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. For example, although a pansexual person may feel sexually attracted to multiple genders, they may be predisposed to romantic intimacy with females. Moreover, emotional or romantic intimacy between partners does not require sexual attraction because attraction is not purely sexual.
The term sexual orientation has been described as reductionistic by various sources. For asexual people, romantic orientation is often considered a more useful measure of attraction than sexual orientation.
- Aromantic (noun is "aromanticism"): lack of romantic attraction towards anyone.
- Biromantic: romantic attraction towards person(s) of two or more genders.
- Heteroromantic: romantic attraction towards person(s) of one gender other than their own.
- Homoromantic: romantic attraction towards person(s) of the same gender.
- Panromantic: romantic attraction to person(s) of any gender.
Relationship with sexuality
The implications of the distinction between romantic and sexual attraction and orientations has not yet been fully recognized. Some sources describe sexual orientation as including components of both sexual and romantic (or romantic equivalent) attractions. Similarly, romantic love has been noted as "love with strong components of sexuality and infatuation,", although some sources contradict this notion, noting that sexual and romantic attraction are not necessarily linked.
In regards to asexuality, while asexuals do not experience sexual attraction, but may still experience romantic attraction.
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