Although allosexual aromantics have been around as an idea for a long time, recently they’ve arisen as a distinct group. To learn more, I talked to Adrien C., the mod of the Allosexual Aromantics tumblr. (2018 update: Sorry, the site no longer exists!)
Siggy: What is the purpose of the Allosexual Aromantics tumblr?
Adrien C.: To act as a safe space and resource for the part of the aromantic community that isn’t asexual as well, since pretty much any other aromantic-specific blog is more oriented for those who ARE asexual. And because of the specific kinds of vitriol and exclusion that allosexual aromantics face within the lgbtq+ community.
Siggy: Could you briefly define “aromantic” and “allosexual” for us?
Adrien C.: Aromantic is the spectrum of orientations wherein you either don’t experience romantic attraction at all, or not as a primary form of attraction. Allosexual is an umbrella term for any sexual orientation wherein you experience sexual attraction as a primary form of attraction.*
Siggy: And how do you identify?
Adrien C.: I am aromantic and pansexual.
Siggy: So a lot of people, when they hear about allosexual aromantics, imagine someone who has hookups all the time, and then tosses their sexual partners by the wayside afterwards. How does that compare to your experience?
Adrien C.: I haven’t personally had a hookup in years. As far as that being a feature in aromanticism, I’m sure it’s just as common within the community as it is with alloromantics.
Siggy: What do you think it says, that people have this stereotype?
Adrien C.: It’s rude and ignorant to shame people for their sexual lives regardless of their orientation. Unfortunately that’s all too common an issue. For alloromantics, romantic relationships and attraction are the be-all end-all, so it becomes impossible for them to conceptualize aromanticism. People lash out when they can’t immediately understand something.
Siggy: I also think people might be projecting their anxieties about hookups or hookup culture
Adrien C.: I agree.
Siggy: Have you encountered other kinds of vitriol or stereotypes?
Adrien C.: The most popular one seems to be comparing us (aromantic allosexuals) to robots and/or demons with no regard for human emotions. It’s gross and dehumanizing.
Siggy: I think a lot of people are confused about the kinds of relationships formed by aromantic allosexuals. With respect to you personally, what kind of relationships do you form?
Adrien C.: I have a few very close friends and one person who I regularly flirt with who I suppose I’d call a “squish”. I don’t actively seek out committed relationships but I’m not opposed to them.
Siggy: And what sort of relationships do people express interest in on your tumblr?
Adrien C.: Mostly they seem indifferent to relationships outside of friendships, but there’s also many who are made nervous by commitment, and others who seem enthusiastic about having a queerplatonic relationship.
Siggy: So some people want queerplatonic relationships, but others don’t?
Adrien C.: Yes.
Siggy: In the asexual community, we’re very used to talking about queerplatonic relationships and friendships, and it’s implicitly assumed that there’s no sexual element. What happens when we talk about allosexual aromantics?
Adrien C.: That assumptions of nonsexual component doesn’t apply to us, because pretty much all of us do want sex to be a feature in our relationships. For some of us it’s a deal-breaker for sex to not be part of our relationships.
Obviously there are some of us who enter into relationships with asexuals so sex isn’t 100% necessary for all of us. But for most of us our sexuality is an important part of how we relate to others.
Siggy: So let’s talk about the aromantic community. I’m not part of this community, but I’ve gotten the impression that there’s a push for aromanticism to be recognized independently from asexuality. Is this true?
Adrien C.: Yes it is.
Siggy: What sort of relationship would you like to see between the aromantic and asexual communities?
Adrien C.: I’d like us to be mutually supportive, be a driving force for our own and each other’s visibility, and destigmatize the two orientations. And obviously there’s an overlap because of the number of aromantic asexuals but ultimately I think there needs to be a clear distinction made between the two and separate safe spaces for aros.
Siggy: To what degree do you think this has been achieved so far?
Adrien C.: With help from the asexual community the visibility of aromanticism is at an all-time high. The stigma for asexuality is way down, but this is less true for aromanticism.
And there’s a big issue with asexuality taking the forefront and kind of leaving aros behind, if that makes sense? While there are more spaces for aros now, there’s still a definite air that the alloromantic part of the asexual community doesn’t acknowledge the allosexual part of the aromantic community. And spaces like the #aromantic tag on tumblr are overrun with posts about asexuality that are unrelated to aromanticism, so essentially aros have been kinda kicked out of our own tag and have had to find alternate tags. Community relations are better but they’re not good enough.
Siggy: I’ve heard from a lot of asexuals that they personally identify more strongly with their sexual orientation than their romantic orientation. Do you have anything to say about the prioritization between the two?
Adrien C.: I think that’s largely due to how the mainstream lgbtq movement has put all of the focus on sexual orientation, romantic orientation has become sort of an afterthought and that needs to change. There definitely needs to be an equal importance but on both sexual orientation and romantic orientation. Not just for the sake of aros and aces but also for allos who may be confused because their romantic orientation may not be the same as their sexual orientation.
Siggy: Do you think any benefits have come out of having separate aromantic spaces?
Adrien C.: Yes, separate spaces and blogs that focus on aromanticism have helped destigmatize aromanticism and helped many aros, both allosexual and asexual alike, accept themselves.
Siggy: I’m not sure if this has come from aro spaces, but I’ve also seen a lot more romantic orientation words in recent years. Which of these romantic orientation labels fall under the aromantic umbrella?
Adrien C.: Most alloromantic orientations will describe which gender you’re attracted to, whereas aromantic orientations will more likely describe how one is attracted or not attracted. Any orientation that sounds like romance is up for debate or is iffy on the subject of romance is probably aro rather than alloro.
*Over the course of the interview, we also use a lot of abbreviations. Allo for allosexual, ace for asexual spectrum, aro for aromantic, and alloro for alloromantic (ie not on the aromantic spectrum).
I found Adrien C. through The Thinking Asexual’s list of resources for aromantic allosexuals. If you’d like to learn more, that is a good place to start.