Are you aromantic? Are you on the aromantic spectrum?
Most of us have experienced aromantic feelings occasionally—times where we might have related to those on the aromantic spectrum if we had put our feelings into words.
Different moods and connection styles salt and pepper our lives, and there are times we don’t feel attraction or desire for sex, relationships, or romance.
Temporary fluctuations are normal, but most of us recover our desire for romance after a period of taking a break from people or healing from a loss or a regenerative time of solitude or restorative break from “the search.”
A small percentage of people, however, identify as aromantic. Their lack of romantic feelings is not temporary, but part of their identity.
What Does Aromantic Mean?
Aromantic, or “aro” people as they sometimes call themselves, do not experience romantic attraction. They are not interested in romantic rituals, searching for romance, or romantic love.
Aros don’t relate to romantic stories or the experiences of others experiencing romance. They don’t dream about romance. They aren’t simply those who haven’t found or can’t find romance—they have no longing for romance.
Those on the aromantic spectrum experience love and intimacy but not in a romantic way. They are not antisocial and not always introverted!
They may love their children, their friends, their siblings, and their pets deeply in the same ways anyone loves their closely bonded connections. They don’t experience romantic feelings, but there are many kinds of love.
Are Aromantic People Asexual?
People on the aromantic spectrum are sometimes confused with asexual people. Sometimes aromantic people are asexual- romantic love and sex often go together, and many asexual people are aromantic, and aromantic people are often asexual.
But that’s not always the case. Sex and romance are different, if related, and many aromantic people desire sex and have sex. They don’t relate to romantic aspects of dating.
Some asexual people are NOT aromantic. Many people who do not like sex or have a sex drive still desire romance and relationships. They want asexual romantic relationships—that is, they want intimacy and physical closeness, but do not experience sexual desire.
What Is the Aromantic Spectrum?
The aromantic spectrum simply refers to the range of aromantic experiences and identities. The fact that most of us experience periods when romance doesn’t appeal to us or where we can’t relate to romance shows one part of the spectrum.
The most romantic souls, who adore falling in love, romantic gestures, operas about romance, and romantic novels can still feel that way from time to time. (Just as no one is always hungry, or always horny, even if they love food or sex!)
On the other end of the spectrum are those who have never experienced romantic attraction. They may not even understand how that might feel and don’t “get it” at all. They may understand being sexually aroused, or caring deeply about a parent or friend, but can’t relate at all to the roller coaster jitters and emotional highs and lows, the raised heart beat, and the sweet and tender gestures, that happen during romance.
In between are all kinds of overlapping or variable expressions of romance and aromantic.
13 Aromantic Orientations
On the aromantic spectrum there are some terms or variants that people use, and many consider these descriptions as orientations.
This is in the same way that people view being gay as a sexual orientation, or being polyamorous as a romantic orientation, and view it as a core aspect of identity rather than a lifestyle choice.
Here are some orientations on the aromantic spectrum.
Formerly known by the clunkier term “autochorisromantic,” these folks enjoy the idea of romance or the fantasy of it, but have no desire to have romance in their lives.
They may enjoy romantic movies and fantasies but do not want a romantic relationship or experience the feelings firsthand.
Apothiromantic individuals feel repulsion towards the idea of romance or to others experiencing romantic love.
Aroflux aromantic people experience fluctuation in their levels of romantic interest or lack thereof.
Autoromantic people don’t experience romance with anyone else, but enjoy romantic attraction, emotions, and activities, with themselves.
Bullusromantic is the desire for romance without the relationship—romantic things and ideas or events, but not the experience with another person.
Those who don’t experience romantic attraction but still desire a romantic relationship are sometimes called cupioromantic.
Demiromantic individuals only experience romantic feelings once they have formed an emotional bond with another person.
Frayromantics can feel romantic attraction to people they don’t have an emotional bond or connection to, but not to people they are emotionally intimate with.
9. Gay Aromantic
Aromantic gay people may simply identify as gay or as aromantic, but some choose to use “gay aromantic.” They are attracted to the same sex but do not relate to romantic feelings or wish to pursue romantic relationships.
Those who identify as grayromantic are in the “gray area” between aromantic and romantic. They identify as being in the middle and experience romantic feelings under rare or specific circumstances.
These terms refer to people who describe feeling romantic emotions towards other people but don’t want those feelings returned. The attraction dissipates if the other person returns the feelings.
“Quoi” is French for “what” from WTF—a kind of flippant terminology expressing frustration of romance. The “WTFromantic” is the quoiromantic. These people don’t feel they are categorizable and aren’t sure where they fit on the aromantic spectrum.
Recipromantic individuals only feel romantic emotions if someone feels that way towards them. Their experience of romantic feelings depends on reciprocation.
Do you identify as aromantic? Where do you find yourself on the spectrum?