April 5, 2023
Sexuality Terms & Labels And What They Mean
Deepening our knowledge and understanding of the sexuality spectrum helps us get to know ourselves as well as our partners and ultimately helps us get closer to a more intimate and satisfying relationship.
Jess recently joined Tracy Moore on CityLine to discuss a range of terms. Check out the video and summary below.
Q: What does is mean to be asexual?
A: Asexual is generally used by those who don’t experience sexual attraction.
This is a sexual orientation.
That doesn’t mean that asexuals never have sex. Some asexuals may abstain from sex. Others might have it because they enjoy sex despite not experiencing attraction – they might enjoy the physical or emotional elements of sex. Others might engage in sex for a partner’s pleasure.
There are an unlimited number of ways to live as an asexual person — just as there are so many ways to live as a heterosexual person.
Some Aces (short for asexuals) also experience romantic attraction (whereas aromantics do not.) There is so much pressure to couple up, find partners, get into a relationship that so many folks who might have identified as asexual or aromantic were never given the opportunity to explore this orientation.
Q: What’s your advice to those who feel like they might identify with this or who think their partner might be asexual?
A: Communication is key – discuss where the boundaries are for you without judgment. If this is not something you are comfortable with you need to be realistic about your expectations of the other person. Which leads me to the next term, Allosexual:
Allosexual (generally) refers to the opposite of asexual – you do experience sexual attraction (regardless of type, the gender to whom you’re attracted, etc.)
To learn more and learn from a range of perspectives, check out Asexuality.org.
Q: What about Greysexual?
A: Those who identify as Graysexual are not asexual, but sexual attraction is often rare. You might have experienced sexual attraction and one point and don’t anymore. You might feel some slight attraction infrequently, but don’t want to act on it. We need to leave space for nuance here. Asexuals don’t experience sexual attraction. Allosexuals experience sexual attraction. Graysexuals experience much of what asexuals experience, but they have experienced sexual attraction at times.
Sexuality and identity can be fluid. There are no universal definitions and it’s up to you to decide what language works for you. And you’re allowed to change your mind and evolve.
Q: What does it mean to be sexually fluid?
A: Those who specifically refer to themselves as sexually fluid may have experienced different sexual desires and or styles and or orientations over time and can sometimes prefer to not be labeled this or that as their sexual journey is always changing and moving around the sexuality spectrum
Q: What about demi-sexual – which sounds like its similar to grey sexual?
A: Demisexual usually refers to only experiencing sexual attraction once an emotional bond is formed. This can fall along the asexuality spectrum; no sexual attraction exists until the emotional connection is formed. It’s not a matter of preference — it’s a matter of need.
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Q: Can you describe what the term Pansexual refers to?
A: Pansexual is a term to describe individuals who can experience sexual, romantic or emotional attraction to any person regardless of gender, sex or sexuality. Some people use it interchangeably with omnisexual or bisexual, but bisexual (for some people) implies there is a binary, so differentiation with the language of pansexuality can be important.
We explore more on these podcasts episodes:
Q: Curious about this next one, Autosexual?
A: Autosexuals often prefer to have sex with themselves than with others; this may be rooted in an attraction to oneself, but this isn’t as far-fetched or as self-centred as you might assume. We are, after all, our very first sexual partners.
Q: For those who might be conflicted with autosexuality, can you explain how this should not be confused narcissism?
A: Narcissism tends to refer to loving yourself in excess. In a clinical sense, narcissism refers to a preoccupation with grandiosity that is pervasive. Liking yourself, enjoying your body and finding in pleasure in your own skin doesn’t quality unless the feeling is pervasive and you’re preoccupied with self-importance and excessive admiration. Feeling attraction to or arousal in response to your own body is healthy. It doesn’t make you a narcissist.