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HealthInfo Canterbury

Sexuality & sexual identity

CouplesSexuality or sexual identity is about the kind of people you're emotionally and physically attracted to. It can sometimes be referred to as sexual preference or orientation. It isn't defined by who you have sex with, but by how you feel and how you choose to identify yourself.

Finding out about your sexuality

Discovering your sexuality is a normal part of growing up. While it can be exciting, it can also be confusing.

Some people may know early on who they're attracted to while others may take until they're adults.

Your sexuality can also change in different situations and over the course of your life. This is known as sexual fluidity.

It may be that you're unsure of your sexuality.

It's important to remember that any of these are fine and everyone is different. People can't change who they're attracted to. It's also important to remember that it isn't OK to be bullied, treated unfairly or abused because of who you are.

Different types of sexuality

You may like to have a label that defines your sexuality or you may choose not to. There are many different types of sexuality which include:

Takatāpui is a Māori term meaning "intimate companion of the same sex". It has been reclaimed to embrace all Māori who identify with diverse sexes, genders and sexualities.

It may help to read more about sexuality, including feelings and experiences. It may also help to talk to someone in confidence about how you're feeling. The pages listed below have lots of information and resources that you may find helpful.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created January 2021. Last updated April 2021.

Sources

See also:

Anxiety

Anxiety in youth & teens

Gender identity

Gender identity in children & youth

Sexual health

Sexual health for youth & teens

Page reference: 812001

Review key: HISXI-812001