What is sexual orientation?

‘Lesbian’, ‘gay’, ‘bisexual’ and ‘heterosexual’ are better described as ‘sexual orientation towards people’, rather than ‘sexual attraction to’. This reflects the fact that people build committed, stable relationships and it is not purely a focus on sexual activity.

Everyone has a sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is a combination of emotional, romantic, sexual or affectionate attraction to another person.

In other words, it's about who you are attracted to, fall in love with and want to live your life with.

For the purposes of this sexual orientation webpage, we have looked at lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and heterosexual issues only, as the term transgender does not relate to sexual orientation but rather the gendered identity of an individual. For more information transgender issues please see Gender.


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