vocabulary of sexuality

While few people will fit exactly into categories of sexual and gender types, it is helpful to have a toolkit of ideas to hand when we need to express ourselves.


Understanding ideas about gender and sexuality can help us to better know ourselves.


Sexuality refers to people's sexual interest in and attraction to others, as well as their capacity to have erotic experiences and responses. 



Bisexuality is a sexual orientation describing people that experience sexual attraction to both males and females. Though alike, a pansexual feels attraction to a person outside of the gender binary.


A person who is romantically attracted to others but is not limited by the other's sex or gender. Panromantics will tend to feel that their partner's gender does little to define their relationship. Often someone identifying as biromantic will also choose to identify as panromantic. Panromantic asexuals seek romantic relationships for a variety of reasons including companionship, affection, and intimacy, but they are not sexually attracted to their romantic partners. The sexual counterpart to panromantic is pansexual.


Asexual or gray-asexual (gray-A)

Asexuality and sexuality are not black and white; some people identify in the gray area between them. People who identify as 'gray-asexual' can include, but are not limited to those who:

  • do not normally experience sexual attraction, but do experience it sometimes

  • experience sexual attraction, but a low sex drive

  • experience sexual attraction and drive, but not strongly enough to want to act on them

  • people who can enjoy and desire sex, but only under very limited and specific circumstances.



A demisexual is a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone. It's more commonly seen in but by no means confined to romantic relationships. The term demisexual comes from the orientation being "halfway between" sexual and asexual. Nevertheless, this term does not mean that demisexuals have an incomplete or half-sexuality, nor does it mean that sexual attraction without emotional connection is required for a complete sexuality. In general, demisexuals are not sexually attracted to anyone of any gender; however, when a demisexual is emotionally connected to someone else (whether the feelings are romantic love or deep friendship), the demisexual experiences sexual attraction and desire, but only towards the specific partner or partners.


When describing demisexuality as an orientation to sexuals, sexuals often mistake it as an admirable choice rather than an innate orientation. Demisexuals are not choosing to abstain; they simply lack sexual attraction until a close relationship is formed.


Gender is a term that refers to social or cultural distinctions associated with a given sex; it is generally considered to be a socially constructed concept. A person's sex, as determined by their biology, does not always correspond with their gender. Therefore, the terms sex and gender are not interchangeable.


Gender identity is the extent to which one identifies with their sex assigned at birth.


Gender Dysphoria

This is a fundamental unease and dissatisfaction with the biological sex one is born with which results in anxiety, depression, restlessness, and other symptoms.  The dysphoria often acts as a catalyst to change one’s body and/or gender expression (how one presents to the world) to be more in keeping with what is felt to be one’s gender identity (the gender that one feels oneself to be).


Gender queer

(GQ; alternatively non-binary) is a catch-all category for gender identities other than man and woman, thus outside of the gender binary and cisnormativity. People who identify as gender queer may think of themselves as one or more of the following:

  • both man and woman (bigender, trigender, pangender);

  • neither man nor woman (non-gendered, genderless, agender);

  • moving between genders (gender fluid);

  • third gender or other-gendered; includes those who do not place a name to their gender;

  • having an overlap of, or blurred lines between, gender identity and sexual and romantic orientation.



For some, being unable to resolve seemingly-contradictory aspects within ourselves can cause rifts in our sexual and spiritual nature. 

For some, it may be important to have a safe space to express the non-binary side of our gender or sexual orientation. . 

Read more in BK's blog article

The non-binary

© 2016 Becoming Karma