Gynosexuality, sometimes spelled gynesexuality, describes someone who's attracted to femininity. That means a person of any gender can be attracted to someone who identifies as female or who expresses feminine characteristics.
Unlike sexual orientation terms such as “homosexuality” or “heterosexuality,” gynosexuality does not specify the person’s own gender in relation to their sexual orientation. People who are gynosexual may identify as male, female, nonbinary (not exclusively male or female), or another sexual orientation. However, the term may be more commonly used by people who are nonbinary.
Other Names for Gynosexuality
Gynosexuality means being attracted to femininity. Anyone can be gynosexual. It’s not the same as being a lesbian.
Gynophilia -- sometimes spelled gynephilia -- is the love of femininity. Sometimes the terms is used interchangeably with gynosexuality. But, there seems to be some difference.
Both terms are used to describe people who are attracted to femininity or female characteristics. Like gynosexuality, the term gynophilia is used often by people who are nonbinary or agender.
However, some people think gynosexuality refers only to a physical and sexual attraction, while gynophilia refers only to a romantic attraction.
A person who is gynosexual may be attracted to the physical attributes associated with femininity. That might include long hair, breasts, curves, or a person’s genitalia. They may also be attracted to nonphysical feminine qualities, such as style of dress, pitch of voice, or mannerisms.
Gynosexuality spans beyond gender. A person who is gynosexual has attraction to others who express femininity regardless of the gender assigned to the person at birth.
People who are gynosexual may be attracted to people who are cisgender (identifies with their birth gender), people who are transgender (identifies as opposite of birth gender), or people who are nonbinary (doesn’t identify as either gender).
What Is the Difference Between Gynosexual and Androsexual?
Gynosexuality is the opposite of androsexuality. Androsexuality means being attracted to masculinity. The prefix gyno (or gyne) is derived from a Greek word that means “qualities related to females”.
Terms like “gynosexuality” and “androsexuality” may be especially useful for people who identify as nonbinary. That’s because other terms for sexual orientation rely more on attraction between genders. For example, “bisexual” means being attracted to people who either identify as male or female. “Heterosexual” means being attracted to people of the opposite gender.
Identifying as gynosexual or androsexual allows people to discuss their sexual orientation without describing themselves in terms that might seem limiting or inaccurate.
Androsexuality means having a sexual attraction to people with masculine attributes, or to people who present as male, whether or not those people identify as men. People who are gynosexual are attracted to others who present as feminine, but may not identify as women.
How to Explore Gynosexuality
You can explore gynosexuality by considering your own sexuality. Ask yourself some questions such as:
- What qualities do you find sexually appealing in other people?
- What physical qualities attract you to someone?
- What kinds of behavior do you find appealing?
You may find journaling about the people in your life, their moods, and their emotions can help you get a stronger understanding of your own sexuality. You may also find it helps to talk to others about your feelings and expectations.
It may be helpful to speak to a professional therapist who can help you understand your feelings better.
Helping Your Loved Ones Understand Gynosexuality
It’s up to you whether or not to tell your friends or loved ones about your sexual orientation. However, if you do, remember that gynosexuality is a relatively new term, and many people may struggle to understand its meaning or to use the term correctly. People in your life may struggle to adopt new ideas and new ways of thinking.
While this can be deeply hurtful and sometimes damaging to your mental health, there are steps you can take to help your loved ones understand.
When speaking to your loved ones about gynosexuality, try to explain that the term expresses your attraction to femininity itself. Help your loved ones understand that the term gynosexuality doesn’t define either your gender identity or the gender identity of the people you find attractive.
Try to be patient and calm when discussing these matters. Try not to take offense if someone misuses a term without meaning to. At the same time, it may be necessary to put some careful boundaries in place and to express your need to be treated with respect and kindness.
If you have problems speaking to your loved ones, seek the advice of trusted friends or a healthcare professional such as a counselor or therapist. They’ll work with you to come up with a plan to address your thoughts and feelings that might help the people in your life better understand.