Round-Up: Confusions

Round Up of Submissions

Welcome to the round-up of submissions on the topic of ‘Confusions.’ You can see the call for submissions here: Thank you to everyone who participated! We had five responses, from students at Smith College and University of Toronto.



  1. I can never stop being confused by allos…

Firstly, the prioritization of romantic relationships & the relationship hierarchy: HOW can you abandon all your years worth of friendships and familial connections because of ONE person you suddenly have romantic feelings for? How can you centre your ENTIRE life on one relationship and one form of attraction? How can you consider friends to be “just” friends when friendship is one of the most beautiful things in the world?

Secondly, marriage: Aside from the fact that our capitalistic society has attached financial benefits to marriage, what’s the point? Why should your feelings about someone change just because of a piece of paper? And why would you want the government or a public institution involved in your private relationship anyways?

Thirdly, monogamy: IF you somehow DO feel these mythical romantic and sexual attractions, how could you feel them for only ONE person and WHY would you only want to share them with one person in the first place? There is so much love to give…why shackle it down with limitations?

Lastly, why has alloromantic culture become THE culture of the world? Biologically, allosexual culture makes sense for the survival of our species via sexual reproduction. But why are people (and it doesn’t even have to be aromantics) shamed for not wanting to date, get married, or fall in love? There is no necessity to it…

People have often been confused by my asexuality and aromanticism: is it a hormone imbalance? Are you just too young to have figured out which allo sexuality you are? OMG, HOW CAN YOU NOT HAVE CRUSHES OR FIND ANYONE HOT??!?!

But actually, it’s simple: My asexuality and aromanticism are just an alternative and equally wonderful way of being. And allos are the ones who are really confusing ?


2. Before I came out as ace and really started to delve into the ace spectrum, I was extremely uninformed. For one thing, I didn’t even know asexuality was a spectrum. I treated it like a binary. I mistakenly thought that asexual people never ever wanted to have sex, and aromantic people never ever wanted to have a romantic relationship. I identify as ace but not aromantic, so when I was beginning to learn about my own asexuality, I (subconsciously or not, I really don’t know) didn’t focus as much on learning about aromanticism. When I learned that I could be ace and experience romantic attraction, I felt so validated. But for some reason, I couldn’t see how aro people could want to have sex but not a romantic relationship. I was so steeped in allonormativity that I couldn’t even see my own hypocrisy. Sex isn’t love and love isn’t sex. And romance isn’t love, either. I realized that rang true for me, so why couldn’t I see that it was true for others? I see now the aphobia that I had internalized and that I’m working out with every new thing I learn about being ace. Maybe a person wants sex or love or both or neither. Maybe a person experienced sexual and/or romantic attraction in the past but doesn’t anymore and vice versa. There should be no strict rules, no right or wrong way to be ace/aro. I’m so grateful to have found a community that really gets me, and I’m going to do my best every day to correct not only the misconceptions that I hear but the ones that I had.


3. What I don’t get is why a specific person is attracted to some people but not others. I can understand preferences as a byproduct of evolution: the vague traits often deemed “attractive” generally show that an individual is healthy and therefore has good genes, for instance being tall and having facial symmetry. But it’s the step beyond that confuses me. Why is person A attracted to person B but not person C? It’s the personal preferences.

But then this is the same question as why some people prefer chocolate desserts while others prefer fruity desserts, and I don’t think science has answered that one either.


4. Before I knew I was asexual, there were a lot of things that used to confuse me. For example, I never had a celebrity crush, and I didn’t understand how people could even have crushes on people they’d never met. Sure, I understood that they were attractive, but to me, a real crush had to involve personality as well as looks. So I mostly thought people were exaggerating for fun, and that they didn’t feel any real attraction. I also didn’t understand why people found it so hard to “wait until marriage.” I wasn’t raised to think it was necessary to do, but if you did want to wait, why was it such a struggle? Again, I thought people were exaggerating about how intense sexual desire is, because it seemed so simple to just not have sex. One thing that really upset me, though, was how women in books, movies, etc. always had to end up with a man. Part of that was just me being confused by heteronormativity, but it wasn’t like I necessarily wanted them to get with a woman instead, I mostly just wanted them to ditch the guys. I remember watching the movie version of The Great Gatsby with my mom when I was 13, before I read the book. At the end, I was so mad, and asked my mom why Daisy had to choose between two awful men. I mean, living on her own was clearly the best option! My mom, of course, explained that at that time it wasn’t a good option economically, but that answer just upset me more. I didn’t understand why women were expected to need men, and I didn’t want that for myself, but I rarely ever saw another option represented in the media.


5. A few things that confuse me:

– How attraction can be so important that people will stay in unhealthy relationships just because the other person is “hot”.

– Why it is so hard to find music that is not about sex and/or romance.

– How there can be relationship drama between people who’ve known each other for less than a week at summer camps.

– Why people prefer sex with another person over masturbation.

– Why marriage is treated as the only route to happiness.