What Does It Mean To Be Androsexual?

Here's how this identity is expressed.

For years, LGBT stood for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. But the acronym evolved into LGBTQIA+ to include many other gender and sexual identities that exist.

In particular, Q represents "queer" (or sometimes "questioning"). Additionally, "plus" serves as a catch-all for other identities that may not be recognized yet or were not initially included—and one identity that falls under the plus category is androsexuality.

Here's what you need to know about what it means to be androsexual.

What Is Androsexuality?

Part of understanding androsexuality comes from knowing the basis for the term. "Andro" is the Greek prefix meaning male or masculine.

In terms of androsexuality, it is a sexual identity in which a person has an attraction to masculinity. That means someone who identifies as androsexual is attracted to men, males, or those who identify on the masculine spectrum, regardless of whether they were assigned male at birth. That attraction might be rooted in:

  • Sex
  • Aesthetics (e.g., physical features)
  • Romance

Other Key Aspects of Androsexuality

Many labels for sexual orientation—including the ones people are most familiar with, such as straight, gay, and bisexual—reinforce the binary of male and female. Those labels may define both the gender of the person experiencing the attraction and the gender of the people they are attracted to.

But this isn't the case for androsexuality. Though a person who identifies as androsexual is attracted to masculine features, the person they're attracted to doesn't have to identify as male.

"Androsexuality doesn't assume anything about the sex or gender of either the person who is experiencing the attraction or the people they are attracted to," said Lindsay Fram, MPH, sexuality educator and coauthor of "Above the Waist: Sexuality Education Beginning with the Brain," told Health.

Additionally, the people that androsexual individuals may be attracted to vary. "Someone who identifies as androsexual could be cisgender, transgender, non-binary, or intersex. The same goes for the people they are attracted to—they could be cisgender, transgender, non-binary, or intersex, so long as they exhibit traditionally masculine characteristics," added Fram.

What Does the Androsexuality Pride Flag Look Like?

The androsexuality pride flag contains three bold stripes. The top stripe is sky blue, the middle stripe is a dark maroon shade, and the bottom stripe is violet.

Androsexual pride flag waving, celebrating the LGBTQIA+ movement for freedom of sexuality and gender identity
Lydia Christina Koerner / Health

What Challenges Might Androsexual People Face?

Being androsexual isn't necessarily a societal challenge, Elizabeth Boskey, PhD, American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) certified sexuality educator, told Health.

"However, those who use androsexual to describe their orientation may be faced with a constant need to answer questions about what it means," explained Boskey. "If they are sexual or gender minorities, they may also face homophobia or transphobia related to their attraction to men."

Challenges can also vary depending on an androsexual individual's relationships. It may be possible for someone who is androsexual and in a same-sex relationship to face different or more challenges than someone else in an opposite-sex relationship.

For example, although same-sex relationships can be more egalitarian (i.e., more equal), each partner could still experience issues (e.g., discrimination) related to their sexual identity.

There's also the possibility that individuals who identify as androsexual may face health disparities that have affected the LGBTQIA+ community as a whole, including higher rates of:

  • Mental health conditions (e.g., depression)
  • Physical health conditions (e.g., heart disease)
  • Self-harm or suicide
  • Substance abuse

Why Is It Important To Be Familiar With All Sexual Orientation Labels?

Aside from the fact that you or your loved one might identify as androsexual (or another sexual orientation altogether), a wider acceptance of the fact that human sexuality takes numerous forms is crucial to help reduce stigma.

"Shame grows in silence when we can't name something when we literally do not have the words to talk about it," said Fram. "As the world expands its understanding of the flexibility of human sexuality and the beautiful diversity of how, to whom, and when people experience attraction, our vocabulary expands by necessity."

Of course, labels don't work for everyone. But for those who find comfort in labels for their sexual orientation, hitting upon one that feels just right can be transformative. "It can help you feel more comfortable sharing your full self with others," said Fram. "A 'just right' label can help people find community and feel a true sense of belonging."

A Quick Review

Androsexuality is a sexual identity in which a person is attracted to masculinity. This identity does not focus on the sex or gender of the person who identifies as androsexual or the people they may be attracted to.

Androsexual individuals can face different challenges related to their identity, both personally and in relation to others. With that in mind, it's crucial for others to not only become familiar with androsexuality but with other sexual and gender identities to reduce any stigmas that can occur with any identity.

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5 Sources
Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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