Guide To Sexual Orientations

The recent incident of Rebel Wilson coming out after a media publication’s probe taught us that outing someone before they are ready is never cool. And while the actress proudly announced her girlfriend, she did not particularly label her sexuality. 

To put it simply, sexual orientation is a spectrum ‒ we may never know what someone identifies as. And for the unacquainted, there are plenty more sexual orientations beyond heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual. To find out more, read on for a better understanding of the difference between each sexuality. 

1. Heterosexual

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The most common sexual orientation, hetrosexuality is finding the opposite sex romantically and sexually attractive. As another way to describe heterosexuals, “straight” is the more frequently used slang in society today. 

Fun fact: Hetrosexual was first used as a medical term in the early years of the 20th century, and only popularised in the 1930s. 

Famous examples: Jay Chou, Hyuna & Dawn, Kim Kardashian

2. Homosexual

Guide To Sexual OrientationsFor illustrative purposes only

Homosexual, or gay, is the term used for someone who finds romantic and sexual attraction to members of the same sex. Many times, homosexuals find it difficult to come out to their families and find acceptance, especially in a conservative society. Currently, Taiwan is the only Asian country that approves same-sex marriage, with Thailand close to follow in their footsteps.

According to a survey by IPSOS in 2022, the results showed a drop in support for Section 377A while the acceptance of same-sex relationships increased. Perhaps in due time, we can hope that Singapore would soon become a more inclusive country as well. 

Famous examples: Troye Sivan, Jonathan Bailey, Ellen DeGeneres. 

3. Bisexual

Guide To Sexual OrientationsFor illustrative purposes only

As the term might suggest, bisexual refers to someone who is attracted to both sexes, romantically and sexually. There are cases where some only realise that they are bisexuals after identifying as heterosexual all their life. It can happen to anyone, and at any phase of their lives. 

Fans of Sex and the City would recall the scene where Miranda had a gay awakening after another character blew smoke intimately into her mouth. Despite being married to her husband, Miranda showed that it is possible to only discover your true sexual orientation later on.  

Famous examples: Demi Lovato, Jason Mraz, Lady Gaga.

4. Asexual 

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It might be hard to imagine, but there are actually people ‒ who identify as asexuals ‒ who don’t experience sexual attraction at all. However, one thing to note is that some asexuals do develop an attraction to either or both genders later on in life. 

To make things easier to understand, imagine a kaypoh auntie telling you about the plenty of fishes in the sea. Not only are you not attracted to any of them, but you’re also uninterested in being in a relationship for now. 

Famous examples: David Archuleta, Tim Gunn

Also read: 

Non-Binary In Singapore: Chris Hong On Dating As A Trans Person & Identifying As Neither Male Nor Female

5. Pansexual 

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Pansexual is a term for a person who is attracted sexually and romantically to any person of any identity, including non-binary people and transgenders. While pansexual is commonly misunderstood as bisexual, the key difference is that bisexual people are exclusively attracted to males and females only. 

Interestingly, “pansexual” became the most searched word on online dictionary Merriam-Webster when Janelle Monae identified herself as pansexual back in 2018.  

Famous examples: Miley Cyrus, JoJo Siwa, Bella Thorne. 

6. Ceterosexual

Guide To Sexual OrientationsSource

You might not have heard of “ceterosexual” as it is a term that is still rather new. To explain it simply, it refers to a person who is only attracted to non-binary and genderqueer people, as well as transgenders. Those who identify as ceterosexual experience both sexual and romantic attraction as well. 

However, according to Cosmopolitan, the term is a rather sensitive topic as transgenders have voiced out that they want to be appreciated for who they truly are on the inside ‒ not simply because they identify as transgenders.  

7. Polysexual

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Polysexual is a term that is a lil’ more tricky to understand, as these people are sexually attracted to multiple genders. Yet, they differ from pansexuals as they are not attracted to all genders. 

While pansexuals are attracted to people of any gender, a polysexual’s attraction to someone is often dependent on gender. In other words, polysexuals have their own specific gender preferences.   

Another misconception to take note of is that being polysexual doesn’t necessarily mean being engaged in a polyamorous relationship. 

8. Demisexual 

Guide To Sexual OrientationsFor illustrative purposes only

Consider yourself demisexual if you only feel sexually attracted to a person after forming an emotional connection. Demisexuals can be of any gender identity like cis-gendered or non-binary. If you’ve watched Big Bang Theory, you might think of Sheldon Cooper as demisexual since he never had an interest in sex until after he met his girlfriend. 

Fun fact: the term “demisexual” first appeared in 2006 on a forum when a user shared his experience of not feeling sexually attracted to people without forming an emotional bond first. Since “asexual” didn’t quite suit his situation, “demisexual” was later created. By 2008, “demisexual” became more commonly used in society. 

The Different Types Of Sexual Orientations Show How We Shouldn’t Judge Others

As the saying goes: “don’t judge a book by its cover”.The broad spectrum of sexual orientation suggests that we will never know a person’s sexuality until they understand it for themselves first. Ultimately, there is still so much to learn, and we should always be respectful to others no matter what they identify themselves as.    

Cover: Source (left)

Also read: 

17 Things To Do This Pride Month In SG, Like Live Drag Shows & Property Workshops For LGBTQ Folks