Using “Non-SAM” to mean Non-Rosol is Amatonormative

A while back, when I mentioned my growing impression that the way people talk about “the split attraction model” is amatonormative, the response I received at the time was mostly confusion. I didn’t really address it again until later — and since a lot of things were going on in that thread, I believe that particular point may have gotten lost in the shuffle. So this post is dedicated to bringing that back into focus and discussing exactly that: how using “SAM” (or “non-SAM”) to mean rosol (or non-rosol) is amatonormative. Allow me to explain.

In Part One of this post, I quote some examples to show how people are using the terms “SAM” and “non-SAM.” From these examples, I point out a pattern in what “(non-)SAM” is generally understood to mean: “using both romantic orientation and sexual orientation labeling.” From here, in Part Two, I’m arguing that — although many people don’t seem to realize it — this usage is unduly centering romance and disrespecting certain kinds of identities & experiences.

For reference, here are some things that I have already written about the term “split attraction model”:

Now onto the case itself.

Part One: how people are using the terms “SAM” and “non-SAM”

Here are ten examples of how people are understanding, explaining, and using the term.

First off, there’s this tumblr post, which purports to share “A History Of The Split Attraction Model” but instead just gives a history of affectional/romantic orientation, without getting into where the term “split attraction model” actually came from at all (hint: it wasn’t from aces). In addition to that focused investigation, consider the following more casual quotes:

there’s something called the split attraction model which is the idea that romantic and sexual orientation are separate. SAM basically means that you can be aroace, arobi, hetace, gaybi or whatever other combination you can come up with.

anonymous, at aro-aceplace

[To explain the SAM] I’d suggest a matrix/spreadsheet. The most simple would be 4×4. With a note to the effect of using bi to also mean pan, omni and poly. This could be colour coded to indicate perioriented: Aro Ace, Hetero Hetero (Straight), Homo Homo (Gay & Lesbian) and Bi Bi; exclusive variorinted: Aro Het, Aro Homo, Aro Bi, Hetero Ace, Hetero Homo, Homo Ace, Homo Hetero and Bi Ace or (overlapping) varioriented: Hetero bi. Homo Bi, Bi Hetero and Bi Homo.

Mark

It’s a term used by aro-spec and ace-spec to accurately explain our orientation. This is because you have Ace-spectrums people who are alloromantic (not aro) and Aro-spec who are allosexual (not ace).
What we do is we Split our orientation into Romantic and Sexual orientations. If you see someone who identifies as Bi-romantic ace, or someone who identifies as a Lesbian Aro, I can confirm with 95% surety, that they use the SAM.

Fork, at aro-to-the-knee

It was created by and for the aspec community, but people who are not aspec use it as well.

For example someone might be bisexual homoromantic i.e. They might experience sexual attraction to two or more genders and romantic attraction to the same gender.

The Split Attraction Model: Pros and Cons

So SAM stands for Split Attraction Model, and is used by people who tend to ‘split’ their attraction, aka an aromantic who is bisexual, or an ace who is hetrosexual, or an aromantic asexual who also identifies as a lesbian. 

Ax, at a-specvoid

If their romantic and sexual orientations are not aligned, people typically use it.

GalacticTurtle

I’ve generally seen people using it to explain that they have distinct sexual and romantic orientations – often ones that don’t match. I’ve always understood the split attraction model to be a framework for people to describe distinctions between their sexual and romantic orientations. 

Eatingcroutons

i need both those terms to accurately talk about my experiences of attraction – bisexual wasn’t enough and i can’t call myself aromantic without acknowledging my sexual attraction/orientation. at that time i didn’t know i was using what is called the split attraction model (SAM)

Tost

This is all very related to lunarian-therian’s point about people not fitting into the allo/aro dichotomy. Not everyone finds the SAM works for them, and the SAM is absolutely necessary for a non-sexual Romantic relationship to be a thing.

Laura, at shades-of-grayro

honestly the weirdest thing to come out of this aroace/aroallo thing is how people view non sam aros (and, by addition, non sam aces). they’re always linked in with the allo side of the community… but that’s weird to me because one of the important reasons i’ve opted out of the sam is because i’m not allo at all.

Afrofrantics

In these examples, just like in this chart, “split attraction model” is clearly being used to mean (or being presented as intertwined with) the idea of using two orientation labels — specifically for a romantic orientation and a sexual orientation. “Examples” of “using the SAM” include romantic-sexual identity label pairs. Not using it is implied to mean an absence of labeling along one of those two axes, such as an aro without a sexual orientation label or an ace without a romantic orientation label, placing the individual outside the a/allo binary along that axis.

Part Two: how using “non-SAM” to mean “non-rosol” is amatonormative

In Part One, I pointed out how (some) people are using the terms “SAM” and “non-SAM.” Effectively, they are using these terms to mean rosol and non-rosol. By (non)-rosol, I am referring to a particular way of talking about one’s identity as in/out of alignment with a certain norm. In the aro & ace communities, there is a norm of talking about “romantic orientation” and “sexual orientation” as two things that aros and aces have. In other words, we are expected to have a “romantic orientation” (RO) box and a “sexual orientation” (SO) box, and we are expected to apply labels according to those boxes. The more you relate to this norm as a useful framework for yourself, the more you could describe your identity as rosol. The more you feel alienated from this norm or want to distance yourself from it, the more you could describe your identity as non-rosol.

Referring to a non-rosol identity as “non-SAM” involves at least two steps that are largely going unquestioned.

ONE – ORIENTATION LANGUAGE: The name “split attraction model” ostensibly describes “splitting” up an otherwise-whole “attraction” — and yet people are using “SAM” to talk directly about orientation labels, sometimes even skipping all mention of attraction. The assumption here is that recognizing a subtype of attraction (whether you experience it or not) directly translates into using orientation language to talk about that type of attraction. In this model — the model of sorting people into a binary of SAM and non-SAM — orientations and attraction patterns are treated as interchangeable. Orientations based on things other than attraction patterns are not recognized. Attraction patterns that aren’t filtered into an orientation label are also not recognized.

TWO – THE SPLIT IS ROMANTIC: When people are using the phrase “split attraction” to talk about “using another orientation label in addition to a sexual one,” they consistently — consistentlyassume that the “additional orientation label” (or the type of orientation being “split” off from sexual orientation) will be a romantic one. There is no acknowledgement made that some people label themselves according to more than two types of orientation, and there’s also no acknowledgement that having multiple orientation labels doesn’t have to mean that one of them will be romantic. The consistent focus (and presumption) is the romantic & sexual pair. “Splitting” orientation or attraction in a way that doesn’t include “romantic” as one of the types is something this particular SAM/non-SAM binary doesn’t make room for.

Using “SAM” to mean rosol assumes that the effect & purpose of “splitting” (or recognizing different types of) attraction is to filter that attraction into different orientations. Using “SAM” to mean rosol assumes that the resulting orientations will feature a romantic orientation. Using “SAM” to mean rosol assumes that — other than a sexual orientation — a romantic orientation is the only kind of orientation that really matters to anyone. Using “(non-)SAM” to mean (non-)rosol expresses an undue centering of romance, aka amatonormativity.

Note I understand that most of this may be unintentional. Using “SAM” and “non-SAM” in these ways, as terms, seems to be just something thoughtless that people picked up from others, just using it because others were using it, all while communally neglecting to interrogate its origins (and ultimately, its originators are who I hold responsible for this mess). I’ll clarify here that I don’t think anybody using these terms in this way is deliberately endorsing the ideas I’ve unpacked here. My hope though is that, by unpacking them, I’ve made them easier to walk away from. My actual grievance would be against people who have all this pointed out to them and yet continue to do it anyway.

Besides just being a case of clunky untenable modeling, the amatocentricism of using “SAM” to mean rosol (and vice versa) disrespects other people’s identities in at least two ways.

One, among those who use more than one orientation label, it disrespects those who don’t map all their orientation labels exclusively to either a romantic or sexual axis (example, example, example). When people give examples of “SAM-using” identities, I almost never see sensual orientations, emotional/platonic/alterous orientations, or non-axial orientations being furnished as examples — just romantic ones added onto sexual ones. But I don’t want to see that “fixed” and patched over by including more diverse “uses” of the concept (i.e. more types of unorthodox orientations), because….

Two, it disrespects those with non-rosol identities who do personally recognize & label different types of attraction. What’s being communicated to me with the non-SAM/non-rosol conflation is that, because I don’t have a romantic orientation, that means I “don’t use the split attraction model” or that I am a “non-SAM ace.” But actually I do differentiate between multiple types of attraction; I experience them separably and find it personally useful to identify them by subtype. If I had not been introduced to the language of sensual attraction and aesthetic attraction, I might never have ended up shedding my identification with heterosexuality at all. So I need people understand that by crunching my identity as a quoiromantic in this way, they’re not just bugging me with semantics — they’re threatening the very thing that helped me find my way into a community that has been dearly important to me.

On that note, I also object to the idea that differentiating types of attraction should be called “split” attraction at all, because that implies that there is a natural, normal, “whole” attraction that we are prying apart, instead of just recognizing what’s already different in the first place. As I’ve said before, calling this “split” attraction is like calling apples and oranges “split fruit.” We didn’t cleave the apples and oranges apart from each other. They’re just two different things in the first place.

In other words, the phrase “split attraction” treats the composite outlook on attraction as more natural than “splitting” it (or distinguishing between types). I believe that this expectation is itself amatonormative and sexnormative. Which would make sense, because that was the foundational attitude behind tumblr reactionaries coining the phrase “split attraction model” in the first place. It was always, always a matter of backlash against people deviating from the norm of composite orientation. It should not be surprising that adopting their language should obliterate possibilities for nuance.

So the next time you go to categorize other people as “SAM” or “non-SAM” according to their orientation labels? Or explain “the SAM” in terms of using romantic orientation alongside sexual orientation? Please don’t. If rosol or non-rosol are what you mean, then just say that.


83 responses to “Using “Non-SAM” to mean Non-Rosol is Amatonormative

  • raavenb2619

    I’ll admit, it’s a little odd to see so many people talk about the SAM as just a sexual and romantic orientation thing when I’ve thought of it as a broader theoretical tool, but you’ve convinced me that there are problems with it.

    • Coyote

      Oh hey, welcome back. I wasn’t sure if I’d be seeing you around again. And I’m glad my argument was compelling enough. :3

      Also, yeah… ostensibly, differentiating types of attraction *should* just mean any types at all. But the people who came up and popularized the term “split attraction model” — well, for one thing, they were defining it intentionally as something bad because they were using it to describe *universalizing,* but also, they seriously conflated attraction subtyping language with nonsexual orientation language… and for whatever reason, ace/aro tumblr just went with that. I guess because the ace/aro bloggers who had been around for longer were just mostly disengaged from the whole conversation by then? I dunno. Haven’t found any record of anyone stepping in at the time to say “wtf, nobody calls it that.”

      To their credit, ace/aro tumblr did at least walk back one aspect of the term’s meaning by redefining “the model” (it’s not a model lol) as something an individual applies to themselves, instead of a universalizing claim about everyone (i.e. what it was coined to describe). But that still left a lot of mess to clean up, since people were still using “split attraction model” to talk about “differentiating types of attraction” and “rosol idenities” at the same time. And as far as I can tell, in the entire past four years that’s never even been addressed.

      • raavenb2619

        Yeah, the history of “SAM” is a term is way more complicated than I thought. I ran into it on AVEN when I figured out I was ace, and there was nothing on the history, so I assumed that it was a term created by aspec people. PS, I was wondering, why do you say “ace/aro” instead of “aspec”?

        • Coyote

          Personally? I think “aspec” is just kind of ugly. I also had some initial resistance to it due to some unrelated conversations, but I’ve come around to the idea that some kind of suffix-unspecified term could be handy, in some scenarios. I’m just hesitant about it being that one, lol. Sounds like something made up by a hipster who just moved to Austin from California. It looks like it’s supposed to be short for “a-spectrum,” but… that just sounds like you’re saying “a spectrum,” I’m afraid.

          Anyway yeah just personal preference.

  • raavenb2619

    On an unrelated note, I only got a wordpress in the past few days, is it possible for me to have a wordpress url (like raavenb2619.wordpress.com) that I can publish blog posts to _without_ having to pay money? The site/app really wants to push me towards a paid plan

    • Coyote

      They do try to remind you about the option at every turn, lol. But yes! You can absolutely start a wordpress blog for free. Mine sure is. It’s been a while since I made a new one (as you might imagine) but the option should be there. In fact I’m surprised it didn’t force you to pick a url when you signed up. o.O What happens if you try this link?

  • raavenb2619

    Oh also, have you talked to self-identified non-SAM aros about why they use the term and why they call themselves that? I feel like I see ace perspectives in your posts about the problems with the SAM, but less-so aro ones

    • Coyote

      Some, yes. I’d love to talk to them more, but logistically I’m limited by what websites and contact methods people are willing to use. Do you have any specific suggestions?

      In any case — it was from listening to Siggy and Sea that I came up with the idea of describing some identities as convergent or divergent. And that seems to directly express what some people are getting at with the idea of “non-SAM aros.” But I also know that not everyone is using “non-SAM aro” to mean something like that, and some instead are getting at something more generally non-rosol, like the sexual parallel to my quoiromanticism. Those are at least two different ways the description seems to get used. There may be a third possibility here that I’m not accounting for, but I would need someone else to tell me what it is.

      Also, I think it’s interesting that you explained your comment with “I feel like I see ace perspectives in your posts about the problems with the SAM, but less-so aro ones.” This relates to something that I’ve been thinking about lately, including just earlier today. It sounds like you’re saying that there’s disproportionately fewer aro perspectives in my posts in this series — but as I started typing up a reply to that just now, I realized I wasn’t entirely sure I was correctly interpreting what that means. Are you talking about which posts I cite/link to, or are you talking about me?

      • raavenb2619

        If you’re on tumblr, you can just search for ‘non sam aro’ and you’ll find some stuff, sadly I don’t know of any good non-SAM aro blogs. From what I’ve read, non-SAM aro rose in popular as an identity as a reaction to the notion that everyone fit in/must use the SAM. Many aros felt like their aro identity was being brushed aside to make room for their sexual orientation, deemphasized and delegitimizing aromanticism as a full-fledged, stand-alone identity. Also, some aroaces had bad experiences with parts of the ace community not accepting them/their aromanticism and redirecting rhetoric about dehumanization from asexuality towards aromanticism, and thus ID as non-SAM aro as a way of showing that they are disconnected from the ace community. Finally, some aros just don’t have a sexual orientation, much as you’ve talked about how you don’t have a romantic orientation. I‘m not sure any of those examples align with convergent/divergent, but the last example seems to me to align fairly well with non-rosol.

        The SAM is something that impacts the entire aspec community, so it’s important to make sure that we have a bunch of different perspectives weighing in on our discussions. I certainly see the SAM a bit different from you (less of a classification forced onto people — “you’re either SAM or non-SAM” — and more of an optional tool for helping someone to understand themself), and non-SAM aro is an identity that came about in part because of how the ace community acted, so it feels weird to me to have an ace talk about how we need to get rid of the SAM (and by extension the non-SAM) without talking at all about how the aro community relates to non-SAM

        • Coyote

          I don’t do Tumblr, no. If you have suggestions for non-Tumblr users, please let me know.

          From what I’ve read, non-SAM aro rose in popular as an identity as a reaction to the notion that everyone fit in/must use the SAM.

          “SAM” is not something people “use” or “fit in with.” Specific orientation models are. And yeah, there is a pestersome tendency in the ace & aro communities both (that I’ve seen) to treat us all like everyone has a rosol identity… That’s the whole reason that wtfromantic came about. I absolutely agree that that’s a (intra)community norm that needs to be addressed, and that’s a part of what I’m trying to participate in right here.

          The SAM is something that impacts the entire aspec community,

          As I’ve been trying to explain, the thing that impacts the entire azone community, the thing that you’re talking about here, is best described as the Romantic & Sexual Dyad. I think the words “romantic” and “sexual” make sense to be in there, and I think the words “split” and “attraction” do not.

