A person's erotic and emotional preference for members of their own and/or the opposite sex is described by the term sexual orientation. The word hetero comes from ancient Greek and means unequal. Heterosexual people therefore refer to people who are emotionally or sexually attracted to the other (unequal) sex. Heterosexual relationships therefore always describe a relationship between a man and a woman. In evolution, heterosexual reproduction largely prevailed over asexual reproduction about 600 million years ago. This is because the former improves the mixing of genes. Therefore, not only humans reproduce heterosexually, i.e. with male and female individuals, but also many plants and animals. Heterosexuality is even the only way for humans to reproduce. According to the creation myth of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), Adam and Eve were the first heterosexual human couple and thus the ancestors of all humanity. On this basis, the relationship between man and woman was considered the sole norm worldwide until a few decades ago. This world view that establishes heterosexuality as a social guideline is called heteronormativity. In all cultures of the world, there is also an official covenant between man and woman, such as marriage. Heterosexual acts without the use of violence and with mutual consent are permitted in all countries, provided they take place within such a state-recognised partnership.

However, human sexuality is more complex because it is not exclusively oriented towards drive-driven procreation, but includes psychological and emotional aspects. Studies in Western cultures have shown that, on average, about 93 percent of men and 87 percent of women describe themselves as completely heterosexual. Adolescents and young adults in particular report a certain sexual fluidity. This means that they do not want to or cannot yet decide on a gender with which they want to perform sexual acts. Homosexuality, i.e., erotic and emotional attraction to persons of the same sex, is usually regarded as the opposite of heterosexuality. Between these two opposites, however, there is still a wide range of individual preferences that cannot all be categorized. Bisexuality describes, among other things, interest in both sexes, while asexual persons show no sexual interest at all. In recent decades, the LGBTQ movement has begun to normalize sexual orientations other than mere heterosexuality. Resistance to this has come especially from religious institutions (the church) and conservative groups that want(ed) to maintain the preference for heterosexual couples. Important achievements, such as marriage for all, have already been achieved in Germany and some other countries.
Straight pride is a catchword that emerged in the early 1990s and was used mainly by conservative groups as a reaction to gay pride.

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