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.
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.
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.
An umbrella term that includes types of attraction that are not strictly categorizable into romantic attraction or sexual 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.
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).
A significant attraction that is related to other attractions (e.g., romantic)
A significant attraction that is unrelated to any other attraction
Mesh - the alterous equivalent of a crush. A mesh is an intense feelings of alterous attraction to a person.
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.
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.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
Describes neurodivergent aroaces who struggle to form relationships of any kind with people.
Aplatonic spectrum (aplspec)
An umbrella term for people who experience little to no platonic attraction, abbreviated to aplspec.
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).
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
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.
Plush/Squash – the queerplatonic equivalent of a crush. A plush/squash is a desire to enter into a queerplatonic relationship with a particular person.
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.
The stigmatization of or discrimination against people who are single.
Coined by: Bella DePaulo
Describes a person who is mildly to severely uncomfortable with physical touch. The level of discomfort may be dynamic and conditional.