We live in a time when sexuality and the high level of diversity in which it can be presented is becoming a valued and increasingly visible part of society.

Over the years, a level of sexual freedom is being achieved that is unprecedented in history . In this way, over the last few decades we have gradually begun (since in many cases it is still being criminalized or pathologized) to accept the existence, make visible and protect the existence of sexual orientations other than heterosexual. One of these orientations, the best known and until recently persecuted, is homosexuality or attraction to people of the same sex.

Being gay or lesbian implies the existence of attraction towards people of the same biological sex as one’s own. However, human sexuality is broad and diverse, and not all people who are attracted to people of the same sex live their sexuality in the same way. That is why throughout this article we are going to see different types of homosexuality and orientations in which there can be attraction to people of the same sex .

Gay, Lesbian, Gay

At an operational level and in a generic way, we can consider homosexuality as the attraction towards people of the same sex . In other words, if you are a man you are attracted to men and if you are a woman you like women. As a rule, this interest in individuals of the same sex occurs on both a sexual and romantic level.

While the term gay can be used to refer to both gay men and women, as a general rule, gay men are referred to as gay while lesbian means a woman who is attracted to women.

But as stated above, sexuality is not something homogeneous that can be labeled in a fixed and restrictive way . Not all gays and lesbians are the same or live their sexuality in the same way. In fact, even attraction to people of the same sex can occur without the person’s sex itself being the focus of sexual interest. Let’s look at different typologies below.

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Types of homosexuality according to the experience of one’s orientation

Attraction to people of the same sex can be experienced differently depending on the circumstances and personality of each individual.

In this sense we can find two types of homosexuality, depending on whether one lives one’s sexuality as something positive or whether one rejects it. We can also contemplate the possibility that a person does not know his or her true orientation and ends up discovering it over the years.

1. Egosyntonic homosexuality

Most of the homosexual population lives their sexuality as something egosyntonic, that is, as something they are in tune with and part of .

Their impulses and desires are perceived as positive, pleasant and satisfying. In other words, they have their sexual orientation well integrated into their lives, seeing homosexuality as something normal of which there is no shame. These are the kind of individuals who seek or want social integration and normalization of their orientation.

2. Egodistonic homosexuality

Gays, lesbians and bisexuals can now manifest their existence and tastes relatively normally. However, throughout history homosexuality has been frowned upon and even persecuted , instilling in the collective imagination the thought that feeling attracted to someone of the same sex is something negative, despicable and that should be hidden or even eliminated.

This type of thinking has been transmitted through generations, and is still in force today in the thinking of some people. There are countries in which gays and lesbians are persecuted and attacked with impunity because of their orientation without them being protected by the law, and in others an accusation of being so can even lead to the death penalty . Even in a society like ours being homosexual can lead to rejection by family or friends, difficulties at work, harassment at school or work and even aggression.

This set of elements can make some men and women live their sexuality in an aversive way, being ashamed of their tastes and desires, hiding that part of themselves and even attacking those who live their orientation as something normal. Because of this, these people have a high level of life dissatisfaction and a high level of frustration. In many cases they decide to lead a typically heterosexual life, sometimes having sporadic relationships with their true object of desire that they live with shame.It is not uncommon for anxiety or mood disorders to appear, as well as substance abuse.

3. Latent homosexuality

Most gays and lesbians have taken some time to discover and come to terms with their sexual orientation . It should be noted that most of the population is heterosexual and has been educated in a way that sees heterosexuality as the norm.

Therefore, it is not unusual to think throughout development that we will like people of the opposite sex. It is usually during adolescence, the stage when the first romantic and sexual relationships begin, that one’s orientation is defined towards a particular object of desire (either of the opposite sex or of the same sex).

In some cases people assume they are heterosexual because it is the most common thing to do, without ever questioning their preferences. However, at some point, a person of the same sex may attract their attention and cause the subject to end up discovering that they have a preference for people of the same sex. These would be people who have not renounced their homosexuality, but have never considered becoming one .

Sometimes it can overlap with an egodistonic homosexuality that the subject has tried to hide. The knowledge of one’s own homosexuality can be a liberating factor for the person, although depending on the beliefs and situation of each subject it can also mean great pain and feelings of guilt.

Homosexuality by level of exclusivity

People often have to catalogue the tastes and preferences of the population in a dichotomous way: either you are heterosexual or you are homosexual. They also put a middle ground, bisexuality. However, as we have already said, human sexuality is dynamic and fluid, there being a lot of situations in between .

