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Sexual Orientation

Definition of sexual orientation

Everyone has a sexual orientation. Normally we are romantically and sexually attracted to the opposite sex (heterosexual).

Teenagers discover their feelings of attraction to another person and may act on those feelings.
There are different types of sexual orientation. There are:

  • Heterosexuality – Romantic and sexual attraction to members of the opposite sex
  • Bisexuality – Romantic and sexual attraction to members of both gender
  • Homosexuality – Romantic and sexual attraction to members of the same gender
  • Gay (MSM) – A descriptive label assigned to men who are attracted to members of the same gender. Also used generally to describe women also
  • Lesbian – The term of preference for most homosexual women
  • Transvestites – Individuals who enjoy wearing the clothes and appearing as opposites sex also known as cross dressers
  • Transsexual – men and women who feel their true identity is that of the other gender and feel they have the wrong sexual organ hence they undergo sex change surgery

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on Homosexuality

1. How do I know if I am a homosexual?

  • You might have the emotional attraction towards the same sex, but that does not mean you are homosexual
  • If you long for a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex then you are likely to be homosexual
  • If you enjoy and indulge in sexual activities with the same sex, then most probably you are
  • You do not need to be sexually active to be homosexual

2. What are the consequences of homosexuality?

  • This may drive young people with this tendency to suffer in silence. They may pretend to be heterosexual, marry and have families just to conform to social expectation
  • Homosexual youth have high risk of depression, suicide, substance abuse and behavior problem. More importantly they have risk of getting Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI’s) if they engage in unprotected sex, especially among men

3. Why do religions and some countries prohibit homosexuality?

  • Most religions of the world prohibit gay and lesbian practice. In Malaysia homosexuality is considered deviant and unlawful
  • Homosexuality is considered as being against human nature
  • It contradicts natural reproductive functions

4. How do you handle people with homosexuality?

  • Be aware that some people in your class are struggling with their sexual orientation. Always be sensitive to their feelings
  • Recognize that they also have feelings and the same human rights as you do and treat them as you treat other people in general
  • Do not tolerate discrimination based on sexual identity in your classroom. Discourage yourself or friends from labeling others with names like “pondan”, “bapok” or “lembut”

5. How is homosexuality related to AIDS?

  • AIDS was first discovered among homosexual men
  • Anal penetration easily injures the anus
  • The HIV virus was detected in the lining of the anus, which is very different from the lining of the vagina

6. Is homosexuality a disease or a disorder?

  • No, homosexuality is neither a disease nor a disorder
  • It is not contracted nor it is contagious
  • Homosexuality is also NOT considered as psychological disorder by the World Health Organization and the American Psychiatric Association
  • Acts of unsafe sex creates a high risk of getting diseases

7. What can I do for myself if I am homosexual?

  • Seek help from centers or institutions that give support to people with sexual orientation concerns
  • You can learn to change if you want to, you will need to learn to cope with the difficulties that come with being homosexual. Either way, seek help from professionals
  • Please seek professional help such as health professional, school counselor, psychologist and NGO (e.g. BEFRIENDERS)


  • If you choose heterosexuality, you choose to be in the norm.
  • If you choose homosexuality or bisexuality, you must be aware that you have chosen an orientation that is less accepted by the public.
Last Reviewed : 27 April 2012
Content Writer : Datin Dr. Sheila Marimuthu
Dr. Siti Aishah bt. Saidin
Reviewer : Dr. Salmiah bt. Md. Sharif
: Dr. wan Fadhilah bt. Wan Ismail