Dolly Doctor

DOLLY DOCTOR: Am I gay?

Struggling with your sexuality? We're here to answer all your questions.

By: Matt Galea
DOLLY DOCTOR: Am I gay?

Just like your personality, sexuality evolves over time and questioning who you are and what you're into is a totally natural part of growing up. Here, DOLLY Doctor guides you through the process of discovering if you're gay.

WHAT IS BEING GAY?
"Being a lesbian means you're someone who is sexually and emotionally attracted to other females," says sex and relationships counsellor Somerset Maxwell. But it's not always this black and white. It's quite common to have an attraction to other girls without being a lesbian; in fact, most women at some time or another throughout their lives let their minds go there. However, it's important to figure out for yourself if your feelings are friendship-based or maybe something a little more.

This is like Jodi, 15, who started fantasising about girls two years ago. "For so long I thought there was something wrong with me when all my friends were talking about guys and I couldn't stop thinking about girls," she says. "I felt like such an outsider, I kept trying to stop thinking about girls but I couldn't!"
When you're tight AF with your besties, it's also easy to get your feelings confused. Do you love your friend or do you love-love her?

"My friend Sasha and I have always been really close," says Natalie, 16. "But I started to realise I was dreaming about kissing her and I thought about her sexually, I didn't think of her as a friend anymore... she was my crush."

WHAT DOES GAY LOOK LIKE?

It looks just like you! Being a lesbian doesn't change anything about your appearance, the way you dress, talk, walk... nothing.
"There are stereotypes, like lesbians have short hair and never wear dresses, but that's completely ridiculous," Somerset says.
It's just like your star sign! No one dresses like a Scorpio or a Libra - it's just who they are but you can't tell.

"When I came out, I thought I'd have to act less girly," says Nicole, 17. "But being a lesbian doesn't change anything about me expect who I want to date - that's it!"

IT'S TOTALLY OK.

"Growing up is all about coming into your own and figuring out who you are," Somerset says. And with your body changing and hormones flowing, it can be hard to tell the difference between sexual attraction and liking someone as a friend.

Sexuality is also pretty fluid, which means that you could be a lesbian, straight, bi-sexual or you could slide anywhere between them. Some people know they're a lesbian from an early age and others discover it as they go along, but either way you can't help who you're attracted to.

"Don't pretend to be something you're not, you deserve to be happy - no matter who you fall for," Somerset tells us.

WHEN YOU'RE READY TO OPEN UP ABOUT IT...

If you're struggling to figure out your sexuality, it's vital that you turn to someone you feel comfortable with and really trust. It could be a parent, teacher, friend, school counsellor or maybe someone from a trusted website.

"I was convinced I was the only one who was confused about who I wanted to hook up with," says Talia, 14. "But I went to a website and that's where I realised there were so many people I could turn to with my questions."

And remember, you don't have to announce your sexuality to anyone until you feel completely ready. "Your preference is your own personal business and you're under no pressure to let people know until you are ready to talk about it," Somerset advises.

COMING OUT.

'When people talk about coming out of the closet, they mean that they are telling people they're gay," Somerset explains.
When you start to listen to your feelings and figure out your sexuality, you'll realise that whatever you decide, it's totally fine.
"You don't have to rush to decide how to label yourself right now. Sexual identity develops over time," says Somerset.

And it's totally true! Take all the time you need to figure out who you are and exactly what you're into.
When you decide to tell people, no one should ever make you feel bad about yourself. Your true friends are the ones who will love you no matter what.

"Start by explaining how you are feeling and that you need someone to talk to," Somerset says.
If you're worried about their reaction, you can always float the idea by saying "a friend of mine..." and then just explain the sitch to them.

Good luck!

NEED-TO-KNOW INFO.

Sexuality: Your sexual orientation or preference.

Heterosexual/Straight: You are emotionally and sexually attracted to guys and you don't have sexual or romantic feelings for girl.

Bi-sexual/Bi: You are emotionally and sexually attracted to both guys and girls.

Homosexual/Lesbian: You are emotionally and sexually attracted to girls.

NEED SOMEONE TO TALK TO?

Here are some great places to start: