I hosted the Carnival of Aces this past month. Below is the round-up of posts written this month on Aromanticism & The Aromantic Spectrum.
To see many wonderful posts for other topics written about for past carnivals, or to host and come up with your own theme for a future Carnival of Aces, check out the masterpost, here: https://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/a-carnival-of-aces-masterpost/ which also explains what the Carnival of Aces is.
I found it surprisingly enlightening, in the end, with people posting a vast array of experiences and opinions on related topics. We ended up with 14 total people submitting, and 17 links for you to click!! Please consider reading all of the amazing posts.
1. First, kaleighaw17 wrote A Walk Through My Experience of Attractions: https://kaleighzyx.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/105/ which is a very personal piece that spans a lot of territory! Check it out!
Here’s a quote from it:
After a time of getting to know someone, if their character fits what my orientation looks for, I start to fit into the model of a “fangirl”: I start smiling uncontrollably and squealing and hugging my pillow and burying my face in it and daydreaming (and even night dreaming) about them and getting incoherent at the very thought of them. My breathing gets erratic, my heart races, my skin gets tingly, my stomach feels like its jumping up and down. It’s actually a really enjoyable sensation, it feels like an adrenaline rush (maybe it is?).
2. Then sexyaussiekirkland wrote on her tumblr about Understanding Romantic Attraction: http://sexyaussiekirkland.tumblr.com/post/130528111594/october-carnival-of-aces-submission, which is another personal piece.
Here’s a quote:
I was actually super confused about what it meant to have a crush on someone (even though I thought I knew for so many years, those turned out to be other forms of attraction). The definition of wanting to do romantically coded things with someone wasn’t super helpful, as this overlapped into all my other relationships. Not to mention that despite my many fantasies about kissing my “crushes”, the actual act itself was not at all appealing to me.
3. Sara K. wrote a piece titled, An Aromantic Reader and Fictional Romances: https://thenoteswhichdonotfit.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/the-aromantic-reader-and-the-fictional-romances/.
It was only when I was in high school that I started to actually enjoy romances in fiction, which at the time I assumed had something to do with puberty and becoming a sexual/romantic person … ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
However, even then – and ever since then, I may add – I have found romances where the main couple does not get a happily-married ending to be especially satisfying. Okay, sometimes I do root for the main couple to get together and get their happily-paired-for-life ending, but I often like it better when they don’t.
4. Saki wrote her first Carnival of Aces entry this past month, and it didn’t have a title, but it was dealing with Quoiromantic/Quoiromanticsm, which falls on the aromantic spectrum: http://wherethecherryblossomsdance.tumblr.com/post/131234545861/october-carnival-of-aces-submission .
I stumbled upon asexuality while on Tumblr, and after doing some research on it and thinking back to my experiences growing up (or lack thereof), everything clicked. Unlike my romantic orientation, my sexual one brought me peace, comfort and happiness. It felt good to understand and have a label for what I was going through and experienced (or rather, what I didn’t.)
This would not, and is still not the case for my romantic orientation, which I found out about the more I researched asexuality. As I began to use the label and identify with it, I stumbled upon the romantic orientations aspect of things, which is how asexuals determine their attractions outside of a sexual sense. After going through several of these orientations, I found aromanticism and the spectrum of identities that made it up. One of these was quoiromantic, and the definition given clicked, much like how asexuality clicked with me.
5. Saavok wrote about Being Aromantic: https://aceofspadessite.wordpress.com/2015/10/18/being-aromantic/
Discovering aromanticism was huge for me. It meant that I was not alone and not broken. I am now “out” as both asexual and aromantic to my friends and family, and even hang the pride flags from my dorm room door.
Being aromantic is not easy though. A lot of college seems to revolve around relationships, hell, the entire world seems to. Being single is almost a taboo in society. If you are not attached at the hip to someone, you must be lonely, or a hermit, or a crazy-cat-lady.
