The feminine mystique is something that has been documented for centuries. Song writers and poets have written about the many feminine virtues that drive men to their death. Artists have spent hours recreating the female form in all of her goddess-like appearance. There’s just something about women or rather, femininity, that is so worthy of adoration. Which could be why gynesexual exist. Being attracted to femaleness in all forms is not so unusual or even hard to understand. Women are awesome. But being gynesexual is more than respecting women or finding them attractive. Gynesexual people come in all sizes, shapes, and genders. So, what does it mean to be gynesexual and how do you know if you are?
What Is Gynesexual?
Gynesexual, also spelled gynosexual, refers to people, both men, women, and nonbinary, who are attracted to femininity. That means a gynesexual person is attracted to any person that expresses female energy or characteristics, regardless of their gender. Gynesexuality is not a gender but a sexual orientation. Meaning, a gynesexual can also identify as a female, male, or nonbinary.
Gynesexual is also sometimes called gynophilia, or gynephilia, is of Greek origin. Gyne, meaning wife, and philia, meaning affectionate love. Gynesexual and gynophilia are often used interchangeably. But some people believe there is a difference between the two terms. Some people think that gynesexuality refers to only sexual attraction to femineity while gynophilia refers to the romantic attraction. Meaning a person could be physically attracted to a feminine person but not necessarily want a romantic relationship with them.
Who Can Be Gynesexual?
Technically, anyone can be gynesexual. Being gynesexual is not limited to one gender or sexual orientation. You can consider yourself male, female, straight, gay, or lesbian and also be gynesexual. Typically, gynesexual is used to describe nonbinary people who were born biologically female. Nonbinary is a term used to describe individuals who do not identify with being either male or female. They may identify with both genders or feel removed from both terms completely. A biological woman who identifies as nonbinary and is attracted to women may prefer to call themselves gynesexual over lesbian. Lesbian refers to cisgender women who are attracted to other cisgender women. So, for a nonbinary person, gynesexual is a more fitting term to describe their identity.
What Makes You Gynosexual?
Someone who identifies with being gynesexual may be attracted to the physical characteristics of femininity. Such as breasts, long hair, curves, or genitalia. However, it could also mean they are attracted to the non-physical aspects of femininity. That might include style of dress, higher pitch voice, mannerisms, or attitude. Because of these distinctions, gynesexual means different things for different people. While for some people identifying as gynesexual is not dependent on genitalia or biological sex, it might be for others. A person may be gynesexual in that they are only attracted to feminine women with female genitalia. But not attracted to masculine women with female genitalia. Others may describe their gynephilia orientation as being attracted to feminine qualities in both men, women, and transgender women. For these people, genitalia is not what they consider feminine.
Femininity Means Different Things to Different People
Where gynesexuality (and sexuality in general) gets confusing is how different people describe what femininity means to them. What does it mean to be feminine versus masculine? Society and culture can greatly influence what our ideas of femininity and masculinity are. In the past, certain interests or ways of dress would have been considered masculine for a woman that’s not considered masculine today. For example, a woman who enjoys working on cars or wearing jeans over dresses does not mean she identifies with being masculine. But why is it that only men should like cars and get to wear jeans? While there are certainly “masculine” women who may also enjoy these things, there are plenty of “feminine” women who enjoy these things as well.
Basically, it’s confusing. But there are often qualities that are universally perceived as feminine. Some of these qualities may include gracefulness, gentleness, and emotional expressiveness. That’s not to say every woman identifies with these traits, but they are universally perceived as being feminine in nature. Sometimes these traits may be understood universally as being part of the “feminine energy”. Feminine energy is tied to creative expression, tapping into natural instincts, “going with the flow”, and expressing emotions. “Masculine energy” is tied to practicality, assertiveness, or hard work. Every person has masculine and feminine energy to some degree as these traits are not gender specific. But some people may identify with their masculine or feminine energy more so than the other. People who are gynesexual may be more attracted to people who express more feminine energy over those with more masculine energy.
