Romantic orientation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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 be predisposed to romantic intimacy with women.

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 therefore not fully understood.[4]

Romantic identities

People may or may not engage in purely emotional romantic relationships. The main identities relating to this are:[2][3][5]

  • Aromantic: Lack of romantic attraction towards anyone (aromanticism).
  • 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. Sometimes used the same way as panromantic (biromanticism).
  • 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).

Relationship with sexuality and asexuality

The implications of the distinction between romantic and sexual orientations have not been fully recognized, nor have they been studied extensively.[6] It is common for sources to describe sexual orientation as including components of both sexual and romantic (or romantic equivalent) attractions.[6] Similarly, romantic love has been noted as "love with strong components of sexuality and infatuation",[7] although some sources contradict this notion, stating that sexual and romantic attraction are not necessarily linked.[8] With regard to asexuality, while asexuals usually do not experience sexual attraction (see gray asexuality), they may still experience romantic attraction.[2][3] Lisa M. Diamond states that a person's romantic orientation can differ from whom they are sexually attracted to.[4]

Although asexuality is included in the LGBTQ+ community, there is yet inclusion for those of different romantic orientations.[9]


Aromantic flag

One of the attributes of aromantics is that, despite feeling little or no romantic attraction, they can still enjoy sex.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12][13]

Some publications have argued that there is an underrepresentation of asexuals and aromantics in media[14] and in research,[15] and that they are often misunderstood.[16] Aromantics sometimes face stigma and are stereotyped with labels such as being heartless, callous or deluded.[17][18] Amatonormativity, a concept that elevates romantic relationships over non-romantic relationships, has been said to be damaging to aromantics.[19] Representation of aromantics in the media is[when?] increasing.[20]

Many aromantics are asexual,[17] 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.[21] This is because aromanticism primarily deals with emotion rather than with sexuality or with the libido.[22] Some activists[which?] have argued for including aromantics in the LGBT community.[23]

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.[24] An informal term for an aromantic person is aro.[17] The A in the expanded LGBT acronym LGBTQIA is interpreted by some to stand for asexual, aromantic and agender.[25][26]


  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. ^ a b c Richards, Christina; Barker, Meg (2013). Sexuality and Gender for Mental Health Professionals: A Practical Guide. SAGE. pp. 124–127. ISBN 1-4462-9313-0. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Cerankowski, Karli June; Milks, Megan (2014). Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives. Routledge. pp. 89–93. ISBN 1-134-69253-6. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
  4. ^ a b 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. ^ "Sex and Society", p. 82.
  6. ^ a b Bogaert 2012, p. 14.
  7. ^ King 2010, p. 450.
  8. ^ "Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation". University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  9. ^ Gold, Michael (2018-06-21). "The ABCs of L.G.B.T.Q.I.A.+". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  10. ^ "What is Aromantic - Asexual vs. Aromantic Definition, Explained". 2017-05-12. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  11. ^ Parade, Beach Pride, and Beach Pride Parade. "PANTHER."
  12. ^ "YouTuber Connie Glynn aka Noodlerella reveals she's aromantic | Metro News". 2018-02-12. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  13. ^ Sheehan, Ryan. A-Identity Politics: Asexual Exceptionalism, Precarity, and Activism. Diss. 2015.
  14. ^ "How Pop Culture Denies Aromantic Asexual Existence". The Mary Sue. 2016-02-19. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  15. ^ Nicola Pardy. "What Is Asexual - People Share Asexuality Experiences". Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  16. ^ Yeow Kai [email protected] (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.
  17. ^ a b c 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.
  18. ^ Nivea Serrao (2017-07-10). "Tash Hearts Tolstoy author on depicting asexuality in YA fiction". Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  19. ^ "Romance is Not Universal, Nor is it Necessary". Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  20. ^ Ferguson, Sian (2017-06-21). "I fell in love with my friend with benefits". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  22. ^ Pinto, Stacy Anne. "ASEXUally: On being an ally to the asexual community." Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling 8.4 (2014): 331-343.
  23. ^ "This Is What It Means To Be Aromantic, Demiromantic And Queerplatonic | HuffPost". 2016-02-02. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  24. ^ "I'm Tired Of My Queer Identity Being Ignored & Erased On TV". Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  25. ^ "Equinox Gym’s Pride Video ‘The LGBTQAlphabet’ Leaves Out An Important Letter". Retrieved 2018-04-15.
  26. ^ "LGBTQ definitions every good ally should know". Retrieved 2018-04-15.


  • Marshall Cavendish Corporation, ed. (2009). "Asexuality". Sex and Society. 2. Marshall Cavendish. ISBN 978-0-7614-7905-5. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  • Bogaert, Anthony F. (2012). Understanding Asexuality. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. ISBN 978-1442200999. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  • King, Laura A. (2010). The Science of Psychology: An Appreciative View (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-0073532066. Retrieved April 9, 2015.

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.
Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Romantic orientation"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA