Sunday, March 20, 2011

The "R" Word Continued

Tackling Romance and How It Fits In with Asexuality
Part 2 of 2

Apfel Zet - Letter R
I’ve explained romance’s place in our culture, but there’s no place for that kind of romance in my life.  It doesn’t fit and I won’t accept it.  As a romantic asexual it would be convenient to train myself to do one of two things; I could follow the romantic blueprint, get into a relationship, and try to mold that relationship around the pre-set standard.  (After all, isn’t that what partners and couples do every day?)  Or, I could avoid romance at all costs.  I could not interact with anyone in a ‘romantic’ way and flat out not pursue relationships at all; and for a long time that’s what I did.  I thought I was taking a stance for myself by refusing to concede to this way of coupling.  If those were the rules to the game, then I wasn’t going to play at all.  I thought I was doing what was best for me.
            In reality I was doing just the opposite.  I was depriving myself of experiencing other people on a higher intimate and emotional level because I didn’t want to do it in a way that wasn’t true to my feelings, wants, or needs.  I was taking a stance, but those same wants and needs were still going unmet.  Neither of the options were working for me.  I couldn’t avoid romance, but I couldn’t force and pretend my way into either.  Society had been right.  What I wanted was impossible to achieve, but only because I was playing by their standards.  If I was going to have romance there was going to need to be a change.  I was going to have to do it my way.    

            We all have the opportunity to dictate how we go about everything in the world, including how we experience each other as sexual beings, but like every other aspect of our  lives, society and culture work overtime to program us to experience each other in a specific way.  The illusions of what are ‘natural’ and ‘normal’ are created and can become so engrained in us that we can’t separate ourselves from their false definitions and they become a part of our evolution.  With sexual people this is not always an immediate problem; or rather it is more carefully masked and groomed, to the point where it seems completely appropriate and expected.  People who experience sexual attraction receive signals form everywhere around them telling them exactly how to act on those feelings and with whom.  Regardless of the sexuality of the person, those who experience sexual attraction have two things in common; the ability to experience attraction on a sexual level, and a blueprint that tells them exactly how to play that attraction out.
           
Asexuals receive the same sexual and romantic frequencies that are sent out just like sexual people.  The difference is we don’t have the component of sexual attraction to attach to these signals and social sexual cues.  Because we differ on that one component it can be challenging to handle how to receive all of it.  For me, I imagine it as trying to pay a game of Monopoly, but without all the cards and pieces, just the game board and the instructions.  You can make an attempt to play, but it isn’t going to work.  (Believe me, I’ve tired.)  But where one system doesn’t work and new one can be created. 

For a long time I thought I was aromantic.  I was looking at the translation of romance the world was showing me and I thought, “I don’t want that.”  I took me a while to realize that just because I didn’t want that - dinner dates and kissing in movie theaters - didn’t mean I didn’t want something.  I had to reprogram myself, so to speak, and recreate what romance and relationships meant to me, not what they were supposed mean.  There are few things more beautiful than beginning to create your own romance language

My romance language is first reliant on one thing; a mutual feeling of romantic attraction between the other person and myself.  From that it develops from a sum of everything that causes that person to present themselves as who they are.  I am extremely attracted to people who have managed to find and execute their authentic self.  A person who attracts me romantically is a person who is enough themselves to pull my attention from my own world for moment and hold it there until I want to insert myself into their world; to weave our worlds together.  When I feel that way towards someone, just being in the same room with them is romantic to me.

I think these are feelings that anyone who has been attracted to someone can relate to.  The difference for me is that I don’t need, nor want, these feelings to feel like their purpose is to lead up to something, be it sex or anything else.  I want my romantic feelings to simply exist as they are, to float between the other person and myself without demand and expectation.  I don’t want those feelings to start winding down a path that has already been laid out in order to sustain specific outcomes.  Romance for me is when I’m with another person and those feelings that make our worlds want to blend levitate, without urgency, in a space of validity and timelessness between us.

So there you have it, one asexual’s explanation of romantic attraction, and the definition of my romantic language, but don’t let asexuals have all the fun.  Everyone should take the time to investigate their own language of romance.  In my next entry I’ll start to talk about how I put these discoveries and feelings to the test in actual relationships with partners who *gasp* experience sexual attraction.

To get another asexual perspective on romantic attraction check out Swankivy’s article at Good Vibrations:

7 comments:

  1. Thank you, I'm glad! I've been reading up on your blog and really enjoy the tone of your posts.

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  2. I'm kind of lost as to what to say,I very much admire the fact that you're true to yourself.On another level I seem to be fighting all my live to get women to realise they're not on this planet to accomadate men.I sincerely hope you have true friends who support you and see how absolutly brilliant you are for being YOU

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  3. That last paragraph is lovely. A lot of people think 'romance' equals sex, when it's not that way at all. (holymolar-swapbot)

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  4. I'm looking forward to reading your next entry. I don't think romance should equal sex. I think of myself as a very romantic person, but I'm that way with everyone - my partner, my best friends, my sisters. I love to make people feel good and happy and special.

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  5. Very enlightening. I consider myself to be open to various types of sexuality (I'm polyamorous myself), but I've done asexuals a disservice by not think of asexuality as an under-represented group. I look forward to reading more about you and your journey. (PisceanMama from Swap-Bot)

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  6. @patricias fabric art:

    You're right, that is not why women are here, and I think asexuality helps force us to change our thinking about that. Thanks for the kind words.

    @Christine:

    Glad you see it that way as well!

    @Emma:

    I feel the same way. I love the way humans form communities of intimacy to surround ourselves with.

    @Amber:

    I'm glad you're on board! And I identify as panromantic, which is probably the asexual equivilent of being polyamorus.

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