What Is Autosexual?

Medically Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner, MD on July 07, 2023
3 min read

Autosexuality means people are more attracted to themselves than to others and may prefer masturbation to sex with a partner. It doesn’t mean that someone who is autosexual will never have sexual relationships with other people. It simply means people who are autosexual feel more sexually aroused by themselves rather than by others. 

Autosexuality has not been widely studied. While some people identify as autosexual, every person has autosexual tendencies. Like other sexual orientations, autosexuality can exist on a continuum. Some may have sexual desire for themselves, enjoy self-stimulation, have sexual dreams about themselves, and fantasize about themselves to the exclusion of other relationships. Others may have these qualities but can also be romantically and sexually involved with one or more partners. 

Sexual orientations include not only sexual feelings but romantic feelings as well. These do not always need to match. A person can identify as heterosexual while still being biromantic, or having romantic feelings for two genders. People may identify with more than one sexual or romantic orientation at different times.

Autoromantic vs. Autosexual

People who are autoromantic experience their personal relationship with themselves as being romantic, while people who are autosexual feel intense sexual attraction to themselves.

Autoromantic people consider their relationship with themselves as one where they both give and receive love. People who are autoromantic may be involved in other relationships but will also focus on treating themselves as well as they would another lover, such as buying romantic gifts for themselves. 

Someone who is autosexual feels aroused by their own physical body and self. They may liken these feelings to being in love. While some people who identify as autosexual may have sexual relationships with a partner, others are completely satisfied with self-stimulation and find it gratifies them sexually and emotionally.

Autoeroticism vs. Autosexuality

Autoeroticism is the act of masturbation, stimulating yourself sexually. It differs from autosexuality in that it is an action rather than a sexual orientation. Autoeroticism is nearly universal and is a natural, healthy expression of sexuality.

There are dangerous, less common forms of the practice, such as hypoxyphilia and asphyxiophilia, which use hanging, choking, or other forms of breathing restriction to achieve sexual pleasure. This is often referred to as erotic asphyxiation and is unsafe as it may lead to serious injury or death.

Autosexuality can be confusing to outsiders, especially because it isn’t well-researched yet. Some do not consider it a credible sexual orientation and may mock it as narcissism, something unnatural, or even a mental illness. However, sexuality is nuanced, and everyone should be able to explore their own desires in the way that feels right to them.

Sometimes it is assumed that autosexual people never have relationships with others, but this is not true. Some people who are autosexual may desire closeness with others. They may identify with one or more other sexual orientations and simply prefer self-stimulation much of the time.

There are some people who identify as autosexual after one or more failed relationships. They may see a relationship with themselves as the answer to love. Others say that their relationship with themselves is real and that they are genuinely in love with themselves as they would be with someone else.

Each individual has different experiences and desires, so what autosexuality means for one person may not be the same as someone else’s understanding.