When the world was more narrow-minded, you were born either a ‘girl’ or a ‘boy.’ And as a girl you liked boys and as a boy you liked girls. Everything besides that was considered taboo and forbidden. Fortunately we know better nowadays. Sexuality has become a hot topic in recent years. But sexual preferences are not a trend or a phase.
Until about 5 years ago I myself only knew about four sexualities: heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual and asexual. Quite little if you compare it to now but it was still a thing to come out as gay or bi. Until someone told me he was in a polyamorous relationship. ‘Poly-what? Isn’t that when you’re married to several people?’ Nope. FYI: this is called polygamy and is prohibited in the Netherlands.
Sexuality in the media
Not only around me, I noticed talking about deviant sexuality and gender identity was becoming more and more accepted. Transgender people walk on runways, appear in TV-shows (like Orange is the New Black) and sign contracts with some of the largest modeling agencies in the world. You also read more and more stories in the media about asexuals and intersexes.
In short: there are tons of different sexualities. I can imagine that the down-to-earth Dutchman raises his eyebrows when he hears terms like ‘pansexual,’ ‘autosexual’ and ‘demisexual.’ That is why we put everything in this overview.
I don’t really have to explain this (and the next one), but for completeness I include it anyway. If you’re straight you are attracted to the opposite gender. A heterosexual couple always consists of a man and a woman.
This means you’re attracted to people of the same gender. A man and a man (gay) or a woman and a woman (lesbian).
If you’re bi, you’re attracted to both men and women. Some bisexuals prefer a relationship with either a man or a woman, but that varies from person to person.
The name says it all: you are flexible with your sexual orientation. As a flexisexual you have a preference for a certain gender, but you find it exciting to experiment with the same gender (if you’re straight) or the opposite gender (if you’re gay). Research shows that women are much more flexible than men in this.
Someone who’s asxeual does not feel any sexual attraction and therefore doesn’t need sex. Only 1% of the population is said to be asexual and the majority is female. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a preference or result of trauma. It is not a choice, you were born with it. Asexual people fo have relationships but due to the lack of sex and/or romantic feelings they are often difficult to maintain.
There are four types of asexuality:
- Libido but no romantic attraction;
- Romantic attraction but no libido;
- Libido and romantic attraction, but no connection between the two or
- No libido and no romantic attraction.
Someone who is aromantic experiences no romantic feelings towards others. A connection usually becomes nothing more than a good friendship. As you have read, asexuality and aromanticism do not mean the same thing. Of course,that’s all in the difference between sexuality and romance. You can also be aromantic and straight/gay/lesbian: you have sex but no emotional connection.
An autosexual is someone who would rather masturbate than have sex with a person. Someone else’s body cannot arouse him or her, but touching their own body can. Sometimes the preference for solo sex is so big, an autosexual doesn’t have sex with another person at all.
Pansexuality is also called omnisexuality. If a pansexual person is attracted to someone, they are attracted to a person. It can be either a woman, a man, or anything in between, but gender doesn’t determine preference.
This means you can get romantic feelings for all gender identities and sexes, but you don’t feel sexual attraction.
Not to be confused with polyamory… Polysexuals are romantically and/or sexually attracted to people with multiple biological genders (intersex) and multiple gender identities (transgender).
Officially this isn’t a sexality but more of a romantic and sexual preference. It’s a fairly new name for something that has been performed by humans for centuries. Polyamores can fall in love with two or more people easily and without any guilt. Often they also have multiple relationships with the permission of their partner(s). Don’t confuse polyamory with cheating or as abuse to have multiple bed partners at once. Sex is not the most important part.
The word says it all: demi means ‘half.’ Demisexuals are in between sexual and asexual. A strong emotional bond is a prerequisite for sexual feelings. So a person who is demisexual has a less strong sexual attraction. It’s also sometimes referred to as gray asexual.
These were most of the sexualities. Did you already know them all? Or did we miss another interesting one? With which of the above sexualities do you identify or are you still searching? Feel free to leave a comment below.
The following are not sexualities but gender identities. For the full picture, we include them anyway.
You are a man and a woman. This is also called hermaphrodite. You’re born with both male and female sexual characteristics. Sometimes doctors advise which sex the child should have. In less extreme cases, a child can decide later in life whether they want to become a girl or a boy. Whether the intersex has predominantly more feminine or masculine characteristics does not determine the ultimate sexual preference.
What many people don’t know is that there is a solid difference between transgender and transsexual. A transgender (non-binary) feels like a man or a woman or is a man and sometimes dresses and behaves like a woman for a day or months or vice versa. A transsexual, on the other hand, really feels trapped in the wrong body. A man who wants to become a woman or a woman who wants to become a man. This naturally includes hormone treatments and usually one or more sex surgeries. If someone has gone through their gender transformation, they no longer call it transsexual but an ex-transsexual or gender euphoria.
People sometimes make mistakes by calling a transgender a transvestite. A transvestite is a man or woman who dresses up for an evening to look like the other gender. While they return to the workplace as themselves the next day.
This is the opposite of transsexuality. If you are ‘cis,’ you are comfortable with the gender you were born with. For example: you were born with female gender characteristics and you identify as a woman.