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

Romantic identities[edit]

Aromantic flag

People may or may not engage in purely emotional romantic relationships. The main identities relating to this are:[2][3][4]

  • Aromantic: Lack of romantic attraction towards anyone. The noun is aromanticism.
  • Heteroromantic: Romantic attraction towards person(s) of one gender other than their own.
  • Homoromantic: Romantic attraction towards person(s) of the same gender.
  • Biromantic: Romantic attraction towards person(s) of two or more genders.
  • Panromantic: Romantic attraction to person(s) of any gender.

Relationship with sexuality and asexuality[edit]

The implications of the distinction between romantic and sexual orientations has not been fully recognized, nor has it been studied extensively.[5] It is common for sources to describe sexual orientation as including components of both sexual and romantic (or romantic equivalent) attractions.[5] Similarly, romantic love has been noted as "love with strong components of sexuality and infatuation,"[6] although some sources contradict this notion, stating that sexual and romantic attraction are not necessarily linked.[7] With regard to asexuality, while asexuals usually do not experience sexual attraction (see gray asexuality), they may still experience romantic attraction.[2][3]


  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 Christina Richards, Meg Barker (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 Karli June Cerankowski, Megan Milks (2014). Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives. Routledge. pp. 89–93. ISBN 1-134-69253-6. Retrieved July 3, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Sex and Society", p. 82.
  5. ^ a b Bogaert 2012, p. 14.
  6. ^ King 2010, p. 450.
  7. ^ "Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation". University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved April 9, 2015. 


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.