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Not a frigid spinster?!


AllTalk
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Hi all, 

 

New here, physically and conceptually! 

 

I'm a mid-30s female, have always classified as heterosexual ... But practice, fantasy, and attraction don't necessarily align with simply that.

 

I've always assumed that I would just be single forever, have never fantasized of marriage and a family, have not sought out dating relationships of any sort. With the couple of guys I've dated in the past, I've generally just wanted out and away from that awful claustrophobic anxious situation of being emotionally connected to someone. 

 

I've joked around saying I'm too jaded and cynical to believe in relationships. I've played the "I don't have time for relationships because I'm focused on my career" card. Close friends and family just know and accept that I won't be making any babies or bringing a significant other to occasions. 

 

99% of the time, I am totally okay with this scenario. But that 1% of the time I ask myself what the heck is wrong (different? missing?) with me? Why don't I have that biological urge to couple up and fall in love and make babies? Why have I never planned my dream wedding or dreamed of a spouse or even just wanted to go on friggen' dates?! I mean, society says ppl date others and want love, so why don't I? (I am aware of the ridiculousness of that statement ?.)

 

Anyways, today is one of those 1% days so I started Googling. I knew asexual was a thing, so I started there. Some nice ppl over on the AVEN forum brought up this idea of a romance spectrum in addition to a sexuality spectrum. MIND BLOWN!! I mean, I really don't think I'm asexual. I like sex and sexy things. In terms of sexual attraction, I'd classify somewhere in the realm of pansexual. But the ability to separate sexuality and romantic relationships is a brand new concept to me! Along with "spinster", "not marriage material", and "voluntary old maid", I've also considered that maybe I'm a slut but just really really bad at it?? ?

 

Really, this potential of "aromantic" is SO much more appealing! So, all the boxes check nicely. I think this one fits. I'm still just hours into my discovery of this option, but so far, it feels good. Looking forward to chatting with you all and really figuring out if this is where I should be. 

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Hi :). Your story sounds familiar!

 

18 hours ago, AllTalk said:

I've played the "I don't have time for relationships because I'm focused on my career" card

Same. Always pushed it down to the bottom of my priorities! "I'll get around to that later, after I've ..."

Also figured for a while I was just too cowardly to push myself to try dating, but it doesn't really fit. I've pushed myself to do other things that scare me. But with those things, there was an intrinsic motivation to overcome the fear, which seems to be what's lacking in the case of dating...

 

18 hours ago, AllTalk said:

Anyways, today is one of those 1% days so I started Googling. I knew asexual was a thing, so I started there. Some nice ppl over on the AVEN forum brought up this idea of a romance spectrum in addition to a sexuality spectrum. MIND BLOWN!! I mean, I really don't think I'm asexual. I like sex and sexy things. In terms of sexual attraction, I'd classify somewhere in the realm of pansexual. But the ability to separate sexuality and romantic relationships is a brand new concept to me! Along with "spinster", "not marriage material", and "voluntary old maid", I've also considered that maybe I'm a slut but just really really bad at it?? ?

 

Haha. This is also the exact same way I came across aromantic as a thing. I had a similar MIND BLOWN moment :D It's a big issue IMO that sexual people are pretty unlikely to have familiarity with concepts that were developed within the asexual community. Which is a shame as they are quite helpful for sexual aromatics! 

 

7 hours ago, AllTalk said:

I'm a geneticist

That's pretty cool. Have you isolated the gene(s) for (a)romanticism yet? xD

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@NullVector twinsies!!

Haha I'm just so excited that there are ppl here (and out there in general) that understand. 

 

I feel somewhat fortunate, as personally, I haven't felt overly judged/ostracized for the aromantic life I've been living (even when I didn't know there was a name for it). Ppl are generally okay with the idea of a single professional woman of my age. I'm sure there are plenty of curiosity questions out there in theinds of ppl who semi-know me, wondering if I'm gay or whatever (because that is the only terminology most ppl have). But I'm overtly cis-female enough that no one's really bugged me about it. But there's always been a secret uncomfortable knowledge that I'm not legitimately heterosexual, as everyone who knows me believes, I've been able to hide my pansexual-ness, because the aromantic part of me means that I'm very unlikely to act upon, or propogate, anything! So, in a way, this realization that aromantic is "a real thing" has allowed me to also be okay with accepting my pansexuality. I don't foresee a point where I'll ever be "forced" to wear that identity anywhere I'm not comfortable, so it sits easier within me. If that makes any sense at all. I can personally say that I'm pansexual, accept it within myself, but not have to reveal anything I don't want to because the aromantic part of me is a cloak for that. Good deal, I guess, eh?? Haha

 

30 minutes ago, NullVector said:

That's pretty cool. Have you isolated the gene(s) for (a)romanticism yet? xD

Ha!! No. Ppl are too complicated. The ethics are much nicer to deal with in non-human species. I'll stick with my animal genetic research. 

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10 minutes ago, AllTalk said:

I've been able to hide my pansexual-ness, because the aromantic part of me means that I'm very unlikely to act upon, or propogate, anything! 

