Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service

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There are a lot of words and concepts to get to grips with when talking about sex and sexuality:


Is how you feel about your body and body image, your gender, your feelings, who you’re attracted to and what you want from life.

Gender and gender identity

Gender means whether you’re legally male or female. Do you see yourself as masculine, feminine, neither or both? If you’re transgender your biological sex and your gender identity will feel like they don’t match.


Transgender means if your gender identity differs from what is typically associated with the sex you were assigned at birth. You can read one of our young people’s journeys here… My Transgender Journey


Transsexual is when you wish to be considered as the opposite sex or have undergone surgery to become a member of the opposite sex.

Sexual orientation

Your teenage years are a time of discovery and experimentation, and one of the things you’ll be finding out about is who you’re romantically and sexually attracted to (called your ‘sexual orientation’).


LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

You might find you’re:

  • straight/heterosexual – fancy the opposite sex
  • gay/lesbian/homosexual – fancy the same sex
  • bisexual – fancy both

When does it happen?

Some young people know their sexual orientation from an early age, others take longer to work it out. Sexual orientation can change too.

When you’re feeling confused about your sexual orientation, it can make you feel:

  • anxious
  • angry
  • confused
  • frustrated

This is completely normal. Don’t worry, stress or feel under pressure from family or friends. Whatever you are, you know best and it’s OK. Be proud of who you are, regardless of what anyone might say.

Gender Dysphoria

If you feel a mismatch between your sex and gender identity, this can be distressing and cause uncomfortable feelings. This can be related to gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is a recognised medical condition, for which treatment is sometimes appropriate. It is not a mental illness.

What can I do?

Go at your own pace when it comes to exploring your sexuality.

If you have questions about sex and sexuality, speak to an adult that you trust such as your parents, school nurse or your doctor. There’s no such thing as a stupid question.

For more information on sexuality visit LGBT Bucks or for advice on how to get support phone Buckinghamshire CAMHS on 01865 901951

Find out more…


Last updated: 27 February, 2018

Coronavirus (COVID-19): We are not allowing visitors to any of our hospital or inpatient sites in order to protect our patients and staff who care for them from the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). This is with effect from Monday 23 March 2020 until further notice.