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Everything posted by sunny

  1. CW: Medication, Talk of Sexual Intimacy, Unhealthy Relationships with Sexual Intimacy I have a couple friends where the lines between romantic and platonic are fairly blurred. (I'm gonna keep the language light here, for reference, but it's not particularly a FWB situation, but we've never called it a QPR either.) One such is someone I hold very dear to me, we'll call them T. I've known T a little under a year, and we've always had this sort of dynamic between us. They're allo, and after stating the boundaries I have we've come to a mutual comforted medium. We talk openly and revisit boundaries fairly often, making sure to meet one another's needs as they come. They met me at a time during my transition where my libido was especially high, so a lot of our interactions centered around that. Yet we're still close and remain so, talking pretty much every day. I'm just giving all this for context. Lately I've started medication for my mental health. It's been a hard (new) process, and I've struggled with being able to provide that same intimacy as before. (Which was already difficult due to privacy issues and yadda yadda.) As well, I've noticed an unhealthy attachment toward sex and how I find it a way to "provide" for people I care about. I know it'd be better for me mental health wise to provide affection in other ways. Yet I don't know how to break this to them, and I've come out as ace to partners before (before I called myself aro) but I don't wish for them to feel unattractive to me. If anyone has experience with this, it'd be great.
  2. QPRs like this are entirely possible. I have people I know long distance who I engage with in a number of "inherently romantic" ways, but it wasn't without in depth conversations and a constant reiteration of boundaries and ensuring that they also know they can get their romantic affection elsewhere. I didn't get anywhere without the emotional labor and patience of sitting down and explaining myself, and making sure the people I love are also satisfied in the state of our QPR. I don't think we've put a name on it, but I don't think we need to. It's worked for us this long so-- but that's my story and I'm getting ahead of myself. What a QPR/QPP is for each partnership is entirely up to the people involved. How it's defined and how it works would be up to you and her. It sounds like you both are inherently compatible in a lot of ways, but situationally there's going to be a lot of roadbumps and potential harm to both sides. Still, it's up to her and you if you're willing to put in that risk. As well, and stop me if it's too forward-- but if you're considering this with your heterosexuality in mind, does your orientation feel like it needs reevaluating? These are questions unfortunately only you can answer yourself, but you care about her- that much is obvious. Would it be fair to her? That's something to weigh as well, but something I think she's also capable of weighing. None of this is solvable without an upfront discussion, and since the care is there I think that makes it more the plausible to have these discussions. Just be careful, mind each other, and respect each other. If this is something she wants, great. If she doesn't want to put a label on it, or if she just considers you guys close friends-- great. If you both go for it, or decide not to-- it's not without deliberation. Just mind each other, and be safe.
  3. Lately I've realized that my definition of platonic and romantic is a little skewed. I'm not entirely sure what defines one or the other for me (frankly I have a hard time seeing a line at all, I don't necessarily think there is one. Let me rephrase, because I'm having a hard time iterating it: What defines that point where a situation potentially dips into the romantic? For me I can't label it as an action specifically, while certain things (kissing, namely) dip more into the "romantic" side of things, I find the emotions behind whatever actions drastically change the context. I don't think I've ever held hands or kissed anyone that didn't see the action as inherently romantic. But it's not that I don't feel anything for the people I've done that with. Maybe moments were too emotionally charged or intense, but I've only thought about kissing people I care about. Though that care for me, doesn't dip more into the "romantic." So I wanted to ask, to gauge where others feel that line lies for them. I think it's different for everyone, but I'm curious.
