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Understanding sexuality

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1.2. Factors influencing sexuality

There’s a number of factors that may influence sexuality and sexual response.

Sexual desire will also vary. That is, when and how much someone wants sex differs depending on the individual. How they express their sexuality can also differ.

Factors influencing sexual behaviour and responses can be categorised under:

  • social and psychological
  • biological- / health-related
  • cultural
  • religion
  • age / life stage
  • gender
  • sexual orientation.

Understanding these factors helps us appreciate people’s unique sexual responses and can help health professionals tailor their interventions.


  • Discuss how the human sexual response can be influenced by social, psychological and biological factors.
  • Describe cultural meanings of sexuality.