          I certainly see the SAM a bit different from you (less of a classification forced onto people

          I would probably share your perspective on this if it hadn’t already been forced onto me.

          non-SAM aro is an identity that came about in part because of how the ace community acted, so it feels weird to me to have an ace talk about how we need to get rid of the SAM

          It feels weird to me to hear you say this. For two reasons. First, if you’re saying I’m “talking about how we need to get rid of the SAM,” then the way for that sentence to be true is for “getting rid of the SAM” to mean “not using the name ‘SAM’ in this particular way (that I’ve discussed above).” I’m talking from a words-are-separable-from-what-they-represent POV here. I’m not sure to what extent that we are on the same page about that rn, so I just wanted to point that out because it’s caused trouble on this topic before. Just in general, language, communication, and rhetoric are all big personal & scholarly interests of mine so you can expect that approach to be pretty consistent from me.

          Second, it sounds like you’re talking about “non-SAM” to mean non-rosol, as in “alienated by the expectation of fitting their identity into the Romantic & Sexual Dyad,” and that’s already something that describes me. I am that group. That’s me. I’m one of the people being crunched here. I don’t see why the relevance of me being mistreated by the ace community would be undermined by me being an ace myself. It’s one thing to be treated as responsible for the bad behavior of the entire ace community, and it’s another to be treated as responsible for the bad behavior of aces *against myself.* [edited to add: It’s not just aces, by the way. The aro community is also complicit in this.] In any case, by contrasting me against aromantics in this way, if your goal was to convince me that aros don’t see quoiros as a part of their community, then you are certainly helping to resolve the ambiguity for me on that front. I admit, I had been wondering.

  • raavenb2619

    As I’ve been trying to explain, the thing that impacts the entire azone community, the thing that you’re talking about here, is best described as the Romantic & Sexual Dyad. I think the words “romantic” and “sexual” make sense to be in there, and I think the words “split” and “attraction” do not.

    I don’t disagree that this is a better way of talking about this specific concept, I just think it’s important that, if the aspec community as a whole is going to shift terminology, that the whole community weights in on it.

    First, if you’re saying I’m “talking about how we need to get rid of the SAM,” then the way for that sentence to be true is for “getting rid of the SAM” to mean “not using the name ‘SAM’ in this particular way (that I’ve discussed above).”

    Sorry for the ambiguity, yes, my bad wording was supposed to mean “shifting away from using the word ‘SAM’ to refer to anything”

    In general language, communication, and rhetoric are all big personal & scholarly interests of mine so you can expect that approach to be pretty consistent from me.

    neat, me too

    I don’t see why the relevance of me being mistreated by the ace community would be undermined by me being an ace myself.

    It’s not that you being an ace undermines you being mistreated by the ace community, because it doesn’t. It’s important to have all different viewpoints represented, yours included. What I’m trying to point out is that aros have a complicated relationship with the ace community, and the discussion about SAM/non-SAM should acknowledge that history and why some aros ID as non-SAM.

    It’s one thing to be treated as responsible for the bad behavior of the entire ace community, and it’s another to be treated as responsible for the bad behavior of aces *against myself.*

    My apologies if it felt like I was blaming your for the behavior of the ace community as a whole in any context, that wasn’t my intention.

    In any case, by contrasting me against aromantics in this way, if your goal was to convince me that aros don’t see quoiros as a part of their community, then you are certainly helping to resolve the ambiguity for me on that front. I admit, I had been wondering.

    I’m sorry, it seems I still have my foot in my mouth. I did some reading of some of your other blog posts, and my lasting impression from one (I can’t find which one) is that if pressed, you’d ID as quoiromantic, but don’t consider yourself to have a romantic orientation. On the basis of you not having a romantic orientation, I assumed that you didn’t ID as aro/arospec. Personally, as an aro (and I think this is the general consensus), quoiromantics are welcome in our community, but don’t have to consider themselves a part of it (similar to how non-binary people can, but don’t have to, consider themselves transgender).

    I guess the takeaway from all of this is, it’s important to see if you can get feedback/input from self-identified non-SAM aros about shifting the community away from using SAM/non-SAM and towards rosol/non-rosol.

    • Coyote

      I just think it’s important that, if the aspec community as a whole is going to shift terminology, that the whole community weights in on it.

      Okay. That sits fine with me. I’m gotta come back to this thought at the end of this comment.

      It’s not that you being an ace undermines you being mistreated by the ace community, because it doesn’t. It’s important to have all different viewpoints represented, yours included. What I’m trying to point out is that aros have a complicated relationship with the ace community, and the discussion about SAM/non-SAM should acknowledge that history and why some aros ID as non-SAM.

      hmm. Okay, thank you for explaining. If the post should be revised, I’m not sure how or where to fit that in. Especially because if I were going to write about that, I would also want to talk about how I’ve seen aros contrast “aros vs. allos” (as in aromantics vs. alloromantics, esp. in the context of dividing people up as aro allos, aromantic aces, and romo aces, with no room made for aces outside that binary). But like I said, the more uncertain thing here is where to insert that into this already monstrously long post.

      my lasting impression from one (I can’t find which one) is that if pressed, you’d ID as quoiromantic, but don’t consider yourself to have a romantic orientation.

      In terms of how I use it personally, I consider these things to be interchangeable.

      On the basis of you not having a romantic orientation, I assumed that you didn’t ID as aro/arospec.

      Atm I really don’t know what my relationship to the aromantic spectrum is or is supposed to be. This is something I’ve talked about before briefly here — I feel like I get very mixed signals from aros about us. And I know I’m not alone in that, either.

      Still. I appreciate your willingness to listen to me, and I’m sorry if I’ve made you feel unheard, as well.

      So: Given the givens, do you have suggestions for how to invite more of the community to weigh in on this?

  • raavenb2619

    “aros vs. allos” (as in aromantics vs. alloromantics, esp. in the context of dividing people up as aro allos, aromantic aces, and romo aces, with no room made for aces outside that binary)

    Yeah, this is where we get into the gray area of expanding our terminology.

    But like I said, the more uncertain thing here is where to insert that into this already monstrously long post.

    I don’t think this needs to be addressed in this post. Given your thorough level of research, I’d actually be interested in a post that goes into detail about the history and experiences of non-SAM aros and some of their thoughts on shifting the language we use. (My desire to see non-SAM aros’ thoughts on the topic of changing terminology is less target at this specific post and more targeted at the discussion about changing terminology as a whole, sorry if that was unclear)

    From your link,

    I’m more interested in reviewing what specific work they put out and checking it for fairness.

    I agree with you, the most important question is the end result of what the community ends up looking like; but the concern, backed by some historical evidence, among a lot of alloaros is that aroaces might not notice/heed complaints about ace-centrism in ostensibly aro-centered content. It’s a difficult balance; picking people to fulfill an identity quota feels wrong, but so does ignoring alloaros’ fears.

    I feel like I get very mixed signals from aros about us.

    I’m sorry to hear that. As I said before, I’m of the mindset that you’re welcome in the aro community if you want to be.

    Still. I appreciate your willingness to listen to me, and I’m sorry if I’ve made you feel unheard, as well.

    Yeah, this could easily be my fault, coming off of tumblr, but there were a couple times when I was…suspicious? or mistrustful of you? Which is definitely wrong of me. It’s nice to know that, going forward, I have a place to stretch my listening-to-and-respecting-other-people muscles with someone that also cares about and respects me, even if we sometimes disagree.

    So: Given the givens, do you have suggestions for how to invite more of the community to weigh in on this?

    Are you okay with me posting a link to your work on tumblr? Most of the aro community I interact with is on tumblr, and while I might not be large enough on my own to get some discussion, I can see if I can get some other blogs to signal boost. If I end up posting to tumblr, which article do you think would be best?

    PS One thing I thought I might clarify, just in case there’s any confusion. The reason I keep using the phrase “non-SAM aro” instead of an alternative like “non-rosol aro” is because I don’t feel I have the authority to relabel a group of people, especially when the history of the term is a sort-of countercultural one.

    • Coyote

      I don’t think this needs to be addressed in this post. Given your thorough level of research, I’d actually be interested in a post that goes into detail about the history and experiences of non-SAM aros and some of their thoughts on shifting the language we use. (My desire to see non-SAM aros’ thoughts on the topic of changing terminology is less target at this specific post and more targeted at the discussion about changing terminology as a whole, sorry if that was unclear)

      Oh, okay. Gotcha. hmm. Well, I can keep this in mind for another post, but I would need to find a lot more writing by self-identifying non-SAM aros in order to write about that. It would probably just take the form of a compilation post, if anything. I don’t think I could chart a big timeline like I’ve done with quoiro and queerplatonic, just because (as far as I can tell) non-SAM wasn’t really in use this way until 2018.

