Understanding Sexual Orientation

by | Sep 26, 2023 | LGBTQIA+ | 0 comments

Understanding sexual orientation.

What is Sexual Orientation?

Sexual orientation is described as the physical or romantic attraction a person has toward someone. We will explore different types of sexual orientations that are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

An important distinction to note is that sexual orientation and gender identity are not the same social constructs. Gender identity is about how a person feels about themselves and sexual orientation is about a person that you’re attracted to.

LGBTQIA+ Community

LGBTQIA stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual. The “plus” indicates that there are many more intersectionalities included in the queer community. In the next section, we’ll explore the different terminology of sexual orientations.

Terminology Breakdown

The list in this section does not include every identified sexual orientation, but these are the most common terms you may hear associated with the community. 

  1. Lesbian

Most commonly defined as a woman romantically and physically attracted to another woman.

  1. Gay

Historically, the term “gay” has referred to men who are attracted to men. However, as of recent years, gay has become an all-encompassing term to be used for anyone who is attracted to the same gender (The TrevorProject, 2022).

  1. Bisexual

Bisexual refers to a person who is attracted to both men and women. Bisexuality is nuanced because many people in the community don’t adhere to the binary of two genders or sexes. It is possible to identify as bisexual but find themselves attracted to anyone no matter their gender, which is historically been referred to as “pansexual” (The TrevorProject, 2023).

  1. Pansexual

As mentioned in the previous section, under the sexual orientation “bisexual”, people who identify as pansexual have the potential to be attracted to people of any gender or “all” gender expressions (i.e. non-binary, transgender, cisgender, etc.).

  1. Asexual

Asexual is a sexual orientation that is also known as “ACE”. Asexuality can be misunderstood or stigmatized due to how people understand asexual. People who identify as ACE may have little interest in sex (not none), and they still have a desire for romantic relationships.

Coming Out

In the next post, we’ll explore in-depth about the coming out process, the difficult conversations, and the resources that are available after coming out to family members who may not be accepting. 

If you’re interested in signing up for our support groups please email alyssa@bridgeviewcounseling.com. If you’d like to schedule an appointment or prefer to reach us by phone you can speak with Lauren or Samantha @ (630) 536-8073. 


The Trevor Project. (2022, October 26). Understanding Gay & Lesbian Identities | The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project. (2023, August 23). Understanding Bisexuality | The Trevor Project.