Sexuality has an enormous impact on your personality. It has to do with how you identify, experience sexual and romantic attraction, and where you will go to meet other people. With the growing popularity of gender studies and more prominent LGBTQ+ visibility, people talk a lot more about preferences (that go way beyond choosing sex toys for men or sharing favorite roleplay scenarios) and find new ways to define their sexual and romantic attraction.
It’s a natural course of action. We get to study behaviors and know more and more facts every day. However, some people, especially older ones, can feel a little left behind. That’s why here you will find the complete guide to the most common sexual orientations you may encounter among your friends.
According to the Kinsey scale, a heterosexual is a person who is emotionally and sexually attracted to members of the opposite gender. They are called straight or “hetero” for short. It’s the most common sexual orientation and represents more than half of the population.
While there are no universal gender roles for men and women, sexual stereotypes still exist. Most straight men prefer feminine women, and most straight women want to date masculine men. These attitudes change over time as more people are coming out and showing that they have other preferences, but it all depends on the environment.
Gay people are attracted to members of the same sex. The most common adjectives are “lesbian” for women and “gay” for men, but the latter can be used to refer to both women and men as well. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality covers romantic, sexual, and emotional attraction and contributes to a person’s identity based on these attractions as well as related behaviors.
Gay people are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, including lesbian people (women attracted to other women), bisexual people (who are attracted to both men and women), transgender people, intersex people, and people who are questioning their sexual identity.
Bisexuality is a sexual orientation that describes people who are attracted to more than one sex or gender. This means that they can be attracted to men and women (and sometimes people of other genders) at the same time.
Bisexual people may consider themselves gay, straight, lesbian, queer, or pansexual instead of using a bi label. It’s always up to them how they identify themselves, and it is okay to move from one orientation to another throughout their lives.
Pansexuality is very similar to bisexuality in terms of attraction. However, pansexual people don’t care about gender, while bisexuals do. In case you feel confused by the difference between bisexuals and pansexuals, here’s a simple way to think about it: “Pan” means “all” while “bi” means “two.”
However, while bisexual people can be attracted to two or even more genders, it doesn’t mean they are attracted to all of them. On the contrary, pansexuals can be attracted to people of all genders or regardless of gender.
Asexuality is a sexual orientation that describes people who aren’t sexually attracted to any gender. They may still have romantic feelings towards one or more genders, but they aren’t interested in having sex with them. Asexuality is not the same thing as celibacy or abstinence – it has nothing to do with whether someone wants to have sex or not.
Asexual people do not masturbate and do not experience sexual arousal. Some have sex with their partners as long as sex doesn’t mean something more important than just physical pleasure for them. If you’re unsure whether someone is asexual or not, it is only a matter of asking them what their sexual identity is or what kind of relationship they would like to have with a partner.
Demisexuality is a sexual identity that describes people whose feelings of sexual attraction depend on developing a strong emotional connection with someone else first. For demisexuals, it is essential to get to really know someone before they start feeling sexual attraction for them. Therefore, they usually don’t have casual sex or flings on the first few dates – they need time for their feelings to develop first.
In some cases, demisexuals don’t even feel sexual attraction until after establishing a strong emotional connection with their partners and feeling comfortable with them. When demisexuality is misunderstood as a lack of sexual interest or sexual aversion, demisexuals may experience a great deal of frustration or stress trying to explain themselves.
Although demisexuality isn’t as common as other sexual orientations, it’s definitely valid and deserves respect, just like the rest of the orientations on this list. Other terms used by demisexuals include semisexual or gray-asexual because they explain these feelings further and distinguish them from complete asexuality.
Depending on your culture, you may not come across all these sexual orientations, and even if you do, you may not understand what they mean. As with most subjects related to sexuality and gender, there’s plenty of misinformation out there as well.
Sexuality is a very personal human experience, and everyone has to learn about it on their own. If you’re interested in learning more about specific orientations and gender identities, don’t hesitate to ask questions! You will not find a better source than speaking to real people about their experiences in discovering their sexual orientations and how they influenced their personalities.
It is always better to try and clarify things than spread stereotypes.