Sexuality Resource Center for Parents: Tools, Tips, and Tricks for Teaching Children about Human Sexuality

A Definition of Sexuality

We all know what sex is. But sex is only a small part of who we are as sexual beings. Even people who are not having sex are sexual beings. And so there’s another word that you should know and use too. That word is sexuality. Here are some of the things that are included when we talk about sexuality:

Do you really know what sex is?

Do you think your child has the same definition?

Do you think your definition is the same as ours?

People tend to use the word “sex” very differently or arbitrarily – what sex is or means to one person can be radically different than what it is or means to someone else.

Click here to find out our definition for sex. You may be surprised!


1. Sexuality is much more than body parts and sex (though it includes these things, too).

2. Sexuality includes our gender identity (the core sense that we are female, male, both, neither, or somewhere in between).

3. Sexuality includes gender role (the idea of how we should behave because of our gender identity).

4. Sexuality includes our sexual orientation (heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, or other identities).

5. Sexuality includes how we feel about our bodies. We call that “body image,” and poor body image can have a profound effect on our ability to have healthy relationships. A person with poor body image may not think they deserve a good partner, and so they may be willing to settle for someone who will not respect them or who may even abuse them.

6. Sexuality includes our sexual experiences, thoughts, ideas, and fantasies.

7. Sexuality includes the way in which the media, family, friends, religion, age, life goals, and our self-esteem shape our sexual selves.

8. Sexuality includes how we experience intimacy, touch, love, compassion, joy, and sorrow.

9. We like this quote: “Sexuality is expressed in the way we speak, smile, stand, sit, dress, dance, laugh, and cry.”


In short, sexuality is an integral part of who we are, what we believe, what we feel, and how we respond to others.

Which means that whether you like it or not and whether you say anything or not, you will have a strong influence on the sexuality of your children. Silence may even speak louder than words.

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