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Kingsley created a seven-level scale to try to disentangle and disengage the idea of a completely closed and invariable heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality, developing a continuum between exclusive heterosexuality and homosexuality.

Below we indicate those scales in which attraction towards people of the same sex appears .

5. Exclusive Homosexuality

This category refers to the gay population that is only sexually attracted to people of the same sex , with the opposite sex not being sexually stimulating.

6. Predominantly heterosexual with frequent homosexual contacts

This type of individual is mostly attracted to people of the opposite sex, but is also attracted to many people of the same sex as his own . It could be considered a form of bisexuality with a tendency towards heterosexual relationships.

7. Mainly heretosexual with sporadic homosexual contact

These are heterosexual people who feel activated and sexually attracted to certain people of the same sex , maintaining carnal relations with them.

Types according to the existing type of attraction

When we think of a gay man or a lesbian woman, we think of a person who is physically and emotionally attracted to people of the same sex. However, this is not always the case.

Although it is not the most common, sometimes it is possible to find people who are only sexually or emotionally attracted to people of the same gender .

8. Affective-sexual attraction

This is the most common type of attraction, and in what is generally imagined when talking about homosexuality. In these cases the person will feel an interest in people of the same sex, both at the level of physical desire and at the level of emotional bonding .

9. Sexual attraction only

This type of attraction implies that the person will feel a sexual interest in people of the same sex, but this attraction is not transferred to the emotional field . The person may be sexually homosexual but affectionately heterosexual.

10. Affective attraction only

It is possible to find cases of individuals who feel a romantic inclination towards people of the same sex, but this inclination does not include any kind of sexual desire . These may be heterosexual people who fall in love with a person of the same sex without ceasing to be so.

There may also be a generalised interest in the same sex without sexual desire (as we will see later, this may be the case for asexual people who are romantically attracted to people of the same sex).

Other sexual orientations in which there may be attraction to people of the same sex

Human sexuality is very diverse and varied . That which produces desire and excitement, that which makes us fall in love and that which makes us choose the person we love can vary enormously and, as we have seen, can be non-exclusive.

Although the essential characteristic of homosexuality is the fact that there is affective-sexual attraction for people of the same sex, it is not exclusive to this sexual orientation, as there are different sexualities in which it can appear. Some of them are the following.


Considered by many people as a sexual orientation that lies at the midpoint between heterosexuality and homosexuality (although there may be preferences towards one or the other), bisexuality is conceptualized as sexual attraction to people of both the same sex and the opposite. Thus, both men and women can be of interest to these people.

Sporadic heterosexual contact

This category includes all those bisexual people who, while primarily attracted to people of the same sex, occasionally feel desire for some people of the opposite sex.

Frequent heterosexual contact

There are people who, while generally attracted to people of the same sex, are also stimulated and attracted to people of the opposite sex. It could be considered a form of bisexuality with a tendency to homosexual relationships.


Pansexuality is defined as sexual attraction to specific individuals regardless of their gender. While by definition it can be confused with bisexuality, in the case of pansexuals the attraction ignores the nuance. It is not that these people are attracted to both men and women, but that both sex and gender identity are elements that are not taken into account.

It will be other aspects that will call the attention of the pansexual, appearing the attraction to other characteristics such as personality. In this way, they can initiate relationships with people of both the same sex and the opposite sex.


This category refers to people who are attracted to people because of their gender identity , not their sex. Attraction occurs towards groups and collectives with a specific gender identity, regardless of whether they are men or women.

Homoromantic heterosexuality/homoromantic homosexuality

While it cannot be considered entirely a type of sexual orientation, to understand this differentiation it is necessary to consider the difference between sexual orientation and romantic orientation. Although they generally go hand in hand, there are cases in which people who are sexually attracted to a particular sex on an affective and romantic level only feel attached to the opposite.

In other words, sexual desire is directed towards one sex and romantic desire towards the other . It does not refer to a punctual falling in love with someone of the opposite sex from that of our sexual preference, but to a continuous condition in which the affective is dissociated from the pulsional. Thus, we could find heterosexuals who fall in love with people of the same sex or homosexuals who do the same with people of the opposite sex.


Although asexuality is defined by the absence of sexual desire of any kind, this does not mean that people with this type of sexual orientation cannot develop romantic attachments.

In other words, just because they are not sexually attracted or interested in the sexual aspects does not mean that they cannot fall in love. And such infatuation can occur with people of both the opposite sex (asexual hetero-romantic) and the same sex (asexual homo-romantic).