Romantic orientation

Romantic orientation, also called affectional orientation, indicates the sex or gender with which a person is most likely to have a romantic relationship or fall in love. It is used both alternatively and side-by-side with the term sexual orientation, and is based on the perspective that sexual attraction is but a single component of a larger dynamic.[1] For example, although a pansexual person may feel sexually attracted to people regardless of gender, they may experience romantic attraction and intimacy with women only.

For asexual people, romantic orientation is often considered a more useful measure of attraction than sexual orientation.[2][3]

The relationship between sexual attraction and romantic attraction is still under debate, and is not fully understood.[4][5]

Romantic identities

People may or may not engage in purely emotional romantic relationships. The main identities relating to this are:[2][3][6][7]

  • Aromantic: No romantic attraction towards anyone (aromanticism, see section below).
  • Heteroromantic (or heteromantic): Romantic attraction towards person(s) of the opposite gender (heteroromanticism).
  • Homoromantic: Romantic attraction towards person(s) of the same gender (homoromanticism).
  • Biromantic: Romantic attraction towards person(s) of two or more genders (biromanticism). Sometimes used the same way as panromantic.
  • Panromantic: Romantic attraction towards person(s) of any, every, and all genders (panromanticism).
  • Demiromantic: Romantic attraction towards any of the above but only after forming a deep emotional bond with the person(s) (demiromanticism).
  • Greyromantic: Experiencing romantic attraction rarely or only under certain circumstances (greyromanticism).

Relationship with sexual orientation and asexuality

The implications of the distinction between romantic and sexual orientations have not been fully recognized, nor have they been studied extensively.[8] It is common for sources to describe sexual orientation as including components of both sexual and romantic (or romantic equivalent) attractions.[5][8] Publications investigating the relationship between sexual orientation and romantic orientation are limited. Challenges in collecting information result from survey participants having difficulty identifying or distinguishing between sexual and romantic attractions.[5][9][10] Asexual individuals experience little to no sexual attraction (see gray asexuality); however, they may still experience romantic attraction.[11][12] Lisa M. Diamond states that a person's romantic orientation can differ from whom they are sexually attracted to.[4] While there is limited research on the discordance between sexual attraction and romantic attraction in individuals, also known as cross orientation, the possibility of fluidity and diversity in attractions have been progressively recognized.[13][14]


One of the attributes of aromantics is that, despite feeling no romantic attraction, they may still enjoy sex.[15] Aromantics are not necessarily incapable of feeling love. For example, they may still feel familial love, or the type of platonic love that is expressed between friends. Some aromantics may claim that they are able to appreciate the type of love or romance that exists in popular culture, such as in movies, romantic books or songs, but only vicariously, and that they do not intuitively experience these feelings themselves.[16]

Some publications have argued that there is an underrepresentation of asexuals and aromantics in media[17] and in research,[18] and that they are often misunderstood.[19] Aromantics often face stigma and are stereotyped with labels such as being heartless, callous or deluded.[20][21] Amatonormativity, a concept that elevates romantic relationships over non-romantic relationships, has been said to be damaging to aromantics.[22]

Many aromantics are asexual,[20] but the term aromantic can be used in relation to various sexual identities, such as aromantic bisexual, aromantic heterosexual, aromantic lesbian, aromantic gay man or aromantic asexual.[23] This is because aromanticism primarily deals with romantic attraction rather than with sexuality or with the libido.[24] Some activists have argued for including aromantics in the LGBT community.[25]

The antonym of aromanticism is alloromanticism, the state of experiencing romantic love or romantic attraction to others, while such a person is called an alloromantic.[26] An informal term for an aromantic person is aro.[20] The letter "A" in the expanded LGBT acronym LGBTQIA+ stands for asexual, although it can be inclusive of aromantic and agender identities.[27][28][29]