@James White has his sexuality down as "Heterosexual, but so aro it doesn't even matter" on his profile, which I think several of us on here find super relatable! Maybe you can say the same for you and pansexual?

 

15 minutes ago, AllTalk said:

Ha!! No. Ppl are too complicated. The ethics are much nicer to deal with in non-human species. I'll stick with my animal genetic research

Have you isolated the (a)romantic gene(s) in fruit flies? ;)

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In my opinion, the genetic reasons for aromanticism and asexuality are really interesting. I think it's too common to be due to natural mutation rate, and I don't think it's hereditary either as aros and aces would die out pretty soon. But there might be some epigenetic factor. One might be able to prove this by training a neuronal network to predict aro/aces from their DNA methylisation, but I think it would be really hard to get the training data.

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31 minutes ago, not_my_standard_username said:

In my opinion, the genetic reasons for aromanticism and asexuality are really interesting. I think it's too common to be due to natural mutation rate, and I don't think it's hereditary either as aros and aces would die out pretty soon. But there might be some epigenetic factor. One might be able to prove this by training a neuronal network to predict aro/aces from their DNA methylisation, but I think it would be really hard to get the training data.

 

I read somewhere that the most common theory about sexual orientation is that it is determined in the uterus. So not genetic but not uppbringing either. Maybe it's the same with aromanticism. I wonder if there are any factors that could cause it. Like if someone eats a lot of grapes while pregnant the baby will be aromantic ?

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21 hours ago, not_my_standard_username said:

In my opinion, the genetic reasons for aromanticism and asexuality are really interesting. I think it's too common to be due to natural mutation rate, and I don't think it's hereditary either as aros and aces would die out pretty soon.

II suspect that there are very different things at work here.
There have been various attempts to find a "gay gene". Mostly completely ignoring that bisexuals and asexuals exist, Also potentially  assuming that totally straight is baseline for humans.

The most obvious difference is that whilst "sexual orientation" has always been a part of humanity the notion of "romance", let alone "romantic orientation" is very recent. With the idea that it would be a requirement for a sexual relationship being even more recent.
TBH romance makes a lot more sense as a social meme akin to fashion.

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6 hours ago, Mark said:

The most obvious difference is that whilst "sexual orientation" has always been a part of humanity the notion of "romance", let alone "romantic orientation" is very recent. With the idea that it would be a requirement for a sexual relationship being even more recent.

I think, romance has to be quite old. The gestation period of humans is quite long, and even after birth the mother doesn't have time for years. In my opinion, this wouldn't have been possible to sustain as a single mother in stone age, which lead to evolution giving the father a reason to stay.

Furthermore, I recently read a paper about the correlation of group sizes and traditions of monogamy vs polygamy. They found that when a group grows bigger, at one point the group with a monogamous tradition grows faster than the the one with polygamy as the spread of STDs wasn't contained in the polygamous one which made up for the higher birth rate. This would also lead to the evolution of "love" as a way to ensure monogameous relationships.

Based on these  two arguments "Love" is a concept which would make sense to be around since the stone age or at least since the first cities began to form.

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On 8/27/2018 at 11:43 AM, not_my_standard_username said:

I think, romance has to be quite old.

Whilst that's a common belief it's simply not the case. Though so strong is that belief that it's common for history (and prehistory) to be retconned 
Romantic love first appeared around the time of The Renaissance.
Even the association of romance with marriage only started around 160 years ago.

 

On 8/27/2018 at 11:43 AM, not_my_standard_username said:

The gestation period of humans is quite long, and even after birth the mother doesn't have time for years. In my opinion, this wouldn't have been possible to sustain as a single mother in stone age, which lead to evolution giving the father a reason to stay.

The social structures of stone age people is entirely down to speculation. Since there are no written records. Though modern hunter gather societies tend to operate in fairly small tribal groups. Rather than any kind of couples. The so called "nuclear family" being a recent family concept.

 

On 8/27/2018 at 11:43 AM, not_my_standard_username said:

Furthermore, I recently read a paper about the correlation of group sizes and traditions of monogamy vs polygamy. They found that when a group grows bigger, at one point the group with a monogamous tradition grows faster than the the one with polygamy as the spread of STDs wasn't contained in the polygamous one which made up for the higher birth rate. This would also lead to the evolution of "love" as a way to ensure monogameous relationships.

There are two obvious problems with this reasoning.
1) Both monogamous and polygamous marriage traditions exist in the modern world.
2) People have extra marital sex fairly often. Regardless of the type of marriage their society sanctions.

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@Mark I just came across this TED talk which claims that even animals fall in love. Why shouldn't early humans too?

3 hours ago, Mark said:

There are two obvious problems with this reasoning.
1) Both monogamous and polygamous marriage traditions exist in the modern world.
2) People have extra marital sex fairly often. Regardless of the type of marriage their society sanctions.

This is the study I talked about. Sadly, the article is in german but if I can find an english version of it, I'll link it here. Until then, the google translator isn't taht bad anymore.

The orignal study: Bauch, C. T. und McElreath, R.: Disease Dynamics and Costly Punishment can Foster Socially Imposed Monogamy. In: Nature Communications 7, 2016

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