Homosexuality refers to the condition that includes same-sex attractions, feelings, desires, sexual behavior, identity, and all its associated aspects, such as issues with masculinity, self-perception, emotional dependencies, and relationships.
Some people prefer to use the terms same-sex attraction (SSA) or same-gender attraction (SGA) to avoid the clinical and psychiatric misunderstandings that may come by using the term homosexuality. A person who experiences same-sex attraction or same-gender attraction may experience
- Intense attractions (which may or may not be sexual or erotic) without sexual behavior or
- Complete emotional and sexual involvement.
The term "homosexual" is a clinical term that may be offensive when used as a noun to identify individuals who are trying to overcome same-sex attraction as well as those who embrace a gay identity. The former typically prefer the terms same-sex attraction or same-gender attraction and the latter prefer the terms gay (referring to men) and lesbian (referring to women). Homosexual may appropriately be used as an adjective, such as homosexual behavior.
The terms gay (referring to men) and lesbian (referring to women) refer not only to personal feelings and behaviors, but they also describe a political, cultural, and social identity.
For a more completed discussion of homosexuality, see Same-sex attraction.