      It’s a difficult balance; picking people to fulfill an identity quota feels wrong, but so does ignoring alloaros’ fears.

      lol, try telling the crew that.

      I’m sorry to hear that. As I said before, I’m of the mindset that you’re welcome in the aro community if you want to be.

      <3

      Yeah, this could easily be my fault, coming off of tumblr, but there were a couple times when I was…suspicious? or mistrustful of you? Which is definitely wrong of me. It’s nice to know that, going forward, I have a place to stretch my listening-to-and-respecting-other-people muscles with someone that also cares about and respects me, even if we sometimes disagree.

      That’s pretty normal, tbh. But yes. I’m glad of the same. :)

      Are you okay with me posting a link to your work on tumblr?

      Sure. No need to ask. And I’ll defer to your judgement, but I don’t see why not choose this one.

      The one thing I’d say to watch out for is that, by linking on Tumblr, you might get people arguing with my ideas through you — i.e., reblogging and adding onto your post and saying why I’m wrong, but staying on their dash and saying it to you instead of coming here and saying it to me. I don’t know that there’s a way to discourage people from doing that/encourage people to use my open comment section (or that I’m, like, safe to talk to), so this is just a note that you might think about what you’ll do with that situation. ex.: Do you feel like playing middleman? Do you want to point out that my comment section doesn’t require an account? etc.

      Re: non-SAM aro blogging:

      Here are some other posts I’m aware of on the topic, in addition to the one you linked: one, two, three (it’s summarized survey results, but still). Also, this.

    • Coyote

      Links update: went looking for oldest uses of “non-SAM,” and so far, the oldest uses of it that I’ve been able to recover are for aces (or alongside talking about aces), not with just aros. At least, that I’ve found, anyway. Can’t say for sure because Tumblr hates the idea of being a searchable website.

      Anyway: I’ve found this and this from 2017, so far. Also incidentally stumbled across this on the term “non-SAM” as an aro.

  • Coyote

    Some narratives I’m picking up so far, based what we’ve pulled together atm:

    -aros who have a convergent identity and don’t like splitting that along the romantic & sexual dyad
    -aros who just plain don’t have a sexual orientation
    -aros who are specifically alienated by the ace community, for example on account of the see-saw cycle

    • raavenb2619

      I would say the first and third are separate but related. The see-saw article is interesting. I don’t have a short-term solution by any means, it seems long the long-term goal would be to have easily-accessible spaces for (for example) asexuality with fewer guidelines, as well as subspaces for sex-repulsed aces and sex-favorable aces where where there are clearer guidelines for what sort of language (mentioning/describing sex or not) is acceptable? Hopefully, once the aspec community as a whole is larger and more accepted by society, we won’t need to fight so hard for basic self-acceptance and validation? I feel like a lot of the unintended see-saw perpetuation comes from people taking up “””too much space””” for themselves, when in reality it’s just that the space that can be doled out equally isn’t enough for any one person or subidentity, so whatever is dominant in a particular space tends to push aside anything that isn’t.
      On a sidenote, is there a way we could maybe dm to talk about this? I feel like the wordpress comments are getting a little unwieldy (and you also might prefer for comments on your posts to not stray so far off topic)

      • luvtheheaven

        I was enjoying spying on your conversations… XD

        • raavenb2619

          No worries, I guess there is some value to these discussions being public. Feel free to chime in

        • Coyote

          Maybe *you’d* like to take on the minefield of linking this post on Tumblr, eh? ;3

        • luvtheheaven

          So you’d like me to tag arofrantics and a-specvoid and ask them to weigh in on this post from the non-SAM aro side of the conversation, including maybe spreading this to other non-SAM aros if they know any? I can tell them ideally they’d comment here “since Coyote strongly prefers to avoid tumblr” (if that phrasing is agreeable to you?) and the comment section is open, no one needs an account to comment. I can do that I suppose…

        • Coyote

          @luvtheheaven Hmm. That sounds like maybe a good way to go about it. Or, well, good as it’s gonna get, considering the circumstances. (I am not optimistic that people won’t try to argue w/ you on Tumblr instead of me directly).

          And lol, thanks for checking w/ me about the phrasing. I do lurk Tumblr where I feel like I have to, so it’s not that I avoid it per se, but personally I’d rather eat glass than try to use it for conversation. ….I guess the condensed way to say this might be something like “Coyote is not a tumblr user and finds the site inaccessible,” so if they have thoughts to share with me, I’ll need them to use the open comment section here (or another site where we both have accounts).

      • Coyote

        I don’t mind getting off topic really, but I hear you on the nesting issue. I have accounts on Arocalypse, Pillowfort, and Dreamwidth, and I also have an email address. Just let me know which one you prefer. I do think the subcategory space/specific standards issue has some solutions within reach if people are willing to do what it takes.

  • Coyote

    New thread because I hate when this theme starts nesting to the point of turning comments into straws.

    @raavenb2619 (Do you have a name? We’ve been talking all this time and never even introduced ourselves.)

    It’s entirely possible that arofrantics and a-specvoid are the two major non-SAM aros atm, and I’d hazard a guess that all of the non-SAM aro stuff on tumblr that I’ve seen can be traced to one or both of them. If there’s less of a non-SAM aro community than I thought, they’re still influential with regards to stuff like this and they agree with you, I can see the community shifting from non-SAM to non-rosol

    ….Possssibly. That seems like something that would have to be pretty hard-won at this point. Do you have suggestions for how to reach out to either one of them? I mean — out of the two Ax seems more open to my ideas, and I could dump a link to this post in Ax’s submit box, I guess, but… not everybody takes well to that. (Prior experience w/ sending links to my blog posts to Tumblr users I’m disagreeing with is that that gets perceived as hostile, and I’m not looking to antagonize people, but I’m also not looking to just endlessly talk about people behind their backs when there’s an issue to address, so, etiquette-wise I’ve often felt at a bit of an impasse, you know? I don’t know what Tumblr users expect from non-Tumblr users trying to talk to them through anything other than the tiny clunky linkless unthreaded space of an ask message).

    • luvtheheaven

      I don’t know if you want me to do anything on tumblr but I think you could say a lot of what you just said here, “I’m not looking to antagonize people, but I’m also not looking to just endlessly talk about people behind their backs when there’s an issue to address, so, etiquette-wise I’ve often felt at a bit of an impasse” or something similar would soften whatever you drop in a submit box…

    • raavenb2619

      raavenb2619 or raven is fine (they/them pronouns)
      If you don’t get a response in a little bit, I could also make a tumblr post inviting my followers to read, and also tag arofrantics and a-specvoid. (I wouldn’t count on many of my followers actually clicking on the link, my content is 97% queer memes and gets way less interaction in general if it isn’t ace content but we’ll see)

      • Coyote

        Roger that. And yeah, that seems par for the course actually — the web design of Tumblr itself discourages the clicking of links.

        • raavenb2619

          [link]
          Another non-SAM aro blogger, idk how prolific on non-SAM stuff they are

        • Coyote

          Hmm, okay. I’ll add this to my list of convergent narratives. I’m thinking of putting together a post on “three narratives of non-rosol identity from the aro community,” featuring these links — do you think aro tumblr would be interested in that?

          Btw, Ax did reply. :)

        • raavenb2619

          Maybe. What would be a good thing to message them with? This post? (I can’t remember what was sent to Ax)

        • Coyote

          Message who? And Ax was sent basically just the link to this post, with a note of explanation. I guess if I made that 3 Narratives post, I *could* send it to one of the bloggers you’ve already brought up, so that I wouldn’t be putting you or Luvtheheaven in a weird spot… but I’m not sure yet who would be the best choice for that.

        • raavenb2619

          Message/pn aro-culture-is (the non-SAM aro I just linked to), since I kind of know them now. Is this disclaimer okay, or should it be different, or should I not message at all? “Coyote (the OP) is not a tumblr user and finds the site inaccessible, so if you have thoughts to share with them, they’d like you to use the open comment section on WordPress (or another site where you both have accounts).”

        • Coyote

          Works for me. :3 Thank you for volunteering to do that for me!

        • raavenb2619

          Np. Sidenote, I’m in the WordPress iOS app, is there a way to move one comment up? The up and down arrows in the top right work in mysterious ways

        • Coyote

          I’ve never used the app, unfortunately, so I don’t know what that means. Sorry!

