Sexual orientation refers to the gender to which a person is attracted and which form the focus of a person's amorous or erotic desires, fantasies, and spontaneous feelings. The terms sexual preference and sexual inclination have similar meanings.
Typically a person may be primarily heterosexual (the focus is primarily people of the opposite sex), homosexual (people of the same sex), bisexual (potentially both or either sexes), or asexual (no sexual desire for either sex).
The term sexual orientation may also refer to the "identity" of a person, either by choice or as an expression of an inner attribute. It may also be used to describe sexual behavior. Sexual orientation is also a legal term used in laws that prohibit discrimination based on homosexuality, heterosexuality, and bisexuality.
Classification of individuals in terms of sexual orientation is controversial. The concept of sexual orientation (in the sense of an underlying same-sex, opposite-sex, dual-sex, or other spontaneous attraction) is not necessarily a defining human trait. In other words, people are not inherently heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. Humans and animals are normally and naturally sexually attracted to the opposite sex. Human development of sexual interests instinctively leads to attraction to the opposite sex. In some cases, emotional maturity becomes obstructed from the mainstream of heterosexual development and evolves into same-sex attraction. Dr. William Consiglio explains that same-sex attraction "is not something a person is born with; rather, it is sexual disorientation when the God-designed stream of heterosexuality is blocked. Homosexuality is not an alternative sexuality or sexual orientation, but an emotional disorientation caused by arrested or blocked emotional development in the stream of heterosexuality." (Consiglio, p. 22.) But the good news is that the condition is correctable. When these blockages are "successfully reduced, diminished, or removed, human sexuality can resume its natural heterosexual flow toward its proper, God-designed outlet; i.e., wholesome, mature, sexual, and emotional expression in marriage with a person of the opposite sex." (Consiglio, p. 22.)
Same-sex attraction urges are not unrealistic or rebellious. It is not a fear of, or a flight from, heterosexuality. It is actually an unconscious attempt to fill normal emotional needs and when these needs begin to be filled, an individual can begin again progressing toward full heterosexual maturation.