The term “autosexual” describes people who are more sexually attracted to themselves than they are to other people. Although this is a relatively uncommon term, many people do identify as autosexual.
An autosexual person feels sexual attraction primarily toward themselves. Someone who is autosexual might feel little to no sexual attraction toward other people.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that autosexual people never feel sexually attracted to others or that they don’t have sex with others. Although some autosexual people don’t want to have sex with other people, some do.
Being autosexual isn’t the same as being asexual.
However, many people feel that it falls under the asexual umbrella, also called the asexual spectrum or ace-spec. For this reason, autosexuality is sometimes called an ace-spec identity.
Someone who is asexual experiences little to no sexual attraction. It’s possible to identify as autosexual and asexual at the same time.
There’s a difference between being autosexual and autoromantic. While “autosexual” refers to feeling primarily sexually attracted to yourself, “autoromantic” refers to feeling primarily romantically attracted to yourself.
You can be both autoromantic and autosexual, but not everybody who’s autosexual is autoromantic and vice versa.
It’s possible to be, for example:
- autosexual and homoromantic (romantically attracted to people of the same or a similar gender as you)
- autosexual and biromantic (romantically attracted to people of multiple genders)
- autosexual and aromantic (experiencing little to no romantic attraction)
These are examples of cross-orientation, also known as mixed orientation.
There’s no test that could determine whether you’re autosexual or not. If you feel that the term “autosexual” describes you, you can use that term.
Orientation isn’t about ticking off boxes to figure out where you fit in. It’s about using a term to describe your attraction and identity.
If the word “autosexual” describes your orientation, you’re welcome to identify as autosexual. The way you describe your identity is up to you!
If you’re interested in exploring whether you’re autosexual or not, the following prompts might help you think about your identity and orientation:
- Do you feel sexually attracted to other people? Do you think you experience sexual attraction less often than other people?
- Do you feel turned on by the thought of having sex with others? Do you feel turned on by the thought of masturbation?
- Do you have sexual fantasies? If so, what or who do they involve?
- Does the word “autosexual” feel comfortable and accurate to you?
- Do you use other words to describe your orientation? (It’s OK to use multiple words to describe your orientation!)
Remember that there’s no right or wrong answer. These questions are simply prompts.
Autosexuality can look different for different people. To use just a few examples:
- Some autosexual people strongly prefer masturbation over sex with others.
- Some autosexual people feel sexually attracted to others but very rarely. They do, however, feel sexual attraction toward themselves.
- Some autosexual people feel sexually attracted to others but not intensely. They do, however, feel sexual attraction toward themselves.
- Some autosexual people feel turned on by sexual fantasies about themselves but not others.
- Some autosexual people do enjoy sex with others, but don’t feel particularly sexually attracted to others. For example, sex might be a way to show affection and love, not a way to fulfill a desire for someone.
It’s important to remember that dating, sex, and relationships can vary from one autosexual person to the next. Some date and some don’t. Some have sex with others and some don’t.
No! Your orientation is what it is — it’s not a medical condition or a problem that needs to be solved. There’s no known cause for an orientation.
Regardless of orientation and anatomy, anyone can contract and transmit sexually transmitted infections (STIs) if they’re having sex with others. And, of course, pregnancy is still possible in some situations.
If you do have sex with other people, it’s wise to discuss contraception and safe sexual practices with them. This could include:
- using condoms and dental dams
- discussing your current sexual partners
- disclosing whether you have any STIs
- finding a birth control method that works for you
When it comes to safe sexual experiences, communication is key.
You shouldn’t feel pressured to “come out.” If you want to tell others that you’re autosexual, that’s great! But if you don’t want to, that’s perfectly fine, too.
Whenever somebody comes out, there’s a possibility that they will receive a negative reaction.
Words like “autosexual” aren’t commonly used or understood, even within the LGBTQIA+ community. Some people might be confused about the definition. In this case, you can direct them to this page or another page about autosexuality.
If you come out, there’s a possibility that some people will tell you there’s no need to label yourself as autosexual. Remember that you’re allowed to describe your identity however you want.
Yes, nowadays we have more terms for sexual orientations — but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Those feelings are not necessarily new; we just have more language to describe it.
Unfortunately, you might face discrimination or abuse if you come out. In some situations, it might not be safe to tell people about your orientation. It’s up to you to assess your situation and decide whether you feel comfortable and safe enough to share it.
One possibility is to come out to a select few individuals you trust. This means you can get some support and encouragement without risking your safety. If you decide to go this route, be sure to tell them if you don’t want them to share it with others.
You can come out in a few different ways!
You could tell one loved one — someone who you think will be accepting and supportive — and ask them to support you while you come out to more people.
Not sure how to say it? Here are some phrases to start with:
- “I’ve recently realized I’m autosexual. Here’s what that means.”
- “I recently learned the term ‘autosexual,’ which refers to people who are primarily sexually attracted to themselves. I’ve figured out that it’s an apt description for me.”
- “Since you’re important to me, I wanted to share that I’m autosexual. Here’s what autosexual means.”
Because few people know what the term “autosexual” means, anyone you choose to share with might have questions. Be prepared to give them a definition or tell them where they can learn more about autosexuality.
As mentioned, it’s possible that you’ll face negative reactions when you come out as autosexual. This could include anything from rude comments to potentially dangerous situations.
If your home becomes an unsafe place to stay or the people you live with become abusive or threatening, it might be best to look for a local LGBTQIA+ shelter or arrange to stay with a supportive friend for a while.
If you’re suicidal, in crisis, or need someone to vent to, you might benefit from contacting The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386. The Trevor Project provides help and support for young LGBTQIA+ people in the United States.
You might face discrimination at work. If your employer discriminates against you and you’re in the United States, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
If you’ve come out to people and it hasn’t gone well, you might benefit from talking with a supportive friend or joining a support group for LGBTQIA+ people. This could be a local meetup group or an online forum.
Remember that you’re well within your rights to identify however you’d like. It isn’t your fault if others are intolerant of your orientation — that’s on them.
There are many places where you can find resources and support. For example:
- GLBT Near Me is a database of LGBTQIA+ resources that offers a national hotline and a youth talkline.
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free, confidential support to those in the United States who feel suicidal or are facing emotional distress. Call them at 800-273-8255.
- GLAAD has a number of resources and articles on their site.
- Healthline has created a list of terms that describe sexual and romantic orientations, as well as gender identity.
- Inclusive online forums and groups, such as on Reddit or Facebook, might be a good source of support and information.
Autosexual people are mainly sexually attracted to themselves. They typically experience little to no sexual attraction to other people.
Whether or not you identify as autosexual is up to you. If you feel like it’s an accurate and comfortable term to describe your orientation, you’re welcome to call yourself autosexual.
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.