Sexuality is not about who you have sex with, or how often you have it. Sexuality is about your sexual feelings, thoughts, attractions and behaviours towards other people.
You can find other people physically, sexually or emotionally attractive, and all those things are a part of your sexuality.
Sexuality is diverse and personal, and it is an important part of who you are. Discovering your sexuality can be a very liberating, exciting and positive experience.
The World Health Organisation defined sexuality as:
"Sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction.
"Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships.
"While sexuality can include all of these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed.
"Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors." (WHO, 2017)
Some people experience discrimination due to their sexuality. If someone gives you a hard time about your sexuality, it’s good to talk to someone about it.
Sometimes, it can take time to figure out the sexuality that fits you best. And your sexuality can change over time. It can be confusing; so don’t worry if you are unsure.
You might be drawn to men or to women, to both or to neither.
There is no right or wrong – it’s about what’s right for you. And while there are common terms to describe different types of sexuality, you don’t have to adopt a label to describe yourself.
Many people are attracted to the opposite sex – boys who like girls, and women who like men, for example. These people are heterosexual, or ‘straight’
Some people are attracted to the same sex. These people are homosexual.
‘Lesbian’ is the common term for people who identify as women and are same-sex attracted.
‘Gay’ is the most common term for people who identify as men and are same-sex attracted, although women identifying as lesbian also sometimes use this word.
Sexuality can be more complicated than being straight or gay. Some people are attracted to both men and women, and are known as bisexual.
Bisexual does not mean the attraction is evenly weighted – a person may have stronger feelings for one gender than another. And this can vary depending on who they meet.
There are different kinds of bisexuality. Some people who are attracted to men and women still consider themselves to be mainly straight or gay. Or they might have sexual feelings towards both genders but only have intercourse with one.
There are many differences between individuals, so bisexuality is a general term only.
This refers to people who don't feel any type of sexual attraction at all. Of course, they're still capable of being in healthy relationships.
A person who identifies as asexual (‘ace’ for short) is someone who does not experience, or experiences very little, sexual attraction.
Asexuality is not a choice, like abstinence (where someone chooses not to have sex with anyone, whether they are attracted to them or not). Asexuality is a sexual orientation, like homosexuality or heterosexuality.
Some people may strongly identify with being asexual, except for a few infrequent experiences of sexual attraction (grey-asexuality).
This refers to people who aren't able to feel a sexual connection with someone until they feel a romantic connection with them. That means that they need to become friends before they can become sexually involved.
Some people feel sexual attraction only after they develop a strong emotional bond with someone (this is known as demisexuality). Other people experience asexuality in a range of other ways.
This refers to people who feel romantic attraction to both men and women. Sexual attraction and romantic attraction are two completely different things!
This refers to a person who is attracted to any sexual orientations or gender identity. Believe it or not, this is one of the most common sexual orientations out there.
Some people view this word in different ways. However, it's mostly seen as an umbrella term. That means you can use it to describe anyone that's a part of the LGBTQ community.
Other people see sexual attraction as more grey than black and white. These people find everyday labels too rigid.
Some prefer to identify as ‘queer’. And others use the term ‘pan’, or ‘pansexual’, to show they are attracted to different kinds of people no matter what their gender, identity or expression.
This refers to someone who prefers to have sex with themselves over having sex with others. If masturbating is all you want to do, you could be an autosexual.
This refers to people who don't feel any type of romantic attraction at all. However, they can still feel sexual attraction.
This is the romantic attraction to female-identified people, regardless of one’s gender.
This isn't necessarily an attraction towards females. It's just an attraction towards femininity, which can appear in both men and women.
This refers to someone who feels an equal amount of attraction towards everyone. They don't actually prefer one gender over another.
This refers to people who are attracted to non-binary individuals instead of cisgender individuals.
This refers to the sexual attraction to various sexes or genders.