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Never get into a relationship where you feel like your partner is not going to respect your boundaries. If you feel like it’s worthwhile to try to explain to him that he will most likely be waiting forever, then go for it, but you never have an obligation to be in a relationship with anyone, and it may not be in your best interest to pursue a relationship with this guy.
Now it is possible that his phrasing was more along the lines of “okay we will not do any of that stuff unless you change your mind about it.” Do you see the important difference there? That kind of attitude puts your comfort first. It is saying “okay yeah I’m not gonna lie, I like these things, but if you do not like them, we shouldn’t be doing them.” Sex, or any other physical contact, should never involve the kind of compromise my roommate and I use where she’s using an ingredient that I don’t really like in a dish, so she uses less than normal and I pick around or tolerate the rest. If you are uncomfortable with a particular kind of contact, you should never have to suffer through it for the sake of someone else who does like it.
The short answers to your questions, in order, are: not at all, absolutely, and you’re rad, keep doing what you like!
For a little more detail: there’s this notion that every single asexual person must be sex-repulsed to the point of never doing anything even remotely sexual ever. As with most things, reality is far more complex than the stereotype. In reality yes, some asexual people are exactly that repulsed by sex, and there’s nothing wrong with that! But there is also nothing wrong with ace-spectrum folks who like every kind of sex act under the sun, or who like some thing but not others, or who masturbate but would not want sex with a partner. And none of those people are any less asexual because of their preferences. Your sexuality is defined by who you are attracted to. Nothing more, nothing less. You keep right on doing whatever feels right for you.
I’m not sure what exactly you mean by different levels, Anon, but I think I might know what you’re getting at. If this answer is completely not what you were looking for, please feel free to send another ask clarifying!
There is such a thing as the asexuality spectrum. Here’s how it works. Not everyone in the world is 100% asexual or 100% allosexual. Some people fall somewhere in between, where they identify with the asexual community more than the allosexual community, but do still occasionally experience sexual attraction. You may hear these people describe themselves as “mostly asexual” or “asexual with an exception”. This area between allosexuality and asexuality is called grey (or gray) asexuality, and encompasses everyone who for whatever reason feels neither entirely allosexual nor entirely asexual. Demisexuality, for example, is an identity in that grey area, where a person only experiences sexual attraction after forming a strong emotional connection with a person.
I am not sure I’m entirely comfortable with the idea of describing this variation as levels, since that kind of implies a hierarchy that doesn’t exist. It’s not ‘better’ to be asexual than demisexual, for example. That’s why I prefer the spectrum terminology. Purple light isn’t any inherently better than blue, it’s just different, and there’s no real way to pinpoint where purple stops and blue starts. Same with sexualities.
Standard disclaimer that I do not in any way speak for aromantic people as I myself am not aromantic! And if I am getting anything wrong in here please let me know.
Neither of those things automatically makes you aromantic or disqualifies you from being aromantic, Anon. Your romantic orientation is determined by one thing: who you feel romantic attraction to. You can haven a crush on someone without actually having any desire to be in a relationship, just like you can think someone is hot without dragging them off to bed. Some aromantic people like the idea of romance without actually wanting to date. Some alloromantic (non-aro) people feel the same way. Your attitude towards romance in general does not change your orientation.
If you’re questioning whether an aro spectrum identity fits you, consider instead whether you have had crushes in the past, on who, and how frequently (enough that you feel like they’re a significant part of your identity?). That will tell you whether something within the aro spectrum might fit you.
Okay. Here’s how it breaks down:
Your sexual orientation is the group of people you are sexually attracted to. This blog focuses on asexuality, which would be not feeling sexual attracttion to anyone, regardless of their gender. This doesn’t have any bearing on wanting or not wanting to have sex. Asexual people can choose to have sex, just like allosexual (non asexual) people can choose to be celibate, or to have sex with someone they might not be attracted to. Since you didn’t give me any specific information about that, I can’t really give you any help narrowing that down.
As for your romantic orientation, exactly like your sexual orientation, it is entirely determined by who you are attracted to. So, if you know that you are romantically attracted to both your own gender and other genders, then I would agree that it sounds to me like you might be biromantic. Again, you don’t have to want a relationship with everyone that you’re attracted to. Feeling attraction doesn’t mean you have to have any desire to act on it.
I hope that helps a little!
I just want to post sort of a thank you as well as a question. I am sorry if this comes out jumbled but I am not good at talking about this yet, it has been such a difficult part of my young adult/adult life, and to suddenly have all the answers…I can’t put it into the right words.
I never experienced sexual attraction, I thought I did—I thought romantic and platonic crushes were what people talked about. I sort of thought the girls talking about sex were kidding or something??? So it never clicked. Honestly. My first few boyfriends either had been cheating on me, were gay, or were long distance, so I never really was questioned on my lack of desire in the bow-chica department. It wasn’t really until I was with my now fiance that things became sort of difficult. It was great at first, I loved the kisses—why, they were romantic! When things got intense it was a little confusing, he came off as after something I wasn’t, and I didn’t quite understand what. I assumed he was hypersexual if anything, and he did too, since I was his only sexual relationship he had been in either. In time we realized my lack of a sex drive was definitely not the “”Norm”” and my health came into question. Was I sick?? Were my hormones off? Was I secretly not into dudes?? Just not into him???? All these things were thrown at me and our relationship was really rocky for a while. It started with taking supplements, things supposed to boost libido, then I started seeing doctors under encouragement from fiance and family—switching birth control pills, trying creams, trying everything. I only work part time so I don’t have insurance and this all started to get very very very expensive and terrible and by the end just left me feeling like a broken person, honestly by this point I just wanted to give my fiance up and let him live a happy life with someone who could be there to give him what he needs sexually, and we fought over this for a while.
