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Sexual orientation

Your sexual orientation is who you are attracted to, emotionally and physically. You don’t choose your sexual orientation – it is part of who you are.

Your sexual orientation could be:  

Heterosexual: this is someone who is attracted to people of the opposite gender. If this is you, you might also say you are straight.

Homosexual: this is someone who is attracted to people of the same gender as themselves. If this is you, you might choose to use words like gay, queer or lesbian.

Bisexual: this is someone who is attracted to males and females.

Asexual: this is someone who does not feel significant sexual attraction to anyone.

Pansexual: this is someone who is attracted to a range of genders, for example, males, females, gender queer and gender fluid or trans people.

Some people don’t like or don’t use labels to describe their sexual orientation. This could be because they haven’t found a label that feels right for them, because they don’t yet know or they don’t think labels matter. 

Sexual and reproductive health

If you have a uterus and ovaries and any of your sexual partners have testicles, you might want to think about contraception to help prevent pregnancy - no matter what your identity is. Unless a doctor has told you it is not possible for you to get pregnant or get your partner pregnant you need to use contraception if you don’t want a pregnancy.

Anyone who is sexually active should think about protection against STIs. For example, some people think that women who are having sex with women don’t have to worry about STIs or smear tests but this is not true. It’s the type of sexual contact you’re having, not your sexual orientation or gender identity that puts you at greater or lesser risk for STIs.

Condoms (and lube) offer the best protection against STIs especially if you are having anal sex.

Cervical screening is important for anyone who has a cervix. The nurse or doctor may suggest some ways to make a smear more comfortable – for instance they might suggest you insert the speculum yourself or that you leave any prosthetics in place.

If you are under 26, you can now get the HPV vaccine for free – no matter what gender or sex you are. This can help you to protect yourself against genital warts and some cancers.

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.