Human sexuality is the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses.
Males and females are anatomically similar; this extends to some degree with regard to the development of the reproductive system. As adults, they have different reproductive mechanisms that enable them to perform sexual acts and reproduce. Both men and women react to sexual stimuli in somewhat of the same fashion with only minor differences. Women have a monthly reproductive cycle and the male sperm production cycle is more continuous.
A person's sexual orientation may influence their sexual interest and attraction for another person. Sexuality may be experienced and expressed in a variety of ways, including through thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors, practices, roles and relationships, which may manifest by way of biological, physical, emotional, or spiritual aspects.
The biological and physical aspects of sexuality largely concern the reproductive functions of the sexes (including the human sexual response cycle), and the basic biological drive that exists in all species. Physical, as well as emotional, aspects of sexuality also include the bond that exists between individuals, and is expressed through profound feelings or physical manifestations of emotions of love, trust, and caring.
Spiritual aspects of sexuality concern an individual's spiritual connection with others. Sexuality additionally impacts and is impacted by cultural, political, legal, and philosophical aspects of life. It can refer to issues of morality, ethics and theology, or religion.
Sexuality in humans generates profound emotional and psychological responses. Some theorists identify sexuality as the central source of human personality. Psychological studies of sexuality focus on psychological influences that affect sexual behavior and experiences. Early psychological analyses were carried out by Sigmund Freud, who believed in a psychoanalytic approach. He also conjectured the concepts of erogenous zones, psychosexual development, and the Oedipus complex, among others.
Human sexuality can also be understood as part of the social life of humans, governed by implied rules of behavior and the status quo. This focus narrows the view to groups within a society. The socio-cultural context of society places major influences on and form social norms, including the effects of politics and the mass media. In the past people fought for their civil rights, and such movements helped to bring about massive changes in social norms, examples include the sexual revolution and the rise of feminism.
The original rainbow flag, called the Freedom Flag, was devised by Gilbert Baker in 1978. The design has undergone several revisions since its debut with 8 colored stripes, and today the most common variant consists of 6 stripes: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.
Picture of Gilbert Baker's original Freedom Flag showing the meaning of the 8 colors.
LGBT Awareness & Events
List of important LGBT awareness dates and coming sexual diversity events.