The Library

Sexuality 101

3 Min Read
Sexuality 101

 When it comes to sexual identity, heterosexuality is often considered to be the “norm.” A study published by The Journal of Social Issues in 2000 found that there are four main reasons for this: school, peers, media, and parental influence. These influences are intertwined and often send the message that deviating from the supposed “norm” is innately wrong.


Unfortunately, sex education — the one space where there should be a break in this system — happens to be one of the biggest enforcers of the status quo. Most sex education classes focus on sex that involves inserting a penis into a vagina. Sexual education curriculums that don’t outwardly shame LGBTQ+ people are few and far between, and the indifference towards holistic and affirming education can make tapping into your sexuality difficult. 


Ultimately, inclusivity is crucial. Your sexual curiosity and identity are not only ok but completely normal. And while no one is born with the inability to embrace a spectrum of sexual orientations, society can really try to teach bigotry and intolerance. Supporting proper sex education that aims to be inclusive and informative can help everyone break down these barriers and promote acceptance and equality.


Terms To Be Familiar With:

Gay: A sexual and/or romantic attraction to the same gender, typically referring to men


Lesbian: A sexual and/or romantic attraction to the same gender, specifically referring to women


Heterosexual: A sexual and/or romantic attraction to the opposite gender


Bisexual: A sexual and/or romantic attraction to two or more genders


Bicurious: Questioning sexuality and exploring the options of either gender


Queer: An all-encompassing term for sexual/gender minorities. Some people consider it to be a derogatory term, but others have reclaimed it in recent years


Pansexual: A sexual and/or romantic attraction to people of all genders


Asexual: Not sexually attracted to any gender


Aromantic: People who do not experience romantic feelings towards anyone


Skoliosexual: An attraction to non-binary or gender-fluid people


Transgender: When someone’s gender does not align with the sex they were assigned at birth


Cisgender: When someone’s gender does align with the sex they were assigned at birth


LGBTQ+: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer. The plus sign is used to include other groups that don’t identify as LGBTQ, such as asexual people and two-spirit people.


An Important Note on Bisexuality.

There are plenty of stigmas and stereotypes surrounding LGBTQ+ identities, and that goes double for bisexuality. A lot of people erroneously think that bisexuality is a transition period, or a sort of self-denial — and unfortunately, this biphobia runs rampant.  

Sexuality can evolve over the course of someone’s life, too. In 2008, a research group conducted a 10-year study by interviewing 80 participants every two years about their current relationship status and identities (2). The participants were young women who identified as unlabeled, lesbian, or bisexual. The interviewers had them rate their level of both emotional and sexual attraction towards women at each meeting. By the end of the study, over two-thirds identified themselves as “unlabeled” rather than lesbian, heterosexual, or bisexual. This is significant because while there is still more to learn, it does help illuminate the ways in which people’s sexual identities can shape over time – and that bisexuality is its own concrete identity group.

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1. Brabaw, Kasandra. “Allosexual, Demisexual, Bicurious-& Other Sexualities You Need To Know.” Sexuality List Of Sexual Orientation Types, Definitions,

2. Diamond, L. M. (2008). Female Bisexuality From Adolescence to Adulthood: Results From a 10-Year Longitudinal Study. Developmental Psychology, 44(1), 5–14.

3. Hyde, J. S., & Jaffee, S. R. (2000). Becoming a heterosexual adult: The experiences of young women. Journal of Social Issues, 56(2), 283–296