What Type of Sexuality Are You?
There are as many types of sexualities as there are sex positions. Trying to jam every different sexuality into an acronym people can actually remember is like trying to pound a square peg into a round hole — it ain’t happening, but hey, we’ll try anything once.
For decades, the widely accepted acronym was LGBT: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (not transexual). Near the end of the 20th century, the terminology evolved to include a Q for queer (or questioning, depending on who you ask).
As more gender and sexual identities enter the conversation, the acronym continues to grow. Some like to say LGBTQIA to include Intersex (someone born with sex characteristics that don’t fit within the typical male or female mold) and asexual people. You’ll sometimes even see LGBTQQIP2SA, which clears up any confusion over queer and questioning and adds in pansexual and Two-Spirited (an Indigenous North American person who takes on an identity or role that doesn’t align with the gender assigned at birth).
That’s a bit of a mouthful, even for us. We keep it simple at Grindr with LGBTQ, but you can always add on a + at the end to ensure no one feels left out.
What’s the difference between sexuality and gender identity?
Before we dive into the different types of sexualities, it’s worth noting that sexuality and gender identity are two separate things. The simplest way to differentiate is to look at sexuality (aka sexual orientation) as external — the physical, romantic, or emotional attraction you feel for others. Gender identity is more internal — whether you view yourself as male, female, or nonbinary.
The LGB in LGBTQ refers to sexuality. Q can describe sexuality or gender identity. But the T strictly refers to a person’s gender identity. Transgender people come in all sexualities and sizes, just like cisgender people (those whose gender identities align with the gender assigned at birth), so you should never assume a person’s orientation until they choose to share that information with you.
22 types of sexualities: An inclusive (but not exhaustive) guide
If you want to know exactly how many sexualities there are, you’ve come to the wrong place — no one has the answer to that question. The world is growing less concerned with fitting people into boxes, and labels matter less and less. Even so, it’s natural to want to put a name on your different traits and desires. So without further ado, we present Grindr’s unofficially official list of the different types of sexualities (so far).
Allo- means “other” or “different,” so alloromantic is just a fancy way of saying you experience romantic attraction for others. And if you guessed that allosexual means you’re sexually attracted to other people, ding ding ding! You get a gold star. (No, not that kind of gold star.)
Andro- means “male.” If you’re sexually attracted to masculine qualities or people who identify as male, you’re andro, baby. What’s cool about androsexuality is that andro people and those they’re attracted to can be male, female, nonbinary, cis, trans, gay, straight — you name it. It’s the masculine qualities of the people you’re into that matter, not whether they’re packing (or lacking) heat.
A- means “non” or “not,” so if you don’t feel romantically attracted to others, you might call yourself aromantic. Being aromantic doesn’t mean you can’t experience love or have a meaningful relationship with other people. Those relationships just might not involve the types of romantic feelings we associate with a typical partnership.
Asexual people don’t experience sexual attraction to other people. You can be asexual without being aromantic (and you can be aromantic without being asexual). You can also be asexual and still enjoy intimacy and physical touch. You might even be sexually active — as with most sexualities, there’s an asexual spectrum. Sex just isn’t a significant factor in your relationships or how you experience attraction toward others.
Auto- means “self,” so someone who’s autoromantic is romantically attracted to themselves. It’s less about vanity and more about self-love. If you ever take yourself on dates or gaze lovingly at your reflection, you can probably safely call yourself an autoromantic. And if you watch yourself in the mirror while touching yourself, you might be autosexual. Just don’t confuse either of these terms with narcissism — finding yourself fuckable doesn’t mean you can’t feel love or empathy for others.
Most bicurious people have primarily slept with people of the opposite sex or those of the same sex, but not both — and now they’re curious to test the waters on the other side. They might have already started experimenting, but they’re not yet experienced enough with the other gender to label themselves bisexual. People often think of bicurious as describing an interest in sex with both women and men, but you can also be bicurious about sex with transgender and nonbinary people.
If you can confidently say you have sexual feelings for two or more different genders (no experimentation required), you’re bisexual. Two sorority sisters making out at a college party aren’t necessarily bi — but they might be, especially if at least one of them was into it enough to do it again. A closeted man who spent a decade married to a woman before coming out and then never wanted to touch a woman again? Probably not bi.
