Understanding sexual orientation is an important part of understanding the society we live in. Attitudes about what it means to be a man or a woman are often based around expectations of heterosexuality. Fear that children might learn to become homosexual, or otherwise sexually 'deviant', leads to a great deal of anxiety around sex education. Violence, both physical and emotional, is used against people who do not conform to expectations around gender and sexuality.
Sexual orientation is the idea that people are sexually attracted to either men or women or both women and men. This leads to the categories of heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual.
Some people identify with this idea very strongly. They may believe that their sexual desires are natural, that evolution or genetics causes them to be attracted to certain people. Others may believe that they choose a sexual orientation, often for political reasons. Still others may not be concerned with the cause of their desires, but identify strongly as straight, lesbian, gay or bisexual.
Some people identify with this idea less strongly or perhaps not at all. They may feel that the three categories of sexual orientation do not do a good job of describing their sexual desires. They may choose other labels, like queer, dyke or pervert. Or they may choose to avoid the use of labels for various reasons.
Here are a few examples of various sexual orientation identities:
Sexual Orientation.info exists, in the short term, to recruit participants for research on people's experiences of sexual orientation. In the long-term, it will serve to provide sociological information about sexual orientation, including the results of this research project.