The term "heterosexual" was first published in 1892 in C. Chaddock's translation of Krafft-Ebing's "Psychopathia Sexualis". The noun came into use from the early 1920s, but did not enter common use until the 1960s.The colloquial shortening "hetero" is attested from 1933.Heterosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between persons of the opposite sex or gender.

However, the history of human sexuality shows that attitudes and behavior have varied across societies.

According to major studies, 89% to 98% of people have had only heterosexual contact within their lifetime; Similarly, a survey by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 2010 found that 95% of Britons identified as heterosexual, 1.5% of Britons identified themselves as homosexual or bisexual, and the last 3.5% gave more vague answers such as "don't know", "other", or did not respond to the question. Asked to place themselves on the Kinsey scale, 72% of all adults, and 46% of adults aged 18–24 years, picked a score of zero, meaning that they identify as totally heterosexual.

An October 2012 Gallup poll provided unprecedented demographic information about those who identify as heterosexual, arriving at the conclusion that 96.6%, with a margin of error of ±1%, of all U. 4% of the total sample, and 6% of young adults, picked a score of six, meaning a totally homosexual identity.

In another Yougov survey of 1,000 adults of the United States, 89% of the sample identified as heterosexual, 4% as homosexual (among 2% as homosexual male and 2% as homosexual female) and 4% as bisexual (of either sex).

The abstract noun "heterosexuality" is first recorded in 1900.

The word "heterosexual" was first listed in Merriam-Webster's New International Dictionary as a medical term for "morbid sexual passion for one of the opposite sex"; however, in 1934 in their Second Edition Unabridged it is defined as a "manifestation of sexual passion for one of the opposite sex; normal sexuality".One of the first uses of the word in this way was in 1941 by author G. It is now simply a colloquial term for "heterosexual", having changed in primary meaning over time.Some object to usage of the term straight because it implies that non-heteros are crooked.The unicode character for this combined symbol is ⚤ (U 26A4).The Judeo-Christian tradition has several scriptures related to heterosexuality.Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (NIV) For the most part, religious traditions in the world reserve marriage to heterosexual unions, but there are exceptions including certain Buddhist and Hindu traditions, Unitarian Universalist, Metropolitan Community Church and some Anglican dioceses and some Quaker, United Church of Canada and Reform and Conservative Jewish congregations.