Sexual Orientation, Attraction, and Identity

Sexual orientation, attraction/desire, and identity are ever-evolving and complicated contextual factors in a person’s life. Traditionally, sexual orientation referred to a person’s preferred romantic partner (irrespective of gender identity), while sexual attraction/desire were defined as the sexual thoughts and desires of the person, which sometimes does not line up with one’s sexual orientation. Sexual identity is now the preferred label used to describe oneself in terms of sexual orientation and/or attraction and desire. However, rarely does a person’s sexuality, attraction template, or context of identification remain the same throughout his or her life. Since a person’s sexual attractions and desires can be flexible, some would argue that “sexual orientation” is a misnomer in the idea that an “orientation” implies that a person’s preference for sexually ...

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