Aro? An identity for Valentine’s day and every day, because love is…a whole lot more than romance. — more than sex-ed is a Los Angeles based project of Community Partners®

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It’s that time of year when visions of hearts and flowers dance in our heads, and pop up in ads, and store windows. Certainly love is a many splendored, multi layered, complex spectrum of strong and positive emotional and mental states. It spans territory from the most sublime virtue, to the deepest interpersonal connection, to a good natured everyday pleasure. But it’s specifically romantic love that dominates in our culture when we talk about love. Social pressure prioritizes romantic love above all others, as it’s generally considered a rite of passage from puberty into adulthood to feel that intense attraction for another person. And for so many of us the passion and intimacy of a “first love” is very significant in our personal development. But tingly feelings and obsessive crushes are clearly not the only way to experience love.

And for that reason, we want to point out that Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week is February 19th – 25th, 2023. https://www.arospecweek.org/ Following on the heels of THE day Americans will spend about  $25.9 billion on Valentine’s dinners and gifts, it’s a good time to recognize that romantic love is a spectrum and is yet another part of the complexity of human nature. 

“Aromanticism is a romantic orientation, which describes people whose experience of romance is disconnected from normative societal expectations, often due to experiencing little to no romantic attraction, or sometimes feeling repulsed by romance or being uninterested in romantic relationships.” **

There are plenty of common misconceptions about Aro (aromantic) folks, among them that Aros are always lonely and lack friendships, or that Aros just haven’t met the right person yet. Nope. There’s a lot of great info from the Aro community to learn from here:

https://www.arospecweek.org/get-involved/online-resources/

Not all aromantic people are asexual nor are all asexual folks aromantic, but many folks experience some overlap, and there are many terms that people use to describe the ways they may or may not experience attraction. Check out this extensive list of terms here:

https://www.oulgbtq.org/acearo-spectrum-definitions.html 

Aromantic folks are underrepresented in the world of literature, and when they do show up in film, TV, and fiction they are often misrepresented and portrayed as broken and in need of fixing. But increasingly more realistic Aro characters are appearing in young adult novels. Among the best, we’d like to give a big shout out to Alice Oseman, prolific writer and graphic novelist (whose work includes the Heartstopper series) and we specifically recommend her Aro inclusive novel Loveless.  Check out the author interview here:

https://www.unitedbypop.com/young-adult-books/alice-oseman-on-aro-ace-representation-and-her-new-ya-novel-loveless/

**https://www.arospecweek.org/

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