Recipromantic is a microlabel used to describe an individual who only experiences romantic feelings when they know that the other person is romantically attracted to them, or “reciprocates” the attraction. In order for a romantic attraction to form for them, a recipromantic person needs to be aware that the feeling could be mutual. The recipromantic identity is part of the aromantic spectrum.
Sexual and romantic orientation are often conflated, which can blur the lines between the two. Sexual orientation indicates the sex or gender of the person someone is most likely to feel sexual attraction or desire towards, while romantic orientation indicates the sex or gender of the person with whom someone is most likely to have a romantic attraction, develop romantic feelings, or pursue a romantic relationship.
Recipromantic people can be of any gender identity or sexual orientation. There is no causal relationship between gender identity, sexual orientation, and romantic orientation and whether a person will be demiromantic or not, and they can be potentially attracted to people of any gender.
Recipromantic and the Aromantic Spectrum
Recipromanticism is on the aromantic spectrum. Individuals on the aromantic spectrum (also referred to as “aro-spec” individuals) feel little to no romantic attraction to anyone, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.
Other identities on the aromantic spectrum with conditional attraction include gray-romantic people (i.e. people who occasionally feel romantic attraction, however rarely) and demiromantic people (i.e. people who only form romantic attraction to someone after they have established an emotional connection with them).
Compared to demiromantic individuals, a reciprorantic person does not necessarily need to know a person for very long to learn that they feel the same way, thereby allowing for a possible romantic attraction to develop. However, recipromantic attraction is more dependent on specific conditions than that of a gray-romantic individual.
Recipromantic versus Reciprosexual
Reciprosexuality is an identity on the asexual spectrum. Aasexuality is a sexual orientation where people experience little to no sexual attraction to others or sexual desire in general. It is possible for someone to be both demiromantic and demisexual, but they are not interchangeable terms nor do they always occur in the same individual.
Unless they are asexual as well, recipromatic individuals can experience sexual attraction and desire. They can develop sexual interest in others as well as enjoy partaking in sexual activity with a partner. Their potential sexual attraction to others does not rely on first knowing that the other person is already attracted to them because their sexual desires are separate from their romantic feelings or desire to have a romantic relationship.
Sex and Intimacy
Recipromanticism does not affect a given individual’s potential need or desire for physical intimacy. Like most other sexual or romantic orientations, recipromantic individuals can enjoy being close with other people and engaging in physically intimate exchanges like hugging, affectionate touch, and sexual activities, while others do not. Being recipromantic is what determines who they may form romantic attractions to and relationships with. It does not dictate the conditions of their physical affection needs.