Life Sexuality What are romantic orientations? There are many romantic identities just like sexual orientations. Romantic orientation is considered distinct from sexual orientation, which is who you’re sexually attracted to (though sexual orientation is often used to mean both romantic and sexual attractions). Simply put, romantic orientation is who you’re romantically attracted to. And sometimes, people’s romantic orientation is different from their sexual orientation. You could be asexual and homoromantic, for instance, meaning that you experience little to no sexual attraction but are romantically interested in others of the same gender. There are many romantic identities just like sexual orientations, and the same labels that people use in describing sexual orientation can usually be applied to describe romantic orientation, just with ‘romantic’ rather than ‘sexual’ at the end. This all might sound confusing, but luckily there’s a model called the Split Attraction Model (SAM) which explains the difference between sexual and romantic attraction. The use of SAM and romantic orientation labels is most common amongst those who identify along the asexual and/or aromantic spectrum, but anyone can use SAM and/or label their romantic orientation. It’s all just another way of figuring out who you are! Split Attraction Model (SAM) Alloromantic Alloromantic describes someone who experiences romantic attraction in a clear, consistent, frequent enough manner to have no relationship to the aromantic spectrum. Aromantic Aromantic describes someone who’s not romantically attracted to anyone/doesn’t want romantic relationships at all. Aromantic can also be used as an umbrella term for anyone who identifies along the aromantic spectrum. Biromantic Biromantic describes someone who’s romantically attracted to/wants romantic relationships with multiple genders. Demiromantic Demiromantic is a type of gray-romantic. It describes someone who only experiences romantic attraction after developing an emotional connection beforehand. Demiromantic people may also add a gender orientation to the label (e.g., “demi-homoromantic”). Gray-romantic Gray-romantic (or gray-aromantic) describes someone with a romantic orientation that’s somewhere between aromantic and alloromantic (e.g., experiencing romantic attraction but not very often). Gray-romantics may also add a gender orientation to the label (e.g., “gray-homoromantic”). Heteroromantic Heteromantic describes someone who’s romantically attracted to/wants romantic relationships with another gender. Homoromantic Homoromantic describes someone who’s romantically attracted to/wants romantic relationships with the same gender. Panromantic Panromantic describes someone who’s romantically attracted to/wants romantic relationships without gender being a factor. What next? Questioning your romantic orientation? Switchboard is a great resource. You can visit their website or call at 0300 330 0630. Got questions about asexuality and aromanticism or just need some support? AVEN (Asexuality Visibility & Education Network) has great resources and forums. Asexuality New Zealand Trust also has great resources. Check out this article on demisexuality and demiromanticism.