Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Asexual Awareness Week: The Asexuality Spectrum

For Asexuality Awareness Week, I present an overview of some orientations and identities along the spectrum of asexuality and aromance. There are doubtless more, so feel free to add those in a comment if you know of others.

Note that there are many different definitions of what "is" or "is not" on the asexuality spectrum. We are not going to argue about those here. If you identify as ace, you're ace. If someone else uses a different definition, that's fine too. Don't try to force your definitions on anyone else, and generally, don't be a dick. It's hard enough being QUILTBAG in a flat-sheet world without picking on each other too.

Furthermore, if you are uncertain of your relational leanings or have not examined them closely, consider your headspace before reading onward. Epiphanies can be disorienting. You might want to make sure you have a support person and/or time to process in case you need it.

Types of Attraction

According to one Tumblr user who claims to be an expert on the topic, there are six types of attraction:

-sexual: “I want to have sex with you”

-romantic: “I want to date you”

-sensual: “I want to hug/kiss you”

-platonic: “I want to be friends with you”

-aesthetic: “You look nice”

-alterous: can best be described as desiring emotional closeness with someone; is neither platonic nor romantic but rather somewhere in between the two

To this I will add three more. The first is already in wide use, the second is my own construction to fit a need, and the third is taken from examples in this list.

-social: "I prefer to interact with this type of person."

-tractive: "I want to form serious, long-term connections with this type of person."

-flux: an orientation which shifts over time for various reasons, or seemingly no reason.

Aceflux: similar to genderflux where the intensity of sexual attraction you feel fluctuates; asexual to demisexual to allosexual and back

Acoromantic - Is someone whose negative experiences with romance has alienated them from their allo-romanticism.

Akoisexual: the feeling of attraction but not wanting it reciprocated or losing it when it is reciprocated; used as an alternative and potentially less problematic form of lithosexual/lithoromantic

Aliquasexual: not normally feeling attraction, but feeling it on occasion under specific circumstances

Allosexual / Sexual: someone who experiences erotic attraction, such as heterosexual or homosexual.

Alterous - Is someone who can't be described as neither being (entirely/completely) platonic nor romantic, & is an attraction best described as wanting emotional closeness without necessarily being (at all or entirely) platonic &/or romantic, & is used in the place of -romantic or -platonic (so say bi-alterous instead of bi-romantic).
Someone can be both alterous & romantic &/or platonic & can have varying degrees on attraction, ultimately feel discomfort / unease / or just a sense of inaccuracy in calling it wholly romantic or platonic.
More examples:
Androalterous/Manalterous* - Alterous attraction to men and/or masculinity.
Gynealterous/ Womanalterous* - Alterous attraction to women and/or femininity.
Panalterous - Alterous attraction towards people regardless of sex and gender.
Polyalterous - Alterous attraction towards people of more than one multiple sexes and gender, yet not all.
Heteroalterous - Alterous attraction towards the opposite sex or gender.

Amorplatonic: experiencing romantic attraction but only wanting to be in queerplatonic/quasiplatonic relationships

Apathromantic (The root word being Apathy) - Is someone whose orientation form of "romance indifferent" which can also be used as a title. It does not distinguish if the person does or does not have romantic attraction, but just that they are indifferent in receiving it or acting it out.

Apothi: being aromantic/asexual and not experiencing any romantic/sexual feelings in any shape or form; aromantic/asexual individuals who are romance/sex repulsed

Aroflux - Is someone whose romantic orientation is on the aromantic spectrum & is defined as.....
someone who's romantic orientation fluctuates but always stays on the aro spectrum. (ex. one day you're demiro, another day lithro, the next aro, etc)
someone who's romantic orientation fluctuates from, experiencing romantic attraction, some romantic attraction, & experiencing no romantic attraction.
some people who are aroflux feel as if they are alloromantic at times, while other aroflux people don't feel that way. aroflux people can be romance repulsed, romance indifferent / neutral/apathetic towards romance, or romance positive. & can have any sexual orientation.

Arospike/Acespike: feeling no attraction except in occasional bursts of intense attraction and then plummeting back to no attraction

Asexual: feeling no sexual attraction regardless of gender or situation

Autochorisromantic/Aegoromantic - Is someone who enjoys the idea of romance, but not wishing to be a participant in romantic activities (based off of autochorissexual / a disconnection between oneself and a romantic target or fantasy).

