Monday, 9 August 2010

Sexual aromantics and asexual romantics- guess which are the bigger bastards

Note on the title: Yes, I'm perfectly aware most asexual romantics don't agree with the people quoted here, and the ones who I have quoted probably didn't think about it in this much depth. Now I've got your attention, I'll put away my broad brush and start painting with the narrowest implements I have. Which would be the knives.

So I spent three weeks on holiday and what feels like another half a week catching up on all the internet stuff I missed out on (and that only includes the blogs I have feeds for- the busier ones I tend to just check whenever I have time and inclination- that’ll take me months!). Anyway, I tend to compose my subjects for blogging away from my computer, so I have two or three short things that will basically write themselves, and one big, epic post I want to make about heterosexual masculinity, and am building up to.

When I came back, I noticed Charles (I’m avoiding Pugnacion because it’s harder to spell), who has been the most admirably busy asexual blogger in my absence, had linked to a thread on sexual aromantics on AVEN.

I’m demisexual a?romantic, I’m probably the closest anyone has come to self-identifying as sexual aromantic, and I want to use that thread as a springboard for some of my thoughts on the matter.

It wasn’t as bad as I’d thought, to be fair. Only two or three comments were actually offensive, a lot of the rest were telling the offensive ones that they were wrong.
In the manner of a very effective presentation on pedophilia that Pretzelboy recently linked to, I’m going to re-phrase each negative statement made so that it reads as a statement about you, the reader. This is effectively what the AVEN thread was saying about me as I read it:

I find you rather horrifying, and I think many people here would agree with me on that count.

The emotional aspects mean absolutely nothing to you. You trick people to get them into bed and then never call them back or talk to them again.

There may be people like you who do not come off as sleazebags, but I'm not entirely sure how that would work . . .

I think you are horrifying, or disturbing in the very least.

The final quote is one I’d like to pull out for further analysis:
“it would be so much simpler, if you wanted to satisfy sexual desires, not to be so focused on the other person. Sex for the sake of pleasure rather than the intimacy and focus of love and whatnot.”

Ok, so there’s a whole load of stuff about how I don’t feel the right thing. I can’t feel love. I’ve said how much that hurts. In its place, I have (a small amount) of lust. And that’s bad. That’s shallow. That’s wrong. Thank you. Thank you for reminding me where I stand.
I’ll skip over that for now, I’m certain I’ll come back to it later. What overwhelms me are the misconceptions. According to the quotes above, someone who feels sexual attraction but not romantic attraction:

-Tricks people and lies to people
-Does anything possible to get people into bed
-Is incapable of human connection
-Is incapable of self-control
-Is always and irrevocably selfish in bed

And, I know, asexual people aren’t the best at understanding how sexual attraction goes, for obvious reasons. And AVENites are often not on the same page as me regarding sex-positivism. But how are any of those things linked directly to sexual attraction? You can have casual sex without deliberately hurting or deceiving your partner. You can be sexually attracted to someone and want them to be happy in bed. That’s how it tends to work, in fact.

The ideas in that thread were based on two paradigms. The first is that a sexual relationship without love is inevitably destructive, and that people (often interchangeable with ‘women’) will only have this destructive sex if they think they’re tricked into getting love. The second is that sexuals cannot control themselves- sexual attraction, sooner or later, is a matter of selfishness, especially when not balanced out by the healing and benevolent and entirely unselfish powers of romantic attraction.

A lot of gender/sexuality blogging seems to be about picking out the paradigms behind what someone thinks, and then pointing out that the paradigms are wrong, to a load of people who already agree with you that those paradigms are wrong.

They’re wrong. See. You agree with me, don’t you?

God, I’m good at this.


  1. I was really offended by that thread too. I wanted to say that their image was just a combination of the worst stereotypes of both sexuals and aromantics. I wanted to say that we don't really know what aromantic sexuals would look like. Who knows, the aromantic part might dominate, or maybe the sexual part is sufficient to function in a relationship.

    I wanted to say that I've done things similar to one-night stands, and I was taking their insults personally.

    But I held my tongue for some reason.

  2. I think that 'not getting caught up in a flame war' would be a good reason to hold your tongue. Having said that, when I clicked the link, I expected it to be pages and pages of stuff like that, and I was pleasantly surprised when it was only a few comments, which were sensibly shouted down.