  • Ax

    Uh hi, I’m Ax, from a-specvoid on tumblr. I will admit this isn’t what I was expecting when I started questioning, but I’m all for open discussion and learning new things! Yes I have been posting more on this topic, but I want to point out it’s because I’m fairly new to it as an idea? I’ve seen a couple of your posts, (as I saw you mention in earlier comments), and I have to admit, my sphere of aro community has (so far) been a little limited to tumblr, so a lot of what you talk about is news to me, albeit news that makes a lot of sense. I’m not exactly sure what you’d like from me, but as I said, I’m all for discussion, so I’m here to find out XD

    • Coyote

      Hi! Thanks for commenting. I was talking with Raven (raavenb2619) here, and they’ve recommended I get some perspectives from some more people self-describing as non-SAM aros, given that I’m making the case that I am. As you can see, I think the term “SAM” as a piece of terminology itself has problems, but if anything’s going to change here either someone else needs to persuade me that I’m wrong or I need to collaborate with other folks to come to a solution. I don’t know if, for instance, “convergent identity” or “non-rosol identity” are terms that work for others. I mean, I came up with this set of alternative terminology in the hope that it can address some of the problems here, but other people will have to be the judge of that.

      Can you elaborate, personally, on where you’re at with (questioning) your identity? I don’t know how similar or different it is for my case, for instance. Myself, I’ve been pressured and annoyed by the community expectation that we should all fit ourselves into the romantic & sexual dyad (by labeling ourselves according to both). And so for me, the quoi identity is a way of rejecting a piece of that — of saying, I don’t plot myself anywhere along this one axis, because the whole notion of the axis itself doesn’t work for me/isn’t relevant to me. So even though I don’t identify with the composite orientation norm, my identity is very strongly on the non-rosol side of the scale.

      • Ax

        Well, to begin with, I originally considered myself a flat out aroace. Slowly I realised that I was probably more of some sort of gray ace, but I haven’t really narrowed it down further, and not sure I can. That was what prompted this round of questioning, and my decision to try out just going by my aro label, seeing as my ace identity has always taken a background to my aro one for me, and I am increasingly feeling alienated as a sex favorable ace spec.

        I have been looking into non SAM, as both a label and a concept, but the idea of it doesn’t sit right with me. In the words of someone else I follow, ‘I have split my attractions. I just found only one part of it worth labeling’. I agree with you that the terminology of SAM is flawed, and doesn’t always help (I understand for some people it does, but for many, things aren’t as simple as SAM makes it seem).

        Reading through your alternative terminology post is interesting. While I don’t technically disagree with how you’ve approached the scales, it is also a bit complicated. Even as an established aro with a decent grounding in the aspec community, and some knowledge of basic history, orientations and concepts, its sometimes difficult to follow. (Some of that may be my own reading comprehension and trouble with blocks of text, ngl. It’s hindered me from getting involved in depth more than once.) Someone newer to questioning might have a harder time, I think.

        I’m obviously just one person, and a person still struggling to find their feet with all of this at that, so that may just be part of it. But I’m not sure your terminology would be any more helpful for me, personally, then ‘non SAM’ is at the moment. Others may think differently, again, I’m a single person.

        In terms of questioning and personal identity, I’m at a weird crossroads where, I know one thing for sure (I’m aro), and several things I’m still… sorting out (aka my sexual orientation, if I can define it solidly, if I even want to, figuring out if I want to drop the label, what that means when I still know I’m kinda ace and relate to some things but feel alienated by others, what labels might work, what labels don’t, what concepts work and what don’t). What I know for sure, is that I’m not comfortable with the term ‘non-SAM’ and what it currently means, and I’ve heard from several other aros like me that feel similarly, for whatever reason. So I don’t think you’re wrong when it comes to the SAM, I just don’t know what might be the best way to change it, or if it even can be. I think it’s a complicated subject that might be debated in aspec spaces for years to come XD

        • Coyote

          Slowly I realised that I was probably more of some sort of gray ace, but I haven’t really narrowed it down further

          That’s already plenty narrow enough, from my POV. This is a tangent more just in general (I wouldn’t try to convince you to keep the label if it’s not working for you), but it bugs me when people want gray-a folks (such as myself) to specify, so to speak — or otherwise won’t let the label just stay vague. Its vagueness is part of its value, for me.

          Someone newer to questioning might have a harder time, I think.

          If my posts remain the only posts that use them, maybe. This externally-imposed not-a-model “split attraction model” topsy-turvy referring-to-orientations-but-using-the-name attraction terminology managed to catch on, so I say give it the same level of circulation and the same number of years and then see how it compares.

          (I don’t mean to snark at you, to be clear. I’m just thinking about how others have told me that using “SAM”-as-a-term* is “simple” and “unambiguous” and “easy to understand” even though it’s an absolute mess theoretically — I think people have sometimes downplayed the role of their own personal familiarity with things re: how “complicated” something seems. Repeated exposure can do a lot for the brain, I think.)

          * reminder that “SAM”-as-a-term does not equal the barebones idea of differentiating types of attraction, which actually predates the term “split attraction” by about ten years.

          Anyway. Thank you for giving it your consideration, at least.

          Note, just in case you missed it — an earlier comments I dropped a link related to sex-favorable ace issues, and relatedly there’s also this post, this post, and this post by Talia. Dunno if you’d be interested in any of those, but I figure they may or may not be worthwhile reading depending on whether you’d like to hear more from that perspective.

        • Ax

          For me personally, I’ve always been more comfortable when I have very specific labels for things, especially myself. It’s a little disorientating to only be able to give a vague hand wave and a noncommittal shrug when talking about my sexual orientation now, if I mention it at all XD

          I do agree that the vagueness of gray-a as an identity (either ace or aro) is it’s strength, and allows a lot of people in similar positions to mine to feel connected in ways they otherwise might have missed out on. It’s just a little strange adjusting myself to that idea, I guess?

          As for snark, don’t worry, I understood. And I hope I didn’t sound dismissive of your posts and terminology, they’re already given me much to think about, and I really am interested in your perspective. There’s just so little on Tumblr specifically for aros like me, and most of the blogs I follow are more concerned over ace discourse, or aroallo vs aroace. Which, there’s still very important discussions happening there, but it’s not helping me with my questioning, or any of the research I’m trying to do at the moment.

          At the very least you’ve brought me over to WordPress so I can keep up with conversations and discussions that happen here (which, as a side note, if you have any good recommendations for aro and/or ace blogs here to check out, I’m all ears).

          Speaking of recommendations, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the posts about sex favourable aces you linked. Tbh it sounds like something I could have written about my current feelings, so nice to know it’s not just me.

        • Coyote

          I hear you on wanting to be more specific. I’ve always appreciated having really precise terms for things — it’s been an adjustment for me too.

          There’s just so little on Tumblr specifically for aros like me, and most of the blogs I follow are more concerned over ace discourse, or aroallo vs aroace. Which, there’s still very important discussions happening there, but it’s not helping me with my questioning, or any of the research I’m trying to do at the moment.

          No kidding. I don’t know about you, but for me, all this great divide kinda talk is kinda frustrating. You shouldn’t just expect everyone to divide themselves cleanly on both axes like that, you know? If anything, I see that as a possible contributor to why people have (lately? it seems like? although I don’t know if I’m just out of the loop) felt the need to latch onto a label like non-SAM, because there’s implicit pressure to map yourself onto one of those sides.

          At the very least you’ve brought me over to WordPress so I can keep up with conversations and discussions that happen here (which, as a side note, if you have any good recommendations for aro and/or ace blogs here to check out, I’m all ears).

          Glad you’re willing to broaden your horizons, haha.

          It’s hard to say what to recommend — the pace of WP blogging is generally very slow compared to Tumblr… as I’m sure you know, but just saying that as a reminder to adjust your expectations (if you go looking for anything like the dozen aro tumblr blogs that all reblog “positivity” posts from each other, you’ll be disappointed. WP does have a very different style and environment). With that said… hm. Well, for ace blogging, The Asexual Agenda is of course a classic. I think I’d recommend some personal aro/ish ace blogs like Next Step: Cake, The Notes Which Do Not Fit, and Prismatic Entanglements. And if that’s not enough aro blogging for you, you can also check out the Carnival of Aros, which links to aro blogs from basically anywhere that people are willing to contribute. Oh, and some relevant posts by Siggy — Asexuals who like sex and why we talk about them, 20 narratives of aces who like sex, and Let’s use this Aro/Ace bridge.

