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Heteroromantic Orientation: When You Separate Romance and Sex

What does heteroromantic mean? Are you a heteroromantic? What is the difference between a sexual and romantic orientation?

Heteroromantic Orientation

Let’s start with a definition. Heteroromantic means being romantically attracted to someone, but not sexually attracted to them. This is a term that is often used by asexuals, those without sexual feelings.

Most of us have heard of homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual. These are the commonly known sexualities. But you may have not even have known that people can be both sexually oriented as well as romantically oriented.

So, before getting into the nitty gritty of heteroromance, it is important to understand that sexuality and romance are not the same thing. [Read: Understanding what it means to be a heteroflexible]

How do romance and sexuality differ?

Romance is the intimacy of a relationship. It is the talking, the listening, the holding hands, going on dates, and cuddling on the sofa. It is wanting to share those moments with someone.

Sexuality is about attraction that is beyond someone that is pleasant to look at. It is about the passion, the chemistry, the desire for sexual pleasure with that person. And although most of us may experience these two feelings simultaneously, you can have one without the other. That is where heteroromance comes into play.

What is involved when you are heteroromantic?

Heteroromance is not all that different from regular romance. You can be physically attracted to someone. You can enjoy spending time with someone. You can want their affection, companionship, and even intimacy.

But the main and really only difference between heteroromantic and romantic are the lack of sexual feelings. [Read: What is greysexual? Understanding the qualities of this orientation]

Are you heteroromantic?

I recently dated someone new. I enjoyed spending time with him. He was funny and honest. We had great conversations. And I could see myself spending a lot of time with him. But when it got to the kissing part, I wouldn’t say I was repulsed, but definitely not interested.

And up until that point, I would have said I was attracted to him, but the sexual feelings just weren’t there.

Now, I am not heteroromantic. I have been sexually attracted to exes, strangers, even celebrities, but this I suppose would be described as a lone heteroromantic situation.

But, if this is how you feel regularly about each relationship you enter into, you may be heteroromantic. And although it may not be the norm, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

How does being heteroromantic work?

If you are heteroromantic, how do relationships work? In the beginning stages, you may just request to take things slow. Someone who is heteroromantic would not likely have a one night stand.

You would be happy to hold hands and cuddle, but when it comes to sex, you are not interested.

Now, you can continue like this as long as possible, but most likely your partner will want to take that next step eventually. At that point, you would have to decide whether or not you want to move on or tell your partner the truth.

Sharing that you are heteroromantic can be difficult because it is not something widely understood. It is not as simple as saying the words. It means also being patient with your partner and letting them come to terms with what heteroromance means in general and in regard to your relationship.

And even with understanding, not everyone is willing to sacrifice the sexual part of a relationship.

Sure, you could try to find someone else heteroromantic to share an intimate yet nonsexual relationship with. That would, of course, be the ideal situation, but when you have feelings for someone who is not heteroromantic, it can be hard to configure things.

Should they miss out on the sexual aspect they want? Can you try to give them what they want? This is a conversation and compromise that you and your partner have to come to in time. Just be sure that your partner has respect for how you identify.

Without that, the relationship, both sexual and romantic, will not work. [Read: Can a sexless relationship last?]

Are there other types of heteroromantic?

We’ve discussed the basics of being heteroromantic, at least in the simple sense, but are there other ways of being heteroromantic? Yes, indeed.

One of these ways is homosexual heteroromantic. This means that a man would be attracted to women. He would want to share his life with and have a romantic relationship with a woman, but not have sex with her. Rather he is sexually attracted to men but would not want a romantic relationship with them.

Then there is heteroromantic bisexual or pansexual heteroromantic. This means that you are sexually attracted to both or all sexes, but only romantically attracted to those of the opposite sex. So a woman who is heteroromantic bisexual would be sexually attracted to both men and women, but only want a romantic relationship with men.

Can you stop being heteroromantic?

Sexuality is fluid. There is always a grey area. There isn’t just black and white. You could easily have been heteroromantic your entire life, but then things change.

You could also have always thought you were straight until you met someone of the same sex and had romantic and sexual feelings for them.

But you cannot just stop being heteroromantic willfully. You can certainly try to put your partner’s sexual needs ahead of your lack of sexual attraction. But just like any other sexuality, it is involuntary.

What is the difference between demi-sexual and heteroromantic?

Being demi-sexual is an interesting thing. You may have thought you were heteroromantic because you have never felt sexually attracted to someone before. But demi-sexuality is being sexually attracted to someone only after forming a close relationship.

This means you would not be sexually attracted to a celebrity, a stranger, or even someone you went on a few dates with. The sexual desire would only form after you have formed a meaningful connection. [Read: Demisexual – How they feel lust and how to connect with one deeply]

With heteroromance that sexual desire does not form, no matter how intimate your relationship is.

What is the importance of a label?

Labeling yourself heteroromantic is entirely up to you, and you alone. Or you may choose not to have a label. It can be difficult for people that do not identify as straight or gay to feel like they belong until they have chosen a label.

It can cause confusion for others and for yourself. Labels make things clear, concise and make you fit into a group. But they are not necessary.

With the growing acceptance that both gender and sexuality are fluid, these labels are not as hefty as they once were. For instance, Miley Cyrus came out as pansexual a few years ago. [Read: What is it like to be a pansexual?]

Although this is often intertwined with bisexuality, pansexuality comes with an acceptance that gender is fluid. You are not sexually and romantically attracted to someone because they are a man or women, but regardless of their gender. [Read: The list of sexualities and what you need to know about each orientation]

Bisexuality comes with the idea that there are just two genders, while pansexuality broadens the scope to include those that are transgender and gender-queer.

With more and more acceptance growing for these ideas and with more celebrities setting a precedent for this acceptance, being heteroromantic, amongst anything else I’ve mentioned, is becoming more commonly accepted in mainstream society and media.

[Read: Understanding the different types of romantic orientations there are]

Hopefully, you now understand a bit more about what being heteroromantic means.  It is just one of many forms of attraction that should be as respected and accepted.

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...