Jump to content
Mark

Aro Sexual Orientation

Recommended Posts

Something which rarely seems to be considered is how sexual orientation affects the experience of aromanticism.
Do aro allos and aro aces experience being aromantic differently?
If this is the case does it also matter if aros are heterosexual,  homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, etc? (Often intersectional analyses treat can treat characteristics as binaries. Even when they are clearly more varied.)
Ditto for greysexual, demisexual or quoisexual aros.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say it definitely affects the experience of aromanticism differently, or at least the experience of the aromantic community. I've noticed that allosexual aros, myself included, tend to have a more prolonged questioning period than most aroaces even after exposure to LGBTQ+ communities, because aromanticism isn't often talked about outside of asexuality. Aromanticism is still thought to go hand-in-hand with asexuality in many ways, and aro resources communities, or pride-related things are often included as a part of ace things, which can feel isolating to allo aros. (One example I recently saw: A Picrew, aka doll maker, that included pride pins. Some were combos, and although there was a combo pin with the aro and ace flags, there were no combos for the aro flag with any sexual orientation other than ace, which made me feel very left out and like I had to "choose" between my aromanticism and my bisexuality when aroaces did not. Even if it's something as trivial as a dollmaker, little things like this can really add up.)

The prejudices we deal with from outside are different, too. Aroaces are more likely to be thought of as being naive, child-like, "innocent", or completely detached from all emotion, while allo aros are more likely to be thought of as predatory, perverted, manipulative, slutty, or just making excuses in order to use others- Even by people who might have no awareness of someone's sexual history, or if they even HAVE a sexual history at all.

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What Jot-Aro said. Plus since I'm not ace, it took longer for me to realize that I wasn't "normal"... I knew I was heterosexual, and that's the term that most people think about, so it sort of got left at that, and I assumed that the things that I didn't experience weren't actually there, and were just invented for fiction, exaggerated, etc. 

I would imagine (projecting here) that it's harder for an aro-ace to not notice that they aren't allo... 

I'm less sure how aroness interacts with other non-a-sexualities... 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My story is a more muddled up, bc I used to be female, so I used to be a Homosexual Aromantic. 

 

For me, finding what sexuality I was was still difficult for me; it came with a lot of denial, confusion and internalised homophobia. I thought I was asexual due to not experiencing sexual attraction until age 15, and when I experienced it towards women, I basically just left it there. I didn't know being aro or not being both heterosexual and heteroromantic was a thing, and just assumed I was also homoromantic because people usually experience sexual and romantic attraction together, or their romantic and sexual orientations match up nicely. However, that isn't the case most likely, and questioning my romantic orientation has been quite hard. And questioning my gender on top of that also takes a toll on me. I'm also Autistic, so understanding romance is quite hard for me. Basically, I didn't know that romance was more than just the fluff in movies or books, and I always saw sex as the no.1 priority. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And let's not forget aros who doesn't have a sexual orientation. In particular because I think one of the difference with aroallos and aroaces, is that aros without sexual attraction are always forgotten

 

Personally I think that our experiences share a lot in common (because of amatonormativity, denial of our experience, wanting to see other kind of relationships being valued too, and a other things I probably forgot). But of course there are also differences. As being mentionned, the experience of realizing we are aro are different. Allo aro are tend more to think they are romantic because SAM is not well-known, and it is easy to confuse sexual and romantic attraction (in particular as society itself does it, in movies or in real life, with the expectation that a sexual relationship will turn into love). I also think that it is easier to feel broken like this, because sexual attraction can leader people to dating as they think they are romantically attracted, and then to be shame for not being able to fall in love (society reaching that sex is mission something without romantic love).

