Gynesexual - What is it? What does it mean?

Last Updated: 12/14/2021
5 min read
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Gynesexual flag

Gynesexuality, or gynosexuality, describes the sexual orientation of people who are attracted to femininity, feminine qualities, or someone who identifies as female. As opposed to, for example, someone who is homosexual or heterosexual, gynosexuality does not describe the gender identity of the person to whom sexual attraction is experienced, but rather their presentation. The Urban Dictionary has the following definition on its site: "Someone that is sexually attracted to feminine individuals, or woman, or people that “look” like a woman."


Table of contents

Terminology

The definition of gynosexuality is derived from the prefix "gyne," which is Ancient Greek for "woman," "feminine," or "female." Literally, then, the term gynesexual means someone who is sexually attracted to women, femininity, or females. This means that, for example, in contrast to a sexuality like gay, straight, or lesbian, this sexual orientation basically focuses on feminine presentation, rather than whether someone identifies as female. 

Who can be gynosexual?

This also means that anyone can be gynesexual, regardless of their gender. However, it should be noted that, for straight men, gynesexuality is not the same as being heterosexual. Conversely, for women, being gynesexual is not the same as being lesbian.

Similar terms

There are also a few other names for gynesexuality. Some of these have the same or similar definitions, others imply a slight difference. There are also other related terms. Here, we list a few examples.

Femsexual

Femsexual is a word that is not in use anymore. It used to be defined the same way gynesexual is now but its usage has been discontinued.

Gynophilia

Gynophilia, or gynephilia, is a contraction of the Ancient Greek  prefix"gyne" and "philia," meaning love. The term is defined on WebMD's website as "the love of femininity." The difference between gynesexual and gynephilia is that the former has a stronger physical and/or sexual association, whereas the latter refers only to romantic love and attraction.

Gyneromantic

Gyneromantic is the purely romantic version of gynesexual and is, as such, quite similar to gynephilia. The main difference between these two labels is that the scope of different kinds of love of gynephilia is broader than for gyneromantic.

Womasexual

Womasexual and womansexual describe the sexual attraction to women. As opposed to gynesexual, this does not include attraction to female-presenting individuals who do not identify as a woman. This word is often used by those attracted to women without wanting to connect their sexuality to their own gender by attaching a label like homosexual or bisexual. Womansexual can definitely be used to describe the attraction to trans women.

Androsexual, androphilia, androromantic, and masexual

Androsexuality, androphilia, androromance, and masexuality are the masculine/male counterparts to the four terms described above, respectively gynosexuality, gynophilia, gynoromantic, and womasexual.

History

The term gynesexual was created with non-binary, genderqueer, agender, transgender, or non-cis individuals in mind, in a search for more inclusive language. The intended underlying logic here is twofold.

Avoid referring to your own gender

Firstly, an individual can use gynesexual - and its masculine or male counterpart - to talk about an attraction to certain types of beauty without having to link that to their own gender. For instance, a non-binary person can express their attraction to women or female-presenting people without having to choose whether to call themselves lesbian, straight, or any other gender-assuming word.

Avoid referring to the other person's gender

The second reason why the term gynesexual was created is to talk about attraction to certain qualities, behaviour, or appearances that we associate with females, being female, or femininity, without the need for a person to also identify as female. As such, this definition allows for more flexibility in identifying who or what you are generally attracted to. For instance: if you are commonly attracted to - and search for - traditionally female anatomy, such as a person's breasts, which you associate with femininity, but you do not need the person to identify as female, saying that you are gynesexual can be an inclusive and attentive way of describing your attraction while respecting queer spaces. Concrete examples of when using gynesexual makes a clear difference include when you want to express attraction to women and include femboys, or to women but exclude butch lesbians or other women who portray masculinity.

Flags and Symbols

Despite an intensive search, it is unclear who designed the gynesexual flag. We do know, however, that the gynesexual flag consists of three colours that are each intended to symbolise a characteristic of note. The top layer of the gynesexual flag, pink, is taken from the trans flag, and represents attraction to women, and symbolises that trans women are women. The bottom layer, green, is taken from the genderqueer flag and symbolises attraction to femininity. The history of the term gynosexual in the genderqueer community are also referred to here. In between the two stripes is a lane of brown, which stands for stability and support. 

The gynesexual flag
Gynesexual flagGynesexual flag

Although there is a gynesexual flag, there is currently no universally used symbol for gynesexuality. Maybe you have any ideas?

Pronouns

Being gynosexual says something about your sexuality. As you probably know, gender and sexuality are not necessarily connected, and should not be seen as such. Anyone of any gender can be gynesexual, so there are no particular pronouns, just as there are no particular pronouns for bisexuality. It should, however, be noted that labels such as gynesexual and gyneromantic are often used by people who identify as non-binary or genderqueer, so to promote a healthy environment, always be mindful of which pronouns you use!

Am I gynosexual?

WebMD's site has three useful questions you can ask yourself in your search to figure out your sexuality and find out if you are gynesexual. These questions are:

  • What qualities do you find sexually appealing in other people?
  • What physical qualities attract you to someone? Are you attracted to the female anatomy?
  • What kinds of behaviour do you find appealing?

If all your answers refer to femininity without you caring what someone identifies as or was assigned at birth, this may be a strong suggestion you are gynosexual. Seek out help from a certified sexuality educator, or discuss it with trusted friends and/or family members to find out if the definition fits you well!

How to support someone who is gynosexual

The most important thing to keep in mind to help your friends or other loved ones who are gynosexual is to accept their orientation without questioning it. Since gynesexuality is not broadly known in society, gynesexual people often end up having to explain themselves. Avoid asking, for instance, to define the term, or how you can be attracted to the female anatomy but not to all women, or why they can be attracted to male, female-presenting individuals. Asking your friend about who they find attractive is, of course, fine if you think they are comfortable with sharing that with you, but don't expect them to educate you on things you do not know anything about, as it can be very damaging to a person's mental health, and significantly worsen someone's life. And remember! You can find the definition and its meaning to a person online! 

Of course, there are a few other ways to support your gynosexual friends: celebrate pride, hang the flag, speak out against homophobia wherever you see it, be an outspoken ally, and support the LGBT wherever you can!

These are some of the alternate versions of the gynosexual flag, along with related flags:

The original gynosexual flagThe original gynosexual flag

Alternate version of this flagAlternate version of this flag

Alternate gynesexual flag by ThatOneKnowsAlternate gynesexual flag by ThatOneKnows

Alternate gynesexual flag by QueerVexillologyAlternate gynesexual flag by QueerVexillology

Alternate gynesexual flag by ThunderBrineAlternate gynesexual flag by ThunderBrine

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