  4. hey there. you can like or not like anything that's romantic coded and still ID as aro. i have friends where we talk about kissing or cuddling, and despite being ace i still engage sexually with those people. sure, it's a bit confusing, but i've found being forthright and setting boundaries still makes those relationships possible. i still say i love you, because love to me isn't inherently romantic or platonic, but i mean it all the same. to rephrase: people often assume romantic attraction and platonic attraction are separate. i had a friend once describe it to me as a venn diagram with the lines blurred. you can't distinguish where one part ends and the other begins. i don't see romantic-coded things as inherently romantic. that doesn't make me less aro, it makes me my own. (and repulsion isn't inherent within aromanticism either!) there isn't a check box with how you should feel before using the term aromantic. i use aromantic as an umbrella term. i'm not comfortable defining it further with people who aren't familiar with it. (there's a term- alterous - that gives me comfort and knowledge that other people feel the same way i do, but i don't use it often outside of aro-circles, namely this site.) i'm babbling. simply put, my aromanticism has dramatically changed how i present and confront my relationships. i often speak up about how my orientation works, to limit leading someone on, as actions people might call flirtatious are just... how i interact with people i care for. it's lead to me pressing for communication early on, and ensuring (especially if someone is allo) that they have just as much control of the relationship, enabling things like check ins and ways for us to touch base about how we feel in order to keep everyone content and comfortable. my aromanticism has forced me to speak up for what i want, to set my boundaries early on, and to sidestep those who disregard it. i often look for people who emotional maturity because of this. my closest friends are ones who can open up and have these discussions with me, because i can't be damned to play games and skirt around truths. it's been a slow, but important change. hopefully this helps.
  5. as someone who has a weird mix of both- they can absolutely be connected. in personal experiences i've never felt entirely... good about sex. while i experience sexual attraction, and the feelings that follow, i have such a hard time with the follow through of enjoying an actual encounter. i don't think i ever have, despite the fact that in certain times, i want it. the notion of being in a romantic relationship and engaging with that person sexually completely repulses me. when i think of a romantic relationship, having to wrestle with the implications following a romantic relationship (the "norms" like dates, kissing, sex, etc) repulses me in a sexual way as well. it might also repulse you because you never saw that person in that way before, and now you have to confront their own attraction? just tossing out possibilities.
  6. i'm very much in the boat of touch that's labeled "with who i want/ when i decide" and I feel that's ridiculously common. sometimes i go whole weeks without wanting to touch someone, and tasks of being hugged or brushed up against make me tense and uncomfortable- even if i know the person. at the same time, i often go without touch at all, not receiving for a few weeks only to be painfully aware of it. hugs are something i treasure, and things as simple as leaning up against someone can be so nice. kisses are a bit more particular. i often vacillate between being okay with them and also, hating them. i oven get squicked out by (pardon) tongue-kisses, despite having tried to enjoy them. cuddles- I wouldn't know. i haven't ever experienced it proper, but in the few instances i was huddled beside someone (not someone i trusted, but someone) i was uncomfortable. i ended up with a crick in my neck and my side burning from how i was stationed on the mattress. i think it's something i'll have to experience in time, or maybe it's just not for me and i can hold someone's hand to bed. who knows.
  7. this isn't a contest, this is about exploring and discussing the ways multiple people in the same community go through life individually. the ways i use the word love and care are unique to me, and comparing them with other experiences has more consequences than merit. could we as a collective stray away from comparison? all of this is a spectrum. we don't need to be pitting ourselves against one another.
  8. As an aro/ace mess of a human being, it's extremely rare that I get a overflowing platonic fondness for someone. I recently found the word "alterous" and it's been pretty eye opening for my own sake. I definitely lean toward the light that I'd likely stay with one qpr or something-akin-to-such for as long as we found it amicable. However, I don't see much of anything like that for myself. I have people I care deeply about who live very far away from me, so while we care in the ways we naturally do for one another, there's nothing... necessarily concrete in it. I simply trust those people to be honest and forthright in what they want and need, and for myself to do the same for them. This is a bit long-winded to say: I think one partner would be more than plenty, but should a situation occur where I have more than one special person in my life... I'm not going to shut that door, per say. I'm definitely cautious, that's for certain, and I find those scenarios unlikely, but I care and love in my own way, and I don't want to limit that more than I have to.
