If you are older than 30, chances are that you are confused by or not aware of the huge variety of sexual orientations that have been defined and appear in everyday society during the last decades.
So here is a little summary that we have put together from various sources.
|Sexual Orientation||Sub Orientation||Description (from OKCupid)||MedicalNewsToday Notes||Healthline Notes|
|Individuals who are sexually and/or romantically attracted to the opposite sex.||People who are heterosexual, or “straight,” typically feel sexual and romantic attraction toward people who are of a gender different than their own.||A term that describes people who experience sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction to people of the “opposite” gender (e.g., male vs. female, man vs. woman) or a different gender.|
Both cisgender and transgender-identified people can be heterosexual. This sexual orientation category is commonly described as straight.
Also known as heterosexual, straight describes people who experience sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction to people of the “opposite” gender (e.g., male vs. female, man vs. woman) or a different gender.
People who identify as cisgender and transgender can be straight.
|Monosexual||Monosexual is an umbrella term encompassing all sexual orientations that feel a romantic or sexual attraction toward only one gender.|
The sexual orientations that come under this term include heterosexuality, gay, and lesbian.
|A broad sexual orientation category that includes people who experience romantic or sexual attraction to people of one sex or gender. Monosexuality typically includes those who are exclusively heterosexual, gay, or lesbian.|
|Multisexual||Multisexual is a broad term that encompasses all sexual orientations in which people are attracted to more than one gender.|
Some sexual orientations that come under this term are bisexual and omnisexual.
|A term sometimes used to refer to the entire LGBTQ+ community & the spectrum of sexual orientations & gender identities. For others, queer may reflect their sexual identity, and the label they use to identify themselves.||People of all sexualities under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella may also identify as queer.|
Historically, many people used the word queer as a slur. People belonging to LGBTQIA+ communities may now choose to use this term to reclaim it.
It is generally not a good idea for people outside of these communities to use this term.
|The acronym that often describes people who don’t identify as exclusively heterosexual or exclusively cisgender.|
The letters in the LGBTQIA+ acronym stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, and asexual.
The + symbol in LGBTQIA+ refers to the fact that there are many sexual orientations and gender identities that are part of the broader LGBTQIA community but aren’t included as part of the acronym.
An umbrella term that describes people who aren’t exclusively heterosexual. The term “queer” (the Q in LBGTQIA+) acknowledges that sexuality is a spectrum as opposed to a collection of independent and mutually exclusive categories.
Use of the word opens up options beyond lesbian, gay, and bisexual to people who don’t fit neatly into these categories or prefer a category that isn’t dependent on sex and gender.
While this term once had negative and derogatory connotations, queer has resurfaced as a common and socially acceptable way for LGBTQIA+ people to refer to themselves and their community.
Despite its growing use, some people still have negative associations with the word and don’t want to be referred to in this way. Queer, like all terms describing sexuality, should be used sensitively and respectfully.
|Individuals who are sexually and/or romantically attracted to the same sex.||A person who identifies as gay typically only feels sexual attraction toward people of the same gender.|
Socially, people use this term to refer to men who are romantically and sexually attracted to men. However, those in the community use it as an umbrella term.
Homosexuality is a term describing those who are emotionally and physically attracted to people of the same gender.
However, the LGBTQIA Resource Center states that this term is outdated and may have negative connotations due to the past.
|A term that describes people who experience sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction to people of the same or a similar gender.|
Some gay-identified women prefer the term “lesbian,” while others prefer “queer” or “gay.” It’s also best to ask which word or term someone uses to describe themselves.
The fields of medicine and psychology previously referred to this sexual orientation as homosexual. “Homosexual” is now viewed as an outdated and offensive term and shouldn’t be used to refer to LGBTQIA+ people.
An outdated term rooted in the fields of medicine and psychology that refers to people who experience sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction to people of the same or a similar gender.
|Lesbian||Women who are sexually attracted to women.||Those who identify as lesbian are usually women who feel sexual and romantic attraction toward other women.|
Some nonbinary people — those who do not identify with the traditional binary sexes of male and female — may also identify as lesbians. This may be because they feel a closer connection to womanhood and are mainly attracted to women.
|A woman or female-identified person who experiences sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction to people of the same or a similar gender. However, it’s important to note that not all lesbians are female-identified; some define their identity as more nonmale or femme than female or feminine.|
Some people who are lesbians may also refer to themselves as gay or queer, while others prefer the term lesbian.
|Bisexual||Individuals who are sexually attracted to both men & women. Can also reflect people attracted to multiple genders/gender identities.||A person who identifies as bisexual can be of any gender.|
Bisexuality means that a person feels attraction toward their own gender and other genders or toward anyone regardless of their gender.