On the other had,  I can't speak for other aro aces, but before I learned what was asexuality and aromanticism, I had a hard time trying to determine my orientation. I also confused the two : I tried to determine if I was straight, homo or bi by watching sexually attractive image... you'd notice that the possibility of an absence of attraction didn't cross my mind. Until I met the word asexuality and decided to check what it was; then I accept pretty quickly I was asexual (it was an evidence, on particular as I had a long history of denial that sexual attraction as show on tv actually exist, contrary to romantic attraction), and had to think about it for romantic attraction. I didn't feel shamed or broken because as I wasn't attracted to people, I was just expecting to feel it one day in the future. Accepting aromanticism was just accepting that this was not going to happen. Also, I think being asexual was easier to find ressources about aromanticism, because the word asexual is similar to heterosexual, bisexual etc; so having sexual attraction aligned with romantic attraction simplify things.

I don't know for aro without a sexual attraction.

 

Another thing is that allo aro may want more sexual contact (I said may because of course you can be asexual and still like sex; but the experience is different). Now, sexual relationship without romance is seen as negative. This problem will touch more aro allo. On the other hand,  aro aces can be seen as autistic because they feel no sexual attraction (I mean, disinterest for sex is part of the diagnostic; which his harmful for both autistic and aro aces as you can be autistic and feel sexual attraction, and be ace without being autistic... not that there is everything wrong for being autistic of course). Aro aces can also be seen as immature, aka how Sheldon Cooper is seen by the other characters of BBT for instance.

All this to say that desire feeling or not feeling sexual attraction will change how people perceive you, and not in a good way.

 

Finally,  I think the way we feel about aro and aces community is affected too. I think we all feel affected by the amatonormativity in the ace community. But also, aro allo can be alienated by the ace community and the necessity for it to be "ace... and aro"; because it is hard to see how they fit in a community that is primarily asexual, and sometimes even shame sexual activity. Aro ace are more concerned by the all "asexual can still love" thing, because even if this is something we have to teach, aro aces are pushing away by this kind of statements, as if our existence was something to hide, a shame that will destroyer all their argumentation.

For aro communities, aro allos and aros without a sexual attraction are probably more impacted by how aromanticism is sometimes seen as a sub-category of asexuality. For aro aces, I know that I feel sometimes alienated by the (understandable) suspicion that aro aroallos can have towards aroaces (aka the suspicion that they will care more about their ace side than their aro side, which is probably linked to a history of aromanticism being treated as a less important category of asexuality). That leads that I sometimes feel shamed for being ace in aro community too.  So, I'd say that all type of aros are feeling not at easy in both communities, but for different reasons.

 

 

That being said, I think we have mire in common than differences, and that's why I see us as a more solid community than the ace community, where the position towards romance create more differences I think (because of "asexual can still love" and a lot of topics about asexual romance; which is not a bad thing in itself as romantic asexualq need asexual place to express this big part of their life, but create the feeling that aroaces are not part of all that).

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, one of the things I'm curious about that doesn't get talked about so much is the difference in experience not between just ace and non-ace aros (which already gets talked about a ton), but the differences in the experiences of different group of allosexual aros - especially between those who lie on the more queer/LGB+ end of the spectrum vs. those who consider themselves more straight. (and that's not even getting into the complications of gender and trans identities).

While I can't speak directly to either of those experiences as an aro ace (we have our own set of confusing issues), I've noticed that outside the bubble of certain ace and aro online community spaces, most people in the wider world often don't care that much about the intricacies of what kinds of attraction I feel or what specific labels I use....but they often do care a lot of about more visible behaviors, like who I date (or rather, don't date), who I hook up with (or my case, who I don't hook up with), etc. 

I'd imagine that being a queer-identified allosexual aro - especially one who might have visible same-sex relationships (whether sexual,  queerplatonic, or otherwise) or talk about their same-sex attractions - would have to deal with a double-whammy of overt homophobia/heterosexism on top of all the regular anti-aro sentiments; and for those involved with broader queer or LGBT+ communities there's also a unique set of politics to navigate there that are different from the issues encountered in more mainstream [straight] society - for better or for worse.

