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Homosexuality and bisexuality


Definitions & interpretations
of the term "sexual orientation"

About "sexual orientation:"

The term "sexual orientation" is embraced by some groups, and rejected by others.

It is interpreted in terms of feelings of "emotional, romantic, sexual, or affectional attraction" 1 by some groups, and in terms of actual sexual behavior by others.

Many religious and social conservatives prefer the term "sexual preference." This term would seem to imply that a people with a homosexual orientation are attracted to both males and females, but prefer one over the other. That is, nobody exists with a homosexual orientation; all who claim to be such are really bisexuals.

Groups cannot even agree on the number of actual sexual orientations that exist:

bullet Some religious and social conservatives imply that there are two;
bullet Some conservatives list as many as 30.
bullet The majority of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBT), sexologists, religious liberals, therapists, legislators etc. have reached a consensus that there are three: heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality. However, some add a fourth: asexuality -- lack of sexual attraction.

Confusion reigns. Discussion, debate and dialogue is essentially impossible.

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Topics discussed in this section:

bullet The American Psychological Association (APA) definition and its interpretation by various groups
bullet Definitions by other groups
bullet More information on conflicts over definitions
bullet Definitions by most religious and social conservatives

bullet A unique definition created by fundamentalist Christian groups: Part 1  Part 2
bullet Definitions in federal legislation and by other groups

Related essay:

bullet Meaning of the terms "homophobia" and "homophobic"

Site navigation: Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Basic data > here

References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality," APA Help Center, at:

Copyright 2007 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2007-JUN-05
Latest update: 2015-DEC-19
Author: B.A. Robinson

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