The aromantic spectrum

2 minutes

Learning objectives

After completing this unit, you will be able to:

  • Define aromanticism.
  • Name three identities that are a part of the aromantic spectrum.
  • Explain how asexual and aromantic identities are not inherently related.

The aromantic spectrum

Aromanticism is a romantic orientation where a person experiences little to no romantic attraction and/or has no desire to form romantic relationships.

Aromanticism can be experienced to varying degrees. It exists on a spectrum which involves a range of identities characterized by varying levels of romantic attraction. This spectrum is called the aromantic spectrum, and it encompasses the following identities:

  • Grayromantic: an orientation that is neither fully romantic nor fully aromantic, where someone experiences romantic attraction very rarely, only experiences it under specific circumstances, or experiences it differently from others in some significant way.
  • Demiromantic: an orientation where a person can only experience romantic attraction if a strong emotional bond is present. Demiromanticism is often considered to be under the grayromantic umbrella.

The term "aro" can be used to refer to any identity in the aromantic spectrum or to any person who identifies with an aromantic spectrum identity.

Aromanticism and sexual orientation

People who are aromantic often also identify with a sexual orientation. Because romantic orientation is separate from sexual orientation, an aromantic person could be gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, etc.

The aromantic community initially grew out of the asexual community, and while there is still a lot of overlap between the two, asexuality and aromanticism are entirely different identities. Just as a person can be asexual and not aromantic, a person can be aromantic and not asexual. In addition, people who identify as both ace and aro (often called aroace) may view their personal ace and aro identities as inextricable from each other or may choose to prioritize one identity over the other.

Further reading