Sexuality and Romantic Identities
Sexual and romantic identities are complex and often fluid. It is important to acknowledge that each individual is the only one who can decide how to describe their own sexuality and romantic inclinations. The following terms and definitions may be helpful for you to find words to describe your feelings with regards to sexual and romantic attractions.
About Sexuality and Romantic Identities
Aromantic: An individual who experiences a lack of romantic attraction or a lack of interest in forming romantic relationships.
Asexual (Ace): An individual who does not experience sexual attraction or experiences such a low level of sexual attraction that they do not consider it to be notable. Like any other sexuality, asexuality is diverse, and each individual may experience asexuality differently. Asexuality exists on a spectrum and includes people who experience no sexual attraction or have any desire for sex to those who experience low levels and only after significant amounts of time.
Grey Asexual (Grey A): An individual who identifies as Grey-A typically does not normally experience sexual attraction but may experience sexual attraction sometimes, experience sexual attraction but has a low sex-drive, experience sexual attraction and has a sex-drive but not enough to wish to act on them, or it may be someone who can enjoy and even desire sex, but only under a very specific and limited circumstances.
Bisexual: Most commonly, bisexuality is seen as an emotional and/or sexual attraction to two genders. This definition includes the fact that some individuals who identify as bisexual are sexually and/or emotionally attracted to more than one gender but only form relationships with one. Another commonly used definition is a sexual attraction towards the same gender, and gender(s) different than your own. This attraction does not have to be equally split or indicate a level of interest that is the same across the genders or sexes an individual may be attracted to.
Demi-romantic: Someone with a lack of romantic attraction, desire or need for an intimate or physical nature. This differs from the Aromantic identity, since those who are Demi-romantic have the ability to develop feelings of romantic attraction for someone only after getting to know them, and understand them as a person, usually built out of an initial very close friendship.
Demi-sexual: Someone who identifies as Demi-sexual does not experience sexual attraction until they form a strong emotional connection with someone. In general, people who identify as Demi-sexual are not sexually attracted to anyone of any gender, but if an emotional connection is formed with someone else, they may experience sexual attraction towards the specific partner(s).
Gay: This term can be used as an umbrella for anyone who is sexually or romantically attracted to someone of the same gender. The second definition is used to exclusively refer to someone who is male-identified, who is romantically or sexually attracted to other male-identified individuals.
Heterosexuality: This is a sexual attraction to the “opposing” sex/gender. Typically this means a female/women attracted to male/men, and vice versa. Also known as straight.
Lesbian: A female-identified person who is sexually and/or romantically attracted to other female-identified individuals.
Pansexual: Pansexuality is a sexual orientation used to describe an individual who feels they are sexually and/or romantically attracted to all genders, based on an individual’s personality.
Polyamory/Polyamorous: refers to the practice of, desire to, or orientation towards having ethically, honest, consensually non-monogamous relationships (i.e. relationships that may include multiple partners). This may include open relationships, polyfidelity (which involves more than two people being in romantic and/or sexual relationships which is not open to additional partners), amongst many other set ups. Some poly(amorous) people have a “primary” relationship or relationship(s) and then “secondary” relationship(s) which may indicate different allocations of resources, time, or priority.
Queer: This is an umbrella term for anyone who is not heterosexual, gender-binary and/or heteronormative.
Questioning: an individual who is unsure about or is exploring their own sexual orientation or gender identity
This list is nowhere near exhaustive, but merely describes some of the better-known sexual and romantic identities. The links below contain a variety of other identities and expressions. Remember that, in every case, individual people are the only ones who can define their own identities, and it is completely fine if these identities change and fluctuate over time.