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Are you an androsexual? Everything you need to know

Robyn Exton

Jun 30, 2023

Are you an androsexual? Everything you need to know

Okay, tell me if this sounds familiar: you’re watching your favorite tv show, and that dashing, I-hope-she’s-queer (or obviously-she’s-queer) tomboy appears on the screen, breaking a few hearts while being effortlessly swoon-worthy. You know she’s trouble and that, morally, you shouldn’t cheer her on, but… damn, she just looks so fine with her messy dyke hair and sheer Hanes tank top. 

Maybe you’re actually just rewatching The L Word, ogling Shane as she spends so many seasons trying to do right by her tribe (and never quite getting there). I wouldn’t blame you – even researching for this article, I watched a clip of Katherine Moenig in her new role in Grown-ish, and sh*t, I’m embarrassed by how much my heart fluttered (I’m being polite). 

If Shane’s not your thing, maybe Kristen Stewart post-Twilight years is? I mean, thirst trap much?? I’m more into femmes myself, but even this picture makes me feel things.

Androsexual Kristen Stewart looking like a thirst trap hottie with short blond hair and a leather jacket slung over her left shoulder

Source: Pxfuel

If any of this rings a bell, I’d like to cordially welcome you into the (fairly steamy) world of androsexual, where your babes are probably butchy, and your make-out partners are masculine. Read on as we break it all down. 

What is the meaning of androsexual? 

“Androsexual” is a label used to describe a person’s attraction to masculinity. Androsexuality, sometimes “androphilia,” is different from other sexual identities because it focuses on the desire for masculine qualities rather than exclusively the male gender. It’s also unique in that andro can be used by anyone who feels this attraction, regardless of how they describe their own gender or sexual identities. 

That makes it relevant for cisgender heterosexual women and cis gay men to use the term alongside trans, pan, or any other cuties attracted to masculine people. However, the expansion of androsexuality beyond fixed gender labels for either the attractor or the attracted specifically gives freedom to nonbinary, gender-fluid, and agender folks to express and experience this attraction as well.

If you’re still exploring your gender and/or sexual labels (or are an amazing ally who knows someone who is, or, heck, you’re actually very sure of who you are) and you also like to get down with some sexy masculine hotties, androsexual might be a great word for you. 

Does androsexuality mean more than one thing? 

Androsexual most often describes someone’s attraction to people with masculine energy and presentation, regardless of whether that person has male anatomy or identifies as male. 

The thing is that, in the context of our shimmering, evolving rainbow, even this definition remains under debate. 

Some people say, as I’ve said until now, that androsexuality is the attraction to masculinity. But others have used the label to express an attraction to penises, perhaps because of their association with the “andro-” prefix. 

The term “mansexual” (or “masexual”) was created to inclusively and specifically reflect that desire – and to make a distinction between the attraction to penises and masculinity (which, in personal experience, don’t always overlap).   

Another definition of androsexual presents an attraction to nonbinary individuals, who may be more masculine, feminine, both, or neither – or an attraction to androgynous folks, for whom both or neither masculine and feminine may apply more. 

Being nonbinary may be, but isn’t necessarily, the same as being androgynous, and vice versa. Obviously, this meaning of androsexual is very different from the other, so the very best way to know what andro means for anybody is to ask them yourself! 😀

Queer couple with androsexual partner smiling and embracing in nature

Source: Healthline

The history of androsexuality

“Androsexual” as an official term first surfaced in a 1997 UseNet post by Starchild0 as part of the journey of her sexuality after transitioning as a woman. She needed a way to experience her attractions outside the narrower definitions of existing orientations while understanding her identity. 

More than a decade later, in 2014, the word appeared in Urban Dictionary, a few years before its feminine counterpart, gynesexual. 

If you were curious, the word “androsexual” comes from the Greek prefix “andro-,” meaning “man.” That’s right, being androsexual literally then means being “mansexual” – no wonder we actually proposed “mansexual” itself as a new term even more recently to declare exactly that! (At least we’re being honest.) 

The interchangeably-used “androphilia” also has the suffix “-philia,” which means “love of” – so, “love of men.”

How is androsexuality similar and different from other orientations?

Androsexuality, homosexuality, and heterosexuality are all legitimate and distinct identities for experiencing sexuality and desire. However, they don’t all function in exactly the same way. Where labels like homo- and heterosexual rely on clarified genders, others, like androsexual and gynesexual, focus on the sparkles of the chemistry in between. 

Let’s see how andro compares to some of the most common orientations you may know!

Androsexuality and Homosexuality

The main difference between androsexual and homosexual is that while each are sexual orientations, androsexual offers an expression of sexuality and attraction beyond a defined gender identity. Being “androsexual” speaks exclusively about your attraction to masculinity and male characteristics, such as style, mannerisms, way of speaking or talking, etc., regardless of your own, or your eye candy’s, gender (or lack thereof). 

