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Info Pages

Sexuality

Our sexuality is that part of us that expressed through our sexual activities and relationships. It is represented in our feelings, behaviours and our sexual identity. A person’s sexuality can be homosexual, heterosexual, pansexual, bisexual. A person’s sexual identity is how they choose to describe their sexuality. They may choose a label like gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, queer, or many others. Many people also choose not to label their sexuality. Everyone expresses their sexuality differently with various levels of diversity. Many people’s sexuality and sexual identity may change at different times of their lives.

 

“Sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses sex, gender identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships. While sexuality can include all of these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed. Sexuality is influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political, cultural, ethical, legal, historical, religious and spiritual factors.

 

Sexual diversity comes in many forms. Everyone is different in how they choose to express their sexuality. More and more these days, people will not define their sexuality with a label, but choose to ‘take it as it comes’ or ‘do what feels right at the time’, trusting their feelings and not letting labels determine their choices. Other people feel strongly that they are only attracted to one gender and therefore identify as gay, lesbian or heterosexual. Many people feel a label or name for their sexuality is useful in describing themselves to others. Others don’t. The important thing is to do whatever feels right for you (so long as no-one will be unsafe or at risk) and identify however feels comfortable for you. It’s OK to take your time figuring out what does feel right for you too. It’s OK to be unsure and it’s normal to be confused while you’re figuring things out.

 

It can be helpful to think about sexuality in several aspects that are on a continuum or in shades of grey; Feelings/Fantasies, Behaviour, and Identity. Our feelings/fantasies include who we fall in love with, who we are attracted to, who we think about when we are aroused and who we intimately connect with. Our behaviours include sex, flirting, who we date and have relationships with. identity is the label or name we use to describe our sexuality. At FC we use a model to make it simpler to understand;

 

FBI Model

 

Feelings/Fantasies

same sex ------------------------------------- opposite sex

 

Behaviour

same sex -------------------------------------  opposite sex

 

Identity

Gay/Lesbian -------------------------------------  Straight

queer/pansexual/bisexual

 

Everyone can be at a differnet part of each continuum in the FBI Model, and this can also change at different times of people's lives. Here's an example;

 

Nicky has a boyfriend who she's been with for 6 months. She loves him but has started to become attracted more to girls. She's been fantasizing about both her boyfriend and some of the girls she's been attracted to. Nicky has started to identify as bisexual but doesn't want to break up with her boyfriend.

 

Nicky's Feelings/Fantasies

same sex <------------------X-------------------> opposite sex

 

Nicky's Behaviour

same sex <------------------------------------X-> opposite sex

 

Nicky's Identity

Gay/Lesbian <---------------------X------------------> Straight

queer/pansexual/bisexual
 
Five years later Nicky has had a couple more boyfriends and two girlfriends and is now with Jacquie. They have been together for a year and are about to move in together. She still fantasizes about guys and girls that's she's attracted to and now prefers to call herself queer.
 

Nicky's Feelings/Fantasies

same sex <--------------X-----------------------> opposite sex

 

Nicky's Behaviour

same sex <-X------------------------------------> opposite sex

 

Nicky's Identity

Gay/Lesbian <-------X--------------------------------> Straight

queer/pansexual/bisexual

 

Not everyone's positions on the continuums change in their life and many people are at similar sides or parts of all three continuum, but many people change and are different too.

 

Sexual health is also an important part of our sexuality. The World Health Organisation’s draft working definition is; “Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.” See our sexual health info sheet for more about it.

 

When you’re same sex attracted it can be harder to find the information and support to ensure our sexual health is at its best. Especially when parts of our society may not seem to have a positive and respectful approach to our sexuality and when laws, social norms and/or cultures may prevent all of our sexual rights from being respected, protected and fulfilled. This is why it’s even more important to link in with places that can help us maintain our sexual health, such as LGBTIQ-friendly sexual health services and information services. We can do things like getting accurate information, having safe sex and going for regular sexual health checks. See our sexual health info sheet and Safe Sex Menu pamphlet or FPWA Sexual Health Services website for more info on sexuality and sexual health

 

The following resources may also be interesting for you to check out;