Sexual Orientation

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Gay, Lesbian, or Straight
Sexual orientation is a pattern of attraction: emotional, romantic, sexual, or some combination of these to the opposite sex, the same sex, or both sexes (Stein 2011). These attractions are referred to as heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and asexuality (Walker 2012). Heterosexual people are romantically and physically attracted to members of the opposite sex. Heterosexual males are attracted to females, and heterosexual females are attracted to males. Heterosexuals are sometimes called "straight." Homosexual people are romantically and physically attracted to people of the same sex. Females who are attracted to other females are lesbian; males who are attracted to other males are often known as gay. Bisexual people are romantically and physically attracted to members of both sexes. Asexual people have the lack of romantic or sexual attraction to others. Sexual orientation is different from other components of sex and gender, including biological sex, gender identity, and social gender role. Sexual orientation is usually conversed as if it were merely a characteristic of an individual, like biological sex, gender identity, or age (Mustanski 2003). This viewpoint is inadequate because sexual orientation is distinct in positions of relationships with others (Walker 2012). People express their sexual orientation through behaviors with others, including actions as holding hands or kissing. Many wonder how a sexual orientation is developed. Some believe that sexual orientation is not a choice and that it is developed at conception. The individuals are unable to choose to be homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, or asexual (Stein 2011). Current scientific investigation seeks to find biological explanations for a person’s sexual orientation. Research has identified several biological factors which may be related to the development of sexual orientation including genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural factors but...
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