And I'd imagine that for more straight-aligned allosexual aros, while they might not have to deal with as much direct homophobia, they might still have to deal with the more indirect effects of homophobia/heterosexism as a result of not fitting into the "right kind" of straight behavior, and may have difficulty finding access to offline spaces to really explore their sexuality in more complex ways (because while some queer/LGBTQIA+ communities may in theory be friendly and accepting straight-aligned aces and aros, they often just aren't really built for or experienced in giving the kind of support those groups might need...and there's not many equivalents for straight or straight-ish people).

For anyone who does identify as either of those groups, I'd be curious to hear more about your perspectives on the issue.

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
56 minutes ago, sennkestra said:

For anyone who does identify as either of those groups, I'd be curious to hear more about your perspectives on the issue

Well, I'm 'straight', in the sense of being a man who's sexually attracted to just women, and for me it's basically like you described.

 

56 minutes ago, sennkestra said:

while some queer/LGBTQIA+ communities may in theory be friendly and accepting straight-aligned aces and aros, they often just aren't really built for or experienced in giving the kind of support those groups might need...and there's not many equivalents for straight or straight-ish people

Bingo. I'm basically left feeling like I don't belong anywhere. I'm a heterosexual who doesn't like heterosexual relationship norms, but would feel out of place in queer spaces because of my sexuality. So, too queer for straight relationships and too straight for queer spaces ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • Like 4
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/19/2019 at 10:44 AM, Jot-Aro Kujo said:

 I've noticed that allosexual aros, myself included, tend to have a more prolonged questioning period than most aroaces even after exposure to LGBTQ+ communities, because aromanticism isn't often talked about outside of asexuality. Aromanticism is still thought to go hand-in-hand with asexuality in many ways, and aro resources communities, or pride-related things are often included as a part of ace things, which can feel isolating to allo aros.

 

On 12/19/2019 at 12:18 PM, LBMango said:

Plus since I'm not ace, it took longer for me to realize that I wasn't "normal"... I knew I was heterosexual, and that's the term that most people think about, so it sort of got left at that, and I assumed that the things that I didn't experience weren't actually there, and were just invented for fiction, exaggerated, etc. 

I would imagine (projecting here) that it's harder for an aro-ace to not notice that they aren't allo... 

 

I would be careful about making assumptions about how easy it is to figure out an aroace identity as well - it's all too easy to assume that the grass must be greener on the other side, but I think we just don't have the data need to really know one way or the other yet (though that might defintiely be an interesting project for future ace and/or aro research projects - we do know that aces as a group are  likely to have their first self-realization somewhat later in life  - I think the median in the last ace census was around 19? but I don't think anyone has looked at how that breaks down by romantic orientation, especially for non-ace aros ) .

While sticking to hypotheticals,  I would agree that it might be easier for an aroace person who has already learned about and joined an asexual community to learn about aromanticism / that that's an option. But the big limiting factor for most asexual (and aro) people is that they don't even know that something other than just gay/straight/bi exists as an option in the first place - which leads to the same exact kinds of denial and explaining away that mango mentioned. (I know I in particular spent many years assuming that all crushes and "ooh, he's so hot" were just other teens my age imitating hollywood teen movies to pretend to be grown up - because surely, no one my age actually cares about any of that, right?) It's pretty impressive what loops the brain can through to try and fit into an existing box, no matter how poor the fit might be.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sennkestra, you are, of course, right. One should never assume that anyone has it easier than yourself... that was poor judgement on my part...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, sennkestra said:

 

 

I would be careful about making assumptions about how easy it is to figure out an aroace identity as well - it's all too easy to assume that the grass must be greener on the other side, but I think we just don't have the data need to really know one way or the other yet (though that might defintiely be an interesting project for future ace and/or aro research projects - we do know that aces as a group are  likely to have their first self-realization somewhat later in life  - I think the median in the last ace census was around 19? but I don't think anyone has looked at how that breaks down by romantic orientation, especially for non-ace aros ) .

