If you know me at all, you probably know I’m aromantic and asexual. I’ve received tons of questions/comments on that, ranging from “isn’t that just celibacy?” to “do you still want a relationship?” and “every human being wants sex.” Believe me – it was just as confusing for me to figure it out as it is for allosexual/alloromantic people (aka, people who do feel sexual/romantic attraction) to get that I don’t feel the way they do.
There’s no warm happy fuzzy feelings when I see someone cute. If I DO think someone’s cute, it’s from an aesthetic point of view. And no, that’s not the same as romantic or sexual attraction – otherwise I’d be bi, seeing as I have swishes (aesthetic crushes, and yes, the name is funny) on both John Boyega and Daisy Ridley. Do I want to date either of them? No. Do I want to wake up in the morning next to them and make pancakes? No. Do I think they’re both very pretty and good actors and wish I could somehow manage to capture how they look in my writing or in some other form of art? Yes, yes I do.
So, with further (or is it no further?) ado, here are some Frequently Asked Questions I’ve answered, and my explanations!
Isn’t that just celibacy?
In short: no. Celibacy is a choice. Saving yourself for marriage is a choice. I’m not asexual (or aromantic) by choice – it’s just how I am. Being celibate/saving yourself for marriage is like opening the fridge and seeing a really yummy looking chocolate cake. You want it, but you’re saving it for later, no matter how appetizing it feels. Your stomach’s probably a little mad about that. That doesn’t mean that because you’re not eating it that you can’t or won’t, or that you’re not hungry.
Being asexual is like opening that fridge, seeing that cake, and not being hungry. Sure, you might want a piece, but you don’t crave it in all it’s chocolate-y frosted glory. People who are asexual CAN want to have sex, can like having sex, and can have a sex drive. Asexuality is a lack of sexual attraction, not a lack of sex all together. Don’t confuse asexuality with sex aversion or sex repulsion!
Do you still want a relationship?
Me personally? No. I don’t. I’d much rather live with my best friend and several dogs, thank you very much. But there are PLENTY of aromantic and asexual people who do want relationships. Just because I don’t doesn’t mean nobody does. And being asexual =/= aromantic. Someone who is asexual can have a healthy romantic relationship if they want, just like someone who’s aromantic can have a healthy sexual relationship if they want. And someone who’s asexual can have a healthy sexual relationship, just like someone who’s aromantic can have a healthy romantic one!
Plenty of aromantic people are in romantic relationships with someone who does love them romantically. No, that’s not unhealthy or abusive. Love isn’t just romantic, and you can love someone deeply without being romantically attached to or attracted to them. I love my friends – does that make me romantically attracted to them? No way!
Besides: some of us have happy queerplatonic/quasiplatonic relationships.
So aromantic/asexual people can’t feel anything?
If this is a “are aromantic people inhuman because they can’t romantically love someone” question, then you’re not going to get a simple answer. Again, romantic love isn’t the only kind of love. I love my mom, my dog, my friends. I love my sister. I love writing. I love playing computer games, and PvP in SW:tOR. I love eating chocolate. There are different types of love – platonic, romantic, sexual, familial, spiritual, etc. Taking one – or two! – out of the equation doesn’t make the others go away.
Also: asexuality and aromanticism are a spectrum. While I’m downright aroace, there are people who are demiromantic or demisexual (they only feel sexual or romantic attraction after a long, deep connection with that person), grayromantic or graysexual (they rarely feel sexual or romantic attraction), and etc. It’s a pretty big spectrum, and there are tons of different identities, but we’re all aromantic and asexual. Some of us just occasionally have that attraction. Some of us feel that attraction until it’s reciprocated. Some of us feel alterous attraction (alterous attraction is neither platonic nor romantic, and it’s hard to really define.)
What’s a queerplatonic relationship?
A queerplatonic relationship is one that is platonic with the emotional amount a romantic relationship has, to explain it lightly. You put a LOT of work into a romantic relationship, whether you’re married or dating. You want to make your partner happy, you have a connection with them, etc. A queerplatonic relationship has those qualities, that depth. It’s like friendship, but it’s stronger. Platonic soulmates, if you will. It’s this deep, unexplainable love – the kind people talk about in movies! – but it’s not romantic. And no, it’s not just “best friends.” It’s different than that.
Why have I never heard of it before?
Simply put, amatonormativity. What’s amatonormativity? To quote Elizabeth Brake, “the assumption 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 the sense that it should be aimed at in preference to other relationship types.” It’s the idea that in every movie, there has to be a romantic subplot. That everyone ends up with someone in the end. That everyone really wants to get married and start a family of some kind, even if it’s just you and your partner. It’s the main character in books ignoring her best friend for the cute guy she just met. It’s the idea that a guy and a girl can’t have a purely platonic relationship
It’s also heteronormativity: the idea that everyone ends up in a heterosexual relationship. Being aromantic and asexual means you’re not heterosexual. Does that make you gay? Not unless you’re homosexual and aromantic or asexual and homoromantic. You’re just not straight if you’re aromantic and asexual. Some aroace people include themselves in the LGBTQIA+ community (what did you think that A stood for? Ally?), and some just consider themselves aroace. Some don’t even call themselves that.
But that’s why you probably haven’t heard about it until now. I only recently learned about it, but I’ve always been aroace.
Also, there are characters in comics and movies and shows who are aroace. Like, for example, Jughead Jones from the Archie comics. He’s canonly aromantic and asexual, and he’s amato-washed (for lack of a better word) for the Riverdale show. They erased that he’s aroace (and also touch averse.)
We definitely need more representation in the media!
Couldn’t you meet the right person?
Depends on what you mean by that. I suppose I could meet someone who I value and love enough to spend the rest of my life with. I suppose I could discover I’m demiromantic and demisexual and meet the person who I just click with. But chances are that I won’t. I’m not broken, and I can’t be “fixed” by the right person. And there’s nothing wrong with that! There’s nothing wrong, at all, with staying single and living with a bunch of cute animals or a best friend or something. I’m completely whole without a spouse or significant other. We all are – some of us just need someone else to add to that wholeness, to compliment us.
And believe me, I have dated guys. I dated two whole guys in my entire life. Two of them. Real life people. One when I was 12-ish, and the other when I was 16. Now, that last one wasn’t a very healthy relationship, but that’s a totally different story. I know I’m not romantically attracted by experience – and while, yes, it’s technically possible I could meet the “right” person, it’s unlikely for me.
So do you hate men?
No?? Not in the slightest?? I’m not a misandrist. I don’t hate men at all. I have guy friends. Being aromantic or asexual doesn’t mean you hate the opposite sex. I’m not attracted to guys (or anyone, for that matter), but believe me, I don’t hate them – or anyone, for that matter. Sure, there are guys I don’t like, like Harvey Weinstein or whatever his name is, and Johnny Depp, but I don’t hate all men. I’m not a radfem.
TL;DR: I’m still a human being. I’m most definitely human and not some weird alien-Cthulhu hybrid……. at least not that you know of, muahahahahahahahahahahah –
NOTE: aroace stands for aromantic asexual!