More clarification for the sake of education….

In the field of Queer studies and lingo there is a recent increase in the emphasis on the difference between sexual and romantic attractions, and how the two may not be related. For some people, who you want to love and who you want to have sex with are not the same. New terms and labels such as panromantic homosexual are being thrown around left and right , so what follows is an overview of terminology that you may see in your Queer travels.

Note: traditional definitions of homo- and hetero- sexuality include both romantic and sexual attraction, the separation of the two is a very new concept that is not yet widely used. This list is just meant to help if you encounter someone who identifies as having different romantic and sexual orientations.

Homosexual: being sexually attracted to members of the same sex

Heterosexual: being sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex

Bisexual: being sexually attracted to both sexes and/or genders

Pansexual: being sexually attracted to people regardless of gender or sex

Asexual: not experiencing sexual attraction

Homoromantic: being romantically attracted to members of the same sex

Heteroromantic: being romantically attracted to members of the opposite sex

Biromantic: being romantically attracted to members of both sexes and/or genders

Panromantic: being romantically attracted to people regardless of gender or sex

Aromantic: not experiencing romantic attraction

Any combination of these terms is an acceptable identity. I was once almost-kinda dating a girl who identified as bisexual but was more aptly described as biromantic heterosexual because she wanted to hang out and flirt but didn’t want to have sex with me (which was frustrating). I know of a girl who identifies as a panromantic lesbian (romantically attracted to anyone, but only sexually attracted to other women.

Clearly, the concepts of love and sex and attraction are more complicated than originally anticipated…

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2 responses

    • Bisexual in the literal sense is attraction to two genders (‘bi’ means two)
      Pansexual in the literal sense means the attractions to all genders (‘pan’ meaning all)
      Basically the difference is whether someone is attracted to both men and women and if they are attracted to trans* individuals or people who identify outside the gender binary.

      *Note: just because someone identifies as bisexual doesn’t mean that they are not attracted to people outside the gender binary, self-identification trumps these dictionary definitions every time

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