Being “homosexual,” on the other hand, requires clearer gender labels, more traditionally expressing your hots, as a man, for other men. In relation to masculine attraction, homosexuality, therefore, is not applicable to nonbinary people and women.

Since gender and/or sexuality labels aren’t always so straightforward to understand, identify, and apply for ourselves, androsexual is one that allows you to move ahead in defining your desires wherever you are in exploring the big picture of your identities.

Androsexuality and Heterosexuality

Androsexuality has a similar relationship to heterosexuality as it does to homosexuality. Both are sexual identities, but, again, androsexuality allows a broader and more inclusive identity for those experiencing attraction than heterosexuality does. 

Heterosexuality describes when a person is attracted to the opposite gender; in the case of male/masculine, that would apply to women, either cisgender or trans, to men. To call yourself androsexual, you need only a healthy attraction to the masculine, whether that’s in men, masculine women, or anyone else you’re seeing.

Androsexual cutie combing their blue hair

Source: Medical News Today

Androsexuality and Bisexuality

The relationship between androsexuality and bisexuality is a bit more spacious than it is for homo- and heterosexuality. While claiming bisexuality does suggest that you and your lovers have more specific gender labels, you can be bisexual by having a) both homosexual and heterosexual attractions and/or b) both androsexual and gynesexual attractions. 

There are several layers to attraction – sexual, romantic, and/or aesthetics-based – and androsexuality may run as a compatible aspect parallel to your bisexual desires or straight up as one half of (at least) two in your “bi” glory.

Similar to before, this second experience of andro-bisexuality doesn’t reference your own gender at all, though it could for those you are attracted to. Because of this, it is a way to more clearly define your attraction directions when your gender is deliberately or accidentally unclear.

Androsexuality and Gynesexuality

Where androsexual indicates an attraction to masculinity, gynesexual is its counterpart in indicating an attraction to femininity. Like androsexuality, gynesexuality broadly, and inclusively expresses desire while staying away from any gender labels that may feel limiting for some caught up in those attractions.

Also, like with androsexuality, there can be varied interpretations as to what gynesexual means – ranging from the straight-up interest in vaginas to a love of women to admiration and fascination with femininity in, as they say, any human being with a pulse.

From the mouths of androsexual babes

I think there’s no better way to learn about the andro experience than directly from awesome andro babes themselves. Here’s what a few had to say: 

“I experience both heterosexual and homosexual attractions and both androsexual and gynosexual attractions. When I am hot for actual men, that is straight; for actual women, that is gay. Except that the part of me who remembers being a teenager who was afraid maybe she was a gay boy now likes to wallow in that [feeling], so sometimes it is liberating to feel like a gay boy as well, in a “reclaim the fears” kind of way? I used to say I was gay for all genders, but then I dated a man in a way that felt validating as a woman because of how straight it felt.

Then, I got into the FLINTA party scene and met AFAB [assigned female gender at birth] andro butches and found them hot and discovered a new kind of gay (lesbian) attraction to andro presentation. Buzzcut women who are taller than me and will wrestle me into submission. So several kinds of each?

In any case, during my journey of self-discovery, there were times when I had no word for my own gender because I did not yet feel I dared to claim I was a woman, but knew I could not bear being a man. To describe how I liked women versus men then, conceptualizing those attractions as “gynosexual” vs. “androsexual” was useful for me. These days, eh? As Abigail Thorn put it [in her] coming out as queer: “You´re just my type! You´ve got a pulse, and you´re breathing!” I guess?” – S.

Tweet from user @MepperthePepper with a caption that reads, “Happy #NationalComingOutDay! Proud to be a part of such a positive and supportive community! Recently discovered I’m androsexual, which means I’m attracted to masculinity. I’m just not attracted to those who are hyper-feminine. 💗🌈”

Source: Twitter

Challenges of androsexual visibility

The term “androsexual” is relatively new, which means its interpretation still varies among those who use it and that it’s mostly still unknown outside of andro-identifying circles. If you’re actively declaring your androsexuality, it’s possible that: 

  • You’ll need to explain yourself often
  • People might not take it seriously as a legitimate orientation
  • People will make assumptions, or have expectations, about your subsequent hetero- or homosexuality (which may not exist)

While we should all just respect one another and ask for clarification where we need it (and please, I hope you know well not to assume anything about anyone else), unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out like that. Even where people may be well-meaning, one challenge is that andro folks are “at risk” of being roped into homo or hetero camps – by others and ourselves – without enough awareness.

