Monday, December 20, 2021

How Do I Feel About Romance?

So, December Carnival of Aros is about attitudes towards romance. Just like how aces can identify as sex-repulsed, sex-neutral, sex-favourable, etc, the same is true for aros around romance.

However, whereas I see a fairly even mix of the different sex attitudes in most ace communities I’ve hung out in, the same is not true for aro communities, in my experience. The majority of aros I’ve encountered are solidly romance-repulsed.

What am I? Honestly, I don’t know. I know that I definitely don’t resonate with the standard romance-repulsed narrative of an aro who hates seeing anyone kiss, who gets overwhelmed and needs to hide away during Valentine’s Day, who is skeptical that romantic relationships (especially monogamous ones) could ever be experienced as healthy or positive even by allos, etc. Kind of a stereotype, sure, but I’ve met quite a few aros who resonate with at least some of that stereotype.

I do sometimes hate romance, though. When I read a fictional pairing as a QPR and really enjoy that, I hate seeing them get together romantically. I often get mad about accusations of “queerbaiting” because they seem to so often be thrown at great QPR pairs, like Holmes/Watson.

I also have mixed feelings about getting into a romance myself. I keep thinking I like the idea in theory, but when a potential opportunity actually presents itself, I always end up rejecting it. Then again, I’m sex-repulsed asexual, and all the romantic prospects I’ve had so far have been heterosexual cis men, so of course I haven’t wanted to date them - they’d want sex, and I don’t want to ever have sex. And the privilege of being cishet men is potentially fraught in and of itself. The only ones who haven’t been a total mismatch for me sexually (mainly fetishists who can enjoy fetish play without sex) have been geographically separated from me, and I can’t really do long-distance relationships that are actually emotionally significant and intimate, regardless of whether they’re romantic or platonic.

So, I have reasons why no IRL romantic prospect has seemed appealing to me. If a hypothetical romantic asexual who lives nearby and has a compatible personality and values to me showed interest in me romantically, I’d probably give it a go. So maybe I’m romance-favorable but just really picky? Or maybe I’d be shocked, if I actually entered such a relationship, by how unpleasant I find it. Who knows?

I also often like fictional romances. There’s characters I find cute together and like reading fluffy fanfics of them together - some of my recent favorite pairings are Zim/Dib and Geralt/Jaskier, as well as polyamorous Trevor/Sypha/Alucard. There’s also some fictional romances I like for how fucked up they are - some Zim/Dib stuff is like that for me, as well as Lenore/Hector.

And many of the fictional romances I’ve hated the most have also been hated by alloromantic people - Edward/Bella and Anastasia/Christian being particularly prominent examples. But I also have a femdom kink, and when I came across a gender-swapped Fifty Shades of Grey, I liked it much better. (You can see why I like Lenore/Hector, huh?)

Speaking of D/s, that’s an added wrinkle. A lot of people like to pretend kinks are only appealing to people because they’re sexually arousing. And despite being asexual, I actually do get sexually aroused by my kinks, to the point where I technically consider myself grey-ace because I feel sexual attraction conditional on one of my fetishes being triggered by someone. But I don’t only enjoy kink in a sexual manner, and I actually have several kinks that rarely, if ever, get me aroused.

And in the case of D/s, it’s not about sex for most people. Sex is certainly a part of it for most D/s relationships, but a lot of people practice D/s as a default mode for their relationship, in both sexual and non-sexual contexts. The sub is not necessarily getting aroused every time they say the word “Master”.

Is a full-time D/s relationship a romantic relationship? It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. There are people who consider themselves monogamously partnered to one person while having a D/s relationship with another person, for example. Does it matter to me whether a D/s relationship is romantic when I’m looking at it and figuring out if it appeals to my kinks? Not at all.

In conclusion, I’m grey-asexual, sex-repulsed and kinky. I have a very specific and precise understanding of exactly where I am on the ace spectrum. With the aro spectrum, though, I identify as aromantic, and everything more specific is a bundle of unknowns. Only thing I can say is I'm probably not romance-repulsed, and it makes me stick out in most aro communities.


Blogger Unknown said...

I also notice that in aromantic spaces there tends to be a larger proportion of heavily romance repulsed people. I may be wrong, but I think that is because they are the people who go questioning and seek out a community in larger numbers. I am generally romance-neutral and I think maybe, if I was allosexual I would never have bothered looking into my romantic orientation.

6:59 PM  

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