelmed with sexual feelings when I would see her nude.  These feelings made me think I must be gay even though I also felt attracted to guys, but I was much more attracted to her.  She had a boyfriend and showed no sexual interest in me even though I tried by going out of my way to be nude in front of her, but she had no interest in my body at all, but she was very good to me.  However, in time, my interest in her waned and I became less and less sexually interested in her and more and more interested in guys.  I’m now 17 and have a boyfriend and am totally straight.  She’s now away at college so I don’t see her very often anymore.  However, she recently came for a visit and shared my room again.  I had no sexual feelings whatsoever when I saw her nude.  I still like her very much as a person and consider her almost like a real sister, but that is all. 

    Based on my experience, I think it is fairly normal to have confusing feelings like this during puberty when you are first starting to have sexual feelings and it does not mean that you are gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that as they say on Seinfeld!)


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  6. By Sarah, age , from Santa Ana, CA on 07/03/2013

    I started puberty and having sexual feelings when I was about 12 and at the same time started having “crushes” on other girls and seeing other girls nude, even my sister who I share a room with, sometimes gave me sexual excitement.  I was worried sick that I was gay, but I was also attracted to boys.  Things straightened out by the time I was 14 and I lost all sexual feelings about other girls.  I therefore agree that it is common to have confusing sexul feelings when your first becomming sexaully aware, and Tess is only 13, so I hope it helps you to know that others went through the same thing and it turned out fine.  And as Amy says, even if you turn out to be gay, there is nothing wrong with it.


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  7. By M.L., age , from Rohnert Park, CA on 07/04/2013

    I think that if you have confusing sexual feelings like Tess and the others who have written it probably means that you are straight.  I’m gay and always knew it, even long before I knew what it meant and long before puberty.  When I was only 5 or 6 I told my mom that when I grew up I wanted to marry a girl, not a boy.  She just laughed and said that girls couldn’t marry other girls and that I would understand that when I got older.  Little did she know how things would change!  However, I knew even then that it was what I wanted and it never changed.  Even from that time, seeing other girls bodies excited me.  I can’t really call it sexual excitement at such a young age, but the attraction to females was there.  I shared a room with my older sister.  I didn’t get these feelings about her, but when her friends spent the night and I saw them nude it would excite me, especially when they had reached puberty and developed breasts and pubic hair.  When I reached puberty and my friends were all going “boy crazy” I was going “girl crazy.”  Unlike many girls, I loved undressing in the locker room and taking communal showers nude with other girls. 

    When I was 16 I finally found a girlfriend who was also gay.  Since we wanted to date and have a relationship like any other teenage girls, we both “came out” to our families.  I was lucky and my family was supportive.  Her family was not nearly as supportive, but came to accept us.  We have faced a great deal of prejudice, but those stories are too long to go into.  We’ve been together 3 years now and are in college and are roommates.  We plan on getting married after we graduate.  We are thrilled now that gay marriage is legal again in California.

    I therefore think that if you are confused when going through puberty, you will probably turn out to be straight.  However, if you do happen to turn out to be gay, as others have said: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH IT!


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  8. By M.W., age , from Fullerton, CA on 07/05/2013

    I’m gay and my experience is much different than M.L.‘s and more like that of Tess and the others.  Before puberty, I never had feelings for other girls and just assumed that I would get married to a man when I grew up like my parents and everybody else I knew.  When I reached puberty, I started having confusing sexual feelings about both guys and girls just like the other who are straight have described.  However, as time went on, I felt more and more sexually attracted to girls and had no interest in guys and realized I was gay.  I was afraid to tell anyone.  I finally confessed it to my sister since I am closer to her than anyone else and can talk to her about personal things more than with anyone else.  I was really worried that she’d be afraid to continue sharing a room with me and undressing in front of me, etc.  However, she said that was totally “silly”, that regardless of my sexual orientation we were still sisters and she still loved me just as much and those matters were no problem as far as she was concerned.  She was very supportive and helped me with “coming out” to my parents and the rest of our family.  It took a little time for them to get used to it, but they came to be accepting and supportive.  I now have a steady girlfriend, but we have not actually had sex yet, just like many girls my age who have boyfriends but do not have sex.  I think having confusing sexual feelings is common and normal and you may turn out to be straight and you may turn out to be gay, and it’s OK however you turn out.


