“Sexual orientation” implies a spatial relationship. However, the commonly-used terms “heterosexual” and “homosexual” are relative terms that require locating the subject in gender space. It makes more sense to use fixed terms that refer only to the object of desire: androsexual for masculinity and gynosexual for femininity.* “Bisexual” implies binary gender – people who don’t have gender preferences are pansexual (the big circle in the diagram). And people who aren’t attracted to anyone are asexual.
The Klein Sexual Orientation Grid breaks a person’s orientation into five gender-dimensions:
- who are you attracted to?
- who do you connect with emotionally?
- who do you socialize with?
- who have you had sex with?
- who do you fantasize about?
I think the first three, sexual orientation, romantic orientation and social orientation are key identity characteristics. (Although one could go further and distinguish between romantic relationships, emotionally-intimate friendships and acquaintances, unless the confusion is intentional.) The same prefixes for sexual orientation apply. For example, this conveniently orients the term “asocial”.
* Note: Using “androphilic” and “gynophilic” mixes orientation and fetishes. It also legitimizes pedophilia: we’re intentionally using language to oppress pedophiles here.