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Old 21st Oct 2011, 06:31 PM   #1
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Default Asexual vs Aromantic

What is the difference between asexual and aromantic?
I've never been in love. Ever. Sure I have brief "crushes" that don't really even count as crush (honestly it's so superficial that when I don't see that person in sight I just forget about it) and I do feel sexual attraction to men, but:
a. I'm a virgin, and even though it would be quite nice to get laid, it's not something that I obsessess about in anyway, and I've never put myself out there to have sex. Also no one has ever really viewed me as sexual being, and I often don't see other people as sexual beings either, if that makes any sense.
b. I don't desire romantic relationships.Sure, when I watch movies like Titanic, you know those really dramatically emotional movies, and I'm like awww, but then in real life, I really don't care. Again, never been in a relationship. I'm not desperate to have a boyfriend either, so never put myself out there in a dating pool.

I don't want to label myself as this or that, I just want to understand my feelings.
Any advice? Opinions? Thanks.
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Old 21st Oct 2011, 07:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: Asexual vs Aromantic

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What is the difference between asexual and aromantic?
An asexual non-aromantic person can fall in love with people and enjoy the more emotional parts of a relationship, but wouldn't desire sex or find their partner physically appealing. An aromantic non-asexual person can enjoy sex and maybe even have a friends with benefits situation, but it would be purely physical for them; they wouldn't do it for love, because they don't fall in love.

Your descriptions that you gave reminded me a lot of myself when I was still a super-virgin (had never even held hands with a guy). Here's the funny thing about romance and sexual experiences: it's hard to understand the appeal of them before you've experienced them. Before I had a sexual experience with a guy, I didn't find the idea of sex at all appealing (the only masturbatory fantasies that worked for me were highly fetishistic) and relationships were only something I desired because of cultural conditioning. But when I had my first night with a guy, it "awoke" something within me. Actually experiencing it made me able to understand what made the experience so desirable and, frankly, amazing. That applies to both romantic attractions and sexual attractions; having fallen for someone in high school allowed me to truly understand the appeal of romantic attractions.

Now, that might reek of "You just haven't found the right person!" to you, and you wouldn't be unjustified in making such an accusation. But that's what I experienced. It won't happen to everyone in your position, but it might just happen to you, because it did happen to me.

The problem with labels like asexual and aromantic is that people often view them in an essentialist way, rather than an existentialist way. What that means is, people often think, "I'm asexual, so I can't be capable of sexual attraction," rather than, "I've never been sexually attracted to people, so I'll call myself asexual." In other words, people think that the label needs to dictate their behavior, rather than their behavior dictating which label they use for themselves. You show a lot of wisdom in thinking less about labels and more about trying to understand your feelings, and that's the best place to start.

Now, you've mentioned in your post that "it would be quite nice to get laid" and that you've had superficial crushes. To me, that says that the potential for sexual attraction might lie within you. Also, your ability to empathize with the relationships of fictional characters tells me that the potential for romantic attraction might also lie within you. The reason I brought up essentialist vs. existentialist ways of looking at our orientations is that the only way we can really know our orientation is by looking at our past experiences. The only reason I consider myself a panromantic person is that I have fallen in love with a girl before; if it weren't for that one experience, I wouldn't know whether I was panromantic or just homoromantic. Because we can only determine our orientations by our history, it's really hard to know what your romantic orientation is when you haven't put yourself out there to really test the waters (so to speak).

So my advice for you? Relax and go with the flow. Recognize that you are someone who doesn't have a lot of experience on which to determine your romantic orientation (you can probably determine your sexual orientation by the sexes of your superficial crushes), and try to be at peace with that fact. As you yourself insinuated, you don't need a label if you don't feel ready to give yourself one. That's the "relax" part. The "go with the flow" part is to be open to future experiences. I'm not by any means telling you to start trying to date, but if a guy walks into your life whom you hit it off with and are compatible with, be open to the possibility of dating, even of a relationship. Don't shut yourself off from romantic attraction just because you've never felt romantic attraction before. Of course, be safe and sensible, but as long as you are being both of those, have fun, and be open to new experiences.
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Old 14th Nov 2012, 01:11 PM   #3
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Default Re: Asexual vs Aromantic

This may sound like a silly question, but what is romantic attraction, and how is it separate from sexual attraction? Specifically, how is it possible to have a romantic relationship without sex?

I'm asexual, and trying to figure out if I'm aromantic or not, or if that term even makes any sense. I mean, how do you define the difference between a romance and a best friendship? To my view, both can be just as close. I always assumed the distinction was that you don't want to have sex with your best friend, which would make asexuals incapable of romance by definition. But then I hear people describe themselves as asexual but not aromantic, and it confuses me.
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Old 14th Nov 2012, 02:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Asexual vs Aromantic

I identify as gray-A (here's some information on that, worth reading anyway), I'm not sure if I'm completely asexual or just have a very low sex drive but it doesn't interest me very much. However, I do feel romantic attraction towards guys.

Let me say it like this. Right now I have a huge crush on a particular guy, I want to see him and be with him if I could, I want to cuddle and kiss him and fall asleep together and be with him forever. But I don't want to bang him. I feel like I can be perfectly happy in a relationship without sex.

As for the difference between a relationship without sex and a best friendship... I can see how that can be confusing, but I'll try to explain. I only like my best friend as a friend. I have no desire, none at all, to kiss him, fall asleep next to him spooning, or even cuddle with him. No way. I do have feelings like that towards that other guy though, like I said above.

Hope this makes it a bit clearer, if you have more questions feel free to ask
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Old 14th Nov 2012, 02:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: Asexual vs Aromantic

The way I see it, and someone can correct me if I'm wrong, is that sexual attraction is attraction to a person in a sexual and/or physical sense, and romantic attraction is attraction in an emotional, spirititual and/or romantic sense, which can get quite confusing. And a romantic relationship without sex is just that, a relationship without sex. It's still completely possible, and you can do everything else the same, there's just no sex. Can still go out on dates, cuddle, do whatever you want to do really. The only difference? No sex

As for the second part of your question, that's something I'm still trying to work out myself
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Old 15th Nov 2012, 03:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: Asexual vs Aromantic

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Originally Posted by timo View Post
I identify as gray-A (here's some information on that, worth reading anyway), I'm not sure if I'm completely asexual or just have a very low sex drive but it doesn't interest me very much. However, I do feel romantic attraction towards guys.

Let me say it like this. Right now I have a huge crush on a particular guy, I want to see him and be with him if I could, I want to cuddle and kiss him and fall asleep together and be with him forever. But I don't want to bang him. I feel like I can be perfectly happy in a relationship without sex.

As for the difference between a relationship without sex and a best friendship... I can see how that can be confusing, but I'll try to explain. I only like my best friend as a friend. I have no desire, none at all, to kiss him, fall asleep next to him spooning, or even cuddle with him. No way. I do have feelings like that towards that other guy though, like I said above.

Hope this makes it a bit clearer, if you have more questions feel free to ask
Do you still have intense sexual thoughts and masturbate regularly?
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