Sexuality – resources for all

Sexuality and sexual orientation is about who a person is physically and emotionally attracted to. Everyone has a sexual orientation – lesbian, straight, bisexual, gay or one of many other types. And this might change over time.

Some people know when they’re very young who they fancy. For other people, it’s not so simple. And it can take a while to work out.

People whose sexuality is something other than straight are often called LGB (short for lesbian, gay or bisexual) or LGBT – the ‘T’ stands for transgender (a gender identity rather than an orientation). But there are many more different kinds of sexuality.

It might take a person some time to work out what their sexual orientation is. Remember there’s no such thing as normal. And no one should feel pressured or rushed to give themself a label.

12 types of sexual orientation

There are lots of different types of sexuality – there are 12 listed below. This doesn’t include every type of sexuality – there are lots of other types too. Some of them are quite similar. But feeling comfortable with your own sexuality – and any label you put on it – is what matters.

  1. Gay/homosexual people
    are emotionally and physically attracted to people of the same sex. Gay is often used to describe boys fancying boys, although girls who fancy girls can also describe themselves as gay.
  2. Lesbian
    is another word to describe girls who are emotionally and physically attracted to other girls.
  3. Straight/heterosexual people
    are emotionally and physically attracted to people of the opposite sex. An example would be girls fancying boys. And boys fancying girls.
  4. Bisexual (or ‘bi’) people
    are emotionally and physically attracted to both sexes.
  5. Asexual people
    don’t feel sexually attracted to anyone. Although they can still enjoy close, romantic, intimate and emotional relationships.
  6. Bicurious people
    see themselves as either heterosexual or homosexual, but may also sometimes be curious about the gender they’re not normally attracted to.
  7. Questioning people
    are unsure about their sexual orientation. Often, they’re still working out whether they might be LGB, straight or something else.
  8. Heteroflexible people
    think of themselves as straight but may also sometimes be attracted to people from the same sex. For example, a heteroflexible boy would mostly be attracted to girls but may occasionally be drawn to other boys when the situation feels right.
  9. Homoflexible people
    think of themselves as gay but may sometimes be attracted to someone of the opposite sex, if it feels right. For example, a homoflexible girl may have come out as a lesbian but might sometimes find boys attractive too.
  10. Demisexual people
    don’t have any sexual attraction unless they have a strong emotional connection with someone first. This often isn’t a choice.
  11. Pansexual people
    can be attracted to people of any gender or sexual orientation. This includes transgender people or people who feel they’re neither male nor female (sometimes called ‘genderqueer’ or non-binary people).
  12. Crossed orientation (or mixed orientation) people
    experience a romantic or emotional attraction that is different from their sexual attraction. For example, someone may feel emotionally attracted to girls but sexually attracted to boys.

Asexuality

Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction to others, or low or absent interest in or desire for sexual activity. It may be considered the lack of a sexual orientation, or one of the variations thereof, alongside heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality.

Asexuality is completely normal – 1% of the world population is asexual.

Most modern experts on sexuality consider asexuality the fourth orientation after hetero, homo and bisexuality. However unlike most forms of sexuality, there have been virtually no studies on asexuality.

Childline has published a short film looking at asexuality and some of the myths surrounding it. The film is the first in a series of four published by Childline to mark LGBT history month.

View the short film Childline voice box: asexuality (February 2017) at www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8hsJGRL-ik

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