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Sexual orientation describes what a person is sexually attracted to. It describes who a person is pursuing. Often this is just restricted to who we desire sexually, but it can also describe how we relate to others romantically. Sexual orientation is all about who you want to be with.
Types of Sexual Orientations
There are a number of different kinds of sexual orientations. As we learn more about people and what they are attracted to, more terms and identities have emerged. Right now some commonly accepted sexual orientations include:
- Heterosexual is an orientation where people are attracted to others of the opposite gender. This orientation usually refers to only those who identify as male and female.
- Bisexual is an orientation where people are attracted to people of two differing genders.
- Homosexual is an orientation where people are attracted to those of the same gender.
- Asexual is an orientation where a person experiences little to no sexual attraction to anyone of any gender
- Pansexual is an orientation where people are sexually attracted to multiple genders or any gender
These are just a few orientations. Some people don't feel like any of these labels accurately describe how they feel. Some people simply identify as questioning or reject labels at all. Everyone is on their own journey and will use the labels (or not) as they feel suits them and where they are at.
Is Sexual Orientation Always Black and White?
Sometimes it is easy for us to know who we are attracted to, but it's also common for people to experience some questioning or confusion at some point in their life. If you find yourself questioning, there is no reason to panic. It happens to a lot of people.
Sexual orientation is often not black and white either. People can feel varying levels of attraction to different genders. They may identify as someone in between any of the above orientations. As with other areas of sexuality, it is very personal.
A person's orientation may change throughout their life as well. Many people will experiment with their levels of attraction to different genders throughout their life. As they grow and come to learn more about themselves, they may identify their sexual orientation differently. Our orientation is not always a fixed point that never changes. Some people may never question their sexuality and there is nothing wrong with that but that will not be everyone.
Is Sexual Orientation a Choice?
There are a lot of different opinions and theories about whether we have any control over who we feel attracted to. While there is no conclusive research that shows what determines a person's sexual orientation, it's speculated that it's a combination of genetic and biological factors. People can no more choose their sexual orientation than they can choose their eye color, height, or color of their skin.
All notions that certain sexual orientations are caused by past trauma, parenting styles, early childhood experiences, or the way someone is raised have been disproved. There is no evidence to suggest that any of these things play a role in who a person is sexually attracted to.
Sexual Orientation is Part of Your Journey to Who You Are and What You Like
Regardless of what your orientation is and whether or not it comes easily to you is part of the journey to discover who you are and what you like. Getting to know yourself intimately is one of the steps to improving your sex life and having more fulfilling relationships. Learning about sex and sexuality will help you decide what you want to be part of your experiences.
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