7 Types of Sexualities – Which One is Yours?

There are a lot of labels that have been used to describe sexuality, gender and romantic attraction. This includes heterosexuality (a man attracted to a woman), homosexuality, bisexuality and pansexuality. There are also a number of other orientations including queerness, gynesexuality, polyromanticism, omnisexuality and aromanticism.

Discovering your sexuality can be an exciting, liberating and empowering experience. This article will discuss 7 types of sexualities which one is yours?

1. Heterosexual

Heterosexuality is when people are romantically and sexually attracted to people of the opposite binary gender. People who are heterosexual are attracted to men and women, but do not prefer one over the other.

Heterosexuality was once a central topic of psychological research, with Sigmund Freud devoting considerable attention to this orientation. However, over time, heterosexuality came to be understood as a given and “normal”, and researchers focused less on it.

Heterosexuals follow society’s norm of sticking to their biological sex. This can lead to discrimination and negative attitudes towards gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and non-binary folks. It also creates a false dichotomy between those who are heterosexual and those who are not.

2. Bisexual

Bisexual people experience sexual, romantic and emotional attraction to more than one sex. It’s a common misconception that being bi means you can only be attracted to men and women, but that isn’t necessarily true. Bisexuality is not a phase and it shouldn’t be treated like one. It’s also not something you can just change – it’s an integral part of who you are.

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It can be difficult to come out to sceptical friends and family because of the misunderstanding of what it really means to be bisexual. But Clodfelter suggests that if you want to educate people, a respectful conversation is the best way to go about it.

3. Pansexual

While a growing number of LGBTQ people are identifying as pansexual, the label hasn’t always been clearly defined. It’s not to be confused with bisexuality, though they both have similarities.

Unlike heterosexuality and homosexuality, pansexuals are attracted to all genders. The word comes from the Greek prefix “pan,” meaning all. That means they’re attracted to cisgender men, women, transgender, non-binary and agender people.

Those who identify as pansexual sometimes use the term omnisexual, which is more specific and refers to their attraction to all people regardless of their sexuality. They may or may not recognize the gender of their partners, but it doesn’t influence their choices. The fact that they are attracted to all genders doesn’t mean they’re promiscuous or cheaters, however. They build relationships based on mutual respect and consent.

4. Gay

The term gay describes anyone who is sexually or romantically attracted to people of the same gender. Women who are attracted to other women may prefer to use the word lesbian or queer instead of gay.

Some people who experience homosexual feelings may also identify as asexual. Asexuality doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t feel romantic or sexual attraction, but that your feelings are very limited or non-existent.

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If you’re struggling with the way you identify or have questions about your sexual orientation, a counselor can help you work through it. BetterHelp has 20,000 licensed therapists who can talk through your sexual orientation with you in a safe and secure environment. Start your search today.

5. Lesbian

Lesbian is a gender identity that describes people who feel romantic and sexual attraction to women. Some people also identify with femme and may use terms such as low femme, high femme or queer.

Gay and lesbian people often experience prejudice, including discrimination, due to their sexual orientation. This prejudice can have negative impacts on their health and well-being.

Some people may be uncomfortable with their sexual orientation or may have questions about it. This is normal. You can seek help for these feelings through therapy, which is confidential and supportive. You can get started with BetterHelp, where you will be matched with a licensed therapist who can help you understand your sexuality and any feelings of uncertainty.

6. Transgender

People who have romantic, sexual, or affectional attraction to more than one gender often identify as bisexual or pansexual. They may also use neopronouns, which are gender-neutral alternatives like ze/zir and ey/em.

Transgender isn’t a sexual orientation – it’s a gender identity. It’s the way a person feels about the body they were assigned at birth, and it can be different from their sex. Many transgender people choose to present as male or female, and some people transition through puberty. Others don’t and may choose descriptors like gender-queer or agender.

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Some people don’t experience sexual or affectional attraction to men or women, and some don’t want that sex. They may not have a desire to have a relationship. They may also call themselves asexual or ace.

7. Queer

Originally a pejorative word, queer has been reclaimed by many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people as a self-affirming umbrella term. Increasingly, some straight people also claim queer as their own and use it to denote solidarity with LGBTQIA+ communities.

Queer includes many identities, including bisexuality, pansexuality and asexuality. Some queer identities may be biromantic or panromantic, meaning that they’re open to romantic relationships with more than one gender but don’t want sex.

It’s important to avoid using queer as a negative label and instead understand the complexity of sexuality and the nuances involved. Educate yourself on queer and use it to empower your LGBTQIA+ friends and family members. Queer is about community, equality, and love.

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