Menu

What Is Skoliosexuality?

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on October 13, 2020

Skoliosexuality, sometimes spelled scoliosexuality, is the attraction to people who are transgender or nonbinary. People who are transgender identify as a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth. They may identify as a man, a woman, or neither. People who don’t identify as either a man or a woman are nonbinary since their gender is neither of the two. 

People who are skoliosexual may or may not be attracted to cisgender people as well. A cisgender individual identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth.

Skoliosexuality is still a relatively new term, so being skoliosexual may mean different things to different people. Some consider skoliosexuality to be an attraction to anyone who is not cisgender. Others feel that it only applies to people who are attracted to nonbinary individuals. 

Some people consider the skoliosexual label to be unnecessary or even discriminatory. This is because the attraction specifically hinges on whether someone is cisgender or not, as opposed to the gender with which they identify. However, other people consider it to be nothing more than another type of sexual orientation, like hetero- or homosexuality.

Other Names for Skoliosexual

Some people prefer the term “ceterosexual” to “skoliosexual,” because “skolio-” comes from the Greek word for “bent.” People who prefer ceterosexual believe that “skoliosexual” implies that nonbinary or transgender individuals are somehow “wrong.”

Ceterosexual, while standing for the same attraction, comes from the Latin word for “other,” which does not carry the same negative implication. 

What Is the Difference Between Skoliosexuality, Bisexuality, and Pansexuality?

Pansexuality is the attraction to all people regardless of gender, while bisexuality is the attraction to your own gender and at least one other gender.

Skoliosexual vs. Pansexual

Skoliosexuality is distinct from pansexuality in that it’s more specific than pansexuality: instead of being attracted to people regardless of gender, skoliosexual people are attracted to others in part because of their gender. While a pansexual person is unlikely to care about a partner’s gender, a skoliosexual person is likely to be attracted to a partner because they identify as a gender that they were not assigned at birth. 

Skoliosexual vs. Bisexual

Similarly, the distinction between skoliosexuality and bisexuality is that skoliosexuality can be a type of bisexuality. If someone is bisexual, they may be attracted to transgender people as well as cisgender people.

For example, if a cisgender man is attracted to other men as well as at least one other gender, they can identify as bisexual. If they are attracted to transgender or nonbinary individuals, they can identify as bisexual and as skoliosexual. 

Myths and Misconceptions about Skoliosexuality

Skoliosexuality is not the same as fetishizing people who are transgender. Instead, skoliosexuality is just a descriptive term for someone’s sexual identity. If a person is attracted to transgender people, regardless of their other attractions, they can identify as skoliosexual.

Skoliosexuality involves both romantic and sexual attraction; people with a fetish are less likely to have a wholistic attraction to the person, and may only be interested in a sexual relationship.

How Skoliosexuality Works in Relationships

Skoliosexual people may find themselves in a relationship with a transgender or nonbinary person at some time in their life. Depending on the person, this may significantly affect the relationship, or it may not change much at all. 

It’s important for people to discuss their boundaries when it comes to skoliosexuality. Many people who are nonbinary or transgender prefer to use certain pronouns, present their gender in a particular way, or limit the number of people who know their gender identity. They may also have preferences regarding sex. If you’re in a relationship with someone who is not cisgender, it’s important to respect your partner’s wishes regarding their gender identity.

Helping Your Loved Ones Understand Skoliosexuality

While you don’t need to come out to your loved ones as skoliosexual, some people find it to be helpful or cathartic to come out. You can explain skoliosexuality as being a natural attraction to people who are not cisgender. If it helps, you can also compare skoliosexuality to bi- or pansexuality. 

If you’re talking to your loved ones about skoliosexuality because you have a new partner, be careful. Always check with your partner to confirm whether they’re okay with you outing them: when informing your friends and family that you’re skoliosexual in relation to a new partner, you’re informing them that your partner is not cisgender. This disclosure can have serious effects on your partner’s life.

If your partner would prefer to pass as cisgender, it may be simpler to just not bring it up with your loved ones in the first place.

This is a great addition on behalf of the writer that could likely be in other articles.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

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

Cosmopolitan: “Skoliosexual meaning explained.”

Dictionary.com: “Scoliosexual.”

GLAAD: “Transgender FAQ.”

Journal of Interpersonal Violence: “Crossing Boundaries and Fetishization: Experiences of Sexual Violence for Trans Women of Color.”

Merriam-Webster: “Cisgender.”

National LGBTQ Task Force: “Why Outing Can Be Deadly.”

Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity: “Transgender microaggressions in the context of romantic relationships.”

Washington University: “Thinking of coming out?”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.