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The meaning of abrosexual: All you need to know about this fluid sexuality

Robyn Exton

May 25, 2023

The meaning of abrosexual: All you need to know about this fluid sexuality
  • Lots of things change over a lifetime: your body, your mindset, your wisdom – sometimes, your sexuality! We don’t just mean thinking you’re straight for the longest time and then realizing you’re queer. 

    Beyond that, there’s actually a sexuality that encapsulates the experience of shifting sexual orientation throughout your life: one day, you’re pansexual, the next, you’re asexual; and the following year you’re gay. It’s okay! And it’s called abrosexuality.

    Abrosexuality and abroromanticism are terms that refer to fluidity in attraction over time. Whether you’re questioning yourself or you want to learn more about a dear abrosexual or abroromantic in your life, we at HER are committed to making you feel welcome in our community. So read on to learn more about this underrepresented orientation.

    The meaning of abrosexual: etymology, history, and flags

    A three-way mix of gender glyphs: male and female gender symbols overlap with a third glyph which has an asterisk attached, referring to the fluid aspect of abrosexuality.

    Source: LGBT Teen Youth on Tumblr

    The etymology of abrosexual interestingly fits the term: it comes from the Ancient Greek habrós, which means “delicate.” 

    Does that mean that abrosexuals — or abros, for short — are delicate? Not necessarily! It just reflects the fluidity of sexuality: a malleable, abstract, and flexible thing that abros (like the rest of us) can’t control. These changes may occur gradually or suddenly, and the frequency and intensity of the shifts can vary from person to person.

    Abrosexuality gained popularity online, so it’s difficult to pinpoint its exact origins, but it’s often credited with being coined on Tumblr. The same goes for the abrosexual pride flags. The most popular abro pride flag has five horizontal stripes of white and varying green and pink colors, and its origin is largely unknown. 

    There are many different abrosexual flag designs to show your abro pride. These pride flags’ colors, stripes, and symbols represent fluidity, gender, and sexual attraction. 

    The original abrosexual flag has five horizontal stripes, ranging from green and light green, to light pink and pink, with a white stripe in the middle. The original designer of this flag is unknown, but it likely originated on Deviantart or Tumblr.

    Source: Unknown

    An alt-abro pride flag. Five horizontal stripes represent different aspects of abrosexuality. The top horizontal stripe is Pink and represents attraction to women. The second stripe is purple and it refers to the fluidity of attraction to women. The white stripe refers to asexuality and the spectrum of asexuality. The last blue and cyan stripes represent attraction to men and the fluidity of that attraction.

    Source: RoseWatera on FANDOM 

    Five horizontal stripes on an alternative abrosexual pride flag. The colors range from green, white, and hot pink.

    Source: Addyroodle on FANDOM

    Abrosexual vs. abroromantic

    There’s a difference between sexual and romantic attraction. Sexuality refers to who you feel sexually attracted to, while romantic attraction refers to who you feel romantically attracted to.  

    So, you can be abroromantic and pansexual, for example. This means that you feel sexual attraction to people regardless of gender, while your romantic attraction could vary weekly.

    If you’re abroromantic, there’s a pride flag for that too! 

    The abroromantic pride flag is similar to the abrosexual pride flag, with the same colored stripes. The abroromantic flag has a heart superimposed on the original abrosexual stripes.

    Source: Pride-Flags / DeviantArt

    Abrosexual vs. pansexual

    Abrosexuals can be pansexual one day, but the following month, week, or year shift to bisexuality. But if you identify as pansexual – as in, you feel attraction to people regardless of gender — and feel like that’s not changing anytime soon, you may not be abrosexual. 

    You shouldn’t feel any pressure or rush to label yourself if it doesn’t feel right. But if you identify as abrosexual, know it’s as valid as any other identity.

    An abrosexual meme. The upper third reads: “Person: says abrosexuality doesn’t exist. Me:” and below are two panels showing Rick Sanchez — a canonically pansexual character from Rick and Morty — ripping off wallpaper, revealing the abrosexual flag with the text “My sexuality” superimposed.

    Source: ChristeenDraws / Deviantart

    Abrosexual vs. asexual

    Abrosexuality is sometimes considered a subset of asexuality due to the nature of varying levels of sexual attraction. Asexuality, on the other hand, refers to the lack of sexual attraction. There’s a spectrum of asexuality that includes experiences of feeling demisexual, for example.

    The main difference between asexuality and abrosexuality is rigidity: abrosexuals can be asexual one week and demisexual the next. Asexuals, on the other hand, don’t change levels of attraction over time… at least in theory! 

    The upper third of this abrosexual meme reads, “Me: *is abrosexual* My sexuality: *changes again* Me:” Below shows a blurry screenshot of Mr. Krabs from Spongebob looking around confused.

    Source: Unknown

    Abrosexual vs. bisexual

    Like the above comparisons, abrosexuals can experience asexuality and change the following day to bisexuality and pansexuality the following week. But should you choose the label bisexual, it means that you have the capacity for attraction to more than one gender at any given time.

    We’ve seen the question floating around: “Is it okay if I go by bisexual even if I think I’m abrosexual?” If you’re questioning if you’re abrosexual, and it feels like there’s pressure to “find the right label,” it’s okay! You’re not alone. Remember, you have all the time to find what works best for you and your personal experiences! Changing things as often as you like or need to is okay. Your gender and sexuality are yours to own — nobody should ever get to define you except for you.

    This Reddit thread put it perfectly. One Reddit user asked: “Can I still experience being abrosexual without identifying as it?”

    Another Reddit user responded: “Of course, labels don’t control your experience.

    Abrosexual or not, you can learn an essential lesson in this journey of discovery. Similar to abrosexuality, just go with the flow! 

    The abrosexual quiz, for those questioning

    If you want a helpful nudge to determine if abrosexual is the “right” label for you, we can give you some questions to ask yourself as a jumping pad. But, ultimately, only you can decide if you’re abrosexual. 

    • Have I ever been attracted to one gender for a time and then had that attraction go away? 
    • Why do I feel like I may be abrosexual? Could it have more to do with heteronormativity and compulsory heterosexuality?
    • Have I ever dated someone and felt that I suddenly wasn’t attracted to them because I was drawn to a different gender? 

    These questions are abstract because abrosexuality looks different from person to person, so it’s difficult to pinpoint one universal experience. 

    Representation matters: abrosexual characters

    Positive representation in the media is one of the most effective ways to de-stigmatize and educate the masses on underrepresented sexualities. Unfortunately, there are no canonical abrosexual characters in media right now, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a headcanon, referring to a fan’s unconfirmed belief about a character or story. 

    So if you want to headcanon Jules from Euphoria as an abrosexual, who says you can’t?

    Abrosexuality is one of many terms we’ve loved exploring on the HER blog. Your go-to hub for all things LGBTQ+. You can always find your community on the HER app.

    Robyn Exton

    Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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