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Courtney

Is it possible to be aromantic, but NOT asexual?

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Hi, I'm a 16 years old girl and I am still not sure whether I like boys or girls (or both), but I do know I feel sexual attraction towards others, but I do not have any feeling towards them. I mean, I can be friends with those people, but I never really had a real crush on somebody not to mention being in love. Is there a special name for this? I know I am still a teen, who is just trying to find herself, but I don't really know with who I should talk about it and I really need some advice. If you are in a similar situation as I am, please feel free to leave a comment, I am grateful for any help :))

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Yep, definitely. I'm heterosexual, yet consider myself aromantic. It comes with it's own set of challenges different from asexuals (particularly figuring out that you're actually aromantic can be difficult, so well done!), although I wouldn't say being one is better than the other.

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Yup! Aromanticism and asexuality are two separate things, even if they often get lumped together. :)

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sexual attraction and romantic attraction are two very different things that just happen to match up in most people so they get lumped together a lot. There are a few different sorts of attraction that are all separate but for most people they work the same way or overlap each other. Sexual attraction (or lack of) just happens to be the one most people pay attention to so it gets much more visibility, but there is romantic attraction, sensual attraction, aesthetic attraction, platonic attraction and alterous attraction, and each one can be different or the same or a mix. 

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I was confused about my aromanticism for a long time because I'm EXTRA bisexual. I get sexual crushes on people allllllll the time, and they're usually intense. I just don't fall in love with them. I can and have experienced limerence, but it burns out quick and always vanishes if I find out my feelings are reciprocated. So that def added to my years of mislabelling as romantic. 

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On 2/12/2018 at 2:32 PM, Courtney said:

Hi, I'm a 16 years old girl and I am still not sure whether I like boys or girls (or both), but I do know I feel sexual attraction towards others, but I do not have any feeling towards them. I mean, I can be friends with those people, but I never really had a real crush on somebody not to mention being in love. Is there a special name for this? I know I am still a teen, who is just trying to find herself, but I don't really know with who I should talk about it and I really need some advice. If you are in a similar situation as I am, please feel free to leave a comment, I am grateful for any help :))

Hi, Courtney! I turned seventeen this February 15th (2018) so it doesn't take much to transport myself into the mindset of my sixteen-year-old self. Maybe some of the other people who responded are about your age too. I must admit I didn't actually check.

As a lot of people have already outlined, the aromantic spectrum and the asexual spectrum are two different spectrums! You can be allosexual (the opposite of asexual) and aromantic at the same time. It sounds like those might be some labels that fit you, if you are looking for labels.

In addition to what others have already posted here, I'd like to tell you: don't worry about being sixteen and it's ok if it is indeed "just" a phase. If you aren't experiencing romantic attraction right now but you do experience it later, it doesn't mean that you weren't really aromantic when you were sixteen. It just means that that label doesn't describe you well anymore. You hurt no-one by using that label now. Even if you did, it isn't your job to play respectability politics and worry that by identifying with this label at a young age and potentially dropping it later, you might reinforce stereotypes about people who identify as aromantic. It is not your responsibility to make people who identify as aromantic worthy of respect from bigoted people. It's their job to educate themselves and to let us educate them if we're feeling up to it. If it turns out to be a "phase" aka a temporary stage in your life, that's OK! Being a teenager is an age for exploring your identity and figuring out what and whom you're into and what you like being called and calling yourself. It's saddening that "phase" has become a dirty word. Having a fluid romantic (or sexual) identity, that is, going through phases, is fine, no matter what age you are. It's always OK to change your labels later if you like and it's OK to be fast and loose with your labels if you want to be!

 

In ninth grade, I knew one other person who identified as on the aromantic spectrum. They worried that they only identified as aromantic because they were on hormone blockers, and that as soon as they got off hormone blockers, they would start experiencing romantic attraction. It didn't help that their family told them this, or at least insinuated this, a lot. I told them that if that were the case, it was fine. They were hurting no-one by identifying as aromantic in that moment! They weren't getting crushes, so they got to call theirself aromantic! The label is for you to feel better about yourself, not to play respectability politics with. The label is for you, not for other people. Just like there are a lot of mentally ill or neurodivergent people on this server who had to deal with self-doubt and/or invalidation about their identity because of their mental state, they realized that it doesn't matter if that's the "reason" they're on the aromantic spectrum. They get to decide if they identify as on it and they are not obligated to consider how that might impact the image of the aromantic community. The community exists to support each other, not to throw vulnerable members under the bus.

