What is allonormativity?
Allonormativity is the assumption that all human beings are allosexual, i.e. that they experience sexual attraction to other people. However, it is important to note that some groups, like the disabled community, have been and still are ‘desexualized’ in media representation and real life.
What is amatonormativity?
Amatonormativity is the assumption that all human beings pursue love or romance, especially by means of a monogamous long-term relationship. The term was coined by Elizabeth Brake, in her book Minimizing Marriage: Marriage, Morality, and the Law (2011).
- Equating sexual inexperience with immaturity
- Medical professionals assuming that lack of sexual activity is cause for concern
- Assumption that sexual liberation means having sex, that not having sex means you are repressing your sexuality
- Many queer spaces and resources emphasize sex over other forms of queer relationships/identities
- Assuming that everyone wants to get married, and unmarried/unpartnered people are unhappy or lonely
- Treating romantic relationships as more important than friendships
- The structuring of society around married couples (housing, taxes, etc.)
- “Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend yet?”
What harm do allonormativity and amatonormativity do?
- Aspec people feel broken or like something is missing
- Lack of sexual desire or libido can be seen as inherently a medical issue that needs to be fixed
- People feel pressured to date or have sex even if they don’t want to
- People who are single or in nontraditional relationships (polyamorous, open, queerplatonic) are looked down on by others and by society
- Romantic relationships are expected to take priority over friendships
- People who are not in romantic relationships may be left out of conversations and events which revolve around couples
What can we do?
- Acknowledge that not all people experience sexual and/or romantic attraction, and not all people desire a long-term, monogamous romantic relationship
- Challenge assumptions that romantic/sexual relationships must be the most important relationships in someone’s life
- Challenge structures that give couples benefits over single people or people in polyamorous relationships
- Educate others about these concepts
- Promote ace and aro creators and support ace and aro representation in media