Romantic orientation

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

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, the person may experience romantic attraction and intimacy with women only. Some may also feel romantic attraction as a completely separate entity from sexual attraction.

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

The relationship between sexual and romantic attraction is still under debate and is not fully understood.[4][5] Sexual and romantic attractions are often studied in conjunction. Even though studies of sexual and romantic spectrums are shedding light onto this underreasearched subject, much is still not fully understood. [6]

Romantic identities[edit]

People may or may not engage in purely emotional romantic relationships. The main identities relating to this are:[2][3][7][8]

  • 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 two or more genders, or person(s) of the same and other 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).

Even though there are many categories of romantic orientation, it is widely thought of on a spectrum, as much of the LGBTQIA+ community is. There is no binary to the way people feel in relation to their attraction.

Relationship with sexual orientation and asexuality[edit]

The implications of the distinction between romantic and sexual orientations have not been fully recognized, nor have they been studied extensively.[9] It is common for sources to describe sexual orientation as including components of both sexual and romantic (or romantic equivalent) attractions.[5][9] 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][10][11] Asexual individuals experience little to no sexual attraction (see gray asexuality); however, they may still experience romantic attraction.[12][13] Lisa M. Diamond states that a person's romantic orientation can differ from whom the person is 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.[14][15] Many researchers are now studying the spectrum of which romantic and sexual relationships can exist on.[16] Even though studies of sexual and romantic spectrums are shedding light on this under-researched subject, much is still unknown. Researchers Bulmer and Izuma found that people who identify as aromantic often have more negative attitudes in relation to romance. While roughly 1% of the population identifies as asexual, 74% of those peoples reported having some form of romantic attraction.[17] Japan SRGM Federation, the group consist of LGBT and Asexual, allege "The confusion between sexual orientation and romance orientation is a violation of human rights".[18][19]

Many researchers place romantic and sexual relationships on a spectrum with varying levels of attraction. Even though research has been focused more on the spectrum of sexual attraction, the romantic spectrum can play an important part in the relationships one may seek out. It is also important to note that these two concepts do not have to match. For example, someone can be asexual but heteroromantic.


Aromantic flag

One of the attributes of aromantic people is that, despite feeling no romantic attraction, they may still enjoy sex.[20] Aromantic people 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.[21] Individuals who identify as aromantic may have trouble distinguishing the affection of family and friends from that of a romantic partner.[22][23][24]

Many aromantic people are asexual,[25] 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.[26] This is because aromanticism primarily deals with romantic attraction rather than with sexuality or with the libido.[27]

Some publications have argued that there is an underrepresentation of asexual and aromantic people in media[28] and in research,[29] and that they are often misunderstood.[30] Aromantic people often face stigma and are stereotyped with labels such as being afraid of intimacy, heartless, or deluded.[25][31] Amatonormativity, a concept that elevates romantic relationships over non-romantic relationships, has been said to be damaging to aromantics.[32] Online communities of people who identify as aromantic and asexual are growing to combat misrepresentations about their romantic attractions. [33]

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.[34] An informal term for an aromantic person is aro.[25] The letter "A" in the expanded LGBT acronym LGBTQIA+ stands for asexual, aromantic and agender.[35][36][37]


  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 Search this book on Logo.png.. p.61.
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  6. Hammack, P. L., Frost, D. M., & Hughes, S. D. (2019). Queer Intimacies: A New Paradigm for the Study of Relationship Diversity. Journal of Sex Research, 56(4/5), 556–592.
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  10. 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.
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  14. 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. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help)
  15. 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.
  16. Hammack, Phillip L.; Frost, David M.; Hughes, Sam D.; Grant, I.; the HNRC Group (2019), "Queer Intimacies: A New Paradigm for the Study of Relationship Diversity", The Journal of Sex Research, 56 (4–5): 556–592, doi:10.1080/00224499.2018.1531281, PMC 4267693, PMID 25530727
  17. Antonsen, A. N., Zdaniuk, B., Yule, M., & Brotto, L. A. (2020). Ace and Aro: Understanding Differences in Romantic Attractions Among Persons Identifying as Asexual. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 49(5), 1615–1630. doi:10.1007/s10508-019-01600-1
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  23. Julie Sondra Decker (13 October 2015). The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality Next Generation Indie Book Awards Winner in LGBT. Skyhorse Publishing. pp. 44–. ISBN 978-1-5107-0064-2. Search this book on Logo.png
  24. Dedeker Winston (7 February 2017). The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory: Everything You Need to Know About Open Relationships, Non-Monogamy, and Alternative Love. Skyhorse Publishing. pp. 113–. ISBN 978-1-5107-1209-6. Search this book on Logo.png
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 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.
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  34. Micomonaco, Mikayla (June 28, 2017). "I'm Tired Of My Queer Identity Being Ignored & Erased On TV". Bustle. Retrieved 2018-04-15.
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  37. Finamore, Emma (2018-04-16). "What does LGBTQIA stand for? The inclusive term which includes questioning, intersex and asexual and allied people". PinkNews. Retrieved 2019-08-04.

Further reading[edit]

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