QUEER CAFE │ LGBTQ INFORMATION NETWORK │ RAINBOW OF RELEVANT RESOURCES

ROMANTIC ORIENTATION

 

AVEN: Romantic Orientation

Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation

Asexual Relationships & Romance

Info: Asexuality

Shades of Grayro: Romantic Orientations

Love Panky: Different Kinds of Romantic Orientations

Asexual Visibility and Education Network

This is What Sex Feels Like for an Asexual Person

 

Romantic Orientation Defined

Romantic orientation, also called affectional orientation, indicates the sex or gender with which a person is most likely to have a romantic relationship or fall in love. It is used both alternatively and side-by-side with the term sexual orientation, and is based on the perspective that sexual attraction is but a single component of a larger dynamic. For asexual people, romantic orientation is often considered a more useful measure of attraction than sexual orientation.

 

Romantic attraction is the emotional response that most people often feel that results in a desire for a romantic relationship with the person that the attraction is felt towards. Many asexual people experience romantic attraction even though they do not feel sexual attraction.

 

 

Asexual Relationships & Romance

Shades of Grayro: Romantic Orientations

Love Panky: Different Kinds of Romantic Orientations

Is Asexuality a Disorder?

What It Means to Be Aromantic

AVEN: Romantic Orientation

Info: Asexuality

What is Asexuality?

Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation

 

Romantic Identities
 
--Heteroromantic - Romantic attraction towards persons of the opposite gender.
--Homoromantic - Romantic attraction towards persons of the same gender.
--Biromantic - Romantic attraction towards persons of either gender.
--Panromantic - Romantic attraction towards persons of any and all genders.
--Demiromantic - Romantic attraction towards anyone, but only after forming a deep emotional bond with the person.

--Aromantic - Lack of romantic attraction towards anyone.
 

 

Psychology Today: Brief Primer on Asexuality

All Your Questions Answered: What It's Like to be Asexual

Info: Asexuality

PBS Interview: Asexuality

What Do Asexuals Fantasize About?

Are Asexuals Part of the LGBTQ Community?

It's Okay to be Asexual

What Do Asexuals Want You to Know?

 

Romantic Terminology

 

Romantic Relationship - An intimate relationship is one in which you can truly be yourself with someone who you respect and are respected by in return. It is an emotional connection that can also be physical. It does not have to be in the context of a romantic or sexual relationship.


Primary Sexual Desire - Desire to engage in sexual activity for the purposes of personal pleasure whether physical, emotional, or both.
 
Secondary Sexual Attraction - Sexual attraction that develops over time based on a person's relationship and emotional connection with another person.

 

Aromantic - Person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others. Where romantic people have an emotional need to be with another person in a romantic relationship, aromantics are often satisfied with friendships and other non-romantic relationships.

 

 

Types of Attraction

 

Romantic Attraction – Affinity to engage in relational, interactive, affectional, intimate behavior (flirting, dating, marriage) with another person.


Sexual Attraction – Affinity (desire, interest) to engage in physical (carnal) intimate contact or behavior (kissing, touching, intercourse) with another person.

 

Sensual Attraction - Desire to interact with others in a tactile, non-sexual way, such as through hugging or cuddling.
 

Emotional/Spiritual Attraction – Affinity to engage in empathetic (interdependent) intimate behavior (sharing, confiding, trusting, loving) with another person. Desire to get to know someone, often as a result of their personality instead of their physicality. This type of attraction is present in most relationships from platonic friendships to romantic and sexual relationships.

 

Aesthetic Attraction - When someone appreciates the appearance or beauty of another persons, disconnected from sexual or romantic attraction.

 

Intellectual Attraction  -  Desire to engage with another in an intellectual manner, such as engaging in conversation with them, “picking their brain,” and it has more to do with what or how a person thinks instead of the person themselves.

 

 

AVEN: Romantic Orientation

Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation

Asexual Relationships & Romance

What It Means to Be Aromantic

Info: Asexuality

Shades of Grayro: Romantic Orientations

Love Panky: Different Kinds of Romantic Orientations

Asexual Visibility and Education Network

This is What Sex Feels Like for an Asexual Person

What is Friendship?

Psychology Today: Gay Men and Straight Men as Friends

Queer Friendships: Platonic and Romantic

 

Relationships, Squishes, and Zucchini
 

Being in a relationship does not necessarily imply that there is romance. The asexual community (including aromantics) separates sexual and romantic orientation.
 
There is such a thing as non-romantic loving relationships. Most people would agree that family is kind of non-romantic loving relationship, especially from the mother to the children, but friendship and companionship may be more important than romantic partnership even for some romantic people.
 
