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hUllO

debating with my Mum about aromanticism

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Hello! I’m just an aro-ally wanting to learn more about the community 😊. I’m a romantic asexual and I often have debates with my Mum about the a-spectrum community and the subject came to aromantic sexuals. And (I am sorry this might sound offensive!!) she said that it was “just a fancy word for sex without commitment”. I tried arguing against that but I was unable to really explain the difference although I think I understand it. I’m really sorry about this is offensive. Anyone able to give a clear response to why being aromantic sexual is not sex without commitment? Or anyone find the term somewhat correct? 

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Hello @hUllO

 

Short answer: it depends what you mean by commitment. I've done things that require commitment (example: writing a thesis). It just so happens that, in my case, a romantic relationship is not one of those things.

 

Longer answer: most people seem to take 'commitment' in this context to mean things like: monogamy, exclusivity, co-habitation, etc., done in the context of a romantic relationship which is 'acted-out' according to socially conventional behavioural markers, rites and rituals. Most of us on here would probably regard that as an overly prescriptive and restrictive way of viewing commitment.

 

Also, aromantic sexual is an internal orientation, not an external behaviour. I'm basically 'functionally' asexual; I'd prefer to be having sex, but I don't want to do it in the context of a romantic relationship. But I'd also want a level of caring relationship with the person (or persons) I'm doing the sex with, including some level of 'commitment' that we can negotiate mutually, but outside of some pre-defined social script (assumed to desirably  'escalate' according to some standardised timeline) and/or assumed romantic-sexual 'package-deal'. That's a weird concept for most people (including myself!) and it's not a conversation I've figured out how to have yet. Plus, until fairly recently, I didn't even perceive this as an option. So, I've been celibate on that (semi-voluntary) basis thus far.

 

P.S. personally, I'm not offended. I do regard your mum's response as a lazy, reflexive over-generalization of her own limited experiences and orientation towards relationships; but if I became offended every time a fellow human did this, I would find life absolutely exhausting! 😄

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Hello, mythical allosexual aro here with a few points for your mom:

 

1. I've never had sex. Not once! Shockingly, the fact that someone can experience sexual attraction does not mean they're running around having wild sex all the time!

2. Why you gotta commit anyway? Who gives a shit? If there's no pregnancy involved, what the hell are you supposed to "commit" to, anyway? What is this, the Sims? You fucked once and now you're married, that how it's supposed to go? Why? What is the purpose? Why is it anyone's business what their sexual partners decide to do in their everyday lives?

3. An alloromantic who just wants "sex without commitment" can, at any time, potentially fall in love and decide to go for the "commitment" after all. We can't. We will never fit in with a society structured around romance, we will never be accepted as normal unless we Catch Feelings™, we will always be ostracized and demonized and treated as cruel and heartless no matter how gentle we are as human beings, so your mom can fuck right off before I go inventing her a fancy word for "kiss my ass".

4. Honestly, if I were to have sex with someone, I'd most likely want it to be someone I know well and am already comfortable with- So most likely, a friend. I am EXTREMELY committed to my friends, and I would remain as committed to them as I've always been even if we were to have sex. I will always be there for my friends, even in their darkest moments, and I will never, ever place them below any sort of sexual or romantic partner. That's a hell of a lot more for "commitment" without romance than I can say about most alloromantics.

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11 hours ago, hUllO said:

And (I am sorry this might sound offensive!!) she said that it was “just a fancy word for sex without commitment”.

 

The way your mum phrased it sounds like aromanticism is an excuse to have sex without being in a relationship - which is not the case. It would ne Mike saying that allo romantic asexual is just a word for people who don't like sex. This is not the case. People don't chose their orientation. It's not that aro allo don't want commitment : they just don't feel romantic attraction. Some even are romance repulsed,  just like people are sex repulsed.

 

By the way, it depends what you ment by commitment. Some aros are look in for strong bounds too. I won't speak for aro allos (I already speak too much I think), but I suggest you look for QPR. I also saw posts in this forum that talk about this, you should look in the section aromantic relationships. 

 

Edit @Jot-Aro Kujo your comment about the Sims killed me.

