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Queerplatonic relationship

Queerplatonic relationships (QPR) and queerplatonic partnerships (QPP) are committed intimate relationships which are not romantic in nature. They may differ from usual close friendships by having more explicit commitment, validation, status, structure, and norms, similar to a conventional romantic relationship.[1] The concept originates in aromantic and asexual spaces in the LGBT community.[1] Like romantic relationships, queerplatonic relationships are sometimes said to involve a deeper and more profound emotional connection than typical friendship.


CJ DeLuzio Chasin mentioned the Asexual Visibility and Education Network's definition of QPRs as "non-romantic significant-other relationships of 'partner status'"[2] in their discussion of new terminology produced by ace community members attempting to name relationships and experiences that were previously ineffable. Chasin has since offered a more nuanced definition of queerplatonic as "relationships that are not romantic relationships but which are also not adequately or properly described by “friendship” (even if the people involved are indeed friends). QPRs are a meta-category “catch-all” for a diversity of nonromantic, non-normative relationships."[3] This is consistent with more detailed ace & aro community accounts of the term's history and meaning.[4][5] Julie Sondra Decker writes that QPR often "looks indistinguishable from romance when outside the equation", but should not be "assigned a romantic status if participants say it is not romantic". She also notes that observers can misread it as a typical close friendship in circumstances where overtly romantic gestures are socially expected. For Decker, the essence of queerplatonic attraction is its ambiguous position in relation to normative categories: she writes that QPR "is a platonic relationship, but it is 'queered' in some way—not friends, not romantic partners, but something else".[6] The attraction that involves queerplatonic relationships may be labeled as alterous,[7][8] though it can be its own concept for an attraction that combines,[9] or is in-between or neither strictly platonic or romantic.[10][11]

Some definitions put less stress on the partner-status structure of QPR and focus more on the idea that it represents a stronger emotional connection than usual friendship. For instance, the College of William & Mary's neologism dictionary defines QPR as an "extremely close" relationship that is "beyond friendship" without being romantic,[12] and sex therapist Stephanie Goerlich in Psychology Today similarly describes QPRs as a "deeper commitment than friendship but often are not romantic in nature".[13]

In asexual and aromantic online spaces, queerplatonic partners are sometimes nicknamed "zucchinis".[2][14] LGBT news website PinkNews describes this as "a joke which refers to the lack of terminology to describe meaningful relationships outside of romantic or sexual partnerships."[15] A platonic crush is called a "squish",[16][17] and this term might also be applied to QPR. QPR attraction is also sometimes referred to as a plush.[citation needed]

Origins and use

The term originates in the aromantic and asexual communities,[12][14] and it was largely restricted to these spaces in the 2010s. The Huffington Post described it in 2014 as a "new label" coming from the same place as "aromantic" and "demisexual",[18] the College of William & Mary's neologism dictionary observed in 2016 that it was only used in aromantic and asexual spaces,[12] and Zach Schudson and Sari van Anders characterised it in 2019 as one of several "emergent gender and sexual identity discourses" appearing on LGBT social networking sites.[19]

However, from 2021, some popular websites aimed at general audiences began to discuss the concept,[13][20][21][22][23] and the concept has been used (rather than merely discussed as a neologism) in some academic art and literature criticism.[24][25][26]

Some authors observed in the 2020s that QPR is associated with polyamory. A 2021 qualitative analysis of the language used by people involved in polyamory gave the word "queerplatonic" as a typical example of the "complex" vocabulary often used by individuals involved in consensual non-monogamous relationships.[27] Y. Gavriel Ansara, writing for an audience of relationship counsellors, also observes that the term is common among polyamorous people.[28] A 2022 article in the women's magazine Bustle drew parallels between "queerplatonic life partnerships" and consensual non-monogamy, relating both to relationship anarchy and the shared principle that the participants "customize their commitments according to what the people in the relationship desire".[23]

Schudson and van Anders (2019) and the 2022 Bustle article also assert that use of the term is driven by "young people",[19] or millennials and Generation Z.[23]

