Allo-Aro Friendly A-Spec Terminology

Handdrawn illustration of a mountain road scene with trees in the foreground and bushes in the background. Scene is overlaid with the dark green/light green/white/yellow/gold stripes of the allo-aro pride flag. The text Aro Worlds Resources sits across the image in a black, antique handdrawn type, separated by two ornate Victorian-style black dividers.

A frustration had by allo-aros is the frequent use of a-spec language and identity terms in ways that exclude us or erase the significance of our allosexual identity.

This is a list of common a-spec community terms, their meanings and how they can be best used in ways that avoid alienating, erasing or excluding allo-aros in specific and aromantics in general. Readers should note that I am not providing introductory level terminology in terms of explaining what asexual or aromantic are. This page instead looks at how these terms are used in the a-spec community.

aromantic / aro / aro-spec: someone identifying, in part or full, as on the aromantic spectrum.

(“Aromantic” is not a sub-identity under the asexual umbrella but its own identity with its own experiences, community and terminology. While some asexuals name their aromanticism as part of their asexuality, or see their aromanticism and asexuality as linked, it’s allo-aro erasure to treat them as the same thing.)

asexual / ace / ace-spec: someone identifying, in part or full, as on the asexual spectrum.

(“Ace” alone is not a synonym for “aro and ace” or “a-spec”. “Ace” does not refer to or include any allo-aro on the basis of their allosexual aromanticism. It is an act of allosexual aromantic erasure to refer to an allo-aro as ace or asexual.)

aromantic community / aro community / aro-spec community: the group of people who identify, in part or full, as on the aromantic spectrum.

asexual community / ace community / ace-spec community: the group of people who identify, in part or full, as on the asexual spectrum.

(“Ace community” is not a synonym for “aro and ace”, “aro-ace” or “a-spec”. “Ace community” does not refer to or include any allo-aro on the basis of their allosexual aromanticism. It is an act of allosexual aromantic erasure to refer to an allo-aro as being part of the ace community.)

ace discourse: the online movement of antagonism and hatred held to be directed primarily at asexuals. It often, both specifically and incidentally, targets aromantics. This term is best used when referring solely to asexual hatred and antagonism.

(The term “ace discourse” erases just how much of this antagonism is also directed at and impacts aromantics. Unless you only wish to talk about the ace antagonism caught up in this movement, it is better to use a more inclusive term like “a-spec discourse”.)

a-spec discourse: the more inclusive term for the online movement of antagonism and hatred directed at aces and aros. This term is best used when wishing to speak of online asexual and aromantic antagonism simultaneously.

alloromantic: someone identifying, in part or full, as not on the aromantic spectrum.

allosexual: someone identifying, in part or full, as not on the asexual spectrum.

(“Allosexual” has also been reclaimed by allo-aros who need a term that isn’t “not asexual” to describe our shape of aromanticism. Please don’t use “not asexual” to describe an allosexual aromantic without also using “allosexual”. It is not appropriate to avoid using our identity term in reference to us from a dislike of the word “allosexual”.)

allo-aro / alloaro / allosexual aromantic: someone identifying, in part or full, as on the aromantic spectrum while not being on the asexual spectrum in full.

(Allo-aros are, in part or full, not asexual. They are part of the aromantic and a-spec communities.)

allo-ace / alloace / alloromantic asexual: someone identifying, in part or full, as on the asexual spectrum while not being on the aromantic spectrum in full.

(Allo-aces are, in part or full, not aromantic. They are part of the asexual and a-spec communities.)

aro-ace / aroace: a term describing the specific experience of identifying, in part or full, as on both the aromantic and asexual spectra. It is a specific identity term and not a description of the wider a-spec community.

(Aro-aces are, in part or full, not alloromantic or allosexual. They are part of the asexual, aromantic and a-spec communities.)

aro-ace community / aroace community: the group of people who identify, in part or full, as on both the aromantic and asexual spectra. It overlaps with the aromantic and asexual communities but doesn’t contain the entirety of both. It is a specific community term and not a description of the wider a-spec community.

A Venn diagram of overlapping circles. One circle is labelled "aro", the other "ace" and the space between "aroace".

(When “aroace” or “aro-ace” refers to a community, it does not include or describe allo-aros who are not additionally aro-ace. Please do not use it as a synonym for “a-spec”; it’s harmful to allo-aros to treat us as belonging to a community built in part on the requirement of asexual identity.)

aro/ace: this is most often used to mean “aromantic or asexual”. Because of the way it is written and read, there is a high risk of conflation with “aroace” and “aro-ace”. Meaning should be specified by the author when using this term this way and avoided where possible.

(The slash means “or”, but since the written term doesn’t look distinct enough from “aro-ace” or “aroace”, I don’t recommend its use as a synonym for “a-spec” when referring to allo-aros.)

ace/aro: this is most often used to mean “asexual or aromantic”. It’s clearer than “aro/ace” because of the word ordering, but as I have seen “acearo” also used to mean “aro-ace”, a risk of conflation still exists. Meaning should be specified by the author when using this term and avoided where possible.

a-spec / aspec: a term most often describing people who are on the aromantic spectrum, on the asexual spectrum or on both the aromantic and asexual spectra. Sometimes also used as a stand-alone identity term, more often used as a community term. This avoids the historical use of “asexual” to describe all aromantics.

(“A-spec” is not a common autistic community term and was not used by autistics prior to its adoption by asexuals and aromantics. Using “ace community” to avoid harming autistics denies autistics our authority and forces all aromantics under the asexual umbrella; it is an explicit act of allo-aro erasure. If you absolutely must avoid “a-spec”, use “asexual and aromantic” or “aromantic and asexual” instead.)

a-spec community / aspec community: the overarching term for the shared space occupied by both aromantic and asexual communities; also a singular community space occupied by all a-specs. It describes a group of people unified under the experiences of not being both solely alloromantic and allosexual. It should not be used to refer to solely asexual content, communities or identities.

A Venn diagram of two overlapping circles inside a third circle. One circle is labelled "aro", the other "ace" and the space between "aroace". The larger circle surrounding the Venn diagram is labelled "a-spec".

(A common frustration in aromantic spaces is the use of “a-spec” to describe asexual content or content with a dominant focus on asexuality, treating aromanticism as only an add-on or passing mention. “A-spec” should never be used as a synonym for “asexual”.)

aromantic and asexual / asexual and aromantic: 1) a description of an individual’s identity. 2) a term most often describing the community of people who are asexual and/or aromantic. As a community term, it is meant to describe a group of people unified under the experiences of not being both solely alloromantic and allosexual.

allo: meaning “alloromantic”, “allosexual” or “alloromantic and allosexual” depending on post/article context. The habit of using “allo” to refer to both allosexual and alloromantic people when allo-aro is an a-spec identity term often results in confusion and unclear meaning. Where possible, consider shifting to more distinct variations like “alloro“.

(“Allo” on its own is more often used by the asexual community. In referring to allosexual alloromantics, people who aren’t a-spec, I’d encourage the use of “allo-allo” over “allo” as it’s often difficult to know if an ace-authored piece is referring to all allosexuals or all alloromantic allosexuals. This results in many allo-aros feeling that we’re being addressed as the propagators of aromantic antagonism or erasure when posts are meant to include us as fellow a-specs.)

alloro / alloros: alloromantic, people not on the aromantic spectrum. Most often used by the aromantic community.

Please note that this guide does not focus on all a-spec community terms. For more information on terminology, please see AUREA or my Aromantic Articles and Guides archive.