For the asexually curious and the curiously asexual

What’s this? An asexuality test? Now we can pinpoint with precise accuracy whether someone is a/romantic or a/sexual. Like, HALF the bandwidth of AVEN could be saved by this simple test! If only there weren’t these minor flaws in just a few of the questions:

1. Confuses sexual attraction and sexual activity.

2. Gives two options- finding sex a ‘biological necessity’ and ‘not caring’ about sex. Also, ‘liking to date’ and liking casual sex, and ‘not caring for a partner’ is kinda a restrictive spectrum. In fact, I’d personally agree with ALL FIVE of those things (admittedly, the first one only from a species-wide viewpoint). It makes ticking one box kinda hard…

3. How would you describe your libedo? Erm… irrelevant to my sexuality? We’ve kinda discussed this one. To death.

4. And this is where my WTFromance gets the better of me. I want EVERY SINGLE kind of relationship they propose. The rub being- I want them with different people, possibly at the same time. Because I’m fickle like that.

5. Do you think you are asexual?  Finally, the question is right! But every single answer is wrong:

‘Yes. I do not desire, want or care about sex’ -Not the definition of asexual

‘Maybe. I am a bit indifferent to sex, so it would be interesting to see the results’ -I’m not sure where to start with the wrongness of this one.

‘No. I am a sexual being.’ -A relatively trivial and arguable point, but I think that everyone with some sort of reproductive organs or piping is a sexual being. My definition of ‘sexual being’ is based in biology, not in sexuality. Of course, you can make a word have two meanings.

Ok, so badly written quiz, you say. Wait! There’s more! Here’s what I got:

Aromantic sexual

You are basically out to fulfil your sexual desires without buying into romance or love. On a purely honest level, you are admirable, but as an exemplar of social standards, you are dispicable.

Erm… thanks? This quiz just called me dispicable- I’m sure gonna give it a high rating. I mean, luckily, I wasn’t the only one it stereotyped. “American society is alien to you (asexual aromantics) and you are alien to it.” I mean, they’re TECHNICALLY correct- I’m not American, nor have I ever been to America, so, by the traditional meaning of ‘alien’ as ‘foreign person’, I am definately alien to America. God, this quiz is insightful. Or I could have been a Romanic Asexual!  Which means ‘of or relating to Rome or Latin’. So, you know- TOGA PARTY (do any of those people know how heavy togas are? They are definately not party gear, unless you have lots of chaise longues to be pinned to). Anyway, as well as all that lead poisoning, and the discomfort of living in a society that seems to socialise mostly through orgies, I would also ‘seek a prince or princess’, ‘suffer agonising loneliness’ and ‘be burned by my partner’s groinal needs’. No, serously.

Why am I spending all this time taking the piss out of a quiz which probably took 5 minutes and isn’t even spelt correctly? Well, I’m not gonna lie, it’s partly because when I took the quiz and got “Oh, hi! You’re dispicable! (dictionary definition: worthy of hatred and contempt)”, that really, really hurt. BUT! It’s also partly because very, very shortly after I took that quiz- this guy showed up.

It feels rather great to have someone else who has some stake in the label ‘sexual aromantic’ to be blogging. Because now I have someone to justify how dispicable I am. Because he has lots of awesome ideas about intimacy, and the way romantic monogamy as a culture creates and uses artificial intimacy scarcity. Let’s pull out some quotes from his two non-101 posts:

[On possible definitions of aromantic] saying that aromantics can form deep emotional connections, but they aren’t a “purposely initiated monogamous separation as found in romantic couples”. This definition seems little better, as it puts the essential difference in external, culturally defined relationship practices. This definition would include all polyamorous people in the definition of aromantic, which seems to miss the point….

…I think we’re onto something here. According to J, this natural high is much stronger with people she would consider herself romantically attracted to, doesn’t require touch but is amplified by it, doesn’t require symbolic gestures like flowers but is enhanced by them, and is not necessarily connected to sexuality, conversation, or “good company” (though it can and often should be combined with those things)….

…So here’s a preliminary definition, that I’d love to get some comments on:

“Aromantics are people who do not experience the feeling of romance. Romance is a natural high that occurs in the presence of certain people, without obvious connection to sexuality, ‘good company’, or emotional intimacy.”…

…Looking back at my life, a lot of the things I’ve done have been an attempt to squeeze a little more intimacy out of the world around me.

