Looking for more student materials?
Visit the Exodus Students website.

Is it normal to have homosexual feelings during adolescence?

It is actually common to have homosexual feelings during adolescence. Whether or not you want to say this is normal depends on what your definition of normal is. If you mean "Does this happen a lot or is it unusual?" then yes, it happens a lot, and no, it's not unusual. If you mean "Is it a healthy, natural part of growing up that we should encourage?" then we would say there are many very common things that are a part of growing up that are neither healthy nor natural. Same-gender sexual desires are not necessarily healthy or natural; youth should not be encouraged to act upon such feelings.

The other normal or common experience during adolescence is that these feelings change. Students experience significant changes in who they are sexually attracted to. It is helpful to encourage them not to label themselves when they continue to experience significant changes. Studies of teens have shown that 98% of teens who believe they are homosexual at 16 will believe they are heterosexual one year later.

If I think I might be gay or lesbian, do I have to decide right now?

No, you do not have to decide right now. The teenage years are often confusing years, as you go through puberty and your hormones kick in and your body begins to change. You are also learning how to form friendships that are deeper and more emotionally satisfying than childhood friendships. Do not rush to label your feelings. Give yourself time and space. Remember that some confusion about sexual feelings is typical for most people. As well, there may be other reasons for the way you feel.

I don't want to be gay. What do I do with my feelings?

If it's not your heartfelt desire to be homosexual, the first thing we want you to know is that there is proven hope and help in the person of Jesus Christ. Overcoming is not by methods and rituals but by a personal, long-term relationship with Christ. So we want to encourage you to keep on developing your relationship with Christ. Deepening your relationship with Christ involves making Christ your Lord. And this means letting Him be master of everything in your life, including your sexuality and sexual companionship.

Having said that, we also want to say that pretending your feelings don't exist is not healthy. Using discipline to suppress your feelings will get harder and harder over time. Many of the people in Exodus have tried these approaches as teens and know where they lead. Instead we encourage you to look for help - someone who will listen to you so that you do not carry these feelings alone, and someone who can provide help, clarity and resources in becoming the kind of person you really want to be. There are good resources for youth that provide safe Christian help. Contact Exodus for more information.