Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Sexuality and Sexual Orientation

These two concepts are easily confused because it appears that the lines between their usage are slightly blurred.  The difference in the meaning of the two terms is  easily understood by using these three words, who, what and how.  These words help to discern the meaning between the two concepts. 

Sexual orientation is defined by the word WHO.  Sexual Orientation is who you are sexually based on the path you have chosen in sexual terms.  Who do you feel you are as a person.  There are several different paths a person can follow showing their sexual preference.  What ever path you choose sexuality is part of the way you choose to live.  

Sexuality is the what and how of your way of life.  What do you as the person and how you live when you have chosen your sexual orientation.  For example a heterosexual person or homosexual person may have a sexual fetish they enjoy and take part in, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual.  The sexual practice is the how part of the understanding of sexuality in spite of sexual orientation.  Sexuality is not defined by whom you have sex with it is about how you feel and sexual orientation is about who you identify with sexually.

What is Sexuality?

Sexuality is the ‘what’ and ‘how’ part of understanding the different terms.  What you enjoy sexually and how you enjoy this practice.  

Sexuality leads to the sexual habits you have and your desires.  It may be that you have a leaning towards different sexual genders and that is part of your orientation but within that orientation you will have sexual feelings and practices as you enjoy your sexuality.  

You may be physically attracted to male or female partners but you will still have sexual feelings and experience sexuality. There are different genres of sexual partnerships and it may be your choice to remain celibate but that is a sexual choice and not your sexuality. 

What is noteworthy about sexuality?

  • Sexuality is the feeling of being sexual, medically described as the quality or state of being sexual.
  • Sexuality is known for sexual characteristics like lust, desire, femininity, masculinity, homosexuality, heterosexuality, bisexuality and lesbianism
  • Sexuality is the possession of sexual potency.
  • Sexuality is not defined by who you have sex with it is about how you feel sexually as you choose what sexual preferences in terms of your sexual partner you have.

 

What is Sexual Orientation?

Sexual orientation is the who part of defining sexual preferences.  Who are you in terms of choosing a sexual character.  

There are several definitions of sexual orientation and each definition is linked to the preferred partner you choose.  Heterosexual or straight, homosexual or lesbian, bisexual meaning both sexes, asexual, not attracted to any sex at all.  

There are other differentiation and words used to add categories to this diverse topic.  Poly sexual refers to an attraction to partners of any gender who are romantic in their sexual practices.  Gay or homosexuals prefer partners of the same sex while the term lesbian refers to women preferring same sex relationships. Straight or heterosexual is the term used for sexual relationships with the opposite sex.  

LGBT is used to describe Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender.  Although transgender is linked to these terms it is a gender decision and not necessarily a sexual orientation in terms of sexual preferences.  There is a further acronym of LGBT meaning Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning.  All these terms refer to the who a person is depending on their sexual orientation.  

Research has identified several biological factors that influence sexual orientation.  A person’s genes, pre-natal hormones, and brain structure can have influences on a person’s sexual orientation.  Humans possess two sets of chromosomes.  The two x chromosomes relating to female and an x and a y chromosome relating to male development.  The process of driving male development is driven by androgen hormones, mainly testosterone.  

The newly formed testicles of the fetus is responsible for the secretion of the androgen hormone that drives the development of the fetus and influences its brain development and sexual orientation. 

What is Noteworthy about Sexual Orientation?

  • Sexual orientation is determined by a person’s choice of who they are sexually.
  • Sexual orientation can include same sex partners, opposite sex partners, multiple partners or no partners at all.
  • Scientists have theories that sexual orientation is influenced by a complex combination of genetics, hormones and environmental influences.  However, there is no substantial evidence that parenting or early childhood experiences are part of sexual orientation.
  • Sexual orientation ranges on a continuum from only being involved with the opposite sex to having relationships and an attraction to the same sex person. 

 

Influences on Sexuality Vs. Sexual Orientation 

  1. Sexual Orientation: 

Sexual orientation is motivated and influenced by a person’s choice of partner through who they feel they are.  Their sexual motivation is determined by the way they feel in their sexual preferences.  Their sense of behavior and identity is linked to who they feel they are and the community that they belong to through their sexual choices.

  1. Sexuality:

The sexual desires and satisfaction with whichever partner they are emotionally involved with is influenced by the what and how  of the  way they express their sexuality.  The expression of their sexuality is not necessarily determined by their sexual orientation as similar sexual practices may be appealing to several different forms of sexual orientation.  Sexuality is not necessarily determined by sexual orientation but is influenced by the activities that lead to enjoyment within their sexual practices.

  1. Medical Factors:

Scientists and medical specialist have suggested that hormones and genetics can influence sexual orientation.  Androphilia is the term used to describe masculinity and gynephelia is used for femininity.  A consensus of scientific opinion is that these two influences are part of sexual orientation and a person does not choose their sexual orientation, but is influenced by balance of masculinity or femininity.  Scientists are not convinced that parenting styles and childhood experiences play a part in influencing sexual orientation.

Sexuality versus Sexual Orientation: In Tabular Form

 

Summary of Sexuality and Sexual Orientation

  • Sexuality and sexual orientation are closely related because they refer to sexual preferences and activities however they are not exactly the same.
  • Sexuality crosses the boundary into sexual orientation as your sexuality still enables you to have different sexual desires and practices within your choice of sexual orientation.
  • Sexuality and sexual orientation could both be influenced by medical factors as you decide on the sexual orientation you are part of and that orientation has some influence on your sexual desires.
  • Sexual orientation is more group specific and determined by sexual preferences.  Sexuality is related to how you feel sexually.  Your sexual orientation determines the sexual group you relate to and that group may be open to different sexual practices that are common to their group and to oters within their group.
  • Sexuality and sexual orientation play a part in knowing who you are and the group  in society that you belong to.  Knowing which group you belong to influences the way you dress and the people you associate with.  Sometimes the choice you make can result in sexual discrimination.
  • Sexuality is part of being male or female, you are born with a sexual side to your character.  As a man or a woman matures they will make personal choices that determine their sexual orientation.  Their preferences will be evident as they  gravitate to their chosen sexual group. Their sexuality will be part of the life they lead and with their sexual practices within the sexual orientation group they belong to.

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References :


[0]Sexuality explained.www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving. Pub. October 2017. Reviewed 07/11/2018

[1]La Tierra Piphua Aug 2018. Sexual Orientation vs sexuality/www.campusconnect.uwp.ed.news/3419/pub campus labs 2018 reviewed 07/11/2018.

[2]Image credit: https://pixabay.com/es/sexualidad-silueta-mujer-hembra-3082010/

[3]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ef/Sexual_orientation_-_4_symbols.svg/500px-Sexual_orientation_-_4_symbols.svg.png

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