The 14 Most Common Sexual Orientations

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

The 14 Most Common Sexual Orientations

There has been a growing tolerance for sexual diversity. With tolerance has come the emergence of several different types of sexualities. It has become safer and more acceptable to talk about different types of sexualities. With this safety and acceptance, a more diverse perspective of sexuality and gender has emerged.

Sexuality is fluid, and can be based on a spectrum. Sexuality can change, and can be defined differently at different stages of a person’s life. There are currently several different sexual orientations. Each sexual orientation is unique, and offers different qualities in relationships.

The following are the 14 most common sexual orientations:


Heterosexuality is the term used to refer to people who are attracted to people of the opposite sex. Their relationship goals tend to center around emotional connection, intimacy and sex with a partner of the opposite sex. Heterosexuals do not tend to have deep attractions for people of the same sex or gender.

Heterosexual people are also referred to as ‘straight’ or ‘hetero’.


Homosexuality refers to people who are sexually and romantically attracted to people of the same sex. The socially acceptable term for men who identify with homosexuality is ‘gay’. Females who identify as homosexual are typically referred to as ‘lesbians’


Bisexuality is a term used to refer to people who are attracted to both sexes. A bisexual person will experiment with their attraction to both men and women. A bisexual person may have a preference of one sex over the other, but still can feel sexually and romantically attracted to a person of either sex.

Another term that refers to people who identify with bisexuality is ‘bi’.


People who are ‘bicurious’ are experimenting with their attractions. They are exploring their own attraction to people of the same sex and the opposite sex. People who are bicurious do not identify as bisexual. This is because they are in an exploratory phase of their sexual and romantic attractions.


Pansexuality do not have a sex or gender preference. Pansexual people may be attracted to anyone. This includes males, females, or otherwise identified genders.

The difference between pansexual people and bisexual people is as follows:

  • Bisexual people are attracted to males and females
  • A pansexual person may be attracted to a person that identifies with any sex or gender identity. This includes transgender, intersex, androgynous, etc.


People who are asexual do not feel a sexual attraction to either sex. They can be romantically attracted to people, and may seek out romantic relationships with others.

This is not the same as people who are waiting to have sex, who are celibate, or suffer from a sexual dysfunction. These people may crave sex, but have other reasons to not engage in sexual activity.

Asexual people may engage in sexual activity to please their partner, but tend to not feel sexual attraction to others. They may or may not feel a desire to satisfy sexual urges. They may also engage in sex for other reasons, like to satisfy a partner, feel intimate with a partner, or satisfy their libido.


The term ‘queer’ used to be a derogatory term used in the 1970’s-late 1990’s. LGBT activists reclaimed the word. They now use it to define the people who are unsure of where they fall on the spectrum of sexuality. It is a term that is used to refer to people who are gay, pansexual or bisexual.


Androsexuals are attracted to anyone who have a masculine personality. This includes men, women and gender-fluid people. A person does not have to be a man to have a masculine personality.


‘Gynesexuality’ refers to attraction to a feminine personality. Similar to androsexuality, a person does not have to be a woman to have a feminine personality. Gynesexuals are attracted to those who have a feminine personality. This includes men, women and gender-fluid people.


Demiromantic people experience romantic connection after establishing a deep emotional or sexual connection. Romantic attraction comes after the sexual and/or emotional relationship with their partner. It does not derive from physical attraction or attraction to a personality alone.


Demisexuals need an emotional connection for sexual attraction. Demisexuality is the need an emotional attraction in order to feel sexual attraction. This does not mean that all emotional connections will result in emotional attraction.

A demisexual person is not initially attracted to a person based on looks or personality. If they see an attractive person, they will not feel sexual attraction unless there is also emotional attraction.


“Skolisexual” refers to being physically and romantically attracted to nonbinary or transgender people. “Nonbinary” is also known as “genderqueer”. The term refers to people who who not identify with a specific gender.


People who seek relationships that involve more than one exclusive partner is referred to as polyamorous. People who are polyamorous are open with their multiple open relationships. People who are polyamorous set ground rules with their partners about having other partners.

Polyamory should not be confused with cheating or sex addiction. People who are polyamorous believe in the lifestyle. They take careful measures to ensure the comfort and cooperation of their partners.

Each partner does not have to be polyamorous in a polyamorous relationship. Monogamous people can date polyamorous people if they are okay with their partner having other partners.


‘Kink’ is a term used to refer to people who have kinky sexual desires, activities and fantasies. BDSM is an example of the sexual activity someone who identifies as kink may desire. BDSM is short for bondage, discipline and sadomasochism.

The Kinsey Scale

Research performed by Dr. Alfred Kinsey and colleagues supports that sexuality is fluid. They created a spectrum of sexuality that provides a means of understanding your own sexual identity.

Dr. Alfred Kinsey developed the Kinsey Scale. The Kinsey scale is a scale that ranges from heterosexual to homosexual. Most people fall between the opposing measures. The scale provides flexibility and fluidity in identifying one’s sexual orientation.

The Kinsey Scale has been proven help people understand their own sexuality.


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