Sex therapist Stefani Goerlich claimed in 2021 that the concept was inspired by Boston marriages—formalized romantic friendships between wealthy women in late nineteenth century New England. She also characterized QPRs as "an ancient practice made popular again", and suggests that Ruth and Naomi in the Hebrew Bible might have had "one of the earliest recorded QPRs".[13]

Social analysis

Savie Luce challenges the conventional queer reading of Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman's Two Friends, a story depicting a Boston marriage, which casts it in a "sexualized queer light" as depicting a sapphic relationship. She argues that through the lens of QPR and Ela Przybylo's concept of "asexual erotics", Freeman's protagonists can be read as erotic lesbian partners without the need to mischaracterise their relationship as sexual or romantic, which Luce regards as "erotonormative". She also presents QPR as a radical counter-narrative to the lesbian bed death trope, with asexuality "an additive quality rather than a deficit" in a queerplatonic partnership between women.[26]

Some authors have seen the concept of QPR as a reaction against an amatonormative hierarchy in which romantic relationships are regarded as more important than friendships. The author of the William & Mary neologism dictionary's entry on QPR opines that the desire to designate a close platonic attachment as a significant other rather than a best friend only exists because of the normative expectation that an individual should prioritize their partner over their friends—for them, QPR is only distinguished from friendship because the latter is not "considered a valid replacement for romantic love".[12]

Similarly, Roma De las Heras Gómez connects relationship anarchy's critique of the idea that a romantic relationship is necessary to "create a family that includes long-term partnership, cohabitation, joint economic responsibility, and potential child raising" to the folk categories used in "asexual communities and aromantic communities online", and though she does not directly mention QPR, she does use the phrase "queerplatonic relationships" as a keyword for the paper,[29] suggesting that she sees QPR as similar to relationship-anarchist non-sexual cohabitation and co-parenting.