Not only is love not exclusive of romance, but even infatuation. For the latter, the asexual community coined the term “squish” to refer to an asexual aromantic crush. And they recently coined the term “zucchini” to refer to an aromantic platonic relationship.

 

 

 

Queerplatonic Relationships
 
A queerplatonic relationship (QPR) is one which is more intense and intimate than what most people regard as a friendship, not fitting the traditional romantic couple model. It is characterized by a strong bond, love, and emotional commitment, yet is not perceived by those involved as romantic or more than a friendship. Being a so-called platonic relationship, it does not comprehend sexuality/eroticism or exclusivity nor it is this what the relationship is organized around. It is defined by the intensity and significance of the emotional connection.


The people involved do not have to identify as queer. It is a type of relationship experienced by and available to anybody regardless of their sexual orientation, romantic orientation, or monogamy. The people involved in a queerplatonic relationship may consider themselves partners, life-partners, a couple, a triad, or any other term that implies the relationship is meaningful, committed and intimate. Because queerplatonic relationships are not based on exclusivity, a participant of the relationship may have multiple QPPs and exclusive relationships (romantic or sexual) with a third party not involved in the QR.

 


 
Queerplatonic partners (QPs or QPPs) are sometimes referred to as "zucchini.” This was originally a joke within the aromantic asexual community, underscoring the lack of words in mainstream relationship discourse to signify meaningful relationships that do not follow the standard and expected sexual/romantic norms, and frustration with the erasure of other kinds of intimacy, which were perceived as equally valuable to the sexual/romantic model.
 
Due to the controversy surrounding the reclamation of "queer", an alternative to queerplatonic is "quasiplatonic" or "quirkyplatonic".
 
In some situations the people involved can show physical affection such as cheek kisses, pecks on the lips, holding hands, sitting on each other's lap, seeing each other naked, cuddling and literally sleeping together. To QPPs, these activities are not necessarily romantic nor sexual/erotic.

 

AVEN: Romantic Orientation

Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation

Asexual Relationships & Romance

Info: Asexuality

Shades of Grayro: Romantic Orientations

Love Panky: Different Kinds of Romantic Orientations

Asexual Visibility and Education Network

This is What Sex Feels Like for an Asexual Person


 

Friendships: Platonic, Familial, Cordial
 

Outside of sexual relationships, friendships are very important. Depending on the friend, the physical connection would often play a role as well. From hand holding to cuddling, in many ways these queer friendships fulfill a need for physical touch. Beyond dating, friendships and a variety of platonic relationships often provide a meaningful source of deep love and happiness.

Many straight women often have close relationships with other women. But, the component of queer identity makes a big difference here. The undercurrent of attraction and the possibility of relationships makes connections between queer women more nuanced at times. Sometimes these undefined relationships can be maddening and lead to jealousy or frustration. Questions like, “What are we?” and, “What does this mean?” can nag. But, on the other hand, these relationships can also take pressure off and allow for intimacy in open-ended, freeing ways.

 



In general, we live in a culture that values the romantic/sexual relationship above all others. This is easy to see. Most popular songs and movies center the romantic relationship as the most important one in a person’s life. The monogamous romantic bond is shown as a shining example of connection and what we all should strive for in life. All other relationships, be they platonic, familial, or something more nebulous, are made to seem secondary to traditional romance. A heterosexual pairing is held up as the golden ideal, but these same ideas about pairing off and romance superseding all else can sometimes translate to the queer community, too.

So, how do we label these close friendships? In an article, writer Maria Popova addresses romance and friendship and the history of the ‘neverland between the two and the inevitable discombobulation of our neatly organized relationship structures that happens when romantic love and friendship converge”. Relationships are never as simple or cut and dried as a definition. These convergences can cause confusion but also lead to joy and beauty.

 

The term "queerplatonic" is useful here. This phrase was coined by asexual and aromantic people, and it’s often used in the asexual and aromantic communities. It’s defined by AVEN as, “a relationship that is not romantic but involves a close emotional connection (platonic) beyond what most people consider friendship. The commitment level in a queerplatonic relationship is often considered to be similar to that of a romantic relationship.” This definition can help us gain insight into ourselves and our relationships, and allow people to broaden their perceptions of relationships and love.

Understanding the importance of these types of relationships can help us realize something about friendship. Friendships of all kinds (platonic, romantic, sexual and otherwise) can be life-saving, even when their parameters aren’t so clear-cut. We can learn to embrace the ambiguity and enjoy the queer friendships that provide us with a constant source of intimacy in our lives.

[Source: Amanda Steele / Tempest / July 2018]

 

Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation

Asexual Relationships & Romance

Love Panky: Different Kinds of Romantic Orientations

Asexual Visibility and Education Network

This is What Sex Feels Like for an Asexual Person

What is Friendship?

