(…) and I need advice? To hear your story? Or just anything that can help me figure out who I am? Because like I said I’m just confused and need help. And anything you tell me will help. So please? It will honestly help me so much.
Okay, well, uh, wow, deep question. Well, first let’s talk about how I figured me out, and then I’m going to go through basically all of the sexuality shit and it’s going to take awhile but it’ll be beautiful. (Also side note, I have a tendency to start most sentences with “okay” or “so”, sorry about that.)
Okay, so what I had to figure out first about my sexuality was why I was attracted to girls so in about, I don’t know like sixth grade, I decided on calling myself bisexual, because I didn’t know the word polysexual, and I only started to identify as polysexual (well, polyromantic, but you get my drift) about three years ago when I was like eighteen or seventeen. But yeah so when I use the term polysexual to describe myself I mean that I’m attracted to girls and people who don’t conform to the “traditional” gender binaries. And I also didn’t know that there was a difference between sexual orientation and romantic orientation.
Right so, I’d determined that I wasn’t fond of the idea of sex when I was about seventeen but I don’t think I’d ever heard the word asexual in relation to a human before, like I’d only ever heard in science class so I didn’t even know it was a thing. I just thought sex wasn’t appealing, romance was, but sex wasn’t and I just didn’t realize that the two didn’t have to go hand in hand, because no one ever tells you that, do they? Sex is always kind of assumed with relationships, so much so that it’s a punchline to be someone who doesn’t appeal to the idea of sex (this is my thinly veiled attack on The Big Bang Theory which can go screw itself). And anyway, so this is a hella cringey confession but I actually had a lot of help figuring myself out from this one Vlogbrothers video (here’s the link) and that was about the time that I decided that I could be both polyromantic and asexual at the same time, because I’m a fucking loser who learned the word asexuality through Hank Green. Not to diss Hank Green because I don’t dislike him, but that’s not how I’d have wanted to figure it out if I’d had the choice.
Okay right back to the topic, for me, it was kind of like, in a way it was kind of like figuring out a puzzle because it’s so hard to identify as one of those sexualities that’s always erased. I’m not saying being gay isn’t tough but you don’t have to go through the emotional turmoil of thinking that you don’t even exist as much, because everyone knows the terms for gay and lesbian, but very few people can actually tell you the definition of polysexuality. So the problem is that there’s probably a lot of aces/polys/pans/demis/etc. out there, who are simply unaware of those words completely, as was my problem. But really for me, and I know I’m more of an ideal scenario than what most people are going to go through, but basically, the first time I read the definition of polysexuality, I knew who I was. And similarly, with asexuality, it was pretty easy to figure out after I’d learned that word in relation to human sexuality too. I’m not saying that’ll happen for you, but that was my experience, because accepting ones sexuality or gender or whatever
is difficult if it’s not strictly heterosexual.
Right, so I’m gonna lay some shit out for ya now, I’ll try to make a big list with all the definitions at the end to help you out.
There are some seriously important sexualities that people like to gloss over literally in every lgbtq+ topic of discussion that I’ve honestly ever seen, so I’ll bring your attention to some lesser known ones like demisexuality, hyposexuality, semisexuality, polysexuality, and etc. (the etc. part I’m going to attempt to list below a long with those other terms). I’m seriously sick of the erasure so this just a mild PSA to stop erasing so many sexualities!
I think it’s really important for people who think that they might be ace to be familiar with the term demisexuality (and similar terms), because, as I understand it, it’s sort of the halfway point between sexual and asexual attraction, so it’s something like having to build an emotional connection with someone before sex is even kind of an option.
And on the fact that I didn’t include sapiosexuality, I would like to say that sapiosexuality is an extremely ableist idea; not all people who identify as sapiosexuals are necessarily ableist, but when you dig down to the root and definition of this word, it has extremely ableist origins. I don’t approve of it, I’m not about to call people out for being bad or wrong for using this term, I don’t believe that you inherently are because that depends on the person, but I think the idea of it is insensitive.
(I’ve also seen the word omnisexual tossed around, but this don’t seem to have any distinct or widely accepted definition so I didn’t immediately include this here or in my list).
Okay here we go dictionary time (since you asked about sexuality, I’m not going to include any terms associated with gender, because that’s an entirely different subject with it’s own extremely complex structure):
(*romantically and/or sexually this applies to all of the definitions, I just didn’t want to have to type it in all of them. So basically where it says [x]sexuality, this can be replaced with [x]romantic, i.e. panromantic instead of pansexual.)