          So that’s my intro to aro & ace WP blogging off the top of my head. Hmm… and since you know Tumblr — can I ask you a favor?

          Speaking of recommendations, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the posts about sex favourable aces you linked. Tbh it sounds like something I could have written about my current feelings, so nice to know it’s not just me.

          Rarely is anything just you.

          :)

        • Ax

          Tbh a slower community pace will be a good change. I love my blog, and I love having discussions with others on tumblr, but doing it twice over on two different sites? I don’t think I could.

          As for the favour, ask away. If I can help I’d be happy to.

        • Coyote

          lol. Makes sense!

          And alright, cool. Well, as I mentioned (I think), I’m interested in inviting more discussion here, getting the message out and vice versa, taking Raven’s advice and hearing from more aros about what they’re using non-SAM to mean. So would you be willing to link this on Tumblr, or… I don’t know, send it to people you think would want to talk about it? …Alternatively, I’m also working on a followup post about non-rosol aro narratives, but I dunno if it would make more sense to post that one and ask for your help inviting discussion *there* first, or if I should talk to more people first before I even publish that one. …Currently leaning toward the latter though.

        • Ax

          I’d be happy to link it. I’ll probably link the original terms post first, so people can also get a better idea of what you’re talking about, but tbh, I sorta planned on doing both anyway XD So more than happy to invite people to comment.

  • Linkspam: May 10th, 2019 | The Asexual Agenda

    […] Coyote argued that using “non-SAM” to refer specifically to the romantic/sexual orientation dyad is amatonormativ…. […]

  • Rachel

    1. I 100% agree that the way we talk about SAM (regardless of who coined the term) as byword for romantic orientation (as if that is the only one that matters) is a problem.

    2. But I am not convinced that ROSOL vs Non-ROSOL modeling is a good substitute because it is rather clunky.

    3. I doubt that changing our modeling is going to change anything when it comes to outside opinions. The naysayers are enraged that we talk about any attractions being potentially fundamentally separate from each other (regardless of whether we “split” them apart or insist that they are apples and oranges to begin with) in the first place. Changing our modeling to de-center romantic orientation is not going to magically remedy that.

    4. Related to point 3, the idea that expanding our use of SAM (I know you don’t like the term, just roll with it for the sake of brevity please) to pay more attention to things like aesthetic or sensual attraction, while ultimately a good for the community, also won’t shut the naysayers up. I’ve lurked on Tumblr enough times to see caricatures like ~I’m kweer because I’m heteroaesthetic heteroromantic demisexual~ and other such exclusionary garbage from the naysayers enough to know that any reworking on our part isn’t going to fix this.

    This was a long post and I’m shooting from the hip, so if I missed some key element, please correct me. In any case, thanks for posting.

    • Coyote

      Hi Rachel. Thanks for commenting.

      2. Can you elaborate on what you mean by “clunky”? Is it the number of letters in it, or something else?

      3-4. I hear you saying that the things I’m talking about in this post aren’t going to stop the naysayers. While I may not be correctly envisioning who you mean by “the naysayers,” this particular lexical change not stopping them is fine by me, because that’s not what I’m intending it to do anyway. I would have a completely different set of suggestions for how stopping the naysayers could be accomplished.

      • Rachel

        My calling it ROSOL vs non-ROSOL was an incorrect oversimplification on my part – the whole post with its 8 different points across 4 different spectra, while great for nuance, looks like it would be a cumbersome model to implement (if it is indeed meant for serious implementation as opposed to a thought experiment?).

        By the naysayers, I mean the Tumblr reactionaries you briefly mentioned – the same types out to demonize any and all terms that ace and aro spec communities use.

        • Coyote

          I hardly think it’s any more complicated than, say, this.

          In any case, my expectation isn’t that people always use them all combined together in a row (ex. like introducing themselves with “hi, my identity is divergent non-rosol gray-asexuality that is axial along the orthodox axis of sexuality” — nah bud, nobody needs to do all that). It’s more a matter of when a connected issue comes up, or if the concepts are relevant, that’s how I’m going to express those concepts, and it wouldn’t have occurred to me to create a completely different post for each concept. In this particular case, the rosol/non-rosol scale is the one that is the most relevant.

          Per your second point — yeah, my answer stays the same then.

  • Skiro

    Hey, nsam aro here from tumblr! woosh.

    I’ll try to explain my experience as best I can before applying the proposed scales. Yeah, I identify as ‘nsam aro’. I use the label inaccurately, which is why I spell it that way. But it serves its purpose.

    I’m aromantic. I’m also quoisexual and grayplatonic. Thing is, my aromanticism is more important than my sexuality and platonism. I see my aromanticism as having a fixed importance in my identity; whereas my sexuality and platonism have situational importance. It’s… complicated. I don’t always actively identify with the latter two, because I hardly find them relevant. So much so that they can stop existing; completely unlabelled, overshadowed by my aromanticism. Their existences fluctuate. That said! I like having those labels, so I can refer to them whenever I do find those attractions relevant.

    Expressing this hasn’t been easy. I can’t say I’m ‘aromantic quoisexual grayplatonic’ because to me, these attractions aren’t on equal footing. I can’t say I’m ‘aroaceapl’ because 93% of the time I just feel aro. Basically, I’ve ‘split’ my attractions so far apart from one another in terms of importance, that to squeeze them into those compound words and phrases feels wrong.

    Describing myself in that ‘horizontal’ way doesn’t work for me. Rather, I visualise it vertically; as layers, ranked. At the top is aromanticism; at the bottom, quoisexuality and grayplatonism. How do I express this prioritisation? By clinging onto nsam aro as an umbrella label where these labels can fit under. It lets me express my aromanticism as fixed, while acknowledging the SAM in a way that (inaccurately) makes reference to my other attractions. The fact that I don’t directly disclose my sexuality and platonism is freeing, because it means I don’t have to micromanage their fluctuating existence.

    Course, me having to appropriate the nsam aro label to fit me is awkward. Even more so after reading the above post; it never occurred to me that I could factor in my grayplatonism! So yeah, historical assumptions around the SAM and my experience make me pretty open to a new language.

    In terms of the scales, I’m nearly the same as Alex. Divergent, partially rosol and partially non-rosol, partially orthodox and partially unorthodox, and axial. (I say partially non-rosol to describe my situational apathy towards my sexuality and platonism.) In the end, I want to express that I’m largely aro but not only aro, with respect to how I prioritise my attractions.

    Thanks for your posts.

    • Coyote

      Hi there. Thanks for commenting.

      huh. NSAM. Hadn’t encountered that one before… Anyway, what you just described is interesting because — well, I’d been picking up on some patterns in the narratives of “just aro” aros, and what you wrote here kind of sounds like one of them but is also kind of new. While one of those patterns has reminded me of quoisexual narratives, you’re maybe the first or second aro I’ve encountered to actually use the term. (Nice to meet more quoi family! :3) I think I can more or less relate to what you’re saying, albeit flipped around — I’d prefer to be able to call myself “gray-ace, just gray-ace,” but the ace community makes romantic orientation so relevant and pervasive that I need a way to specifically say “no, I don’t want to be sorted this way.”

      It sounds like you’re mapping your relationship to the R/S Dyad as kind of in the middle of the scale, so… what do you think about taking a page from Tumblr user black-aros & calling that something like semi-rosol or mid-rosol?

      • Skiro

        Yeah, compared to other non-sam aro experiences I’ve seen (hell, arospec experiences in general) I’m pretty messy. (Yo fellow quoi! :v) I can definitely relate to your desire to identify as ‘just’ something without another orientation assumed with it. I suppose for me, it fluctuates. One thing I have realised since writing my comment is the root of that conflict, and it’s to do with expression. I’m afraid of coming across as insincere to others who may question why I choose to ‘just be aro’ one day when I’ve, for example, discussed my quoisexuality in another post. It’s why I wanted an umbrella label… to act as a disclaimer of sorts. With that said, I don’t mind trialling semi-rosol :)

        Also since writing my thoughts out, I’ve decided to care less about expression and just go about life without worrying that I’m being (in)consistent. I overthink things too much anyway, haha.