 

I started identifying with the word aromantic about the time I was turning fifteen. At that time, I had only had at most two experiences that were sort of crushes but not really. After about a year of identifying as gray-aromantic because I felt unsure of one of those experiences, I got a full-on crush on someone. I got to stick with the label I was already using since I was already using gray, but I did move on the spectrum. I was less aromantic than I was before that, and that was OK. No-one was hurt by that. If I start getting lots and lots of crushes, at what is considered the "normal" rate/amount, then I will drop my label as a person on the aromantic spectrum, because it wouldn't fit anymore, and that will be OK. I will still advocate just as strongly against amatonormativy, allonormativity and stereotypes against aromantic people. Maybe even more people wouldn't listen to me because I'd have allo-privilege then.

 

If I used any terms you're unfamiliar with in my post you can almost certainly google them and get a good explanation, or you can search for them on this server, or you can ask me! I'm happy to clarify anything if that would help.

 

I hope this post is beneficial for you or for other people.

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Woah, I can't believe I missed this thread until now.

 

Yes, there are several of us aromantic allosexuals here.  I'm in my 30s and I've had a few satisfying intimate relationships with alloromantic allosexuals.  I strongly prefer emotional intimacy and commitment in my sexual relationships, so it can be challenging, since most allos assume that being aromantic allosexual means all I would want is casual sex.

 

I don't have any specific advice for you other than to let you know that we exist and we are capable of having intimate relationships, challenging though they usually are.  I'm pretty far removed from modern teen culture, so I can't speak to that at all, other than to say that your feelings are valid and people who tell you they are invalid are wrong.  Feel free to ask anything you like if you want to have a more detailed conversation.

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Yes, it is possible.

 

It's usually claimed that aromanticism is more difficult to communicate/understand than asexuality. Maybe that is because experiencing sexual attraction unconnected to romantic feelings is commonplace in the general population (and for aromantics, if they feel sexual attraction, it's just always that way).

 

Still allosexuality can mask aromanticism and alloromanticism can mask asexuality. Eklinaar's relationships, for example, would be regarded as romantic. And asexuals who genuinely like having sex with somebody, whom they romantically love, might not be regarded as asexual because it's not noticeable that they lack that extra ”ingredient” – sexual attraction. So that's probably why aromanticism and asexuality get conflated so often.

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^^^ Yes to all of the above. Note that there's a third attraction spectrum called "aesthetic attraction" which may also lead to confusion. Internal conflicts between Romantic, sexual, and aesthetic spectra can get pretty confusing. 

 

Also @Courtney, you may wish to introduce yourself by starting a new topic on the "Welcome and Forum Rules" page. 

Welcome to Arocalypse!

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On 2/12/2018 at 5:32 PM, Courtney said:

Hi, I'm a 16 years old girl and I am still not sure whether I like boys or girls (or both), but I do know I feel sexual attraction towards others, but I do not have any feeling towards them. I mean, I can be friends with those people, but I never really had a real crush on somebody not to mention being in love. Is there a special name for this? I know I am still a teen, who is just trying to find herself, but I don't really know with who I should talk about it and I really need some advice. If you are in a similar situation as I am, please feel free to leave a comment, I am grateful for any help :))

Hey, it's okay! I'm a 16 year old girl too, and I'm sexually attracted to other girls, but I've never had a crush or been in love. You're not alone and we're all here for you if you ever want to talk. 

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On 3/4/2018 at 8:22 AM, James White said:

Note that there's a third attraction spectrum called "aesthetic attraction" which may also lead to confusion.

I really don't want to promote the well-worn stereotype of asexuals as childish, but … aces who confuse sexual attraction with aesthetic attraction are just too cute. That they think this frenetic and raw energy is just a serene admiration of someone's beauty… :)

 

But well, I actually confused romantic attraction with aesthetic attraction! Made sense to me, because romantic attraction is widely regarded as more noble and lofty than sexual attraction and aesthetic attraction at least feels that way.

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