It’s Ace Week, and in lieu of actually writing a proper post (I’m technically on hiatus), I just wanted to share an edited version of a post I made on my fandom Tumblr recently, as well as some resources to learn more!
I am not linking directly to the Tumblr post; other participants in the conversation haven’t consented. My fandom blog isn’t a big secret or anything, so if you happen to find it, good job, yeah, that’s me! Hope you like Star Trek and Good Omens!
I wanted to share this here as well, though, for a useful, simple definition when it might be needed.
The Original Post:
A well-intentioned explanation of asexuality versus aromanticism that boiled down to, “Asexuals don’t like sex and rarely have a sex drive, but might like relationships. Aromantics don’t want relationships either.”
Asexuals can have and enjoy sex or have a sex drive! Some have a very high sex drive, even. They just do not experience sexual attraction. The difference is, basically, “Hey I could go for an orgasm” versus “I want that person, specifically, to give me an orgasm, because I find them hot and they make my bits go all tingly.”
Within the ace community the terms are “sex favorable,” “sex neutral,” and “sex repulsed” or “sex averse,” although even these are a spectrum and not, like, an immutable alignment chart. Some asexuals love to masturbate but would prefer not to have anyone in the room, ever, for any sexy things. Some asexuals would be perfectly happy to install some doll anatomy. And some asexuals are down for bone town, but they aren’t sexually attracted to people. (They may still prefer to have sex with, say, a specific person or people, like their partner(s), or someone they’re romantically attracted to. Some don’t care and are happy to enjoy casual sex without attraction.)
I’m a…basically a sex-neutral demisexual (i.e. only sexually attracted after forming some kind of bond to someone) with a high sex drive, married to a sex-averse asexual with an occasional sex drive that doesn’t really involve people. We connect in other intimate ways, because traditional sex isn’t for us. We’re still in a committed relationship, and sometimes we do things that most people would only do with a sexy partner, and just don’t involve genitals.
Why am I telling you this?
Because sexual attraction and sexual behavior are both extremely complex things, and you don’t have to follow a specific pattern for a label to fit. It took me until I was 33 to realize I was on the asexual spectrum, because I didn’t think I counted, or something.
I can’t speak as much to aromantic people but suffice to say from what I understand, having spoken to friends and read: some are still interested in partnership! Some make really awesome partners! Some aren’t interested at all! Some like sex! Some don’t! (I’ve definitely seen people demonize aromantic allosexuals, like, “How dare you want sex without love!” and it’s gross.) Aromanticism also exists on a spectrum, like asexuality, and can be expressed and experienced any number of ways.
Asexuality isn’t discussed much even in queer circles and definitions can and do change over time, you know? But atypical sexual and romantic expression is basically my passion so I got excited to talk about this, though of course, there are so many nuances that I barely even touch on everything in this post. But I hope it helps.
More Ace Info
Would you like more ace (and aro) voices? Here are some other a-spec adult bloggers and other resources; if this feels familiar, it’s because I put most of the same list on my Twitter.
Ace in the Hole, formerly another reviewer, has now geared her site towards ace education!
Formidable Femme is a powerhouse grey-ace and demi creator!
Mother Goose D (Twitter) writes reviews and sexy things and is on the aro-ace spectrum.
Ace Dad Advice (Twitter) is not a particularly adult resource, but I love how kind and calm he is.