A closer look at what makes one form of sexuality different from another
By Brittney MacDonald, Life & Style Editor
Sexuality has always been a hot-button topic for our generation. How we define ourselves “in the bedroom” is a very complex part of our identity, and as we go through the motions, attempting to make sense of our various forms of desire, we run into the problematic issue of labels. Gone are the days of homo and hetero being the only sexualities you had to choose from, but as we come into a greater social understanding of what sexuality is, we are also given a far broader spectrum that we need to understand in order to navigate the treacherous waters of human companionship. To help with that, I have formulated a very limited list of varying sexualities and what defines them.
Starting with the very basic, we have homo- and heterosexuality. Though I trust everyone is aware of what these two terms mean, for posterity I shall reiterate: heterosexuality refers to being solely sexually attracted to someone of the opposite gender that you identify as, while homosexuality refers to being exclusively attracted to people of the same gender.
Bisexuality is the term used to describe someone who is attracted to both men and women, while pan- or omnisexuals are attracted to all genders. Though this may sound the same, it isn’t. All genders refers not to just men and women, but to people who are gender ambiguous or who identify as opposite of their biological or birth sex. Pansexuals don’t factor gender into sexual attraction, where omnisexuals do pay attention to a person’s gender, but are attracted to people of all genders. Omnisexuality also refers to a very specific psychology regarding sexual intimacy in some instances. Omnisexuals tend to disassociate sex from love, meaning that they may have multiple sexual partners, but only one significant other. That isn’t to accuse omnisexuals of being more likely to be unfaithful or incapable of maintaining a monogamous relationship—many will do it out of respect for their significant other.
Moving on, there is also asexuality, which is used to describe someone who does not feel sexual attraction towards people of any gender. Asexuality is not used to describe people who are incapable of having sex, just those who are not motivated to do so. Asexuals are perfectly capable of sexual performance, and may—if they so choose—have sex on occasion. This does not exclude them from being asexual, or alter their sexuality in any way. Demisexuality is a fairly complex sexuality that almost eliminates physical attraction. Instead, demisexuals only feel sexual attraction once they have formed an emotional relationship with another person. This emotional relationship can be platonic initially, but then evolve into a romantic and/or sexual relationship. Oftentimes demisexuals will mistake their lack of sexual attraction as being a form of asexuality, only to find out later when a prosperous emotional relationship occurs, that that is not the case.
Similar to demisexuality, sapiosexuality doesn’t involve physical attraction upon first initiation. Sapiosexuals are primarily attracted to intelligence or people they perceive as being intelligent. This means that sexual attraction only occurs after a pre-existing relationship has formed. Unlike demisexuals, this relationship doesn’t need to be very far progressed. Instead a simple favourable impression can be enough.
To be honest, I could go on and on. There are plenty of sexualities out there to describe almost any form of desire you could imagine or feel. The trick is to wade through everything that is unrelated to find something you feel comfortable using to describe yourself. In the end, all of these various words are just labels to better help you formulate your identity and find a companion best suited to your unique existence.