While sticking to hypotheticals,  I would agree that it might be easier for an aroace person who has already learned about and joined an asexual community to learn about aromanticism / that that's an option. But the big limiting factor for most asexual (and aro) people is that they don't even know that something other than just gay/straight/bi exists as an option in the first place - which leads to the same exact kinds of denial and explaining away that mango mentioned. (I know I in particular spent many years assuming that all crushes and "ooh, he's so hot" were just other teens my age imitating hollywood teen movies to pretend to be grown up - because surely, no one my age actually cares about any of that, right?) It's pretty impressive what loops the brain can through to try and fit into an existing box, no matter how poor the fit might be.

 

Sorry, I thought I was more clear about my wording. That's exactly what I meant- Even after being made fully aware of many LGBTQ+ identities, including asexuality, aromanticism, and even demisexuality and demiromanticism, it took me a long time to understand that I was aro because nobody had ever told me you could be aro if you're not ace. I've heard similar stories from other allo aros as well. My point was less "Aroaces figure it out right away" (which is of course completely untrue) and more "If an aroace and an allo aro are both exposed to the same LGBTQ+ resources at the same time before being aware of their own identities, in general it may take longer for the allo aro to understand their orientation than the aroace, because there is a large lack of awareness for allo aro issues".

I absolutely do not think it's easy to figure out that one is aroace, and I didn't mean to imply that it was, so I'm sorry I didn't word that more clearly (I tried to but evidently did not succeed). But from the aros I have spoken to, most allo aros agree that it took them a long time to figure out their orientations even after exposure to certain resources, whereas the aroaces I have spoken to generally very quickly learned they were aro after learning about asexuality. I was surrounded by aroace friends as a teen, but still hated myself and believed myself to be broken because nobody had ever told me that I could be aro too. This is a painfully common experience for allo aros, which is what I was trying to convey.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/19/2019 at 9:18 PM, LBMango said:

I would imagine (projecting here) that it's harder for an aro-ace to not notice that they aren't allo... 

As an aro ace I disagree. It took me 23 years to notice I am not allo. I think it is a bit long. I may didn't know what my orientation is, but I thought it was rather straight, homo, or bi. Asexuality and aromanticism never crossed my mind. For the same reason @Jot-Aro Kujo said it was difficult for an allosexual to realize they are aro : nobody told me it was possible not to be allo. So I just thought I was.

 

As soon as I learned the word asexuality, I realized I was ace (and I realized that I wasn't the norm, because I thought society juste exagerate things about sexual attraction and that outside fiction, people were like me). Then it took me a few months before I realize I was aro (a lot of denial at first I think; first I thought grey-ro but now I think it is fully aro, who is grey-platonic ou grzy-alterous if such a concept exists). But really, if I never had the idea to look what "asexual" meant, I would still be unaware of my identity.

 

 

I don't think it is harder for aroace nor aroallo to realize their identity, but that the way and the events that leads to the realization are different.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, NullVector said:

So, too queer for straight relationships and too straight for queer spaces ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

yup.  i can't exactly relate to either group.  

 

and idk how to like, satisfy both aspects of my orientation.  i suppose that's a split attraction thing.

 

i also imagine we experience aromanticism differently from aro aces.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For aro allos the most important question of aromanticism is:

How can I get laid without having a relationship?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On 12/20/2019 at 7:36 PM, sennkestra said:

While I can't speak directly to either of those experiences as an aro ace (we have our own set of confusing issues), I've noticed that outside the bubble of certain ace and aro online community spaces, most people in the wider world often don't care that much about the intricacies of what kinds of attraction I feel or what specific labels I use....but they often do care a lot of about more visible behaviors, like who I date (or rather, don't date), who I hook up with (or my case, who I don't hook up with), etc. 

I think there's a why as much as a who dimension here.
In that aros potentially being interested in dating and hookups for the "wrong" reasons form the allo POV.

 

On 12/20/2019 at 7:36 PM, sennkestra said:

and for those involved with broader queer or LGBT+ communities there's also a unique set of politics to navigate there that are different from the issues encountered in more mainstream [straight] society - for better or for worse.

IME LGBT+ communities can put couples, marriage and amantonormativity as much of a pedestal as mainstream society. It some cases advocating "marriage equality" can look like "matrimanial fanaticism".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...