Today, someone found a page of my blog by searching ‘why do crushes have to be sexual asexual curiosities’. I’m counting that as an anonymous question. And my first thought was that they don’t- squishes are an example of the way asexuals are re-inventing the crush, and I’ve seen it used in a load of different ways, from a typical crush with no sexual component to an intense intellectual stimulation of an academic superior. The point of squishing is that no relationship is artificially promoted as ideal, the defining points of a relationship are what it means for you.
But that’s a useless answer to the question, based mostly on the dreamland that’s in my head.
I’ve actually always thought of crushes as signifying romantic attraction, rather than sexual attraction. That might be one reason that crushes have to be sexual- because people assume that the sexual and the romantic are the same.
I think sexuality is useful to justify oneself, and it is particularly useful to justify hedonistic tendencies. The idea of being swept away by lust is overwhelming, that burning feeling in your brain seems so intense that there’s no way it can’t be connected to this sex thing everyone’s talking about. I think sexuality/romance is often used as a metaphor for spontaneity/permanence. Look at the Fisher Model of lust, attraction and attachment. These are made to typify phases of a relationship- the model seems quite prescriptive when attached to asexual or aromantic people, but at one end, you have slow, stolid attachment, at the other you have wild, passionate lust. Lust at first site, lust which does not obey rules. We’re taught that the first wild bloomings of emotion are all about sex.
More practically, non-sexual crushes are bewildering even for someone familiar with asexuality. The script for a crush is “Wow, I really wanna throw them onto my bed and…,” realising that there is no end goal, or that the end goal is simply basic person-person intimacy, can be a bizarre and hollow feeling. I know, I’ve been there. On the other hand, once you’ve got the hang of questioning exactly how you would like your crush to ideally manifest, there is a certain wonderful power in making the crush an end, rather than a means, there is an incredible liberation in enjoying the ups and downs of crushing or squishing for what they are, not as a stepping-stone to something else.
The lens of sexuality is always the easy answer to reach for when a sexual person is questioning their feelings about attraction. But it isn’t always the only lens that fits. I think this is one of the great things about the theory I see coming out of the asexual community. Sexuality becomes just one tool amongst many. And non-sexual feelings can be as spontaneous and fiery as any lust.