Androsexual is a term that many people identify with and we are here to tell you all about it!
There are so many different kinds of identities when it comes to sex and gender. There are also so many different preferences for attraction as well. You have likely heard of heterosexual, which means that you are attracted to members of the opposite sex, and homosexual, which means you are attracted to members of the same sex, and bisexual, which means you are attracted to members of both sexes. However, have you ever heard of androsexual? That may be a new word for you and that is okay! In fact, that is why we are here: to help you learn more about what androsexual means.
Androsexual actually has a few meanings but the most widely accepted is a person who is attracted to people on the masculine side of the spectrum. We will get more into the history of the word and what it actually means in terms of sexual identity below.
Most importantly, it is absolutely very important to remember that identities are important and to respect people's different preferences and identities and to never label them without their consent. We will also discuss this more below. Are you ready to get started? Here we go!
Like many things when it comes to identity and sexuality, there are many different definitions for the word "androsexual." However there are two definitions that are the most widely accepted, with one being very common and the other being less common. Let's get started:
The most accepted definition of androsexual is "a person who is attracted to individuals on the masculine side of the gender spectrum." You may automatically means that this only means cisgender men (otherwise known as men who were born men and still identify as men), but it doesn't necessarily mean that. There are many different ways to end up on the masculine side of the gender spectrum and masculinity isn't only for cisgender people.
This is why people who identify as androsexual don't want to automatically be considered straight (if they are women) or gay (if they are men). It is definitely way more complicated than that. And we don't mean complicated in a bad way. All we mean is that that is way too narrow a point of view and it only applies to binary-based individuals, meaning people who fall into the classic definition of there being only two sides to gender: male and female or masculine and feminine.
Most importantly, you should never assume anything when you hear about someone's sexual preference. Often they can have their own personal definition and relationship with how they identify and it is important to respect that. If someone tells you they are androsexual and you are unsure of what they mean, it is totally okay to ask! Just remember to be respectful and polite.
Now that we have gone over the super common definition of androsexual, we will discuss the less common definition. However, this doesn't make this definition any less valid so keep that in mind! The less common definition of androsexual refers to people who feel sexual attraction to non-binary people. As we mentioned above, binary people are those who fall into either the masculine or feminine side of the spectrum. Non-binary people don't feel they fit into either or perhaps they fit into both. Another term for non-binary is genderqueer. Non-binary doesn't necessarily mean that a person is androgynous. Non-binary people also tend to think of gender identity as separate from sexual or romantic orientations.
This definition of androsexual is completely different from the first so you can see how it could cause some confusion. That is why, again, it is very important to never assume anything when it comes to gender identity or self identity. If you aren't sure, just ask. Mostly because you should never, ever assume anything when it comes to gender or self identity.
This is also an example of how people can have their own definition of a word and really own it. Because the gender spectrum is so varied and there are so many different kinds of gender identity, along with sexual and romantic orientation on top of that, it's understandable that there can be a lot of personal and different definitions of words. This becomes more and more true as we grow more accepting of the different kinds of genders and identities.
The word androsexual has Greek origins. Andro means "man" in Greek and "sexual" is pretty easy to figure out. We don't think you need our help with that word! So you can see why the most common definition for "androsexual" is an attraction to the masculine spectrum. However, the word "androsexual" also brings to mind another word: androgyny. Androgyny is a blanket term to mean neither male or female or fluid between both. It comes from "andro" meaning "man" and "gene" meaning "woman." It's easy to see how people can see androsexual and associate it with androgyny, which can sometimes be used to describe non-binary individuals. (Although we must make it clear that not all non-binary people are androgynous and not all androgynous looking people are non-binary. They are definitely not mutually exclusive however there is a tendency for some overlap!) However, it is forgetting that when you remove the "gyne" part of the word, it loses it's fluid/double meaning. Despite this, though, it's still important to respect and value people's different definitions of words and how they choose to identity with with them.
