what is sexuality

What is Sexuality: Everything You Need to Know

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What is Sexuality: Sexual orientation and gender identity . These are two different concepts, but many people still have difficulty differentiating. In fact, each one is associated with the experience, experience, sexuality and identification of individuals, but in different ways.

Understanding the terms is essential to respect the diversity of all individuals, break some prejudices that still permeate our society and promote more self-knowledge and self- love for those people who are still discovering themselves. 

What is human sexuality?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), sexuality is expressed in the way people feel, in their movements and in how they touch and are touched. That is, it is the physical and affective attraction that we feel for other people, with whom we have sexual relations.

However, it is important to emphasize that sexual orientation can also be defined in the case of people who do not have sexual relations, such as asexual people. Another important issue to be highlighted is that human sexuality is not a choice, so the term sexual option is incorrect. 

The explanation comes from the fact that no one consciously “opts” or “chooses” for their sexual orientation. Just as the heterosexual did not choose this form of desire, the homosexual, bisexual, among others, did not either.

This is an integral part of the personality of individuals, built throughout life, through relationships with others. Its development depends on basic needs such as desire for contact, intimacy, emotional expression, pleasure, affection and love. Learn more about all sexualities:

what is sexuality

Sexual orientation

Check out all the types of sexuality below:

  •         Heterosexual

A heterosexual person is sexually, emotionally, or emotionally attracted to people of the opposite gender. Typically, individuals do not need to have sexual experiences with people of the opposite sex to identify as such.

  •         Homosexual

A homosexual person is sexually, emotionally or affectively attracted to people of the same sex (or gender). The term homosexual can refer to homosexual women (lesbians) or homosexual men (gays).

  •         Bisexual

A bisexual person may be emotionally, affectively, or sexually attracted to people of both the female and male genders. Contrary to what many imagine, this attraction manifests itself in different ways in each person. 

While for some individuals, there may be a greater preference for one gender, for others this attraction may be equivalent or fluid.

  •          Asexual

Asexuals are people who do not feel sexual attraction, whether for the opposite sex or for the same sex – which does not mean that they cannot develop loving and affectionate feelings for other people .

  •          Pansexual

It is a sexual orientation that rejects the notion of two genders, meaning that they can develop physical attraction, love and sexual desire for other people regardless of their gender identity or biological sex.

what is sexuality

How is sexuality in the different stages of life?

The stages of sexuality , together with psychosexual development, is the theme addressed in “Three essays on the Theory of Sexuality”, a work published in 1905 by Sigmund Freud. 

According to him, sexuality is a “driving force that drives the development of perversion and neurosis”. Check out more about it:


  •         Birth to twelve months

The first stage, called the oral phase , occurs from birth to twelve months of life. At this moment, the erotic zone is the mouth, the pleasurable activities are around feeding (sucking). 

When the baby learns to associate the mother’s presence with the satisfaction of the hunger drive, the mother becomes a separate object, that is, the baby begins to differentiate between himself and others.

  •         From 1 to 3 years old

In this period, the anal phase occurs , where the pleasure is in the anus. The main focus is on bladder control and bowel movements. By developing this control, the child gains a sense of accomplishment and independence.

At this stage, the child has to learn to deal with the frustration of the desire to satisfy his needs immediately.

  •         From 3 to 5 years

In the phallic phase, libido is focused on the genitals. In it, children also begin to discover the differences between masculine and feminine. Pleasure and displeasure are centered in the genital region.

During the early childhood years, when most young people prefer to spend time with members of their own sex, children are indifferent or hostile to members of the other sex. 

Later, as a result of the changes brought about by puberty, young people begin to develop attraction.

  •         From 5 years to puberty

The period of relative calm in sexual evolution is called the latency phase . In it, the interests of the libido are suppressed.


In the genital stage 1, beginning at puberty, the individual develops the capacity for sexual satisfaction with a partner.

The main milestone of puberty for men is the first ejaculation, which occurs on average at age 13. For women, it is the onset of menstruation, which occurs on average between 12 and 13 years.


According to the authors Nelson Vitiello and Isméri Conceição, the adult phase is the period of the peak of the individual’s sexuality, which is already mature and secure enough to establish solid affective bonds and enjoy more pleasurable sexual relations. 

Furthermore, maturation, which comes at different times for different people, is most often reached during or at the end of the “young adult” phase (up to age 30). In this period of their life, adults start to search escort vip online because they start to avoid having sex with their wife.

