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When we recently covered demisexuals — people who need a strong emotional bond with someone before they can feel sexually attracted to them — we weren’t entirely aware it’s just one of an ever-growing glossary of terms for describing other sexualities and types of romantic and sexual attraction.
In a recent article, writer Olivia Goldhill points out that the rise in different sexual identities comes from a desire to more accurately describe our sexual feelings outside of the confining identities of gay, straight and bisexual. All those words imply a certain gender, but none of the specific feelings or behaviors involved in attraction.
Goldhill says that new words for describing other sexualities do several important things: First, they help de-couple sexual attraction from gender. Second, they help people who experience similar types of attraction to find and learn from each other. Third, they help people reclaim their individuality.
Most importantly, they remind us that our sexual desires are fluid rather than fixed identities. A gay man can feel bisexual or even asexual. A lesbian can become an autosexual one moment and an objectumsexual the next. It doesn’t have to threaten or upset you — it just shows how complex and playful human desire actually is.
Here are six different sexualities you may not have heard of or understand:
An androgynosexual is a person who has sexual attraction towards both men and women, particularly those with an androgynous appearance — that is, partly male and partly female in appearance; of indeterminate sex.
An autosexual is someone who has a great deal of trouble responding to someone else sexually but can respond fairly or very well to their own touch. As the old saying goes, “Don’t knock masturbation. It’s sex with someone you love.”
An asexual person is one who has no sexual feelings or desires. Keep in mind that an asexual person can still feel primarily attracted to one or more genders in a romantic, intellectual or emotional way, and can also enjoy physical contact and mutual nudity, despite their disinterest in sex.
A graysexual is a person who really doesn’t want sex very often, but who sometimes experiences sexual attraction or sexual desire. This word can also refer to someone who has a low sex-drive, though the “gray” in graysexual refers more to the middle ground between asexual and sexual feelings rather than old age.
An objectumsexual is someone who experiences a romantic, and possibly sexual, attraction to objects. Remember that lady who wanted to marry the Eiffel Tower or the guy who told Anderson Cooper that he was attracted to his car?
A person who finds intelligence sexually attractive or arousing. They say the most important sexual organ isn’t the one between your legs — it’s the one between your ears.
What do you think of these other sexualities? Sound off in the comments.
Featured image by sundrawalex via iStock