Sexual orientation, as defined by TSER, refers to “a person’s physical, romantic, emotional, aesthetic, and/or other form of attraction to others.” Sexual orientation can also be expanded to refer to a person’s lack of attraction to others.

 

A person who does not experience sexual attraction refers to someone who is asexual. Asexuality, however, can be expanded past this brief definition to include people who identify as aromantic. A person who identifies as aromantic experiences sexual attraction but does not experience romantic attraction.

 

The difference between sexual and romantic attraction can be confusing to many, so I will now take a moment to dive into the differentiation. Sexual attraction refers to the desire a person has for sexual contact with another a person. Romantic attraction refers for the desire a person has for romantic emotional connection with another person. Therefore, a person who desires for sexual contact with other people but has no desire for romantic emotional connection can be referred to as aromantic. Someone who desires emotional connection but not sexual contact is asexual.

 

People can experience attraction in all different mixes and ways. For example, Tim Gunn, famous for his role as a fashion consultant for Project Runway, describes himself homoromantic and asexual. Homoromantic, as it sounds, means he experiences romantic attraction to people of the same gender, in this case men. However, as he is asexual, while he is romantically attracted to men be has no desire to have sex, either with men or with women. A lesbian would refer to someone who is both homoromantic (desiring a romantic emotional relationship with women) and homosexual (desiring a sexual relationship with women). A man who identifies as straight would classify as heterosexual (sexually attracted to the opposite sex) and heteroromantic (romantically attracted to the opposite sex).

 

For more information and resources regarding asexuality, be sure to visit http://www.asexuality.org/home/ and http://www.whatisasexuality.com/intro/!

 

Be sure to visit the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, a great online community and resource network, to learn about asexual advocacy.