Asexuals form a variety of relationships to fulfill their emotional needs. Some have adhered to the more common structuring of relationships, whereas others have tried to structure their relationships a bit differently. However, regardless of structure, most asexuals find things such as communication, trust, and affection to be important parts of their relationships.
Full article: Attraction
While asexuals do not experience sexual attraction, they experience a variety of other attractions and have come up with names for some of these attractions, including romantic and aesthetic attraction. There is some debate as to whether these definitions are accurate. Most commonly, people identify as romantic or aromantic.
Sensuality is pleasure that involves the senses. Many sexual people interpret the word as only relating to sexual pleasure that involves the senses, but there are other ways of being sensual. Some (though not all) asexuals enjoy nonsexual sensuality with other people. Sensuality often involves tactile stimulation, such as cuddling, kissing, or giving or receiving a massage, but interpretations of visual, aural, taste, or olfactory stimuli as sensual are also appropriate - for example, since the desire to appreciate the sight of a beautiful person involves visual stimulation, it could be seen as sensual.
Community- and Partner-Based Intimacy
Some people reject the romantic vs. aromantic dichotomy. They feel that this model is weighed towards the romantic side, since it is defined by something that a person does; it does not take into account the types of intimate relationships that nonromantic people enter into. Many nonromantic people have a desire for partnership, but don’t think of it in a romantic sense.
One of the models proposed to describe how people structure their relationships is that of partner-based and community-based intimacy. To some extent, everyone has both types in their lives; everyone has multiple relationships with multiple people, and everyone has one or a few relationships that are more strongly developed and have a central role in that person’s life. Therefore, this model is not about labeling someone as either a "partner-based intimacy" person or a "community-based intimacy" person, but about describing the forms a person's relationships might take on.
In this model, a person fulfills their emotional needs from one relationship with a partner. To build up this type of relationship, people try to become very close to someone and to fill an important role in their lives. A lot of time and energy is spent on this relationship, as the people involved begin to structure their lives around each other.
People who engage in partner-based intimacy usually do have more than one relationship - for example, someone using this model might have several good friends, some family members, and many casual acquaintances as well as a romantic partner - but, out of these, they choose one relationship to which they give some element of exclusivity.
The practice of ascribing the needs, wants and desires traditionally directed at one's partner to one's community. Individuals engaging in community-based intimacy see a constantly changing network of relationships as their primary means of finding emotional fulfillment, achieving financial stability building an environment to raise children.
Community structure among those using this model can vary greatly. Some build traditional partnerships as the "core" of their communities. Others will maintain one or more stable relationships at the core of their community but will resist "partner/nonpartner" distinctions, while others focus on the breadth and diversity of their communities rather than on structured relationships at their core.
Full article: Romantic orientation
Romantic orientation (also called affectional orientation) is a term used by some instead of sexual orientation. People who use this term believe that orientation is not just related to a person's sexuality. Some asexuals use this term as a way to describe who they are emotionally or romantically attracted to.
Romantic friendship is a term used to describe close friendships, in which there is a degree of emotional and physical intensity that is generally attributed to romantic relationships. Such displays of affection can include cuddling, kissing, expressing love for one another, among others. These relationships were common and acceptable in Western society until the late 19th century.
Relationships can be built on platonic love, not just romantic love. This is called a queerplatonic relationship.
Polyamory is the practice of having more than one intimate relationships simultaneously with the informed consent of all partners concerned. The opposite of which is monoamory, having an intimate relationship with only one person.
- #7- Intimacy Basics - Podcast on Love from the Asexual Underground
- Affectional orientation - article on Wikipedia
- Romantic friendship - article on Wikipedia