It is possible that lately you have heard a series of terms referring to sexuality that sound Chinese to you , such as demisexuality or non-binary gender. In case you are a bit lost or lost, we have prepared a basic guide to understand modern diversity, all from the concept of sexual orientation. We get into the matter.
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What is sexual orientation
Before addressing the types of sexual orientation that exist, we must know the definition of other related terms such as gender or gender identity, concepts that are often confused although they are not the same.
Sexual orientation has to do with sexual attraction or what we find desirable . Although the criteria that someone establishes to consider another person desirable are completely subjective and depend on many factors, we can distinguish the most common types of sexuality. It should be noted that the spectrum of sexualities is becoming broader, as society accepts the existence of relationships beyond the traditional sentimental cross between man and woman.
How is it different from sex, gender and gender identity?
Secondly, we find gender, which encompasses a series of characteristics and attributes, defined by society , to describe what a man is and what a woman is. Here is a practical example: if someone is born with a female reproductive organ but his social environment defines him as a man, that someone is female but male.
From there we can deduce that sex is determined by biological characteristics . These characteristics can be from birth or acquired through a sex change operation.
On the other hand we have gender identity, which should not be confused with gender. We continue with the previous practical example. A person can be defined by society as a man but can feel like a woman. Therefore, it is the subjective perception that someone has regarding their gender . If there is a difference between sex and gender identity, said person looks like gender identity disorder or gender dysphoria.
In summary, we can state the following:
- Sex: biological attributes of the person.
- Sexual Orientation: Toward which sex or gender the person is attracted.
- Gender: How society defines that person.
- Gender identity: How the person is perceived.
What is the third gender?
That being said, a person may not identify with either of the two binary genders established by society (male and female). It is what is known as the third gender or non-binary gender. It is a term established by the LGTBI community to give visibility to people who, until now, knew how to describe you. Despite being a neologism, there are some historical or cultural references, such as the Mexican muxe.
How many types of sexual orientation are there?
Each person has a way of experiencing sex and sexuality, and therefore, there are more sexual orientations than we can list. The typologies that we list later have nothing to do with one’s identity or personality issues, but with simple attraction.
From a psychological perspective, the American Psychological Association ensures that sexual orientation moves between a wide range delimited by two extremes : attraction to people of the opposite sex and attraction to people of the same sex. As for the origin of sexual orientation, there are no studies that clearly define what establishes it, but we know that biological and environmental factors are involved.
Two people kissing on LGTBIH pride day. | EFE
The 11 types of sexual orientation
Having clarified all these terms, we define the most common categories of sexual orientation.
Heterosexuality refers to attraction to people of the opposite sex , totally rejecting a sentimental or sexual connection with the same sex. Most animal species show this behavior, since it represents an evolutionary mechanism to preserve the species. This is the most accepted model by traditional society and even considered as the most natural model (heteronormativity) in some social circles.
A homosexual is attracted to a person of the opposite sex. Although it remains a binary model, homosexuals are considered a historically repressed sexual minority. We can speak of homosexuality as attraction of the masculine sex towards the masculine (gay) or attraction between people of the feminine sex (lesbian).
Bisexuality is sexual or sentimental attraction to both sexes , although not to the same degree or intensity. As in the previous cases, it is not uncommon to see bisexual behavior in other animal species. Bisexuality is a flexible orientation, encompassing those who are convinced of their attraction to both sexes (bisexuality) and those who are not sure (bicuriosity).
Asexuality is one of the least common sexual behaviors, and it consists of the absence of desire or sexual attraction . In this sense, it could be described as the absence of sexual orientation, which is why some discard it from the list of sexual behaviors. In linguistic terms, it also serves to designate the temporary or permanent lack of sexual interest.
Pansexuality is a new concept that emerged as a result of social acceptance of different sexual behaviors. Refers to attraction to people, regardless of gender, gender or sexual identity. This includes attraction to non-binary genders. Many pansexuals claim that there is no relationship between biological sex and physical attraction.
Demisexuality is one of the most complex orientations on the list. Being demisexual means feeling attracted to people with whom we have established an emotional bond for a certain period of time, regardless of their sex or gender. A demisexual can display heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual behavior.
Antrosexuality is the term that defines people who are unaware of their sexual orientation, so they allow a certain flexibility in their romantic or sexual relationships. In this sense, they can develop relationships with people of different sexes and genders.
Graysexuality is also called grey-asexuality. It is a behavior halfway between sexuality (whatever type it may be) and asexuality . Therefore, they are sexually apathetic people, which often leads them to mistakenly think that they are depressed.
What differentiates lithsexuals from the rest is that they do not seek their interest or desire to be reciprocated . They fully enjoy their sexuality, but do not consider the desire and attraction of their sexual partner to be important.
As for skoliosexuality, some define it as attraction to non-binary, transgender, or intergender people. In other words, they are not attracted to people who identify with their gender .
Finally, we find autosexuality. It is neither more nor less than sexual attraction for oneself . Therefore, there is a certain degree of asexuality if we understand the sexual act as the expression of desire between two people. However, they can have sex to increase that desire or self-esteem.
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Maffia, D., Berkins, L., Cabral, M., Fernandez-Guadano, J., Fisher Pfaeffle, A., Giberti, E., … & Soley-Beltran, P. (2003). Gender and transgender migrant sexualities. Feminary Editor.
Leiva, P.G. (2005). Gender identity: explanatory models. Psychology Writings, (7), 71-81.
Ahmed, S. (2006). Queer phenomenology: Orientations, objects, others. Duke University Press.