LGBTQ Magazine

Beyond the Binary: Question Fifteen

By Cnlester @cnlester

Terminology! Panel bios here.


Question Fifteen:

What are good terms for NB/GQ who experience sexual attraction to only one gender, for example, people’s who sexualities would be described as “gay” or “straight” in binary IDed people?


Nat: The words usually suggested are androphilic and gynephilic or androsexual and gynesexual. From which one could probably derive androgynephilic too.

Personally I’d say it’s probably most practical to simply say ‘attracted to men’ and ‘attracted to women’, people generally understand that.


Jennie: I’ve heard the terms ‘gynosexual’ and ‘androsexual’ used to this end.


CN: I’m probably not the best person to ask, seeing as I think we need just as much of a shake-up of ideas around social classification/identity of desire as we do with gender and sex. However, in the above scenario it would seem simplest to say ‘I only like genderqueer people’, ‘I only like men’ etc.


GrrlAlex: Trying to define sexual orientation in a queer paradigm where heteronormative assumptions are lost and where bodies and minds may inhabit spaces between maleness and femaleness would take some kind of four axis orthographic matrix.  Could we transcend the need to define the obejct of our desire as belonging to a predetermined label identity?


Hel: Disclaimer: I’m not monosexual, so my perspective is necessarily some level of an ‘outsider’ perspective here: I don’t use any of these terms myself.

I’ve heard people use the terms ‘androphilic’ to describe attraction only to men, ‘gynephilic’ to describe attraction only to women, and ‘skoliosexual’ to describe attraction only to genderqueer/androgynous people. All of these are in a sense useful for genderqueer people because they don’t refer to the gender of the desiring person, just of the desired. I personally don’t like the terms androphilic/gynephilic, mostly because they sound quite clinical to me, and as such also have resonances of pathologisaton (anyone else hear echoes of ‘autogynephilia’, the term used to dismiss trans women as cross-dressing fetishists?) ‘Skoliosexual’ is (I think) the newest of these terms, and comes from the idea that the Greek word ‘skolio’ can mean ‘bent’ or ‘curved’, and as such, to be skoliosexual is to be attracted to ‘bent’ or ‘queer’ people (‘queer’ itself coming from various roots meaning to twist or bend). Marilyn Roxie at Genderqueer ID has  a good discussion of ‘skoliosexual’, including reasons why some dislike this term (relevance to panel question #12 and the idea of ‘chasers’; similarity of sound to ‘scoliosis’).


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