Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

2SLGBTQ+ Education Guide

A primer on 2SLGBTQ+ identities for the curious, questioning, teachers and allies, and a guide to further resources for research, assignments and interests.

Sexuality and Romance

What is the difference between sexuality and romance? 

"Attraction: There are many different types of attraction, including:

  • Sexual attraction: attraction that makes people desire sexual contact or shows sexual interest in another person(s).
  • Romantic attraction: attraction that makes people desire romantic contact or interaction with another person or persons.
  • Aesthetic attraction: occurs when someone appreciates the appearance or beauty of another person(s), disconnected from sexual or romantic attraction.
  • Sensual attraction: the desire to interact with others in a tactile, non-sexual way, such as through hugging or cuddling.
  • Emotional attraction: the desire to get to know someone, often as a result of their personality instead of their physicality. This type of attraction is present in most relationships from platonic friendships to romantic and sexual relationships.

Romantic Orientation  – Describes an individual’s pattern of romantic attraction based on a person’s gender(s) regardless of one’s sexual orientation. For individuals who experience sexual attraction, their sexual orientation and romantic orientation are often in alignment (i.e. they experience sexual attraction toward individuals of the same gender(s) as the individuals they are interested in forming romantic relationships with).

In understanding identities and attractions, it is important to remember that orientation and attraction do not necessarily define or predict behavior. This is another important reason why it is important to ask people how they identify, as you cannot assume you know someone’s identity based on their behavior. This also means that you cannot assume what types of relationships or behaviors a person will engage in simply by knowing how they identify." - UNC LGBTQ Center

See also the above section on Asexuality and Aromanticism.

What do pansexual and bisexual mean? 

"Pansexual: Used to describe people who are attracted to people of any gender or to people regardless of their gender. Some people may use the words bisexual and pansexual interchangeably, and others use only one word exclusively to describe themselves." - Trevor Project

"Pansexual: A person who is attracted to other people regardless of gender." - The 519

"Bisexual: A person who is attracted to people of more than one gender." -The 519

"Bisexual: Used to describe people who have the capacity to form attraction and/or relationships to more than one gender." - Trevor Project

The above definitions may appear similar, but the differences can matter to individual people. If you are unsure just use the terms people state.

It is also important to note that being bisexual or pansexual does not mean one is also polyamorous. Polyamory is about having/desiring multiple intimate relationships, while being bi/pansexual is being able to form intimate relationships with people of different gender presentations. One can be bisexual and monogamous, or be heterosexual and polyamorous.

What is asexuality? 

"Asexual: Someone who does not experience sexual attraction or an intrinsic desire to have sexual relationships (or the adjective describing a person as such)." Asexuality Visibility Education Network

"Asexuality is an orientation usually defined by a focus on romantic, aesthetic, spiritual, or physical intimacy, or on non-sexual friendship, rather than on sexual attraction or sexual intimacy. The asexual community is diverse and asexual people have a wide variety of experiences, but what most have in common is prioritizing other types of attraction and relationships over sexual ones." - Scarleteen

"It’s important to remember that asexuality is an umbrella term, and exists on a spectrum. Asexual people – also known as “Ace” or “Aces” – may have little interest in having sex, even though most desire emotionally intimate relationships. Within the ace community there are many ways for people to identify." - Trevor Project

What is aromanticism?

"An aromantic is a person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others. People identifying as aromantic can also experience romance in a way otherwise disconnected from normative societal expectations (for example due to feeling repulsed by romance, or being uninterested in romantic relationships.) Where alloromantic people have an emotional need to be with another person in a romantic relationship, aromantics are often satisfied with friendships and other non-romantic relationships. People anywhere on the sexual spectrum (sexual, asexual, grey-A, etc.) may be aromantic." - Asexuality Visibility Education Network Wiki

"Aromanticism exists on spectrum, and individual experiences vary from person to person. There’s no agreed-upon definition of what does or does not constitute romance. For example, some people might consider making out to be sexual, others might consider it romantic, and that can change depending on the circumstances.
A person who identifies as aromantic is still capable of other types of attraction, such as recognizing when a person is good-looking ― also known as aesthetic attraction. Aros aren’t cold or heartless either; in fact, they often feel familial and platonic love very strongly." - "What it Means to be Aromantic, According to Aromantic People" - Huffington Post

"In understanding identities and attractions, it is important to remember that orientation and attraction do not necessarily define or predict behavior. This is another important reason why it is important to ask people how they identify, as you cannot assume you know someone’s identity based on their behavior. This also means that you cannot assume what types of relationships or behaviors a person will engage in simply by knowing how they identify.

Sexual identities and romantic orientations are not linked and therefore a person could be asexual, aromantic, neither, or both asexual and aromantic." - UNC LGBTQ Center

What is polyamory?

"Being interested in or pursuing intimate relationships (emotional and/or sexual) with more than one person at the same time, in a consensual, open, informed setting.

People form and navigate poly[amorous] relationships in lots of different ways, but healthy poly relationships are generally characterized by respect, communication, and openness. Polyamory doesn't necessarily mean anything goes; many people in poly relationships have certain agreements or boundaries set with their partners; breaking those agreements can still be hurtful and damage a relationship just like breaking monogamy agreements can." - Scarleteen

"The practice, state or ability of having more than one intimate, sexual and/or romantic relationship at the same time." - The 519

It is also important to note that being bisexual or pansexual do mean one is also polyamorous. Polyamory is about having/desiring multiple intimate relationships, while being bi/pansexual is being able to form intimate relationships with people of different gender presentations. One can be bisexual and monogamous, or be heterosexual and polyamorous.

2SLGBTQ+ Glossary

A reminder that these definitions are not meant to be prescriptive, rather they are used by folks to help self-identify.

The terms will draw from the Trevor Project, The 519 and Scarleteen glossaries.

COMING SOON

COMING SOON