  9. These are all thoughts that you're 100% allowed to have (I know I've felt all of this ) and I like pressing that first. That being said, I think not feeling loved, and the sort of "loss of value" from not feeling loved, comes from a struggle within the self to not see your inherent worth. It's hard to equate worth to yourself (you're talking to the King of it, pal) if we don't connect it to other people, but when we establish other's inherent value, we have to equate that to ourselves. people are whole without other people loving them. you are also whole without being loved. you do not need the love of others to be someone worth taking up space, worth existing, etc. i find feeling like you're unloved is a mesh of a lot of the things you mentioned. (depression makes it hard to feel, asperger's may make the emotions that are being shown even more confusing! being aro makes it hard to discern what "qualifies" as love since most feels like an intangible... thing, yeah?) the plain fact of day that we forget that we are not in charge or able to fully gather and read people's emotions. we can't tell people how they feel! we can guess, and sometimes we're right, but we're also impossibly wrong. you cannot say with certainty that no one loves you, you don't know. (and i realize this goes into love languages, into what "love" is and all that jargon. let's stick with the "everyone has their definition of love and it's very individualistic" take for now.) your family can love you, your friends can love you, but i wholly understand the frustration of not being able to see it, or feel it. though it might genuinely be there, but blinders could be on. sometimes you don't need that direct "yes, i love you" but sometime sit really helps to hear. maybe finding the way to get closer to people you care about (those you're secure and safe with, if you have those people) to get some quality time might alleviate those feelings? but i think it goes down a lot into like, needing approval of others to feel whole/worthy. that's a really hard habit to bite, but doing things for yourself, tasks that have end results, that all really helps me when i'm swathed in an emotional puddle. this seems a little clunky, part is due to a bit of brain fog. lemme know if i need to expand/condense/clarify!
  10. That definitely resonates. There's a privilege that often goes unchecked with alloromantics, that they're a "norm" and how they feel should be obvious but it isn't to a lot of it. I think there's a link to getting frustrated when aro folk ask questions, because I feel that also plays into it. I mean, how many times have I asked my mom what love feels like? My friends? My siblings? How long did I keep asking after getting answers like you'll know it when you feel it, you just know, and don't you know already? I feel like aromantics often turn away from empathizing with the struggles of alloromantics (and the struggles specific to their alloromanticism) because we're so used to being brushed off for not understanding, not getting what's in all the movies. So when these frustrations of romantic relationships come up, I even sometimes shrug and say, "Don't know that feel." Like, I don't, and I got tired of trying to learn. But that's not the way I want to live, you know? I want to learn and understand new things my whole life. I intend to do that as much as I can. I've been lucky in my experience to come out to people who were eager listeners, who didn't understand but were curious as to how I felt that way, and not saying that I might feel that one day in the future. (Like, sure, maybe, but I feel that way now, and that matters to me the most.) Though I know the questions and dismissals well. I know that it gets annoying, and we don't want to reach out. The only real reason for all of that far as I can discern is that we haven't learned from each other. Outside of a situation when you're asked to be empathetic, setting up an interesting dialogue where you can ask questions with an alloromantic might foster that sort of understanding. (This of course, is a labor, and if you don't have the energy for it, perhaps find other sources? Maybe we could make a list of aro-friendly explanations of alloromantic common problems and feelings that we can use as resources for understanding, which might also help with the empathy issue?) (And honestly, I got a month once finals are done. Maybe I can cook something up if I have the gusto for it to answer some questions. Am I fully qualified? God no, but I got spirit.)
