Your sexual orientation describes the way you feel toward people of a particular (or more than one) gender, both physically + emotionally.
Just like gender identity, sexual orientation is not black and white: “straight or gay”.
There is a whole spectrum in between liking the same gender → liking the opposite gender → liking no gender.
You can be sexually attracted to women → but romantically attracted to men → or sexually attracted to all genders → but romantically attracted to neither.
NOTE: this is not a full list of terms, and people may define their individual identities differently defined than what is written here. A person who identifies as pansexual might not fit exactly into the definition outlined.
A term for people who are sexually attracted to someone of the same gender. This identity can be used by both men and woman. The term “homosexual” had been used in the past but was associated with offensive connotations and is no longer recommended.
A woman who is sexually attracted to other women.
MSM │ WSW
Men who have sex with men │ women who have sex with women.This relates specifically to sexual behaviour (which may not always be the same as sexual orientation). A person may identify differently than their behaviour. For example, a man who has sex with men could identify as heterosexual.
A person who is sexually attracted to two genders, such as being attracted to both men and women. Bisexual people are not necessarily attracted to two genders equally, and not always attracted to both genders at the same time.
The ability to be sexually interested in anyone regardless of their biological sex or gender identity.
A person who is not sexually attracted to other people. An asexual person may still engage in sex, and may even enjoy sex, but they are not sexually attracted to people.
A person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others. Where romantic people have an emotional need to be with another person in a romantic relationship, aromantics are often satisfied with other forms of love like friendships and other non-romantic relationships.
A sexual orientation where someone feels a sexual attraction to people only after they’ve established an emotional bond with them.
An umbrella term that includes a broad range of sexual and gender identities, behaviours and expressions. Previously an offensive term, this word has been reclaimed and is used proudly by many LGBTQ+ people.
Liking the same gender → liking the opposite gender → liking no gender.
Women who have sex with women (WSW) are at a lower risk for STIs, but WSW still require all the usual gynaecological testing that heterosexual women do, such as cervical smear tests. For more information on preventing STIs and contraception, visit sexandu.ca
Sexual health information
Just like straight people, safe sex is just as important for LGBTQ+ people to prevent STIs.
Safer sex can be practiced through:
Knowing your boundaries.
Using condoms or other barrier methods of protection.
Communicating needs, desires and STI status.
Getting tested regularly for HIV/STIs.
Talk to your doctor if you are concerned you or your partner has an STI.