What It Means To Be Asexual, Bicurious — & Other Sexualities You Need To Know

When we think about sexual orientation, what probably comes to mind for most people are the three listed in the well-known acronym: LGBT. That's lesbian, gay, and bisexual (the T stands for transgender, which is a gender identity, not a sexual orientation). Some might even think of the Q that's sometimes tacked on to the end of that acronym and most often stands for queer.

These (plus "straight") are the sexual orientations that get the most play in television and media (and even then, LGB representation is hardly stellar). But there are so many more ways someone can identify their sexual orientation than that little acronym suggests — and it's time that we start talking about them, too. Ahead, we've compiled definitions for some of these terms.

Keep in mind that this isn't a be-all-end-all list, and we'll be regularly updating this story with new definitions. After all, language around sexual orientation is always evolving.

Designed by Isabel Castillo Guijarro.
LGBTQ: Acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. Sometimes, when the Q is seen at the end of LGBT, it can also mean questioning. LGBT and/or GLBT are also often used.
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Asexual: An adjective used to describe people who do not experience sexual attraction (e.g., asexual person).
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Aromantic: An adjective used to describe people who do not experience romantic attraction (e.g., aromantic person).
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Heterosexual: An adjective used to describe people whose enduring physical, romantic, and/ or emotional attraction is to people of the opposite gender. Also straight.
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Homosexual: An outdated clinical term considered derogatory and offensive.
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Coming out: A lifelong process of self-acceptance. People forge a LGBTQ identity first to themselves, and then they may reveal it to others. Publicly sharing one's identity may or may not be part of coming out.
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Out: A person who self-identifies as LGBTQ in their personal, public, and/or professional lives. Preferred to openly gay.
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Closeted: Describes a person who is not open about their sexual orientation or gender identity. It's better to simply refer to someone as "not out" about being LGBTQ. Some individuals may be out to some people in their life, but not out to others due to fear of rejection, harassment, violence, losing one's job, or other concerns.
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Androsexual/Androphilic Being primarily sexually, aesthetically, and/or romantically attracted to masculinity.
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Bicurious Similar to questioning, bicurious people are exploring whether or not they’re attracted to people of the same gender as well as people of another gender.
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Demiromantic People who do not experience romantic attraction until a strong emotional or sexual connection is formed with a partner.
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Demisexual People on the asexual spectrum who do experience some sexual attraction, but only in certain situations, like after they’ve formed a strong emotional or romantic connection with a partner.
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Dyke Formerly and sometimes still considered a derogatory word to describe queer women. Some women have taken back the word, however, and use it for themselves. Do not call someone a dyke unless you know that they have reclaimed the word.
Designed by Isabel Castillo Guijarro.
Faggot Formerly and sometimes still considered a derogatory word to describe queer men. Some men have reclaimed the word, but it should never be used to describe someone unless you know they’ve taken it back for themself.
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Gynesexual/gynephilic Being primarily sexually, aesthetically, and/or romantically attracted to femininity.
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Polyamorous Describes people who have consensual relationships that involve multiple partners. Polyamorous people talk openly with their partners about having or having the desire to have sexual and/or emotional relationships with multiple people and often set ground rules for their relationships. Polyamorous people can be in relationships with monogamous people.
Designed by Isabel Castillo Guijarro.
Skoliosexual Being primarily sexually, romantically, and/or aesthetically attracted to genderqueer, transgender, and/or non-binary people.
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