Asexual and aromantic glossary

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Below is a glossary of identities and other terms relating to the asexual (ace) and aromantic (aro) spectra. 

Basic concepts[edit]


Short for asexual.[1][2][3][4][5][6]:19


Experiences a typical level of romantic attraction. Not on the aromantic spectrum.[7][5][2]


Experiences a typical level of sexual attraction. Not on the asexual spectrum.[1][5][8]


Short for aromantic.[4][2] [5][6]:31


Experiences no romantic attraction.[1][2] [7][5][9][10][11][4][6]:31

Aromantic spectrum[edit]

An umbrella category of romantic orientations relating to aromanticism, with a level of romantic attraction that is too low and/or too infrequent to be considered alloromantic.


See the main article on this topic: Asexuality

Experiences no sexual attraction.[9][5][8][12][4][13]

Asexual spectrum[edit]

An umbrella category of sexual orientations relating to asexuality, with a level of sexual attraction that is too low and/or too infrequent to be considered allosexual.


Short for the asexual spectrum and aromantic spectrum, and is an umbrella term for any person on the asexual or aromantic spectrum.


Experiences romantic attraction to people who are of either of two or more specific genders.[7][9][11][14]:141 A romantic counterpart to bisexual. A useful term for those on the asexual spectrum.


Short for demisexual.[2]


Only experiences sexual attraction to those with whom one has first formed a deep emotional connection.[1][9][12][2][5][11][10][4][13][8][6]:90 Distinguished from other microlabels in that a large number of people identify as this. The opposite of fraysexual. The romantic counterpart is demiromantic.[1][5][9][12][4] (Latin: demi=half)


Short for gray-asexual.[3][2]


Short for gray-asexual. Alternatively spelled grey-A, gray A or grey A.[2]


Short for gray-asexual. Alternatively spelled grey-ace.[14]:146


Alternatively grey-asexual, gray/grey asexual, gray/greyasexual or gray/greysexual.[10][4] Experiences sexual attraction only rarely, at a low level, or under specific circumstances.[9][5][13][8][14]:146 This is a broad umbrella term for those on the asexual spectrum who are not completely asexual.[1][12] The romantic counterpart is gray-aromantic.[1][5][9][12]


Experiences romantic attraction to people of the opposite gender.[9][2] A romantic counterpart to heterosexual, and a useful term for those on the asexual spectrum.


Experiences romantic attraction to people of the same gender.[7][9][2] A romantic counterpart to homosexual, and useful term for those on the asexual spectrum.


Experiences romantic attraction to people of any gender.[9] A romantic counterpart to pansexual, and a useful term for those on the asexual spectrum.

Romantic orientation[edit]

A romantic counterpart to sexual orientation, describing how, and to whom, one is romantically attracted.[15][16][14]:152


Not happy to engage in sex.[1][8] The romantic counterpart is romance-averse. Not to be confused with sex-negative, which relates to one's opinion on sex in general (for everyone, not just oneself).


Happy to engage in sex.[5][8] The romantic counterpart is romance-favorable.[8] Not to be confused with sex-positive, which relates to one's opinion on sex in general (for everyone, not just oneself).


Does not feel one way or the other about engaging in sex.[1][5][8] The romantic counterpart is romance-indifferent. Not to be confused with sex-neutral, which relates to being neutral or indifferent toward sex in general (for everyone, not just oneself).


Sickened by the very thought of engaging in sex, and perhaps even by conversations about it.[5][8] A more intense version of sex-averse. The romantic counterpart is romance-repulsed.

Split attraction model[edit]

The idea that sexual orientation and romantic orientation are two separate things which do not necessarily match up in terms of how, and to whom, one is attracted.[7]

Terms relating to discrimination[edit]


Discrimination against asexuals or people on the asexual spectrum.[5]


Discrimination against both aromantic spectrum and asexual spectrum people.[5][6]:30


Discrimination against aromantics or people on the aromantic spectrum.[5]


The assumption that everyone is allosexual and/or alloromantic, resulting in the erasure of people on the asexual and aromantic spectra.[17]


Institutionalized discrimination against and exclusion of individuals on the asexual spectrum.[2][14]:139


The assumption that everyone should have the goal of being in a romantic relationship, resulting in the marginalization of people who do not have this goal.[6]:27

Asexual erasure[edit]

The marginalization of people on the asexual spectrum either by passive exclusion from popular culture and media or by actively denying the reality of asexuality.[5][17] The romantic counterpart is aromantic erasure.

Asexual exclusionism[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Asexual exclusionism

The deliberate exclusion of asexuality from the LGBT+ community, and the gatekeeping of this community in order to enforce such exclusion.

Compulsory sexuality[edit]

The idea that people in relationships must engage in sexual activity with each other.[5] Related to amatonormativity.