Autochorisexual/Aegosexual: feeling attraction or desire only for situations that does not involve oneself

Autosexuality: the feeling of attraction only towards oneself

Burstromantic - Is someone whose romantic attraction comes and goes but does not specify if it has a reason or not.

Cass: feeling utterly indifferent towards attraction and believing it's not important

Caedromantic - Is someone who used to experience romantic attractions, but no longer does due to past trauma.

Cupio: the feeling of having no attraction towards any gender yet still desiring a sexual or romantic relationship

Demiromantic - Is someone who only experiences romantic attraction after developing an emotional connection beforehand. Demiromantics do not experience primary romantic attraction, but they are capable of secondary romantic attraction.

Demisensual - not wanting close physical contact such as snuggling with anyone, until a close emotional connection develops, after which an attraction for sensual activities may develop.

Demisexuality: not feeling attraction towards someone until a certain closeness or bond has been formed

Desinoromantic: when one does not experience full-on romantic attraction, but experiences “liking” someone instead of loving them romantically, at which point the attraction goes no further

Frayromantic - Is someone who experiences romantic attraction towards strangers and people you are less familiar with, which fades away when you get to know them more

Grayromantic - Is someone whose romantic orientation is somewhere between aromantic and romantic.
For example, a gray-romantic may:
Experience romantic attraction but not very often. But when so, it is usual strong attraction.
Experience romantic attraction, but not desire romantic relationships.
Also used as a catch-all for other non aromantic, non alloromantic/zedromantic orientations, like demiromantic and lithromantic.

Grey: the feeling of usually not having any attraction except occasionally depending on the situation; typically paired with asexual and aromantic
1) do not normally experience sexual attraction, but can sometimes.
2) Have sexual attraction but a low sex drive
3) Have sexual attraction and drive but no desire to act upon it.
4) Those who have sexual attraction and drive but only under limited and specific circumstances.

Alternative definition:
Gray-A: (also spelled “Grey-A”) is a gray area between asexuality and sexuality

Hyporomantic - Hypo is from Greek and means low. Quite the opposite of Hyper. And as Hyposexual mean low sex-drive, this is it's romantic synonym. Low romantic drive.

Iculasexual: being asexual but open to having sex

Ipsiflux: wanting to form a strong, long-term relationship with a boss but the exact nature (sexual, romantic, platonic, etc.) depends on the boss' orientation and morphs to match. From Latin ipsimus for boss.

Ipsiplatonic: wanting to form a strong, long-term, relationship with a boss which is neither sexual nor romantic. From Latin ipsimus for boss.

Ipsitractive: wanting to form a strong, long-term relationship with a boss. From Latin ipsimus for boss.

Kalossexual: the desire to have a sexual relationship yet never feeling sexual attraction; part of the ace spectrum

Limno: experiencing attraction towards depictions of attraction (writing or drawings) but not the physical acts

Lithromantic/Aporomantic/Akoi(ne)romantic - Is someone who can feel a romantic attraction towards others and also enjoy romantic relationships in theory, but not needing that affection to be reciprocated or be in a relationship with the one the feelings are directed towards. Either that, or they may stop feeling the attraction once in a relationship or stop enjoying it.

Novi: feeling complicated attraction or lack thereof in such a way that it is difficult or impossible to fit into one word or term

Objectumsexual: Someone who is sexually attracted to inanimate objects. (In this sense, this is not a fetish, for the person sees the object as a partner, not a way to enhance a separate sexual relationship with another person)

Omniaromantic - Is someone who feels no romantic attraction whatsoever. In no way, shape, or form do they fall in love or feel any attraction to anyone.
They are completely non-romantic, and will not fall in love no matter how long they stay with someone or any other factor that could/would lead to a romantic interest in any other type of aromantic or alloromantic relationships. They do not wish to be in any romantic relationships,are not attracted to anyone. (Excepting experimentation.)
They are asensual, have no aesthetic attraction to others, and no squishes. They can experience platonic love or familial love, though not all do so.
This term was made to made a distinguish between being on the aromantic spectrum and specify from the common definition of a aromantic person, since saying someone is "aromantic" could mean they could be demiromantic, gray-aromantic, and such other types of aromantics who do feel sensual, have aesthetic attraction and such.

Particeplatonic - wanting to form a strong, long-erm relationship with a partner such as a dance partner or beat partner, which is neither sexual nor romantic. From Latin particeps for partner.

