Everyone has a sexual orientation. It means who you are attracted to. This page will talk you through what words are used to describe sexual orientation and why it’s helpful to know these words.
What is sexual orientation?
Straight (or heterosexual). This means people who fancy people of the opposite sex – so a boy who fancies girls, or a girl who fancies boys.
Lesbian. This means girls who fancy girls. A girl who fancies girls might call herself lesbian or gay.
Gay. This means people who fancy people of the same sex – so a boy who fancies boys, or a girl who fancies girls.
Bisexual. This means people who fancy people of both sexes – so a boy who fancies boys and girls, or a girl who fancies boys and girls.
Sometimes other words are used to describe people’s sexual orientation, but these words are the ones that organisations like schools and health services usually use. It’s useful to have some common words that everyone understands just to make life a bit easier. For example, a sexual health clinic might hold a ‘Lesbian Drop-In’ session to offer help just to women who fancy women. The fact that everybody knows what is meant by a service for lesbians means that the right people will use it.