See also


  1. ^ a b Chen, Angela (2021). Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex. Beacon Press. pp. 118–121. ISBN 978-0-8070-1473-8. OCLC 1337835879.
  2. ^ a b Chasin, CJ DeLuzio (2015). "Making Sense in and of the Asexual Community: Navigating Relationships and Identities in a Context of Resistance". Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology. 25 (2): 167–180. doi:10.1002/casp.2203.
  3. ^ Chasin, CJ DeLuzio (2019). "Asexuality and the Re/Construction of Sexual Orientation" (PDF). In Simula, Brandy L.; Sumerau, J. E.; Miller, Andrea (eds.). Expanding the Rainbow: Exploring the Relationships of Bi+, Polyamorous, Kinky, Ace, Intersex, and Trans People. Leiden: Brill. pp. 209–219. ISBN 9789004414099.
  4. ^ Omnes et Nihil (2014). Queerplatonic Zucchinis: A Short Primer [zine] (PDF).
  5. ^ Coyote (9 March 2019). "A Genealogy of Queerplatonic". The Ace Theist.
  6. ^ Decker, Julie Sondra (September 2014). The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality. Skyhorse. p. 25. ISBN 978-1634502436.
  7. ^ Gardiner, Georgi (2023). "We Forge the Conditions of Love". pp. 279–314. doi:10.1093/oso/9780192845450.003.0012. ISBN 978-0-19-284545-0. Retrieved 18 May 2024.
  8. ^ Young, Eris (21 December 2022). Ace Voices: What it Means to Be Asexual, Aromantic, Demi or Grey-Ace. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 978-1-78775-699-1.
  9. ^ "A Guide to 14 Different Types of Attraction". Choosing Therapy. Retrieved 18 May 2024.
  10. ^ Barron, Victoria (21 June 2023). Amazing Ace, Awesome Aro: An Illustrated Exploration. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 978-1-83997-715-2.
  11. ^ Aral, Nigiel; Castro, Maxene Alexandra De; Mansukhani, Karuna May; Sara, Ayeesha Heather (29 April 2021). "Determinants of Sexual Literacy of Senior High School Students in De La Salle University-Manila". DLSU Senior High School Research Congress.
  12. ^ a b c d "Queerplatonic". 21st-Century Interdisciplinary Dictionary: A William & Mary Lexicon of English Neologisms, Buzzwords, Keywords and Jargon. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  13. ^ a b c Goerlich, Stefani (6 September 2021). "Queerplatonic Relationships: A New Term for an Old Custom". Psychology Today. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  14. ^ a b "The 'A' in LGBT". Counterpoint. 35 (1): 8. September 2013.
  15. ^ Smith, Lydia (18 April 2018). "What is a quasiplatonic aka queerplatonic relationship?". PinkNews. Retrieved 26 February 2022.
  16. ^ "Who's Your Main Squish? 15 Signs You're Squishing on Someone". LovePanky - Your Guide to Better Love and Relationships. 22 May 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  17. ^ "Squish- That Platonic Crush You Always Experienced But Never Had A Name For". ED Times | Youth Media Channel. 29 July 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  18. ^ Brekke, Kira (8 October 2014). "This Is What It Means To Be Aromantic, Demiromantic And Queerplatonic". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 26 February 2022.
  19. ^ a b van Anders, Sari; Schudson, Zach (12 August 2019). "'You have to coin new things': Sexual and gender identity discourses in asexual, queer, and/or trans young people's networked counterpublics". Psychology & Sexuality. 10 (4): 354–368. doi:10.1080/19419899.2019.1653957. hdl:1974/32792. S2CID 202286008. Retrieved 26 February 2022.
  20. ^ "What Does A Queerplatonic Relationship Look Like?". DriveThru. 11 June 2021. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  21. ^ Davenport, Barrie (November 2021). "Are You In A Queerplatonic Relationship? 13 Clues You Are". Live Bold & Bloom. Retrieved 26 February 2022.
  22. ^ "Queerplatonic Relationship: What It Is & 25 Signs You're In One". LovePanky: Your Guide to Better Love and Relationships. 12 June 2021. Retrieved 26 February 2022.
  23. ^ a b c Inks, Lexi. "Your Guide To Queerplatonic Life Partnerships". Bustle. Retrieved 26 February 2022.
  24. ^ Popova, Milena (3 April 2018). "'Dogfuck rapeworld': Omegaverse fanfiction as a critical tool in analyzing the impact of social power structures on intimate relationships and sexual consent". Porn Studies. 5 (2): 201. doi:10.1080/23268743.2017.1394215. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  25. ^ Przybyło, Ela (2022). "Ace and aro lesbian art and theory with Agnes Martin and Yayoi Kusama". Journal of Lesbian Studies. 26 (1): 89–112. doi:10.1080/10894160.2021.1958732. PMID 34463602. S2CID 239671332.
  26. ^ a b Luce, Savie (2021). "Asexual Erasure Undone: A Short Literary History of Asexuality in 19th-to 20th-Century Literary Classics".
  27. ^ Cardoso, Daniel; Pascoal, Patricia M.; Maiochi, Francisco Hertel (27 May 2021). "Defining Polyamory: A Thematic Analysis of Lay People's Definitions" (PDF). Archives of Sexual Behavior. 50 (4): 1239–1252. doi:10.1007/s10508-021-02002-y. PMC 8321986. PMID 34046765. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  28. ^ Ansara, Y. Gavriel (2020). "Challenging everyday monogamism: Making the paradigm shift from couple-centric bias to polycule-centred practice in counselling and psychotherapy". Psychotherapy and Counselling Journal of Australia. 8 (2). doi:10.59158/001c.71237. S2CID 257705886. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  29. ^ De las Heras Gómez, Roma (2019). "Thinking Relationship Anarchy from a Queer Feminist Approach" (PDF). Sociological Research Online. 24 (4): 12. doi:10.1177/1360780418811965. S2CID 150062238.

Further reading

  • Linder, Katie (2019). "Queering the Nuclear Family: Navigating Familial Living as an Asexual". In Simula, Brandy L.; Sumerau, J. E.; Miller, Andrea (eds.). Expanding the Rainbow: Exploring the Relationships of Bi+, Polyamorous, Kinky, Ace, Intersex, and Trans People. Leiden: Brill. pp. 221–227. ISBN 9789004414099.
  • Strait, Ashton (15 November 2012). "Beyond BFFs: Cozying up to queerplatonic relationships". Post-. Vol. 14, no. 8. Brown University. p. 3.
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Queerplatonic relationship
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