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What Is Ceterosexuality?

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 23, 2021

Ceterosexual people are attracted to people who are nonbinary or transgender. 

Nonbinary people don’t identify as male or female. Their gender is neither of the two. Transgender people, on the other hand, identify as a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth. 

Some ceterosexual people are also attracted to cisgender people — those who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. But others do not include this interpretation in their definition of ceterosexual.

The ceterosexual label is still relatively new, and labels are never perfect. Someone may feel mostly ceterosexual, for example, and have attractions that fit under another label like pansexuality.  

Other Names for Ceterosexual

You may see the term “skoliosexual” used to describe people who fit the definition of ceterosexual. But many people don’t like to use this word because the Greek root “skolio-” translates to “broken” or “bent.” They feel that word implies that calling someone skoliosexual instead of ceterosexual implies that they need to be fixed or straightened. “Cetero,” on the other hand, is a Latin root word meaning “other.”

What Is the Difference Between Ceterosexuality and Bisexuality?

Bisexual people are attracted to at least one other gender in addition to their own gender. 

People who primarily identify as cetersoexual can also identify as bisexual, and vice versa. A bisexual person can be attracted to both transgender people and cisgender people.

One example is a cisgender woman attracted to other women and at least one other gender. If the “other gender” is transgender or non-binary people, they might identify as both bisexual and ceterosexual. 

Myths and Misconceptions about Ceterosexuality

Ceterosexual does not mean a person has a fetish for transgender people. It means they are simply attracted to transgender and non-binary people. 

How Ceterosexuality Works in Relationships

Ceterosexual people often have healthy, satisfying sexual and romantic relationships. As with all relationships, it is important to establish boundaries about sex, labeling, and privacy. For example, transgender and nonbinary people often have a preference for the specific pronouns they use to identify themselves.

Helping Your Loved Ones Understand Ceterosexuality

You should never feel pressured into disclosing your sexuality, but if you would like to, it may be easiest to keep the explanation simple. You can simply explain that you are attracted to people who are not cisgender. 

If you are in a relationship, be mindful of your partner’s preference regarding their own gender and sexuality. They may not be comfortable sharing that kind of information with others, so be sure to have honest communication about these boundaries before you introduce them to your loved ones.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Bisexual Resource Center: “Pan & Bi: A Handy Guide.”

GLAAD: “Transgender FAQ.”

Journal of Marriage and the Family: “Intimacy and Emotion Work in Lesbian, Gay, and Heterosexual Relationships.”

MOGAI Encyclopedia: “Ceterosexuality.”

Refinery29: “Gender Nation Glossary (Skoliosexual)”

San Diego State University: “Genderqueer and Non-Binary Identifies & Terminology.”

Science Alert: "Here's More Evidence Sexuality is Fluid Right Into Our Adult Years."

The Trevor Project: “National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health.”

Washington University: “Thinking of coming out?”

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