This is the second of two posts on asexuals, love, and relationships. The other is Do Asexuals Do Relationships Differently?
It has been suggested that asexuals, particularly aromantic aces, are capable of a unique form of non-sexual non-romantic love that is as intense and committed as in any romantic/sexual relationship. And perhaps there is some truth in this. If somebody only ever feels platonic forms love, then the way they think about and experience love may very well differ from others who feel distinct romantic/sexual types of love.
The asexual community has even developed a whole new vocabulary to talk about such non-sexual non-romantic experiences of love, emotions, and relationships. From squishes, to queerplatonic relationships, to romantic friendships, to affectionate friendships. And personally, I know of far more asexuals than allosexuals who desire or seek out something that falls somewhere between friendship and a full-on romantic relationship.
Yet I’m not convinced that this form of deep platonic love is anywhere near unique to asexuals. It makes sense that ways of talking about relationships have emerged in the ace community, that uncouple sexual orientation, romantic orientation, and love. We don’t experience them in the typical sex equals romance equals love way, so need to come up with new ways to describe our feelings. Continue reading
This is the first of two posts looking at the differences between asexuals and allosexuals. The second part will hopefully be up in a few days
I find this question incredibly difficult to answer, not least because there is no typical way in which asexuals do relationships – there is a massive range of feelings, experiences, and attitudes towards having relationships. For that matter the same is true among allosexuals once you move beyond looking at heterosexual monogamous romantic-sexual relationships. And comparing such diverse groups of people is not straight-forward.
But bearing that in mind how might asexuals and allosexuals differ in relationships? Going by a common definition among the ace community the only thing distinguishing asexuals is a “lack of sexual attraction and/or sexual desire towards others”. And I would sum up the distinction when it comes to relationships as simply that asexuals need to negotiate with their partner(s) the consequences of their lack of sexual attraction/desire.
So what are the consequences of not experiencing sexual attraction/desire within a relationship? It really depends on how an asexual feels about sex. Whether it provokes negative feelings and repulsion to the idea of having sex, or positive feelings and enjoyment of the physical side of sex (e.g. orgasms), or neutral feelings and a “could take it or leave it” attitude. There are asexuals who experience each of these emotions towards sex. And there is no typical way for an ace to feel about sex within a relationship.