What is Sexuality?

Sexuality is intricately linked to one’s personal experience and feelings. The term encompasses many aspects and there is no one unified definition.

Sexuality regards:

  • how a person self identifies
  • the way one experiences (if at all) sexual and/or romantic attraction
  • towards whom the person experiences attraction
  • preferences or interests around sexual and/or romantic behaviours or relationships

Sexuality is fluid and can change throughout lifetime as it is affected by many factors. WHO lists biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors as influences on one’s identity. Sexuality is best understood on a spectrum rather than in categories. Most aspects of sexuality are not mutually exclusive and often change depending on the context in which one experiences the attraction.

Sexuality can be expressed in various forms such as: thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships (WHO, 2006). Not all of those are always experienced by each person.

Sexuality can change throughout a person’s lifetime and who the current partner in a romantic or sexual relationship is, does not necessary define this aspect of person’s identity.

 

More resources:

https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/sexual_health/sh_definitions/en/

https://www.healthline.com/health/different-types-of-sexuality#why-it-matters

https://au.reachout.com/articles/the-difference-between-gender-sex-and-sexuality

https://www.stonewall.org.uk/help-advice/glossary-terms#s