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What Is Skoliosexual and the Controversy Associated With It?

What is Skoliosexual?

The term skoliosexual is used to refer to people who are attracted to people who identify as transgender, non-binary, or anything other than cisgender. According to one source, it is believed that this term is not that new and actually dates back to 2010, and it has been primarily used within the LGBTQIA communities, along with on websites like Reddit and Tumblr.(1, 2, 3) It is important to be clear that skoliosexual is a sexual orientation that is different from when a cisgender person objectifies or fetishizes non-binary and transgender people. And most of the time, a person who identifies as skoliosexual turns out to be non-binary or trans themselves (4, 5) Just to be clear with the meanings of these terms, a transgender person is someone who has a different gender identity than the one that they were born with or assigned to them at the time of birth. On the other hand, non-binary refers to someone who does not identify only as a woman or a man. It is possible that they identify as multiple genders, another gender than the one they were born as, or no gender at all.(6, 7, 8, 9)

What is Skoliosexual?

Controversy Over Skoliosexual – What Is The Exact Meaning Of The Term?

The big controversy over the term skoliosexual is that there is a huge debate over what it means. Ultimately, the fact is that skoliosexual means different things to different people. While some define skoliosexuals as people who are only attracted to non-binary people, others feel it defines someone who is attracted to anyone who is not cisgender. Now, what does cisgender mean? The term cisgender refers to people who identify with the same gender that they were assigned at birth, meaning the sex they were born with.(10, 11, 12, 13)

Still, others feel that skoliosexual as a sexual identity can also include cisgender people who are genderqueer in their expressions. This means that skoliosexual should also include people who do not conform to any gender expectations. For example, many cisgender men can wear makeup and skirts, while many cisgender women can wear men’s clothes.

In fact, skoliosexual people might even be attracted to people who are unsure of or experiment with different gender norms regardless of whether they are cisgender or not.

Controversy Over Skoliosexual – Is The Term Even Needed?

Another controversy over skoliosexual is that many people are of the belief that the term skoliosexual is actually not needed. For example, many people feel that it is not right to define attraction of any type based on whether a person is cisgender. In fact, if you see, most terms for a person’s sexual orientation are based on their gender and not on whether they were assigned that particular gender at the time of birth.

Since transgender men are men and trans women are women, it is not right to define them based on being transgender rather than on their gender. Others have also pointed out that skoliosexual is a label that is usually used by people who objectify or fetishize transgender people in a rather dehumanizing way. While not everyone who identifies as being skoliosexual fetishizes transgender people, and of course, many skoliosexual people are transgender themselves, many do not like this label as they want to actively avoid this negative identification.

Controversy Over Skoliosexual – Preference For Other Terms To Describe Their Sexual Identity

The prefix skolio is actually derived from the Greek word that means crooked, bent, or divergent. It is also the root of the word scoliosis, which is a medical condition in which the spine bends or curves abnormally, causing a lot of pain, physical deformity, and other challenges.

So when this prefix is applied to people, it can sound like the term is portraying non-binary and transgender people as being crooked, which again has a negative connotation. Due to this, many people prefer to use words like allotroposexual or ceterosexual over skoliosexual.

Allotroposexual uses the prefix allotropo, which is close to the Greek words for a mode of life and different. This prefix, therefore, has a much less negative connotation.

On the other hand, the term ceterosexual has its origins in Latin and means sexual attraction to someone who is non-binary.(14, 15, 16, 17)

There is also the possibility that many people who are primarily attracted to non-binary and transgender people might not use the skoliosexual term at all. They may not choose to use any term to label their sexual identity. Labels like skoliosexual can help some people identify with a community, and it also makes them feel less alone.

Putting a name to your sexual identity helps you feel validated, and it can help you better describe yourself and your feelings. However, for many people, such labels are unnecessary, and they may even find them to be restrictive. Remember that regardless of how you describe it, your orientation, sexuality, and identity are absolutely valid.


It can be a difficult decision if and how you want to label your sexual orientation. However, the language you use to describe your orientation is something that is solely yours. Nobody can impose a label on you, and neither should they tell you that your feelings and orientation are invalid, inferior, or wrong. So no matter who you are attracted to, regardless of whether you identify as a skoliosexual or not, what is essential is that you are free to describe yourself as you see fit and to practice safe sex if you are sexually active.


  1. Hall, W.J., 2019. Sexual orientation. In Encyclopedia of Social Work.
  2. Rovira, I., Sexual Orientation: A Definition And The 13 Main Types People often confuse sexual orientation and gender identity, so here we define these two terms.
  3. GENDERQUEER AND NON-BINARY IDENTITIES. 2022. GENDERQUEER AND NON-BINARY IDENTITIES. [online] Available at: <https://genderqueerid.com/post/16339992032/skoliosexual-adj> [Accessed 20 April 2022].
  4. Aultman, B., 2014. Cisgender. TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, 1(1-2), pp.61-62.
  5. Cava, P., 2016. Cisgender and cissexual. The Wiley Blackwell encyclopedia of gender and sexuality studies, pp.1-4.
  6. Feldman, J. and Bockting, W., 2003. Transgender health. Minnesota Medicine, 86(7), pp.25-32.
  7. Winter, S., Diamond, M., Green, J., Karasic, D., Reed, T., Whittle, S. and Wylie, K., 2016. Transgender people: health at the margins of society. The Lancet, 388(10042), pp.390-400.
  8. Matsuno, E. and Budge, S.L., 2017. Non-binary/genderqueer identities: A critical review of the literature. Current Sexual Health Reports, 9(3), pp.116-120.
  9. Monro, S., 2019. Non-binary and genderqueer: An overview of the field. International Journal of Transgenderism, 20(2-3), pp.126-131.
  10. Hacking, I., 2002. How” natural” are” kinds” of sexual orientation?. Law and Philosophy, pp.95-107.
  11. Diamond, L.M., 2003. What does sexual orientation orient? A biobehavioral model distinguishing romantic love and sexual desire. Psychological review, 110(1), p.173.
  12. Diamond, L.M., 2006. What We Got Wrong About Sexual Identity Development: Unexpected Findings From a Longitudinal Study of Young Women.
  13. Rovira, I., 2022. Sexual Orientation: A Definition And The 13 Main Types. [online] Healthy Way Mag. Available at: <https://healthywaymag.com/relationships/sexual-orientation> [Accessed 20 April 2022].
  14. Schsafespace.org. 2022. Non-Binary Identity Information – Schenectady Safe Space – Growing, Together!. [online] Available at: <http://schsafespace.org/?page_id=132> [Accessed 20 April 2022].
  15. Francis, S., 2020. Sexual fluidity behind culture. In Cultural Differences and the Practice of Sexual Medicine (pp. 115-132). Springer, Cham.
  16. Paasonen, S. and Spišák, S., 2018. Malleable identities, leaky taxonomies: The matter of sexual flexibility. Sexualities, 21(8), pp.1374-1378.
  17. LGBT Encyclopedia Wikia. 2022. Ceterosexuality. [online] Available at: <https://rainbowpedia.fandom.com/wiki/Ceterosexuality> [Accessed 20 April 2022].
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 3, 2022

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