WHY WOULDN’T YOU JUST SAY STRAIGHT OR GAY?
At first glance, it might seem like the terms are a little redundant—if you’re a woman attracted to women, being gynesexual is technically the same as being a lesbian, right?
In many cases, yes. But saying you're a lesbian requires you to identify as a woman. And what if you're not comfortable identifying as one particular gender?
“The terms androsexuality and gynesexuality were developed to describe attraction that is about who someone is attracted to, rather than the gender of the person stating their attraction,” Boskey says.
Basically: You can identify as androsexual or gynesexual regardless of your gender.
For example, androsexual would be the perfect term for a woman (or man) who doesn't want to talk about whether he or she is cisgender (the gender corresponding to their sex at birth) or transgender, just about how sexy Hugh Jackman is, says Boskey.
I'M COMFORTABLE STATING MY GENDER IDENTITY. SHOULD I STILL USE THESE TERMS?
Sure! Especially since identifying as androsexual or gynesexual can be a useful way to describe what type of person you're attracted to, regardless of their gender identity, explains Lawrence Siegel, Ph.D., a certified sex therapist, certified sexuality educator, and director of education and training at the Sage Institute for Family Development.
A gynesexual person isn’t just attracted to all cisgender women—they may be hyper attracted to particularly femme women, not attracted to women with more masculine traits, and also have a thing for androgynous men with very feminine qualities.
Likewise, “being androsexual may include being attracted to cisgender men, but it may also mean being attracted to transgender men, masculine women, or masculine non-binary individuals,” says Boskey. Get the picture?
DO PEOPLE REALLY USE THESE TERMS?!
Absolutely. Because androsexual and gynesexual capture attraction in a way hetero and homosexual don’t quite nail, they’re particularly popular among people who aren’t cisgender.
“They may be transgender, gender non-binary, or agender, and the conventional labels of heterosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality would require them—or the people they are talking to—to make uncomfortable or inaccurate assumptions about their gender,” explains Boskey. “That's why these terms are far more likely to be used in queer spaces.”
Here’s to more inclusive and accurate ways to describe who you’re into.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US