When filling out forms, there is a section where individuals are asked to identify their sex or gender. There are only two options under this section; male and female. However, there is a person’s “sexual orientation” which should also be considered.
Today, the gender of a person or one’s being male or female biologically is not the only limitations to one’s sexual preferences of the opposite sex which is why sexual orientation comes in. But how is this different from “gender” and what does it mean?
The difference is simple. Gender or “sex” in this aspect refers to the biological makeup of a person—being either of the male or female sex. Biologically, males and females are “programmed” to be attracted to the opposite sex. “Sexual orientation” on the other hand gives a clearer defining limit based on a person’s preferences for a partner or who he or she gets attracted to or involved with sexually.
There are three main types of sexual orientations being:
- Heterosexual or straight – These individuals are attracted only to the opposite sex, and this is the most common kind of orientation.
- Homosexual – When a male is attracted to another male, or when a female is attracted to another female, they are heomosexual and can be romantically or physically involved with people of the same sex only. Males who are attracted to males are usually called “gay” while females attracted to females are often called “lesbians.”
- Bisexuals – Some individuals can have relationships or physical involvement with members of both sexes. They can either be in a long or short-term relationship with either a male of female depending on who they currently feel attracted to.
A person’s orientation concerning his or her sexual preferences refers to his or her long-term pattern of who he or she gets emotionally or physically gets attracted to based on the chosen partner’s gender.