Sexual orientation describes the direction of an individual's sexuality, often in relation to their own sex or gender. Common terms for describing sexual orientation include bisexual (bi), heterosexual (straight) and homosexual (gay/lesbian).
A number of different classification schemes have been used to describe sexual orientation since the mid-19th century, and scholars have often defined the term 'sexual orientation' in divergent ways. Indeed, several studies have found that much of the research about sexual orientation has failed to define the term at all, making it difficult to reconcile the results of different studies. However, most definitions include a psychological component (such as the direction of an individual's erotic desire) and/or a behavioural component (which focuses on the sex of the individual's sexual partner/s). Some prefer simply to follow an individual's self-definition or identity.
The term sexual preference has a similar meaning, but is often used by those who believe that sexuality is fluid and incorporates an element of choice, as opposed to those who believe sexuality is fixed early in life. "Sexual identity" may be used as a synonym for sexual orientation, but the two are also sometimes distinguished, with identity referring to an individual's conception of themselves, and orientation referring to "fantasies, attachments and longings" and/or behaviour. In addition, "sexual identity" may be used to describe a person's perception of his or her own sex, rather than sexual orientation.
In various lifestyles
The word "orientation" usually indicates a persons affinity to a specific role in a lifestyle.
- In the BDSM community, it might indicate being dominant, switch, submissive,
- In the spanking community, it might indicate being a spankee or a spanker.
- In terms of sexuality, it mightindicate being asexual, bisexual, heterosexual, homosexual, or pansexual
- Elsewhere, it might indicate being male, female, androgynous, genderqueer, intersex, pangender, and/or transsexual
As you can tell, orientation can have a lot of meanings or conotations.
| This article about lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender issues|
Also see the article on Sexual orientation
|Related Sexual Identity topics|
|Gender||Male • Female • Androgyny • Boi • Cisgender • Gender identity • Gender identity disorder • Genderqueer • Gender role • Intersex • Pangender • Third gender • Transgender • Transman • Transwoman • Transsexualism|
|Orientations||Asexuality • Bisexuality • Heterosexuality • Homosexuality • Pansexuality|
|Third genders||Fa'afafine • Fakaleiti • Hijra • Kathoey • Khanith • Mukhannathun • Muxe • Sworn virgin • Two-Spirit|
|Other||Butch and femme • Castrato • Eunuch • Fetishist • Master (BDSM) • Polyamory • Swinging • Queer • Womyn • Top, bottom, and switch|
What links here • References and Sources • eMail The Wiki Staff • Contact Info