About ten years ago, there was a mini – explosion in aromantic and asexual awareness in the media.
MamaMia, Cleo Australia and Ten’s The Project all ran stories about asexual and aromantic people. Of course, they had their detractors.
Now, aromantic people are in the spotlight. This is in part because the Yarra council in Melbourne has placed the aromantic flag over Richmond, Fitzroy and Abbotsford town halls.
What is aromantic?
Think about this: Have you ever had a crush? Have you planned dates, romantic getaways and weddings with a loved one in mind?
Do you get butterflies or nerves, when you see or think of someone in particular?
Well, some people don’t. They don’t feel the ‘butterflies’ or the desire for another person to be their significant other. They are aromantic.
That’s the simplest way I can explain it.
Because romance and sex often go hand in hand in society, there can be confusion for asexual people. How do you define “romantic attraction” when it’s divorced (no pun intended) from sexual attraction?
Here’s what I think about it. Romantic attraction is when you want to take a relationship beyond what is considered friendship. It’s when you want to date, be in a relationship and maybe marry.
To muddy the waters, some aromantic people are in relationships that, on the outside look like romantic ones. They are known as queer – platonic. So, my personal definition above may not fit everyone.
Romantic (and sexual) attraction can exist on a spectrum. There are a number of terms that describe this spectrum:
- Grey – romantic: simplest definition is someone who find themselves not 100% aromantic. Someone who is grey – romantic may feel romantic attraction rarely, in only specific circumstances (more on that later), or may be too weak to act on.
- Demi – romantic: People who identify as demi – romantic don’t form crushes on strangers. They only fall in love with people they are close with, such as a best friend.
- Fray – romantic: This is a less known grey – romantic orientation. Accoriding to LGBTA Wikia, fray – romanticism is the opposite to demi – romanticism. They lose romantic interest after a connection has formed.
This is by no means an extensive list. This is only a few terms that are used to describe experiences of people on the aromantic spectrum.
My plea to skeptics
I can already sense people rolling their eyes. But please consider this. Many aromantic and/ or asexual people often grow up feeling isolated and “broken”. Having these labels (and more) give people language for what they do (or don’t) experience.
Often, people on the aromantic/ asexual spectrum to fall into self doubt and self – loathing because they don’t fit in. That’s why aromantic and asexual awareness is important.