Heterosexuality: being attracted (romantically and/or sexually*) to the opposite gender
Homosexuality: being attracted to the same gender*
Bisexuality: being attracted to both “traditional” gender binaries* (male and female). This one is open to interpretation however because some people argue that bisexuality is two or more genders, but I think that kind of breaches on polysexuality, so I’m not entirely sure which definition is necessarily more accurate.
Pansexuality: Attraction to all genders*
Polysexuality: Attraction to many genders*. This is basically the middle ground between bisexual and pansexual.
Polyamory: Someone who is attracted to multiple people or desires a relationship with more than one person*. This one can be shitty if it’s not consensual (that’s commonly called cheating), but if all parties involved are aware of the situation and are consenting then this is an acceptable sexuality even though it’s extremely stigmatized.
Pomosexuality: this is someone who refuses to necessarily define their sexual
orientation, so they choose to use this term which essentially means that they don’t want to put a constraint on who they’re attracted to or how.
Asexuality: No sexual attraction, can be interchanged or combined with aromantic which is the same in the respect that they have no romantic attraction. This one, in my opinion, has the most variety when it comes down to it, because asexuality does not mean that the person can’t enjoy sex, or might not occasionally want sex, it just means that a person doesn’t need sex in a relationship to have a relationship. There’s literally a shitton of different varieties of asexuals, I’ll go over a few of them below, but it’s basically endless, so what one asexual sees themselves as may be entirely different than another asexual. (Side note, I’ve been in the lgbtq+ spectrum for a while, or at least, known I am for a while, and I’ve yet to come across a more adorable term than squish, because even the idea of it is so fucking cute. A squish is the asexual variant of a crush, it basically means you want to cuddle someone, but you don’t necessarily want to ride their dick or lack thereof of said dick. To be fair, zucchinis are really cute too).
Grey ace: I think, what a grey ace is, because it’s open to interpretation, is anyone who falls in any spectrum under the ace umbrella, so a grey ace could be a demisexual, or a grey ace could simply be a grey ace. I’m not a gray ace, I really wish I knew more information about it, but it’s really difficult to translate how different people define it, because it’s not immediately conspicuous terminology.
Demisexuality: generally considered to mean that someone only experiences sexual attraction when a deep emotional connection is formed, but again, this can be open to interpretation.
Hyposexuality: Someone who has a low sex drive, but nevertheless may consider themselves asexual or not.
Semisexuality: Someone who may have a sex drive, but has no need to act on it, so like, this kind of person (I could probably be loosely be considered one of these) who enjoys things like fanfiction (guilty), porn, fantasies, or masturbation, but they don’t need to act on any of those things. They may act on those things, but they don’t have the immediate desire to. So it’s kind of like having the presence of a libido, but not having an overly demanding need to pamper that libido.
Lithsexuality: Can probably be used interchangeably between semisexual, but it is still it’s own term in it’s own right, but this is someone who has sexual desires that they may not need to act on or have reciprocated.
Aesthetic Attraction: this is technically not a sexual orientation, but I felt it important to add it here, because a lot of us experience this one, and that’s where you appreciate what someone looks like but you don’t want to hop on that or date them. So basically like if a lesbian were to say “damn Frank Iero is hot, i want to have his babies” this is probably what they mean. I’m engaged to a lesbian I hear that quite a bit, and it’s also what this new trend of saying “I would go gay for Ruby Rose” amounts to.
Queerplationic: also technically not a sexual orientation but this is popular among aromantics, and it’s a relationship which is sort of the middle ground between friendship and relationship, it’s the kind of relationship where you’re not romantically involved with a person(s), but you have a connection that’s stronger than just a friendship. May not necessarily be devoid of sexual or romantic characteristics, but they’re not necessary. Someone in a queerplationic relationship is, and I’m not kidding, called a zucchini.
Alright, so I probably did not get all of the terms, but I did my best to compile all of them. I did my best to try to cover everything, right, so I hope I helped.
Also, below I’m going list some resources for you that you should take a look at, because I’m no expert:
And at the end of this, I really hope you did not make a drinking game out of how many times I used the phrase “open to interpretation” or squeezed really important information into a set of parentheses, because ya’ll are probably gonna die.