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  9. By Jim, age None, from Westminster, CA, USA on 07/05/2013

    Confusion about sexual identity also happens to guys. At least it did to me as I had sexual feelings about both girls and guys at first.  To make things much worse, my attraction to guys caused me to get boners in the showers in the locker room like I’ve seen other guys write about in Straight Talk.  It was impossible to hide and everybody assumed I was gay and word got around really fast and everybody thought I was gay.  At first, I also thought I must be gay or otherwise why would seeing other guys naked give me boners when I didn’t see it with anyone else?  But I was more attracted to girls.  After a while I stopped getting boners in the showers and seeing other guys naked no longer excited me.  I was very attracted to girls and convinced that I was straight.  However, the label of being gay would not go away and I was constantly harassed, especially by the “macho jocks.”  Girls would have nothing to do with me, and guys would not be friends with me either for fear of being labeled “gay by association.” 

    I had to transfer to another school to escape all of this.  I’ll be a senior next year and am doing fine and am totally straight.  I even have a girlfriend now!  I really feel for guys who have to go through this and be labeled gay when it is just confusion over sexual feelings that is common when going through puberty and coming into sexuality.  Even though I am much happier now, the scars of what happened to me at my other school still have not gone away, and I’m not sure if they ever will.  Girls are lucky as it is easier for them to keep feelings like this to themselves as there is no obvious manifistation like there is when a guy gets a boner right in front of everybody!


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  10. By Linda, age , from Carmichael, CA, United States on 07/05/2013

    Being labeled gay because of confusing sexual feelings and getting boners in the showers has also caused my twin brother to be labeled gay at our high school.  We are very close and confide in each other about everything and I know that he’s straight.  But even if he was gay it wouldn’t matter to me and I would love him just as much.  We share a room and aren’t shy about nudity with each other even though we’re opposite sexes and it doesn’t bother us in the least, maybe because we’re twins and have a special bond.  I see him get boners all the time sometimes when I’m also nude, but also sometimes when I’m dressed so I don’t take it as sexual attraction to me.  Neither one of us feels the need for a privacy partician like was discussed in a recent Straight Talk column.  We just love each other as a brother and sister.  But because of this, I know that it isn’t just in the showers with other guys where this happens.  He’s very depressed about this, and I’m worried about him.  I tried to fix him up with a girlfriend of mine but she was afraid to be seen with him due to peer pressure because of the reputation this has caused him.  I see him masturbating in the morning to get rid of the sexual tenstion, but it hasn’t worked.

    I really wish people would understand that these kinds of feelings are normal and am glad that there is something like Straight Talk where there can be a dialog about it that is non-judgmental.


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  11. By Richard, age , from Irvine, CA on 07/05/2013

    Jim and Linda’s comments make me feel very bad and very guilty.  In high school, I was one of those “macho jocks” who harassed a guy so bad about allegedly being gay because he got erections in the showers that he had to leave the school.  We would even shove him into the girls’ bathroom and tell him that was where he belonged and thought that we were hysterically funny.  Looking back, I now realize that it was because I felt confused about my own sexuality and needed to prove how macho I was.  Fortunately for me, I did not get erections in the showers, but I did sometimes feel sexually excited which really scared me as I was raised to believe that homosexuality is a horrible thing.  Also, even if this guy was gay, he did not deserve to be treated this way.

    I no longer have these feelings about other males and am totally straight.  However, I’m now in college and have come to know some guys who are gay and have become friends and realize that they are no different than anyone else.  I even use the showers with them in the dorm, and it doesn’t bother me in the least.  I really feel terrible about what we did to this guy in high school and really wish I could make it up to him, but I don’t see any way. 


