There are two halves to the panromantic asexual orientation: the sexual aspect and the romantic aspect. People who are asexual and panromantic rarely or never feel sexual attraction, but they can feel romantically attracted to people of any gender. People who are panromantic asexual have a lot in common with both pansexual and asexual people, but there are some important distinctions between these orientations.
Other Names for Panromantic Asexuality
Panromantic asexual people may identify simply as asexual. Some people may also identify as panromantic asexual when they are more specifically demisexual -- a person who is sexually attracted only to someone with whom they have a deep emotional connection. If a person rarely feels that type of bond, they may think they never feel sexual attraction.
What Is the Difference Between Panromantic Asexual, Pansexual, and Aromantic?
Pansexuality is a sexual orientation, defined as the sexual attraction to people of any gender. Panromantic is a romantic orientation: the ability to feel romantic attraction to people of any gender. Meanwhile, asexuality is a sexual orientation where the person is sexually attracted to no one. Finally, being aromantic is a romantic orientation where the person feels romantic attraction to no one.
Asexual vs. Aromantic
People who are asexual can and often do have romantic interest in others. They just don’t feel sexual attraction to anyone, including their partners. Meanwhile, aromantic people often have sexual attraction to one or more genders, but do not feel specifically romantic feelings for their partners. In some cases, people call themselves asexual as an umbrella term to cover their aromanticism as well, but not everyone does this.
Pansexual vs. Panromantic
The difference between pansexual and panromantic is similar to the difference between asexual and aromantic people. Pansexual people can be aromantic, and asexual people can be panromantic; these orientations are independent.
Myths and Misconceptions about Being Panromantic and Demisexual
If you’re attracted to people of any gender, some may assume that you’re more likely to be unfaithful to a romantic partner. Studies have show that bi- and pansexual people are seen as more likely to cheat on their partners. However other studies have shown that’s not true -- people attracted to multiple genders are no more likely to cheat than any other orientation.
On the other hand, panromantic asexual people can also run into stereotypes about how they are “frigid.” These stereotypes connect an asexual person’s orientation to their sexual activity. Asexual people can have sex if they want; being asexual does not mean that a person does not have a libido. Furthermore, everyone has the right to turn others down when it comes to sex, regardless of orientation. Asexual stereotypes can put pressure on asexual people to participate in sex even if they are uncomfortable.
How Being Panromantic and Asexual Works in Relationships
Communication is key in any relationship involving an asexual person, especially the other partner is not asexual. Some asexual people are uncomfortable performing any type of sexual act, while others are fully comfortable having sex. Every asexual person has their own boundaries and preferences, regardless of their romantic orientation. Partners of asexual people should pay attention to their partner and take care to never pressure them into anything that their partner is not comfortable with.
Helping Your Loved Ones Understand Panromantic Asexuality
Coming out is something very personal. Some people find coming out to their loved ones to be helpful or cathartic, but it’s never necessary. If you do decide you want to come out as panromantic asexual, then you have two aspects to explain to your loved ones.
Your romantic orientation is more likely to come up among family. You may want to clarify that you have the ability to feel romantic attraction towards any gender, but that doesn’t mean you have romantic feelings for everyone. It can also help to specify that being panromantic is about being attracted to individuals, not genders.
Your potential partners may have questions about your asexual orientation. It’s important to discuss the fact that you are asexual with any potential partners. Healthy relationships involve open communication about sex, and you should not feel pressure to participate in sexual activity that makes you uncomfortable. Coming out to a potential partner as asexual can help you both make informed decisions before entering a relationship.