SEXUAL ORIENTATION

Sexuality is not just about “sex” and certain body parts that are associated with males and females. Sexuality includes sexual orientation, such as who a person is attracted to and whether the person identifies as heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual, as well as their sexual fantasies and attitudes and values related to sex. Sexual Orientation describes a person’s enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction to another person.
It must be noted that gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. For instance, transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer. For example, a person who transitions from male to female and is attracted solely to men would typically identify as a straight woman.
Various terms used in describing sexual orientation across the world include:
Gay: The adjective used to describe people whose enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions are to people of the same gender (e.g., gay man, gay people). Sometimes lesbian is the preferred term for women.
Lesbian: A woman whose enduring physical, romantic, and/or emotional attraction is to other women. Some lesbians may prefer to identify as gay or as gay women.
Heterosexual: An adjective used to describe people whose enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attraction is to people of the opposite gender. Also called “straight”.
Homosexual: An outdated clinical term considered derogatory and offensive term used to describe people whose romantic and emotional attraction is to people of the same gender.
Bisexual (Bi): A person who has the capacity to form enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attractions to those of the same gender or to those of another gender. People may experience this attraction in differing ways and degrees over their lifetime.
Bicurious: This is also known as “Questioning”. People might say they’re bicurious if they’re exploring whether or not they’re attracted to people of the same gender as well as people of another gender.
Asexual: An adjective used to describe people who do not experience sexual attraction (e.g., asexual person).
Aromantic: An adjective used to describe people who do not experience romantic attraction (e.g., aromantic person).
Demiromantic: People who do not experience romantic attraction until a strong emotional or sexual connection is formed with a partner.
Demisexual: People on the asexual spectrum who do experience some sexual attraction, but only in certain situations, like after they’ve formed a strong emotional or romantic connection with a partner.
Androsexual/Androphilic: Being primarily sexually, aesthetically, and/or romantically attracted to masculinity.
Gynesexual/gynephilic: Being primarily sexually, aesthetically or romantically attracted to femininity.
Queer: An adjective used by some people, particularly younger people, whose sexual orientation is not exclusively heterosexual (e.g. queer person, queer woman).
Dyke: Formerly and sometimes still considered a derogatory word to describe queer women. Some women have taken back the word, however, and use it for themselves. Do not call someone a dyke unless you know that they have reclaimed the word.
Faggot: Formerly and sometimes still considered a derogatory word to describe queer men. Some men have reclaimed the word, but it should never be used to describe someone unless you know they’ve taken it back for themself.
Polyamorous: Describes people who have consensual relationships that involve multiple partners. Polyamorous people talk openly with their partners about having or having the desire to have sexual or emotional relationships with multiple people and often set ground rules for their relationships. Polyamorous people can be in relationships with monogamous people.
Skoliosexual: Being primarily sexually, romantically or aesthetically attracted to genderqueer, transgender or non-binary people.
Coming out: A lifelong process of self-acceptance. People forge a LGBTQ identity first to themselves, and then they may reveal it to others. Publicly sharing one’s identity may or may not be part of coming out.
Out: A person who self-identifies as LGBTQ in their personal, public, and/or professional lives. Preferred to openly gay.
Closeted: Describes a person who is not open about their sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s better to simply refer to someone as “not out” about being LGBTQ. Some individuals may be out to some people in their life, but not out to others due to fear of rejection, harassment, violence, losing one’s job, or other concerns. Having concern, or developing anxiety as a result of sexual orientation or identity issues? Book an appointment with a Sex Therapist HERE

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