There is, however, a socially sanctioned way of getting more intimacy: a “relationship”. In a (sexual, romantic, monogamous) relationship, you have a lot more freedom and power to gain intimacy. You are supposed to be a scheduling priority, and you can expect a certain amount of regular alone-time. You have some say into where your partner lives, and if the relationship goes long-distance you’re assured of constant communication and visits as frequently as possible. You have both the time and societal permission to really let down your barriers and be emotionally vulnerable. All of this is wonderful. There’s a reason I don’t spend much time single…

…No one negotiates with their platonic best friend about how their relationship will progress… but why not? Platonic relationships can be just as meaningful as the best sexual/romantic relationship, why not give them the same time and energy and communication skills? Why do we assume we have to only be “partners” with people we’re attracted to? If we decouple intimacy, sex, and romance, then we have so many more ways we can make our relationships work for us. Why not have a straight guy and an asexual guy as primary partners, with the straight guy having sex with women on the side? Why not have a triad where only one of the relationships is sexual? If we break down the assumption that we have to sleep with people we’re intimate with, we can start to solve our intimacy problem.

I think the (whateverwe’regoingtocallourselves)romantic scene needs this. I suspect a lot of the exciting discourse around romance, intimacy, relationship models, is going to happen around Intimacy Cartography. I’m happy because I finally have a second go-to blog for this stuff, now Asexual Underground doesn’t update regularly. I’m also happy because a (possibly) aromantic sexual is contributing to society. Is honest and emotionally mature and non-deceitful. Is, essentially, not wearing an opera cape and a twirly moustache. On a purely social level, we’re dispicable. We’re worth hating. Which shows we’re onto something good…


Comments on: "Update: Aromantic sexuals- still evil" (6)

  1. But I like opera capes and twirly moustaches. :(

    I’ll have to ask my former partners if I was a “despicable” boyfriend. Maybe I’ve been evil all along and didn’t know it!

    I’m glad you enjoy my blog. So far I feel like it’s mostly a regurgitation of things you’ve said here, with a couple minor new twists. Hopefully it’ll continue being useful as I get deeper into these thoughts.

    P.S. You can go ahead and just call me an aromantic sexual, without needing to qualify it. I wanted to make sure I understood the distinction before I adopted the label, but I think I’m as certain as I can be until we get a consensus on a definition.

    P.P.S. Your formatting is wonked.

    • “But I like opera capes and twirly moustaches.”

      I somehow knew you were going to say that. Everybody does…

      I think the hope I see for your blog is that you seem to be taking it a lot more seriously than me. I had ambitions to be really productive and write proper, non-introspective, rational-argumenty-type posts about aromance and intimacy, and then I hit a rough spell where I blamed aromance for everything, and decided to be all like “WAAA! SULK!”. Which is fun, but ultimately not that useful to readers. Hopefully your presence will encourage me to do more analytical thinking when I have time.

      What’s wrong with the formatting? Or do you mean the mess that the long-quote-made-out-of-little-quotes turned out to be? Because I kinda gave up on that.

  2. I think the quiz is actually a great example of the nasty ways people think about aromantic people in general, given the startling difference in the ways aromantic and “romanic” sexualities were handled. (You’d think the quiz writer would have just a wee bit of empathy, but… nah. And we’re the despicable ones?)

    And it’s like… because sexuality is so tagged as being acceptable only-if-you’re-in-romantic-love (particularly if you’re female), and because romantic love is so conflated with the ability to love anyone at all, aromantic sexuality comes in for a double whammy of unfortunate assumptions. I’m pretty glad that both of you guys are helping to show off just how wrong that is.

  3. Well, as an aromantic sexual I think that quiz is a load of codswallop!

    Why are we socially despicable? Just because we are aware of our sexuality doesn’t me we go around banging anything that moves and hopping between 3 partners in a night! (I went to school with someone who actually did that, and SHE was acceptable because she said she ‘liked’ them all)

    Che, I live in a small rural area and unfortunately I’ve learnt to keep my sexual orientation to myself – when people find out what ‘aromantic sexual’ is, they assume you’re just someone who’s ‘loose’ or for sale, or as some guys put it ‘just needing a good man to fix you up’. They don’t believe that a good person could be sexually involved with someone without emotional attachment. Then again for a long time they also believed that homosexuality was a disease that could and should be cured. Idiots.

    • Hi Celeste. I totally understand your experiences.

      Something I didn’t really think about until your comment- there’s potential for aromantic sexuals to, in a way, ‘validate’ the lifestyle of people who have casual sex, because it’s their orientation, and they can’t change it, and we’re used (some of us) to not seeing orientation as a moral decision.

      I’m not sure whether I like that idea or not. It was just a random thought that struck me.

  4. […] when I explained what my orientation actually is. And it’s actually, as far as I can tell, worse for aromantic sexuals in this respect. That kind of thing takes its toll, and everyone reacts differently to […]

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