From 60 years old

Despite being considered a taboo, sexuality remains latent in old age, with just a few changes. According to the authors mentioned above, men, for example, have more spaced episodes of desire, and may suffer from sexual impotence , with erections that take longer and are less firm. 

Women, after menopause, have less intense vaginal lubrication and it takes longer to appear, an event that can be corrected with the use of local lubricants. Orgasms, although shorter, have the same intensity as those experienced by younger women.

What is sex education?

Sex education is a way of teaching and clarifying issues related to sex, without prejudice and taboos. According to psychologist Solange Secco, the importance of sex education is to prepare teenagers in a safe way. 

“It favors the ability to take care of one’s own body, being one of the ways to prevent and face sexual abuse, contraction of sexually transmitted diseases, or early and unwanted pregnancy”, he says.

“Dialogue on sexuality with children and adolescents involves clarifying sexual abuse, self-care, consent, as well as sexual life; the reproductive system, sexually transmitted diseases, contraceptive methods, that is, content that allows children and adolescents to clearly understand their own body and the possible risks associated with it”, he explains.

Solange warns that it is necessary to consider the stages of development in which children and adolescents are, and what their ability to understand the subject. 

“For example, childhood is a phase where it is important to teach the child the limits that must exist with their own body and the ludic can be an effective tool to clarify this theme. Already in adolescence, when sexuality is on the surface, it is important to have a dialogue about sex life, which resolves all doubts that may arise around the topic, “she said.

Gender identity

The acronym LGBTQIA+ does not only encompass sexual orientation, but also people ‘s gender identity . It is about the feeling that every human being has about himself, his perception of being a man or a woman in the world. It is an internal and individual experience, which may or may not correspond to that attributed to your biological sex .

Gender identity may involve, by free choice, modification of bodily appearance or function (by medical, surgical and other means) and other expressions of gender, such as dress. 

  •          Cisgender

The term cis is used to describe people who identify in all respects with the gender they were assigned at birth. That is, it indicates the individual whose identity or expression conforms to the gender category assigned to him or her (male or female).

  •          Transgender

The term Trans (or transgender) is used for people whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to what they were assigned at birth. And it has nothing to do with a person’s sexual orientation.

Within transgender, transsexuals and transvestites are included.

  •          Transsexual

Refers to a man or woman who identifies with the opposite gender. In order to adapt to the gender with which they identify, these people undergo hormone treatments to achieve the desired appearance, modify their voice and, with psychiatric authorization, undergo sexual reassignment surgery and other surgical interventions that are necessary.

  •          Transvestite

The transvestite is born in a male body and identifies with the female figure. Many transvestites do not undergo sex reassignment surgeries, but some choose to have breast implants. They adopt the feminine look in their daily lives.

Many people confuse drag queens with transvestites. Transvestites take their female identity into their personal lives. Drag queens, on the other hand, are characters, an artistic expression of men who assemble themselves (an expression used for transformation with clothing, make-up and accessories) to act, sing or parade.

  •         Other identities: Non-binary, Queer and Intersex

The non-binary person does not adopt gender labels. She may have masculine, feminine or both characteristics, but she is not called “man” or “woman”. 

The human being who identifies as queer also does not see himself as being 100% male or 100% female, but rather as a third gender, fluid, with male and female characteristics. Furthermore, they do not see their sexual orientation defined as heterosexual or homosexual.

Finally, intersexuality describes people who may be born with genitals corresponding to one sex, but have the reproductive system and hormones of the other. Or they may have a sexual anatomy that is neither male nor female—which leads some intersex people to have sex reassignment surgery.

In the past, these people were mistakenly called hermaphrodites, a term that is no longer socially accepted.

Sexual Dysfunctions: How Therapy Can Help

Sexual dysfunctions can arise due to biological, hormonal, social or psychological factors and cause disturbances in the quality of the sexual life of the individual or the couple.

Some psychic factors that can affect sexuality are: 

  •         Prejudices
  •         Anxiety
  •         Depression
  •         Couple or individual stress
  •         Lack of effective communication
  •         Lack of knowledge about one’s own body
  •         Trauma from past sexual intercourse
  •         Lack of sex education

In the case of men, some common problems are premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction . Women, on the other hand, can develop vaginismus (pain during sexual intercourse) and dyspareunia (intense pain during sexual intercourse, shortly after the act).

At this stage, sex therapy can be useful to help both couples and one of the partners to understand more about their own sexuality, pleasure and difficulties with libido.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can also help. Through couples or individual care, the psychologist can help identify the difficulty faced and establish, together with the patient, strategies to deal with the problem.

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