Love and Relationship quizzes -» Types of sexual and romantic orientations

Confused about all the sexual and romantic orientation types? Help is here!

Does it seem like every day, you hear about someone coming out as this-sexual or that-romantic? Since the long-gone days of “gay and straight,” types have been created that cover just about any sexual or romantic yearning or leaning. If you’re confused about it all, keep reading! Note: The following list should not be considered all-inclusive, because new, more specific terms are being created all the time.

For many, it is quite hard to describe sexual orientation because it is not as on the nose as one might think. There are lots of different layers, and being attracted to the opposite gender only is a concept that is buried deep in the past - technically! Some people (of the older generations) are skeptical, but let's be honest: Sexual attraction and romantic desire towards more than one gender have been part of human life since forever. Just because a group of people has decided to bad-mouth those completely normal attractions because it makes them "uncomfortable" doesn't mean it is not completely valid to experience those different types of desires.

If any of the following orientations help you to identify your sexual identity, then rock on! If not, then don't worry. Not everything and everyone needs a label. Just be you. That is enough!

A hand waving a rainbow flag

What is the difference between Sexual and romantic orientation?

Before we get to the list, though, it’s important to point out something not everyone seems to realize: Sexual and romantic orientation are not the same thing.

Sexual orientation has to do with someone’s wish to become or not become sexually involved with others. The attraction they do or don’t feel is physical.

Romantic orientation has more to do with feeling and expressing love. A romantic relationship is not necessarily sexual. It is not necessary to feel both romantic and sexual attraction to claim a certain sexuality. Also, it is not unusual for a person’s sexual and romantic orientation to change over time. This fluidity is perfectly normal. So, if you identify as alloromantic today, but feel more autoromantic tomorrow - well, you do you, boo! Below are definitions of some types of sexual and romantic orientation.

Pride Parade crowd holding up baloon letter spelling pride

What is an Alloromantic person?

A person who identifies as alloromantic experiences romantic attraction to others - whoever that may be. It is the opposite of being aromantic (see below).

What is an Allosexual person?

This is a catch-all word to describe people who feel sexual attraction toward others and who might want to have sex with someone. Allosexuals might also identify with other sexualities such as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

What is an Ally person?

While the term ally is not a sexual or romantic orientation, it’s still important to know. It is used to define someone who confronts heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, heterosexual, and gender-straight privilege in themselves and others.

What is an Androsexual person?

Androsexuals are attracted to men, males, or perceived masculinity, whether or not they themselves were assigned male at birth.

What is an Aromantic person?

An aromantic person (“aro”) might not experience romantic attraction toward anyone. These types, which fall on a spectrum, might or might not want more than friendship from a relationship. It is possible for them to also identify with a different orientation. They tend to prefer close friendships and other nonromantic relationships. It’s important to note, again, that romantic attraction can differ from sexual attraction. Meaning, someone who doesn’t experience romantic attraction can be sexually attracted to some people. Some aromantic people enter into queerplatonic partnerships or QPPs. These unions are platonic but are considered to be as committed as romantic relationships. Some people in QPPs choose to cohabitate and/or have children together.

What is an Asexual person?

Asexual (“ace”) is a catch-all term that covers a wide array of sexual orientations. This is known as a spectrum, according to the LGBTQIA Resource Center. There are many different ways to experience asexuality. Attraction, arousal, and desires for relationships can vary quite widely among asexual people. They might experience any or all of these: falling in love, becoming aroused, having orgasms, masturbating, getting married, and having children. Asexuality is considered a sexual orientation, like being gay or straight, but it is not the same as being celibate or abstaining from sex. Some who identify as asexual might never experience sexual and/or romantic attraction, while others might feel varying degrees of these types of attraction. If an asexual person does feel romantic attraction, it usually does not turn into a sexual urge. That said, asexual individuals need not abstain from sex to identify as asexual. How do you know if you are asexual? Typically, an asexual person would always have had little interest in sexual contact with other people. Asexual orientations include:

  • Sex-averse: The condition of being averse to or entirely disinterested in sex and sexual behavior.
  • Sex-favorable: The condition of having positive feelings about sex in some but not all situations.
  • Sex-indifferent: The condition of feeling neutral about sex and sexual behavior.
  • Sex-repulsed: The condition of being turned off by sex and sexual behavior.
  • Cupiosexual: The condition of not feeling sexual attraction but still wishing to engage in sexual behavior or to have a sexual relationship.
  • Libidoist asexual: The condition of being asexual and experiencing sexual feelings that they take care of via masturbation or self-stimulation.

Graysexual or grayromantic people identify somewhere between sexual and asexual. This can include but is not limited to people who only feel romantic or sexual attraction on occasion; people who feel sexual attraction only at a low level; and people who want and take pleasure in sexual or romantic relationships, but only under certain very specific circumstances.

An estimated 1 percent of the world’s population are asexual, though experts believe the numbers could easily be higher.

It’s also important to note that asexuality is not the same as hypoactive sexual desire disorder or sexual aversion disorder, which are medical conditions associated with anxiety about sexual contact. Societal pressure might cause asexual people to feel anxious about sex, but that is different. Demisexual is another orientation that falls under asexuality. Demisexuals experience sexual or romantic attraction, but only after they have formed a close, emotional connection with someone.

What is an Autoromantic person?

Autoromantics are romantically attracted to themselves. It is also possible for them to feel romantic attraction toward others.

What is an Autosexual person?

Autosexuals are sexually attracted to themselves. They might also be sexually attracted to others.

What is a Bi-curious person?

Bi-curious people are interested in having a sexual or romantic encounter with someone of the same sex as themselves. They might or might not be totally sure of how they identify in these ways.

What is a Biromantic person?

Biromantics have romantic feelings, but not necessarily sexual ones, for more than one gender.

