First, and Foremost : Gender/Sex =/= Sexuality. Whereas someone’s gender and sex can often have over lapping identity structures. More so, they are hardly relevant to each other outside of intercourse/deeply intimate romances, or in discussion in scholarly research. The same goes for “Masculinity” or “Femininity” and sexuality. We have this really bad habit in our society of using [poorly] generalized notions to prescribed perceived sexuality’s on to others.
That said, lets take a look at Sexual Orientation, moving forward as Sexuality. To be fair, when looking at this list and trying to understand them in relation to gender is a bit confusing. Generally speaking sexuality has a lot more fluidity than perhaps more traditionally thought to be. This can even get more confusing when you start to get into the territories of bigender/genderfluid/genderqueer individuals in general. If you date someone who is bigender, but you identify as a male who is male sexed, but traditionally have only dated women… Are you now Bisexual? Pansexual? It gets a bit murky. This is where perhaps, Romantic Orientation can start to fill in the gaps left open by sexual orientation. We’ll get into those later, for now lets look at sexuality.
[Raine’s note : For simplicity’s sake here, when I put gender/sex. I infer that they are gender or sex, or gender and sex depending on how you wish to infer context. I am not saying gender/sex as in they are exclusive to each other. Also, just like gender, sexuality is up to each individual do not assume.]
The following three sexualities tend to remain in the binary, and thus keep the male and female dichotomy in mind when thinking of these three. Though many Trans individuals do identify as one of these terms, so keep that in mind also.
Heterosexual; Is when someone of one gender/sex, dates someone who is not the same gender/sex as them. Typically this refers to someone who is the opposite sex/gender of the individual they are dating.
- Even more traditionally this meant someone who was born male, identified as male, dating someone who was born female and identifies as female, or vice versa.
- More importantly, you can still be heterosexual and date someone who is transgender/transexual before they undergo the full sex change. That is not a debatable fact.
- I.e. Someone who identifies as Male, and is Male sexed but dates someone who is a MtF prior to that individuals [MtF] surgery would still be considered Heterosexual if the cisgendered individual identified that way.
Homosexual; Refers to someone who finds sexual attraction to someone of the same sex/gender as them.
- For example someone who is female gendered/sex and finds attraction to someone else who is female gendered/sex could be considered homosexual.
- The same contention above is shared here. If someone was FtM and only sought to date other Male gendered individuals they could be considered homosexual.
Bisexual; Is someone who is attracted to two different gender/sexes.
- For example someone who is male sex/gendered may find themselves attracted to both male sex/gendered individuals, and female ones.
- Even if someone is married to someone of the opposite sex, or same sex they can still be bisexual.
The following sexuality’s tend to fall outside of the traditional sexual notions around sexuality.
Asexual; Refers to someone who typically does not feel sexual attraction or sexual feelings towards anyone. This does not mean they don’t feel romantic attractions towards someone, but may.
- Individuals who are Asexual can still have meaningful relationships, they simply don’t find sex desirable.
Pansexual; Is someone who finds attraction, whether sexual or romantic or both, towards individuals of any sex or gender. This typically means that an individual is more commonly attracted to someone based off of an emotional response or reason other than the other individuals sex/gender.
The following sexuality has had a lot of debate surrounding it. For the sake of inclusion we will discuss it here. Raine does have a note following it, please take it with a scholarly approach and not an antagonistic approach. That said…
Demisexual; Refers to someone who only finds sexual attraction towards someone when they have a deep emotional connection to that individual.
- Raine’s note; Well, I’m not one to discount someones feelings or sense of identity. I would like to point out that this sexuality, can be one for individuals who have a high level of emotional awareness. That said, I will not discount someones feelings or identity but simply urge caution when declaring a unique sexuality just to have one that is “queer”. Many individuals can feel this way as their emotional intelligence grows.
Now, Let’s look at romantic orientation…
Before we delve too deep into discussing of romantics, let’s analyze some things. What defines sexuality, and what defines a romantic orientation? Well, more specifically what separates them? Sexuality implies a sexually driven motivation for finding someone attractive. Yet, as a whole the concept of attraction isn’t just a sexually driven one. So romantic orientation seeks to fill in the gaps, that are perhaps left open by the simplification that is sexual orientation. Such as those marked by individuals who, A:] may not feel sexual attraction first typically, B:] readily identify as having attraction to one gender/sex but remain open to other possibilities, or C:] some other variant of these.
That said, Romantic Orientations can be broken down into these ones generally,
- Aromantic(noun is “aromanticism“): lack of romantic attraction towards anyone.
- Grayromantic: blanket term for those who fall anywhere in the spectrum between Romantic and Aromantic. Romantic is used in this as a way of clarifying someone who seeks attractions towards someone.
- Biromantic: romantic attraction towards person(s) of two or more genders.
- Heteroromantic: romantic attraction towards person(s) of one gender other than their own.
- Homoromantic: romantic attraction towards person(s) of the same gender.
- Panromantic: romantic attraction to person(s) of any gender.
- Demiromantic: romantic attraction that is only experienced after a close emotional bond has been formed. People who refer to themselves as demiromantic may choose to further specify the gender(s) of those they are attracted to (e.g. demi-homoromantic).
- Raine’s Note: In many respects, I would state that Demisexuality is possibly more actualized as Demiromantic. That, due to the nature of the definition of Demisexuality, being that someone who only finds sexual attraction to someone through an emotional connection first. Therefore, I would perhaps urge individuals more identify with this orientation over the sexual variation. That said, as there is overlap and to each their own.
If we use sexuality, as perhaps a foundation to orientation around sexuality/romanticism. Then perhaps, romantic orientation is a secondary qualifier. One that helps to establish a base line of one’s self.