Question of the Week: January 30th, 2018.

Has being ace impacted your romantic orientation? 

For example did you find yourself more open to questioning your romantic orientation after identifying as ace? Or because you are asexual is romantic orientation an important part of helping you identify who you want to become partners with (or not partner up at all)? Or maybe is it the other way around and your romantic orientation helped you identify as ace?

I personally didn’t think much about romantic orientation until a few years after I identified as asexual. When I first read about romantic orientation I thought it would explain who I’d want to date, but my romantic orientation has always been really confusing. I first identified as panromantic. I had a whole questioning wtfromantic am I really aromantic phase before finally settling in this vague maybe demi space. I’m still not sure what’s going on but I don’t feel like I’m wandering too far because asexuality has always been a stable identity for me.

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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18 Responses to Question of the Week: January 30th, 2018.

  1. agigabyte says:

    I’ve only experienced romantic attraction to one person—a girl I’ve known for several years—so I’m currently IDing as Demi. I’m in an interesting space in that regard; I IDed as Ace before ever experiencing romantic attraction. Although, I will say that my Asexuality has probably made me more open to a relationship with either gender.

  2. Coyote says:

    Yeeeeeah. Asexuality was a gateway to questioning a lot of things.

  3. Seth says:

    Yeah, asexuality was the first aspect of my identity that I pinned down, and that led to questioning and doing research on the rest. I’d experienced limerence couple times before that, but was extremely uncomfortable with it, and would have refused a romantic relationship with anyone. I ID as demi and and am much more open to dating now.

  4. Rowan says:

    Yeah, absolutely.

    At the time when I figured out that I was ace, the predominant narrative on ace tumblr seemed to be ‘why would you be anything but panromantic, since you’re not having sex then gender shouldn’t matter to you’ – I don’t know if that’s the same today (I hope not!), but it meant that I spent a while thinking that I must be pan, before figuring out that that was not actually the case.

  5. Guorami says:

    I realized I was aromantic before realizing I was asexual. So for me it’s almost the opposite? Realizing I was aromantic absolutely opened the floodgates of questioning my identities. Realizing I was asexual, more firmly identifying as nonbinary and loosely identifying as bi/pan all came as a result of that questioning.
    And in general my aromantic identity has been a pretty stable signpost while my asexuality has been a lot more…floundering and confusing.
    (Worth noting maybe that just learning the word aromantic kick started a spiral into self discovery, whereas I had vaguely known about asexuality for…at least a decade but never thought it would/could apply to me.)

    • Rivers says:

      I knew about ace terminology before I knew about aro terminology, but it was still some aro-based self-discoveries I made at a very young age that led me to become so accepting of my ace identity. So I feel you, even though our experiences are different.

  6. Dreavous says:

    Oh, yeah, definitely. Before I learned about asexuality, I didn’t know there was such a thing as romantic orientation. Although, thinking on it, I guess I am still under the impression that sexual and romantic orientation go hand in hand (both hetero or homo or bi) and the real questions start once you reject the idea of a gender binary. Which, while I have not had to consider as I am pan, would probably distress those who find themselves with a need to know how their partner identifies. Definitely an interesting idea I haven’t considered much before.

    • Rivers says:

      I know there are lesser known identities that include nonbinary and trans people more than the binary orientations. There are also orientations that rely on someone’s personal experiences with attraction than on who they are attracted to. As someone who IDs as nonbinary, I really like how being aro ace doesn’t conflict with my gender.

      • Talia says:

        I’m also nonbinary and love that asexuality is not about my gender at all. I am assigned female at birth and for a period in my life thought I was only romantically attracted to men. I wondered if I was heteroromantic, but it was such an invalidating label that completely erased my gender identity. I was dating someone nonbinary assigned male at birth at the time and it felt doubly problematic then. Now that I’m thinking about it I’m kind of glad my romantic orientation is a big IDK so I don’t have to deal with it.

  7. Noah M says:

    I’ve identified as ace for about 3 years now, ever since I was sexually assaulted the first time. To me, romantic orientation has been how I mainly identify, as it’s easier to explain. At first I thought I was pan, as I didn’t really care and looked for personality. After a while, I realized I was only attracted to masculine presenting people, so I started to identify as gay, and honestly it has made my life a lot easier to have a label I feel comfortable with, especially as a trans man who doesn’t typically pass.

  8. demiandproud says:

    Yes, in that untangling sexual attraction from the bunch definitely helped me to investigate what I wanted on other levels of attraction… more so than when I took it as an all-or-nothing package. I figured out I’m definitely romantic. What to put in front of that romantic, no idea, but I’m happy enough knowing as much as I do.

    • Rivers says:

      Yeah, I think learning about romantic orientation can help a lot of aces figure out who they really are and make them feel valid.

  9. Kasu says:

    So… i identified as bisexual a very long time until my exgirlfriend stated at one time: “so, you are biromantic” so i started to inform myself. (To be clear: we started our realtionship with the statement, that i am not interested in having sex but so i don’t care of she sleeps with someone else). So when i learned about the difference between sexuality and romantic things started to make sence.
    I don’t choose persons of interest by genders in any way. So pan could be the right way to put it… but… since the spectrums are fluid anyways…. who cares. I guess it’s best to do what feels right for you.
    In my everyday life i tend to have very rarely a relationship at all. People interested in me all expect sexual stuff wich i am not willing to give. So people lose interest. In fact it gives me the feeling that i am not seen as a partner, an individual or a person at all. More like a body without soul or only a nice looking walking and talking pussy…. so at some point over the last years i started to lose all my interest for romantics. I tried to get to the ace community in my country but since i am very strict to myself with my looks and i am in the fetish community, too they don’t accept me as the asexual that i am. So i nearly have no chance to get to know other ace people at all to be able to try if it would change a thing to probably find a partner in my spectrum.

  10. Rivers says:

    I think IDing as ace definitely opened me up to the romantic spectrum in terminology. However, when I look back on it, a lot of aro based things, experiences and such, opened me up to identifying as ace so quickly to begin with.

    Even though one can set a relative age for when people start experiencing their sexuality (though this is still kind of shaky), I don’t think there’s a lot out there for when people start experiencing romantic orientation. We are born with our orientations for the most part (not going to exclude people who do feel their orientations were shaped by things in their lives, those wonderful valid people), but when does that start to show itself? I speculate that romantic orientation would probably come out earlier than sexual orientation (not necessarily always the case), therefore helping shape a lot of our childhood experiences. I know that being aro has. as long as I can remember, shaped a lot of experiences and relationships even when I wasn’t aware of it (quite confusing when I was younger). I definitely think the thought is worth checking out or thinking about.

    Any thoughts?

  11. astarlia says:

    Yes? I still don’t have a good answer but a lot of what led to be working out i was ace was trying to work out what actully is the difference between friends and romantic partners.

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