Psychology Today: Gay Men and Straight Men as Friends

Queer Friendships: Platonic and Romantic

 

 

What is Platonic Love?
 

Love is multi-faceted and comes in many forms: parental, filial, romantic, platonic. But what do we mean when we say “platonic friends” or talk about “platonic love”? What does a modern, healthy platonic relationship look like, and how do we keep it that way?

Platonic love takes its name from famous Classical Greek philosopher, Plato (428–347 BCE). Initially, Plato’s dialogue was directed toward same-sex relationships, sexual, and otherwise, but by the Renaissance, platonic love had come to encompass the non-sexual, heterosexual relationships we know today. Originally, Platonic love was love that was not vulgar, meaning it wasn’t centered on lust or fulfilling carnal needs. Instead, it was a love that inspired nobler pursuits, and brought one closer to the divine. It brought about the best in both people.
 

 

Clearly, today this is no longer completely the case. In our secular world, a platonic relationship has basically become code for “we’re just friends” (minus the benefits). In many cases, that person can end up being someone you’d go to the moon and back for, but just have no romantic interest in, or attraction to, in a sexual way.

However, modern notions of platonic companionship are not completely devoid of its original meaning; just like the original idea, platonic love, like romantic love, can be deep and intense, and form some of life’s best, and longest friendships.

And like its ancient origins, the expectation of a platonic relationship today is relatively the same: that you would treat that person the way you treat a close friend of the same sex. It is a space where jealousy doesn’t rear its ugly head, and hidden agendas and unrequited love are left at the door. It is rooted in genuine honesty, and the ability to be yourself around that person without fear of censure, or abandonment.

 



Characteristics Of Platonic Love

A simple way to sum it up would be: be a good friend, full stop. However, this isn’t the answer people are looking for; especially at a time when relationships, and power structures, are changing and are in dire need of boundaries. The following characteristics of platonic love will help you recognize it, manage your expectations of it, and keep that relationship happy, and healthy, and thriving for years to come.

Unfiltered Honesty

There is little need for deceit in a purely platonic relationship. Unlike in a romantic relationship, there is no fear that the person will leave you because they were never with you in the first place.

You aren’t an item, so the stakes aren’t as high. There isn’t the same caution, or need to check in with the other person emotionally. You can have a fight, not speak for a month, then patch things up, and things will pretty much go back to normal.

Platonic love doesn’t have to spare anyone’s feelings. There is no need to maintain a facade. In some sense, this brutal honesty is great; in fact, it is often a relief. You can get insights and perspectives you wouldn’t be able to get from your romantic partner.

 

You can ask the unaskable questions, and not have to worry too much about the status of your relationship. You can talk openly about your dating troubles, and share your personal gaffes without worrying about how it makes you look. Platonic love can tell it like it is, and can take the lumps a romantic relationship cannot because it’s not as complicated when you’re not busy trying to keep up appearances and impress someone.

You aren’t putting them first, in the way you would if you were romantically involved. This doesn’t mean that you don’t consider other people’s feelings outside of your own or your romantic partner’s, but there is a different level of consideration we go to when we have a romantic end game in mind.

A romantic relationship is less like a rock, and more like a flower. It has to be carefully cultivated, and taken care of; it is fragile and liable (like a flower) to die without the proper attention. This is especially true once the first flush of love has faded, the butterflies are gone, and you’ve settled into a comfortable pattern together. This is when the real work begins. Platonic love is much less delicate and can weather these ups and downs.

 

Respecting Boundaries

While purely platonic relationships may have a no-holds barred aspect to them (because we don’t hold our friends to the same standards as we do our lovers), this doesn’t mean that there are no boundaries. Platonic relationships require (especially in the beginning) strong boundaries. These are not normally discussed or negotiated the way steps are in romantic relationships, but they hover in the background nonetheless. As time passes, you will know how far you can push those boundaries, and when you have to pull back.

For example, when you travel together – do you share a room? If you do, will that change if one or both of you gets involved with someone romantically? Platonic love requires a lot of trust. This is especially true when you (or your platonic bestie) are in a romantic relationship.

You have to take care to build trust to ensure that your partners understand the nature of your relationship, and that it doesn’t pose any potential threats. If your significant other has a platonic BFF, how would that play out for you? What would be considered OK? What wouldn’t? Ask yourself these questions, and listen to those feelings. Your gut is often the best indicator of what constitutes crossing the line, and what is acceptable.

