The ABCs of Ace/Aro

Written on 08/24/2021
Jayme Tucker

Last week we went over the basics of asexuality and aromanticism, and this week we’re gonna go over some of the terms and identities present on the ace/aro spectrum.

We talked about the difference between romantic attraction and sexual attraction too. Commonly referred to as the Split Attraction Model (SAM), it separates orientation down a spectrum of romantic attraction and sexual attraction. Let’s get into it!

On one end is allosexual, meaning someone who experiences sexual attraction, and alloromantic, meaning someone who experiences romantic attraction. On the other end is asexual, which means that sexual attraction is limited or nonexistent, and aromantic, those who experience little to no romantic inclination or attraction.

Along that line are graysexual/grayromantic, an attraction that falls somewhere in the middle and can vary from person to person.

Demiromantic/demisexual is an attraction that describes being attracted after forming an emotional bond. ‘Demi’ is derived from the French word for ‘half’ and derives some definition from the idea of primary attraction (initial impressions, physical traits, etc.) vs secondary attraction (emotional bonds, shared experiences, built trust, etc.).

Freysexual/Freyromantic describes being attracted to strangers, and reciprosexual/recipromantic is being attracted only after knowing someone is attracted to you first.

The prefixes for orientation can also be used to describe romantic attraction. Homoromantic, biromantic, panromantic, and heteromantic are all terms that exist alongside homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, and heterosexual.

Feelings towards sex and romance are varied as well. Sex-repulsion (being averse to engaging in sexual activity) to sex-negativity(a moral objection towards sexual activity) exist alongside orientations and attractions. The positive sides to that also exist, such as sex positivity and sex/romance variable. Everyone is different, and ace/aro people have sex and engage in relationships on their terms while also being asexual or aromantic.

Libido (sex drive) and desire (the want to have sex) exist separately from attraction.  Being asexual or aromantic is not a condition, dysfunction, or medical concern either. Those things are valid, but not being attracted to another person sexually or romantically is not something to be cured, fixed, or triumphed over.

Asexuality and aromanticism are the A in LGBTQIA2S, and learning the ace/aro terms is a step to giving them the space and community we all deserve.

Next week we’re gonna dive into some relationship styles!