In the expanding world of sexual orientation and gender studies, androsexual refers to people who are attracted to masculinity. People who are androsexual may be attracted to anyone with masculine qualities regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.
The word androsexual comes from the Greek language. The prefix “andro” means “male,” “sexual” means “sexual attraction,” and “philic” is related to “with love”.
As the term androsexual is relatively new, it can mean something different to different people. Some consider it to mean having an attraction to more masculine or male expressions, while others believe it can mean having an attraction to people who identify as nonbinary. People who are nonbinary don’t identify as strictly male or female. Some women who identify as cisgender might define themselves as androsexual too if they’re attracted to cigender men and trans men, for instance. Others interpret it to be another type of sexual orientation like homosexuality.
What Is the Difference Between Androsexuality, Homosexuality, and Heterosexuality?
The primary difference between these terms is in the attraction itself. People who consider themselves androsexual are attracted to masculinity rather than gender. This means they’re attracted to aspects of “maleness” — physical, emotional, mental, or sexual. Homosexuality is an identifying label for people who are attracted to the same gender, and heterosexuality is for people attracted to the opposite gender. Androsexuality is a less restrictive term that people who are homosexual, heterosexual, or of different sexual orientations can use.
Someone who identifies as androsexual may find themselves attracted to masculinity rather than people who identify as specific genders or sexual orientations.
Myths and Misconceptions About Androsexuality (and other forms of Sexuality and Gender)
Misconceptions About Sexual Orientation
There are many misconceptions about sexuality and gender orientations — androsexuality included. In fact, many scientists spend their lives exploring those misconceptions. For example, in 2018, three Swarthmore College psychology professors cowrote a book entitled Gender, Sex, And Sexualities: Psychological Perspectives.
In it, they mention other cultures have long recognized more than two genders and sexual orientations. Anthropologists, historians, and scientists agree that the binary (two-sex) approach to classification is not universal. In fact, there are cultures in Southeast Asia and North America that recognize more than two genders.
In 1948, biologist Alfred C. McKinsey published Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and in 1953, published Sexual Behavior of the Human Female. These books were groundbreaking in that they challenged the concept of two genders and limited sexual orientations. Instead, they suggested that humans are less “either/or” and can fluctuate over the course of their lives. The Kinsey scale laid the groundwork for today’s gender and sexual orientation discussions.
These days, there are more than 200 scales that scientists use to reference and measure gender identity and sexual orientation.
Misconceptions About Androsexuality
Some people think androsexuality means being attracted to only the male binary or male gender. The reason many people think of the male binary is because of the word “andro,” which means “male” or “man.” However, that is not true. People who identify as androsexual may be attracted to cisgender, nonbinary, and other gender identities in which masculinity is on display. This includes women who exhibit more masculine traits and transgender men.
How Androsexuality Works in Relationships
Healthy relationships of any type require mutual respect, open communication, and trust. In a romantic relationship, it’s especially important to discuss your values, needs, and expectations with a partner or potential partner. As you develop a healthy bond, each person in the relationship feels valued and safe.
Every relationship is different, yet trust is always essential. One component of a healthy relationship is feeling like you can be yourself.
If you identify as androsexual, you may feel comfortable confiding in your partner or loved ones. It’s important to be honest with yourself and with others when in a relationship, and expressing your attraction is one way to do so. However, it’s completely fine if you do not want to confide in someone, or to wait until you’re ready.
Helping Your Loved Ones Understand Androsexuality
Terms like androsexual or androphilic are more inclusive than earlier expressions of sexuality and gender. Having a broader vocabulary is an opportunity for people to choose from a greater diversity of labels if they want to identify in a certain way. That’s one of the joys of humanity — it (and language) are complex and ever changing.
It’s up to you to decide when, how, and if you share your gender and sexual orientation with your loved ones. Some people will be supportive no matter what, while others may need more education around the topic. You can share information about the expanding definitions of sexual orientation along with articles or research studies as you see fit.