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23 March 2011

What is sexual orientation?

Sexual orientation is a social construct used to describe a pattern of emotional, romantic, and sexual attractions to men, women, both genders, or neither gender.

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Sexual orientation is a social construct used to describe a pattern of emotional, romantic, and sexual attractions to men, women, both genders, or neither gender. It is easily distinguished from other components of sexuality including biological sex, gender identity, and the social gender role.

Your sexual orientation could be gay or lesbian (attraction to the same gender); straight (attraction to the opposite gender); or bisexual (attraction to both genders).

Sexual orientation exists along a continuum that ranges from exclusive heterosexuality to exclusive homosexuality and includes various forms of bisexuality. Bisexual persons have sexual, emotional, and affection to both their own sex and the opposite sex. Persons with a homosexual orientation referred to as gay and lesbian.

Sexual orientation vs. sexual behaviour

Sexual orientation differs from sexual behaviour because it refers to feelings and self-concept.

There are numerous theories about the origins of a person’s sexual orientation. There is also considerable recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person’s sexuality.

It is ridiculous to assume that human beings can choose their sexual orientation. You cannot choose to be gay or straight. For most people, sexual orientation emerges in early adolescence without any prior sexual experience. Although we can choose whether to act on our feelings, psychologists do not consider sexual orientation to be a conscious choice that can be voluntarily changed.

Even though most homosexuals live successful, happy lives, some homosexual or bisexual people may seek to change their sexual orientation through therapy, often due to pressure from family.

The reality is that homosexuality is not an illness. It does not require treatment and is not changeable. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual people may seek psychological help with the coming out process or for strategies to deal with prejudice, but most go into therapy for the same reasons and life issues that bring straight people to mental health professionals. (Zaakirah Rossier, Health24, March 2011)
 
Source: American Psychiatric Association  

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