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Aromantic people can still be in "romantic" relationships or the type of relationships that some people would see as romantic. They can even do romantic things.

In the same way that many asexual people still have and even enjoy sex

Queerplatonic relationships are great, but those aren't the only types of relationships aromantic people can have, and a lot of times I see that implied

Also like, people shouldn't have to worry if they're aromantic or asexual enough. If you identify with the labels or the community, you should be able to use them.

It's totally awesome to identify as somewhere on the aromantic or asexual spectrums, but also you don't have to be the perfect asexual or aromantic to claim the label. People's experiences are vastly different and we often use the labels to mean slightly different things and that's great!

I think there can be a lot of gatekeeping around the terms, even self-gatekeeping. But just as there are many ways to be trans or nonbinary or bi or a lesbian, there are many ways to be aromantic and/or asexual

And if you identify with them, that self-identification is valid

@RadiantEmber Yes! Self-identification should be the only criteria. After all, it’s no one else’s business. Sadly, I’ve come across people who—maybe out of some kind of insecurity?—self-label in order to gain attention, stand apart from their perceived “norm” or claim social territory to boost their self worth. Maybe that’s part of the reason for the gatekeeping? Conversely, part of the reason may also be the gatekeepers being overly protective for similar reasons as above? Have you seen this?

@shahaan I think it's hard to tell people's motives for using a label, bit overall it's best to just believe them

If someone wants to call themselves asexual to gain attention or boost their self worth, that honestly doesn't harm me in any way, unless they then decide to attack me or something.

I mean part of the reason I do claim those identities is to fight back against perceived norms that don't work for me, but I don't think that's a bad reason

@RadiantEmber I agree, and don’t get me wrong—I’m not advocating for people to prove their labels. I’m just coming from a purely academic-ish mode of inquiry as to why these behaviours are observed. The first hand observational experience I’ve had that kind of gave me a bit of insight was a friend who identified as one label but consistently and constantly acted the complete opposite. Again, it’s totally their business but I felt they may have benefited from some honest introspection.

@RadiantEmber I actually stopped using the label "ace" because of the feeling that I had to be 100% disinterested in sex to use it. I'm demi. My partner is ace and somewhere on the aro spectrum, but they're not sure exactly where yet. But we still have a great relationship. We maybe have slightly different goals and feelings towards each other, but we still enjoy the same activities, mostly cuddling, watching cartoons, and chatting, and we have a lot of the same life goals. I used to feel unspoken pressure on me to find someone exactly like me, but now... Just let people have the relationships they want to have. It's ok if it doesn't fit stereotypes or if there are some mismatches, as long as everyone communicates.

@ALWETP yep exactly.

I've also been feeling like, if in some rare cases I am interested in romantic things or feel some sort of sexual attraction I can't use those labels, but honestly they're still the ones that fit best for me, so I plan to keep using them. And not be like, oh I experienced sexual attraction this one time so I can no longer use the label

@RadiantEmber God, yeah. I feel like it adds another dimension to the frankly already really hard aro/ace questioning process. Like... If you're gay, it's pretty easy to tell. If you're aro or ace... How can you tell the absence of something you may not have ever felt? And then you add the doubt of "well, maybe that one time...?" For especially grey aro/ace folks, and it's just the worst.

@ALWETP @RadiantEmber Worse is if you try to ask other people what it's like to feel that stuff so you know what to look for, you only get vague "if you felt it, you would know" answers at best

@forAll52 @RadiantEmber what's even worse is, as a demisexual person who has experienced both attraction and that "well, I don't know if I've ever felt it" feeling... That's STILL about all I can say. I was trying to explain to my partner how I feel when I'm around them, and the best I could do was basically just flowery metaphor. "Oh, it's like butterflies in your stomach, but also like this sort of pulling feeling?"

Like, that could cover a LOT of feelings, and I think it's still better than 90% of the crap people say in response to that question.

@ALWETP @RadiantEmber 👍 and also I keep reminding myself that people (identities, labels, moods, likes/dislikes, even our biological selves) are flexible, ever-changing and adaptable. That’s a great thing and I feel we all need to recognize and accept that there will always be overlap between all the categories we compartmentalize ourselves into.

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