A More Nuanced Language for Love

We need to develop a language of love that fits our actions of love. A language where we are able to talk about all the nuances, distinguish different emotions, describe our desires, the lust we feel, our sexual passions and our ideals about love.

The way things work now is that we talk about love in one way and act in another.

We talk about love as if there is one ideal model of romantic monogamy with the love of our life for the entire life and where infidelity is seen as the biggest threat.

Our actions show that we change partners over a lifetime, we have periods of monogamy and periods with more partners. And some people have periods where they have one partner officially and other partners secretly. We call it infidelity. Sometimes it rips relationships apart. Other times it doesn’t.

We need more precise words to describe all of this and the many more activities within sex and love.

Young people are developing elements for such a new language. I think it is very interesting, so I would like to draw your attention to it. First, there are four basic definitions and then some labels that use the definitions to describe love and sex between people in more detail. I would like to underline that people may be part of a number of categories and people may also drift between the categories.

This list of definitions and labels illustrate a number of the many layers and parameters which make up our feelings and desires. The labels are constantly being revised and updated in different LGBT+ communities. Feel free to find more details on the internet. The below list is not exhaustive. See sources below.


  • Sex is what you have between your legs
  • Gender is what you identify with
  • Sexuality is who you would like to have sex with
  • Romantic attraction is who you would like to have a romantic relationship with

Hereby follows different categories – feel free to use them respectfully:


Heterosexual: Male-identifying individual sexually attracted to a female-identifying individual, and vice-versa.

Homosexual: Someone attracted to someone of the same gender as themselves.

Bisexual: Sexually attracted to two or more genders.

Polysexual: Sexually attracted to many genders, but not all.

Pansexual: Sexually attracted to all genders. (this and bisexual, and sometimes polysexual, are often considered to be the same thing and different people may simply identify as any one of them due to their own personal reasons)

Demisexual: Sexually attracted to people only after forming a bond with them first.

Asexual: Having no /sexual attraction/ to others;


Heteroromantic: Male-identifying individual romantically attracted to female-identifying individuals, and vice-versa.

Homoromantic: Attracted romantically to the same gender.

Biromantic: Attracted romantically to two or more genders

Polyromantic: Attracted to many genders (but not all)

Panromantic: Attracted romantically to all genders

Demiromantic: Romantically attracted to people only after forming a bond with them first.

Aromantic: Having no /romantic attraction/ to others; having no desire to be in a romantic relationship.

Polyamorous: Someone who is attracted to, and is comfortable with being in a relationship with more than one person at a time.


Transexual/Transgender (Term depending on generation and location): An individual who identifies as a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth to be. Often shortened to trans

Cisgender: Someone who identifies as the gender that they were assigned as at birth. (ex. matches their birth certificate) Often shortened to cis

Intersex (used to be know as hermaphrodite, but that is now considered a slur): Someone who has ambiguous genitalia that doesn’t fit into our strict dichotomy of uterus or testes. Often forced into surgery to correct their genitals at a very young age, causing psychological and physical harm later in life

Nonbinary: Outside of the gender binary of male and female. (Can be used as an umbrella term or as its own identity)

Genderqueer: Outside of the gender binary.

Agender: Someone who feels gender neutral, or someone who experiences a ‘lack’ of gender.

Bigender: Someone who identifies as two separate genders.

Trigender: Someone who identifies as three separate genders.

Genderfluid: A gender that changes, or is ‘fluid’.

Demigirl: Identifying partially as a woman, but not wholly.

Demiboy/guy: Identifying partially as a man, but not wholly.

Dmab: Designated Male at Birth.

Dfab: Designated Female at Birth.

Amab/Afab: Same as dmab/dmab, except with ‘assigned’ instead of ‘designated’.

Camab/Cafab: Same as previous, except prefixed by ‘coercively’, to highlight the lack of choice.

(Sources for the labels:
http://warfstache-trash.tumblr.com/post/49270538710/sexualities-and-other-terms-one-should-know – this is the original list
http://distinctlydottyaura.tumblr.com/post/96195059703/sexualitiesgenders-and-other-terms-one-should – a revision of the list made by the same person, then reblogged by somebody else.)

We need a more detailed and nuanced language of love so we can ensure the best conditions for this precious element between people called love to flourish.


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