LGBTQIA+ Wiki
Advertisement
LGBTQIA+ Wiki

Aromantic, often shortened to aro, describes people who do not experience romantic attraction,[1][2] or experience little-to-no romantic attraction.[3] One of the meanings of the A in LGBTQIA+ is Aromantic.[1] Aromanticism is a romantic orientation and may involve forms of attraction that are not necessarily romantic, or interests in relationships that are intimate in other ways. There is no singular experience of aromanticism.[3]

The aromantic spectrum, also known as "aro-spec", ranges from aromantic to alloromantic, referring to people who regularly and consistently experience romantic attraction.[1] People within the aromantic spectrum are part of a community that has much in common. They may use the label aromantic as a close fit for their experiences or use other labels that further describe them.[3]

Etymology

The term aromantic uses the Latin prefix a- which means 'without' or 'not'.[4] In a literal sense, it means 'a lack of romance'.[5]

Community

As per the Split Attraction Model, aromanticism is the romantic-orientation counterpart for asexuality. However, aromanticism is not limited to asexuality, as aromantic people can identify as any sexual orientation without forfeiting their aromantic identity.[6]

Aromantics are emotionally satisfied without a romantic partnership, instead, finding their needs are met with strong friendships. Aromantic people can still experience love and affection in different forms than a romantic relationship, as love can come from family, friends, colleagues, and sexual partners. Aromantic people can still express their love for their parents, friends, children, or others in their life, which is a valid expression of love; they're just not expression of romantic love.[7] Moreover, what distinguishes romantic versus non-romantic feelings and behaviors can vary between individuals and cultures, meaning a romantic gesture for one person, regardless of their romantic orientation or lack thereof, might not be romantic for another person.[7]

Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week, previously known as Aromantic Awareness Week, occurs annually the first full week after Valentine's Day. It was established in November 2014 for raising awareness and progressing acceptance of aromantic spectrum identities.[8] It was moved to right after Valentine's Day for those in the aromantic community who had difficulty finding space for their experiences in such a universally romanticized event to come together and celebrate their own unique experiences.[9]

Queerplatonic relationships

A queerplatonic relationship is a non-sexual, non-romantic partnership with an emotional strength that may be seen as beyond a friendship[10][11][12] since it has the prioritization and commitment usually considered to be part of romantic relationships.[11] Queerplatonic relationships do not fit the "traditional" models of friendships or sexual relationships.[10][12] Many queerplatonic relationships involve someone who is within the asexual spectrum,[13] but people in them may be of any sexual orientation or gender.[11][13]

Aromantic traits and identifiers

Some aromantic people mention difficulty relating to the concept of "falling in love" or having romantic "crushes". The degree to which people experience such attraction is varied, as some aromantic people are married or have a partner. Others choose to opt out of anything coded as romantic or feel discomfort with the idea of romantic relations.[3][14] According to Doctor Kristina Gupta, a professor of women's, gender, and sexuality studies, there are a few key signs one might be aromantic. However, aromanticism works in different ways for different people.[14]

  • Not finding the idea of romantic relationships appealing.[14]
  • Difficulty relating to stories about romantic relationships[14] or finding them confusing.[15]
  • Having a physical attraction to people, but not developing crushes.[14] May also present as not understanding why people behave they way they do when "in love".[15]
  • Developing strong connections with other people, but not wanting to do things associated with romance (i.e. sharing a bed, kissing, holding hands).[14][15]
  • Not finding any or most romantic plots in books/movies/media interesting or needed.[15]

When supporting someone who comes out as aromantic, the first thing is accepting and believing their identity to be true. Supporting the relationships of aromantic individuals is critical in helping build a support system, and showing support even if the relationship does not follow cultural norms. Ensuring a queerplatonic partner feels welcome in a friend group or family setting is also important.[14]

History

17th Century

During the Qing dynasty of South China, there was The Golden Orchid Society. For 300 years, beginning in the early 1640s, this order of women stood against marriage. For many women, these heterosexual unions were restrictive, thrust upon them, and abusive. The Golden Orchid Society stood in opposition to society's expectations of the time, welcoming with open arms any woman looking to avoid the normative life.

It was practice for married women in China to comb their hair a certain way to say they were not available, so the Golden Orchid Society created "self-combing women". These women would wear their hair just as married women would, and a ceremony would be held to celebrate this choice. This practice was used by women who did not wish to marry or have romantic/sexual partnerships. It is likely at least some of them held similar feelings about romance and partnerships as many modern day aros.[16]

1970s

In 1979, in her book Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love, Dorothy Tennov spoke of limerent and non-limerent people. She, and other theorists, recognized that romantic and sexual love were not necessarily linked. Limerence is an outdated term for feeling romantic attraction, and non-limerent people were those who had never felt romantic love. This term "non-limerent" is a precursor to our "aromantic".[16]

