This is the Question of the Week, a way to stimulate conversation. It occurs every other Tuesday.
What does romantic attraction mean to you?
Re. romantic attraction- my mind is still reeling after I re-read the AAW survey analysis this week, and I found that ~42% of people identified as aromantic, grey-romantic, unsure, fluid, etc. I reckon the survey’s going to be biased towards the wtfromantic types, but that’s a pretty big minority.
Long story short, I always used to think that romantic orientation was an idea that was relevant to almost all aces. I find it quite empowering that there’s a lot more people than I thought who potentially don’t find it that relevant to themselves.
Recently, I guess I’ve been thinking of romantic attraction, and particularly the dual romantic/sexual orientation system, as *much* more of a construct than I used to. Not using ‘construct’ as a way of invalidating it, I’m probably moving towards thinking of all of sexuality as constructs. But, like most systems and categorisations, it’s going to appeal a lot to some people and not much to others.
The more I mention finding romantic orientation personally unhelpful in offline ace gatherings, the more people I run into who also don’t feel that they easily identify with that model. Given that it’s been one of the paradigmatic models in online ace communities for longer than I’ve been a part of them (at least since 2004, I think?), I find that fairly startling. Of course I also run into many people who do comfortably fit within that model, too.
Regarding the AAW survey data, I think it did a good job of comprehensively sampling as many asexual communities as possible, so I don’t think it had sampling issues. I do think its permissive many-choices survey format (as opposed to a forced-choice format) may be influencing the level of complexity of identity that we see in responses. That might be bias or confusion–as I recall there were quite a few samples that simultaneously checked “I am a virgin” and “I am currently sexually active,” for example–but it also might just be that it’s easier to capture complexity with a survey design like that. I’m not certain one way or the other.
(For those who haven’t seen the survey.) Yeah, the size (29%) of the “other” romantic category surprised me too. I’m not sure the category exactly means what you think it means though. It’s made up of people who did not claim attraction to men, women, or androgynous people, nor did they identify as aromantic. They are about evenly split between fluid, gray/demi-romantic, and unsure.
The “other” category would also exclude me, because I claimed romantic attraction to men. It would place me as homoromantic, even though I don’t identify as homoromantic. But I can’t complain because I wrote the analysis, haha.
Romantic attraction is this thing that other people talk about (usually not making any distinction from sexual attraction); it happens when your dates are going well, or when you’re in a good relationship. I feel like I have a relatively conventional romantic relationship that I enjoy very much, but I’m still not entirely sure what people are talking about.
I guess I’m in the strange position where I can describe exactly what romantic attraction is like for me (in copious detail!), but what I DO with that romantic attraction is pretty unconventional. In fact, my romantic relationship has a lot more in common with a queerplatonic relationship than a “standard” romantic one.
It’s interesting that demiromantics placed themselves in the “other” category; I guess I would be more likely to identify as Xromantic than “other,” even if I technically fit in the “other” category. Of course, then the issue of which romantic orientation to pick comes up… (I, being the strange person I am, decided to make a series of charts plotting all the people I’ve ever been romantically attracted to to see if there were any trends, and….nope. I am attracted to the world’s worst scatter plot, which I guess would make me panromantic? But I dunno.)
Queenie, we’re like opposites!
There are actually plenty of gray/demi Xromantics, but that’s all in the more detailed analysis which is yet to be released. (Also the romantic orientation categories in the survey are not based on self-identification, they’re inferred.)
You do realize this means that if we accidentally come in contact with each other we will wind up DESTROYING THE WHOLE UNIVERSE, right?
Oh, okay, I was under the impression that it was a “pick one category” sort of deal. That makes a lot more sense. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the analysis!
Writing from the allo perspective, I don’t know how I would give this question a good answer. I think it has a lot to do with wanting to touch the person, especially by kissing them.
Romantic attraction means frustration for me, mainly because I can’t get anyone to describe it so that I can understand it.
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