Meaning Behind the Heterosexual Symbol

Heterosexual symbol
The heterosexual symbol is a combination of the symbol for male and female. Heterosexuality refers to people who are attracted to the opposite sex. For example, heterosexual women are attracted to heterosexual men, and vice versa.

Heterosexuality is a sexual attraction, romantic attraction, and sexual behavior between two people of opposite genders or sex. A heterosexual person feels attracted to another person of a different gender. 

Heterosexual is a relatively new term that came into being when there was something to compare it. However, the symbol of heterosexuality has been in use for a long time.  

What Is The Heterosexual Symbol?

The symbol of heterosexuals is old, dating way back to the most ancient artifacts. It was found commonly in primitive rock art and carvings for fertility rituals. 

The symbol came into use in polytheistic worship and fertility rites. It often included images of the reproductive organs of humans, such as the lingam symbol from Hinduism.  

The modern heterosexual symbols originate from European traditions and refer to traditional beliefs. The male symbol for the Roman god of war, Mars, is the distinct symbol of masculinity. The Venus symbol, the Roman goddess of beauty and love, is the primary symbol for the female gender and is traditionally associated with feminine characteristics.

When these two symbols are placed together, they are intended to indicate heterosexuality.

The Unicode character of the combined heterosexual symbol is ⚤ (U+26A4). There is also a heterosexual flag or straight pride flag that consists of alternate black and white stripes.

heterosexual symbol
When taken together, the sign for male (left) and female (right) are the symbol for heterosexuality.

What Does It Mean To Be A Heterosexual?

A heterosexual is a person who is either romantically attracted to or sexually-oriented toward other people who belong to the opposite gender. The prefix used in the term ‘hetero’ comes from the Greek word heteros, which means the additional, another, different, or second. 

It implies that a male will have a sexual or romantic inclination toward a female, and a female will have an attraction to a male. The term heterosexual is not merely meant for humans but also mammals. 

People also use terms like straight as a substitute for heterosexual or heteronormative to indicate heterosexuality as the preferred sexual orientation or a societal norm. 

There are three main sexual preferences or orientations – heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual. Sexual orientation is the personal quality that influences a person’s romantic and sexual feelings towards another person. 

Apart from that, asexuality is also another sexual identity in which people have little or no attraction toward anyone. 

heterosexual symbol
Heterosexual is when an adult is sexually attracted to adults of the opposite gender.

Is There A Difference Between Straight And Heterosexual?

In most cases, people use the terms straight and heterosexual interchangeably; however, they can mean different things. Some people also use the word heteroromantic in its place.

Heterosexuality relates to having only sexual attraction or feelings towards a person who belongs to the opposite gender. You can call a person heterosexual when they have sexual relations with a member of the other sex. 

The term heteroromantic is used in the case of only romantic feelings between two people of opposite genders. 

Straight is informal slang that encompasses both sexual and romantic inclinations toward a person of a different gender. 

Are Heterosexuals Part Of The LGBTQ Community?

The LGBT community, commonly called the LGBTQ+ community, is a loosely defined group that consists of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender people, queers, and other individuals. The community comes together for social movements and events like gay pride parades.

It is an association of all the people who are non-heterosexual and doesn’t limit itself to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. 

While heterosexuals are not part of the LGBTQ community, a separate term is used for them: ally. A straight ally, or a heterosexual ally, is a person who is a friend, supporter, activist, or advocate of LGBTQ people. 

The modern heterosexual sex symbol is rooted in ancient beliefs and consists of Roman gods of femininity and masculinity. It is popular to define people with a sexual attraction toward people of the same gender. 

If you found this article helpful, check out our post on the hidden meaning of the upside-down pineapple symbol.


Vanessa's liberal arts background has prepared her well for Symbol Scholar. A self-proclaimed theology nerd, Vanessa has interests in world religions, Reformation theology, history, and more. When she's not working, Vanessa enjoys spending time with her family, reading, exercising, and watching professional basketball.

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