There are many different types of sexualities. Some people are attracted to the opposite sex, some are attracted to the same sex and others like all sexes.
These types of sexualities are usually referred to as gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight. However, these terms are often limited and don’t cover the full spectrum of sexuality.
The most common sexual orientation is heterosexuality, which describes people who are attracted to the opposite sex. This orientation is based on the idea that biological sex is binary—you’re born male or female—but research shows that sex is actually a spectrum.
Whether you’re straight, cisgender, or transgender, you can be attracted to any person on the sex or gender spectrum. This category is sometimes referred to as omnisexual or non-libidoist asexuality.
Compulsory heterosexuality refers to the social expectations that individuals must be in relationships with a partner of their same sex and that other sexual orientations are deviant. It is often linked to heteronormativity, a system of privilege that gives advantages and benefits to heterosexual people.
Homosexuality refers to a sexual orientation and identity where a person feels romantic and sexual attraction toward people who are the same sex as them. A lot of teens experience this, especially during adolescence, where they might experiment with different sex and gender attractions and experiences.
Gay and lesbian people feel a closeness to women, or the feminine part of their identities, and are primarily attracted to other women. They may also be attracted to men, and/or nonbinary people.
A person who is bisexual, or pansexual, feels a range of romantic and sexual attraction to people who are the same sex as themselves, or anyone regardless of sex or gender. They can be both heterosexual and homosexual, or they may have a preference. They can also be asexual, or sex-averse and repulsed by sex.
Bisexual people experience romantic or sexual attraction to both men and women. They may also be attracted to cisgender, nonbinary, and transgender genders. The term bisexual is often confused with pansexuality, which refers to attraction to all genders.
Many people coming out as bisexual struggle with sceptical family members and friends. Some of them feel pressure to ‘pick a side’ by saying they are gay or straight. This can be confusing because sexual orientation is a complex, personal identity.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that your sexuality is just one part of who you are. You can identify with many other things besides sexuality, such as your ethnicity, religion, and political views. These identities are equally valid. So don’t let anyone tell you that being bisexual is a phase or not real.
Pansexuality is sometimes viewed as an identity that stands on its own, but it’s also considered to be under the bisexual umbrella. People who identify as pansexual feel attracted to all genders, including men, women and non-binary identifiers. However, that doesn’t mean they fancy everyone – pansexuals may prefer one person over another.
It’s important to remember that sexual, romantic and gender identities are personal, so it’s up to each individual how they define themselves. However, as the LGBTQ community continues to normalize sexual fluidity, terms like pansexual are gaining popularity, especially after celebrities such as Miley Cyrus and Janelle Monae came out as pansexual. And while it may be uncomfortable for some to use this term, it’s important that people do what feels right.
There are a lot of labels that describe different sexualities, including heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual and pansexual, but demisexual is fairly new. It’s when someone only feels primary sexual attraction – that is, attraction based on immediately observable characteristics like appearance or smell – after they have developed a close emotional bond with another person.
The term demisexual was coined in 2006 by a user on the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network wiki. It falls on the asexuality spectrum between asexuality (when people have no sexual attraction) and allosexuality (people who do experience sexual attraction).
This type of relationship may include romance, but not always. It can also involve kink play, energy play and other ways of connecting. “Sex is a tool for connection, not necessarily love,” says somatic psychotherapist and empowerment coach Elmo Painter-Edington.
Often, people who identify as monosexual are romantically and/or sexually attracted to one gender. This is different than heterosexuality, homosexuality and pansexuality, which involve attraction to individuals of either or both sexes.
Being monosexual is not as well-known as other sexual orientations, and this can lead to feelings of isolation and discrimination. It is important to create safe spaces where monosexual individuals can express themselves freely and without judgment.
Likewise, it’s equally important to provide a platform for those who are bisexual, queer, fluid, or pansexual to be heard and supported. Regardless of their sexuality, all people deserve to feel happy and loved. And this starts with creating a supportive community where they can thrive.
Some people don’t feel sexual or romantic attraction, and they are known as asexual. People who are asexual can be any gender, age, race, body type or religion, and they can be married or single, rich or poor. Some asexuals choose to be celibate, but others don’t. Some have a clear understanding of their asexuality from childhood, and some come to realize it after experiencing one or more sexual encounters.
Sometimes people who are asexual identify as demisexual or grey-romantic, and these people have a close relationship with the asexual community. These people may enjoy sex on rare occasions, or they might not have a strong interest in it at all. People who are asexual can also be polyromantic, meaning that they have romantic feelings and connections to people of many different genders.