Don’t know what asexuality is? Don’t understand why someone might identify as aromantic? Would like, as a sex-positive feminist, to quit dismissing asexuality as a “problem” or illness or personal shortfall?
Here’s a little piece on people who identify as aromantic, and one particular variant of that identity:
* Also related to numbers: some people identify as aromantic, i.e. experiencing no romantic attraction. And some, like me, go “hold on a second, what’s this ‘romantic attraction’ thing and where are you drawing the line between it and platonic relationships? I don’t understand! How do you tell the difference between romantic love and friendship love and …”
Of late, we’ve been calling this wtfromantic (although I still like calling it “romantic orientation of divide by cucumber” and other people may have their preferred terms) for Makes No Sense, Does Not Compute, Wrong Question. What we’ve been talking about a lot is things like relationships that don’t fit the romance/friendship binary; emotional commitment; partnership and intimacy outside of romance; etc. This has some interesting intersections with polyamory.
I have to say that I entirely grok this; it has long been a dilemma for me that there is a certain intensity and intimacy in some of my friendships which I, or others, have misinterpreted as having been more than they were — especially when it comes to rules of sexual orientation, such as the When Harry Met Sally one (which states that het men can’t ever be friends with het women). I have spent more time explaining that my closest friendships are often with straight men, or with men who are straight but who radiate some kind of queer sensibility (e.g., the kind of guys others may think are closeted or bi).
That said, a lot of relationships that survive transition seem to make their way into this category, where the relationship becomes (infamously) “like sisters” or comprising an intimacy that once was but is no longer sexual (e.g. Jennifer Boylan & her wife).
On the one hand, I find these attempts to define every possible variation on types of friendship frustrating, but other times it is quite liberating – at the very least, to know others have been up against a similar feeling of not naturally falling into the ways other practice and/or conceptualize their lives and personal attachments.