Question of the Week: November 22nd, 2016.

Do you experience forms of attraction such as platonic, aesthetic, sensual, intellectual etc. in a gray, ambiguous, confusing, or unclear way? 

Many people in the ace community discuss feeling sexual and/or romantic orientation in ways that are confusing to them, shifting, not always there, or gray, but what about the other forms of attraction? For example, do you always know when you are experiencing aesthetic attraction, or is it difficult to tell what form of attraction you’re experiencing?

Very rarely I feel incredibly drawn to people and ask myself, is this platonic attraction? A friend crush? Do I just really like who they are as a person? Probably not sensual attraction, but I can’t be sure. Do I just really like how they look? I don’t want to date them or have sex with them, but what is going on? This happens so rarely and never amounts to anything so I just brush it off and keep going on. Every once in a while I wonder though: is it this a hint that I experience multiple forms of attraction as linked, when in other people they operate independently, or is it actually just one particular type of attraction that’s too gray for me to pin down?

About Talia

Talia is an asexual, nonbinary, vegan-feminist that drinks a lot of coffee and stays up very late playing Blizzard video games and writing fiction. They are working on a PhD in Environmental Studies where they think a lot about oppression as intersectional and impacting identities differentially. Talia has a particular fondness for asexuality, fandom, and Critical Animal Studies. Their personal blog is
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6 Responses to Question of the Week: November 22nd, 2016.

  1. Carmilla DeWinter says:

    Usually, when it comes to women (or people I think are women), I don’t have much trouble puzzling out what I’m feeling. When it comes to men (or to those who I believe are male), I sometimes react stronger – maybe because I’m adding some sensual attraction to the aesthetic? Or do I actually have some romantic drive? Here’s the reason I consider myself functionally aromantic.
    Anyhow. I haven’t thought about this part of myself much, and likely won’t in the future. There’s stuff that I find a lot more interesting.

  2. luvtheheaven says:

    I feel like for all the forms of attraction people have defined I’m not sure if I experience any of them but I’m also not sure I don’t in most cases, I guess, to sum it up succinctly. And I would very rarely if ever call what I’m feeling “attraction” really. Appreciation is usually more of a feeling, I guess…

    • Talia says:

      Oh appreciation is an interesting word to use! I wonder if sometimes I’m experiencing appreciation rather than attraction.

  3. Jess says:

    Hmm… I’d say the most common thing I experience is aesthetic attraction. Some people I just find really pretty. Less common I’d say would be platonic and intellectual attraction, but I’m so grateful when it happens, b/c I so rarely click with people like that, where I want to talk to them for hours at a time, and where I want them to want to talk to ME for hours at a time. I strongest I ever felt for someone (and what I thought at the time was romantic attraction/romantic love) was a combination of these three types of attraction. But it never became romantic, because I honestly couldn’t imagine it ever being that way.

  4. Nowhere Girl says:

    Is cutting your experience into pieces the only option? Experience works just like this: categories are artificially imposed boundaries, in real experience there are no boundaries between “thoughts”, “feelings”, “memory”, “perception” etc., between different kinds of thoughtfeeling, such as different kinds of attraction. It’s not to say that any categorizaton is inherently harmful, we often need categories, for example to describe asexual identities. But I strongly dislike it when inability or refusal to esatblish boundaries between feelings is perceived as a kind of failure.

    • Talia says:

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong not establishing boundaries between feelings. Was my original question stated in a way that implied that I felt like people failed when they didn’t establish boundaries or were you just responding to a common theme that comes up in these kinds of discussions?

      I completely agree that boundaries are artificially imposed. Sometimes they’re helpful constructs and sometimes they’re not. It’s up to the individual to determine if a boundary someone else identified is helpful or meaningful to them.

      I once read a beautiful quote about reality as like a kaleidoscope of sensation and things happen when we use language to break that kaleidoscope into bits and pieces.

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