  1. Crethar, H. C. & Vargas, L. A. (2007). Multicultural intricacies in professional counseling. In J. Gregoire & C. Jungers (Eds.), The counselor’s companion: What every beginning counselor needs to know. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. ISBN 0-8058-5684-6. p.61.
  2. Richards, Christina; Barker, Meg (2013). Sexuality and Gender for Mental Health Professionals: A Practical Guide. SAGE. pp. 124–127. ISBN 978-1-4462-9313-3. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
  3. Cerankowski, Karli June; Milks, Megan (2014). Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives. Routledge. pp. 89–93. ISBN 978-1-134-69253-8. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
  4. Diamond, Lisa M. (2003). "What does sexual orientation orient? A biobehavioral model distinguishing romantic love and sexual desire". Psychological Review. 110 (1): 173–192. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.110.1.173. ISSN 1939-1471.
  5. Houdenhove, Ellen Van; Gijs, Luk; T'Sjoen, Guy; Enzlin, Paul (April 21, 2014). "Asexuality: A Multidimensional Approach". The Journal of Sex Research. 52 (6): 669–678. doi:10.1080/00224499.2014.898015. ISSN 0022-4499. PMID 24750031.
  6. "LGBTQIA Resource Center Glossary | LGBTQIA Resource Center". Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  7. "Is Being Panromantic The Same Thing As Being Pansexual?". Healthline. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  8. Bogaert 2012, p. 14.
  9. Savin-Williams, Ritch C.; Vrangalova, Zhana (2013). "Mostly heterosexual as a distinct sexual orientation group: A systematic review of the empirical evidence". Developmental Review. 33 (1): 58–88. doi:10.1016/j.dr.2013.01.001. ISSN 0273-2297.
  10. Priebe, Gisela; Svedin, Carl Göran (2013). "Operationalization of Three Dimensions of Sexual Orientation in a National Survey of Late Adolescents". The Journal of Sex Research. 50 (8): 727–738. doi:10.1080/00224499.2012.713147. ISSN 0022-4499. PMID 23136981.
  11. Helm KM (2015). Hooking Up: The Psychology of Sex and Dating. ABC-CLIO. p. 32. ISBN 978-1610699518.
  12. Fischer NL, Seidman S (2016). Introducing the New Sexuality Studies. Routledge. p. 183. ISBN 978-1317449188.
  13. Lund, Emily M.; Thomas, Katie B.; Sias, Christina M.; Bradley, April R. (2016-10-01). "Examining Concordant and Discordant Sexual and Romantic Attraction in American Adults: Implications for Counselors". Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling. 10 (4): 211–226. doi:10.1080/15538605.2016.1233840. ISSN 1553-8605.
  14. Weinrich, James D.; Klein, Fritz; McCutchan, J. Allen; Grant, Igor; Group, The HNRC (2014-07-03). "Cluster Analysis of the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid in Clinical and Nonclinical Samples: When Bisexuality Is Not Bisexuality". Journal of Bisexuality. 14 (3–4): 349–372. doi:10.1080/15299716.2014.938398. ISSN 1529-9716. PMC 4267693. PMID 25530727.
  15. "What is Aromantic - Asexual vs. Aromantic Definition, Explained". 2017-05-12. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  16. "YouTuber Connie Glynn aka Noodlerella reveals she's aromantic | Metro News". 2018-02-12. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  17. "How Pop Culture Denies Aromantic Asexual Existence". The Mary Sue. 2016-02-19. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  18. Nicola Pardy. "What Is Asexual - People Share Asexuality Experiences". Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  19. Yeow Kai Chai (2017-10-04). "Singer-songwriter Moses Sumney does not mind flying the freak flag, Entertainment News & Top Stories". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  20. Josh Salisbury. "Meet the aromantics: 'I'm not cold – I just don't have any romantic feelings' | Life and style". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  21. Nivea Serrao (2017-07-10). "Tash Hearts Tolstoy author on depicting asexuality in YA fiction". Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  22. "Romance is Not Universal, Nor is it Necessary". Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  24. Pinto, Stacy Anne. "ASEXUally: On being an ally to the asexual community." Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling 8.4 (2014): 331-343.
  25. "This Is What It Means To Be Aromantic, Demiromantic And Queerplatonic | HuffPost". 2016-02-02. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  26. "I'm Tired Of My Queer Identity Being Ignored & Erased On TV". Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  27. Mercado, Mia (June 8, 2017). "Equinox Gym's Pride Video 'The LGBTQ Alphabet' Leaves Out An Important Letter". Bustle. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  28. "LGBTQ definitions every good ally should know". Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  29. "This is what LGBTQIA actually stands for". PinkNews - Gay news, reviews and comment from the world's most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service. 2018-04-16. Retrieved 2019-08-04.


Further reading

  • Wells, J. W. (1989). "Teaching about Gay and Lesbian Sexual and Affectional Orientation Using Explicit Films to Reduce Homophobia". Journal of Humanistic Education and Development. 28 (1): 18–34. doi:10.1002/j.2164-4683.1989.tb00179.x.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.