Overview of Homosexuality

Homosexuality is defined as sexual or romantic attraction, either primarily or exclusively, to people of the same sex (gender). Homosexuality, which describes sexual orientation or sexual preference, occurs in both males and females of many species, including human beings.

Other sexual orientations include heterosexuality, which refers to sexual attraction to people of the opposite gender, and bisexuality, which refers to sexual attraction to people of both genders. When describing sexual orientation, people who are homosexual may be referred to as men who have sex with men (MSM) or women who have sex with women (WSW). Additional terms that may be used include gay, lesbian (in women), and queer.

The terms homosexual (gay), heterosexual (straight), and bisexual do not refer to sexual identity (i.e., the sense of being male or female). People who are homosexual do not assume a gender that is different from their physical anatomy.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 25 Dec 2008

Last Modified: 24 Sep 2015