12.2 What do we mean by “Sexual Orientation?”

Sexual Orientation is an umbrella term that is used to refer to patterns of attraction—sexual, romantic, or both. Under this umbrella, individuals may assort themselves into categories such as homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual, and asexual.

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 You’ll find an excellent overview of terms at: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/sexual-orientation-gender/sexual-orientation

Disclaimer: Planned Parenthood is seen by many in a political light. Our intent with the above link is not to be political, rather Planned Parenthood’s discussion of terms was superior to that of other sources. Our intent is to share the best available content with our students.

You’ll note from the definitions the use of qualifiers such as “may,” and “often.” This pattern should serve as a clue that sexual orientation is COMPLICATED, and our understanding of the diversity of presentations is quickly changing.

Test yourself. Match each term with its correct definition.



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The Evolution and Biology of Sex Copyright © 2020 by Sehoya Cotner and Deena Wassenberg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.