Skoliosexual is one of many different words people can use to describe their sexual orientation. The term refers to someone who is attracted to a person who identifies as non-binary, transgender, and in some cases, anyone who isn’t cisgender, says Carmel Jones, a sex and relationship coach at The Big Fling.
To be clear, this sexual orientation is different than when a cisgender person fetishizes or objectifies trans and non-binary people. And more often than not, someone who identifies as skoliosexual is trans or non-binary themselves, explains Marla Renee Stewart, sexpert for Lovers.
But first, let’s clear up why the term skoliosexual is actually not preferred terminology in the LGBTQ+ community.
Why Skoliosexual Is Not the Preferred Term
There is often debate in the LGBTQ+ community on whether skoliosexual is the right term for someone with this sexual preference. The reasoning being that is because skolio means “crooked” in Latin, explains Katherin Winnick, sex coach at LetsTalkSex.net.
When this term is used to describe someone’s sexual orientation, that could imply that it is “crooked” or not right to be attracted to a non-binary or transgender person.
Winnick confirms that the better term is ceterosexual, though other people might prefer to be identified as ceteromantic or allotroposexual.
Editor’s Note: Out of respect to the LGBTQ+ community and as a means to educate, we have decided to use the preferred term “ceterosexual” for the rest of the article.
The Difference Between Ceterosexual, Pansexual, and Bisexual
Someone who identifies as ceterosexual should not be confused with someone who identifies as pansexual. A pansexual person is attracted to another person for their personality, vibes, and energy–they don’t really focus on a person’s gender identity when they feel attracted to them. This means that someone who identifies as pansexual could be attracted to any gender identity. As we know, this is different than ceterosexuals who are most often attracted to people who have non-cisgender identities.
Another term that could be mixed up with ceterosexual is bisexual. Mainly because the term bi means two, so a person could think that because a ceterosexual is attracted to non-binary and trans people, it’s the same. However, when someone identifies as bisexual– though it comes in many forms–it usually means they are attracted to someone who is the same gender identity as they are. And for someone who is ceterosexual, this is not necessarily the case.
What Identifying as Ceterosexual Looks Like
There is no physical way to identify someone who is ceterosexual, says Jones. “To identify someone who is ceterosexual, you just have to keep your ears and mind open.” However, Winnick points out that “most ceterosexuals are transgender people” but even then, there are still those who are cisgender who can identity as ceterosexual.
This is often a touchy subject because trans people simply want others to be attracted to them for who they are not and not because they are trans.
So the only way to truly know if someone is ceterosexual is if they tell you themselves— though remember, they are not obligated to disclose that either. Their pronouns are also something you’ll have to ask, which is something nice to do for anyone, really.
How to Support Friends or Partners Who Identify as Ceterosexual
Supporting someone who identifies as ceterosexual comes down to acceptance. Jones explains that if you are really curious about how to be supportive, ask them how you can support them. Oh, and make sure you ask if they are even open to questions before doing so. (Google is always helpful to check out first.)
Another very important thing to remember is that you should never out anyone’s sexuality without their verbal enthusiastic consent. Winnick insists that you should “celebrate with them, listen to them, and support them like you would any other friend.”
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