Demi- means “half” or “partly,” but that doesn’t mean you’re only half romantic or sexual. If you’re demiromantic, you’re totally capable of feeling romantic attraction for other people — it just doesn’t happen until you’ve had time to develop a strong emotional bond. Demisexuality describes people who experience sexual attraction only after making a strong emotional connection with a sexual partner.
If the people you’re primarily attracted to are the same gender as you (aka homosexual), we’re here to encourage you to wave your gay flag loudly and proudly. Whether you’re a cisgender or transgender man or woman who’s into the same sex, you can call yourself gay — but as with every other sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identity on this list and beyond, it’s ultimately up to you to decide which label (if any) describes you best.
Asexual is a sort of umbrella term for people who don’t experience sexual desire, but as we mentioned, there’s a spectrum. If you do crave sex but only on rare occasions, it might be more accurate to call yourself graysexual.
Gyne- means “female,” so gynesexual is the opposite of androsexual. Gynesexuality is a sexual orientation involving an attraction to femininity, women, or female body parts, but the actual gender identity of the person you’re attracted to is irrelevant. You could be a man attracted to feminine women; a woman attracted to femmes; a man attracted to feminine men; a transgender woman attracted to cis- or transgender women; a nonbinary person attracted to — you get the idea. Once again, the feminine qualities are the source of attraction here, not the other person’s body parts.
Like gays, lesbians are homosexual, but this one is specific to women and people who identify as women. Many women who are into women prefer to call themselves gay, and that’s OK too.
Let’s pay another visit to the asexual umbrella. Some people identify as asexual but experience sexual feelings they can satisfy through masturbation — they just don’t feel sexually attracted to other people.
Mono- means “one,” so monosexual people are only attracted to one sex or gender. Someone who’s strictly homosexual or strictly heterosexual could refer to themselves as monosexual, but they wouldn’t say they’re bi, pan, or any other term that includes attraction to more than one gender.
People who are attracted to multiple genders are multisexual. It’s yet another umbrella term that covers bisexuality, pansexuality, omnisexuality, and polysexuality.
Gender identity and biological sex don’t play a role in a pansexual person’s sexual attraction to others — they gravitate toward character traits and personality and build their attraction from there. If you find yourself drawn to people regardless of gender, pansexual might be the perfect word to describe your sexuality.
Like pansexuality, polysexuality involves attraction to multiple genders. But while pansexual people are attracted to others regardless of gender, polysexual people aren’t necessarily attracted to every single gender and may still have gender preferences.
An omnisexual person is romantically, emotionally, or sexually attracted to people of all genders and orientations. Omnisexuality is often used interchangeably with multisexuality and pansexuality.
We’ve arrived at the mother of all umbrella terms: the Q in LGBTQ. Queer was once a derogatory slur, but members of the LGBTQ community have since reclaimed it as a term of empowerment and identity. Most people use this label in one of two ways: to describe anyone who isn’t straight or cisgender, or to describe someone who doesn’t feel labels like gay, lesbian, bi, or trans accurately represent the full scope of who they are.
Shout out to anyone who doesn’t have time for rigid labels. Sexual fluidity is all about lifting limitations. They might identify as a man today and a woman tomorrow. They might dedicate two years to hot gay sex, do a straight stint, and then decide pan is their thing. Most sexually fluid people are too busy having a good time to worry about a list like this.
We’ve mentioned spectrums a few times, and that’s probably where spectrasexuality gets its name. Spectrasexual people can be attracted to people across the spectrum of genders and gender identities, but unlike so-called “gender-blind” pansexuals, they still acknowledge gender and may have preferences that don’t align with other spectrasexuals.
Heterosexuals. Men who prefer women and women who prefer men. Need we say more? Nah.
Start exploring with Grindr
When it comes to representing people of every sexuality, no app comes close to Grindr. Whether you’re gay, pan, queer, or questioning, our community of more than 10 million monthly active users is the perfect place to have some fun while exploring (or just practicing) your sexuality.