  • arofrantics

    word up im arofrantics on tumblr. i think you’ve mentioned my posts/me a lot, but here are some of my thoughts:

    i think there are many on tumblr who use non-sam to mean non-rosol. but i think a lot of people on there don’t know the history of the term “sam” and why it may be problematic, as well as not knowing about the term “rosol”. aspec discussions on tumblr don’t always seem to overlap with aspec discussions on other forums.

    i know i use non-sam to basically mean “doesn’t find the concept of different types of attraction useful in discussing my identity or in my experiences with attraction”. this is currently the best word i have to explain my identity, but i would be happy to use other terminology if i thought there was something else that could better explain this.

    (also in earlier comments you mentioned this post https://arofrantics.tumblr.com/post/183681506209/aromagni-arofrantics-arofrantics-oh-man, so i figured i should explain it, because, tbh it was basically just a little rant that i didnt expect people to actually read/care about. i didn’t act on it because i didn’t feel like it was a big deal in the end. sorry if i was a bit pretentious here).

    • Coyote

      Hi! Thanks for stopping by.

      i think there are many on tumblr who use non-sam to mean non-rosol. but i think a lot of people on there don’t know the history of the term “sam” and why it may be problematic, as well as not knowing about the term “rosol”.

      Certainly. I mean, I only made it up about a month ago. And this blog doesn’t exactly attract a lot of attention. I’d expect it to take high circulation and maybe five years or so for the term to really take root. Which it only will if there’s a need for it — and if I can get the word out, so to speak. Hence writing more posts that use it.

      And as for people not understanding that “split attraction model” comes from specifically anti-ace (possibly anti-bi, according to one of my pf mutuals) roots, I can see that — much as it boggles my mind, as someone who watched all that play out from the start. I really, really think more people should be told about that. There are still people asking on the regular about what SAM even stands for — I think “it was made up by outsiders in 2015 to talk about how problematic we are” should start becoming a standard part of those 101 explanations.

      aspec discussions on tumblr don’t always seem to overlap with aspec discussions on other forums.

      Tumblr is well known for getting wrapped up in a bubble unto itself, yes.

      i know i use non-sam to basically mean “doesn’t find the concept of different types of attraction useful in discussing my identity or in my experiences with attraction”. this is currently the best word i have to explain my identity, but i would be happy to use other terminology if i thought there was something else that could better explain this.

      People rarely seem to use the term “split attraction model” to talk about attraction itself, weirdly enough. Part of what bothers me about it — besides the term “split” to mean differentiating/multiple and the term “attraction” to mean orientations — is also the absurdity of calling it a “model,” which implies something far more formal and overly unified. That goes both for the original meaning and for the thing which it has been haphazardly redefined into.

      The reality is far more scattered than that. The terminology wasn’t all derived at the same time, and people who do differentiate between types of attraction don’t all use all the same categories — like me, for instance. To this day when people talk about “platonic attraction” (to mean a kind of emotional, nonphysical attraction) I have no idea what they are talking about. None. Nobody needs to come step in here with an explanation, either, because I’ve seen them all. It’s just a concept that doesn’t work for me. So I don’t describe any of my feelings that way, and that’s that. Just the same way, it’s okay not to use any of those subtype descriptions at all.

      What this may be rubbing up against, it sounds like, is the ace & aro communities’ tendency to overly fixate on talking about “attraction” at all. And that’s something the term “split attraction model” doesn’t really address — neither in its form as a cudgel nor in its redefined form for talking about rosol identities. This is related to something Elizabeth has mentioned working on a new post about — how a lot of even orientation/identity talk in the ace & aro communities is sometimes over-deterministic and overly focused on “attraction” as the main and only factor in figuring out how to identify (as if people’s choice of label can’t be based on a complicated mix of things, from actual desires in practice to personal history to relationships with certain communities).

      In addition to those expectations, I fear that nonrom/nonsexual attraction subtypes have come to serve some kind of supplemental role for some aces & aros, sometimes taking over the conversation on how we can even have feelings or friendships at all. Looking back on it, this may have contributed to where Rising Sun was coming from in asking if aro vocab is kinda amatonormative (…which I disagreed with, as you can see in the thread, but the concern doesn’t come from nowhere). Even as someone who does find the concept of “attraction” useful/applicable, sometimes I just want to yell… come on, not everything’s always about attraction.

      And I’m probably talking to much here, but that’s something I think both communities need to sit down and have a bigger talk about.

      (also in earlier comments you mentioned this post https://arofrantics.tumblr.com/post/183681506209/aromagni-arofrantics-arofrantics-oh-man, so i figured i should explain it, because, tbh it was basically just a little rant that i didnt expect people to actually read/care about. i didn’t act on it because i didn’t feel like it was a big deal in the end. sorry if i was a bit pretentious here).

      No sweat. I appreciate you leaving a comment though in spite of that.

      (Incidentally, being able to hide little vent posts like that from people who aren’t mutuals — that’s something I love about Pillowfort.)

  • Three Narratives of Non-Rosol Identity in the Aro Community | The Ace Theist

    […] Note, some posts about this already do exist: there’s this very short bullet point list by Kricketot and also this post at Aromantic Ruminations. My goal with this post is to elaborate more on those patterns and include links for further reading, while also trying to be more technically accurate about terminology. On that note, you will notice that, aside from this sentence, in this post I won’t be using the term “non-SAM,” and there’s a good reason for that. […]

  • Lexterre

    Huh. What you’re saying about split fruit is almost exactly the inverse of how I’ve always thought about it. My metaphor is that each person has a painting, and all the various identity labels (orientation-related and otherwise – so gender labels etc. included) are legos of various sizes, colors, and places, and the labels that were presented to me as associated with the SAM are smaller legos in more colors for their specific places. So… someone could have a big blob of blue in the spot the orientation legos cover, and take the “bi” flat blue lego to represent the whole thing – and their painting might be dappled or marbled in different shades of blue, or it might have flecks of different color, but the lego is flat-colored. I’d see aspecs as not having a dominant color, or the dominant being a neutral tone that variegation or other colors are more easily seen against, so we led the demand for more nuanced labels/smaller legos. So the “split” in SAM would refer to splitting the big flat inaccurate labels into more fine-grained ones – splitting the *labels*, to recognize that the reality was never that simple. Not to say I wouldn’t like a big white square label to give to people in one word, but that fine-grained mosaic is useful to have to talk to people who’re familiar with the terms. It’s still an approximation, you’re still trying to 1:1 Starry Night with blocks, but now you’re doing it with quarter-inch blocks instead of two-inch-square ones.

    • Coyote

      I’d see aspecs as not having a dominant color, or the dominant being a neutral tone that variegation or other colors are more easily seen against,

      I’m ace and I don’t really relate to what you’re describing here. If I were going to use this metaphor, my “colors” wouldn’t be all evenly distributed or “a neutral tone.” My problem would be more like “this color is wrongly mistaken by others as a different color when I try to describe it to them” and “I can’t tell what color this is — or, scratch that, I can’t tell if this block actually exists, let alone what color it is.” So actually I would rather just not use this metaphor or have it imposed on me.

      Not to say I wouldn’t like a big white square label to give to people in one word,

      I’m not sure yet what you mean by “big white square,” but I’m going to hazard a guess, because this doesn’t sound right. Either you’re using “big white square label” to mean *just* romantic-sexual, in which case… you’re presuming that this “painting” does not include aesthetic attraction, or else you’re using “big white square” to mean a combination of… all conceivable attraction types, I guess, including aesthetic attraction… meaning you don’t think people with that kind of “painting” can conceive of or express aesthetic attraction on its own.

      But this seems wrong.

      What a woman says about a cat “that’s a beautiful cat,” is that big white square attraction? When a woman says to a sibling of hers “you look good today,” is that big white square attraction? When a woman says to an infant baby “what a handsome little man,” is that big white square attraction? Should I presume that in all of those circumstances? Because if so, that’s creepy! People have been being creepily sexual around me, openly and in public, my whole life! …which might well be true for other reasons, but I don’t think it’s this one. I think plenty of people just don’t think to model that reaction as a specific type of “attraction” per se, and they just leave it to context clues for others to figure out when “sexually attractive” is the correct interpretation.

