Thoughts re: asexuality & romantic orientation, my own in particular
I think it’s fairly obvious by now that I am asexual. (If you were unaware of this fact, then perhaps you should have read my ‘about me’ blurb more closely.)
I used to identify as heteroromantic. I don’t anymore. Quite frankly, I don’t know what my romantic orientation is. I throw around labels in my head, but I’m not sure if any of them fit. I think the main problem I’m having with myself is what the fuck is romantic attraction anyway and how does/should it relate to/connect with/be separated from aesthetic and physical/sensual attractions. How am I supposed to quantify my romantic orientation if I don’t even have a clue what romantic attraction is at all?
So—I think there’s my main issue with dividing up aces by romantic orientation: that is, coding heteroromantic aces as “really” straight/heterosexual, homoromantic aces as “really” gay/lesbian/homosexual, biromantic aces as “really” bisexual, panromantic aces as “really” pansexual, aromantic aces as “really” unicorns or some shit I don’t even know, etc. Am I “really” undecided? Not when it comes to my sexual orientation, no. I’m asexual. And that’s what matters, because, to me, in the end, my romantic orientation is so insignificant in my life that it’s pretty much irrelevant when I’m talking about and examining my identity.
I understand that there are conversations to be had about the straight-passing privilege that heteroromantic aces have compared to homo/bi/panromantic aces, and the distinctions make sense in that context, but not only does universally conflating romantic and sexual attractions erase people’s identities and experiences, but the whole “romantic attraction = sexual attraction” model just falls apart if you examine it too closely. It completely fails to be useful because it doesn’t take into account aromantic aces, aces who know they’re ace but don’t know what their romantic orientation is (hi), wtfromantic aces, aces who don’t consider themselves to even have a romantic orientation—and even mixed-orientation sexual people. How would, for example, a homoromantic pansexual person fit into this model?
The “romantic = sexual” attraction model usually gets brought up in discussions over whether asexuality is inherently queer. As someone who doesn’t identify with the word “queer” (for various reasons), I’m not touching that debate with a ten-foot pole—not my word, not my place. But I don’t think I have to be part of the debate to point out when someone’s argument is offensive and doesn’t make sense.
P.S. Still not straight, btw.
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