  11. This is a really interesting topic, actually. I'm going to focus mainly on 1-to-1 empathy with someone who isn't your partner. I don't think we lack empathy for allos in general, I think it has to do with us practicing empathy on a regular basis. I think it has to do a lot with who we surrounded ourselves with how they interacted with us. I can only talk about myself here, so that's what I'll do: I was always the friend (and am, still, honestly) that gets approached when someone needs romantic advice. Why? Beats me. I'm a neutral party, mostly, and I've made my mistakes. I guess I look at relationships on a "platonic" level the same way I look at "romantic" relationships. I put the needs on the same plane, and often I don't consider particular romantic/sexual aspects of a relationship as observing one as a whole. Empathy is something we lose if we don't practice it. I've been lucky enough to have the interpersonal connections around me to know how to empathize. The people who are confiding in you (or in a group) are looking not just for sympathy, but understanding. It's okay if you can't relate, it's okay if you don't understand. There is something powerful in standing in the rain with someone. It forces you to be vulnerable, and while that is a beautiful and scary thing, that is something I think everyone can relate to wanting and needing. Granted, I'm used to empathizing with allos in this way, so if that's something some people struggle with, here are a few things I've picked up: Admit you don't always know. We don't know what it's fully like to be alloromantic! The nuances of romanticism may not click for us (or maybe it does! I'm not your parent!) The most simplistic phrase you can adopt is "wow, that's really hard. I can't imagine what that's like." You don't have to explain why, but it's really validating for people expressing their concerns to know that what they're going through is hard. They're coming to you! They've picked you! Find comfort in knowing they trust you for this, be it in person, online, or on a forum. People have come here seeking advice or an ear, let's try to do that. It's not just about the content. If the thing they are telling you about triggers you, that's different, but if this is something you can bear you don't have to focus entirely on the details. This is someone trying to share their story with you, and reach out in a way so many of us forget to. Try to keep that in the back of your head while someone is talking to you about a frustration. Still, Listen. More than anything, empathizing with someone involves active listening. Show that you're still interested. Try to repeat back what's going on. "So Dave dancing with Daniel bothered you since you both are dating?" These things might seem trivial to us, but they matter to whoever is talking to you. It also might help explain some things you don't understand, without taking away from the story telling aspect. "So let me get this straight, your partner is asking ____ and you need ____?" If in person, or over the phone, listen to their tones. Listen to their hurt, their anger, their grief. Watch their facial expressions, if you can. Often we can mirror these expressions without thinking. We mirror things such as posture and hand gestures and that in itself invokes empathy. Focus on the interpersonal. There's always an angle you can poke for in relationships. If you can't understand the desires for romanticism, you can certainly understand the want for honestly, responsibility, authenticity, and vocality. Does this couple communicate well? How have you had trouble communicating in the past? I can't imagine someone who's never had an issue with communication before. You can relate back to yourself without making it about you! "I know it's so frustrating when people get mad at you for not reading their minds. I'm so sorry that's been eating at you." If there truly is nothing comparable, always make that known. "I can't relate to how troubling that must be, but I can tell you're hurting and I'm okay listening as long as you need me to, and if you don't want to talk I'm here anyways." I find that offering a second, concrete way to help is often so appreciated. Not just a "I'm here if you need me." but a "I can go on a walk with you or bring food/entertainment/myself over and we don't have to talk about it at all." goes a long way, especially for friends dealing with heartbreak. Reminder that I'm just a college student without a degree. I don't know everything! This is just what I found helps. Let me know if this is helpful. 😃
  12. I always think I'm careful about picking my friends. I worry so much about being over-dramatic about "standards," but I know I've neglected giving myself any at all and just sort of "take what I can get." I think it boils down to self-worth, in allowing yourself the space to need/want things out of a friendship. But I hear you, taking time in building the right connections is so important.