Does Being Gynosexual Make You Lesbian?
If you are a cisgender woman, you can be both gynesexual and a lesbian or gynesexual without being lesbian. What that means is, you can be a lesbian woman who is attracted to feminine biological women, but not masculine women or feminine men. In that case, you are both gynesexual and a lesbian because you are only attracted to cisgender women. But you can also be a gynesexual woman who is attracted to female qualities in men and not women. Meaning, you are attracted to more feminine men but not females.
Physical Attraction Versus Romantic Attraction
Another confusing topic to cover is the idea of physical attraction versus romantic attraction to femininity. As mentioned earlier, the term gynesexual refers more to the physical or sexual attraction to femininity while gynephilia refers to the romantic attraction to femaleness. It is possible to be both a heterosexual cisgender woman and gynesexual. For instance, you might find female physical traits such as breasts or curves attractive. But the idea of being in a romantic relationship with a woman who has them doesn’t entice you.
Sexually you may get turned on at the idea of sex with a woman or simply enjoy looking at the female form. Romantically, though, you have no interest. In such a case you are gynesexual but not lesbian or even bi-curious. As it turns out, straight women being attracted to other women is not such an anomaly. In one study, more than half of straight women admitted to having sexual thoughts about other women. But these women did not identify as being lesbian or even bisexual. So, what’s the deal? Well, many of these women may be gynesexual. Human sexuality is complex. The bottom line is that you are entitled to like what you like and identify how you see fit.
Does Being Gynosexual Make You Gay?
Gynosexuality is not tied to gender or biological sex. If you are a gynesexual or gynephilia, you are attracted to femininity in itself. A cisgender man who considers himself heterosexual can be gynesexual if he is attracted to both cisgender women and transgender women. Why? Because he is attracted to femininity and gender expression is not always tied to biological sex. So, a man attracted to a transgender woman is not gay, he’s gynesexual. But a homosexual man could also be considered gynesexual if he is attracted to feminine men.
Sexuality Is Complex
There’s no rule book for how you should approach gynesexuality. Human sexuality is complex and much more fluid than previous generations would have thought. Fortunately, we live in a time and place where people are free to express themselves how they see fit. Modern culture is just now beginning to be open minded about how people identify sexually and spiritually. We as a generation are more understanding of the concept that love is love. Why should it matter who we choose to date? If you’re not hurting anybody, your sexual relationships are your business and not for anyone to judge.
Sexuality is a spectrum that’s not clearly defined. We all fall somewhere on the spectrum. Having multiple terms to describe our sexuality beyond heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual is empowering for many people who never quite fit into either term. Defining yourself as gynesexual may help you better understand your sexual or romantic desires. It may also make it easier for others to understand your preferences as well. But how you define your gynesexuality is specific to you. You might consider yourself a straight woman, but find that the female form is a turn-on for you. Whether you act on your sexual desires doesn’t matter. It’s just a way for you to better understand yourself and your sexuality.
How to Explore Gynosexuality
Do you think you may be gynesexual? If you’re not sure, ask yourself some questions. What qualities do you find sexually appealing in others? What kind of behaviors or mannerisms do you find attractive? What physical traits are a turn-on for you? Don’t be afraid to answer these questions truthfully and honestly. Remember, you don’t have to tell anybody about your sexuality until you are ready to. You may be unsure of your sexuality until you explore your sexual interests more. Don’t let anybody, including yourself, stick you into a box. Discovering your identity and experimenting with your sexuality is a personal issue and not easily or readily defined.
For example, if you’re a cisgender woman who once had a sex fantasy about a woman, that doesn’t automatically make you a lesbian. It doesn’t automatically make you a gynesexual either. Humans, like sexuality, are complex. We have rambling imaginations and wild fantasies that don’t necessarily correspond with who we truly are. Fantasies are fantasies, not real life. Sometimes we fantasize about things we don’t truly wish to happen, we just like thinking about it.
