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Sexual orientation refers to the directionality of an individual’s attraction emotionally, relationally, and sexually toward women, men, or both sexes. Sexual orientation also designates a sense of identification based on attraction and associated behaviors, as well as membership in a community of people who share similar affiliations. Sexual orientation is most usefully conceptualized on a continuum rather than as discrete categories; yet modern scholarship, the media, and religious and political organizations, among other institutions, typically divide sexual orientation into three discrete categories: (1) heterosexual/straight (opposite-sex attraction), (2) homosexual/gay (same-sex attraction), and (3) bisexual (both opposite- and same-sex attraction). Social, cultural, political, historical, and genetic influences are commonly viewed as contributing to a person’s sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is fluid and may change over the lifespan ...

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