Miley Cyrus made headlines over the summer when she came out as pansexual, thereby introducing many people to a term that they may have heard before but don't entirely understand.
But pansexual is just one of many sexual and romantic identities that exist beyond more commonly known and discussed orientations like heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual. In fact, some people may not even know that a person can be romantically, as well as sexually, oriented. According to Asexuality.org, romantic attraction "is an emotional response that most people often feel that results in a desire for a romantic relationship with the person that the attraction is felt towards." The site notes that "many asexual people experience romantic attraction even though they do not feel sexual attraction" and though romantic and sexual orientations often "match," "it is common to find mixed combinations of romantic and sexual orientations" in the asexual community.
"A lot of people feel broken before they find a label and a community to go with it," Michael, a team member affiliated with the Asexual Visibility & Education Network (AVEN), which works to inform people about sexuality and identities which may fall under the asexuality umbrella. "Many asexual people feel they can't live up to the expectations of their friends, family and society, and are hugely relieved at finding out they're not alone," he added. "We hold that no-one can tell anyone else whom they are sexually attracted too, if any. Telling an asexual person they are not asexual is like telling a straight person they are gay or bi, or vice versa. Ultimately only the person in question is in a good position to know either way."
To help shed some more light on this subject matter, here are 12 terms related to sexual and romantic identities that are beginning to receive more attention in the media but that are still regularly absent or erased from conversations currently taking place in popular culture.
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