Sexual Health Through Education
As if all the changes to your body weren’t enough, you’ll notice that your emotions are changing too.
You might begin to have new interests, concerns and new ideas you want to express. You might also find that sometimes you feel moody. You might feel terrific one minute and down in the dumps the next.
These kinds of mood changes are natural when you’re starting puberty. If you are feeling very sad or worried a lot of the time, or if you feel like you are not in control of what you do and say, you should talk about it with a parent/guardian or another adult you trust.
In many ways, you’re starting to feel like an adult. You probably want to be more independent and make more of your own choices. You might want to have more privacy or be taken more seriously. You’ll even find that you don’t like some of the games, books and TV shows you used to. New interests and feelings are taking the place of old ones.
During puberty, you might find that you’re more interested in being liked by others. It’s natural to worry about being liked. Still, you shouldn’t have to act like someone else or do things you don’t want to do just to fit in. Sometimes you might feel awkward, or even left out and lonely. Don’t be afraid to talk about these feelings with a parent/ guardian, or another adult you trust. Believe it or not, most of your classmates are feeling the exact ame way!
Learning to like the unique person you are is part of being happy and accepting yourself.
There is no “perfect” or “normal” body. Everybody’s body looks different.
You might be more interested in your looks than you used to be. When you think about how much your body is changing, that’s not surprising! Right now, your body is a work in progress. You’ll be interested in how it’s going to turn out. You may worry about how good-looking you are. You might even wish you could change things about yourself or that you could look more like the people you see in magazines, on TV or in the movies.
The truth is that most of us won’t look like models or movie stars but that doesn’t mean we don’t look good. Often the “ideal” bodies we see aren’t ideal at all. They are unrealistic and may be unhealthy. Feeling pressure to look a certain way can affect how you feel about yourself (self-esteem). Feeling bad about your body, worrying about your weight or feeling guilty about eating is not healthy. If you are feeling this way, talk about it with a parent/guardian or another adult you trust.
You and your friends are also starting to have new sexual feelings. You might discover that a certain book or a show sexually excited you. A certain person might seem attractive to you. You might even feel attracted to someone you don’t even know. You may develop a crush on someone. You might even imagine what it would be like to be in love, or to kiss or touch someone. It can take some time to get used to these strong new feelings. Remember, you can always ask a parent/guardian, or another adult you trust if you have questions. A whole new side of you is opening up. Get ready for some pretty powerful feelings!
Sexual orientation refers to your emotional, physical and sexual attraction to others.
Some people are attracted to the opposite gender (straight) and some people are attracted to the same gender (gay or lesbian). Some people are attracted to people of both genders (bisexual), and some people simply are not attracted to anyone at all (asexual). Understanding your sexual orientation can be confusing. In fact, for most of us this understanding develops over time so be patient with yourself. Sexual orientation is not something you can tell just by looking at someone – and only you can identify what your orientation is.
What’s important to know is that all people can have healthy relationships and happy fulfilling lives, no matter what their sexual orientation is.
The information contained in this section of the site is from the booklet Growing Up Okay!
Reprinted with permission from Healthy Child Manitoba Office, 2013.