There’s a huge difference between who you’re sexually attracted to, and romantically attracted to. With romantic orientations, this refers to who you tend to develop romantic feelings to.
For instance, you could identify as asexual, but your romantic orientation is towards both men and women. Knowing your romantic orientation can help you connect with yourself better and be more aware of your current relationships.
Your sexual orientation may play a huge role in your relationship but your romantic orientation is an even bigger part. This also helps you avoid offending anyone as you can make all the wrong assumptions. [Read: 15 signs you’re asexual and don’t like getting laid as much as others]
Without knowing your own orientation – and others as well – you could end up mislabeling people. You could assume that you’ve always been straight your whole life without knowing why you only get attracted to the same gender without wanting sex with them.
Even as you’ve tried same-sex relationships, it never works out the way you want it to. This is because you’re more focused on sexual orientation rather than romantic orientation.
When you let yourself learn more about why the people you connect with sexually are different from who you’re attracted to, it explains a lot about who you are – including the way you love.
Romantic orientation is just as important as your sexual orientation. And together, it forms the bigger picture of your needs and wants in a relationship.
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. Sexual orientation refers to who you’re physically attracted to. In other words, who you see yourself getting into bed with.
On the other hand, romantic orientation refers to who you develop an emotional or mental connection with. You can absolutely have sex with someone without having romantic feelings with them, which is where the difference between both sexual and romantic attraction lies.
[Read: Building a romantic connection through emotional attraction]
Again, it’s so important to know the different romantic orientations, not just for yourself, but for others as well. It can help you better understand the bigger picture of relationships as a whole. Here’s everything you need to know about the different existing romantic orientations.
This is one of the romantic orientations that tend to feel excluded or misunderstood. We always have the assumption that everyone likely has romantic feelings, but this isn’t always the case.
For an aromantic, they have absolutely no desire to form a romantic connection with a person and they can’t feel that emotion at all. In fact, they might’ve even grown up wondering if something was wrong with them.
They just don’t feel that romantic connection with anyone, however, they can still feel a sexual connection with someone. With this being said, even if they can’t develop romantic feelings for anyone, doesn’t mean they can’t have strong friendships.
This is simply limited in the romantic sense and not so much in the platonic sense. [Read: Aromantic dilemma – 16 myths and truths about their love]
We’re sure by now you’re picking up that many of these romantic orientations are very similar to the names of sexual orientations. This would mean this one is when someone is attracted to both men and women romantically.
As a biromantic, you can develop strong romantic feelings for both men and women without the implication you’ll develop a sexual connection with them as well. Again, both orientations are very different that way. [Read: Biromantic vs. bisexual – how to understand the difference]
This romantic orientation means that you’re attracted to a different gender than your own. 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. It’s completely normal to have one romantic orientation that’s completely opposite from your sexual orientation.
As a homoromantic, you’re romantically attracted to the same gender as yourself. If you identify as a woman, you’ll likely have romantic feelings for women as well.
Again, the notion is that you’re a homosexual, but this isn’t always an accurate assumption. You can be romantically attracted to the same gender while being sexually connected to the opposite gender. [Read: Homoromantic – The facts you need to know to really understand it]
If you’ve heard of pansexuals, then you should atleast have the slightest clue of what a panromantic is. This romantic orientation might not be as common, but it means they’re romantically attracted not to the gender, but the personality.
No matter what gender they are, there’s absolutely no bias. 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]
It’s easy to get polyromantics and panromantics confused, but they’re very much different. The fact is, being polyromantic is when someone can form a romantic attraction for multiple genders, but not all of them.
There’s still a gender bias with this romantic orientation unlike that of panromantics. Even if they’re attracted to all genders, that still doesn’t make them panromantic. [Read: Polyromantic relationships and an easy guide to simplify a confusing label]
Gray-romantics can be often confused for aromantics for an adequate number of reasons. As a gray-romantic, you rarely feel romantic attraction for anyone, but it’s there. They don’t experience it very often and when they do, there’s no rhyme or reason to it.
You might’ve grown up not feeling any sort of romantic attraction until it just happens. Those who are gray-romantic don’t know what makes them feel romance every now and then.
It can be completely sporadic and there’s not a single trait nor person who can make them feel it. In the same sense, it can also be confused with demiromantics, which we’ll get to in a bit. [Read: Graysexual – what it is and the common qualities of graysexuality]
Demiromantics can feel romantic attraction, but only when they’ve developed a deep emotional connection with someone. This means if there isn’t a connection, they likely won’t have feelings for that person.
It takes them a long time and a deeper understanding of an individual before they can have those types of feelings for them. Both demiromantics and demisexuals are linked together, but they aren’t always the same. You can feel a romantic attraction with someone without still wanting that sexual aspect as a demiromantic. [Read: The most important traits that make someone a demiromantic]
If you’ve always been romantically attracted to intelligence and knowledge, there’s a term for that – sapioromantic. Its counterpart is sapiosexual, which refers to only being sexually attracted to someone of intelligence or intellect.
This romantic orientation means that you can’t just be with anyone – you need to have a mental connection with them. This means you fall in love faster when someone shows you a part of their mind. [Read: Are you a sapiophile? 13 traits that make someone a lover of wit]
This romantic orientation might seem unusual to you at first, but there’s actually a term for developing romantic feeling for one’s self – an autoromantic. You develop feelings for yourself more than anyone else.
Even as you’ve tried to develop feelings for other genders or sexualities, nothing comes close to the feelings you have for yourself. It’s an underrated orientation, but it’s very much valid.
As an androromantic, you tend to develop romantic feelings for those with masculine features. You’re probably thinking this means that they only fall for men, but this isn’t the case. They fall for any person, no matter the gender, who has masculine features.
Gynoromantics are the opposing side of androromantics, where they develop romantic feelings for those with feminine features. For instance, they may fall for a man who has soft features and basically anyone who has feminine qualities in their body or physical appearance.
Not a lot of people know this romantic orientation, including its sexual orientation counterpart. Pomoromantics don’t identify with any of the romantic labels, whereas pomosexuals don’t identify with any of the sexuality labels. In other words, they refuse to be categorized in labels.
[Read: 17 modern dating terms to help you master the evolving dating game]
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.
Or at least, that’s what everyone else assumes. However, this isn’t always the case. You can have feelings for someone and have a different sexual attraction to someone. That doesn’t make you unusual or weird, but that’s just your sexual and romantic orientation being at play.
This is also why instead of being monogamous and having only one life partner, they have two or three or even more. It’s not cheating, especially when both parties are aware of the conditions of this kind of relationship. It might seem complicated to you, but for others, that’s the only way to satisfy both their emotional and sexual needs.
[Read: Different types of attraction and which is vital for true love]
Even if you don’t understand some of the romantic orientations *or even sexual orientations*, all of them are valid. You might not resonate with it, but it’s important to learn about them. Otherwise, you might offend someone you come across that has a different romantic orientation than you.
Even on your personal front, if you’ve ever been confused about your romantic orientation, this could really explain a lot of things about who you are and why you function the way you do in relationships.
[Read: List of sexualities – What you need to know about each orientation]
Romantic orientation isn’t something many people think about or consider. Even if it isn’t as known, it’s just as important as sexual orientation or your gender. It explains the way you develop attraction and feelings for someone, after all.
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