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  12. By Terri, age , from Lodi, CA on 07/06/2013

    When I was 12 and starting puberty I developed a tremendous “girl crush” on my 16 year old sister’s best friend.  She frequently spent the night in the room my sister and I share, and I was fascinated with her mature body which was much more developed than my sister’s.  Seeing her nude really excited me and I would make a point of trying to be in the room when she undressed.  When she would notice me watching her undress it didn’t phase her at all.  She would just smile and shrug it off.  Seeing my sister and friends my age who were also going through puberty nude did not excite me at all, and at this same time I was also starting to get interested in boys.  After a while, her body no longer interested me.  Once you’ve seen the same thing enough times, the excitement goes away.  I’ve never felt attraction to any other girl, and now at 15 I know that I’m totally straight.  I never really worried about being gay.  I don’t want to imply that there is something wrong with being gay.  I have a gay friend and like her very much, and undressing in front of her has never been a problem as far as I’m concerned. 


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  13. By Jessica, age , from Santa Rosa, CA on 07/07/2013

    Dear Tess,

    I opened my local paper today, read your article and was appalled at the advice you were given. I grew up daydreaming and having crushes on boys. I also thought girls were pretty. I dated both men and women and can say with confidence, that I am a lesbian. It is so important that at your age you remain open to whatever feelings you may have. Don’t over analyze them. Know that love is simply that, love. It doesn’t have a gender, a name, a face, it is just a feeling that people share.

    More importantly I want to stress that being gay or having bisexual or gay tendencies is not gross and should not be looked upon as negative. It is this very attitude that perpetuates bullies, suicides, and alienates youth around the world. I understand that society is teaching an opposite message like some of the advice you have been given.

    At your age it is a normal and healthy to have curiosity. Being curious doesn’t mean you are gay as much as it means you are straight.

    Just listen to your heart and don’t be afraid.

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  14. By Lauren Forcella, age , from Sebastopol, CA, USA on 07/07/2013

    TO ALL WHO WROTE IN—I’ve been so grateful all week for your testimonials! Your sharing is helping so many others! Like many of you describe, sexual feelings at the beginning of puberty can be very confusing with one’s orientation spinning like a compass on a windy road. For most who had straight feelings through childhood, that road does straighten out—because you are basically straight!  We heard from a couple of people (thank you for writing!) who were the exception to that—and while nothing in human sexuality is cast in stone, this is generally how it works.

    My goal for everyone is to be happy and emotionally whole. The point of today’s column was to take things slowly and not ACT on early feelings. Age 13, 14, 15, even 16 is too early to be sexually intimate with ANYONE! Sex and/or Love is a very powerful force and can be extremely destabilizing if one isn’t mature enough to handle the feelings that come with it—or when it ends—(not to mention the possible physical ramifications). Even at ages 17-19, when most people DO become sexually active, it is too young to recommend explore sexual feelings that frighten you, make you depressed, or “gross” you out (as Tess describes her bisexual feeling). You have your whole life to explore the feelings that your sexuality brings up! There is no rush needed. And no need to “label” yourself when you are so young if you indeed do explore them.

    To Jessica from Santa Rosa, who just wrote in, my apologies, but I’m not sure of your point. I don’t judge anyone for their sexual orientation and I didn’t hear it from the panel either. I’m happy you figured out your orientation by dating both men and women—and I’m guessing you didn’t do this when you were 13. My whole point is to wait until you are older to explore bisexual feelings sexually.  13 is way too young, sorry! Can you imagine me advising her to follow her feelings at her age? Please re-read her original letter.

