Thanks to LGBT awareness campaigns, most everyone understands what it means to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, and/or transgender. Yet, there are many other sexual orientations that aren’t as well understood. In this article, we explore the aromantic spectrum and what it means to identify one’s self this way.
Let’s begin with a basic definition. If someone is aromantic (sometimes abbreviated as “aro” for short) it means that they do not experience romantic attraction. They do, however, still experience sexual attraction. In this way, being aromantic is distinctly different from being asexual.
“Aromantic people can enjoy sex without romance, and asexual people can enjoy romance without sex,” writes Carina Hsieh, sex and relationships editor at Cosmopolitan magazine.
Below is a list of orientations that fall within the aromantic spectrum:
- Heteroromantic: a person who only desires romance with a member of the opposite sex, meaning that while may be sexually attracted to members of the same sex, they have no interest in forming romantic relationships with them.
- Homoromantic: a person who only desires romance with a member of the same sex (basically the vice versa definition of a heteromantic). While they may be sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex, they have no interest in forming romantic relationships with them.
- Demiromantic: a person who only experiences romantic attraction after they have formed a close bond with someone. In regular romantic orientations, a person can experience romantic attraction before establishing a close bond.
It’s important to note that being aromantic does not mean that a person is incapable of love. This is a common misconception that is profoundly hurtful to those who exist in the aromantic spectrum.
“Aromantic simply means a lack of romantic attraction, but attraction doesn’t equal love,” Joy Youell of BetterHelp explains. “You can love your parents, your children, and your friends. All these relationships include valid expressions of love; they’re just not expressions of romantic love.”
One final note: If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends and family so we can increase awareness about aromantic orientations.