Tag Archives: aromanticism

Tiny linkspam on Tri-Label Aro Aces

In the spirit of Queenie’s teeny tiny linkspams, such as the one on greyness, here are a few links about or related to the experiences of tri-orientation aro aces — those identifying as gay/lesbian/bi/het (or some other orientation) while also identifying with both the ace & aro umbrellas.

Some of these links are about identifying with an orientation label in a way that’s not (or not entirely) about romance or sexuality. Some of these links are about nonromantic or ambiguously-romantic partnership. Some of these links are direct personal narratives about tri-label identities, such as gay aro ace or bi aro ace. So as you can see, some of the connections are more direct than others, but hopefully you can find something you’re looking for.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort.]

Bi Aces, Not Biromantic

Being Bi/Ace, Part One: Scrutiny About Attraction and the Kinsey Scale & Part Two: Aesthetic Attraction and the Visual-Aural Gender Split by Elizabeth

Opting Out Of Romantic Orientations by Vesper (note: see also some of my posts on romantic orientation)

Tri-Label Aro Aces

Bisensuality (or That Little Nuance I like to Ignore) by Lib

Squishes and unlearning heteronormativity & A Contrarian View on Platonic Attraction by Laura

Gay/Lesbian/Bi Aro Aces, a comment thread with multiple contributors

A post on being a gay aro ace by Sammy

A post on being a bi aro ace by Astral

Oriented Gray by Coyote

Oriented Aroaceness: An Essay by Lynn

Oriented AroAce Problems (a comic) by Xweetara

Even more posts and threads about gay/lesbian aro aces: “aroace lesbians can be…” (reblog chain) and is it possible to be asexual, aromantic, and gay? (forum thread).

Relationships & Partnerships

Updating the Map by Elizabeth

“I can’t want people like me in fiction” & “Captain Marvel doesn’t have a romantic subplot” by Aceadmiral

A Genealogy of Queerplatonic & Queerplatonic-Adjacent Concepts by Coyote

Yearning For “Queerplatonic” To Be Recognized As Not Romantic by luvtheheaven

Teeny tiny linkspam on asexuality and relationships by Queenie


Frameworks of Visibility vs. Acceptance

As a followup to my previous post on “visibility,” this (crossposted) post features what I should have started with in the first place: diagrams.

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on relationship boundaries and monogamy

Here is a post I saw today about how defining monogamy becomes tricky with aro spectrum and ace spectrum folk in the mix.  Go read it.  It’s got interesting points and I don’t have much to say on it, besidessss in response to this part added by paradife-loft:

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Tiered Straightness Theory

Going back to old, old stuff…. I’ve gotten to thinking about this more, the implications of this idea… a definition of straightness that suggests, if not requires, an explicit hierarchy of straightness.  All straights are straight, but some straights are straighter than others.

That’s what comes of a working definition of straightness that depends on absences & on what is *not* experienced (re: patterns of desire, attraction, unwilled feelings, etc.), without any dependence on what *is* experienced (re: patterns of desire, attraction, unwilled feelings, etc.), deliberately shaped to include pathologized experiences off of that list, as long as they meet the given absence criteria.

I just wanna say — it might actually be workable, for all I know, but there’s a couple things I haven’t seen addressed.

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On “A-” Homogenization

Companion piece to this post on lgb homogenization, I suppose.

A while back, when I criticized the terms acephobia/arophobia/aphobia for the phobia suffix, I got a comment disagreeing with my replacement suggestions on the basis that we supposedly need “aphobia” or some equivalent in order to bundle anti-ace and anti-aro concepts together in one term.  A short argument resulted.

In light of that, this post and its tags feel like support for what I was trying to say there:

#the replacement with ace- and aro-spectrum with a-spec; and allosexism and amatonormativity/ace- and aro-phobia with aphobia?#really really obnoxious and lazy and imprecise and it drives me up a wall ok#there are REALLY DAMN GOOD REASONS both in terms of denoting ideologies and being able to point out intracommunity issues with having those#*having those terms and ideas be SEPARATE THINGS

…Yeah.

And granted, Sangam did say:

I never argued for doing away with the terms you proposed entirely — I simply don’t think they are sufficient to act as a REPLACEMENT for what “aphobia” already covers, which is the subject of this discussion.