Eventually I found tumblr, and through tumblr I learned about what asexual means. I had heard the word before—only in joking contexts, never realizing what it meant or how it related to me. Suddenly faced with information, at first I denied it, determined that it meant I was being lazy, accepting my “problem/brokenness” and not trying to fix it. I denied it for months and months, but it kept coming back to me. Finally I learned about gray-asexuals, demi-sexuals, I realized how complex the spectrum was, and how there were others who really were like me. I discovered that I fit somewhere in the demi-sexual area of gray asexuality. but that I also have times of just being asexual. (like gray-asexuality I very rarely experience sexual attraction—sometimes going months and months without feeling anything, but when I do it is only towards the one I am close to, I do not get excited or anything for celebrities, ‘hot’ strangers etc)
I finally talked to my fiance about this, and at first he didn’t understand—he didn’t know what it meant, did it mean we would never have sex again, did it mean I didn’t love him, did it mean I would be less available now than I was, but he quickly did his own research, he learned what I learned, and he came back to me overjoyed that we had finally found our answer. Suddenly I didn’t have a problem, I wasn’t sick, I wasn’t missing something, I was just me and it was okay, and he was thrilled that we learned about this, only wishing we had known sooner.
Since then we’ve taken steps to make things more comfortable for me as well as easier for him. He understands that I’m not really as into sex as he is although I am happy to be involved because I love him and want him to feel good, and he focuses on giving me the ability to feel good myself while respecting my wishes and desires. It’s been life changing.
But even still we have issues sometimes. It’s tough. He is a VERY sexual person, with very exotic and…uh„over the top kinks. And I don’t fault him for it at all, but it can be tough when he craves more and it’s hard for me to give it to him. When I’m not excited about sex it isn’t as pleasant, so it gets tough. He doesn’t really push me into these situations, but he is rather insistent because he wants it so bad, and to be honest I still have problems with guilt where I feel I owe it to him to go through with things even when I don’t want to. This is tricky of course and just, I don’t know, I guess I just don’t know how to make our lives easier. I wish I could turn on a button to be more sexual sometimes.
How can I keep working on this, making our sexual aspect of our relationship better for both of us? He does, uh, masturbate, and more often than the average person, but he does want more. Even though he works hard to give me the ability to approach him, I can feel how much he wants more. Maybe part of this is my own guilt complex making things feel more complicated but I don’t know.
What do I do?
This is under a cut because of length.
Fair warning, you are most likely not going to like anything I have to say.
To me, it sounds like you are probably not feeling romantic attraction to your partners. That leads me to wonder if you might not be aromantic, or another aro-spectrum identity. Being aromantic is very similar to being asexual, but instead of referring to not experiencing sexual attraction, it refers to someone who doesn’t experience romantic attraction. And, much like asexuality, there are various identities under the aromantic spectrum that fall between completely aromantic and completely alloromantic. We use the same prefixes: grey- for someone who rarely experiences attraction, demi- for someone who only experiences romantic attraction after an emotional connection has been formed. In addition, you will see lithromantic, which describes someone who prefers to have their romantic feelings unreciprocated. I cannot tell you if any of those is the perfect fit for you — only you can make that decision. But that is where I would suggest you start looking. We have some aro-spectrum blogs linked on our Resources page, and there may be a few more if you go through our #resources tag.
Please remember, whatever you ultimately decide, that there is nothing wrong with anyone of any orientation not wanting a romantic relationship for any reason. Your feelings are valid, and you shouldn’t every be trying to force yourself to feel something you don’t, or to want something you don’t.
Please take this advice with several grains of salt. I am not aromantic, so I am going based off what I have heard from other people. I would really suggest that you go forth and do your own research, so that you can make an informed decision. But hopefully this points you in the right direction.
A crush is feeling romantic attraction to someone. More specifically, the desire for an emotional, not necessarily sexual, relationship with them.
Sexual attraction is the desire for sexual contact with someone. It can be anything up to and including sex.
The biggest difference is that one can feel a desire to be emotionally intimate without being physically intimate.
Except that romance and emotional intimacy are not the same thing. Non-romantic relationships can be just as emotionally intimate as romantic relationships (that’s why the word “queerplatonic” exists), and plenty of aromantics have a desire to be emotionally intimate in a non-romantic way, although of course some don’t, and that’s okay, too.
You are correct, which is why I tried to word the definition for crush the way I did. (I forgot to sign. Sorry.)
I only put up the definition for crush because that was the only one asked for in this situation. I didn’t want to include squishes and queerplatonic relationships to avoid confusion, but you are completely right, both in your definition and that they are perfectly okay.
I am so glad we could help you, dear, and thank you for sharing with us! Encouragement and support are definitely what we’re here for.
Well, your sexuality is all about who you’re attracted to, not whether or not you’re interested in sex on top of that. So if you aren’t sexually attracted to anyone, I would be inclined to say that to me, it sounds like you are asexual. I’m not the one that gets to make that call, however. You are the only one who can ultimately decide if asexuality is a label that feels comfortable to you. All I can tell you is that your experience sounds to me like it lines up pretty well with what I would describe as asexuality.