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Orientation or only attraction?


Rony
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I think it's a good topic to talk about.

When we're talking about orientation, there are mentioned just two: sexual and romantic (and exactly in this order). But when we're talking about attraction, there are also other ways how persons are attracting or not attracting, for example: platonic, alterous. To be honest, I feel like the other types are simply treated like "worst", "not significant", "they don't deserve to be called like that".

I'm identifying myself as aroace demi/grayplatonic and graysensual (without being sure who is attractive to me due to my conditional experience of it), and I'm more about to say: hey, but it's my orientation, not just attraction.

And what do you think about it?

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39 minutes ago, Rony said:

To be honest, I feel like the other types are simply treated like "worst", "not significant", "they don't deserve to be called like that".

I agree with this, mainly because I think these different types of attraction are seen as less valuable or less influential to one's lived experience than sexual and romantic attraction. I think this may have something to do with the fact that they aren't talked about very much in mainstream society? I imagine that if we had more conversations about these ideas in public spheres, then we would take them more seriously. 

41 minutes ago, Rony said:

I'm identifying myself as aroace demi/grayplatonic and graysensual (without being sure who is attractive to me due to my conditional experience of it), and I'm more about to say: hey, but it's my orientation, not just attraction.

And what do you think about it?

I think that (like I mentioned earlier) society has a very simplistic understanding of orientation, at least in the sense that it only considers romantic and sexual attraction as important elements of how a person interacts with others. And since people on the aromantic and/or asexual spectrums are more likely to think in terms of other types of attraction, I think it completely makes sense to include those types of attraction in a description of one's orientation. Though I think we should definitely normalize allo people doing this as well!

 

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2 hours ago, Rainy Robin said:

I agree with this, mainly because I think these different types of attraction are seen as less valuable or less influential to one's lived experience than sexual and romantic attraction. I think this may have something to do with the fact that they aren't talked about very much in mainstream society? I imagine that if we had more conversations about these ideas in public spheres, then we would take them more seriously. 

I think that (like I mentioned earlier) society has a very simplistic understanding of orientation, at least in the sense that it only considers romantic and sexual attraction as important elements of how a person interacts with others. And since people on the aromantic and/or asexual spectrums are more likely to think in terms of other types of attraction, I think it completely makes sense to include those types of attraction in a description of one's orientation. Though I think we should definitely normalize allo people doing this as well!

For sure, and I think that on top of that many people don't even realize that there could be other types of attractions. Besides romantic and sexual attraction, maybe aesthetic attraction is more "mainstream" but things like platonic attraction or sensual attraction, they might not even exist as far as most people are concerned. A queer friend of mine gave a presentation on attraction and only mentioned romantic, sexual, emotional, and physical (aesthetic), and her mind was blown when I mentioned that there can be up to 16 different kinds of attraction!

3 hours ago, Rony said:

I'm identifying myself as aroace demi/grayplatonic and graysensual (without being sure who is attractive to me due to my conditional experience of it), and I'm more about to say: hey, but it's my orientation, not just attraction.

And what do you think about it?

I think this is great! I myself have been thinking a lot more about this as well. I say, if you experience another form of attraction that is important to you, then why not label it? There is the oriented aroace label that some people use to to signify that they experience other forms of attraction that isn't romantic or sexual, although the term is considered to have some issues. But it's just to show that others feel this way too, in that it's not just an attraction, it's part of their orientation.

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I totally agree about the point that many people aren't aware about all the different types of attraction. I certainly wasn't until I discovered AVEN and Arocalypse! We definitely need to normalize conversations about these topics. 

23 hours ago, Erederyn said:

There is the oriented aroace label that some people use to to signify that they experience other forms of attraction that isn't romantic or sexual, although the term is considered to have some issues.

Do you mind if I ask what issues the oriented aroace label has? I'm relatively new to the aro community and I haven't heard about this yet but I'd like to learn more. 

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On 1/29/2021 at 8:19 PM, Rainy Robin said:

Do you mind if I ask what issues the oriented aroace label has? I'm relatively new to the aro community and I haven't heard about this yet but I'd like to learn more. 

Sure! Essentially, there was some discussion about it being exclusionary to aro and ace-spec people who experience some romantic/sexual attraction. I think the person who coined it defined it originally for aroaces who don't experience any romantic or sexual attraction at all. Also some people don't like the term "oriented" because it could imply that aromanticism/asexuality aren't orientations on their own. 

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i would argue its the same reason when most allos say they're straight or bi, they're talking about both their romantic and sexual attraction. for most people, they experience romantic & sexual attraction so closely that it's hard for them to make a clear divide. therefore, they kind of end up talking about them like they're the same/adjacent to the point of being the same gradient. likewise, i think aesthetic, sensual, etc., attraction might be experienced so closely to sexual and/or romantic attraction that it's just not a thing people naturally bother differentiating. though, i think the point does still stand, especially when talking about the way the assumption is that romantic feelings are better than platonic ones, which has a lot to do with our language having only one word, 'love,' [where the default is more romantic than not] with contextual adjectives not being the same as having different words for things a la greek, eros, agape, storge, philia, etc]. 

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7 hours ago, cyancat said:

likewise, i think aesthetic, sensual, etc., attraction might be experienced so closely to sexual and/or romantic attraction that it's just not a thing people naturally bother differentiating.

That's a good point! I have heard of this being the case for many allo people, that these are all bundled together often. But I imagine that it could still be possible for them to experience things like platonic attraction or aesthetic/sensual attraction just on their own. They might just not realize that they are different forms of attraction. I do wonder how often people could be potentially confusing other forms of attraction for romantic and/or sexual attraction simply because they don't know. 

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Platonic, sensual and aesthetic attraction were traditionally just used as examples to help people unsure about their asexuality. They aren't as well described as sexual or romantic attraction; there is not much material about them in isolation.

So when they're used as an orientation this problem pops up: Others often understand something different than those who use such an orientation – X identifies as aplatonic and understands it as "does not experience an emotionally charged attraction to form platonic bonds" but Y thinks it means "does not want to form platonic bonds ever". 🔥

And then there's the question what gendered platonic attraction is, if it even can be gendered (e.g. homoplatonic), and – to put it as diplomatic as possible – if that can count as an identity or is just the result of a certain conditioning that is relatively easy to reverse; and if there are any negative aspects to experience platonic attraction restricted to a gender. So that makes platonic orientation a hot topic.

Aesthetic attraction has similar issues. The appreciation of beauty is not restricted to be about humans. It could be about an animal, plant or inanimate object. If aesthetic attraction towards humans, pure and not mixed with other types of attraction, is not different from the feeling towards a inanimate objects experienced as beautiful, can it be an orientation? What would "a-aesthetic" mean? What does it mean to be gendered?

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