Unpacking sexual orientation and gender identities while online dating

Online dating

What you need to know:

What does it mean when someone says they are cupiosexual or panromantic? Find out

My friend Jessica finally got onto the dating apps bandwagon and joined Tinder a few weeks ago. She had heard quite a bit about online dating and she was prepared to tackle different types of characters that often hide behind these Apps. What she wasn’t prepared for was the extensive terminology she found in the bio section of the people the App matched her with.

“It’s a maze in here. What does it mean when someone says they are cupiosexual?” she called me in a huff.

Well, for her benefit, and yours here is a comprehensive list of terminologies describing sexual attraction and behaviour as well as gender identities to know if you’ll be trying online dating. It’s also worth noting that sexuality and attraction are fluid and could change over the course of time.

Allosexual- This is a broader term that describes individuals who experience sexual attraction. This term is used to help normalise the experiences of those belonging to the asexual community, who experience little or no sexual attraction to others of either gender. It’s important that asexuals are recognised to weed out that assumption that everyone experiences sexual attraction and wants to engage in sex as often as possible.

Agender – The prefix A denotes the absence of something. This term describes a person who doesn’t have a particular gender. This could be because they were not assigned a gender at birth as it was not immediately clear. This could also include people who biologically are not their assigned gender.

Autosexual – This describes individuals who are sexually attracted to themselves. Usually, a person will determine that they belong to this category when they find themselves desiring to engage in sexual behaviour like masturbation. While this person may get into relationships with others, their sexual preference is with themselves.

Similarly, autoromantic describes individuals who are romantically attracted to themselves. These are individuals who will, when asked, describe the relationship they have with themselves as romantic.

Cis Gender – This is the person who matches the gender they were assigned at birth. A Cis male is one who was assigned the male gender at birth and vice-versa.

Cupiosexual – Cupiosexual is used to describe asexual people who are not sexually attracted to other people but who, for various reasons, even without sexual attraction still have the desire to engage in sexual activities or to be part of a sexual relationship.

Demisexual – A demisexual is an individual who experiences sexual attraction only under specific circumstances. Commonly, demisexuals experience sexual attraction when they are in a relationship where they feel emotionally secure. Similarly, a demiromantic is an individual who experiences romantic attraction only under specific circumstances.

Demi Boy – This is a gender identity. It refers to a person who regardless of the gender they were assigned at birth, embraces aspects of masculinity. Regardless of whether they were born with the X or Y chromosome, their identity is tied up with the male gender.

The Demi Girl on the other hand embraces femininity in spite of the gender assigned at birth. Both these terms are different from transgender. While a transgender identifies with a different gender than the one assigned at birth and goes on to transition, the demi girl or boy biologically stays their assigned gender.

Fluid – This is the term used to indicate the fact that sexual attraction, sexual behavior, and sexuality are not cut in stone and can change from time to time. When someone describes themselves as fluid, they mean that they experience shifts in their sexual attraction and behaviour throughout different circumstances in their lives. There is no limit as to the time frame or the number of times this person may change their sexual orientation.

Gender Fluid – This term refers to a person whose sexual identity fluctuates with time. This person may be of different genders through different stages of life. In this case, the pronouns they use to describe themselves whether she, he, or they change from time to time. This person can identify as more than one gender at the same time. They may be both male and female or non-binary and male or female at the same time.

Graysexual or Gray Ace– This is a term used to acknowledge there is a gray area on the sexual orientation spectrum. A person will describe themselves as graysexual when they can’t explicitly describe themselves as either allosexual or asexual. Grayromatic on the other hand describes individuals who experience romantic attraction but not frequently.

Gynesexualor gynosexual – This term refers to attraction to femininity or feminine energy. Gynesexuals are attracted to individuals who identify as females and carry feminine energy including transgender females regardless of anatomy or the sex assigned at birth.

Hypersexual – As the term suggests other than having a high sex drive, hypersexuality is the ability to be sexually attracted to other people based solely on physical appearance even without knowing them.

Libidoist Asexual – A libidoist asexual is a person who experiences sexual feelings which are only satisfied through self-stimulation. The sex life of a libidoist asexual, while fulfilling for them, doesn’t usually involve other people.

Omnisexual – This term is similar to pansexual. It refers to individuals whose sexual attraction is not limited to only one gender. These are individuals who often describe themselves as being attracted to personalities and they never even consider or notice a person’s gender when getting with them. They can get with any person regardless of this person’s gender, anatomy, or sexual orientation.

Panromantic – A flip side from the omnisexual who’s sexually attracted to any gender and orientation, the panromantic is emotionally and romantically attracted to any person regardless of their sexual orientation or gender. This attraction, however, is not sexual.

Polysexuals – The word poly means many, thus polysexuals tend to be both sexually and romantically attracted to more than one gender. For polysexuals, gender and sexual identities do matter when it comes to who they choose to jump into bed with. This is not to be confused with polyamory. While they are attracted to more than one gender, it does not mean that they are in a relationship with multiple people at the same time.

Pomosexual – Pomosexuals are rebels who refuse to be put in a box. Pomosexuals reject all sexual orientation and identity labels. Pomosexuals are attracted to and date who they want without feeling the need to put a label on it. Pomosexuality in itself is not a sexual identity.

Queer- This is an umbrella term under which all members of the LGBTQIA+ community belong. The term acknowledges that sexuality is a spectrum and is used to describe individuals who do not identify as exclusively heterosexual.

Sapiosexual – A sharp contrast from other identities where attraction is based on gender and sexual orientation, sapiosexuals are attracted to intelligence in other people.

Sex repulsed – These are individuals on the asexual spectrum. They’re sex-averse individuals who are not only disinterested in sex and sexual attraction but also find sexual activity undesirable. You are unlikely to find the sex-repulsed wanting to look at or talk about sexual activity. The reason for their repulsion can be trauma from their past, circumstantial or psychological, or medical.

Sex indifferent individuals on the flip side, are neutral with regard to matters of sex and sexual attraction.

Skoliosexual – This term describes those who are attracted to non-cis gender gender identities. A skoliosexual will typically be attracted to transgenders, non-binary or queer gender individuals.

Spectrasexual – These are individuals who are both sexually and romantically attracted to multiple sexualities and gender identities at the same time. They will be attracted to more than one gender but not all gender identities at once.