Identity microlabels[edit]


Has a fluid or changing sexual identity.[9][5][4] In practice, this term is generally used by those on the asexual spectrum, but may also be applicable to allosexuals. The romantic counterpart is abroromantic.[5]


Has a sexual orientation that fluctuates between different points on the asexual spectrum.[4][5][8] The romantic counterpart is aroflux.[4][5]


Usually asexual, but experiences occasional intense spikes of sexual attraction.[4] The romantic counterpart is arospike.[4]


Has an asexual spectrum orientation that is influenced by neurodivergency. The romantic counterpart is arovague.


Aegosexuals experience attraction to others, but feel a fundamental disconnect between themselves and the object of attraction.[5] They typically experience sexual fantasies about others in a disassociative way (e.g. from a third-person perspective) without any desire to actually be involved in them.[18] This term has largely replaced the earlier term autochorissexual. The romantic counterpart is aegoromantic. (Greek and Latin: a-ego=without me)


Experiences attraction to others, but does not want it returned.[12][13] Akoisexuals will generally stop being attracted to anyone who reciprocates their feelings.[9][5] This term is an alternative for lithosexual due to the latter having a different meaning in the lesbian community. The romantic counterpart is akoiromantic.[12] May be considered the opposite of either cupiosexual or reciprosexual.


Only experiences attraction to someone after a platonic relationship is established. A subset of demisexual. (Latin: amicus=friend)


Only experiences sexual attraction to someone after feeling another kind of attraction (romantic, aesthetic, platonic etc.) to them first. (French: apres=after)


Sexually attracted to oneself.[9][4] In a sense, this may be considered the opposite of aegosexual. (Latin: auto=self)


An earlier synonym for aegosexual.[19][11] Was originally coined and conceptualized by Anthony Bogaert.[20][21] This term has been largely replaced due to being a) overly long and b) initially coined to describe a paraphilia rather than a sexuality. (Latin)


Does not experience attraction and does not desire a relationship, but is sex-favorable and interested in sex acts. The opposite of inactsexual. (Latin)


A caedsexual is someone on the asexual spectrum who feels that they were once allosexual, but has had this cut away from them due to past trauma. (Latin: caedere=to cut)


Does not experience sexual attraction, but desires a sexual relationship anyway.[5][8] The romantic counterpart is cupioromantic.[5] In a sense, the opposite of akoisexual. (Latin: cupio=I desire)


Only attracted to fictional characters.


Experiences attraction only to unfamiliar people;[9] the attraction fades (or “frays”) as the fraysexual becomes more familiar with the other person.[13] The polar opposite of demisexual.


An iamvanosexual is happy to have sexual acts performed on them, but does not wish to perform them on others. The opposite of placiosexual.


Experiences attraction and desires a relationship, but is sex-repulsed or sex-averse. The opposite of bellussexual.


Alternatively lithsexual.[9] A synonym for akoisexual.[10] (Greek: litho=stone)


Strictly asexual with no attraction to anybody, ever, under any circumstances. The polar opposite of omnisexual. The romantic counterpart is omniaromantic.


A synonym for omniasexual, and the polar opposite of pansexual. The romantic counterpart is panaromantic.


A placiosexual is happy to perform sexual acts on others, but does not wish to be the recipient of sexual acts.[13] The opposite of iamvanosexual. (Latin: placere=to please)


Only experiences sexual attraction to another person after the latter is first attracted to the reciprosexual.[12] In a sense, the opposite of akoisexual (whose attraction disappears once it is returned). The romantic counterpart is reciproromantic.[12][10]


Unable to tell, or classify, what kind of sexual attraction one experiences.[4][5] The romantic counterpart is quoiromantic.[4][5] (French: quoi=what)

Combination terms[edit]


An alternative to aroace.[7][6]:19


Asexual and on the aromantic spectrum.


Alloromantic and on the asexual spectrum.


Allosexual, cisgender and heterosexual. Intended as an asexual/aromantic-friendly replacement for the unqualified term "cishet", to refer to people who are not LGBT+.


Neither asexual nor aromantic, but on both spectra.


Asexual and sex-repulsed.[13][5] The romantic counterpart is apothiromantic. Contrasted with iculasexual.


An umbrella term for those who are (a)verse, (r)epulsed or (c)onflicted about sex. The romantic counterpart is ARCromantic.


Aromantic and asexual.


Allosexual and on the aromantic spectrum.


Aromantic and on the asexual spectrum.

Demibisexual, demibi[edit]

Demisexual and bisexual.


Demisexual and gay.

Demihetero, demistraight[edit]

Demisexual and straight.


Demisexual and pansexual.


Asexual and sex-favorable. The romantic counterpart is icularomantic. Contrasted with apothisexual.


