Newb for sure. I've spent 30+ years of my life believing I was a monogamous heterosexual female who was going to be married one day (but not have babies). I've been feeling certain ways about things for a very long time but I recently met a woman I befriended that gave me words I'd never heard before, like aromantic. She got a good laugh out of hearing the different phrases I'd been Googling for the last few years "what is it called if I don't want romantic love but want to have sex" - so many words, so few results. Once she gave me a few words to Google my whole world opened up and now I've been scrubbing websites trying to find "other people like me" but more simply, the right words/terms to call myself. Most importantly, looking for a sounding board to say "Do these things all seem to fit together? Or are there parts to this that don't seem to commonly co-exist and maybe I'm experiencing something different than what I think?"
What I've recently arrived at is: grey-romantic, non-monogamous grey-heterosexual.
- Gender Identity: I'm cisgender, but call myself "woman on the outside, man on the inside". From a social construct perspective, my gender confuses most people. I have always felt like a woman (and enjoy my female born sex organs), but act in ways and participate in activities that society deems masculine. I hate sports, but I'm a yellow belt in Krav Maga. I take singing lessons but I rarely wear makeup. I took wood shop and auto shop in high school but I'm a crazy cat lady. I hated dresses until I was 12 years old but now I love me a good ball gown and high heels. I have interests that span the spectrum depending on what day it is and how I feel.
- Sexual Attraction: I find both men and women physically attractive. I enjoy watching porn where the focus is on the woman.
- Sexual Orientation: I'm heterosexual.
- Why grey-heterosexual? Because I do not want sex with the person I'm in either QPR or companionship with. I love sex, but only in short bursts that last a few weeks with the same person. I have strong sexual attraction that lasts a few weeks and then it's gone entirely and never comes back. Many times I become repulsed by the thought of ever having had sex with the person after my sexual desire has subsided. I can go a few months without sex and then go crazy on one person for weeks.
- Romantic Attraction: Is strongly and only tied to sex for me. I'll explain more under Romantic Orientation.
- Romantic Orientation: This is the part I'm struggling with the most. I want romantic love. I believe it exists for other people and I envy them for it. I really really want it. But I don't think that I was not born with the ability to experience romantic love. I've been in what I thought was romantic love, only to conclude that for me, I was simply in a relationship with someone for whom I experience a love that is no different than that of my best friends. I have romantic attraction to people I want to have sex with - I feel the butterflies and the giddiness and I check my text messages constantly and I want to hold hands and ass grab in private, but only with the person I'm pursuing sexually. I do not want a relationship with that person beyond a temporary few weeks (maybe few months) thing. I can't call myself aromantic as I experience joy and pleasure from romantic feelings / experiences. The romantic feelings and sexual attraction both fade together after a few weeks or months. These romantic feelings are short lived, and only experienced where I have a sexual attraction. So I land on grey-romantic. I experience strong feelings of love, but they are feelings towards humans that mean a great deal to me and not romantic love. Just platonic love.
- Cohabitation: I'm extremely independent and have internal battles between living alone and living with other people. I like the company of roommates, but I actually prefer to live alone in a very friendly apartment building where I could knock on my neighbors door and have drinks/dinner. If I'm in a relationship with someone, I do not want to live with them but my ideal relationship would be one where they live down the hallway of my building. This is all because I get a lot of anxiety about people in my space, moving my stuff, not cleaning up after themselves, not putting the towel back on the rack straight, and so on. I just want to come home and be relaxed, not anxious. I will not ever mix finances with another person.
My Ideal Relationship:
This would be one where I have a companionship, or QPR, with someone with zero sexual interaction. Because this companionship is simply about love for another human, this companionship / QPR could be with a woman, man or anything in between. There could be some small acceptable levels of holding hands (I do that with my best friend), or cuddling (I've done that with my best friend), laying on their lap to watch a movie, see each other naked (I like to cook bacon topless sometimes, I live dangerously), and overall have a more committed and deeper connection / relationship than one that I would have with my best friend. This person would be someone that I do not live with. They would live in my apartment building or around the block. We are best friends who do all the fun activities together (hiking, camping, rafting, motorcycle rides, traveling, trips to Costa Rica, trips to Europe, road trips, movies, etc) but we also are committed more than a best friend so that neither of us will grow older alone / lonely. I would refer to them as my partner or my companion. This companion / QPR could "date" other people as would I. It would not be a polyamorous relationship (I've been asked that a few times by people I've described this to). We would just be eachothers number one. If I have a wedding to attend, they're always my date. If I have surgery, they take off work to care for me. All of that vice versa for them. I might go on dates with guys, even for a few weeks or months, simply so we could satisfy eachother "romantically and sexually" (see above, where I experience romantic attraction and butterflies with the person I'm sexually attracted to). At the end of the day, I enjoy romantic attraction and I enjoy sex, but I like to come home to my bed alone and I don't want to form a relationship over romantic attraction or romantic feelings. We would not have children.
I'm having a hard time grappling with the romantic attraction. I experience it, and I desire it / enjoy it. But I attach it to sex and don't want it in a relationship. The romantic attraction I experience is more than just lust. I want to get to know the guy, stay up late picking his brain. Get text messages from him, hear from him, meet his friends. Go on dates with him. Hold his hand, caress his face. Maybe that all is just lust and I'm not really experiencing romantic attraction. I have never felt romantic attraction for someone I was not sexually attracted to. I've been reading some threads about how being aromantic sexual is super challenging, and maybe that would explain why I'm having a hard time coming to terms with what to call this. Who would want to be in a companionship with me? An aromantic asexual? I'm worried another aromantic sexual and I would get hairy and we might end up banging and ruining it. lol.
Thoughts, reactions welcome. Be kind though. I've already been reading about how I'm not really in the mold of "normal society" for certain. But I'm not really LGBTQ either. I've also read that I can be seen by some in the LGBTQ+ community as homophobic as I'm open to a companionship with a woman but not sex with a woman so I'm actually hiding my true feelings about wanting sex with a woman (which I'm not). Or I've also read that I must not have any feelings to be able to isolate sex like that, that I'm heartless. Feeling lost and overwhelmed right now.