Alterous attraction is a form of emotional attraction and desire for emotional closeness. It describes a feeling that is not necessarily platonic, but also is not romantic in nature. For some it may be in between romantic and platonic attraction, and for others it may be completely separate from the romantic/platonic distinction.
Alterous is an adjective used for an attraction which is neither exclusively platonic nor romantic, and for an orientation based in this attraction.
Indeed, someone who experiences alterous attraction may experience romantic and/or platonic attractions at different times, with different people, or in different combinations. Alterous attraction may be experienced separately and exclusively from sexual attraction, in addition to sexual attraction, or concurrently with sexual attraction. However, some people may experience attraction exclusively alterously.
Alterous as an orientation label may be used in combination with a prefix, such as bi-, homo-, or demi-. It may also be used as a complete orientation label without a prefix. Someone with an alterous orientation may use other orientation labels to describe other attractions, if they experience other attraction orientations and choose to identify with them.
An alterous crush is known as a mesh or a hush, although the terms are not widely used. Alterous attraction is most commonly associated with the color light blue. One who does not experience alterous attraction may identify as a-alterous, analterous, or nonalterous.
Alterous attraction's subset is Exteramo attraction
The term was first introduced in approximately 2015. Since then, it has been variously used for a pull toward emotional closeness or intense feelings that may or may not have any relation to the romantic/nonromantic binary. Since 2016, some definitions of alterous have been criticized for implying that platonic or nonromantic feelings are inherently weaker than romantic ones.
The alterous flag was made in 2016 by Tumblr user https://web.archive.org/web/https://alterous-albatross.tumblr.com/ Alterous-Albatross . According to the introduction post, "The yellow stands for platonic. The gray stands for the gray area between romantic and platonic attraction. Pink represents affection. Red represents romantic."
The first alternate Alterous flag features three of the same stripes from Tumblr user Alterous-Albatross original flag, but includes a blue-grey stripe instead of a grey stripe to match other alterous identity flags. As before, the yellow stands for platonic. The blue-grey represents alterous attraction itself and how it exists somewhere in the gray area between platonic and romantic attraction. Pink represents affection, and red represents romance.
A second alternate Alterous attraction flag was created by FANDOM user Zer0Rebel4. it features 7 stripes, and a hexagon in place of a heart to symbolise that it is not romantic, but also not platonic. the colours are dark blue for alloalterouses (those who experience alterous attraction), light blue for greyalterouses (those who rarely experience alterous attraction), dark violet for nonalterouses, light violet for demialterouses (those who experience alterous attraction to those theyre close to), lavender for alterous attraction, and black for the spectrum of alterous attraction.
A third alternate flag was created by FANDOM user PhysicsAndPuns. It features a charge shaped like an upside down heart with a gold diamond in the center. The gold diamond represents platonic feelings, the red color represents romantic feelings, and the heart being upside down represents love, of any variety, and its ability to flip expectations on their head. The grey backdrop represents a grey area between romantic and platonic feelings, and the green and purple stripes represent alterous attraction's association with the a-spec community.
- https://web.archive.org/web/https://arospecawarenessweek.tumblr.com/post/108521451012/idk-if-youre-still-interested-in-coined-terms Alterous
- https://web.archive.org/web/https://www.pillowfort.social/posts/1106159 Alterous attraction
- https://web.archive.org/web/http://queerascat.com/2016/02/usage-of-alterous-vs-platonic-in-aro-discourse-7/ Usage of "Alterous" vs "Platonic" in Aro Discourse
- https://web.archive.org/web/https://alterous-albatross.tumblr.com/post/138190598795/i-noticed-that-there-is-so-far-not-a-flag-for-the Alterous Flag
- Alterous (2) by Pride-Flags on DeviantArt