On both the aromantic and asexual spectra, but not aroace. This is an umbrella term encompassing amid, acemid and aromid.


Having two or more different identities on the asexual spectrum. The aromantic spectrum counterpart is myrromantic.

Oriented aroace[edit]

An aroace person who experiences another form of attraction (e.g. platonic, aesthetic) that they feel is significant enough to be labelled.

Other relevant terms[edit]

Alterous attraction[edit]

A type of attraction that cannot be categorized as either romantic or platonic.[5]


The asexual equivalent of “sexy” to colloquially describe a person or thing as attractive in a manner unrelated to sex.[3][5]


An informal symbol of the asexual community, derived from the idea that cake might be “better than sex”.[3][13]


An informal symbol of the asexual community, derived from the supposed mythical status of asexuals in the minds of many.


Someone who has a sex-drive. A useful term for those on the asexual spectrum who may have a libido[8] but experience little to no attraction to others. The opposite of nonlibidoist.


Someone who does not have a sex-drive.[5][8] The opposite of libidoist.

Mixed orientation relationship[edit]

A relationship in which the two participants are of different sexual or romantic orientations. Often used to describe the relationship between an allosexual and someone on the asexual spectrum.


An acronym for Marginalized Orientations, Gender Alignments, and Intersex. Intended as an all-inclusive alternative to the LGBT+ acronym.[6]:178


Lacking any desire to form relationships. A term opposed to both “polyamorous” and “monoamorous”.

Peach fuzz[edit]

The phenomenon in which those in a queerplatonic relationship pretend to be in a romantic relationship for the purpose of staving off questions.


Has romantic and sexual orientations that "match" in terms of how, and to whom, one is attracted.[5] The opposite of varioriented.

Queerplatonic relationship[edit]

A relationship that is not quite romantic but involves a close emotional platonic connection, and does not fit the traditional definition of either a friendship or a romantic relationship.[3][2] [5] A useful term for those on the aromantic spectrum.


The platonic equivalent of a crush.[3][5]


Has romantic and sexual orientations that differ in terms of how, and to whom, one is attracted. The opposite of perioriented.


A colloquial word for a person in a queerplatonic relationship.[3][5][6]:312

People and organizations[edit]


The Asexual Visibility and Education Network, the largest online resource for people on the asexual spectrum.[22][3][5] Founded by David Jay.

Anthony Bogaert[edit]

Anthony BogaertWikipedia is a Canadian professor, clinical psychologist, and author of a considerable amount of scientific literature about asexuality and people on the asexual spectrum, including the book Understanding Asexuality.[23] Conceptualized and coined the term autochorissexual, which has subsequently been largely replaced by aegosexual.

Lori Brotto[edit]

Lori BrottoWikipedia is a Canadian psychologist, sexologist and author of asexuality-related literature.

Julie Sondra Decker[edit]

An American author, YouTuber, and asexual activist.

David Jay[edit]

Asexual activist and founder of AVEN.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Rothblum, Esther D. Oxford Handbook of Sexual and Gender Minority Mental Health. Oxford University Press, June 2020, p. 320.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 LGBTQIA+ Terminology. Forthcoming in Beemyn, Genny. Campus Queer: The Experiences and Needs of LGBTQ+ College Students. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Decker, Julie Sondra. "Asexual Community Insiders". The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality. Simon and Schuster, October 2015.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 Mardell, Ashley. The ABC's of LGBT+. Mango Media Inc., November 2016.
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  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 Ace Terminology. Bellevue College Transgender, Non-Binary, Intersex: Support & Activism Club.
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 Oyetayo, Bamise. Learn the ABCs of the LGBTQIA+ Movement. More Labs Africa, June 28, 2020.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Desai, Manali. 12 Terms You Need To Know To Understand Your Sexual Orientation. TopYaps, February 20, 2018.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Dansa, Adjoa D. What Being Asexual Means to Me. Teen Vogue, October 22, 2017.
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  16. Michigan State University School of Journalism. 100 Questions and Answers About Sexual Orientation and the Stereotypes and Bias Surrounding People who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Asexual, and of other Sexualities, Front Edge Publishing.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Mollet, Amanda L. and Brian Lackman. "Asexual Student Invisibility and Erasure in Higher Education", in: Rethinking LGBTQIA Students and Collegiate Contexts: Identity, Policies, and Campus Climate, ed. Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher, Devika Dibya Choudhuri and Jason L. Taylor, Routledge: September 2019.
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  19. Kumar, Shikha. Meet India’s newest sexual minority: The asexuals. Hindustani Times, March 18, 2017.
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  22. The Asexual Visibility and Education Network.
  23. Bogaert, Anthony. Understanding Asexuality. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, March 2015.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]