October 28, 2016

Being an Aromantic Asexual in a Hypersexual World

A horizontally striped background.  Colors are, from top to bottom, Black, grey, white, and purple.  Purple text over the black strip reads, "Asexual Awareness Week."  Black text over the bottom purple stripe reads, "2016."  The center two stripes have the four suit shapes from a deck of cards in black.  From the left, diamond, spade, club, and heart.

    I am an aromantic asexual.  Which means I do not experience romantic or sexual attraction.  I live in a society that reinforces heteronormativity and is hypersexual.  This can make some things awkward.  At best.  

    There are a lot of things I notice.  There are a lot of things I have to deal with, that a heterosexual cisgendered person might not notice.  So today I am going to take some time to talk about some of them.  

    Sex sells.    

    Really?  I don’t know about that.  

I am sure you have seen the ads.  "Hot singles in your area."  
What?  I - I don’t care about hot singles in my area.  
OMG why are you showing me half naked women!?  Or men!?  Why!  Stop that!  Oh gods just stop.   

    Really I get so tired of these ads.  Worse there are some that are very not safe for work.  

    Then you have people are trying to sell burgers and food with sex.  What?  Why?  Check this out.  

    The card aisle and valentine's day.  I have talked about this before, but it is really annoying and discouraging.  Love, love.  Love is in the air.  When a lot of the messages you are seeing indicate than anything that is not a romantic love  is “less than” it can really make you feel bad.  Worse people will actively tell you that your relationships don’t count or aren’t as important.  There is this narrative that I have seen (both implicitly and explicitly) that you should only seek love and friendship through your significant other; that friendships are temporary and far less important.  That’s not unhealthy at all(sarcasm) 

    Isn’t he hot?  

    I have been asked this by friends and at work(by managers).  It is weird and awkward at best.  If you aren’t attracted to the person the people who asked you will sometimes become mean or downright hostile.  What reaction are they going to have?  What will happen if you just tell the truth.  And if you lie and say that the person is hot then you are possibly in a situation where they will be trying to get you to date or pursue the individual.  No thanks.                         
    In these cases it seems advisable to just answer with “He/She is (They are) not my type.”  If they ask too often and it is at work you can always suggest the topic is not professional.  

    Furthermore let’s be honest I really don’t know what “hot” looks like.   Apparently it is different to everyone, but I really don’t get it as a concept.  

    This is a smattering of things I have dealt with personally.  There are stories out there from others on what they have to deal with.  Feel free to share some of your stories.

Lilian A. Brennan


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