  • Lexterre

    The “big white square” would be… a word that corresponds to “bi” or “gay” for aro ace. I’m conceptualizing the entire painting as my actual self, which doesn’t inherently come in words, and the legos as the words we come up with to describe ourselves, so that when I try to talk about myself, I’m clicking legos together and handing them to the other. Each *spot* on the painting would correspond to an aspect of identity (so bit A would be gender, bit B would be intro/extro/etc.-version, bit C would be values, etc.) and the “big white square” that I want to exist would be a word that covers the spots for romantic/sexual orientation in one word, instead of “aro ace” which is two legos clicked together. It wouldn’t *cover* any other types of attraction, leaving them to be described by other lego-words, just like the other orientation-words don’t. They’d be on the painting somewhere else.
    (I’m standing in a room and there’s a swirly abstract painting on the wall. Somebody asks me what it looks like, but I can’t speak or write. There’s a basket of legos on the table, and I start clicking together legos to approximate the painting.)
    That’s my metaphor. I was never trying to impose it, just share it. The “neutral tone” bit was trying to observe that it *seems to me* that when romantic/sexual attractions are not present and overwhelming, other attractions can more easily be noticed.
    If someone looks at the white lego you hand them and insist that white doesn’t exist, or that you clearly intended to hand them a blue one, that’s an entirely different problem. Not being certain what bits of the painting look like is also a different problem, and I’ve seen block-words in several places with question marks or none-of-your-business marks on them. (Queer and neurodivergent, for example.)
    Anyway, none of this addresses my central point in the OP, which is that the only way I’ve ever seen the “split” in SAM used is as splitting the *descriptors* from broad generalizations that don’t contain detail, to finer detailed descriptors, all describing a *single* thing.
    “The right half of this apple is red. The left half is also red.”

    • Coyote

      The “big white square” would be… a word that corresponds to “bi” or “gay” for aro ace. […] The “neutral tone” bit was trying to observe that it *seems to me* that when romantic/sexual attractions are not present and overwhelming, other attractions can more easily be noticed.

      So are you talking about orientations or are you talking about attractions?

  • the-probable-aro

    Hello, I’m the-probable-aro on tumblr, some of posts/reblogs have been linked here, I’m a non-SAM aro.
    I can see where you’re coming from, and I did post something (along slightly different lines) about not being totally happy with the term non-SAM:https://the-probable-aro.tumblr.com/post/184515590913/in-a-way-i-find-the-term-non-sam-aro-slightly
    I think the thing is, at the moment that is the only term I’ve heard, I can’t say I’ve heard of rosol/non-rosol. I don’t usually have it in me to explain what terms mean, so beyond the aspec community I tend to just say I’m aro and not specify any further, or if I think they won’t even know what that means I’ll just vaguely express my complete uninterest in dating.
    So I’m not saying we shouldn’t switch term, but we do need a term and personally I only want to use terms others will understand, even if it is only within the aro community itself. If rosol, or some other alternative, gained popularity, I would definitely consider switching (although personally I just don’t like the way rosol sounds) but a switch would need to come with a wider learning of whatever the new terminology would be.

  • raavenb2619

    Here’s some (admittedly not the clearest) discussion happening right now in the aro tumblr community.
    https://aroacepagans.tumblr.com/post/184968520573/but-actually-are-their-any-alternative-terms-to

    • Coyote

      Thanks for the link. I have to admit, the idea of deciding on a specific additional word to convey “without specific additions” — or a word to replace the “just” in “just aro” with something that would be more syllables than the word “just” just by itself — is a little funny to me.

      Still, I’m glad that people are talking over the terminology. It looks like there’s still some questions to sort out about what they’re really looking to name, too. As Ib/Arofrantics points out, Magni’s suggestion doesn’t cover their own situation. Also wow I am reminded how much I don’t like this kind of reblog-addition threading for making me scroll all the way up and back down again just to be able to tell who’s talking.

      Based on my own conversation with Ib recently, it sounds like there’s another, separate issue involved here, not about orientation labels per se (like is being discussed in that reblog chain), but about how “attraction” is talked about in the communit(ies) at all. From where I’m standing, it seems like what’s really needed, besides/maybe more than another type of personal label, is for the community to address the language of “I don’t experience [x] attraction but I do experience [y].”

  • the-probable-aro

    Hello, I’m the-probable-aro on tumblr, some of my posts/reblogs have been linked/referred to here, I’m a non-SAM aro.
    (I tried to comment on this days ago, but it didn’t post for some reason. I have to say, as a mobile user, tumblr is much easier than WordPress… Anyway, I’ve only just felt up to trying to comment again, sorry for being a bit later)
    You’ve said in a comment here you find it odd to have a word that means ‘just aro’. But if you don’t explain further, people will usually decide for you what they assume for you (Usually aroace). Having a word that means ‘I’m neither aroace or allaro’ is good to try and help with this.
    That being said, outside the aspec community, I do normally say I’m ‘just aro’ because no one knows what ‘non-SAM’ means. And I guess that’s the thing, that personally, I don’t feel a need to identify as something that no one knows the meaning of.
    So if I’m switching from non-SAM (which is looking likely to happen at some point) I would like it to be a term that is gaining at least some popularity among the aspec community (more specifically, probably the asec community on tumblr, since that’s where I spend my time).
    Re: non-rosol, I’m not sure it gives quite the impression I’m looking for. (Non-SAM has this same problem, which someone’s actually quoted me on above: ‘I have split my attraction, and have only found some of it worth labelling’)
    So while I understand the push to move away from non-SAM, I don’t think I’ll be going with non-rosol (especially since it doesn’t look like it’s about to gain popularity in use)

    • Coyote

      Hello. Sorry to hear about the comment troubles.

      But if you don’t explain further, people will usually decide for you what they assume for you (Usually aroace). Having a word that means ‘I’m neither aroace or allaro’ is good to try and help with this.

      Yeah, the Romantic/Sexual Dyad expectation in our communities is pretty pervasive. Quoiromanticism as a term came about because of the same reason.

      Re: non-rosol, I’m not sure it gives quite the impression I’m looking for.

      That’s fine. I didn’t necessarily intend it as an identity term that a person would put in their bio. More of just a clarifying descriptor when needing to talk about that particular relationship to those norms. Or something like… when someone needs to specify/contrast gray-asexuality against specifically “asexuality” itself — I’ve been using terms like “core asexuals” when relevant, and it looks like for the aro parallel, some aros have been saying “end-case aros,” when making the distinction is needed. Sometimes it’s handy to be able to clarify that. technicality But I don’t see any particular reason to push for those terms to start appearing in how people introduce themselves, if that makes sense.

      For the record, though… “non-rosol” comes from part of a remodeling effort that I started over two months ago, in March, and that I tried to solicit feedback about in multiple different places. All of those spots are still open for feedback now, even though I’ve gone ahead with using some of the terminology in other posts. I don’t want people to be under the impression that “oh, this is Decided now, it’s too late.” While (again) I’m fine with people using what they want, it’s not like I just pulled it out of a hat; it was always intended as an attempt at collaboration and multiple rounds of feedback — and I want people to know that I’m still interested in further feedback.

      (especially since it doesn’t look like it’s about to gain popularity in use)

      Certainly not if everybody looks at it and decides not to use it because it’s not already popular, lol.

      In any case, I’m vaguely aware of this having spawned some further discussion offsite, but I can’t be sure of where that’s ended up. Do you have a sense of what *is* “gaining popularity”?

      • Anon

        I’ve used “black-ace”/”black-aro” for what I believe is the same purpose, as both a contrast with “grey” and a reference to the black stripe of the flag.

        • Coyote

          That makes sense symbolically, but I imagine it could be unnecessarily confusing given that “Black” is also a racial identity term.

    • Coyote

      Oh, I found your original comment, by the way. It got caught by the spam filter. Doesn’t normally have that problem, but I think it tends to be twitchier about people who haven’t left an approved comment before & include a link at the same time.

  • (What) does the aro community want (with) quoiros? | The Ace Theist

    […] definition of quoiromanticism, it was made, no fussing at me for asking. And when I expressed to Raven my uncertainty about my relationship to aros, they were very gracious about it, telling me that […]

  • Relationship =/= Partnership | The Ace Theist

    […] I’m still seeing the nonsense term “split attraction model” being conflated with romantic orientation & sexual orientation labeling. I’m talking about choices up to and including reblogging that Historicallyace post that I […]

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