 

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18 hours ago, NullVector said:

Also, aromantic sexual is an internal orientation, not an external behaviour. I'm basically 'functionally' asexual; I'd prefer to be having sex, but I don't want to do it in the context of a romantic relationship. But I'd also want a level of caring relationship with the person (or persons) I'm doing the sex with, including some level of 'commitment' that we can negotiate mutually, but outside of some pre-defined social script (assumed to desirably  'escalate' according to some standardised timeline) and/or assumed romantic-sexual 'package-deal'. That's a weird concept for most people (including myself!) and it's not a conversation I've figured out how to have yet. Plus, until fairly recently, I didn't even perceive this as an option. So, I've been celibate on that (semi-voluntary) basis thus far.

I have heard alloromantics using the term "(complete) package" to describe kind of relationships they want.
I've also observed alloromantics who identify as Relationship Anarchists conflating romantic and sexual,

11 hours ago, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

Hello, mythical allosexual aro here with a few points for your mom:

 

1. I've never had sex. Not once! Shockingly, the fact that someone can experience sexual attraction does not mean they're running around having wild sex all the time!

It's possible for aromantics to be desexualised  or slut shamed. Sometimes both at the same time. which is utterly weird.

 

11 hours ago, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

3. An alloromantic who just wants "sex without commitment" can, at any time, potentially fall in love and decide to go for the "commitment" after all.

There isn't actually anything wrong with "sex without commitment", assuming that it is consensual.
In many cases it can be treated as though it isn't OK.even for alloromantics, thus justified by claims that they are actually seeking "the one(tm) alternatively excused using youth or intoxication.

 

11 hours ago, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

4. Honestly, if I were to have sex with someone, I'd most likely want it to be someone I know well and am already comfortable with- So most likely, a friend. I am EXTREMELY committed to my friends, and I would remain as committed to them as I've always been even if we were to have sex. I will always be there for my friends, even in their darkest moments, and I will never, ever place them below any sort of sexual or romantic partner. That's a hell of a lot more for "commitment" without romance than I can say about most alloromantics.

The irony here is that many aromantics are into commitment and relationships. However not those of the romantic kind.

 

8 hours ago, nonmerci said:

The way your mum phrased it sounds like aromanticism is an excuse to have sex without being in a relationship - which is not the case. It would ne Mike saying that allo romantic asexual is just a word for people who don't like sex. This is not the case. People don't chose their orientation. It's not that aro allo don't want commitment : they just don't feel romantic attraction. Some even are romance repulsed,  just like people are sex repulsed

Even without romance repulsion an aromantic person might find a romantic relationships offers them little or is inferior to something non-romantic.

 

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On 5/9/2019 at 11:43 PM, hUllO said:

I tried arguing against that but I was unable to really explain the difference although I think I understand it.

Sex without commitment is a behavior, while “aromantic sexual” describes a certain enduring pattern of sexual and romantic attraction (← ok for aros this is defined by the absence of romantic attraction). That’s the difference.

 

For me my aromantic allosexuality does lead to sex without commitment though I certainly don’t have some wild sex life. I don’t like it that way … and so it’s tempting to say “Why do you do it then?”. I don’t want a romantic relationship, in fact I couldn’t get one (non-disastrous) if I tried. Also sex strangely complicates human relationships, so it’s only realistic with people who are not emotionally close to me. Since I like sex and I would get same disapproval by society even if I made a vow of celibacy, I don’t see any reason to change.

 

The romance + sex package may perhaps “ennoble sex”, but it comes at a cost: “Is not having enough sex a good reason to break up?” is considered a normal question (and “Is cheating a good reason to break up?” is a rhetorical question*). I can’t compute how people don’t see that sex with commitment also means in reverse that you commit a very important relationship to sex.

 

That’s imho the darkest side of allo-allo romance – I’m committed to my friends and I don’t care one bit for their sexual orientation, their libido or whom they sleep with.

 

* probably most aros can understand that cheating means breaking a promise (though AFAIK [I have very few first-hand experience of romantic relationship] this promise is rarely explicitly given) and therefore is bad. But that doesn’t explain the gravity allo-allos attach to cheating.

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Fair enough, sorry. I tend to take this a bit personally as someone who's been hurt a lot by comments like that.

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