One of many[1] proposed aromantic flags.[2]

Aromanticism (often shortened to aro) is an umbrella term for the orientation individuals have who do not experience romantic love or attraction, although they may experience other forms of love or attraction.[3][4]


Originally "aromantic" was used to refer to asexual people who were uninterested in romantic relationships. It has since come to refer to someone of any orientation (or lack thereof) who does not experience romantic attraction or love. Notwithstanding, aromantic people can have very close platonic relationships, albeit with no romance involved.[3]

The aromantic spectrum

Alloromantic people experience frequent attraction. Everyone else can be considered part of the aromantic (aro) spectrum. This includes aromantic, gray-romantic, lithromantic/akoiromantic,[5] wtfromantic/quoiromantic,[6] and other non-alloromantic orientations. People on the aromantic spectrum experience romantic attraction less frequently, weakly, or in some fundamentally different way than alloromantic people.

Variations of gray-romantic are gray-aromantic, grayromantic, and swapping "gray" for "grey". The definition of gray-romantic varies. One definition is infrequent attraction; gray-romantic people may only be romantically attracted to a couple or even one person in their lifetime. Another definition is between aromantic and alloromantic. Gray-romantic is sometimes used as an umbrella term for all non-aro, non-allo orientations.

The aro spectrum is not a universally agreed upon concept. Some people with an aro spectrum identity think of themselves as alloromantic. Furthermore, some people consider the idea of an aro spectrum nonsensical since aromanticism itself is total lack of romantic attraction. Both aro spectrum and alloromantic people can be romance-positive, -neutral, or -repulsed. Romance-positive aromantic people may be involved in romantic relationships. Some people consider this appropriation of the aromantic identity.

The aromantic and LGBTQ+ communities sometimes come into conflict. A large portion of aromantic people are also LGBTQ+, but it is controversial whether cisgender aromantic heterosexual or cis aro asexual people are entitled to LGBTQ spaces. Whether aromanticism is queer on its own, and thus whether cis aro heterosexual/asexual people get to call themselves queer, is another controversy.


See the main article on this topic: Arophobia

Arophobia is the fear and hatred of all people who are on the aromantic spectrum and/or express their aromanticism. Arophobia encompases any belief which posits alloromanticism as superior to aromanticism.[7]Arophobia is related to amatonormativity. Elizabeth Brake defined amatonormativity as the following in her book Minimizing Marriage: Marriage, Morality, and the Law:

The assumption that a central, exclusive, amorous relationship is normal for humans, in that it is a universally shared goal, and that such a relationship is normative, in the sense that it should be aimed at in preference to other relationship types.[8]

Some examples of amatornomativity include: pressuring people to pursue romantic relationships; insisting that romantic relationships are superior to all other ones; assuming that people who are not in romantic relationships are miserable; and assuming that everyone wants to end up with a romantic partner. Some examples of arophobia specifically include assuming that aromantic people are lonely, "sociopaths", damaged, heartless, or hypersexual. Insisting that aromantic people just need to find the "right" person to fall in love with is also arophobic.

Whether aromanticism is oppressed or just marginalized is open to debate, as is the broader concept arophobia stems from. Proposed sources for arophobia have included heterosexism, allosexism, and/or (allo)romantic privilege.[9]

Queerplatonic relationships

See the main article on this topic: Queerplatonic

Queerplatonic (or quasiplatonic[10]) are aromantic relationships They are not romantic but nonetheless involve an intense emotional connection beyond or in addition to friendship.

The term was coined on Tumblr by se-smith[11] and like the concept of queering gender, it aims to subvert and question the norms we set out for relationships. People of all orientations and genders can be in (a) queerplatonic relationship(s).[10] Queerplatonic relationships can involve sex (intercourse), but are defined non-romantic attachment.[10]

Aromantic pride

There have been dozens of proposed pride flags.[1] A flag that has existed for some time is the one on National Coalition for Aromantic Visibility's website, reproduced at the top of the article.[2] The stripes have the following meanings:

The different stripes represent different aspects of aromanticism and our community. Green is for aromantics, who do not naturally experience romantic attachment. Yellow represents romantic friendship, friends with benefits, friendship dating, and queerplatonic relationships. Orange stands for lithromantics, individuals who experience romantic love but do not wish it returned. And finally, the black stripe is for romantics who consciously choose to reject traditional romantic culture.[2]

Symbols for aromantic pride often include arrows.[12] Much like the ace of spades for the asexual (ace) community,[13] "arrow" is a pun on the abbreviation "aro".

See Also

External links