When people talk about their sex, their gender, their identity, or their attraction, they are talking about different things. Let’s break down what these words mean:
What is sex?
This is whether your genitals (private parts) are male, female, or a combination of both. Other things that go along with your sex are your hormones – females usually have more oestrogen and males have more testosterone – body shape, body hair, and whether or not you menstruate (have a period).
What is gender?
Gender is society’s ideas about how men and women should look, feel, and behave. These ideas are taught by society and are learned. Gender identity is how a person feels inside about themselves as being male, female, both or neither. This could be the same as your sex, or different.
What is identity?
Identity is at the heart of who you are and how you see yourself. It’s the thoughts, feelings and abilities that make you who you are. Identity can change over time.
What is attraction?
Attraction is who you have emotional, romantic, or sexual feelings for. This is what the words lesbian, gay, bisexual, and heterosexual are referring to. Your identity, your sex, your gender, and your attraction are yours and yours alone – no one else can tell you what they are. And it’s okay if you’re still finding out.
You can also watch this AMAZE.org video to learn more about sexual orientation:
To learn more about the different sexualities and ways to identify, check out our article What does LGBTQIA+ mean?
Are you wondering whether you should come out about your sexuality? Read this article
Consent is important in every relationship. Learn more about consent here