The LGBTQIA Resource Center notes that some people may use the terms bisexual and pansexual interchangeably to describe their sexual orientation.
|A sexual orientation that describes people who experience sexual, romantic, or emotional attractions to people of more than one gender.|
Also referred to as “bi,” bisexual typically includes individuals who are attracted to a variety of people, with genders that are similar to and different than their own.
|Bicurious||People who identify as bicurious are interested in having a sexual or romantic experience with someone of the same gender.|
The term indicates that the person experiences some uncertainty as to how they identify romantically or sexually.
|This refers to people who are questioning or exploring bisexuality, often due to a curiosity about one’s romantic or sexual attraction to people of the same or different genders.|
|Individuals who are attracted to people from the full spectrum of sex, gender, and gender identity.||These sexual orientations refer to people who feel attraction toward people of all genders and sexes.|
A typical identifier for people with this orientation is that gender is not a factor in sexual or romantic attraction.
While there is overlap between these two terms and bisexuality and polysexuality, some people may prefer to use one term over another.
|A term that describes people who can experience sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction to any person, regardless of that person’s gender, sex, or sexuality.|
Omnisexual is similar to pansexual and can be used to describe people whose sexuality isn’t limited to those of a particular gender, sex, or sexual orientation.
|Polysexual||People who identify as polysexual feel sexual or romantic attraction toward more than one gender.||A term that describes people with a sexual orientation that involves sexual or romantic attraction to people with varying genders. Polysexual orientations include bisexuality, pansexuality, omnisexuality, and queer, among many others.|
|Spectrasexual||Spectrasexual is a term that describes those who are romantically and sexually attracted to multiple sexes, genders, and gender identities but not all of them.||A term that describes people who are sexually or romantically attracted to multiple or varied sexes, genders, and gender identities, but not necessarily all or any.|
|Questioning||Individuals who are questioning & exploring their sexual orientation, gender/gender identity, or both.||The process of being curious about or exploring some aspect of sexuality or gender. Questioning can also be used as an adjective to describe someone who’s currently exploring their sexuality or gender.|
|Heteroflexible||Individuals who identify as predominantly heterosexual but are open to a homosexual encounter.|
|Homoflexible||Individuals who identify as predominantly homosexual but are open to a heterosexual encounter.|
|Skoliosexual||People who identify as skoliosexual typically only feel attraction toward people who are nonbinary.||A sexual orientation that describes people who are sexually attracted to those with non-cisgender gender identities, such as people who are nonbinary, genderqueer, or trans.|
|Asexual||Individuals who don’t experience sexual attraction.||Someone who identifies as a member of the asexual community experiences little or no sexual attraction to others of any gender. Asexuality is a broad spectrum. People who identify as asexual may also identify with one or more other terms that can more specifically capture their relationship to sexual attraction.|
Also referred to as “aces,” some people who are asexual do experience romantic attraction to people of one or multiple genders. Some asexual people may also engage in sexual activity.
|Sex-averse||This is when a person is averse to or entirely disinterested in sex and sexual behavior.||Sex-averse describes those who are on the asexual spectrum and are averse to or extremely disinterested in sex or sexual behavior.|
|Sex-favorable||This is when a person has positive feelings toward sex in some situations.||On the spectrum of asexuality, sex-favorable is viewed as the “opposite” of sex-repulsed and describes those who are asexual, and in certain situations can have favorable or positive feelings toward sex.|
|Sex-indifferent||This refers to those who feel neutral about sex and sexual behavior.||Sex-indifferent describes those who are on the asexual spectrum and feel indifferent or neutral about sex or sexual behavior.|
|Sex-repulsed||This refers to those who are repulsed by sex and sexual behavior.||Similar to sex-averse, sex-repulsed is on the spectrum of asexuality and describes those who are asexual and are repulsed by or extremely disinterested in sex or sexual behavior.|
|Cupiosexual||If someone identifies as cupiosexual, they do not experience sexual attraction but still desire to engage in sexual behavior or have a sexual relationship.||Cupiosexual describes asexual people who don’t experience sexual attraction but still have the desire to engage in sexual behavior or a sexual relationship.|
|Libidoist asexual||This term refers to those who identify as asexual but experience sexual feelings that they can satisfy with masturbation or self-stimulation.||A term used to describe an asexual person who experiences sexual feelings that are satisfied through self-stimulation or masturbation.|
This term acknowledges that, for some people, acting on libido or sexual feelings doesn’t necessarily involve sexual behavior with others.
|Non-libidoist asexual||Referring to an identity on the asexuality spectrum, a non-libidoist asexual is someone who doesn’t experience any sexual feelings or has an active sex drive.|
|Graysexual||Individuals on the asexual spectrum who experience sexual & romantic attraction, but only rarely.||Those who are graysexual experience sexual attraction either infrequently or not very intensely.||Graysexual is used to acknowledge the gray area on the sexuality spectrum for people who don’t explicitly and exclusively identify as asexual or aromantic.|
Many people who identify as graysexual do experience some sexual attraction or desire, but perhaps not at the same level or frequency as those who identify their sexuality as being completely outside of the asexual spectrum.