  13. this is something that I'm struggling with now. i'll keep details light but reading this i think gave me an awareness we didn't have before. i am in a situation where i am confronting directly the problems that the other person doesn't wish to. i know it's not going to end well, and perhaps explicitly stating that it's okay if they aren't equipped to be vulnerable with me in response might make things easier. it's not going to be a pretty outcome anyways, but i think that might soften the blow. i haven't found the proper words to say "hey, i love you, but you lack the emotional intent and growth that i require in a friendship." i think what's so frustrating and difficult about this too is that, truthfully, the underlying feeling is constantly, "i wish you told me" or "i wish you could communicate this" when so many people can't. it's like i'm acknowledging the issue but still being frustrated by it. it's just obscenely frustrating when you're trying to be open and forthright and the people around you won't/can't/aren't capable. and that's okay, but i think i'm finally hitting a point where my needs in a friendship ... need to take some level of priority. this helped a lot though, thank you. just understanding there are other ways to explain, elaborate, and delve into this carefully especially in a situation where the other person is adverse to a level of emotional depth (any level of emotional depth) adds something i didn't have before.
  14. Most recently on one of my papers, we had an assignment where we "dated ourselves" and took ourselves out on a date. food and an activity, right? i had fun, but I wrote in there that i wasn't a romantic person. and the paper was supposed to be analytical, so my grader put "why?" underneath it. I ended up laughing because, golly, that's a page or two on itself. I often just say that I don't experience romantic attraction, instead of saying aromantic. It skips a step, but it was so weird that this was a... wildly unheard of phrase. my grader genuinely was confused by what i meant.
  15. I think I'd be comfortable with the right person sharing a bed, but either a house by myself or a house with 2-3 people I consider close friends, or potentially qprs could be really fun imo.
  16. so it's been a while. there is a sort of... nuance I've felt between relationships in it's varying forms with aro/ace people. i've actually lacked it in most of my other relationships. it's a little hard to explain, but i haven't seen a lot of people put it into words so i'm trying to do so here. i have a hard time asking for things i want, but in relationships i've been shown the importance of asking. because of my aroace intersectionality, i work incredibly hard to make my emotions known (and we all slip up, but we all also try- i think.) i try to gauge someone else's comfort before my own, because what may be platonic for me also ends up being romantic for others. henceforth my tension surrounding physical touch, when i know how easily this can be misconstrued. but in relationships that i've had for years- with folks i unfairly deem near-life partners (for the work i put in to maintain it, for my desire to see it through to the end, for my longing for emotional closeness) my sort of... expectations fall flat. people that i put the time in for don't necessarily want to put in the same time for me, and it's been this back and forth of me trying to get more out of them when they don't want to, and me trying to confront them with a certain level of emotional intimacy that they cannot/will not match. tldr; i care a lot about my relationships, and when i commit to a friendship... i commit to one. but so often the people i end up staying close to are ones who shy from emotional intimacy, or just straight lack emotional intelligence altogether. (knowing what they need, what they want, unable to have constructive conversations about a friendship that's gone wrong.) i wanted to see if other aro/aroace people felt similarly, and what your emotional invest in relationships sort of urges you to do. like because i'm emotionally invested, i strive for forthright communication with the people i love. i try to be emotionally intimate with my friends, and have that deep connection of understanding. the people i can't do that with, i either try too hard and burn out, or we mostly stop talking. especially with cishet people, i have struggled to earn even a slight emotional weight to a friendship. is it just that aromantic people think more about emotions than others? i feel like we have to some degree be emotionally cognizant for us to understand our feelings, let alone try to explain it to others. let me bullet point some questions, this feels all over: what sort of things do you require in a close friendship? do you have standards about what you need from other people? have you ever had issues with your relationships not meeting your needs, and what have you done? how has that gone? with your personal standards, how has holding true to them gone? do you find a harm in having standards for your relationships? thanks. just been on the mind.
  17. This is something I've always had trouble with. Especially with folks who aren't a part of the LGBTQ+ community in any facet, it's something very hard for the people I've mentioned it to to grasp. The only person I've been able to confidentially speak my aromanticism to would be my sister, who's about as cool as they come ally-wise. I haven't had any luck finding a decent strategy to explain it, so I was wondering if anyone else has had luck in explaining themselves in a concise way to folks who ask. As a disclaimer: no, we don't owe anyone an explanation. We just, are, and people can't tell us we're not. We don't need to explain ourselves, but I'd like to try should it come up. Though often when people are eager to learn and just a simple "oh I'm aro" doesn't suffice, I'm trying to find a way to explain that I don't feel romantic attraction and no, it's just not just Not Wanting To Date People. If anyone has any experience in this, I'd love to hear stories, no matter who specifically you're explaining it to.