 

No Expectations

Although friendship is a give and take partnership, when it comes to platonic love, you have to be careful not to expect or demand more of that person than you would of a regular friendship. Part of what differentiates platonic from romantic love is expectation. We expect a lot from our romantic partners because with every person you date, you’re potentially interviewing them for the role of life partner, or spouse. If someone wants to spend their life with you, they need to be of the highest caliber, and up to scratch.

We are less forgiving of mistakes in romantic relationships, and in a sense, that’s a good thing; we need to be picky when it comes to investing that kind of time in a lifelong companion. Platonic love doesn’t get held to the same high standard. You’re not sharing a home, children, pets, bank accounts, etc. You’re close, (and potentially) lifelong friends.

You get to go home at the end of the night and not worry about what that person is doing, who they’re with, whether they paid the electric bill, ate the dinner you left in the fridge, or hung the laundry to dry. You may worry about them if they’ve been going through a difficult time, as naturally good friends do, but you’re not as invested in their day-to-day meanderings and external relationships. They simply don’t come first.

If you start to notice that they are coming first, or that you’re often disappointed by their behavior because they aren’t living up to your expectations, you may need to step back and ask yourself: are romantic feelings creeping in? Are boundaries being crossed? Why am I demanding this from this person? You may be expecting too much.

 

It’s Not Complicated

Platonic love will always be a part of the human condition – we award different values to every person we meet, and we love each one in a unique way. Recognizing and respecting those differences will bring us closer to Plato’s initial ideal of platonic love – one that raises us up and anchors us throughout life.

While love might be fraught with complexities, two-way platonic affection is the one place where you can definitively say: it’s not complicated. Platonic relationships provide an important piece to how we love, and are loved, through life. They can provide fulfilling, lifelong friendships, offer us refreshing perspectives, and a much needed outlet to let off steam, and let it all hang out.

These are the people who love us minus the baggage, the “rock” friends who inspire the best in us, and tell us what we need to hear when we’ve gone astray. Keep your relationship honest, respect each other’s boundaries, and let go of expectations. Remembering these key things will go a long way to a healthy, and happy relationship.

[Source: Sandra Alvarez / Conscious Rethink / May 2019]

 

Psychology Today: Gay Men and Straight Men as Friends

Queer Friendships: Platonic and Romantic

What is Friendship?

What Is a Platonic Relationship

Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation

Asexual Relationships & Romance

What It Means to Be Aromantic

 

 

Friendship Defined
 

Words connected with friends or friendship include... relationship, friendly relationship, close relationship, attachment, mutual attachment, alliance, association, close association, bond, tie, link, union, amity, camaraderie, friendliness, comradeship, companionship, fellowship, fellow feeling, closeness, affinity, rapport, understanding, harmony, unity, cordial relations.
 

Friendships are based on mutual liking and respect. It is state of mutual trust and support between two or more people.

Platonic describes a relationship that is purely spiritual and not physical. If a guy and a girl hang out all the time but aren't boyfriend and girlfriend, they'd describe their friendship as platonic. Platonic love and platonic friendships are marked by the absence of physical or sexual desire.

True friendship is when someone knows you better than yourself and takes a position in your best interests in a crisis. Friendship goes beyond just sharing time together, and it is long lasting. Friendship can mean different things to different people.

 

Friendship means lending your shoulder for someone to cry on. Friendship means being comfortable around each other in silence. Friendship means being able to tell each other anything and understanding without questions. Friendship means being honest with each other no matter what the cost.

A true friend has your back. Someone who is a true friend stands up for you. When others try to hurt you emotionally or physically, they do everything they can to make sure you stay safe. They don't care who is trying to harm you; they will defend you anytime, anywhere

The true meaning of friendship is when you consider the other person's well-being to be as valuable as your own. If you feel this way about a person, you are truly their friend. If you consider that another person's good is as important as your own, you will treat them the way friends are supposed to treat each other.

 



Types of Friendships

Friendships of Utility - They exist between you and someone who is useful to you in some way.
Friendships of Pleasure - They exist between you and those whose company you enjoy.

Friendships of Interest - They exist between you and someone who shares similar interests.
Friendships of  Respect - They are based on mutual respect and admiration.

Variety of Friendships

Loyal Best Friend

Fearless Adventurer
Brutally Honest Confidant
Wise Mentor
Friend From a Different Culture

Polar Opposite
Friendly Neighbor
Work Pal

Psychology Today: Gay Men and Straight Men as Friends

Queer Friendships: Platonic and Romantic

What is Friendship?

What Is a Platonic Relationship

Asexuality, Attraction, and Romantic Orientation

Asexual Relationships & Romance

What It Means to Be Aromantic

 

HOME

 


QUEER CAFE │ LGBTQ Information Network │ Established 2017 │ www.queercafe.net