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Autosexual: Embracing Self-Love and Sexual Attraction

What does it mean to be autosexual, and how does it differ from being autoromantic and autoerotic? Here’s Grindr’s comprehensive guide to autosexuality.
Editorial team
July 22, 2024
min. read
Table of Contents

Remember that ancient Greek myth about Narcissus? You know, the one about the boy who fell so in love with himself that he spent all his time looking at his reflection in the river and eventually turned into a flower? 

That's kind of what being autosexual is like — being sexually attracted to yourself rather than others.

Whether you know one or think you might be an autosexual yourself, read on as we explore the basics of autosexuality.

What is autosexual? 

The prefix "auto" comes from the Greek "autós," which means "self" or "same.” Autosexuality, meaning being sexually attracted to and aroused by oneself, is an example of this prefix in action. Just like all the other ways of describing one’s sexuality, autosexuality exists on a spectrum. In reality, most people are a little autosexual — being into yourself isn't a bad thing, baby. 

Aside from those of us who are just kind of into ourselves (to a “felt cute, might delete later” extent), some identify as solely autosexual. These people might enjoy masturbation or other forms of self-sex more than sex with another partner. 

That doesn't mean autosexuals never hook up with other people. It’s more like avid Diet Coke drinkers turning to Diet Pepsi when they’re in a pinch. They'll do so — but they still prefer their first choice. 

What’s the difference between identifying as autosexual and other spectrums?

Autosexual vs. autoromantic

Understanding the difference between autosexual and autoromantic begins with understanding the difference between sexual attraction and romantic attraction. Sexual attraction is generally about arousal and being attracted or "into" someone's physical form. Conversely, romantic attraction is the desire to both give and receive love. That can involve loving words, actions, and gift-giving. You know, V-day stuff.

In the way that autosexual people are attracted to themselves sexually, autoromantic people are all about wining and dining themselves. 

Both types of people might have other partners, but they're likely their own primary. 

Autosexual vs. asexual

People who are asexual (or “ace”) experience very limited or no sexual attraction — to others or themselves. Identifying as asexual doesn't mean a person can’t or doesn’t have relationships. It just means that those relationships aren't sexual. 

Asexual people are frequently interested in having romantic relationships with people, just so long as it doesn't involve sex. So, an asexual person could very well be autoromantic but probably not autosexual. 

Autosexual vs. autoerotic

Autoeroticism is the act of sexually stimulating oneself. (See? There’s that Greek “autós” again.) This can involve toys, audio or visual erotica, and, the time-honored classic, one’s very own hands. Whereas autosexual is a sexuality, autoeroticism is an activity. 

Masturbation, nipple play, butt play, gooning — all are options in the wide world of autoeroticism. It's safe to assume all autosexual people engage in autoeroticism (just like most of the rest of the world), but not all people who participate in autoerotic activity are autosexual.

Signs you might be autosexual

If you've made it this far and caught yourself thinking, "Wait. Is this play about me? Am I the star?" … maybe it is, and perhaps you are. If you’re wondering whether you might be autosexual, consider the following: 

  1. Do you often have sexual fantasies about yourself — and just yourself? Are you the star of your sexual fantasies? Do you get aroused thinking about yourself sexually? Do you have sexual fantasies that involve an imaginary twin or a lookalike? When you’re having sex with another person, do you tend to shift your focus all to yourself? 
  2. Do you experience more sexual pleasure with yourself than with others? Does everyone you jump into bed with routinely disappoint you? Do you have a difficult time finishing unless you finish yourself off? Do you find yourself frequently thinking, whether during or after sex with someone, it would be or would’ve been more fun with just yourself?
  3. Do you feel a high level of sexual attraction to your own body? Listen, everyone deserves the right to be able to stand naked in front of the mirror and look at themselves and say, "Hell yeah, baby." Autosexuals take that a few steps further by feeling a high level of sexual attraction to their own physical form. Being into how you look is one thing. Turning yourself on, however, is another.


Myths about autosexuality

Much like the story of Narcissus was a myth, there are plenty of untruths about autosexuals, too. Let's get to the bottom of them.

Autosexuals are narcissists 

People often misuse the term "narcissist" to describe anyone with a high sense of self-worth, but true narcissism has a medical name: Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). It involves a lack of empathy, a constant need for admiration, and sometimes aggressive behavior. Autosexuals, on the other hand, simply have a strong attraction to themselves. So, while Narcissus might be considered an autosexual in myth, it's unlikely he had the disorder that bears his name.

Autosexuals don't have relationships with others

As a certain great queen often says (at the end of every episode of Drag Race, specifically), “If you can’t love yourself, then how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

To bank off the words of RuPaul, just because you love yourself doesn't mean you can't love somebody else. It's a common misconception that autosexuals never have relationships with other people, and that's simply not true. While they may be most attracted to or turned on by themselves, this doesn't mean they don't enjoy being with other partners, both romantically and sexually.

Being autosexual is atypical or unhealthy

Autosexuality is often mistakenly equated with narcissism or high self-esteem, but it is neither a personality trait nor a disorder. While it may be less understood, autosexuality is not unhealthy or unusual. It's as valid a sexual orientation as being gay or bisexual — and after you've met some gays, you might just think it's actually healthier (we're kidding … sort of). 

The autosexual flag

No one knows exactly who created the autosexual flag, but they were probably too busy enjoying their own company to leave their name on it. The autosexual flag consists of blue and gray stripes. The blue stripe represents one's relationship with oneself, while the gray stripe represents asexuality, as some autosexual people identify as such. Some versions of the autosexual flag include a red heart in the center, outlined by an arrow, symbolizing self-sufficiency and self-love.

Automatic support for autosexuals

Being aware of, open to, and curious about all the sexualities that fall under the big, beautiful queer umbrella helps foster understanding and inclusivity for everyone in the LGBTQ world. If someone comes out to you as autosexual, you can be an ally by being supportive and inclusive and showing genuine curiosity. Remember, autosexuals may be self-sufficient sexually, but they still need emotional support and love.

If you identify as autosexual and are looking for community, look no further than Grindr. With more than 10 million active monthly users, Grindr offers a diverse platform where you can meet with others who share your interests and experiences, find support, and celebrate your uniqueness. Download the Grindr app and start connecting now.

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