It is conflicting to talk about the different types of sexual orientations . It is already known that to define is to limit, and this becomes especially obvious when what is being defined is something as subjective as the patterns of sexual attraction and the different criteria used to determine whether something is sexually attractive or not.

How do we name what we find desirable? Is not sexuality lived as something linked to specific moments, contexts and states of mind?

The main types of sexual orientation

What attracts us (or not) to people are not concrete and immutable elements that belong to them and that can be worn like someone wearing a new shirt. We can never say with certainty where the desire produced by a particular person comes from, let alone be sure that that element will always be attractive to us.

However, it is becoming increasingly common to talk about a range of sexual orientation types that are becoming more broad and varied over time. Homosexuality has long ceased to be the only alternative to heterosexuality, and as a consequence our notion of what sexual orientation is or can be is increasingly complex and nuanced.

Categories created by science?

The fact that more and more proposals are being made to diversify the variants of sexual orientation does not detract from the fact that the dichotomy “homosexuality – heterosexuality” remains strong and that in many circles people and their inclinations continue to be classified in these two categories. The reason is that these two concepts have an objective basis: the biological sex of people. The rest of the types of sexual orientation, however, are based on subjective phenomena, for better or for worse .

The denominations or labels to define multiple types of sexuality do not come from the field of psychology or biology, but rather appear as part of a socially rooted initiative (historically linked to movements in favour of equality) to vindicate and give visibility to forms of living sexuality that are eclipsed by the norm: heterosexuality.

This means that behind the creation of these categories to name the different types of sexual orientations there is no pretension to label each and every one of the variants that we could identify if we were to do so, nor is there any desire to find ways of experiencing sex that coincide with certain organic bases (unusual neuronal connections between certain areas, atypical functioning of some parts of the brain, etc.).

They are not concepts made to serve the purposes of science, but to achieve a social impact. In particular, the intention in using these terms is to be more sensitive to people who tend to live with an alternative sexual orientation.

Can we talk about the most important types of sexual orientation?

If defining what is and what is not a different type of sexual orientation is already complicated, it is even more complicated to talk about which ones are more important. This is something subjective and depends on arbitrary criteria to order sexual orientations from more to less important and that, in the end, tell us nothing about whether one is more valid than another.

In this case, I have selected the types of sexual orientation that tend to appear most in the media so that people interested in the topic can begin to investigate.

Types of sexual orientation

Here is an explanation of each of the most studied types of sexual orientation.

1. Heterosexuality

It is the sexual orientation defined by the attraction towards people of the opposite sex , exclusively. It is possibly the most common type of sexual orientation.

2. Homosexuality

Characterized by sexual attraction directed exclusively towards persons of the same sex . Popularly known as gay men , while women are lesbians .

3. Bisexuality

Sexual attraction towards persons of the same sex and the opposite sex , although not necessarily with the same frequency or intensity in either case.

4. Pansexuality

Sexual attraction to some people , regardless of their biological sex or gender identity. The difference between pansexuality and bisexuality is that in the latter case sexual attraction is still experienced through gender categories, whereas in pansexuality this does not occur. To learn more, read the article on this sexual orientation.

5. Demysexuality

Demysexuality is described as the appearance of sexual attraction only in some cases where a strong emotional or intimate bond has previously been established .

6. Lithosexuality

People with this type of sexual orientation experience attraction towards other people, but do not feel the need to be reciprocated .

7. Self-Sexuality

In self-sexuality, the attraction is experienced towards oneself , without this having to be synonymous with narcissism. It can be understood as a way of feeding affection or self-esteem.

8. Antrosexuality

This concept is used so that people who experience their sexuality without knowing in which category to identify themselves and/or without feeling the need to classify themselves in any of them, can identify with it.

9. Polysexuality

In this type of sexual orientation , there is an attraction to various groups of people with specific gender identities . According to the criteria used to classify, it can be understood that polysexuality overlaps with other sexual orientations such as pansexuality.

10. Asexuality

Asexuality serves to name the lack of sexual attraction . It is often considered not to be part of the diversity of sexual orientations, being its denial. You can read more about asexuality in this article.