attraction confusion – when you compare yourself to allos

arospecinitiative:

so here’s the thing, as i understand it – most alloromantic and allosexual people have an easier time figuring out what they’re feeling for another person than aro and ace people, because the various attractions that can exist separately are usually all present and directed at one person at the same time. a standard allo person will say “i’m in love with them” and they’ll mean that they want to be in a romantic relationship (a sign of romantic attraction), kiss them and hold their hand (a sign of sensual attraction), be able to be emotionally intimate (a sign of emotional attraction), desire to have sex (usually a sign of sexual attraction) and that they find the looks of the person captivating (a sign of aesthetic attraction). and that usually comes as a full set!! which is fine, cool and absolutely no problem with that. it just can become confusing when it’s presented as Attraction that doesn’t consist of several different parts, but as a monolith. it’s clear that it does feel like one big thing and so it’s intuitively understandable for allos, but for a lot of a-spec people, those types of attractions don’t typically all appear together. and it’s the majority experience – the allo experience – that we’re comparing our experiences to. 

what does it translate to functionally?? this depends!! say you’re allo ace and experience romantic + emotional + sensual attraction to a person – you can form a romantic relationship that can mostly follow the allo relationship model, but maybe without sex. say you’re aroace and you experience sensual + emotional attraction and it may feel like “tfw you want to kiss but no romo. what do??”. what do indeed, when you’ve been hearing that usually wanting to kiss someone and be emotionally intimate with them means infatuation, but you don’t feel you want that romo. and the feelings may be very intense, you just can’t stop thinking about this person and you’d love to talk to them so much and then make out. and you may wonder what does it all mean, maybe you’re just afraid of commitment, because wanting to kiss someone sure is romantic, right?? 

as many people come to realize, no, a lot of actions considered romantic don’t have to have romantic intentions behind them, it’s just that for the majority they do and when that majority talks about their experiences, we assume that it’s universal and it’s not. the Attraction that is a monolith for them doesn’t have to be that way for us – we may feel a mix of different kinds of attraction towards different people. allo’s Attraction is perceived as a powerful force and our attractions can also be powerful, just different. it can also vary from one a-spec to another – we can personally have a certain mix that we usually feel towards friends, a certain mix that makes us want to ask another person to be our qpp and other a-specs may feel completely different mixes that are connected to friendships for them. 

what i want to emphasize at the end though is that – if you’re a-spec or questioning being a-spec, remember that you’re comparing yourself to the majority for who attraction can really work differently from yours and not only because you experience little to no sexual or romantic attraction and they do – it’s also that a lot of them can’t make distinctions between other kinds of attraction (hell, sometimes not even romantic and sexual attraction) and the guidelines they lay out (for example: “if you want to kiss, that’s a crush”) may just not fit your experiences. they also may describe their Attraction as the most intense feeling, but that doesn’t mean that all intense attractions are romantic and/or sexual. so question what the attraction actually means for you, don’t worry about the implications intensity has, and hopefully understand yourself a bit better 

Also, the same act can fall under different attraction types for different people.

OP gives an example of an aroace wanting to kiss someone they feel sensual + emotional attraction to. For others, kissing is inherently a sexual or romantic act; and for some, what kissing means depends on the context.

I knew a romance repulsed allo-aro who said that she likes kissing someone she’s about to have sex with, but is repulsed by kissing in any other context because she sees it as romantic.

This stuff is complicated.

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