Aesthetic Attraction: Appreciation for someone’s looks, which may be accompanied by other forms of attraction, but is not always.
Allo: Generally used to refer to someone who is both allosexual and alloromantic, although in some contexts it may refer specifically to allosexual or alloromantic people.
Alloromantic: Someone who experiences romantic attraction. It is possible to be alloromantic but not allosexual.
Allosexual: Someone who experiences sexual attraction. It is possible to be allosexual but not alloromantic.
Amatonormativity: The idea that (generally monogamous) romantic relationships should be an ultimate life goal of all people, and that these relationships have more intrinsic worth than other relationships. Closely related to compulsory sexuality.
Aromantic: Both the romantic orientation characterized by not experiencing romantic attraction, and an adjective used to describe these people. “Aro” is a common abbreviation.
Aromantic Spectrum: A collective term encompassing all individuals whose romantic orientation is more closely related to an aromantic identity than an alloromantic identity, and who identify with aromantic experiences.
Asexual: Someone who does not experience sexual attraction. “Ace” is a common abbreviation.
Asexuality: A sexual orientation characterized by not experiencing sexual attraction.
Asexuality Spectrum: A collective term to encompass all individuals whose sexuality is more closely related to asexuality than to allosexual identities, and who identify with asexual experiences. “Ace spectrum” is a common variant.
Autochorissexual: defined by a disconnect between oneself and the target of sexual arousal.
AVEN: Asexual Visibility and Education Network. The most well-known forum for asexual spectrum people.
Bogaert, Anthony: Author of a lot of the current available scientific literature about asexuality.
Celibacy: The choice to abstain from all sexual activity, regardless of attraction.
Chastity: Used in both religious and kink communities to describe abstinence from sex or certain sex acts.
Cis-het: An abbreviation for “cisgender, heterosexual, and heteroromantic”.
Compulsory Sexuality: The idea that a romantic relationship requires both partners to be sexually available, and that a (usually heterosexual) sexual relationship is an important goal for all people. Closely related to amatonormativity.
Crush: Feeling romantic (and sometimes, but not always, also sexual) attraction towards a person.
Demiromantic: A person who only experiences romantic attraction after a strong emotional connection is established.
Demisexual: A person who only experiences sexual attraction after a strong emotional connection is established. This connection need not be romantic. (Add -ity to form a noun.)
Erasure: This can refer both to passive exclusion (especially from popular culture and media), and to active denial of an identity. The second form is frequently directed towards young asexual and aromantic spectrum people.
Fraysexual/romantic: Attraction fades after initially meeting someone (opposite of demisexual/romantic)
Grey Asexual: Also gray asexual, grey-asexual, gray-asexual, or any of these forms with the “ace” abbreviation. Describes any individual whose sexual orientation falls somewhere between asexuality and allosexuality. Can encompass demisexuals, lithsexuals, and anyone who experiences sexual attraction infrequently or only under specific circumstances. (Add -ity to form a noun.)
Grey-romantic: Describes any individual whose romantic orientation falls between alloromantic and aromantic. Can encompass demiromantics, lithromantics, and anyone who experiences romantic attraction infrequently or only under specific circumstances.
GSRM: Stands for Gender, Sexual, and Romantic Minorities.
Heteronormativity: The assumption of heterosexual, heteroromantic (and generally cisgender) people as the “default”.
Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD): A disorder characterized by lack of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity which causes a person significant distress. Sometimes used to attempt to pathologize asexuality, though an asexual person who experiences no distress because of their identity is excluded from this diagnosis.
Invalidation: Any tactics used to deny the existence of orientation or a particular person’s self-identification.
Jay, David: The founder of AVEN, and a prominent asexual activist.
LGBTQIAP+: An acronym encompassing marginalized gender identities and sexual orientations, and intersex people. Usually refers to the community of these people, and has many shortened variations such as LGBT+.
Libido: A person’s sex drive, or the frequency with which they desire sexual contact, regardless of their pattern of attraction.
Limerence: Any strong feelings of attraction, such as nervousness (“butterflies in the stomach”), obsessive thoughts, and desire for approval.
