Affectional orientation is an alternative term for sexual orientation. Those people who prefer to argue that one's orientation is not limited to sexuality but also to ones affectionality. To holders of this view, one's orientation is defined by whom one is predisposed to fall in love with, sexual attraction being only a part of a larger dynamic.
The term is also used by some who consider themselves asexual and only feel emotional attraction to describe the gender or genders they are romantically attracted to. The terms used for different affectional orientations are typically the same as are used for sexual orientations: homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual.
Lately, the aforementioned terms are considered to reduce a whole category of desires and emotions, power and connection, to sex.
There are also those who hold the view that their orientation is defined by whom one has affection towards and that their sexual attraction is based on affection for another human being's personal qualities rather than their gender or appearance, sex and gender playing no part in the attraction. This does not necessarily require either person to fall in love but is still based on a personal affection.
One might now consider the phrase, "conditional sexual attraction" for asexuals, as opposed to "primary sexual attraction" used by all "sexual" people, though not all would agree with this terminology, as some asexuals may be attracted to physical characteristics as well as or instead of non physical ones.
- More information on this topic is available at [ Wikipedia:Affectional_orientation ]