For the asexually curious and the curiously asexual

Archive for September, 2012

Queerplatonics for the non-platonic

This is a brief reply, speaking purely for myself, to NextStepCake’s tumblr query. It’s less of a blog post and more of a comment, but I don’t have a tumblr, and, let’s be honest, this blog is pure self-indulgence nowadays anyway. (sorry, recent followers, but any serious stuff I do in future I’m probably going to try to just guest-post on asexual agenda. And, given ridiculous lack of free time, that probably won’t be much.)

Out of curiosity, do you know any specific instances of [the word queerplatonic] being in use that way among aromantic non-asexuals?  The term originated among aromantic asexuals, and in that context it did usually refer specifically to a type of non-romantic and non-sexual relationship, but I could see it being adapted to include sexual but non-romantic relationships. (Although, personally, I think I would rather there be a seperate term,  as sexual-but-aromantic relationships could be very different from asexual-and-aromantic relationships in terms of structure and implications, so that could be confusing. In addition, when I (as an aromantic) have discussed queerplatonics before, I have always understood it as referring specifically to a non-romantic AND non-sexual relationship.)

Also, at least in the original use of the word, the “platonic” part was a reference to the usual use of “platonic” in the asexual community to refer to non-sexual and non-romantic affection, (and which is used more generally to refer to non-sexual and sometimes non-romantic), which makes me think that it really wouldn’t be as useful a term for non-romantic but sexual relationships, as the term platonic means “non-sexual” in pretty much all modern contexts. 

And again, personally, I think I would prefer that it remain defined as aromantic and asexual relationships, as they intersect in very particular ways that contribute to the nature and discussions of queerplatonic relationships in a way that I think aromantic sexual relationships do not.

Rather, I think that aromantic sexual relationships have their own issues and would be best treated as a distinct category in order to be able to better understand their own particular nature. Although I’m not sure what a good term for them would be. (Fuck-buddy and sex friend are the closest I can come up with in existing english, but I think the first is too crass and they both imply a lack of any other intimacy than sex, so neither really works for what I think you are referring to)


So, I’m allosexual aromantic (possibly. Enough to answer the question, anyway), and I use the word queerplatonic for the relationships I intend to form. I’ve written far less about my perceptions of romance and aromance than I’d have liked, but there’s an awesome blog here which you can read for a sexual aromantic viewpoint. He doesn’t use the word queerplatonic, but it’s an interesting read non-the-less.

I disagree with your theory that sexual queerplatonic relationships are very different to non-sexual ones. They’re definitely not the same thing as fuckbuddy relationships. For example, I conceptualise all my relationships as friendships with elements that are traditionally romantic grafted on. A fuckbuddy relationship is a friendship with elements of sexual partnership attached to it. Let’s call that Element #A.
There’s no clear definition of what elements of romance a queerplatonic relationship adds to friendship. You mention intimacy. Personally, my definition of queerplatonic is less emotional and more utility-based; I would define a queerplatonic relationship as being one which takes friendship and adds to it elements of support structure that are primarily found in romantic relationships- living together, raising children, joint bank accounts, etc, like a Boston Marriage. Let’s call this Element #B.

So, there are words to describe Friendship + Element #A (ie. fuckbuddy). But those words obviously don’t mean Friendship + Element #B. A sexual queerplatonic relatonship is Friendship + Element #A + Element #B. Therefore, trying to find words which mean Friendship + Element #A is utterly missing the point, when we’re trying to find ways to describe Friendship + Element #A + Element #B in terms of Element #B. And I know you said yourself that the words don’t really work, but I just wanted to explain why and how much they don’t work- not only do they not accurately describe what we’re talking about, they specifically don’t describe what we’re talking about at all.

So, in conclusion, I think that sexual queerplatonic relationships are the same as non-sexual queerplatonic relationships in regards to their queerplatonicness. Just like, I dunno, same-sex queerplatonic relationships are as queerplatonic as opposite-sex, or long-distance queerplatonic relationships are just as queerplatonic as close, or whatever other factors you want to put in which are irrelevant to the fundamental meaning of queerplatonic, which is Friendship + Element #B.

HAVING SAID THAT, and established that we’re all talking about the same things, we then enter the semantics we’re using to talk about it. I’m using the word queerplatonic here as shorthand for Friendship + Element #B, and it’s possible that it just doesn’t mean that. I tend to adopt the ace word without thinking about how it was actually put together. There’s definitely an argument from etymology that queerplatonic means ‘a non-sexual (ie. platonic) relationship that doesn’t obey the allosexist assumptions.’ In which case, the literal meaning is Friendship /+ Element #A, the meaning it has come to have through use may be Friendship + Element #B /+ Element #A, and it may be too much to shift that word into just meaning Friendship + Element #B, because it contradicts the plain and obvious meaning of the word. I really don’t like that, because words like queerplatonic are really important, and I don’t like having them taken from me on technicality. My preferred interpretation involves a 21st century reconstruction of the original Platonic relationship, which was, as far as I understand it, non-romantic but anything else you wanted, often including sexual (but weighed down with all the crap the Ancient Greeks believe, like the inherent supremacy of men, and shame of sexual passivity and pedophilia). It’s probably not the spirit the word queerplatonic was created in, though. Which sucks, because allosexual people really need words for this, and, trust me, we’re going through the same things as you.

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