June is Pride Month. Pride month celebrates taking pride in your sexuality and sexual orientations. With the long and discriminatory history of deviant sexual orientations, it is very little common knowledge about sexuality. This post will list and explain the different sexual and romantic orientations. My hope is that through this post, people become educated and aware that there is more than one orientation, and that through understanding the spectrum, tolerance and love are built.
First, we need to establish some definitions.
Attraction (Who you like)
Romantic attraction is attraction that is based on emotional ties and the desire for a relationship with the love interest. It does not involve sexual attraction, but it is possible to have both a sexual and romantic attraction to someone.
Sexual attraction is an attraction to someone that is solely sexual in nature. This is different than sexual orientation
Sex Vs. Gender
Sex uses the terms “male” and “female.” It is based on what is between your legs. If you have a penis, you are a male. If you have a vagina, you are a female.
Gender uses the terms “man” “boy” “woman” and “girl”. It is based on what is between your ears (your brain). If you feel like you conform more to the social constructs for a woman, you are a woman. If you feel like you conform more to the social constructs for a man, you are a man.
Cis-gender means that your birth sex and your gender match.
For example, if you are a female (have a vagina) and you identify as a woman, you are cis-gender.
Transgender means that your birth sex differs from your gender.
For example, if you are a male (have a penis) and you identify as a woman, you are transgender. Transgender individuals are called trans-men or trans-women based on what they are transitioning to. If you are transitioning to woman (from a male), you are a trans-woman.
Gender fluid means that you tend to identify as different genders depending on the day.
For example, today, I am feeling more stereotypically manly. Tomorrow, I may feel more stereotypically feminine
Genderless means that you do not particularly relate to any gender and just do your own thing and create your own rules.
I think of Jaden Smith when thinking of genderless, as he has worn dresses and makeup. However, I have to admit that I am ignorant to what he identifies as in terms of gender and sexuality.
Sexual Orientations and Romantic Orientations
Sexual Orientations is determining what gender(s) you would typically like to have sex with.
Romantic orientation is determining what gender(s) you would typically like to be in a relationship with, whether or not you desire to have sex with the person you want to be in a relationship with.
Below is a list to help you define your sexual and romantic orientations. It is important to note that I said “define”. It is not to help you choose. We do not choose our sexual and romantic orientations; it is within us. However, it may be hard to define with words. You may think you are confused, or weird or picky. I promise, a definition likely exists for what you are feeling. Once you understand the proper terminology, you can connect with others like you for support and acceptance.
It is important to remember that your romantic orientation and sexual orientation does not have to match. You can be demisexual, polyromantic.
1. Heterosexual / Heteroromantic (Different Gender)
Note: This is what most people in our world sees as normal. “Hetero’’ means different
You are heterosexual if you are only sexually attracted to someone who are the opposite gender than the gender that you identify with.
You are heteroromantic, if you are only romantically attracted to people who are the opposite gender that you identify with.
2. Homosexual / Homoromantic (Same Gender)
Note: This is what is normally called “gay” or “lesbian”. “Homo” means “same”.
You are homosexual if you are only sexually attracted to people who are the same gender that you identify with.
You are homoromantic if you are only romantically attracted to people who are the same gender that you identify with
3. Bisexual / Biromantic (Men and Women, usually cis-gendered)
Note: “Bi” as a prefix means “2”. Therefore, bisexual and biromantic people assume that there are only two genders: men and women.
You are bisexual if you are sexually attracted to both men and women.
You are biromantic if you are romantically attracted to both men and women.
4. Pansexual / Panromantic (All Genders, including transgenders)
Note: “Pan” as a prefix means “all.” Pansexuals do not make the assumption that there are only two genders, and they are not only attracted to cis-gender people. They are attracted to all people
You are pansexual if you are sexually attracted to people of any gender, including transgender.
You are panromantic, if you are romantically attracted to people of any gender, including transgender.
5. Polysexual / Polyromantic (Many but not all genders)
Note: “Poly” as a prefix means “many” but not “all. Polysexuals and polyromantics believe that there are more than two genders but are not necessarily attracted to all of them.
You are polysexual if you are sexually attracted to multiple genders but not all genders.
You are polyromantic if you are romantically attracted to multiple genders but not all genders.
For example, I am romantically (but not sexually) attracted to men, women and transmen. This would make me polyromantic because I am attracted to more than the two basic genders, but not all genders (not transwomen). This does not mean that I am transphobic or discriminatory. It simply means that my natural desire is not aroused by that particular gender.
6. Asexual / Aromantic
Note: “A” as a prefix means “no” or “away from”.
Asexual is typically having no sexual desires for anyone.
A romantic is typically having no romantic desire for anyone.
This does not mean that you will never enter a relationship or have sex. However, the attraction is not there.
7. Demisexual / Demiromantic
Note: “Demi” as a prefix means “half” or “partially.
You are a demisexual if you do not typically feel sexual attraction towards someone unless you start to know them well and (usually) have strong feelings for them
You are a demiromantic if you typically do not feel romantic attraction for someone unless you get to know them first and (usually) have strong feelings for them.
Most demisexuals think that they are just picky. I thought I was picky and that I got pickier with age. The truth is, I find it really difficult to think of someone sexually if I do not have a strong attachment to them first. I am demisexual.
8. Gray-sexual / Gray-romantic
Note: Gray does not have a definition as a prefix but often gives the connotation that something is in between (because gray is in between black and white).
You are graysexual if you are very rarely sexually attracted to anyone
You are grayromantic if you are very rarely romantically attracted to anyone.
Question of the Week
Do you know all of the sexual and romantic orientations? Can you name them?
Straight, gay, bi, pan, cis, trans, ace, demi, queer, sapio, inter, aromantic, andro, gyn, skolio
I love Christina's answer because it is so inclusive. However, she combined sexualities with genders. She also added sapiosexual (attraction to knowledge), androsexual (attraction to men regardless of cisgender or transgender) and gynsexual (attraction to women regardless of cisgender or transgender). Though awesome terms to know, I think they are subdivisions of the other sexual orientations.
Want Your Answer Featured?
This post took me much longer than usual because I wanted to be accurate and detailed for you all. Through it, I discovered even more about my sexuality. There could sometimes be a combined sexual orientation. I am a cis-gender woman who is hetero-demiexual (sexually attracted to men, but only when I have strong feelings for them) and demi-polyromantic (romantically attracted to men and transmen, but only once I know them well).
Having the exact terminology makes me feel awesome about myself. I pray you find your exact terminology and are happy with it. If you feel comfortable, leave me a comment below with your sex, gender, and sexual orientation, and romantic orientation.
About the Author
Mish (Pronounced Meesh) has always been a natural social justice advocate. She now holds BA in Psychology and will hold an MSW by May 2021. She is currently a goal coach, a tutor, and a writer.
She is is passionate about social justice issues and overall mental wellness. This includes knowledge on how to develop healthy relationships, and awareness mental and medical illnesses, and social justice issues.
Growing up in an urban, low income, community, she learned a lot before her time. She credits her success to her self awareness and desire for personal growth.
Her goal is to change the world by affecting at least one person, educating them, inspiring them, and then empowering them to go out and affect more change.