If you thought there were only different types of sexual orientations, you were wrong. It’s time to get informed about romantic orientation.
When it comes to who you want to spend your life with, there are many different things you have to know. Your sexual orientation may play a huge role in your relationship but your romantic orientation is an even bigger part.
That’s right. In addition to there being specific sexual orientations, there are also different romantic orientations we all should educate ourselves on.
The difference between sexual orientation and romantic orientation
Don’t feel bad if you thought they were the same thing. The truth is, many people don’t realize that there are different types of orientations. There’s a huge difference between sexual attraction and romantic attraction. And that’s why they’re separated into specific orientations.
Romantic orientation is who you’re attracted to on a romantic level. These are the people you see yourself developing a romantic relationship with. Sometimes these people are the same people you’re sexually attracted to, but not always. Sexual orientation, on the other hand, is who you feel a strong desire to have sex with. [Read: Building a romantic connection through emotional attraction]
What are the different types of romantic orientations out there?
There are actually more than just a few. If you want to learn more about the different types of romantic orientation – as you should – here they are. Maybe these can help you understand yourself or others much better.
#1 Aromantic. This romantic orientation can be a little difficult to understand to those of us who feel romance. And that’s because aromantic people do not. They have absolutely no desire to form a romantic connection with a person and they can’t feel it.
However, they can feel sexual desire if they’re not asexual. There are far too many people labeling people of this romantic orientation as “slutty” simply because their relationships consist of sex only. And that’s because they just can’t feel a romantic connection.
#2 Biromantic. I’m sure by now you’re picking up that many of these romantic orientations are very similar to the names of sexual orientations. So that would mean this one is when someone is attracted to both men and women romantically.
#3 Heteroromantic. If someone is romantically attracted to a different gender other than their own, they’re heteroromantic. This is also oftentimes paired with a person’s sexual orientation, but not always.
More often, someone’s sexual orientation can be bisexual or even fluid while their romantic orientation remains heteroromantic.
#4 Homoromantic. When someone is homoromantic, they are romantically attracted to the same gender as themselves. Meaning men desire romantic relationships with other men and women with other women.
This is definitely seen paired with someone also being homosexual, as well. But that’s not always the case and some can feel a romantic attraction toward their own gender but a sexual attraction toward another.
#5 Panromantic. If you’ve never heard of panromantic, chances are you’ve never heard of pansexuals either. No worries! This is a less common romantic and sexual orientation, but just as valid as the rest.
Someone who is panromantic can form a romantic attraction toward anyone, regardless of their gender. A person’s gender has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not they will feel romantically connected with them. [Read: Panromantic asexual – the truth you need to know]
#6 Polyromantic. Don’t get this romantic orientation and panromantics confused. They’re much different but can be seen as the same by those who are less informed. The fact is, being polyromantic is when someone can form a romantic attraction for multiple genders, but not all of them.
So even if they are romantically attracted to all but 1, they’re still polyromantic and NOT panromantic.
#7 Gray-romantic. This can be a little tricky to understand for a number of reasons. Basically, gray-romantic individuals can feel romantic attraction, but it’s very rare. They don’t experience it very often and when they do, there’s no rhyme or reason to it. This can be confused with demiromantic individuals, but it’s not the same.
#8 Demiromantic. If someone is demiromantic, they can feel romantic attraction, but only after they’ve formed a deep emotional connection with a person. It takes them a long time and a deeper understanding of an individual before they can have those types of feelings for them. Many times, demiromantic and demisexuality are linked together. But again, this is not always the case.
How romantic orientation often works
The thing about romantic orientation is that it’s usually coupled with a person’s sexual orientation. That means if someone is heterosexual, they’re usually heteroromantic, as well. The gender they prefer sexually is oftentimes the same gender they have a romantic attraction for.
However, this is not always the case. There are people whose sexual and romantic orientations differ. Now, this may sound very difficult to deal with, but that’s not always the case. Many people who have opposing orientations are polyamorous.
Instead of being monogamous and having only one life partner, they have two or three or even more. This is because they need to be able to have a romantic-only relationship with a certain person and a sex-only relationship with another in order to feel fully fulfilled in that aspect of their life. [Read: Different types of attraction and which is vital for true love]
What you should remember about all orientations
No matter someone’s sexual or romantic orientation, there are a few things you should remember. Firstly, all orientations of any kind are valid. Even if someone feels a certain way that isn’t yet defined by a word, it’s still real and true. [Read: 23 types of relationships to define your love life]
Secondly, if you’re not sure what you’re feeling yourself, that’s okay. Not knowing what your romantic orientation is, is perfectly fine. It doesn’t make the way you feel any less valid than if you have a label to put on it.
Romantic orientation isn’t something many people think about or consider. However, it’s definitely a huge part of a person’s life and everyone – no matter their orientation – should be educated on the different types.
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Bella is a lifestyle writer, cheese enthusiast (Wisconsin native over here) and fantasy adventure author-in-progress who enjoys all things love, dog, p...