I am feeling a bit lost – although i suppose thats not the best way to put it. Recently I allowed myself to start exploring my sexuality. As soon as I read the definition of pansexual I felt all the puzzle pieces sliding into place and realized that even though i didn’t realize the puzzle was jumbled until recently – it feels better now.
However, when I read about other people’s stories about coming to terms with their sexuality it normally has something to do with feeling different since childhood. I’m a Senior in High School and and growing up I felt very straight and its only been within the past few months when i realized that it probably isn’t the case. I don’t know if this is because of society’s influence on me, or not being able to be open with myself, or something else.
I’m nearly certain that I’m not just going through a phase, although i understand that often times sexuality can be very fluid. I guess I just feel like because I haven’t grown up with this side of me discovered, it feels less valid then other people – which is probably a stupid way to feel. I’d really appreciate some advice!
Letter submitted by:
First, to answer your most important question — Yes! This is a valid way to be feeling. Your sexuality is a big, complicated part of yourself, and the answers aren’t always readily apparent. It’s an ongoing journey to discover yourself, and it being a phase or not doesn’t really matter. You’re being open and honest with yourself, and fully exploring what it is to be you, and that’s a healthy and good thing to be.
You hinted at a key point here — you understand that sexuality can be very fluid and evolve over time. It might help to think of another part of the puzzle, that your understanding of your own sexuality can be very fluid and evolve over time. It’s a wide spectrum: some people know right away that they are gay, straight, bi, trans, pan, etc. Other people have that feeling that you mention, knowing they are different in some way and only later discovering why they feel that way. And other people are like what I think you are: some part of them was there but was never really seen, then some bit of understanding came along and pop, a little piece of that puzzle opened up to where you could see it. All of these are equally valid, because people are different.
In the end, you have a healthy and open understanding of yourself, you know what feels right in your mind, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve known this for 20 years or 20 minutes. What matters is that this is the best understanding of yourself now.
As always, you can write to Ask Trevor if you have any questions. You might also want to check out Trevor Space, the safe online social community for youth 13 – 24, at trevorspace.org. There’s also a group in your area, the Stonewall Alliance Center, with a bunch of educational resources that might be handy, including a Say Teens group that meets weekly. It might be helpful to connect with other people who identify as pansexual, or who didn’t know their sexuality until they were older. Sometimes knowing someone else’s experience can help you better understand your own.