2000s

The term aromantic was first coined in an Asexual Visibility and Education Network discussion thread titled "Relationship Definitions" in June 2005.[17] It was not until 2008/2009, on AVEN at least, that the term appeared more often.[16]

Flag

First Aromantic Flag

The first proposed aromantic flag had four stripes. Green, because it is the opposite of red, the most commonly associated romance color. Yellow, representing platonic love, because yellow roses represent friendship. Orange, for grayromantics, because it is in between red and yellow. And black, representing alloromantics that "reject traditional ideas of romance". This flag was later changed because it closely resembled the Rastafarian flag, and because it had a stripe representing alloromantics.[18]

Cameron Whimsy designed second aromantic flag[19] and its modified version.[20] Both are five-striped flags with shared top and bottom stripes, but the center stripe was changed from yellow[19] to white.[20] The meanings changed slightly with the center stripe change.[19][20]

Second Aromantic Flag

Cameron Whimsy's initial proposal had a yellow center stripe, which they replaced with the white stripe seen in the finalized flag.

For the yellow "trial" version:

  • Green: Aromantic.[19]
  • Light green: The aromantic spectrum.[19]
  • Yellow: Lithromantic.[19]
  • Gray: Grayaromantic and demiromantic.[19]
  • Black: Wtfromantic.[19]

For the white "redesigned" version:

  • Green and light green: The paired stripes represent the entire aromantic spectrum, with green representing aromanticism itself.[20]
  • White: The platonic stripe, representing the importance and validity of all non-romantic forms of love and relationships, including (but not limited to) aesthetic attractions, queerplatonic relationships and families, and friendships.[20]
  • Gray plus black: The paired stripes represent the sexuality spectrum, such as aroaces, aromantic allosexuals, and more.[20]

There are several other symbols used to represent aromantics and aromantic love. One is an arrow, due to aromantic often being shortened to aro, which is pronounced the same way. Like asexuals, aromantics also use the symbol of the spades to represent themselves, and aroace individuals especially use the ace of spades.[21]

Distinction

Asexual

Asexual is very commonly used in conjunction with aromantic, though they are two separate identities. Asexual is a sexual orientation in which an individual does not experience sexual attraction. Aromantic is a romantic orientation; they do not experience romantic attraction.[22]

Some aromantic people also identify as asexual, though the terms are not used interchangeably. An aromantic asexual person does not experience either sexual or romantic attraction.[15]

Grayromantic

Grayromantic is a term on the aromantic spectrum used to describe individuals who experience romantic attraction very rarely or are somewhere in between alloromantic and aromantic. Grayromantic term can also be used by those who are questioning their romantic orientation. Some aromantic people use the term as an interim identity until they full identify with another, though others are comfortable with the term grayromantic as their romantic orientation instead of aromantic.[15]

Nonamorous

Nonamorous describes a person who does not wish to form an intimate, long-term partnership with others, whether romantic or platonic.[23] However, not every aromantic is nonamorous. Some aromantic people are in long term committed relationships, and those who choose to pursue committed relationships sometimes use terms like amorous/partnering to describe that attitude.[24]

Perceptions and discrimination

A misconception regarding aromantic individuals is that they do not feel love, but aromantic people typically do not feel romantic love and the desire to act romantically toward a partner. Aromantic people can still usually experience emotions, desires, attractions, and forms of love that are non-romantic. Aromantics may or may not feel sexual attraction; not all asexuals are aromantic, nor are all aromantics asexual.[1]

However, there are aros who do not feel any type of love, and these aros are referred to as "loveless aros".[23]

Aromantics are misconceived as being cold or emotionally unavailable. Many aromantic people have strong emotional connections to other people, though the emotion is not inherently romantic. The lack of a romantic availability is not believed to correlate with emotional availability. They are sometimes labeled as "robots" or "lacking emotions", though both statements are not always correct. Aromantics place a higher level of value on friendships, as they can have their emotional needs met in a platonic way.[15]

A person's dating history does not determine sexuality or romantic orientation. Aromanticism typically becomes noticeable around puberty, and is not the result of romantic heartbreak.[15]

Media

Literature

  • Willbourn Lisa - Parahumans by John C. McCrae
  • Nevian and Cal - The White Renegade by Claudie Arseneualt
  • Rivka - A Harvest of Ripe Figs by Shira Glassman
  • Georgia, Jess, and Ellis - Loveless by Alice Oseman
  • Gwen Vere (allosexual and aromantic) - An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows
  • Arèn - A Broken Promise by Lynn E. O'connacht
  • Wasp - Archivist Wasp / Latchkey by Nicole Kornher-Stace
  • Claire/Claude, Denise Jalbert, Emmanuelle, Livia, and Yuri - Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault
  • A comprehensive list of aromantic book recommendations by queer author Claudie Arseneault