|Aceflux||Individuals whose sexual orientation fluctuates along the spectrum between asexual and sexual.|
|Demisexual||Individuals who don’t experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone.||A person who identifies as demisexual typically only feels sexual attraction toward a person with whom they have already established a strong emotional bond.|
Some people who are demisexual may have no interest or only a slight interest in sexual activity.
|On the asexual spectrum, this sexual orientation describes people who experience sexual attraction only under specific circumstances, such as after building a romantic or emotional relationship with a person.|
|Reciprosexual||Individuals who don’t experience sexual attraction to someone until they know that the person is attracted to them.|
|Akiosexual||Individuals who experience sexual attraction but do not want it be reciprocated, and would be uncomfortable if it were.|
|Autosexual||Those who identify as autosexual experience a sexual attraction toward themselves.|
Similar to those who are autoromantic, people who are autosexual may also experience sexual attraction toward other people.
|A person who’s sexually attracted to themselves. Someone’s desire to engage in sexual behavior such as masturbation doesn’t determine whether they’re autosexual.|
|Androsexual||People who consider themselves androsexual feel attraction toward men, males, or perceived masculinity, irrespective of whether or not they were assigned male at birth.||A term used to communicate sexual or romantic attraction to men, males, or masculinity. This term intentionally includes attraction to those who identify as men, male, or masculine, regardless of biology, anatomy, or sex assigned at birth.|
|People who identify as gynesexual feel sexual attraction toward women, females, and perceived femininity, irrespective of whether they were assigned female at birth.||A term used to communicate sexual or romantic attraction to women, females, or femininity.|
This term intentionally includes attraction to those who identify as women, female, or feminine regardless of biology, anatomy, or the sex assigned at birth.
|Sapiosexual||Info from WebMD:|
Sapiosexuality means that a person is sexually attracted to highly intelligent people, so much so that they consider it to be the most important trait in a partner. It is a relatively new word that has become more popular in recent years.
|Info from WebMD:|
Both LGBTQ+ people and heterosexual people may identify as sapiosexual.
However, some people who identify as sapiosexual do so in order to claim a sexual identity that’s outside of traditional binaries such as heterosexual/homosexual and male/female. This approach seems to be more common among younger people interacting in digital spaces.
|A word used to describe those who experience attraction based on intelligence, rather than sex or gender.|
|Romantic Orientation||Sub Orientation||Description (from OKCupid)||MedicalNewsToday Notes||Healthline|
|Aromantic||A person who identifies as aromantic may not feel any romantic attraction toward anyone. They may not want a relationship beyond friendship.|
Those who identify with this orientation may also identify with another orientation.
A person’s romantic attraction can differ from their sexual attraction. For example, a person may not feel romantic attraction toward people but may still be sexually attracted to some individuals.
|A romantic orientation that describes people who experience little or no romantic attraction, regardless of sex or gender.|
|Grayromantic||Individuals on the aromantic spectrum who experience romantic attraction but only rarely or weakly.||People who identify as grayromantic may experience romantic attraction either rarely or not very strongly.||A romantic orientation that describes individuals whose romantic attraction exists in the gray area between romantic and aromantic.|
Many people who identify as grayromantic do experience some romantic attraction, but perhaps not at the same level or frequency as those who identify their sexuality or romantic orientation as something other than asexual.
|Aroflux||Individuals whose romantic orientation fluctuates along the spectrum between aromantic and romantic.|
|Biromantic||People who identify as biromantic feel romantic, but not necessarily sexual, attraction toward more than one gender.||People who experience romantic attraction, but not sexual attraction, to people of more than one gender.|
|Heteroromantic||Those who are heteroromantic may experience romantic attraction, but not necessarily sexual attraction, toward those of a different gender.|
|Homoromantic||Homoromantic refers to people who are romantically attracted to those of a similar gender to their own. They may not feel sexual attraction toward these people, though.|
|Panromantic||This term refers to those who experience romantic attraction, but not sexual attraction, toward people of any gender or sex.||A term that describes people who can experience romantic, or emotional (but not sexual) attraction to any person, regardless of that person’s gender, sex, or sexuality.|
|Demiromantic||Individuals who only experience romantic attraction after developing an emotional connection beforehand.||This romantic orientation describes people who experience romantic attraction only under specific circumstances, such as after building an emotional relationship with a person.|
|Recipromantic||Individuals who don’t experience romantic attraction to someone until they know the person is attracted to them.|
|Akioromantic||Individuals who may experience romantic attraction but don’t want it reciprocated.|
|Autoromantic||Those who are autoromantic experience a romantic attraction toward themselves.|
This does not mean that they do not experience romantic attraction toward others as well.
|A romantic orientation that describes a person who’s romantically attracted to themselves. People who identify as autoromatic often report experiencing the relationship they have with themselves as romantic.|