  18. It's hard to picture something you don't feel. While it's something I don't experience, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I see the romantic love people have for others every day. The important take away I think, is that we have to find it within ourselves not to have to understand how it happens, or understand what it's like (there's plenty of media on that, really!) to experience romantic attraction-- we just need to trust people to know what they feel. Do we always know? No. But we push people not to question what we say about our own orientation, it's only fair that we provide the same. TLDR; I understand where you're coming from, and I certainly don't mind philosophy, but we must have empathy. It's something we have to demand from other and from ourselves.
  19. I experience something very similar, actually. I'm pretty confident in my aro identity. It's the one thing I hold a lot of weight in because it's so... concise for me. It's something I've known about myself for years but only recently started embracing. For me, aesthetic attraction falls toward my orientation (I'm pretty confident that I'm gay, because I've tried to make myself like girls In That Way for years.) sensual attraction often tilts toward my orientation. I do experience sexual attraction, even though I'm asexual. That's a whole 'nother pack of worms, but I'm pretty sure I just want to control that as well, so it gets shoved under the weird mattress I keep. I'm aware of these parts of myself and know where my comforts are. However, I have a lot of struggles with affection. I worry a lot about coming off romantic to other people, so I don't touch a lot of people. It's exceptionally isolating and makes me feel worse, but I'm learning to have more physical relationships with my peers. Platonic intimacy is something I feel so strongly for, because when I have someone I care about, I want to hug them. I want to give them affection, which sometimes involves kisses. Sensual attraction is something I feel strongly, but it might be some.. uh, major touch starved bs. I don't see these actions as inherently romantic, but I wouldn't dare do this with anyone who wasn't fully aware of a.) my identity and b.) wasn't fully comfortable with it. I just find those things comforting and a way to silently distribute affection to my friends and the people I care about. I know I'm not romantically attracted to people, because that affection being turned into a relationship? Nopes me out hard. I never considered something like a platonic life partner before, I guess I didn't know it was possible, but I like the notion of it actually. I guess I never thought it was possible?
  20. I'm almost constantly aware that the people around me are very romantic. However. However, I ended up meeting a bunch of cis straight boys in my transfer orientation week upon coming to college. (I also recently found out roommate was cis and straight, and it shouldn't have bummed me out more than it has. Very much the realization of like, I will Never be able to talk to you about any aspect of my identity without hundreds of questions.) There was this student organization... thing, via college and we all went. Or we met that motley crew there. One of them asks for something to write on, and write with. I say why. He says, you'll see. He rips out a square from a paper plate. He writes his phone number on it. This, he says, flashing it to his friends, is how he's going to "pick up chicks." I bailed so hard, not wanting to see the fallout. Later with my roommate, I ask what he thought about it. We both agreed it was pretty cringe worthy. He talks about not having much experience but, and I'm just head in my hands. Very much "I just... don't care. I don't care about this. I'm just here. I'm just trying to be here I don't care about this at all."
  21. No Lover by Jetty Bones resonates a lot. It can be taken alloromantically, but "limelight, limelight / You'll get it when the time's right / It's my life, my life, but romance takes the spotlight" uh, pretty straight forward if you ask me.
  22. Jealousy can happen with friends! We've seen it on the playgrounds for years. It may seem silly, and jealousy kind of is in it's most basic forms, but it's a natural thing. We like something and we kind of want it to be ours- even if we know that people are allowed to come and go as they please, and that people don't belong to anyone. I used to get jealous of friend's S/O's displaying PDA, but that goes into my strange affiliation with affection. I think it's personally just centered about wanting to spend time with people you like, which is perfectly healthy. Sometimes the best thing I can do when I get like that (it isn't often these days) is distance myself. Teaches myself about like, not freaking out when people are hanging with other people, and gives me time to self reflect. I find self-reflection helps a lot of things, if you got the time and sit down about it.
