Sex is generally about feeling excited and aroused, wanting to be intimate and physically close to someone, and to share those feelings. The someone may be of the same sex or the opposite sex to you.
It is not uncommon, in fact the people in the lab coats tell us that it is almost the rule, that at some stage in our lives we will be sexually attracted to someone of the same sex. We may act on it, and share sexual experiences with people of the same sex. This often happens during our childhood and teens, and is now seen as part of a normal sexual development. The attraction may persist into, or recur in, adult life and may co-exist with an attraction to the opposite sex.
The name given to sexual involvement and attraction towards someone of the same sex as yourself is homosexuality (also known as being ‘gay’, particularly when referring to homosexual men, and ‘lesbian’, specifically referring to homosexual women). If someone is attracted to both sexes the term used is bisexuality. Attraction exclusively to the opposite sex is heterosexuality. None of these ‘-alities’ is right or wrong. Certainly the heterosexual relationship is the one best designed to make babies.
Homosexuality can be a problem for some people. Fear, guilt and insensitivity are responsible for a lot of suffering. The person who realizes that she or he is homosexual or bisexual may cope well with that, or may not. The greatest problem is usually the reactions and prejudices of other people. Society has a tendency to alienate any individual or group which does not appear to fit in with preconceived perceptions of how to behave. Many people find the concept of homosexuality frightening, often through ignorance or their own insecurities perhaps. Because of this ‘minority group’ identity, some homosexual people find it useful to band together for support. AIDS, for example, has focused attention on gay men as an identifiable group in our society. The networks and lobby groups in the gay community have become more vocal and visible over the years.
Although we feel it would be difficult to obtain accurate statistics, it has been said that about 10 per cent of the adult (male and female) population are homosexual. There are no identifying marks and characteristics universal to homosexuals. They do not all fit a stereotyped image any more than heterosexuals do. There is the same diversity of personalities, lifestyles, talents, careers, and aspirations as within the heterosexual population. It is simply that when it comes to forming relationships and having sex about 10 per cent of the population will choose a person of the same sex as themselves.
There is no reason why homosexual relationships should be any less intense, important or enjoyable than heterosexual relationships. Our society is moving a little closer to accepting this. Instead of locking up homosexual people (as the law in some states of Australia still allows), homosexuality is gradually becoming much less of a thorny issue, and people are being allowed to get on with their lives.
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- PREGNANCY: WHAT SHOULD I DO AND NOT DO?
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