What is a Bisexual person?

Bisexuals can be any gender. Experts offer a range of definitions, but typically, a bisexual person is someone who is attracted to people of their gender as well as other/all genders. Important note: The notion that being bisexual is some kind of “stopover” on the way from straight to gay is an inaccurate and potentially hurtful stereotype. Some bisexuals might call themselves pansexual.

What is a Demiromantic person?

Demiromantics usually must feel a strong emotional bond with someone to feel romantic attraction to them.

What is a Demisexual person?

Technically, demisexual falls under the asexuality spectrum (“a-spec”) As mentioned above, demisexuals usually must feel a strong emotional bond with someone to feel sexual attraction to them. Some of them might experience low or no interest in sex.

What is a Gay person?

Gays usually only feel sexual attracted to those of the same gender. This term is widely used in society to describe men who are romantically and sexually attracted to men, but in the LGBTQ community, “gay” is used more as an umbrella term. It can also refer to a single individual who does not identify as straight, and to men who are attracted to other men in a romantic, erotic, and/or emotional way. In the distant past, the word gay had a very different meaning. "Carefree," "cheerful," or "bright and showy," were some of these, according to The Oxford Dictionary. In the 1940s and 1950s, the word gay became used as slang to refer to males and females attracted to the same sex. Since then, it has fully replaced the term "homosexual," which carried a stigma and was found by many to be too clinical.

What is a Genderqueer person?

Genderqueer is used to define those whose gender identity is outside of the strict male and female binary. Genderqueer people will either exhibit qualities of both sexes or will choose not to identify as either sex. Along the same lines, "nonbinary" is used to describe people who do not identify as male or female, and who see themselves as existing outside of the gender binary.

What is a Gynesexual/Gynosexual person?

These people feel sexual attraction toward women, females, and perceived femininity, whether or not they were assigned female at birth.

What is a Heteromantic person?

Heteromantics can feel romantically, but not necessarily sexually, attracted to people of a different gender.

What is a Heterosexuality person?

Heterosexuals, or “straight” people, typically are sexually and romantically attracted to people of a different sex than their own.

What is a Homoromantic person?

People with this romantic orientation can develop romantic attraction toward those of a similar gender to their own, but might not feel sexually attracted to them.

What is a Homosexual person?

Homosexuality refers to people emotionally and physically attracted to those of the same gender. This term is considered outdated by experts and might be seen as negative due to how it has been used in the past. Today, the word “gay” is often used instead.

What is a Lesbian person?

Lesbians are females who are sexually and romantically attracted to other females. They could be either biologically female or self-identify as female. In some cases, nonbinary people - i.e., those who do not identify with the traditional binary sexes of male and female - also identify as lesbians. One possibility for this is that they might feel more closely connected with or attracted to females. Not all women who fit the above description think of themselves as lesbians, so you should always ask someone who would know before assuming. The word "lesbian" has its roots in the feminist movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Previously, the term "gay" was used for both men and women, although more often for men. Why are lesbians called "lesbians"? The term, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is taken from the name of the Greek island of Lesbos. This is where 6th century BC poet Sappho, who famously expressed affection for females in her poetry (think of the term "sapphic"), lived.

What is Monosexual?

Another catch-all designation, monosexuality encompasses all orientations that feel romantically or sexually attracted to just one gender. Heterosexuals, gays, and lesbians are considered monosexuals.

What is a Multisexual?

Contrary to monosexuality, multisexuality covers all sexual orientations in which people experience sexual attraction to more than one gender. Bisexual and omnisexual people are included in this group.

What is a Pansexual & Omnisexual person?

These sexual orientations refer to people who are attracted to all genders and sexes. For them, gender is not a significant factor in sexual or romantic attraction.

What is a Panromantic person?

Panromantics can experience romantic but not sexual feelings for people of all genders and sexes.

What is a Polysexual person?

People with this sexual orientation feel sexual or romantic attraction toward more than one gender. It is different von being pansexual or bisexual. It opens up the spectrum.

What is a Queer person?

People of all sexualities under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella might also identify as queer. They might use the term “queer” with a special emphasis because, in the past, this term has been used to denigrate LGBTQIA+ people. If you are not a member of this community, you should not use this term.

What is a Skoliosexual person?

Skoliosexuals typically are only attracted to nonbinary people. This could mean someone is only attracted to transgender people. For someone else, this can mean they're only interested in non-cis people.

What is a Transgender person?

The word "transgender" is a catch-all term used for those whose gender identity and/or gender expression is not typical for the sex they were assigned at birth, according to GLAAD (formerly known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). Today, a lot of people call transgender people a shortened version of the word, i.e., "trans." A common misconception is that cross-dressers (i.e., “drag queens”) are trans. But people who cross-dress are often not transgender - meaning that they do not identify with a sex other than the one that they were born with.

Have you found your sexual orientation on the list? Regardless, do you feel like you need the label? With all of the different terms emerging in the recent past, people do ask themselves the following questions:

Do sexual and romantic orientation really matter?

It depends on the person. Some might feel that giving themselves a label, sexually or romantically, helps or will help them handle any oppression or difficulties that might come up. It could also make it easier for them to locate a group or groups in which they can feel safe sharing their experiences. Some find it’s helpful to know the terms describing other sexual and romantic orientations because knowing them helps them better understand people who might be different from themselves.

Is it necessary for people to identify their sexual and/or romantic orientation(s)?

No, it is not necessary for all people to identify their sexual or romantic orientations, but some find that doing so helps them form communities with people who share similar experiences. And, after all, that is all we need, right? To know that we're not alone.

"I've been embraced by a new community. That's what happens when you’re finally honest about who you are; you find others like you."

- Chaz Bono

Comments (1)

autorenew

28 days ago
Thank you 💞💞💞💞