Television

  • Alastor - Hazbin Hotel
  • Peridot - Steven Universe[25]
  • Caduceus Clay - Critical Role
  • Lilith Clawthorne- The Owl House
  • Monkey D.Luffy - One Piece
  • Senku Ishigami - Dr.Stone
  • Edward Elric - Fullmetal Alchemist/Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
  • Saiki K - The Disastrous Life of Saiki K

Public figures

Resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The ABC's of LGBT+ by Ash Hardell. Published 2016 by Mango Media. ISBN 9781633534087.
  2. "Romantic Orientations" by Asexual Visibility and Education Network on The Asexual Visibility and Education Network(Archived on 2021-12-04)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "About Aromanticism" on Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week(Archived on 2022-02-20)
  4. "Meaning of prefix a- by etymyonline" on <etymonline.com>. Published 2022 by Etymonline. (no backup information provided)
  5. "Aromantic definition" by Dictionary.com on <dictionary.com>(no backup information provided)
  6. "explore the spectrum: guide to finding your ace community" by Morgan Pasquier, GLAAD Campus Ambassador on <glaad.org>. Published 2018-10-27 by GLAAD amp. (no backup information provided)
  7. 7.0 7.1 "What Is Aromantic And What Does It Mean For Relationships?" by Youell, Joy on <betterhelp.com>. Published 2022-02-09 by Better Help. (no backup information provided)
  8. "Are you ready for Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week?" on <lgbtqnation.com>(no backup information provided)
  9. "About ASAW" on Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week(Archived on 2022-02-20)
  10. 10.0 10.1 The A-Z of Gender and Sexuality: From Ace to Ze by Morgan Lev Edward Holleb. Published 2019 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 9781785923425 (paperback), ISBN 9781784506636 (eBook)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 The Little Book of LGBTQ+: An A—Z of Gender and Sexual Identities by Harriet Dyer. Published 2022 by Summersdale Publishers, Ltd. queerplatonic: "A close but non-sexual, non-romantic relationship that is beyond what most would consider to be friendship. It consists of emotional commitment and prioritization that may usually be seen in a romantic relationship. People in queerplatonic relationships may be of any gender or sexual identity." ISBN 9781627783231 (trade paper), ISBN 9781627785365 (e-book). Preceded by From Ace to Ze: The Little Book of LGBT Terms in 2018.
  12. 12.0 12.1 The Queens' English: The LGBTQIA+ Dictionary of Lingo and Colloquial Phrases by Chloe O. Davis. Published 2021 by Clarkson Potter/Publishers. queerplatonic relationship: "An extremely close, passionate attachment between two friends that has a strong emotional connection that may extend beyond the boundary of a 'normal' friendship. These relationships do not develop into sexual or romantic partnerships. A person in a queerplatonic relationship can be called a QUEERPLATONIC PARTNER, SQUISH, or ZUCCHINI. Want more info? Think: a loving bond between two people that does not fit the model of a traditional friendship or sexual relationship." ISBN 9780593135006, ISBN 9780593135013 (Ebook)
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Understanding the Asexual Community" on <hrc.org>(no backup information provided)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 "If you're aromantic — here's what that means" by Kennedy, Madeline on <insider.com>. Published 2021-09-01 by Insider Health. (no backup information provided)
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 15.7 "Aromanticism and the aromantic spectrum" on <asexualitytrust.org.nz>(no backup information provided)
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "Aromantic History" by AUREA on AUREA - Aromantic-spectrum Union for Recognition, Education, and Advocacy. Published 2019-10-14. (Archived on 2022-01-29)
  17. "Relationship Definitions (thread)" by Orbit on The Asexual Visibility and Education Network. Published 2005-06-09. (Archived on 2022-01-20)
  18. CRWflags.com lists the meaning of Aro flags
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 19.6 19.7 "i've been reading up on a lot of the discussion about the aro flag (Untitled post)" by Whimsy, Cameron on volbol. Published 2014-02-07. (Archived on 2022-01-24)
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 "Newer and more improved aro flag (Untitled post)" by Whimsy, Cameron on volbol. Published 2014-11-16. (Archived on 2022-01-20)
  21. The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality by Julie Sondra Decker
  22. "General FAQ" by Asexual Visibility and Education Network on The Asexual Visibility and Education Network(Archived on 2022-01-08)
  23. 23.0 23.1 "All Terms" by AUREA on AUREA - Aromantic-spectrum Union for Recognition, Education, and Advocacy(Archived on 2022-01-29)
  24. "FAQ" by AUREA on AUREA - Aromantic-spectrum Union for Recognition, Education, and Advocacy(Archived on 2022-02-23)
  25. Confirmation via a writer of the series
  26. "'Loveless' author Alice Oseman on why aroace representation in fiction is important" by Laura on aces & aros. Published 2020-07-08. (Archived on 2022-02-21)
  27. "Michaela Coel On London and Love in Netflix Musical 'Been So Long'" by Lee, Ann on Culture Date. Published 2018-11-15. (Archived on 2021-11-12)
Advertisement