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Amatonormativity is a term coined by Arizona State University professor of philosophy Elizabeth Brake to capture societal assumptions about romance. Brake wanted a word to describe the pressure she received by many to prioritize marriage in her own life when she did not want to. The term doesn't necessarily only involve social pressures for marriage but general pressures involving romance.[1]

Elizabeth Brake describes the term herself in how it is a pressure to desire a monogamy, romance, and/or marriage...

The belief that marriage and companionate romantic love have special value leads to overlooking the value of other caring relationships. I call this disproportionate focus on marital and amorous love relationships as special sites of value, and the assumption that romantic love is a universal goal, ‘amatonormativity’: This consists in the assumptions that a central, exclusive, amorous relationship is normal for humans, in that it is a universally shared goal, and that such a relationship is normative, in that it should be aimed at in preference to other relationship types.

— Elizabeth Brake, ASU, Minimizing Marriage

The normalizing and pressure of the desire to find relationships that are romantic, sexual, monogamous, and lifelong has many social consequences. People who are asexual, aromantic, and/or nonmonogamous become social oddities. According to researcher Bella DePaulo it puts a stigma on single people as incomplete and re-enforces romantic partners to stay in unhealthy relationships because of a fear the partners may have of being single.[2]

According to Elizabeth Blake, one way in which this stigma is institutionally applied is the law and morality surrounding marriage. Loving friendships and other relationships are not given the same legal protections romantic partners are given through marriage. This legality also de-legitimizes the love and care found in other non-marital relationships.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bugging your friend to get into a relationship? How amatonormative of you". Washington Post. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  2. ^ "There's a Word for the Assumption That Everybody Should Be in a Relationship". The Cut. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  3. ^ "Should Marriage Be Abolished, Minimized, or Left Alone?". Psychology Today. Retrieved March 2, 2019.