6. ABJ posted ON AROMANTICISM AND PLATONIC ATTRACTION on tumblr http://abj17.tumblr.com/post/131515807654/on-aromanticism-and-platonic-attraction.
I like this quote right at the beginning of the submission:
I’ve seen that already two submissions for the CoA are about the difficulty for aromantics to understand what the hell is romantic attraction and whether they feel it or not, ie whether they are aromantic or not. Consequently, I was about to give up this article : that is a subject that comes back often, so what is the point in adding my chattering to the already big amount of accounts ? Well, actually, that is precisely the reason why I should also share my experience. If we are so numerous to share this struggle, this is precisely because there is a need to talk about it. So, here I go.
Note that sexyaussiekirkland and ABJ had a back and forth conversation on tumblr in the reblogs of that piece, as well: http://sexyaussiekirkland.tumblr.com/post/131660460939/on-aromanticism-and-platonic-attraction — you may want to check it out!
7. Laura (ace-muslim) wrote Learning to Understand My Aromanticsm: https://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/learning-to-understand-my-aromanticism/
Here’s a nice quote:
…because sex and romance are so tied up in modern Western society, when I seek to avoid sexual relationships, this also has the effect of avoiding most romantic relationships. I don’t want either kind of relationship, so I’m sort of getting two for the price of one here, lol.
For most of my life, I had assumed romantic/sexual relationships were the only kind of partnered relationships that were on offer. I assumed I was destined for a solitary life.
Since learning about queerplatonic relationships, I’ve come to realize that I would like to have one some day, something I’ve been writing about for awhile. But I don’t know how to get from here to there.
8. Kiowa wrote an untitled tumblr piece as well. She mentions aromanticsm, demiromanticsm, romance-repulsion, and being aroflux. Her set up description for it was, “a lot about my personal relationship with aromanticism more than any kind of philosophical seriousness”: http://nolivingunderstarlight.tumblr.com/post/132245005299/this-is-a-submission-for-the-october-carnival-of
And a quote:
My primary need this whole time has been commitment. Everything else had just been a bonus – until I stopped feeling any desire for it. Then romantic gestures started hovering in this area between obligation and dread. And of course, that made me feel really terrible, because what kind of good partner feels obligated to do things that make their partner happy? Let alone dreading it?
9. Elizabeth wrote Updating the Map: Romantic Attraction and Friendship vs. Romance: http://prismaticentanglements.com/2015/10/31/updating-the-map-romantic-attraction-and-friendship-vs-romance/ and it’s also cross-posted to the Asexual Agenda.
I think that “romantic attraction,” to the extent that it could ever be somewhat coherent, necessarily must have more than one definition. The reason it’s so confusing? That’s because it doesn’t refer to a single emotion. It refers to a set of emotions, and desires that aren’t even necessarily all easily categorizable as emotions (although it’s still about feelings, not decisions). There isn’t one single feeling that would cause someone to desire a romantic relationship with a specific other person.
C had set the tone of our relationship very early on as being heavily romantic. It’s what she thought she was supposed to do, but it was unsustainable because she’s aromantic, so as it started to fade, I was very confused and she seemed to feel resentful. I think there were a lot of assumptions we both made about how the other was feeling. Specifically, she had assumed I was really infatuated with her and wanted to be with her all the time, when really I would have enjoyed a lot more alone time. What I had actually wanted was less time together, with more of that time being dedicated to things we both enjoyed.
10. Talia wrote: Coming to Identify as Demiromantic, Maybe?: https://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/coming-to-identify-as-demiromantic-maybe/
My romantic orientation as an experience might be constant, but the label I use to describe it has changed many times. It was only last week that I realized I’m probably demiromantic. Even after thinking about my romantic orientation for years I didn’t even realize it myself; my boyfriend pointed it out to me and then demiromantic just clicked.
When I started dating my current boyfriend I told him I was aromantic. He was a little concerned and wasn’t sure our relationship would meet his needs, but after I told him I loved holding hands, cuddling, kissing, and being in love, he was just confused.