    My best to all!—Lauren

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  15. By Lauren Forcella, age , from Sebastopol, CA, USA on 07/07/2013

    To Jim, Richard and Linda (on behalf of your brother)—You are my champions. Thank you so much for writing.  Jim—I’m so glad you switched schools and got out of there. It’s often the only solution and I applaud you for having the guts to do it. Boys totally have it tough compared to girls in this realm. We did a column on this a while back at

    Richard—I really thank you for admitting that your bullying stemmed from your own confused feelings — AND for saying, even as you are straight, that there is nothing wrong about being gay. While there may not be a way to make this up to the boy you hurt, you can work to make the world a kinder place in different ways, which you are doing right now with your letter. A column we recently did on asking someone’s forgiveness for bullying can be read at  .

    Linda—I hope you will show your brother Jim and Richard’s letters and encourage him (or help him, even) transfer schools. There is nothing wrong with him—or with gays, just with our culture. It’s summer and a perfect opportunity. If the new school is full, or an obstacle like that arises, please tell them about the bullying and I believe they will make an exception. If he’s worried the same thing will happen at the new school, I recommend he be excused from gym until he is past this phase. Or he could use the method that Bill from Corona, Calif. used when it would happen to him. He would say, “How come you’re so interested in looking at my dick and in how big it is. Are you gay?” That would shut them up real quick, he says. (Not that there is anything wrong with being gay, he is just turning the tables.) Your brother can read his comment by clicking My to him! Please let us know how it goes.—Lauren

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  16. By Jasmin, age, from Austria on 07/08/2013

    Sweet Sappho on a bicycle! O.O Now that’s a lot of bad advice.

    Tess, I know you’re worried, but try not to drive yourself too nuts with this, alright? Uncertainty might not be an easy thing to bear, but it’s okay to not be sure. Society loves to demand of people that they need to know everything about their sexuality and know it NOW, but that’s bullpucky. Give yourself all the time you need, and sooner or later you WILL find answers. In the meantime, just go with the flow and let yourself feel whatever you may – that will make it easier for you to find the answers you’re looking for. There is no relief in burrying your feelings and letting them fester in some dark hole, because they always find a way back to the surface in one way or another. Like a nasty zombie. ;-)

    Also, sexuality isn’t black and white, or even tricolored. It sounds cliché, but it’s really an entire spectrum of colors. Maybe you’ll find out you’re straight, or maybe you’re just very picky when it comes to women (like I am when it comes to men) and/or you’re simply not into women the exact same way you’re into guys and you’ll find youself somewhere else on the spectrum. Maybe your feelings will change a bit over time. There are many possibilities and they’re all valid and good.

    You can go look for the bi community on Facebook – especially, the official FB-group of BiNet USA. We would be happy to answer any questions you have and support you.

    There are also many great resources available for bisexual and questioning folk:
    – has a ton of great information, as do…
    – The Bisexual Resource Center (
    – The Bisexual Index (
    – and “Bi Women”; it’s a publication you can find online at (there’s also a youth issue of it).

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  17. By Faith Cheltenham, age, from Los Angeles, CA on 07/09/2013

    You continue to provide incorrect information, but we better understand why you’re doing so with your latest clarifications.

    Basically you’re warning away a bi teen from exploring bisexuality because they’re too young to be intimate.  The reason why this is so offensive to bisexuals is because it plays into the stereotype that our sexual orientation is driven or decided by sexual attraction alone.  Many bisexuals like myself are happily married to one partner who has one gender.  I don’t feel like I’m missing anything being with one gender, because I am part of the bisexual community.  Being part of a community is key to the overall development of bisexual people especially our youth.  In particular “Bi Identity Development Model (Weinberg, et al, 1994)” states that identity maintenance for bisexuals continues for most of their life.  What’s so horrible about your advice is that the one thing that will save this girl’s life is being categorically rejected by you EVEN AS YOU STATE HER INCREASED LIKELIHOOD FOR SUICIDE

    She needs to be in a space where she can ask questions of folks who won’t judge her and will take her statements as things that are important to her development as a healthy teen.  It’s most interesting to me as an advocate AND as a journalist that you’re running a non-profit that so casually dispenses potentially catastrophic advice (including sharing old data from J. Michael Bailey, who years ago recanted all the statements you referred to in your article).  Your science is faulty and you should remove this post immediately.  It’s not fair to give such a space to things that hurt youth instead of help them. 

