Romantic orientation

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(Redirected from Affectional orientation)

A person's romantic orientation, also called affectional orientation, is the classification of the sex or gender with which a person experiences romantic attraction towards or is likely to have a romantic relationship with. The term is used alongside the term "sexual orientation", as well as being used alternatively to it, based upon the perspective that sexual attraction is only a single component of a larger concept.[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.

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.[4][5] Sexual and romantic attractions are often studied in conjunction. Even though studies of sexual and romantic spectrums are shedding light onto this under-researched 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][9]

  • Aromantic, meaning someone who experiences little to no romantic attraction.
    • Grayromantic, or experiencing romantic attraction rarely, only under certain circumstances, or only weakly
    • Demiromantic: Romantic attraction towards any of the above but only after forming a deep emotional bond with the person(s) (demiromanticism).
  • Heteroromantic: 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.[10][9][8][11][12]
  • Panromantic: Romantic attraction towards person(s) of any, every, and all genders (panromanticism).[11][13][14]
  • Polyromantic: Romantic attraction towards person(s) of various, but not all, genders (polyromanticism).

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.[15] It is common for sources to describe sexual orientation as including components of both sexual and romantic (or romantic equivalent) attractions.[5][15] 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][16][17] Asexual individuals experience little to no sexual attraction (see gray asexuality); however, they may still experience romantic attraction.[18][19] 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, the possibility of fluidity and diversity in attractions have been progressively recognized.[20][21] 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 people reported having some form of romantic attraction.[22]

A concept commonly used by people that experience discordant romantic and sexual attraction is the split attraction model, which tries to explain that romantic and sexual attractions are not exclusively tied together and is often used by people of the asexual and aromantic community to explain their differing romantic versus sexual orientations.


Aromanticism is a romantic orientation characterized by experiencing little to no romantic attraction.[23][24][25] The term "aromantic", colloquially shortened to "aro", refers to a person who identifies their romantic orientation as aromanticism.[26][27]

As a romantic minority, it is included in the initialism LGBTQIA+ as the A, standing for aromanticism, along with asexual and agender.[28]

See also[edit]


  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 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. ^ a b 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. ^ 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. PMID 12529061.
  5. ^ a b c 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. S2CID 35875780.
  6. ^ Hammack, PL, Frost DM, Hughes SD (2019). "Queer Intimacies: A New Paradigm for the Study of Relationship Diversity". Journal of Sex Research. 56 (4/5): 556–592. doi:10.1080/00224499.2018.1531281. PMID 30362833. S2CID 53102365.
  7. ^ "LGBTQIA Resource Center Glossary | LGBTQIA Resource Center". May 5, 2015. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Is Being Biromantic The Same Thing As Being Panromantic?". Healthline. September 12, 2019. Retrieved December 3, 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation". LGBTQ Center. July 1, 2021. Retrieved March 11, 2022.
  10. ^ "What Does Biromantic Mean?". WebMD. Retrieved December 3, 2021.
  11. ^ a b Hayfield, Nikki; Křížová, Karolína (April 3, 2021). "It's Like Bisexuality, but It Isn't: Pansexual and Panromantic People's Understandings of Their Identities and Experiences of Becoming Educated about Gender and Sexuality". Journal of Bisexuality. 21 (2): 167–193. doi:10.1080/15299716.2021.1911015. ISSN 1529-9716. S2CID 236723919.
  12. ^ Antonsen, Amy N.; Zdaniuk, Bozena; Yule, Morag; Brotto, Lori A. (July 1, 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. ISSN 1573-2800. PMID 32095971. S2CID 211476089.
  13. ^ Hille, Jessica J.; Simmons, Megan K.; Sanders, Stephanie A. (September 1, 2020). ""Sex" and the Ace Spectrum: Definitions of Sex, Behavioral Histories, and Future Interest for Individuals Who Identify as Asexual, Graysexual, or Demisexual". The Journal of Sex Research. 57 (7): 813–823. doi:10.1080/00224499.2019.1689378. ISSN 0022-4499. PMID 31799860. S2CID 208623207.
  14. ^ "Panromantic Asexuality: What Is It?". WebMD. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  15. ^ a b Bogaert, Anthony F. (2012). Understanding Asexuality. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. p. 14. ISBN 978-1442200999. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ 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. S2CID 27288714.
  18. ^ Helm KM (2015). Hooking Up: The Psychology of Sex and Dating. ABC-CLIO. p. 32. ISBN 978-1610699518.
  19. ^ Fischer NL, Seidman S (2016). Introducing the New Sexuality Studies. Routledge. p. 183. ISBN 978-1317449188.
  20. ^ Lund, Emily M.; Thomas, Katie B.; Sias, Christina M.; Bradley, April R. (October 1, 2016). "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. S2CID 151856457.
  21. ^ Weinrich, James D.; Klein, Fritz; McCutchan, J. Allen; Grant, Igor; Group, The HNRC (July 3, 2014). "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.
  22. ^ Antonsen, Amy N.; Zdaniuk, Bozena; Yule, Morag; Brotto, Lori A. (July 1, 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. ISSN 1573-2800. PMID 32095971. S2CID 211476089.
  23. ^ Bougie, C. (2021). Composing aromanticism (Thesis thesis). University of Missouri--Columbia. doi:10.32469/10355/85832.
  24. ^ "5 things you should know about aromantic people". Stonewall. February 18, 2022. Retrieved February 26, 2022.
  25. ^ "Never Been Interested in Romance? You Could Be Aromantic". Psych Central. October 29, 2021. Retrieved February 26, 2022.
  26. ^ Josh Salisbury. "Meet the aromantics: 'I'm not cold – I just don't have any romantic feelings' | Life and style". The Guardian. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  27. ^ Przybylo, Ela; Gupta, Kristina (2020). "Editorial Introduction: The Erotics of Asexualities and Nonsexualities: Intersectional Approaches". Feminist Formations. 32 (3): vii–xxi. doi:10.1353/ff.2020.0034. ISSN 2151-7371. S2CID 235009367.
  28. ^ "GLAAD - A is for Asexual, Agender, Aromantic". February 11, 2015. Retrieved March 26, 2023.

Further reading[edit]