Sexuality involves our relationship with ourselves, those around us and the society in which we live – whether we identify as gay, heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual or celibate.
Sexuality and sexual orientation is something people become increasingly aware of as they move through their teen years and into their 20’s. Many people know with certainty at an early age which sex they prefer. Many others only discover their sexual identity over several years and after some experimentation.
Which Sexual Orientation are you?
Homosexual / Gay
Sexual or romantic attraction to a person of the same sex, (i.e. man + man)
Sexual or romantic attraction to a person of the same sex – this is the same as homosexual but people usually only refer to women + women as lesbian.
Heterosexual / straight
Sexual or romantic attraction between opposite sexes, and this is the most common sexual orientation among humans.
This is the term usually used to describe people who do not act in usual ‘accepted’ gender roles. For example, cross-dressers, drag queens and people who identify as gender neutral.
Sexual or romantic attraction of individuals to others of both sexes. Most bisexuals are not equally attracted to men and women and may even shift between states of finding either gender particularly attractive over time. However, some bisexuals are and remain fairly stable in their level of attraction throughout their adult life.
Asexuality is seen by most Asexuals as an orientation in its own right. After all, there is a sexual attraction to the opposite gender, the same gender, both genders, so why not neither gender? An asexual person may not wish to be ‘labelled’ and define themselves in relation to sex or sexuality. Some asexuals do not consider asexuality as an orientation because it is more like a lack of orientation. They do not feel that they have a sexual orientation at all. Asexuals can still have relationships but they might not identify with sexual attractiveness, and therefore may not engage in sexual activity.
It’s not wrong
Your sexual orientation may be different to your friends or family, but that doesn’t mean you are a bad person just because you are sexually or romantically attracted to someone who may be the same sex as you, or both sexes – or no sexes at all. It’s up to you who you fancy.
When you’re growing up it’s totally normal to have crushes on all kinds of people, including people of the same sex. If you do, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re gay.
There is no ‘set’ age when people decide which sexual orientation they ‘are’ – some people know from a very early age and others are well into adulthood.
When it comes to relationships, there’s no right or wrong. Everyone has the right to be with someone they like – regardless of who they are.
Talking about your feelings with friends and family can be hard. You might be scared that they won’t understand – or that they’ll think you’re weird. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone you don’t know and there are all kinds of places that you can call or visit for confidential advice or even just a chat.
Need to talk?
Get the names of places you can go for help…
Body Positive North West
Providing quality services to those living with and affected by HIV ? AIDS in the North West. Helpline 365 days / 10am – 10pm.
Monthly newsletter for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual people in Cheshire, Halton, St Helens & Warrington
The Lesbian & Gay Foundation
Group Work: Gay mens 40+ group and older lesbians Sapphos group.
Coming out – Icebreakers (men) Stepping Stones (women). Married mens group. HELPLINE 0845 3 30 30 30 – 24 hour service automated or operator available 6pm – 10pm daily.
Counselling: Face to face counselling service. Referral through helpline.
General Advice: LGBT Community resources and leaflets. ‘Out North West’ – LGB community magazine and website. LGB Sexual Health walk-in clinic – Thursday evenings 7pm – 10pm (with NHS).
Sexual Health Line
Freephone: 0800 567 123
A 24-hour, seven-days-a-week, free and confidential telephone service with advice about HIV, AIDS, sexual health, Sexually Transmitted Infections, local services, clinics and support services.
Halton G Space
Tel: 07789 332 880 or 0151 422 5503
Youth Service project offering information, advice and social events for lesbian, gay or bisexual young people aged 13-19yrs.
Tel: 01925 241994
Tuesday 5.30pm – 8.30pm
Or 24 hour answerphone.
A variety of confidential services include counselling, support groups, social gatherings, free condoms, safer sex packs and sexual health information / advice / leaflets.
Sexual Health Clinic
The sexual health clinic at St Helens Hospital has a long history of providing services to gay and bisexual men. Our friendly staff will address sexual health issues relevant to you and speak to you on a one to one basis.
As well as offering our routine sexual health screening, we also offer
- Vaccinations against hepatitis A and B
- Safe sex advice
- Rapid HIV testing – results in one minute
- Post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV (PEP)
- Condoms and lube
- Clinical psychology for health related anxiety or stress
We appreciate that some people are anxious about attending a sexual health clinic. If you have concerns about sexual health and would like to speak to one of our specialist nurses before attending either call or email -01744 646 482 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Sexual Health Clinic Timetable for opening hours – click on the yellow box on the main page!