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  18. By F. F. , age , from Brooklyn, NY, USA on 07/12/2013

    Bisexuality is not “confusion” and most of us know (even if we don’t have the world bisexual in our vocabularies) long before the age of 13. I first learned the word bisexual when I was 11 and immediately realized that it described me, because my crushes had been on both boys and girls. Sexual orientation is NOT the same as sexual ACTIVITY. I didn’t have to be having sex at age 11 (I wasn’t) to know that my sexual orientation was bisexual.

    Now I’m a middle aged woman who has always identified as bisexual. It wasn’t a phase. I am also monogamous. I have been married to a man (for 13 years) and was divorced and am now married to a woman (we’ve been together four years and married for two months.)
    Your 13 year old reader should know that bisexuality is real and lasting. It’s about whom you’re attracted to; not what you may be doing at the moment, sexually. Bisexuals can be (and mostly are) monogamous. We can and do marry. We are capable of feeling physical attraction and romantic love for both men and women. That’s all there is to it.

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  19. By Lauren Forcella, age , from Sebastopol, CA, USA on 07/12/2013

    Dear Faith and Jasmine—You’re kidding right?! Clearly we are not judging anyone and would like everyone to be happy in their sexual orientation, however complex that may be for a particular individual. And clearly nobody rejects Tess or asks her to store her feelings in a dark hole. I simply suggested that she wait a bit before jumping to a conclusion since she’s always daydreamed about guys until this one incident. Please reread her original letter.

    And please read the numerous comments from young readers regarding this post, many who experienced a temporary state of confusion during the early stages of puberty that completely went away as they got farther into puberty.  Many write us with “confused and scary” feelings in early puberty around arousal to the same sex and they find it very relieving that they don’t have to do anything about these thoughts and that these thoughts are indeed normal for many straight people—and in the event that the feelings continue and it turns out they ARE bisexual or gay, there is nothing wrong with that. They don’t feel judged or rejected.

    It would be very strange advice indeed if I encouraged Tess to join a bisexual support group after her particular letter. You both advocate for bisexuality. I’m neutral. I advocate for adolescent health period. Regardless of sexuality. Honestly, I’ve always made fun of the folks on the far right who claim there is a gay or bi “agenda” but I’m feeling like you do have an agenda. I hope not.

    My best to you—Lauren


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  20. By Lauren Forcella, age , from Sebastopol, CA, USA on 07/12/2013

    Dear F.F.: Thank you for sharing your process.  It helps clarify that bisexuals (in your experience) have no confusion. You always knew you were attracted to both sexes.  And your feelings remained strong and were not a phase. 

    I’m grateful for your sane and simple description. It should help the multitudes of kids who have grown up daydreaming about the opposite sex and are having confusion at the beginning of puberty to relax and realize they are on the straight end of the spectrum (or the gay end of the spectrum in the case of those who grew up daydreaming about the same sex). And it should also help those who truly ARE bi to recognize themselves and seek support. Every way we are is perfect and valid.

    Thank you again for sharing.—Lauren

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  21. By Elly Lawrence, age 31, from USA on 06/18/2018

    I think it’s completely normal if you have a crush on a girl even when you’re girl. I think everyone could have a crush on a pretty girl, that’s why female celebrity also have many fangirl. If I see a random cute girl on the street, I will notice her, too, and think she’s cute, or “wow, pretty, she must have many man like her”. There is one time, I notice a girl on the bus and I think, she is beautiful, and the guys sitting next me like “look, she’s pretty”.
    And we also have bi as a person who interested in both men and women. And being gay is not something to worry about, dear. Gay is normal.
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