Everybody has sexuality, but not everybody’s sexuality is the same

A group of young people

Sexuality is a combination of your sexual orientation (ie which gender you are sexually attracted to) and your ability to experience sexual feelings. The word 'sexuality' can also be used to describe sexual activity.

Sexual orientation can be fluid, meaning that it can change for some people over time. For others their sexual orientation is more fixed.

Some of the labels that are used to talk about sexual orientation are:

  • Homosexual/gay/lesbian: When a person is attracted to someone that is the same gender as themselves.
  • Heterosexual/straight: When a person is attracted to someone of the opposite gender to themselves.
  • Bisexual: When someone is attracted to both the female and male genders.
  • Asexual: The inability to experience any sexual feelings at all.
  • Polysexual: When a person is attracted to more than one gender. Polysexual people do not wish to be known as bisexual as it implies that there are only two binary sexes (poly=many).
  • Pansexual: When a person is attracted towards people regardless of gender (pan=any)
  • Transsexual: This is when a person identifies themselves with a physical sex that is different from the biological one that they are born with.

Top tips

  • Access websites: The LGBT community is more vocal and supportive than ever and can provide you with support and information.
  • Talk to someone: If you are struggling with your sexuality it can help to speak to someone that you trust about it.
  • Protect yourself: Being sexually active is common for young people, but it's important to protect yourself.
  • Speak up: Whether they are confident or not about their sexuality, some people are vulnerable to being taken advantage of. If you feel that something is not right, you must speak to someone or contact a service that can help such as ChildLine (0800 1111) or SupportLine (01708 765 200).

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