Search icon


17th Feb 2022

What does it mean to be autosexual, and how do I know if I am?

Katy Brennan

Ever felt sexually attracted to yourself?

Being autosexual is something that’s rarely discussed – but it’s more common than we think.

Put simply, the term describes people who are more attracted to themselves than they are to other people.

Some may experience an intense sexual desire towards themselves, prefer masturbating over sex with a partner, and fantasise or dream about themselves sexually.

However, the self-attraction isn’t totally exclusive, as some autosexual people may also experience a sexual attraction towards others at times.

And while it’s nothing new, it’s only now starting to be understood.

Autosexuality gained attention recently when Kourtney Kardashian documented it on her lifestyle website, Poosh, arguing that “we all are [autosexual], at least a little”.

The word is originally said to have been coined by the late sex therapist Bernard Apfelbaum back in 1989, when discussing people who found it hard to become aroused by somebody else.

But now, it’s used more loosely to refer to people who are attracted to their own bodies, regardless of whether that’s all the time or just sometimes.

Recently, model Luana Sandien opened up about being autosexual and having no current interest in finding a partner.

“If I see myself in the mirror, I’m already excited,” she explained.

“Being autosexual, as I see it, is along the same lines as being an independent person. I found myself single – it’s the best thing a woman can do for herself.”

Coming out as autosexual last year, she said: “It means I’m attracted to myself. I always felt that way, I just didn’t know there was a name for it.

“There was always a part of me that thought it was weird – so it’s nice to have this statement that it’s normal. It’s nice to know I’m not crazy for it, or a massive narcissist, it’s something real that a lot of people experience.

“It was very important to find out that I’m not alone. As sexy as that may sound, and it is, it’s kind of self-love on steroids.”

It’s important to note that being autosexual is not the same as being narcissistic or egocentric.

Dr Jennifer McGowan of University College London previously outlined the differences in an interview with BBC, explaining that it’s important to make the distinction.

“Autosexuals are more comfortable sexually when in their own company, while narcissists crave attention,” she said.

“Autosexuality is also not likely to be associated with a lack of empathy or desire to give others pleasure – sexually or otherwise – but rather a preference towards a private and personal sexual experience.”

It also differs from asexuality, where people have no sexual arousal or desires. This is because autosexual people do have those feelings – they are just directed towards themselves instead.

So, how do you know if you’re autosexual?

One of the first signs is that you prefer masturbating to having sex – although this alone doesn’t really mean much. However, if you find you are fantasising about yourself while you’re masturbating or having sex, or that you like to look at yourself in a mirror while having sex – then you might just be autosexual.

And there’s nothing abnormal about it. As unusual as it might sound to some, experts say being autosexual is actually perfectly healthy and fairly common. In fact, you could say it’s actually quite empowering.

At the end of the day, sexuality is a spectrum and – even if the above resonates with you – whether or not you want to label yourself is entirely up to you.