There's a lot more out there beyond "hetero," "homo" and "bi."

Miley Cyrus made headlines over the summer when she came out as pansexual, thereby introducing many people to a term that they may have heard before but don't entirely understand.

But pansexual is just one of many sexual and romantic identities that exist beyond more commonly known and discussed orientations like heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual. In fact, some people may not even know that a person can be romantically, as well as sexually, oriented. According to, romantic attraction "is an emotional response that most people often feel that results in a desire for a romantic relationship with the person that the attraction is felt towards." The site notes that "many asexual people experience romantic attraction even though they do not feel sexual attraction" and though romantic and sexual orientations often "match," "it is common to find mixed combinations of romantic and sexual orientations" in the asexual community.

"A lot of people feel broken before they find a label and a community to go with it," Michael, a team member affiliated with the Asexual Visibility & Education Network (AVEN), which works to inform people about sexuality and identities which may fall under the asexuality umbrella. "Many asexual people feel they can't live up to the expectations of their friends, family and society, and are hugely relieved at finding out they're not alone," he added. "We hold that no-one can tell anyone else whom they are sexually attracted too, if any. Telling an asexual person they are not asexual is like telling a straight person they are gay or bi, or vice versa. Ultimately only the person in question is in a good position to know either way."

To help shed some more light on this subject matter, here are 12 terms related to sexual and romantic identities that are beginning to receive more attention in the media but that are still regularly absent or erased from conversations currently taking place in popular culture.

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An asexual is “someone who does not experience sexual attraction.” also notes, "Asexuals may regard other people as aesthetically attractive without feeling sexual attraction to them. Some asexual people also experience the desire of being affectionate to other people without it being sexual. If you do not experience sexual attraction, you might identify as asexual."
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"An aromantic is a person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others,” according to The site also notes that “aromantics do not lack emotional/personal connection, but simply have no instinctual need to develop connections of a romantic nature. Aromantics can have needs for just as much empathetic support as romantics, but these needs can be fulfilled in a platonic way.” Being aromantic is usually “considered to be innate and not a personal choice,” in the same way that asexuality is considered innate.
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Jared, one man who identifies as graysexual, defines the term as a "magical place between asexual and someone who is sexual." The Frisky defines it as "something more fluid between sexuality and asexuality." Those who identify as graysexual might also identify as gay or straight or any other sexual identity inside or outside of the binary.
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Someone who identifies as demisexual doesn’t typically feel sexual attraction unless they “have already formed a strong emotional bond with the person.” also notes that “the bond may or may not be romantic in nature.”
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Similar to a demisexual, the individual doesn’t feel romantic attraction “unless they have already formed a strong emotional bond with the person.”
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According to, the term is described as “a person who experiences romantic love but does not want their feelings to be reciprocated.” The site also notes that lithromantic people “may or may not be ok with romantic relationships.”
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Pansexual refers to those “who feel they are sexually/emotionally/spiritually capable of falling in love with all genders.
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Similar to pansexual, a polysexual person “may be attracted to some gender variant people but not have the capability or desire to be with some others.
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A person who is romantically -- but not sexually -- attracted to others regardless of sex or gender.
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According to, skoliosexual refers to “sexual attraction to non-binary identified individuals" or those who do not identify as cisgender. The site also notes that “this does not generally describe an attraction to specific genitalia or birth assignments but rather is an inclusive term.”
Queerplatonic Relationships
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Relationships that “are not romantic in nature but they involve very close emotional connections that are often deeper or more intense than what is traditionally considered a friendship.”
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The name for a partner who is involved in a queerplatonic relationship, as in "he's my zucchini."

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