As if skin breakouts and growing a bunch of hair wasn’t enough, going through puberty also included experimenting and discovering withing your sexual preferences. According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty which usually happens around the ages of 11 to 13. Questioning is a common part of any person’s life, in which they realize their sexual orientations and what they identify as. It is 100% okay to be confused; you don’t have to decide now or at all.
However, if you’re very strongly opposed to the physical traits you were born with to the point that it causes you stress and anxiety, then you might have gender dysphoria.
Gender dysphoria, previously called “gender identity disroder”, is characterized by the severe distress, anxiety, or discomfort with one’s own body, making it so bad that it interferes with one’s daily activities. Caused by a feeling of a mismatching body and personality, gender dysphoria is not a mental illness; it simply addresses the anxiety and/or depression that could come along with the process of questioning and self-discovery.
Unfortunately, there are no reliable online tests for gender dysphoria, but some symptoms are: refusing to urinate the ways boys (standing) or girls (sitting) do; saying they want to get rid of their genitals and have the genitals of their ‘true sex’; showing disgust for their genitals by avoiding changing, showering or having sexual intercourse; and having extreme distress about the changes that occur during puberty.
Individuals with gender dysphoria may be socially isolated, either by choice or by being ostracized, which is more common among boys. Isolation then leads to a low self-esteem and sometimes dropping out of school. This can also lead an individual to commit suicide, substance abuse, perform dangerous surgeries themselves, risk themselves for infections, or different mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, eating disorders and mood disorders. Please also take note that gender dysphoria is not the same as being homosexual or transgender.
In treating gender dysphoria, the end goal should not be to change the sexual orientation of the individual, but to help them deal with the stress or anxiety as well as help them ease into their bodily changes and questioning. Talk therapy is usually used in treating the condition. Some would also undergo sex-reassignment surgery or take estrogen or testosterone hormones.
All in all, everyone should just be comfortable with themselves which is easier said than done, but you don’t have to rush into your sexuality: take your time. No one is rushing you or telling you not to be who you want to be.