Are You Gynesexual?
The only way to truly know if you’re gynesexual is to do the inner work and delve into your consistent thoughts and feelings. It may help for you to talk to someone, such as a professional therapist, about how you feel. Talking to a therapist or someone you trust may be especially helpful if not understanding your sexuality is becoming a source of frustration or upset for you. Many families from various cultures hold old school views on sexuality. If you are from a family or social circle that is not accepting of sexuality beyond heterosexuality, you may not know how to process your sexual desires. You may feel ashamed of your desires and therefore reluctant to express or explore them. Speaking with an open-minded person may help you to determine whether you are gynesexual or identify with another sexual orientation.
If you are open to the idea of experimenting with your gynesexual attraction, incorporate it into your dating life. Try dating someone you are attracted to, regardless of their gender expression or sex. Experimenting with your gynesexuality may help you to understand what you like or don’t like. For example, maybe you are a straight woman who has been having consistent thoughts about being sexual with another woman. Why not try dating women to see how you really feel about being sexually or romantically involved with one? You may find that you enjoy it immensely, or that you prefer to fantasize about it rather than act on it. Either way, at least you will know. But of course, let the people you date understand that you are experimenting with your sexuality. Dating is not totally separate from feelings. It is unfair to date someone knowing you have no intention of, or can’t reciprocate feelings.
Helping Your Loved Ones Understand Gynosexuality
Coming out as gynesexual to your friends and family is a personal decision. It’s no one’s business (except the people you date) what your sexual orientation is. You are free to be whoever you want to be. But it’s only natural that we want to share parts of our lives with the people we love. At some point, your sexuality may come up. Especially if you date someone whom your family did not associate with your sexual orientation. Opening up to your loved ones about your sexuality might be a difficult conversation for some. But there are a few ways you can try explaining it to them that make it easier.
Have a Conversation About Sexuality
Not all people are open-minded or understanding about the sexuality spectrum. Oftentimes this is because people don’t understand it. They may have a more rigid mindset because of the way they were raised or the culture they’re from. But that doesn’t mean they can’t change their mind once they are better informed. Explain to your loved ones that human sexuality is complex. Let them know that there is nothing shameful or wrong about experimenting with sexuality. It’s human nature. Teach them about what it means to be gynesexual as well as what it means for you.
Your Sexuality Doesn’t Change Who You Are
Assure them that your sexuality doesn’t change who you are. You are still the same person regardless of who you want to date. You are still the same friend, sister, brother, daughter, son, etc. Your sexual orientation doesn’t define who you are as a person. Being gynesexual simply expresses your sexuality. Let your loved ones know that their relationship with you won’t change because you will be dating people that don’t conform to the idea of who they thought you were.
Accept Their Opinion
It can be frustrating and hurtful to have loved ones who can’t accept your sexuality. Unfortunately, many people in the LGBT community have experienced trauma from ignorant family members and friends who couldn’t accept their sexual identity. It’s sad that there are people who would discriminate against another person for who they choose to love or date. But these people exist and won’t change unless they want to.
You will save yourself from much pain, frustration, and anger by accepting your loved one’s decision to not accept you. Rather than fighting for their approval or trying incessantly to change their mind. Understand that people are who they are. It will be harmful for your family to not approve of your sexuality. But you must do what is best for you and continue to live your truth. After all, friends are the family you choose. If your blood relatives can’t accept you for who you are, there are plenty of other people who will.
Defining yourself as gynesexual may be a welcome term for those of you who don’t identify with being straight, gay, or bisexual. It may also be reassuring to some women who do define themselves as straight but didn’t understand their attraction to other women. There is nothing wrong or shameful in liking what you like. The human sexuality spectrum is broad and nowhere near clearly defined. Who you are attracted to is nobody’s business but your own. Love is love and sexual attraction is sexual attraction. Never be ashamed to be who you are and live your most authentic life.