In today’s modern world, it can seem difficult to keep up with all the new terms, names, and labels for sexuality. This can make sexuality hard to understand altogether, but it doesn’t have to be this way! Understanding sexuality and all the different types are all about opening your mind to learning new information.
Whether you’re looking to understand better your own sexuality, or the sexuality of others, you’ve come to the right place! Here’s everything you need to know about the different types of sexuality to keep you up to date. This guide has got you covered, encompassing the basic terms and phrases you need. Read on, and you might be surprised to learn more about yourself and others than you bargained for!
What is sexuality?
Before diving into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to understand what the term sexuality means. Sexuality, or sexual orientation, refers to a person’s identity in relation to the gender or gender they’re attracted to. Your sexual orientation depends on your gender or the gender you identify as, and the gender/genders of the people you’re attracted to.
Sexuality is a spectrum and there are many types recognized today that people can understand and identify with. It’s important to remember that one cannot choose their sexuality, they can only choose to act on it or identify with it! Now that you’re all caught up, here’s a list of the most common sexualities you need to know about, to better understand the spectrum!
Kicking off the list of sexuality types is being straight or heterosexual. Heterosexuality refers to being sexually or romantically attracted to someone of the opposite gender. If you’re a man, you like women, if you’re a woman, you like men, simple! Being straight is often thought of as being the “default” sexuality that most people have, only because of sheer numbers. Although this is untrue, it is the sexuality that is most dominant and commonly shown and seen. You’re more likely to come across and consume media with straight characters, than any other sexuality in the world.
The next type of sexuality on this list is of the homosexual variety and is known as being Gay. The word Gay is also often used as an umbrella term for any sexuality other than heterosexuality. If you’re a male (or identify as male) who is attracted to another male (or male-identifying person), you can identify as gay. For older men, most have met other gay men in clubs, online, and in gay saunas in the UK for the most part. Today, the younger generation has more freedom, and out and proud gay men and boys can find each other much easier and more safely!
The next sexuality on the list is almost as well known as the previous one and goes by the name of lesbian. Those who identify as women who are attracted to other women are called lesbians. Lesbians, along with trans women, were instrumental in the fight for gay rights in America, which many people often forget. Many people think that you need to look, dress, or behave a certain way to be a lesbian, but that is not true! All you have to do to be a lesbian is identify as a woman, and love other women!
Bisexuality is the next sexuality on this list and refers to being attracted to two/both genders: men and women. Those who identify as being bisexual or Bi, often have to deal with scrutiny and disbelief from both sides, so to speak. Bisexuals often grapple with whether or not they identify as straight or queer. For many Bi people, coming to terms with their sexuality and accepting it can be very hard because of this. It’s important to remember that sexuality and bisexuality are a spectrum and there’s no right or wrong way to be Bi.
The next sexuality on the list is one of the more recent additions, and for good reason. A person can identify as Pan if they find themselves attracted to all genders, with no particular preference. A pansexual person can be attracted to an individual in spite of or regardless of their gender. Within the LGBTQ+ community, pansexuals and bisexuals are often pitted against each other. This is because of the belief that one seemingly negates the other. This is not the case because as with sexuality, gender is also a spectrum, and there are more than two genders out there! So whether you’re cis or trans, you can be Pan!
Asexual and aromantic
Last but not least are asexuality and aromantic. All the previous entries on this list have described an open sexual or romantic attraction to another person. Being asexual and aromantic, or Ace and Aro, don’t often align with this and exist in their very own category.
Asexuality is defined as someone who does not experience any sexual desire or attraction to another person. This lack of desire for sex can manifest as a full-blown revolt or as a mild disinterest in the act. Asexuals can still experience emotional or romantic connections with people, and can even have children, albeit without a desire for sex.
Being aromantic is when someone does not experience romantic attraction toward another person. Aro’s can still enjoy platonic relationships with people and can enjoy casual sex but often with no romantic involvement. A person can identify as both asexual and aromantic and can live a perfectly normal and fulfilled life. A person can also identify as both ace and gay or aro and bisexual, any combination is normal and valid!
So there you have it. The moral of the story is, sexuality is a spectrum, and there is no right or wrong way to express your sexuality. It’s also important to remember that while these agreed-upon terms for different sexualities exist, you don’t have to fit into them. These terms exist to allow people to identify with them, express themselves, and find community.
If these terms don’t work for you, that’s okay! Whether you’re straight, gay, bisexual, aromantic, or something different, your sexuality is valid and normal. Now that you’re all caught up on the bigger picture, you’re ready to go out there and explore your sexuality and understand those around you better!
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