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There are different ways to describe one’s orientation. Androsexual is a term that many people identify with. The term refers to people who are attracted to men and masculine people.

Someone who’s androsexual is attracted to men and masculine people.

Although the “-sexual” suffix suggests that it refers exclusively to sexual attraction, the term can include people who are romantically or physically attracted to men and masculine people.

Some androsexual people are exclusively attracted to men, while other androsexual people might be attracted to anybody who’s masculine in their identity, gender expression, or appearance.

It’s possible to be androsexual while also identifying with another term, like heterosexual, bisexual, or pansexual.

The key difference between terms like “androsexual” and terms like “heterosexual” is that androsexual focuses on the gender of the person you’re attracted to as opposed to your own gender.

While “homosexual,” for example, means that you’re attracted to people of the same or a similar gender as you, “androsexual” can apply to anyone who’s attracted to men, no matter their gender.

A cis-het woman might describe themselves as androsexual, but the terms aren’t interchangeable. You don’t have to be cisgender, heterosexual, or a woman in order to be androsexual.

To use a few examples, the following people might identify as androsexual:

  • a transgender or cisgender gay man who’s attracted to men or masculine people
  • a transgender woman who’s attracted to men or masculine people
  • a nonbinary person who’s attracted to men or masculine people

So, why would you use the term “androsexual” instead of simply saying that you’re heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual, for example?

People identify as androsexual for various reasons. Someone might prefer to call themselves androsexual if their gender changes over time but their attraction to men and masculinity remains constant. It might be easier for them to call themselves androsexual as opposed to homosexual or heterosexual, depending on their specific gender identity at the time.

People who are unsure of their gender identity might also use the term androsexual, as it doesn’t require them to label their gender before describing their orientation.

Perhaps, but not necessarily!

Sometimes, we have sex dreams about people we’re not necessarily attracted to in real life. But often, our dreams reflect our real-world desires.

Remember that you get to choose how to describe your sexuality. If you find that you’re attracted to men and masculine people, you can use the term “androsexual.” But you don’t have to use this term if you don’t want to!

There’s no test or quiz that determines whether you’re androsexual or not. Identifying with a particular term, like androsexual, is not about “ticking off” boxes, but about whether the description feels apt to you.

If you feel that androsexual describes your orientation, you can use that term. You can describe your identity however you’d like.

If you’re interested in exploring whether you’re androsexual, here are some things to ponder:

  • Do you feel attracted to men and masculine people? Do you feel attracted to people who fall outside this description?
  • Previously, who have you been attracted to? How would you describe their gender identity and expression?
  • Does the word “androsexual” feel comfortable to you? Does it sound like an accurate description of your orientation?
  • Do you prefer other words to describe your orientation? (Remember, you can use multiple labels to describe your orientation if you prefer!)

There’s no right or wrong answer to these questions — the purpose is to help you consider whether androsexual is a term that fits you.

It could look like a few different things:

  • You might find yourself attracted exclusively to men.
  • You might find yourself attracted to people of all genders, but more attracted to people who are somewhat masculine in their identity and gender expression.
  • If you’re a woman, you might be attracted to other women only, but specifically to women with masculine qualities in their expression.
  • If you identify as bisexual, you might find yourself attracted to people with masculine gender expressions.

There’s no one way to be androsexual!

Scientifically speaking, there’s no real “cause” for why some people have certain orientations. And that’s OK! Your orientation is not an inherently negative or positive thing. It’s not a problem to solve — it simply is what it is.

Regardless of your orientation, it’s possible to get sexually transmitted infections (STIs) if you’re sexually active. In order to practice safer sex, try the following:

  • Use condoms and dental dams.
  • Clean all sex toys thoroughly before and after use.
  • Be open and honest about any other sexual partners you currently have.
  • Disclose whether you have any STIs.

Pregnancy can also be possible in certain relationships, depending on your reproductive organs. If you’re hoping to avoid pregnancy, be sure to talk about contraception with your partner(s).

Here’s a handy guide to finding a birth control method that works for you.

You don’t have to “come out” as androsexual unless you want to.

It’s entirely up to you whether you want to tell someone that you’re androsexual. You might find it liberating to use the term to describe your orientation to others, or you might want to use the term more internally — in other words, to simply think of yourself as androsexual for your own benefit.

Whenever someone comes out, there’s a chance they’ll be met with negative reactions.

“Androsexual” isn’t a commonly used word. Even within the LGBTQIA+ community, the term isn’t well-known. If you do share that you’re androsexual, some people won’t know what it means. You could direct them to this page or another article explaining the definition.

You might get pushback from people in the LGBTQIA+ community and outside the community. This could vary from typical homophobia to the idea that there’s no need to use labels like “androsexual.”

Depending on your situation, it might be safer and more comfortable for you to not share that you’re androsexual. There’s nothing wrong with staying “in the closet” if you feel it’s better for you. But you might find it liberating to share it.

Remember, it’s up to you. It’s also OK to come out to a select few people who you trust without telling others.

There are many ways to come out as androsexual — or as any other orientation.

One way to do it is to start by telling an open-minded, close friend or family member who you think will be accepting. They might be able to support you as you come out to others if you choose to do so.

You can come out to them in person, but you can also use text or a phone call if you prefer.

Here are some talking points to start with. Adapt these to your unique situation:

  • “I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve realized I’m androsexual. This is what that means…”
  • “I’ve started dating a man. I want you to know that I’m androsexual, which means that I’m attracted to men and masculine people.”
  • “Since you’re important to me, I wanted to share that I’m androsexual. Here’s what that means to me…”

Be prepared for them to ask you questions. Again, many people don’t know what the term androsexual means, so they might ask you for a definition. They might also ask:

  • “Are you sure?”
  • “How do you know?”
  • “How long have you known?”
  • “Why use this label in particular?”

It’s up to you whether you want to answer these questions. If they feel too intrusive, you can set a boundary and say that you don’t want to discuss it.

Depending on your situation, there might be some implications for sharing your orientation.

If you’re a young person in the United States who’s facing bullying or discrimination from your family or peers, contact The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386. The Trevor Project provides help and support for those who need it, whether you’re suicidal, in crisis, or need someone to talk with.

If you were evicted from your home, or if the people you live with become abusive or threatening, look for a local LGBTQIA+ shelter to stay in or arrange to stay with a supportive friend for a while.

If you’re facing discrimination at work, you might benefit from speaking to your HR department. If your employer discriminates against you or abuses you, and you’re in the United States, you can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to file a complaint.

Lastly, if you’re receiving any negative reactions from others, you might find it helpful to talk with a supportive friend or join an LGBTQIA+ support group (whether online or in-person).

Remember: A negative reaction doesn’t say anything about you personally. It’s not your orientation that’s wrong — it’s their reaction.

There are many places where you can find resources and support. For example:

Androsexual is a term that means you’re attracted to men or masculine people. Whether you use the term is up to you. It’s also your choice whether you want to share it or not, and it’s up to you to decide who you’d like to tell.

Sian Ferguson is a freelance writer and editor based in Grahamstown, South Africa. Her writing covers issues relating to social justice, cannabis, and health. You can reach out to her on Twitter.