What is the difference between sex, gender, and sexual orientation?
Sex is what you assigned at birth. Doctors determine your sex through a relatively arbitrary method of guessing what your sex, and thereby gender, by examining your genitals. Society assumes that people’s gender (by sheer coincidence) will align with their sex assigned at birth. This is why gender and sex are often misconstrued. While they are both social constructs, sex is based on your genitalia, chromosomes, secondary sex characteristics, and hormones; your gender is something that only you can know and express.
It’s then easy to understand why gender, something you self-identify as is then conflated with sexuality and romantic orientations. Gender is what you go to bed as while sexuality is has to do with your feelings towards other people.
So, if you were assigned female at birth, then society said you were of the gender woman and let’s say you believed that until you were 25. Up until you were 25, you were attracted to woman. However, let’s say you realized that you were actually a man. 1 day you identified as a woman, the next day you identified as a man and for the rest of your life. For most, you’d still be attracted to woman, regardless of your changing gender.
Sexual orientation can be fluid but, for many, simply transitioning and/or identifying as another gender doesn’t magically change your sexual orientation. It does change how society labels you. In the example, you’d probably first be labeled as homosexual/lesbian and then labeled as heterosexual. However, you may identify as a lesbian because you feel a deep connection to the identifier.
Types of Attraction
- romantic: physical or psychological yearning for sexual contact with a person
- sexual: emotional yearning for a romantic interaction with another person
- platonic: the attraction to be close to someone emotionally; more than friends attraction
- sensual: desire for input or output
- ex. attracted to how someone smells, might want to cuddle, hold hands
- might be same as sexual and/or romantic attraction
- aesthetic: appreciate someone’s appearance while not being a sex related feeling
- alterous: (this is spelled correctly) when you want to be emotionally close to a person but you don’t want romantic or a platonic relationship, something in between
- Quoisexual(Quoiromantic): person experiences sexual (or romantic) attraction that is atypical of allosexual (alloromantic) individuals and doesn’t know where they fit on the asexual spectrum, or doesn’t identify with existing labels
- WTFsexual/(WTFromantic): when you can’t distinguish between sexual (or romantic) and aesthetic attraction; or if you’re on the asexual spectrum but don’t identify with any of the existing terms
- Kalossexual/(Kalosromantic): desiring a sexual (or romantic) relationships, but never being sexually attracted to anyone in particular
- Reciprosexual: when you experience sexual attraction after you realize someone is sexually attracted to you
- Quasiplatonic: relationships which are platonic but are closer than friendships (could be sexual)
- Also QPR: Quasiplatonic Partner
Dear Queers (blog)
~ ~ ~