It’s estimated that there are more than two dozen sexual orientations among humans, including graysexual, autosexual, sapiosexual, and many more. Obviously, some are much more common than others. An overwhelming majority of the world falls under a handful of categories, with these five sexual orientations being the most common:
Homosexuality is the emotional/romantic and/or sexual attraction to a person of the same sex or gender. Typically homosexual men are labeled as Gay and homosexual women are labeled as Lesbian.
Scientists believe a complex combination of hormonal, genetic, and environmental factors play a part in the development of this sexual orientation and believe homosexuality is not a choice, but rather a normal part of the nature of human sexuality. Instances of homosexuality have even been displayed by some animals.
Heterosexuality is the emotional/romantic and/or sexual attraction to members of the opposite sex or gender. Often referred to as being “straight”, it’s the most common sexual orientation throughout different communities and cultures. Biologically, humans and nearly all creatures on Earth have been engineered to mate and produce offspring to ensure the survival of the species.
As is true for all sexual orientations, heterosexuality is valid and a completely natural occurrence. Although there is no heterosexuality awareness because it’s thought to be the norm, being proud of your sexuality is a good thing no matter what your orientation may be.
Bisexuality is the emotional/romantic and/or sexual attraction to both female and male counterparts. It’s one of the main classifications of sexual orientation, along with heterosexuality and homosexuality. One common misconception of bisexuality is that a person must have an equal attraction to both sexes to be seen as bi.
In reality, a bi person can have any varying degree of attraction to the female and male genders and still be 100% bisexual. It’s a stigma that has plagued members of the bi community for some time now, but awareness and celebration of this orientation, such as Bisexual+ Awareness Week in September, are steps in the right direction.
Pansexuality is the emotional/romantic and/or sexual attraction to a person of either sex or any gender. Some who are bisexual also identify as pansexual, if their attraction goes beyond standard male and female gender identities.
Although, they are typically seen as separate orientations and should not automatically be paired by default. People within the LGBTQIA+ community, particularly those who identify as bisexual, have reservations about being categorized into a group they don’t specifically identify with. There are many ways to spread awareness, one being Pansexual Awareness Day, which falls on May 24th.
One sexual orientation that consists of a lack of sexual attraction, is Asexuality. Asexuality, although a valid sexual orientation, has researchers divided on whether it’s a legitimate orientation. Asexual individuals can take part in emotional/romantic relationships and may even engage in sexual activity for pleasure, reproduction, or other personal reasons.
However, sexual attraction and the desire for sexual relations are nonexistent. Just like any label, they can be as firm, or loose as the individual chooses and is purely a way to express one’s self and personal preferences. Asexual Awareness Day falls on April 6th and is a great way to break the stigma surrounding it.
There are plenty of other sexualities, with more specific ones being created as preferences are discovered. These five are the most common, though, and more specific sexual orientations tend to fall under these umbrellas.