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Sexual-Identity Labels

Sexual-identity labels are terms people use to describe themselves and others that are intended to categorize individuals according to their sexual identities. Sexual identity—in both common usage and scholarship—typically refers to self-categorization as gay or lesbian, bisexual, or straight (i.e., heterosexual), based on self-perceived sexual orientation. However, while substantial scholarship has found this account adequate for much of the population, it does not adequately characterize everyone. For example, some people may experience little or no sexual attraction and thus feel that they have no sexual orientation. Many people with a heterosexual orientation may take heterosexuality for granted to such an extent that they do not incorporate being “straight” into their identity in a way that is comparable to other sexual identities. Others may think about ...

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