While aromanticism is often confused with asexuality, and they may actually go together from time to time, they aren't synonymous.
An aromantic individual is not interested in romantic relationships, or if they are in one, it isn't because of the romance—it may be because of their bond with the other person who is romantic. An asexual individual, on the other hand, typically has no sexual desire—but this, too, can have a range of ways it shows up, including only feeling sexual desire when a strong emotional connection is present, or just feeling it sometimes, or not very strongly.
"Either could be experienced separately or together, sometimes or all the time, so both the ace or aro person (and friends and partners) will ideally want to distinguish them. To do that, think about sex without romantic love; or with it; or romance with and without sex. For some, the two spectrums will be really connected. For others it'll be, 'Oh, I like everything but the narrative of romance,'" says Queen.
A person may describe themselves as "aro ace" if they do identify as both aromantic and asexual, but these two identities can also show up distinctly and separate for a person, says Queen.
"Delinking the sex and love model is actually one thing that ace and aro people can really teach all of us. Instead of riding along with this social norm, both kinds of people focus on what is actually true for them. It matters enormously that there are now communities and discourse to support this," she tells mbg.