By definition, a heterosexual woman is one who is attracted to members of the opposite sex, or men. So does that mean that all women who are heterosexual are also androsexual? Nope, actually it does not! Remember what we said earlier about never assuming anything about anyone's gender or identity? The same goes for this situation too. While on the surface the two appear to have the same definition, it is more important to never classify anyone or apply a label that they do not already self-identity with. Everyone, including women, have their own relationship with what masculine means to them, which can dictate their own definition of being heterosexual and/or androsexual.
Some women may be attracted to people who identify as "male," no matter how classically "masculine" they may be while others prioritize masculinity above actual gender identity. And guess what: both of those can be defined as androsexual. The one that is more correct absolutely and only depends on the person.
In fact, some may find it problematic to even have a cisgender, straight woman using a term like "androsexual." This is because the term itself is seen as very genderqueer friendly and part of non-binary identities and labels. For a cisgender, straight woman to adapt it for herself (even if she technically is attracted to only males) could definitely be seen as appropriation.
Overwhelmingly, it is important to remember that androsexual is more about non-binary definitions of "masculine." So if you are a woman and that is something you identify with — meaning that you aren't just attracted to cisgender straight men, then androsexual might be a term that you can explore or add to part of your identity. The last thing people in the queer community need is for cisgender straight people to co-opt their identities, so please be careful and respectful when using the word androsexual!
We've said this a few times already but it definitely bears repeating: never ever assign anyone a label or identity without their permission. This also means that you should never assume anything about their sexuality or gender identity based on a word. As we've learned from this article, there are multiple definitions of the word "androsexual" and people can have very personal relationships with the word. That means it is impossible to hear someone call themselves "androsexual" and know exactly how they identify. It can definitely be confusing and a bit overwhelming but, really, all you have to do is ask. Nobody is expecting anyone to keep up with all of the different identities and spectrums. All that the community asks is that you be respectful and mindful. That is the best that anyone can do, really!
Another thing to remember that identities like "androsexual" are more than just sex. Attraction can happen on many levels beyond sexual, like emotional and mental to name two! It is very possible to identify as androsexual and to not have it be all about sex. Yes, to say you are "androsexual" means that you are ATTRACTED to a certain kind of person, but what we are saying is that ATTRACTION is more than simply sexual. A lot more can go into attraction and often we get so caught up in the sexual side of it that we forget about the other aspects! People in the non-binary community are general more open to exploring other aspects of attraction and identity than heterosexual people are. This is because when you open up gender identity to more than just two things, there are so many other options and they aren't all sex! Non-binary people also see gender and sex and romantic attraction as all completely separate.
Honestly, that isn't an easy question that we can answer! Like we mentioned before, if you are a cisgender straight woman, you may want to avoid using this particular phrase as it is very much a part of the queer community. That being said, The only way that you can know your sexual and gender identity is to look inside yourself and ask the question. You can also learn a lot about yourself by exploring, educating yourself, and asking questions and seeking answers. Because the spectrum for identity is so much larger and accepting than it used to be, it can be a bit overwhelming to navigate. Luckily there are plenty of communities and resources to help make it easier.
If you are feeling like you could identify with being androsexual, that is awesome! If you are feeling like you don't identify with being androsexual, that is awesome too! And what we're really trying to say there is that no matter how you identify, it is always welcome and accepted.
If you are still trying to figure it out, or maybe are newly identifying as androsexual and have questions, the best thing that you can do is reach out to other androsexuals. Community is often the best thing when you are navigating something new like gender identity. Having a support system to help you through it will make all of the difference! But, of course, like we've mentioned over and over again, every person is entitled to their own definitions and identities. So while you may find yourself a welcoming community of androsexuals, never forget that you are entitled to your own personal relationship with the term and nobody can take that away from you!
Phew! We realize that was a lot to take in and a lot to learn. We are hoping that now having read this, you are feeling confident and comfortable with what androsexuals are. Maybe the word was brand new to you or maybe you had an idea but wanted to know more. You may even have found that this article resonated with you and are discovering something new about your own gender identity! Regardless of your own feelings now, androsexuals are just like everyone else in that they deserve respect, love, understanding, and compassion.