Right or wrong, I always get the feeling somebody’s about to say something cruel or inaccurate whenever they use the phrase “cishet aro/aces.”  To me it just seems fundamentally bizarre and misguided as a phrase and as a conceptual grouping, because it’s (according to the usage I’ve seen) lumping in aro heterosexuals with hetrom aces, and… if someone doesn’t already have the cultural context to know what’s weird about that, I don’t expect them to have nuanced and informed opinions on aros or aces.  ‘Cause even though from an abstract vantage point, “aromantic heterosexual” and “heteroromantic asexual” just look like flipped versions of each other, in practice… the aro community is way smaller and looser than the ace community.  I don’t know if it’s just what channels I expose myself to, but aro non-aces are like… barely there or barely vocal.  Maybe I just haven’t seen it yet, but to me it seems like they’re just not involved in identity politiking the way hetrom aces are.  So I’m confused why you would even bring up aro heterosexuals at all.  Do you think the aro and ace communities are one big merged evenly-mixed blob, and that when you address one, you’re addressing the other?  Do you think hetrom aces and aro heterosexuals occupy interchangeable social positions?  Why is this a thing?

12 responses to “

  • Dendritic Trees

    I’ve noticed theres a very strong correlation between the term ‘cishet aro/aces’ and the commenter devaluing ace and aro identities. So what they tend to mean, in my experiences is ‘people who I’m going to assume are basically
    straight and whose ace or aro identities I’m gonna ignore’.

  • Alex Black

    What I wonder is whether they’re also trying to cram aro aces into that same category. It seems like aro aces always throw the queer police for a loop when they are trying to argue that same-sex attraction (of any kind) is the defining feature of queerness (perhaps adding trans as an afterthought, if they remember that there’s a T in LGBT).

  • queenieofaces

    I’ve seen a lot of fear surrounding aro heterosexuals, specifically aro heterosexual men. The argument goes they’re just straight guys who are hiding behind the aro label, which allows them to have sex with women but not do the emotional work necessary to have a relationship. I haven’t actually seen any aro heterosexual men making this argument (or…any aro heterosexual men at all?), but I see them invoked a fair amount (often alongside sapiosexuals).

    • Coyote

      I saw an aro hetersexual man once! On an aro forum. He was saying he considered himself straight. That’s… about the full extent of what I’ve seen by aro het men about being aro het.

      (Also lol re: that argument, as if professing romantic attraction gaurantees a man won’t be exploitative).

  • Sennkestra

    At this point, I pretty much brace for assholery the moment I see the word cishet. Since almost everything that uses the word “cishet” is based on a strawman anyway, I figure they just want to pack as many people in as they can before they set it all on fire. (I mean, considering how often aro aces are included in those arguments, you don’t even have to be het to be a cishet).

  • Klaaraa

    Yeah, I used to think it was a good idea that a word like cishet exists to mark the People who are neither trans nor of a sexual orientation that is not dominant and privileged, for discussing axes of oppression, but the truth is that the shortness of the word allows for just that Thing, “heteroromantic has a -het- in it, therefor you are One Of The Cishets (unless you are trans)”. But cishet has worn out its usefulness when used simultaneously with split attraction.

    Anyway, I definitely believe that any given heteroromantic asexual has more in common with both aroaces and biromantic aces, than with heterosexual aromatics, including those that may not identify as straight. So no one on the inside would group those two together.
    And I further believe that any allo-queer hatekeeper that knows enough about asexuality and split attraction to be aware that both hetrom cis aces and LGBT aces exist, would really believe that aroaces are the same as hetrom aces. Unless they are into that definition wherein straightness is a lack of being targeted by homophobia. Which is very silly, especially considering that many non-SGA aces experience MISDIRECTED homophobia for not behaving straight…

  • Update | The Ace Theist

    […] occurred to me that I actually find it pretty strange that people who say “cishet aro/aces” aren’t the same people who say “monosexuals” (mostly, […]

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