As LGBTQ2S+ terminology evolves and becomes more widely known and used, there are still some lesser-known terms that have people may not know about — or may not fully understand. In the past, we’ve shared some signs to look out for if you might be asexual – asexuality is defined as lacking any sexual attraction for another person. But what about the term “aromanticism”? What does “aromantic” mean, how is it different from asexuality, and how can you tell the difference between the two? Let’s explore some of the common questions about aromanticism.
What is aromanticism?
Aromanticism comes from the word “aromantic,” which is used to describe people who don’t develop romantic attractions or connections to other people. People who are aromantic might also use the term “aro” to identify themselves.
Many people have a basic understanding of what it means to be in love: they’ve felt the passion, the romance, the daydreams and all that comes with falling for someone. But, in general, someone who is aromantic does not want those fairytale romances and they don’t want their life to look like a romcom. They don’t necessarily want to feel those feelings.
According to GLAAD, “aromantic is an umbrella term that can also include people who are demiromantic, meaning a person who does not experience romantic attraction until a strong emotional or sexual connection is formed with a partner.”
Related: 8 signs you might be pansexual.
How is aromanticism different from asexuality?
As them puts it, “Not all asexuals are aromantic, nor are all aromantics asexual.” You can be asexual and still wish for romantic connections. But, you can also identify as asexual and aromantic. It just depends on who you are. According to the 2015 asexual community census, almost a quarter of asexual respondents identify as aromantic.
Aromanticism focuses on romance, and asexuality focuses on sexual attraction.
So while there is overlap in people who don’t feel romantic and sexual attraction, the main difference is that they’re not mutually exclusive. Aromanticism focuses on romance, and asexuality focuses on sexual attraction, and while some people identify as being both, others don’t. Some aromantic people are allosexual, meaning they might be sexually attracted to someone even if they don’t have romantic feelings for them.
What are some misconceptions about aromantic people?
There are a number of misconceptions about aromantic people, and many of them overlap with myths about asexuality. One of the biggest ones is that aromantic people don’t want relationships — something that’s just not true. Aromantic people can still want a relationship without wanting romance. They can experience different types of love, and emotions around love.
As sex and relationship coach Azaria Menezes puts it in Mind Body Green: “Love and romantic attraction are completely different and separate to you. You might even feel like a friend-with-benefits situation sounds ideal. Romantic attraction seems to be at the very bottom of your favourite things about a relationship. Love is still one of the top things, but there isn’t romantic attraction attached to it.”
You may also like: 11 celebrities who are owning their pansexual identity.
Aromanticism is a spectrum
Similar to how asexuality is a spectrum, the same goes for aromanticism. The Asexuality New Zealand Trust states that “some people only experience romantic attraction to someone after forming a strong emotional bond with the person over a period of time, and may identify as demiromantic.”
Signs you might be aromantic
If you’re wondering if you’re aromantic, the Aromantic-Spectrum Union for Recognition, Education and Advocacy has some common things that aromantic people may experience:
- You just don’t get crushes, or why people are interested in falling in love with people
- If you do fall in love or get crushes, it happens rarely (although some people do)
- You might not be able to distinguish romantic feelings from platonic ones
- Things such as cuddling or romantic gifts might possibly make you feel uncomfortable
- Acting romantic doesn’t feel natural, and you might feel like you’re pretending or faking it for your partner if you’re in a relationship
- You might not realize you’re flirting with others, or when others are flirting with you