The 14 Most Common Sexual Orientations

Published on June 21st, 2019

Updated on March 11th, 2022

The Most Common Sexual Orientations

There has been a growing tolerance for sexual diversity. With tolerance has come the emergence of several different types of sexualities. It has become safer and more acceptable to talk about different types of sexualities. With this safety and acceptance, there has been a more diverse perspective of sexuality and gender.

Sexuality is fluid and can be based on a spectrum. Sexuality can change and can be defined differently at different stages of a person’s life. There are currently several different sexual orientations. Each sexual orientation offers different qualities in an individual and their relationships.

The following are the 14 most common sexual orientations:

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  1. Heterosexuality
  2. Homosexuality
  3. Bisexuality
  4. Bicurious
  5. Pansexuality
  6. Asexuality
  7. Queer
  8. Androsexuality
  9. Gynesexuality
  10. Demiromantic
  11. Demisexuality
  12. Skolisexual
  13. Polyamory
  14. Kink

Heterosexuality

Heterosexuality is the term used to refer to people who are attracted to people of the opposite sex. Heterosexual men are attracted to women. Heterosexual women are attracted to men. 

Their relationship goals tend to center around emotional connection, intimacy and sex with a partner of the opposite sex. Heterosexuals do not tend to have deep attractions for people of the same sex or gender.

Heterosexual people are also referred to as ‘straight’ or ‘hetero’.

Homosexuality

Homosexuality refers to people who are sexually and romantically attracted to people of the same sex. The socially acceptable term for men who identify with homosexuality is ‘gay’. Females who identify as homosexual are typically referred to as ‘lesbians’

Bisexuality

Bisexuality is a term used to refer to people who are attracted to both men and women. A bisexual person may have a preference for one sex over the other but still can feel sexually and romantically attracted to a person of either sex.

Another term that refers to people who identify with bisexuality is ‘bi’.

Bicurious

People who are ‘bicurious’ are experimenting with their attractions. They are exploring their own attraction to people of the same sex and the opposite sex. People who are bicurious do not identify as bisexual. This is because they are in an exploratory phase of their sexual and romantic attractions. Bicurious is a sexual orientation in which a person is open to exploring the possibility of being attracted to both genders, however, they are still exploring and have not fully taken on bisexuality as an identity.

Pansexuality

Pansexuality does not have a sex or gender preference. Pansexual people may be attracted to anyone. This includes males, females, or otherwise identified genders. This can also include transgender, androgynous, intersex, and other sexual identities.

The difference between pansexual people and bisexual people is as follows:

Asexuality

People who are asexual do not feel a sexual attraction to others of any gender. They are disinterested in sex in general. An asexual person can be romantically attracted to people and may seek out romantic relationships with others.

This is not the same as people who are waiting to have sex, who are celibate, or suffer from sexual dysfunction. These people may crave sex, but have other reasons to not engage in sexual activity.

Asexual people may engage in sexual activity to please their partner but tend to not feel sexual attraction to others. They may or may not feel a desire to satisfy sexual urges. They may also engage in sex for other reasons like to satisfy a partner, feel intimate with a partner, or satisfy their libido.

Queer

The term ‘queer’ used to be a derogatory term used in the 1970’s-late 1990s. LGBT activists reclaimed the word. They now use it as an umbrella term to encompass all non-heterosexual identities. 

Many people do not feel comfortable identifying with a particular term. They may be unsure of their gender or their sexual orientation. They don’t know how to describe themselves or what truly fits them.

Queer is a catchall term to make people feel more inclusive, to identify oneself as part of the LGBTQ community without having to directly pinpoint your gender or sexual orientation. Many people find its ambiguity appealing because it allows them to be part of this minority community without needing to label themselves further.

Androsexuality

Androsexuals are attracted to anyone who has a masculine personality. This includes men, women, and gender-fluid people. A person does not have to be a man to have a masculine personality.

Gynesexuality

‘Gynesexuality’ refers to attraction to a feminine personality. Similar to androsexuality, a person does not have to be a woman to have a feminine personality. Gynesexuals are attracted to those who have a feminine personality. This includes men, women, and gender-fluid people.

Demiromantic

Demiromantic people experience romantic connections after establishing a deep emotional or sexual connection. Romantic attraction comes after the sexual and/or emotional relationship with their partner. It does not derive from physical attraction or attraction to a personality alone.

Demisexuality

Demisexuals need an emotional connection for sexual attraction. Demisexuality is the need for an emotional attraction in order to feel sexual attraction. This does not mean that all emotional connections will result in emotional attraction.

A demisexual person is not initially attracted to a person based on looks or personality. If they see an attractive person, they will not feel sexual attraction unless there is also an emotional attraction.

Skolisexual

“Skolisexual” refers to being physically and romantically attracted to nonbinary or transgender people. “Nonbinary” is also known as “genderqueer”. The term refers to people who do not identify with a specific gender.

Polyamory

People who seek relationships that involve more than one exclusive partner are referred to as polyamorous. People who are polyamorous have multiple open relationships. 

Polyamory should not be confused with cheating or sex addiction. People who are polyamorous believe in the lifestyle. They take careful measures to ensure the comfort and cooperation of their partners.

Each partner does not have to be polyamorous in a polyamorous relationship. Monogamous people can date polyamorous people if they are okay with their partner having other partners.

Kink

‘Kink’ is a term used to refer to people who have kinky sexual desires, activities, and fantasies. BDSM is an example of the sexual activity someone who identifies as kink may desire. BDSM is short for bondage, discipline, and sadomasochism.

The Kinsey Scale

Alfred Kinsey was an American biologist. His primary focus was research on sex, sexuality, and human reproduction. During the 1940s, he opened the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University. At the time his research was considered very controversial. This is because not many people were researching human sexuality.

There had long been a belief in place that people were either heterosexual or homosexual. Kinsey believed that this was not true, that sexuality was a lot more fluid and could actually even change over time. Through his research, he conducted thousands of interviews to introduce his Kinsey Scale.

The Kinsey Scale describes a person’s sexual orientation based on their responses at that given time. The scale ranges from 0, meaning the person is completely heterosexual, to 6, meaning completely homosexual. Kinsey stated that it was quite rare for somebody to have a rating of 0 or 6. He explained that the scale mostly represented a bell-shaped curve, with most people rating somewhere in the middle. Since Kinsey believed sexuality was fluid, answers were almost guaranteed to fluctuate when people took the test again over time.

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