‘Sex’ or ‘doorie’ is just the word for intercourse while ‘sexuality’ is everything else that goes into making you a sexual person. That includes your sexual knowledge, thoughts, values, desires and your sexual behaviour.

You can still be sexual and not be having sex – daydreams and sexual feelings are as much a part of your sexuality as whether or not you’ve ever kissed or slept with anyone.

Sexual issues can cause a lot of hassles for young people as they become an adult. Everyone has very personal values around what is acceptable and what is not acceptable when talking or thinking about sex and sexuality. This can be even more important for young Aboriginal people. A lot of shame can be attached to sexuality, especially if your values and behaviour go against those of your family, friends, Elders and community. While it is important to consider the values and practices of your family, culture, religion or community, ultimately you are the boss of your body. Sex is a very private part of life, and the most important person to think about is yourself and how you feel about things.

In Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, sex may be seen as a very sensitive issue and it may be hard to find someone to talk with about sex because of the shame attached to it. It may be especially hard to talk about ‘men’s business’ and ‘women’s business’ with each other. Also, being gay or lesbian is not generally culturally acceptable, even though there are homosexual and sistergirl people in Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities.

The best thing to do is to be true to yourself and respect the choices other people make about their sexuality.

For more information on sexuality, see Sexual Diversity.

If you need to talk to someone about the way you feel, there are heaps of people out there who are willing to listen and help. Visit the Help & Advice section for a list of contacts around Australia.