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Heard of the terms ‘sexual orientation’, or ‘romantic orientation’? These terms how we experience sexual and romantic attraction. So: who we like, how, and why we like them.
Sexual attraction is being interested in or desiring sexual contact with someone. This might relate to who a person has sex with, or wants to have sex with or not.
Romantic attraction is being interested in or desiring romantic contact with someone. This might relate to who a person loves.
People are attracted to each other in many different ways. Attraction doesn't have to relate to gender identity or the sex someone was assigned at birth.
You might find yourself attracted to people of one gender only, or people of more than one gender. Or maybe gender isn't important for how you experience attraction. Maybe it's more about someone's personality. You could be physically, romantically, or sexually attracted to other people. You might not experience sexual attraction at all. Maybe it’s someone’s intelligence that draws you in? Regardless of what you like, all of these attractions are valid.
It’s important to know that just like gender, some people experience their sexual orientation as fluid. This means that the type of people they are attracted to can change over time. This is totally normal! In the following video, young people talk about sexual identities.
In this episode, Melody Thomas explores bisexuality and seeks to answer some common questions.
Some of the sexual orientations you may hear most often are:
In this episode Melody Thomas seeks the answers to a few “Frequently Asked Questions” - that have been emailed or texted in by people, and others that get asked a little too much. One thing listeners have been curious about is asexuality - which BANG! listener Rosie volunteered to come in and talk about.
For a lot of people, telling others about their sexuality is important, but it isn’t always easy. Coming out is not something that you have to do. Some people choose to and some people choose not to. You can decide what is best for you, and remember that there is support out there (see below).
If you do want to come out, who you tell and when you tell them is fully up to you. There’s no ‘right way’ to come out. It can help to tell someone you trust, who you think will be accepting. This person should keep this between you two until you feel comfortable coming out to other people.
If you can’t think of anyone you know personally, you could talk to your school counsellor or someone from a rainbow support organisation such as RainbowYouth, InsideOUT, or OutLine all linked below: