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What is sexuality?

Sexuality is a central part of who we are

Our sexuality is a central part of what makes us uniquely who we are and is a major influence on our thoughts, feelings and actions.

A large part of growing up is working out who we are, and finding our place in the world.

So, like all other aspects of life, understanding sexuality can take some time for young people (and adults) to figure out.

It is not just about sex

Sexuality is a lot more than just sex.

It involves many things and is deeply personal.

It’s about relationships, personal values, culture, love, closeness, attraction, thoughts, lust, romantic feelings, sexual feelings, identity, expression and behaviours.

It is not defined by who you have sex with

Sexuality is about how you feel and how you choose to identify yourself.

It’s about who you find attractive – physically, emotionally, romantically and sexually.

You may be attracted to women or to men or to both or to neither.

You may have an emotional attraction to someone but not want to have sex with that person.

You may have a physical attraction to someone but not want to have a relationship with them.

How we are attracted to people and the strength of those attractions can change over time.

Everyone's sexuality is different and these differences form a normal part of the broad range of human relationships and experiences.

Understanding your sexuality as you grow up

As your child is growing up and going through puberty, they are already navigating complex changes to their body, their brain, their hormones and their relationships.

They are exploring and managing strong feelings.

Learning to understand their sexuality can be exciting, confusing, intense, scary, confronting, relieving, overwhelming, difficult or easy.

Most people know from a very young age who they want to have relationships with, but for others it can take some time to figure out.

Sexuality can be the same for some people all their life and for others it can be more fluid or change over time.

The most important thing to remember is that sexuality is not a choice. 

It is a natural part of who your child is and everyone has the right to feel comfortable and accepted for who they are.