AA: What’s “normal” for an allo?

That is, how common is it for people who do experience sexual attraction to care more about friendship than romance or sex?  I got a message to that effect last night, though worded more in-depth than that.  I’m not well-equipped to answer it directly, not being allosexual myself, and all my knowledge of alloromantic-allosexual experiences is colored by media portrayals which I have to suspect are at least a little unrealistic (and place undue emphasis on romance and sex).

I’m publicizing the question in the hopes that any allo folks reading this (people who feel sexual attraction regularly, and have at least one gender of people they think are “hot”) can provide some perspective.  Would it be weird/contrary to your nature for you to prioritize friendships over romantic-sexual relationships?  How common do you estimate that might be, and do you know other allosexuals who feel that way?

I’m opening the floor for input.  In the mean time, here’s what I can add.

The asker indicated feeling nonsexual aesthetic attraction more often than sexual attraction, and that sexual attraction doesn’t occur “at first”, calling themselves an “unusual allosexual”.  Something this reminded me of — and that anyone who feels similarly may want to look into — is demisexuality.  Demisexuality is an ace-spectrum orientation somewhere between allosexuality and asexuality.  Disbelief, hostility, and invalidating attitudes are similar toward demisexuals as they are for asexuals, since the definition of demisexuality sounds bizarre to those unfamiliar with it and haven’t heard first-hand from actual demis about their experiences, leading them to mistake it for an approach to relationships rather than a sexual orientation.  However, the defining feature of demisexuality has nothing to do with an individual’s sexual mores or personal decisions.

A demisexual is anyone who cannot experience sexual attraction to people unless a strong emotional bond is formed.  This is not the same thing as a decision to “wait”; some demis might, some might not.  It’s entirely possible for a demi to always be up for casual sex, since attraction is not the same thing as desire, but if they want to only have sex with the people they’re sexually attracted to, they might be in a long wait, because forming a strong emotional bond with someone is no guarantee that sexual attraction will occur (the same way that a heterosexual man wouldn’t necessarily be attracted to every woman).

I don’t mean to imply that the asker must necessarily be demisexual in order to feel this way, but it’s something to consider, if 100% allosexuality no longer feels right.  The beginner’s resources on demisexuality I recommend are Queenie’s Visualizing Demisexuality post and metapianycist’s Demisexuality Flowchart post (which comes with an image description), and as always, you’ll want to read personal experiences from people who actually identify as such in order to truly get a sense of it.

The usual disclaimer: this blog is supportive of and recognizes the legitimacy of demisexuals and affirms their right to identify in the way that feels the most accurate to them.  Anti-demisexuality sentiments from people who don’t understand the definition will not be tolerated.

The other part of the message I received, though it wasn’t divided in parts, referenced limited or absent romantic feelings.  This is a separate issue from allosexuality, and it’s possible for people of any sexual orientation to be aromantic (the romantic counterpart to asexuality — the pattern of not experiencing romantic attraction).  That said, “romantic” is a fuzzy concept, and there are romantic-attraction-experiencing folks who have varying levels of interest in traditionally-romantic activities and behaviors.  Then again, it’s also possible for aromantic people to be content in romantic relationships for the sake of companionship, without experiencing any romantic feelings personally (though this statement probably represents a minority among aromantics and is not accurate for the many who prefer to stay out of romantic relationships altogether).

Determining where you fall in terms of romantic orientation can require a lot of introspection in some circumstances and is something I still haven’t even figured out for myself yet.  It’s okay not to care much about it, and it’s okay not to use labels for yourself at all, but regardless, the question of one’s romantic orientation has little to do with whether one is allosexual.

I hope this introduced some useful information, and any demisexual or allosexual people reading this are invited to weigh in.

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4 responses to “AA: What’s “normal” for an allo?

  • AQ

    I have very little to contribute to this discussion. I just want to say that I’m very interested in the replies you get (if you get any) and to wish you a Happy New Year!

    Take care!
    -AQ

  • Calum P Cameron

    I… cannot comment from personal experience, so I put a request on Facebook for some of my less asexual friends to weigh in.

    I can tentatively offer that, from what I gather from listening in on other people’s conversations, valuing platonic or familial relationships more than romantic or sexual ones is at least not AS unusual as straight-up asexuality is.
    Beyond that, this very much is Not My Division.

  • Andrew Goudie

    Hey, I am a hetero guy, so I’ll tell you what I would tell a friend in this situation.

    Q)Would it be weird/contrary to your nature for you to prioritize friendships over romantic-sexual relationships?

    A) No, depending on the people involved. A close friend would take priority over a recent girlfriend, yet a long term GF would win out over a friend of an equal length of time, because usually the emotional connection is stronger there.
    (I am now engaged however, which means my fiancée wins out against all others, assuming all other circumstances are equal)

    How common do you estimate that might be, and do you know other allosexuals who feel that way?

    I would say easily upward of 50%. A friend of mine feels similar to me, and got in serious trouble from his other half because of this. Most of the guys I associate with are probably the same.

    I think the reasoning comes from a respect of people. If you look at it from the position that “You are my girlfriend/boyfriend and so many aspects of our relationship are deeper than that of a regular friendship because of the vulnerability and public commitment in being in that relationship. However, those deeper aspects don’t make a person ‘worth’ more to you than somebody who has been a friend to you in other ways.

    Hopefully that helps.

  • Hazel

    I think it is far more common then is portrayed by the media. In general a person, no matter their sexuality, will have lots of friends in the course of their life, however they will have comparatively few romantic relationships.
    I feel I value them relatively equally, but if you value friendship more I think you may love more in your life as you may love your friends as friends… Generally, I think it is quite lucky to value the one that is moderately easier to find higher. I’m happy for them. Hope this helps. :)

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