A Short Glossary of Sexual Orientation

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In our LGBTQI glossary, we have already explained a few different terms from the community, as there may be some uncertainty around one thing or another. In this glossary we expand upon a few different variants of sexual orientation – all in the spirit of inclusion. And no, we do not make any claims that this is the complete range. We just want to offer a helpful start.

Heterosexual

In this form of sexual orientation, men and women feel emotionally and/or sexually attracted to the opposite sex. In other words, men love women. Women love men. This orientation is still seen as the “norm” in society.

Homosexual/Gay

Men feel attraction to other men – both physically and emotionally.

Gay/Lesbian

Women love other women. As straightforward as that.

Bisexual

In this case, this is a man or a woman who feels sexually and emotionally attracted to both men and women. It can vary on whether they enter a relationship with a man or woman. According to a survey, only 1-2% of people identify themselves as bisexual. However, there are still many people who are basically heterosexual but have had bisexual or same-sex experiences during their lives.

Asexual

Those who identify as asexual feel little or no attraction to other people. This doesn’t mean that asexual people can’t or don’t want to form emotional connections. Some do not experience sexual arousal but still wish for a relationship. Others only feel sexual arousal in contact with their own body. Asexuality is seen alongside heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality as the fourth form of sexual orientation. Most asexual people feel that a lack of sexual arousal is not a medical or psychological issue, and so do not seek medical treatment.

Pansexual

Pansexual people feel emotionally and sexually attracted to people of all sexes. In contrast to bisexual people, alongside men and women this can include transgender and intersexual people, as well as non-binary people – see our LGBTQI Glossary. This desire refers to all adult people.

Androphilia

Androphilia basically refers to sexual attraction towards men. The gender of the person, who identifies as androsexual, does not play any role in this title. Women and men can both identify as androsexual. In other words, an androsexual person feels attraction to men or masculinity. With this in mind, this orientation contrasts with being gay, as it is unaffected by the gender of the person feeling the attraction.

Gynephilia

The counterpart to androphilia is gynephilia. This means the sexual attraction to women or people with feminine attributes. Similarly, the gender of the gynesexual person does not really play a significant role.

Autosexual

Autosexual describes the preferred sexual attraction to oneself. Masturbation and solo sex are therefore expressions of autosexuality. However, this term is not a synonym for masturbation.

Demisexual

Demisexual people only feel sexual arousal if there is already a strong emotional bond between themselves and the other person.

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Author

Frieda worked as a freelance journalist for over 10 years: She used to write about Easter recipes and style icons, about human metabolism and Michelin-rated restaurants. In short: about everything, except for sex. And for a good reason. Frieda always considered herself to be an average sexual person for all those years. Until a breakup persuaded her to stop taking the pill, which she had been on for 14 years. It was then, at the age of 28, that she finally discovered her wonderful sexuality and found her true, unique and hungry libido. Ever since, she has not only practiced a new sexuality. She writes and speaks about it too. And has never been as fulfilled as she is today!