Attraction and Relationship Terms

Common vocabulary in the aromantic community relating to attraction and relationships

This glossary is a continuously updating record of terms that have been and are being used in the aromantic community by at least one person. As a record, this glossary is meant to document the various concepts that are thought up when the language is not sufficient to describe people’s experiences and doesn’t encourage or discourage the use of any term.

Please keep in mind these are shortened definitions and identities can be nuanced.

 

Romantic attraction

An interest or desire for romantic contact or interaction with a particular person. This type of attraction often comes with strong feelings, usually infatuation and the wish to form a romantic relationship with that person.

Crush – an intense feeling of romantic attraction to a person.


Sexual attraction

An interest or desire for sexual contact or interaction with a particular person.

Smush – the sexual equivalent of a crush. A smush is an intense feeling of sexual attraction to a person.


Tertiary attraction

An umbrella term that includes types of attraction that are not strictly categorizable into romantic attraction or sexual attraction.


Aesthetic attraction

An interest or strong appreciation for a particular person’s appearance or beauty.

Swish – the aesthetic equivalent of a crush. A swish is an intense feeling of aesthetic attraction to a person.


Alterous attraction

An interest or desire for emotional closeness without necessarily being platonic and/or romantic. Alterous is often used in the place of -romantic or -sexual suffixes (e.g., bialterous instead of biromantic).

  1. A significant attraction that is related to other attractions (e.g., romantic)

  2. A significant attraction that is unrelated to any other attraction

Coined by: Schizotypal-scully (original, archived)

Flag variations (original, archived)

Mesh - the alterous equivalent of a crush. A mesh is an intense feelings of alterous attraction to a person.


Exteramo attraction

A significant interest or desire for emotional closeness with a particular person, without being related to platonic and/or romantic attraction.

Coined by: Aromanticrey (original, archived)


Platonic attraction

An interest or desire for friendship or other close relationship with a particular person. Most often, this relationship is non-romantic and non-sexual, but this can vary depending on the person.

Squish

  1. The platonic equivalent of a crush. A squish is an intense feeling of platonic attraction, commonly mistaken with ‘just wanting to be friends with someone.’

  2. The equivalent of a crush for other types of attraction. Sometimes used as a catch-all term for other types of non-romantic non-sexual attractions.

Coined by: Raisin a.k.a. A-gent Raisin (original, archived)


Sensual attraction

An interest or desire to touch or be physically close to someone, in a non-sexual way such as hugging or cuddling.

Flag (original, archived)

Lush – the sensual equivalent of a crush. A lush is an intense feeling of sensual attraction to a person.


Angled aroace

Describes a person on the aromantic and asexual spectra, who experiences a form of attraction other than romantic or sexual, but is significant enough to warrant a place alongside their aroace orientation. This label is for use by arospec asexual people, aromantic acespec people, and arospec acespec people.

Coined by: Black-aros (original, archived)

Flag (original, archived)


Oriented aroace

Describes an aromantic and asexual person who experiences a form of attraction that is neither romantic nor sexual, but is significant enough to warrant a place alongside their aroace orientation. This label was specifically created for aroaces who never experience romantic or sexual attraction.

Coined by: Bioaroace (original, archived)

        Flag (original, archived)


Aplatonic

  1. Describes a person who experiences little to no platonic attraction. This means they rarely or never experience squishes, which are strong desires to form a friendship with a particular person.

  2. Describes neurodivergent aroaces who struggle to form relationships of any kind with people.

Coined by: Mr. Shuttershy (original, archived)

        Flag variations (original, archived)


Aplatonic spectrum (aplspec)

  1. An umbrella term for people who experience little to no platonic attraction, abbreviated to aplspec.

  2. Aplspec is also used as a specific identity describing someone who experiences conditional or otherwise nonnormative platonic attraction, but doesn’t label it further. Platonic is often used in the place of -romantic or -sexual suffixes (e.g., demiplatonic instead of demiromantic).

Flag variations (original, archived)


Chosen family

A group of individuals who, based on emotional closeness, deliberately choose one another to play significant roles in each other’s lives and consider each other family even though they are not biologically or legally related.


Nonamorous / Nonpartnering

Describes a person who does not wish to form a significant partnership with others.

Nonamorous coined by: Anagnori (original, archived)

Nonpartnering coined by: Omitef#7790 on Arocalypse Discord

Flag variations (original, archived)


Polyaffectionate

Describes a person who practices or desires non-romantic and/or non-sexual affectionate relationships where individuals have more than one partner, with the knowledge and consent of all partners. A type of polyamory that is explicitly non-romantic and/or non-sexual. 

Flag (original, archived)


Polyamory

The practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships where individuals may have more than one partner, with the knowledge and consent of all partners. Individuals who practice polyamory are called polyamorous.

Flag variations (original, archived)


Queerplatonic (quasiplatonic) relationship (QPR)

A committed non-romantic relationship that goes beyond what is the subjective cultural norm for a friendship. Levels of intimacy and/or behaviors between the partners involved often don’t fit the conventional standards set by society. Some QPRs can include sex and elements that are generally considered romantic. In practice every queerplatonic relationship is different. Abbreviated to QPR, and queerplatonic (quasiplatonic) partner to QPP. Another common word for QPP used to be zucchini.

Coined by: Meloukhia and Kaz (original, archived)

        A helpful source (original, archived)

Flag variations (original, archived)

Plush/Squash – the queerplatonic equivalent of a crush. A plush/squash is a desire to enter into a queerplatonic relationship with a particular person.


Soft romo

An adjective to describe something that is low-level romantic. A soft romo relationship is defined by the coiner as somewhere in between a queerplatonic and a romantic relationship.

Coined by: Viola (original, archived)


Romance repulsed / averse / indifferent / favorable

An axis describing a person’s level of comfort with actions that are perceived as romantic directed at them or displays of them (in person or in media). The level of comfort may be dynamic and conditional.

Romance repulsed/averse – describes a person who is mildly to severely uncomfortable with romance directed at them or displays of romantic affections.

Romance indifferent – describes a person who is neither uncomfortable with nor particularly enthusiastic about romance directed at them or displays of romantic affections.

Romance favorable – describes a person who is comfortable with and may enjoy romance or displays of romantic affections.


Relationship anarchy

The belief that no kinds of intimate relationships are superior to others, despite some being more highly valued in society. Opposed to amatonormativity and not specific to aromantics.

Coined by:  Andie Nordgren (original, archived)


Singlism

The stigmatization of or discrimination against people who are single.

Coined by: Bella DePaulo


Touch averse

Describes a person who is mildly to severely uncomfortable with physical touch. The level of discomfort may be dynamic and conditional.