Romantic orientation

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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 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.

For some people[who?], the term sexual orientation is reductionistic. For asexual people, romantic orientation is often considered a more useful measure of attraction than sexual orientation.[citation needed]

Romantic identities[edit]

The identity list which people may or may not engage in purely emotional romantic relationships.[2][3][4][5] The identities are:

  • Aromantic (noun is "aromanticism"): lack of romantic attraction towards anyone.
  • Grayromantic: blanket term for those who fall anywhere in the spectrum between Romantic and Aromantic.
  • 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.
  • Demiromantic: romantic attraction that is only experienced after a close emotional bond has been formed. People who refer to themselves as demiromantic may choose to further specify the gender(s) of those they are attracted to (e.g. demi-homoromantic). [6]


  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. ^ Marshall Cavendish Corporation, ed. (2009). "Asexuality". Sex and Society 2. Marshall Cavendish. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-7614-7905-5. Retrieved February 2, 2013. 
  3. ^ Westphal, Sylvia Pagan (2004). "Feature: Glad to be asexual". New Scientist. Archived from the original on 19 December 2007. Retrieved 11 November 2007. 
  4. ^ Relationship FAQ The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), 2008). Retrieved 22 December 2011.
  5. ^ Asexuality (Wellington, N.Z.: Gay Line Wellington, 2000–2010). Retrieved 22 December 2011.
  6. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • 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.