…but while anti-aro acts and anti-ace acts do have overlap, sure, I still don’t think a combo-term (1) deserves to be used to the exclusion of specifics (as I’ve seen some people doing — using “aphobia” in all cases instead of using more specific terms like compulsory sexuality, amatonormativity, etc. as the case may warrant) or (2) does what Sangram says it does, re: “solidarity.”  A non-aro-spec ace using “aphobia” doesn’t communicate anything to me as a quoiro and doesn’t do me any good on that front, so I don’t know what model of solidarity we’re using there.  And anyway — being able to label amatonormative junk that goes on in the ace community is more important to me than having a term that homogenizes aces and aros in a way that doesn’t distinguish where populations and experiences diverge.  I mean, maybe that should be important to me, but right now it’s not really.

…So it’s actually quite fascinating to me to see “a-spec” proposed as something that could mean “a spectrum of nonattraction, unspecified” (or as James puts it, “a specific phrase meant to emphasize inability or lack of desire to distinguish one’s own aro and ace identities as separate pieces rather than a composite whole”) as opposed to its current meaning of “aro spectrum and ace spectrum combined as one umbrella for all.”

Related addition 1/19/18: Vesper tweeted about the relationship between the ace community and the aro community


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?


the latest peculiar buffoonery in the comments

Apparently asexual aromanticism is the “I can’t believe it’s not butter” of heterosexuality.


AA: on “ending up alone”

The copilot sent:

Can you please write a post about “ending up alone?” That is all.

Well, I can try.

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Friendship, Unrequited Crushes, and Emotional Abuse

This month’s Carnival of Aces is about expectations in friendships and other relationships, so I suppose now is a good time to talk about this.

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On the word “platonic”

I’ve been kind of passively not using it for a while now, but lately it’s gotten to the point where seeing people using it has begun to bother me, so I thought I’d write up an explanation for my reasons for avoiding it.  To clarify, this is not an outright condemnation of its usage so much as it is a summary of… some things to take into consideration.

The common noun “platonic” is derived from the proper noun “Platonic”, in reference to the philosopher Plato, and the notion of “platonic love” is a term retroactively applied to Plato’s beliefs about the ideal form of love — which, basing your understandings off modern notion of what “platonic love” means, might give you the mistaken impression that Plato might’ve been aromantic, a theory that I’d unfortunately be able to refute with quotes from the Phaedrus that demonstrate his elevation of romantic-aesthetic attraction and passionate desire as some kind of touch of the divine.  The dude would not have been kind to aros.  But I digress.

Platonic love, in its original conception, describes a model of human relations that, from one angle, sounds like an ideal that most human relationships should be held to, including romantic ones.  Platonic love is an egalitarian love, forming relationships that entail balanced power dynamics.  Unfortunately, this entails certain perspectives on sex, as I discovered when reading John Durham Peters’ “Dialogue and Dissemination”:

In this great discourse, Socrates offers a conception without master or slave, dominant or subordinate — Platonic love, as we have come to call it, love without penetration.  Two of the most characteristic Socratic gestures are the refusal to write and the refusal to penetrate, the latter described in Alcibiades’ speech in the Symposium.  In the Phaedrus we discover the intimate connection between the two refusals.  Both renounce asymmetrical relations.

…meaning, there are many nonsexual romantic relationships that could be described as platonic, in this sense, and even some sexual relationships, too, in cases where the participants’ activities are all non-penetrative.  Not really what I think most people are going for when they use the phrase “platonic relationship”.

Further, Platonic love entails eros, which is a quite decidedly romantic conception of love, making “platonic” a rather ironic choice for an antonym for romantic.  Of course, I’ve also seen people use it to mean simply “nonsexual”, which just further makes a mess of things since that would mean that platonic relationships can be romantic but not sexual, while others would say that platonic relationships can be sexual but not romantic, and still others think of platonic as describing relationships which are neither sexual nor romantic.

Even if you are content with the lack of consensus there, however, and are willing to substitute your own opinion despite the confusion, the idea of Platonic love comes with some extra ideological baggage — which is that the point of Platonic love, the equal love between two romantically-entwined philosophers, is meant to serve as a stepping stone to enlightenment and spiritual growth, an idea which I think a lot of the aro community would reject.  It posits physical attraction/desire (and I’m presuming all three types of physical, here) as something “base” and “earthly”, which is elitist, but also suggests that such feelings are necessary in the process of beginning to appreciate and contemplate wider universal mysteries, specifically by embarking on that path in dialogue with another, in a way that implies aromantics, singles, and nonamorous people are disqualified from developing the same depth of meaningful philosophical thought as those with Platonic lovers.

Granted, the problems with the word “platonic” are not really any worse than with the word “romantic”, so feel free to continue using it if it’s convenient to you.  For my own part, I prefer using the dichotomy of “nonromantic” / “romantic” instead, to parallel that of “nonsexual” / “sexual”.