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6.1: Introduction to Sexual Orientation

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    Learning Objectives

    After completing this module, students should have a working knowledge of:

    • What is sexual orientation?
    • How sexual orientation develops and changes in individuals
    • A variety of different types of sexual orientation
    • Some history of LGBTQIA+ Social Movements
    • How society differently treats people identifying as homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, asexual, and queer
    • Our sexuality; nature vs. nurture


    Who we are attracted to has a profound effect on our personal lives and how we are treated by others. In this chapter, we will examine sexual orientation, identity formation, and the fluid nature of human sexuality. We will provide definitions for a variety of sexual orientations, give some historical context to LGBTQIA+ rights and formation as a marginalized group. We will look at the psychology behind sexual orientation, and the ways in which sexual orientation is policed in our political system, and through hetero and Cis normativity.