Particesensual - wanting to form a sensual relationship with a partner such as a dance partner or beat partner, which is not necessarily sexual or romantic. From Latin particeps for partner.

Particetractive - wanting to form a strong, long-term relationship with a partner such as a dance partner or beat partner. From Latin particeps for partner.

Platoniromantic: feeling no difference between platonic and romantic attraction

Post rubor - Is someone who quickly gets crushes/squishes/etc on others, but after the initial excitement of said crush/etc vanishes so do their feelings.

Pre: a placeholder term for someone who doesn’t think they’ve experienced enough attraction to know their orientation

Quasiromantic - Is someone who identifies as quasiromantic may see their attraction as non-traditional or may feel it differs from crushes, perhaps a mix between platonic, romantic, aesthetic, or somewhere completely different and/or it involves other non-traditional aspects, such as rare attraction, or attraction but non-physical, non-platonic but romantic, etc.

Queer: This is sometimes used as an umbrella term for those who do not identify as heterosexual. It can also refer to someone who does not fit any specific sexuality.

Queerplatonic - A queerplatonic relationship is a relationship that is not romantic but involves a close emotional connection beyond what most people consider friendship. The commitment level in a queerplatonic relationship is often considered to be similar to that of a romantic relationship. People in a queerplatonic relationship may be of any romantic or sexual orientation. It may include any romantic or sexual elements the people in the relationship feel they want, or none at all.

Quoiromantic - Is someone whose romantic orientation is on the aromantic spectrum that describes people who cannot differentiate between platonic and romantic attraction, cannot define romantic attraction and therefore are not sure if they experience it, experience attraction somewhere between romantic and platonic, or want to be in a queerplatonic relationship. It’s also known as WTFromantic or Whatromantic or Platoniromantic.

Recipromantic - Is someone who only feels romantic attraction only if the other person feels romantic attraction to them at first. If there is no one around to feel romantic attraction to them, largely recipromantics may feel like simply defining themselves as aromantic describes their experiences just fine.

Requi(es)romantic - Is someone who feels little to no romantic attraction due to some mental or emotional exhaustion, the exhaustion might have been caused by bad experiences of romance during that person's history.

Sapioromantic - Is someone who is attracted to intelligence or human minds.

Sapiosexuality: a sexual orientation where the primary feature that one finds attractive is intelligence, rather than appearance or body. It commonly goes hand-in-hand with asexual-spectrum orientations.

Schromantic - Is someone who is aromantic and romantic at the same time, or some mix of the two. (A term used here on AVEN)
(describing romanticism in terms of Schrödinger’s cat as having the possibility of being romantic and aromantic at the same time).

Traumataromantic: a romantic orientation impacted by severe trauma. It can be mutable, it can be unknown, it can be absent, and so on. Whatever it is, it came about through intense trauma.

Traumatasexual: a sexuality impacted by severe trauma. It can be mutable, it can be unknown, it can be absent, and so on. Whatever it is, it came about through intense trauma.

Related helpful terms
~most from Urban Dictionary~

Amatonormativity - A tendency of society to treat romantic relationships as more valuable than non-romantic ones.

Aromate - A platonic friend who’s pretty much your soul-mate but in a friend way. you’d totally hold their hand and take them out to movies though. In other words Aromantic partner.

Lush - A sensual equivalent of a squish or crush.

Nonamory - Not wanting to form romantic relationships no matter one's orientation.

Peach Fuzz - When people in queer platonic relationships pretend their partnership is a romantic one to stave off questions from family and friends.

Plush - Queer platonic crush, strong desire to join in a qeer platonic relationship with someone.

Soft Romo - Low level romance/romantic attraction/crush/etc.

Smush - A sexual crush aka Lust.

Swish - An aesthetic crush.

Squish - In the asexual community, the equivalent of a "crush", but explicitly lacking an interest in forming a romantic couple or having a sexual relationship with the person in question. It does not matter if they are "in a relationship", as long as you two can have a deep connection. A squish is an intense feeling of attraction, liking, appreciation, admiration for a person you urgently want to get to know better and become close with. It is different from "just wanting to be friends" in that there is an intensity about it and a disproportionate sense of elation when they like and appreciate you back.

Zucchini - a partner in a queerplatonic relationship. The commitment level between partners is often considered to be similar to that of a romantic relationship, but with platonic love. Zucchinis may be of any romantic or sexual orientation.
Tags: activism, gender studies, holiday, linguistics, vocabulary
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