Sexual orientation

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The American Psychological Association defines sexual orientations as:

"Sexual Orientation is an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction to another person. It is easily distinguished from other components of sexuality including biological sex, gender identity (the psychological sense of being male or female) and the social gender role (adherence to cultural norms for feminine and masculine behavior).

Sexual orientation exists along a continuum that ranges from exclusive homosexuality to exclusive heterosexuality and includes various forms of bisexuality. Bisexual persons can experience sexual, emotional and affectional attraction to both their own sex and the opposite sex. Persons with a homosexual orientation are sometimes referred to as gay (both men and women) or as lesbian (women only).

Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers to feelings and self-concept. Persons may or may not express their sexual orientation in their behaviors."

http://www.apa.org/

In the late 1940s and 50s, the Kinsey Scale was developed to describe the continuum of sexual orientation. Although the Kinsey studies remain controversial as a quantification of the actual population of homosexuals, the Kinsey Scale remains a useful, if imprecise, description of the continuum concept.

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