There is so much gold in all of these posts, small quotes don’t do them justice, so please click through to read the full things!
11. dyemelikeasunset wrote about frustration with people insisting on romantic orientations in discussions of asexuality: http://dyemelikeasunset.tumblr.com/post/131967373250/ive-noticed-this-uncomfortable-trend-that-people
And yes, yes romantic orientations are a thing and very helpful for a lot of people, but it never sat right with me and I think I finally understand why?
When trans politics were becoming more mainstream, the popular thought was to separate sex and gender to help people “make sense” of trans people, but over time many trans people started saying that sex and gender were too hard to separate.
12. rotten-zuchinnis wrote three related tumblr posts, titled Notes on “types of attractions as orientations”.
The first part is important context, “the second part is about the problem with constructing romantic and sexual orientation as 2 independent orientations.” and the third part is “about how that independent orientation construction takes the focus away from relationships and things other than attraction that govern how people do (non-romantic) relationships).”
Part 1: neoliberal identity politics: http://rotten-zucchinis.tumblr.com/post/132065668670/notes-on-types-of-attractions-as-orientations
Sexual orientation isn’t ( and didn’t become ) a major thing because people have personal, individual experiences of feeling sexual attraction and having sexual desires for other people. It’s a thing because ( based on those feelings ), people do things like form relationships and interact with systems of power and oppression. It’s a thing because it’s intimately tied up with people’s lived, material realities.
Part 2: problems of orientation *independence*: http://rotten-zucchinis.tumblr.com/post/132118572655/notes-on-types-of-attractions-as-orientations
There’s this newfangled emphasis of separating “aromanticism” from “asexuality” at all costs, even though some of us aroaces experience these things together and as one experience.
Part 3– QP relationships and/not platonic attraction: http://rotten-zucchinis.tumblr.com/post/132310221525/notes-on-types-of-attractions-as-orientations
I have had squishes on people. But that’s never been a relevant factor in forming relationships for me. And it’s certainly never led to, contributed to or motivated me toward developing a personal relationship with someone, let alone an intimate or significant personal relationship.
There is so much in these posts, and Coyote has already reacted to them here. Please consider reading them.
13. Writer Ace wrote The Ambiguity of Demiromanticism: http://writer-ace.tumblr.com/post/132341010303/the-ambiguity-of-demiromanticism
Here’s the thing: I didn’t love my first boyfriend. I dated him for eighteen months, and I’m not sure if I felt ever romantic attraction towards him during the entire time. Maybe, but maybe not. Because while I liked some things that we did—going to see movies, eating dinner together, holding hands—I didn’t like a lot of romantic-coded stuff. I didn’t like public displays of affection or showing off that I had a boyfriend or even particularly talking about the fact that I had a boyfriend.
This was different with my second boyfriend.
Make sure you click through to read HOW it was different. 😉
And finally, my own submission to the carnival.
14. luvtheheaven wrote Being an Aro Ace and Desiring (Foster and/or Adoptive) Parenthood: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/being-an-aro-ace-and-desiring-foster-andor-adoptive-parenthood/
I can play a game and pretend I don’t care about ever fostering or adopting. I can imagine what would make me happy. I think what would make me happy is to never date anyone again, to never have one single close partner (like a lot of people’s ideas of queerplatonic partners nowadays), etc. I don’t think I need that. I can have a group of friends and friendly acquaintances whom I enjoy the company of, where different friends provide different things for me. … This is how my life already is, and if I can find a way to sustain it, that would make me happy. …
Except… … I will feel some degree of like I missed out on my plan for my own life, at least if I… if I didn’t even try.
So that’s it folks!! PLEASE let me know asap in the comments if I missed someone’s post/didn’t link to one of the submissions. If you want to enter late, like within the next few days, that’s fine too. I can update this and add on the new submission.
I hope you enjoy reading all of the different posts as much as I did!