1 in 5 Teens Change Sexual Orientation During Adolescence

  • 3

I always think sexual orientation is a fixed thing. I just gave myself label like “gay,” “straight,” and “bi” before I even noticed it. And I probably would never remove that label. But psychologists suggest that sexual orientation is fluid, and that people may change their sexual orientations during adolescence.



1 in 5 teens report change in sexual orientation


To study how sexual orientation changes, the psychologists surveyed 744 high school students in the southern US over a three-year period about their self-reported sexual identities, romantic attractions and sexual behavior.


It turns out that 19% of teens changed at least once in self-labeled sexual orientation, like switching from heterosexual to bisexual. Some even changed their identity several times.



In addition, girls were more likely to change their sexual identity, with 26% reporting at least one change compared to only 11% of boys.


Changes in romantic attractions


Along with sexual identity, the psychologists also asked teens about the nature of their romantic attractions — that is, whether they were attracted to boys or girls. It turns out that 21% changed at least once. Specifically, 31% girls and 10% boys reported changes.



These results highlighted the fact that people may change their sexual orientations and who they feel attracted to during adolescence.


"Some adolescents shifted between sexual minority identities and/or attractions — gay or lesbian, bisexual, etc. as well as varying degrees of same-sex attractions — across all three years, others fluctuated between heterosexual and sexual minority groups,” said lead author J. Stewart.


Even among teens who said they were heterosexual, some boys and girls said they were attracted to the opposite sex or had same-sex sexual behavior over the three-year period.



Let me clarify it, the study does not mean that sexual orientation can be changed through some kind of therapy. That is harmful and useless. Instead, adolescence is an important time to explore one’s identity, including sexual orientation. So, parents out there should offer more care and attention to your kids during adolescence and prepare to help them.



Editors’ selected articles and questions are posted in HTQ Page on Facebook. You are most welcome to follow and/or Like us to stay updated on the latest health info.

3 Answers

These messages are for mutual support and information sharing only. Always consult your doctor before trying anything you read here.
Can't believe this.
It' s common. I like men in high school, both men and women in univ, and men now. I'm a woman.
I just love pretty face.
and pretty figures.
Calling it a change in sexual orientation is not helpful and actually is totally the wrong word to use. Everyone has some natural variety of sexual gender attraction and also outside social pressure to be like other people. Adolescence is a time of discovery of what you are truly drawn to, but some will pursue a more acceptable gender in order to please their families or friends or just in order to see themselves as "normal". They may not be able to distinguish between their own inner desires and the pressure that others place upon them. Experimenting with what suits you best is normal during formative years,  but to call it a change in sexual orientation is damaging because it gives fuel to the religious groups who are trying to force a change on children, creating intense inner conflict and self-loathing which drives many young people to suicide because they are made feel there is something deeply wrong with them.                                                                               Some people may never have a clear-cut polar sexual orientation, they are called bisexuals and they may shift interest back and forth between men and women or both their entire lives. But just because someone who is bisexual dates a man one year and a woman the next year does not mean they are changing their sexual orientation.
You are saying something.