As an aromantic asexual, I am all too aware of the different kinds of attraction that exists in the world. I suppose, for people who are in the “norm,” who are cisgendered and heterosexual, who aren’t education about LGBT* culture and such, aren’t really aware of that. I remember when it was a new concept for me. It was surprising, enlightening, but also a relief, learning that you can be attracted to someone sexually and not romantically. Or romantically and not sexually. Or aesthetically, and neither romantically or sexually. There are plenty of different combinations out there.
For me, personally, I don’t experience romantic or sexual attraction. But I am aesthetically attracted to people, and I get squishes, which are basically non-sexual, non-romantic crushes.
As I understand it, and this may not be the best definition, sexual attraction is where you sort are attracted to someone as a sexual partner. Having never really experienced this, I can’t say for certain if that definition is 100% accurate, but that is how I understand it.
Romantic attraction is where you are attracted to a person as a potential romantic partner. Once again, as I’ve never experienced this, and can only go by what I’ve heart.
I can’t definite romance very well, actually. I’ve tried, and I just fumble the words. If anyone has a good definition, or knows of one, I would love that!
Aesthetic attraction is something that I experience, so perhaps I can write a better definition, but of course, this is only how I experience it. When I am aesthetically attracted to someone, I just like the way they look. I like looking at them. I find their appearance pleasing to the eye. While I wouldn’t pursue sex with them, if they were attracted to me and wanted to have sex with me, I might consider it, just for that intimacy.
Squishes, like I said before, are like crushes without the romantic or sexual aspects. When I was younger, I used to think I was having a crush, but it was really a squish combined with the urge to fit in with my peers. A squish is something, as I understand it, like a best friend, but more, but not romantic.
Another word, since I seem to have gone into defining things, is queerplatonic. A queerplatonic relationship is defined as follows.
Queerplatonic is a word for describing relationships where an intense emotional connection transcending what people usually think of as ‘friendship’ is present, but the relationship is not romantic in nature; people in a queerplatonic relationship may think of themselves as partners, may plan on spending their lives together, etc.
Attraction can be a rather finicky thing, really. Even still, when I am attracted to someone in whatever way, I get confused. I suppose it’s because sexual and romantic attraction is the norm, and I still see it as the norm, and I’m still getting used to reminding myself the aesthetic attraction exists.
Hopefully I can soon get things straightened out in my head.