Tag Archives: orientation

Remodeling: on the Reclamation of the Term “Split Attraction Model”

This is a post about the ace and aro communities’ reclamation of the term “split attraction model” from the most recent anti-ace online harassment wave, picking back up on the discussion from here. A quick recap of that post: romantic orientation & differentiating types of attraction are not the same thing, and “split attraction model” is an anti-ace-derived piece of terminology that lumps the two of them together. For that reason, I’m here referring to ace & aro use of the phrase as a type of reclamation, in that it was imposed on us from the outside and now some have adopted it.

In this post, I do some more thinking out loud about the semantic work that the phrase “split attraction model” does and does not accomplish. The post has roughly three main parts. First, I share some of my understanding of why the term surfaced in the first place, in order to contextualize how it’s been reclaimed and is used now in the present. Second, as a response to that, I’ve present five narratives to complicate the resulting binary. Third, I’ve got some tentative suggestions for finding a way forward.

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Quoiro/WTFromantic: a brief timeline of disidentification with & personal rejection of romantic orientation

[Note: this post has been crossposted to Pillowfort. Updated 3/19/19.]

Since I’ve been thinking lately on the topics of those-who-struggle-with-labels and the process of getting new terms to take root, I decided I’d put together a brief timeline of one specific subset of that: disidentification with and personal rejection of romantic orientation.

Featured in this post: the coinage and meaning of wtfromantic, the subsequent coinage and meaning of quoiromantic, some discussion over competing definitions, and a sampling of personal reflection posts on the topic demonstrating its continued relevance over the past eight years. Formatted by year, with select text excerpts in blockquotes.

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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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don’t forget

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no time limit

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this series of posts makes me swoon

Notes on “types of attractions as orientations” Part 1: neoliberal identity politics, Part 2: problems of orientation *independence*, & Part 3: QP relationships and/not platonic attraction

So many things.  So many things I’ve been thinking about but wasn’t able to say.

Relevant to:

  • quoiromantic, wtfromantic, no I don’t have a romantic orientation, stop asking
  • ace/q***r-debate rhetoric based on sorting aces by romantic orientation (stop)
  • the assumption that, in absence of attraction, no one would want or form committed same-genderish relationships (wrong, wrong, hello hi, other people like me exist)
  • identity-policing & “no you must have precisely zero of X type of attraction in order to ID as Y” & otherwise = gray
  • insistence on a One and Only singular definition of an identity based solely on one Platonic factor
  • respectability ploys of isolating variables & “this is completely independent from…” “this has nothing to do with…” (other experiences, gender, race)
  • get away from “pin down what specific types of feelings and attractions you have, this is The Most Important and all we do here” & get into pursuing the political implications
  • asterisk nominal recognition = not enough; the endgame should be changing the entire rule set and rebuilding it from the ground up
  • actually naming and critiquing neoliberalism in the ace community

Some really good reads.  Check ’em out.

I know RZ’s style is pretty jargon-y and academic though, so feel free to ask me (or them! I’ve seen them do this too) to translate any sections and talk it over with you.


re: monosexual privilege

*rubs temples*

Okay.

This is one of those arguments that it feels pointless to engage in, but just to show where I stand here, I might as well state what I think about this.

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Vectors, Scales, and Spectrums

This post is a response to Dragon’s model for sexual attraction and the ace spectrum, which prompted a lot of scattered thoughts that I’ll be attempting to organize here.  Topics include: modeling attraction patterns, attraction vs. arousal, gray-ace vs. asexual, and issues of “frequency.”  CW for brief talk of ableism and eugenics.

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I’m tired of all these special snowflakes

Yeah, that’s right: I’m sick, absolutely sick, of all these special snowflakes who think they’re omniscient.  They think they know everything — literally everything, even what’s going on in your head right now, every emotion you feel, every sensation or attraction you experience, everything.  I mean, it’s one thing to consider yourself knowledgeable, but this is taking things way too far.

Special snowflakes have this compulsion where, if you describe your internal experiences, they’ll pounce on you to say you’re lying and just attempting to make yourself seem more unique than you really are, because these special snowflakes are the ones who know what you’re really like, of course.  How do they know?  Well we’re just supposed to take their word for it.  Why wouldn’t you believe them, right?  They can see inside your brain or something, probably.  Mind-readers.  It’s a wonder they haven’t hacked everybody’s accounts by now, since they must know all existing passwords, too.

Nothing in the world exists that they haven’t already heard of before, after all.  They’re too special to need to learn things.  They’re so special, they’ve already collected every datapoint in existence.  Yep.  These kids know everything, and asking questions would be beneath them.  Don’t ask where they got these wild magic powers from — they just know things, and they will be furious if you question that.

There’s nothing too implausible about a bunch of people claiming to have unlimited godlike omniscience out of the blue, right?  That’s not too ridiculous or anything.  Nah.  These firm but benevolent shepherds are the true arbiters of what’s really ridiculous here.

Ugh.  Special snowflakes.


What does sensual attraction mean for queerness?

I’m curious.

There’s been some revival of the asexuality & queerness discussion over at the Asexual Agenda, and while I have little to (directly) contribute to that, it brought up a question for me regarding where sensual attraction fits in relative to other types.  Aside from transness, a conservative definition of queerness/qualification for an individual to ID as queer tends to require same-gender romantic or sexual attraction.  Sensual attraction is usually treated as irrelevant.

Which is interesting for me because this is not the case any time people (indirectly) speak of same-gender sensual attraction outside the context of asexuality debates.

For the purposes of this post, I’m defining sensual attraction as any impulse/involuntary interest in kinds of touch that, to the individual, would not be defined as having sex.  Kissing, for example.

We know that you don’t necessarily have to have a crush on someone to want to kiss/enjoy kissing someone (i.e. it can be recognized as a purely physical attraction/desire/pleasure).  And we know that you don’t have to be sexually attracted to someone to want to kiss/enjoy kissing someone (ex. some sex-averse romantic aces like this).  Therefore: kissing is neither necessarily romantic nor sexual.  Individuals may feel it’s one or the other or both for them, but such categorization doesn’t have to be true for everyone or every case.

Yet ladies kissing ladies is often considered queer (or grounds for queerness), and the same goes for dudes kissing dudes.  Granted, it could be argued that, in these instances, kissing is being read as synechdochic for romantic and/or sexual feelings.

However.

I believe I’ve seen same-gender sensual attraction itself being labeled as gay or queer, and so I wonder if that’s contingent upon it being accompanied by other forms of attraction as well, or if people really do interpret “I wanna smooch this person of the same gender as me” as itself queer (or “worthy of being deemed queer”), irrespective of the person’s sexual or romantic orientation.

In any case, it casts what I’d previously only regarded as an error in a new light — that is, whenever people define sexual orientation as who you’re “physically attracted to”, implying inclusion of nonsexual physical attractions (what I’ve been terming here “sensual attraction”).

The desire for cuddles isn’t generally considered relevant to this conversation, and that may be fair, but then again, I don’t see why certain sensual activities should carry more weight than others.  Do we just group things according to the concentration of nerve endings in a given body part, then?  Wouldn’t that make hand-holding a significant one, if that were true?  Does same-gender physical attraction only become possibly-queer once it involves genitals?  Where does that leave butts and boobs, then, which are conventionally sexualized by some cultures?  How thick is the line between same-gender physical attractions that are “worthy of queer”, so to speak, and those which are not?