This month we are celebrating the LGBT community with PRIDE events, so let’s dive into some facts and explanations. What does LGBT mean, what is sexual orientation and how many different types exist? Bonus: Some cool flags for each sexual orientation! 🏳️🌈 LGBT is an acronym that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and encompasses a community where everyone is accepted. Over the years, the acronym added the following letters Q & I (LGBTIQ) that support intersexual and queer individuals or people that question their sexual identity. We often see it written as LGBT+, including all spectrums of sexual orientations and gender identities. This movement aims to help define and describe the complex nature of human sexuality.
The first PRIDE event happened in June 1970 in the US. Over the last 50 years, more than 60 countries started to celebrate the LGBT+ community annually. São Paulo (Brazil) is notorious for being the largest pride event in the world. ❤️💛💚💙💜 Sexual orientation is a term used to describe a person’s attraction towards another person, either sexual or romantically, or both. It encompasses attraction to the opposite gender (heterosexuality), the same gender (homosexuality), both men and women (bisexuality), trans-gender persons (skoliosexuality), all genders (pansexuality) and the lack of attraction towards any gender (asexuality). Sexual orientations can as well be categorized into two big parts: allosexuality (non-asexual, meaning all orientations that are represented by the presence of attraction) and asexuality. Over the last decades human sexual orientation stopped being perceived as a preconceived concept, but as a wide spectrum where each individual falls in a different place.
Asexuality Asexuality can be defined as a life-long lack of sexual attraction, where individuals identify with this orientation voluntarily. As sexuality can be very complex, it is not acccurate to consider asexuality as a specific orientation, but more like a spectrum. Researchers call this spectrum “ace” spectrum and it ranges from asexual to allosexual. Therefore, we further find graysexuality (when a person experiences sexual attraction, but very rarely) and demisexuality (when a person experiences sexual attraction only after forming an intimate bond) in this spectrum. Studies observing the relationship between an asexual and an allosexual showed that the asexual person will engage in sexual intercourse. Many times this activity is unwanted but consensual, in order to make the allosexual partners comfortable. Asexuals may experience a lower level of sexual drive and activity than others because of the lack of interest. Research suggests that asexuals perceive fewer behaviors as sexual, one reason being the lack of pleasure associated with them. Statistics show that around 1% of the population falls under the asexual umbrella. These results may be different in real life, as “social desirability bias” may influence the over/under reporting of sexual attractions.
Demisexuality Research presents different types of attractions. The primary attraction is considered to be the physical or the sexual attraction, while the secondary attraction is the emotional one. In the case of demisexual individuals, sexual attraction occurs only after the need to have a deep emotional bond is satisfied. Since demisexuals experience emotional attraction first, the gender or the orientation of the person they are attracted to does not matter.
Pansexuality Pansexual refers to an individual experiencing sexual, emotional, romantical or spiritual attraction to others, without taking into consideration their biological sex, gender expression or sexual orientation. The word originates from Greek ( “pan” means “all”), and represents the capacity for attraction to any gender or sexuality. Therefore, pansexuals can fall in love and be sexually attracted to people who identify as men, women, bigender, transgender, gender queer, interex or agender. They perceive individuals beyond the preconceived “two genders” and consider the concepts of “sex” and “gender” unimportant.
Bisexuality Even though, on some levels, bisexuality and pansexuality can be perceived interchangeable, they are two separate concepts. Bisexuality can be described as a sexual orientation in which an individual is attracted to both males and females. Therefore bisexuals acknowledge genders, while pansexuals not. Individuals who identify as bisexuals may not have equal levels of attraction to both genders. Therefore, some people may describe themselves as mostly heterosexual, mostly homosexual or equally attracted to both genders.
Homosexuality Homosexuality can be described as sexual and/or romantically attraction to the same gender or sex. In this category fall gays (attraction between two men) and lesbians (attraction between two women).
Heterosexuality Heterosexuality can be described as sexual and/or romantic attraction between individuals with opposite genders or sex.
Skoliosexual individuals are attracted to genderqueer and transsexual people. In this category, people that identify themselves as cisgender (individuals whose gender identity matches their biological sex) are excluded.
As the world is constantly changing and evolving, so is the concept of sexual attraction. No matter the sexual orientation, people need to be accepted and encouraged to express themselves. 🌈
Stay tuned 🌺🐝!