  23. Kissing wise for me, I always end up thinking about what else we could be doing. I've never kissed someone who's in the a-spectrum like me, so most kissing was like a prelude to "other." Granted, I've wanted to kiss people I care about. In certain contexts where inhibition is low, I end up kissing my friend's knees and leaning against them, being more affectionate than I would usually (I put a tight lid on that shit normally.) But I don't know about actual kissing. I think with someone in the aro/ace spectrum would be nice, if only because context is well understood. 1.) I feel you about the labels. I gave up on figuring mine out since it vacillated. I take more comfort in umbrella terms than not, but I hope you found the one that works for you, friend! 2.) This is something that I'm really curious about. I don't understand yet the fullness of sensual attraction and etc. I'm pretty sure I'm homosensual, if I had to put a peg in it (often I've called myself gay aro/ace, which is just a lot of words. It feels like the a long winded way to say: I think masculine presenting people are cute, but don't date me.) but I think that makes the most sense. Sensual pretty much hits the marks for me, though. Touch starvation is a real thing, my dudes. Has anyone here kissed in a purely sensual context?
  24. i think this self-awareness is very enlightening. I know the way I examine myself is that I misunderstood what crushes meant, and when someone wanted to be partners I assumed this was a thing I wanted. I find myself in the weird space now where people assume what I want without first asking, despite their complete lack of involvement in it, or desire to be involved. I guess I've never gotten close enough to people (or I have, we've just remained close remarkably enough.) to feel like losing them was that devastating. It's so interesting to me how people differ. Like, I want to do "romantic" things with my friends, but to me those actions aren't romantic. This might also be the relationship anarchy in me, but I'm firm in the belief that you can do whatever with whomever (with prior discussion) and it can be entirely platonic, or simply just aromantic. Either way, really cool essay, I loved learning about this!
  25. I was thinking about this sort of thing today, actually. I found myself sort of sitting and putting hands on my face, trying to pretend it was someone else's. I was a really touchy kid growing up. Being raised socially as a female, it was fine. (except with boys.) Even when I began socially transitioning in high school, I held my friends' hands, I hugged them, I tried to give affection in plenty of ways. Due to my work life, I got really desensitized to touch, and it became something I wanted to control. Who, what, where, when. I wanted some sort of autonomy over it, and in the act of choosing I took it away from myself. Deprived myself of it, as if that made it better. Another thing I discovered about being out, in more ways than one, was how people viewed my touches. In my self-discovery, I hurt a lot of people being in relationships I shouldn't have. The concern above all else came from being afraid of sending the wrong signals. It wasn't about being "straight" or "gay" or not, it was a matter of fearing that someone saw it as romantic attraction, and the steps I took to prevent that have left me more closed off than I've ever been. OP kinda hits it in the head of like, everything being hardwired as a prelude to other things. I don't know, the only people I've talked about this sort of thing with (thankfully) has been one (1) also aromantic person. They sort of carved out the way I want other relationships I have in my life. But we both understand the context in which we talk about filling needs of skin hunger- as OP put it- so there's no fear of that. I feel like the only way I'd be able to do that with someone else is in those parameters. Ideally with someone aro, or someone who would understand. Sometimes I think irrationally about putting myself out there sexually to satisfy that need, but I know the thing that comes with skin hunger, at least for me, is wanting to share that physical intimate space with someone I care about. Unless hookups get a.) asexual and b.) really focused on caring for each other rather than goal-centered intercourse, focused on a persons own pleasure rather than the person you're with... I'm sorta SOL. We make do, and mostly that's just hoping that communities I'm reaching out to in college have a strong a-presence right now.
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