What does sexual orientation mean?

Your sexual orientation means the general attraction you feel towards people of one sex or another (or both). Most people are generally attracted to:

  • people who are the same sex as them
  • people who are the opposite sex to them, or
  • people of both sexes.

Same-sex attraction is called homosexuality. On this site, we call men and women who are homosexual either ‘gay’ (for men) or ‘lesbian’ (for women).

Opposite-sex attraction is called heterosexuality. On this site, we describe people who are heterosexual as ‘straight’.

Both-sex attraction is called bisexuality. On this site, we use the word ‘bisexual’, or occasionally just ‘bi’, to describe people who are attracted to both sexes.

Last Updated: 25 Jun 2009