Lithromantic: A person who experiences romantic attraction but has no desire to have their feelings reciprocated. Sometimes, but not always, includes dislike of or aversion towards romantic relationships.
Lithsexual (or lithosexual): A person who experiences sexual attraction but has no desire to have their feelings returned, or who does not like being on the receiving end of sexual contact.
Mixed Orientation Identity: Describes a person whose sexual orientation and romantic orientation are not the same (for example, someone who is aromantic and bisexual). See varioriented.
Mixed Orientation Relationship: A relationship in which the people involved do not have the same sexual and/or romantic orientations. Frequently used in the context of asexual/allosexual relationships and in the context of polyamory.
MOGII: Stands for Marginalized Orientations, Gender Identities, and Intersex. A catch-all term for non cis-het identities.
Monogamy: Describes a relationship between only two partners.
Nonlibidoist: A person who does not have a sex drive.
Open Relationship: A relationship in which one or more partners date or have sex with other people in addition to their partner(s), with the full awareness of those partners.
Orientation: A general term for the people someone finds attractive, which does not specify the type of attraction.
Perioriented: A person whose romantic and sexual orientations ‘match’ (ex: homoromantic homosexual, aromantic asexual).
Platonic Life Partner: see queerplatonic.
Polyamory: Describes a relationship between more than two partners. Polyamory does not imply an open relationship, some poly relationships are exclusive and some are not.
Primary Attraction: Any attraction experienced upon first meeting someone. Can be specified (ex: primary sexual attraction, primary aesthetic attraction).
Queer: A reclaimed slur used by some non-cis-het individuals, including some aro/ace people. Always ask before using if you are not sure a person will be comfortable being referred to as queer.
Queerplatonic: Describes a platonic relationship that transcends a person’s usual boundaries for platonic relationships, or an incredibly strong non-romantic partnership. Alternatives include, but are not limited to quirkyplatonic, qp, platonic life partner, and zucchini. Questioning: Individual who is unsure about or is exploring their own sexual orientation or gender identity. Quoiromantic: Someone who finds romantic orientation confusing, or is unsure how to differentiate between romantic and platonic love.
Romantic Attraction: A desire for a romantic partnership with a person.
Romantic Orientation: Describes the conditions under which a person experiences romantic attraction. Often refers to a particular gender or genders that the person finds attractive. Different romantic orientations are described with a prefix (homo-, bi-, pan-, lith-, a-, demi-, etc) followed by ‘romantic’.
Secondary Attraction: Attraction that develops over time.
Sensual Attraction: A desire for sensual (but not sexual) contact with a person, such as cuddling or kissing.
Sex Repulsion: Indiference towards, discomfort with, or unwillingness to engage in some or all sexual activities. Also called sex aversion.
Sexual Attraction: Desire to touch someone sexually or finding a person desirable for sexual activity. Characteristics of this kind of attraction can be found here, although not everyone will experience all of these.
Sexual Orientation: Describes the conditions under which a person experiences sexual attraction. Often refers to a particular gender or genders that the person finds attractive. Different sexual orientations are described with a prefix (homo-, bi-, pan-, lith-, a-, demi-, etc) followed by ‘sexual’. Skoliosexual/romantic-experiences attraction to genderqueer or transgender individuals
Slut Shaming: Attacking a woman (or someone who is perceived as a woman) based on her actual or presumed level of sexual activity. Ace spectrum identities, especially demisexuality, can be falsely perceived as a kind of slut shaming.
Squish: A platonic crush, the desire to get to know someone and form a platonic relationship with them.
Touch Aversion: Not wanting to touch or be touched by people. Can extend to all types of touch, or may be conditional (ex: someone who is okay with touch they initiate, but not with touch initiated by someone else).
Varioriented: Someone whose sexual and romantic orientations do not ‘match’ (ex: aromantic pansexual).
WTFromantic: See quoiromantic.
Zucchini: See queerplatonic.
*This list is in no way complete. If you feel that something is missing, incomplete, or incorrect please let me know.