Here’s an example: if you are a sapphic who likes very andro butches, you are into a bunch of stuff that straight women are, just maybe not with people actually labeled “men.” Because of this, you may feel conflicted – does this somehow diminish your gayness, diminish you as a lesbian? Or does it make other people somehow project expectations of straightness onto you?

This could also be true for sapphic bisexuals. It may feel like your androsexuality risks erasing your sapphicness in the eyes of your lovers or wider society (or your own), because some people see it as a love of “men” rather than “masculinity, in any gender.” Since little is still known about androsexuality in the mainstream world, the experience of it may come with your own internal identity complexities, a sense of invisibility, or even discrimination from those who consider you to exist outside their communities.

Fortunately, these days, there are a growing number of inclusive communities (I really do respect HER as one of them) that make intentional space for more meaningful identities, like androsexuality, to be experienced and explored. Even if people still don’t understand this term in these communities, they’re very likely to listen and learn. 

Two other amazing organizations that offer resources and support for androsexual adults, young people, and allies are: 

A tweet with a caption that reads, “I’m a little skoliosexual n a lil androsexual. I just like masc trans people what can I say? But also I’m a transmasc person so doesn’t that just make me gay?” and a meme of a skeptical woman’s face

Source: Twitter

What does the androsexual flag look like?

It’s not clear where the flag came from exactly, but it’s believed to have been created by the same designer of the gynesexual flag. The basic androsexual flag is composed of light blue, brown, and lavender, which each carry their own meaning as follows: 

  • Light blue – attraction to men and/or masculinity
  • Brown – stability and support 
  • Lavender – attraction regardless of gender identity
The light blue, brown, and lavender androsexual flag

Source: LGBTQIA+ Wiki

FAQs about androsexuality

When should I use the term “androsexual”?

Androsexual is a great label to use if any of the following apply to you: 

  • You’re exploring and/or transitioning within your sexual and/or gender identities
  • You don’t have fixed, clear, and/or any gender and/or sexual labels
  • You don’t want to get into details, or talk at all, about your own identities but still express an attraction to masculinity
  • You’re attracted to men and/or masculine attributes

Also, as a general rule of thumb, the right time to call yourself an androsexual is whenever you feel like it!

Am I androsexual if I’m attracted to men and women? 

You absolutely can be! Being androsexual means being attracted to masculinity, whether that means a manly man or a butchy woman (or both!) to you. You can be attracted to men and women and be androsexual. You can also be attracted to men and women and not be androsexual. You might also be attracted to NEITHER men nor women (but instead, perhaps, to nonbinary or genderqueer or gender-fluid folks), and still be andro. 

You are who you determine yourself to be. If the people you get hot for tend towards the masculine side, I’d say, yeah, you very likely are androsexual 🙂 

I’m feeling conflicted about my sexuality… What does being androsexual look like?

First of all, as you explore who you are, perhaps also the person you want to be, remember that no identity and no label is forever. They can change as you do, so it may be that, at times, understanding your sexuality may not be so clear-cut. That’s completely okay, and that’s why inclusive terms like androsexual are here for liberation rather than constraint. 

That said, like any other identity, androsexual expression and identity are different for every person who labels themselves as such. Some androsexuals are solely attracted to men, others only masculine women, and still more to any and all combinations of gender identity. 

It’s also important to understand that there are multiple layers to attraction. Some or all of them may be true for you in your androsexuality: 

  • Sex and sexuality
  • Aesthetics/physical features
  • Romance

Perhaps you’re an androsexual bisexual who’s physically attracted to men (even the first to hop between the sheets with them), but only want long term relationships with masculine women or trans men. 

Androsexual can be used both to describe a purely sexual aspect of attraction or any of them but doesn’t set in stone how that manifests for each individual. Plus, it’s totally possible for someone to use other labels – like gynesexual, the attraction to feminine qualities – at the same time as calling themselves andro.

Handsome androsexual queer posing and being sexy on a red leather couch

Source: Gender Free World

Why is defining androsexuality important? 

The introduction of “androsexuality” to the LGBTQIA+ smorgasbord was an important move for making desire and sexuality independent from gender, which can definitely overlap but don’t always for all people. At this point, I think using androsexuality is necessary in order to: 

  • Be more inclusive about the language we use to describe ourselves and others
  • Create space for meaningful labels not based on mainstream gender norms
  • Explore the complexities of our sexualities with more precision and freedom

Alright, cuties, this is where we wrap up our journey into the rugged, brawny, and smoldering world of androsexual attraction, celebrating all people masculine and those who love them. Increased adoption of “androsexual” is a good reminder that gender and sexuality don’t always overlap as we might expect, and that orientation is much more expansive than a single definition.

Don’t forget that you are who you are the next time you’re rustling up your new lumberjack boo thang on HER or sharing about your fabulous queer life – never mind what anyone else says. 

Robyn Exton

Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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