I hereby wish to distance myself from asexuals on various online platforms who keep coming up with ridicolous new labels all the time.Let me explain why.
I am asexual. I am not attracted to people in a sexual way. I do not think of people as “hot”, “sexy” or “I’d hit that”. That’s easy enough to distinguish from the other sexual orientations out there. At least in my book, there are only:
- Heterosexual: Attracted to the opposite sex
- Homosexual: Attracted to the own sex
- Bisexual: Attracted to both opposite and own sex
- Pansexual: Attracted to people regardless of sex (including transsexual, intersex and other non-binary people)
- Asexual: Not attracted to anyone
Adding to the “who”-attractions, there are a couple of terms defining the “how”, such as demisexual (experiencing only secondary sexual attraction, i.e. only after having an emotional bond with someone, often friendship) and the grey area (low and/or rare sexual attraction, simplified); as well as mono- and poly- prefixes, stating if monogamy or polygamy applies. One can be heterosexual and demisexual; experiencing attraction to the opposite sex after forming emotional bonds. It’s simple enough as a system to label.
When it comes to romantic orientation, things get more difficult. Naturally, romantic attraction has the platonic counterparts to the sexual orientations and definers, which are still easy to understand. A sexual orientation states who you like to bang, a romantic orientation states who you fall in love with. The problem, however, is that for a vast majority of people, these two orientations match. Most heterosexuals are also heteroromantic, for example. Therefore, a vast majority of people is confused if the orientations do not match, i.e. an asexual person who has no desire for sex, but still wants a romantic relationship.
It is confusing enough as it is to people who are neither asexual nor aromantic. Why oh why make it even more confusing by making up new labels for every slight variation on the spectrum? Is it so hard to explain yourself in a few words that you need a label for everything? And that requires basically everyone you meet to read a dictionary – one in a constant state of change, no less – to understand what the hell you are talking about? “Sapiosexual”, for example, doesn’t mean that one is attracted to neanderthals or bipedal beings, it means “attracted to intelligence”. Seriously? I never met anyone who was turned on by stupidity. “Lithromantics” do explicitly not wish their romantic feelings to be returned, or even fear this might happen. Which doesn’t change the basic romantic attraction and is just a horribly specific way to say “doesn’t desire a romantic relationship”. And the latest trendy label is, in all seriousness, called “wtfromantic”, which no-one can explain better than “having weird crushes and being kinda aromantic”. Yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like.
If I would use all labels that somehow apply to me, I would end up with a list that fills a page. And after reading it, no-one would be one bit smarter than before and I would have to explain every single, specific term to define who I am attracted to in what way, to what degree and how I would like the person to react to it. Therefore, I stick with aromantic – I don’t “fall in love” and desire no romantic relationships. Simple enough, without having to define why exactly I feel that way, how I feel about people instead and whatnot.
When was the last time you met a heterosexual Ordinary Joe who gave you a book to read when asked what his orientation is? Who ever split “hetero” in “hetero with a strong preference for blondes, but only in long distance relationships (phone communication, weekly) and average school grades of x”? Right, no-one does that because it’s unneccessarily complicated. Maybe I just don’t get it because I don’t have the classic sexual or romantic attraction, and hence see no need to specify my preferences in every detail. But I do have social preferences; things I look for in a friend or someone I look up to. Know what? Either my criteria are met or they aren’t. No labeling myself as “roflcoptersocial” will change that – social interaction doesn’t work that way. Neither does romantic or sexual orientation. It’s a gamble every single time you meet a new person if you ‘click’ with them, have similar preferences for the possible relationship or not. Life isn’t a dating site where you meet everyone based on a checklist and a “looking for” essay.
Coming up with complicated and highly specific labels does nothing to help you. It’s not helping to be taken serious either. Identifying as lmaosexual demi-hollaifyouhearmeromantic just makes you look like a highschool hipster who desperately tries to be “mysterious, exotic and interesting”. And the only thing that label tells me is: I want nothing to do with you.
So there. I am an aromantic asexual. The strongest affectionate emotions I develop for people are friendship and admiration. That’s all I have to say, label-wise, and I really really don’t care what you new hip bumper sticker is supposed to tell me about your social interactions. It doesn’t.