Can I be asexual if I have romantic feelings?
It's entirely possible to feel many forms of attraction without any of them being sexual. Asexuality is nothing more than a lack of sexual attraction, it doesn't not require or imply that you don't have romantic feelings. In fact, only 30% of asexuals describe themselves as 'aromantic' (meaning someone who doesn't experience romantic attraction).
Most asexuals use the 'split-attraction model', which is when one views sexual attraction and romantic attraction to be separate (though related) phenomena. Although the average spot on the romanticism spectrum – and indeed many other spectra – tends to be different between asexuals and allosexuals, the only thing that defines a person as asexual or not is the absence or presence of sexual attraction. Because of this, and because orientation is different to behaviour, a person can have or even enjoy sex, masturbate, form romantic relationships, and so on, all while being asexual.
Non-sexual forms of attraction that asexuals may experience include:
- Romantic attraction – a desire to form an intimate relationship with someone. Intimacy in this context may be emotional or physical. Romantic attraction is described in much more detail here;
- Aesthetic attraction – liking the way someone looks;
- Sensual attraction – attraction towards non-sexual physical intimacy (e.g. cuddling);
- Platonic attraction – a strong desire to form a deep friendship with a particular person.