What Does It Mean to Be Biromantic?

Recognizing the biromantic identity allows people to self-identify with more nuance.

People can experience sexual attraction in many ways, and so can romantic attraction. The two types of attraction don't necessarily go hand-in-hand. 

One of the labels that someone might use to identify their romantic orientation is biromantic. 

For example, a person may identify as asexual, meaning they have little to no sexual attraction to any gender, but they also identify as biromantic, per the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. In that case, the person feels a romantic attraction to more than one gender.

Here's what biromantic means, what a biromantic relationship might look like, and why recognizing biromanticism is essential.

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What Does Biromantic Mean?

Biromantic Definition

Biromantic: A term describing an individual's pattern of romantic attraction based on a person's gender regardless of one's sexual orientation. A biromantic person may be romantically attracted to more than one gender.

"Someone who identifies as biromantic can have or does have romantic urges or attractions to people of multiple genders," April Callis, PhD, associate director of LGBTQ+ Initiatives at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, told Health. "They might not be interested in having sex with those individuals. But they do get those crushes or that interest to be in that romantic relationship."

And it's not necessarily the romance associated with sexual seduction. Instead, the romantic part of biromantic could mean wanting to cuddle on the couch with someone while watching Netflix and eating pizza, explained Callis.

Basically, the "bi" part of biromantic means you're open to doing things like that in a romantic capacity with more than one gender. The gender or genders you are sexually attracted to can be completely separate things.

In particular, a biromantic person can be attracted to various genders. 

"Biromanticism can encompass romantic attraction to people of any range of gender identities, and the specific combination of each of these identities can vary by person," Casey Xavier Hall, PhD, an assistant professor at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla., told Health

Xavier Hall added that non-binary, agender, or transgender people could be biromantic. The bottom line: Every biromantic person's feelings and relationships can look different. 

How Are Biromantic and Bisexual Related?

Both romantic and sexual orientations exist on a spectrum. People usually do not experience sexual and romantic attraction in two boxes of straight or not straight.

Callis explained that sexual orientation is who you're interested in having a sexual relationship with, while romantic orientation is who you're interested in romantically. That romantic attraction could be influenced by factors like who you want to hold hands with, who you're interested in kissing, who you want to date, or who you might want to marry.

"While in our culture, we tend to smoosh those two [orientation spectrums] together and assume that somebody's sexual and romantic attraction always kind of track identically, the asexual community has been separating these types of attractions since the early aughts," explained Callis.

Biromanticism is similar to bisexuality in that the "bi" part of both words refers to a person's ability to be attracted to more than just one gender. But again, they are two distinct forms of attraction.

And while people may experience one in combination with each other—for example, someone who's both biromantic and bisexual—not all people who experience biromantic attraction experience bisexual attraction, and vice versa. 

"There's no correct combinations of identities," said Xavier Hall.

Why Did the Term ‘Biromantic’ Emerge?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, aromanticism refers to people who don't experience romantic attraction. According to Callis, people began using the term "biromantic" during the 2000s within the asexual community. Between 2005 and 2010, people more commonly used the term "aromantic." 

"I think it really did take the asexual community being, like, 'OK, just because I'm not interested in sex doesn't mean I'm not interested in a relationship. Like, it's really important for me to differentiate that,'" explained Callis.

Essentially, the asexual community started talking more about the difference between romantic and sexual attraction and developed the language for it. And those conversations allowed people outside the community could use those labels to identify themselves.

Why Is Recognizing Biromanticism Important?

First, having the term "biromantic" allows people to self-identify with more nuance.

Additionally, biromanticism allows people to "start thinking about how different what you're looking for sexually or what you desire sexually might be with what you're looking for when it comes to that romantic partner or partners," explained Dr. Callis.

Recognizing and spreading awareness about biromanticism—or any other type of romantic orientation, for that matter—may also lead to more health-focused studies about romantic attraction. 

"You don't often see biromantic experience or biromantic attraction in health research, which is unfortunate and something that needs to be addressed," said Xavier Hall.

As Health previously reported, the bisexual community faces bisexual erasure. This denial of bisexuality can affect health outcomes for bisexual individuals. For example, according to a study published in 2021 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, bisexual people face high rates of intimate partner violence. 

While biromantic people may experience some form of that erasure, as of November 2022, there is no research to help guide those discussions. But recognizing the validity of biromanticism can foster more scholarship and studies about it.

"There's not a lot of research to really validate the lived experiences of biromantic individuals," said Xavier Hall. "And not to say that they have to be validated through research, but in terms of creating interventions and improving health care for biromantic individuals, for example, or identifying maybe unique types of care that biromantic people need."

What To Know if You Think You Might Be Biromantic

For those who think they are biromantic and want a deeper understanding, Xavier Hall suggested turning to online message boards and the conversations they host. 

"I think [romantic orientation] is something that individuals need to kind of explore and define for themselves, how it relates to their particular experience," recommended Xavier Hall.

How To Be an Ally for Biromantic People

First, believe that biromanticism exists. Help raise awareness about it and other romantic orientations. Listen to people when they talk about those identities.

"When people say that they identify as biromantic, say, 'Thank you so much for telling me. Thank you so much for trusting me. Could you tell me a little bit more about what that means to you,' and allowing people to talk to you about it," said Callis.

Second, don't make assumptions. 

"I think that's a big part of the conversation around identity in general, is to kind of step away from making assumptions about individuals," explained Xavier Hall. "When you meet somebody, not assuming that you know what their sexual or romantic spectrum identity is."

"And even if they may have named a sexual identity, don't necessarily assume that you know what that sexual identity means in terms of their romantic attraction or their romantic spectrum identity," added Dr. Xavier Hall.

And, as always, educate yourself. Instead of depending on someone biromantic to be your informational source, seek resources to learn more about the romantic spectrum and identities.

A Quick Review

Terms like "biromantic" describe an individual's pattern of romantic attraction based on a person's gender regardless of one's sexual orientation. Specifically, a biromantic person may be romantically attracted to more than one gender.

Recognizing the biromantic identity allows people to self-identify more broadly. And more discussions surrounding identity may foster research that addresses disparities within the community.

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