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The Aromantic Nation: A place for aromantics
media representation of sexual aromanticism 
25th-Feb-2013 07:03 pm

(If the creator of this community wants to make a welcoming post first, feel free to push this to a later date.)

As a creative person striving for inclusiveness, I have some questions regarding the media representation of sexual aromanticism. Now, I'm asexual myself (and I prefer the term "nonlimerent", because romantic attraction is too vaguely defined), so I don't have the most immediate connection to this, but from where I'm standing, it looks like the current favouring of romantic love in stories of all kinds has led to a rather appalling stigmatisation of aromanticism. I mean, if you're asexual aromantic, the media thinks you're a freak or an alien, but if you don't fall in love ever but still want sex, you're a sociopath who's just using people and breaking hearts for sport. It's like the general opinion is that really okay, consensual sex is primarily about love, not about care. (Which is kind of creepy, if you think about it. Sort of like the question "If you don't believe in God, how can you be a good person?") The chronic 'player' is humanised by eventually falling in love; potentially mutually satisfying one-night-stands are depicted as a game of 'conquest' (as if it's about aggression and violence); poly relationships are viewed with distrust and sometimes even edited out of history if the people involved are supposed to be seen as the good guys; people seeking out the services of prostitutes are considered somewhat pathetic at best, even if the prostitute is doing the job really, truly voluntarily and without economic pressures; 'loveless' marriages are always bad and considered abnormal; people are supposed to "keep the romance alive", because mutual affection and support somehow aren't good enough.
It's all a load of BS, of course. Longterm sexual relationships weren't based on romantic love for the majority of human history. And even today you still find marriages that are more partnerships and not about romance. In fact, those marriages seem to be more stable in the long run. (There are even theories that romantic love as a hormonal state is only supposed to last as long as it takes for a child to be born and nursed, based on the high divorce rate once the first few years have passed. But that's a bit doubtful - there is such a thing as homoromanticism, after all.)

Since my own exposure to the sexual viewpoint on aromanticism is severely limited, I wanted to start by asking what people who are sexual aromantics would like to see in a sexual aromantic character, especially a modern one. And what are the stereotypes to avoid? (other than implying sociopathy or any other emotional defect, obviously) Have there been any positive representations in well-known media in the last decade or two?

26th-Feb-2013 08:50 am (UTC)
I like the term 'nonlimerent'. I haven't heard it before, but I might start using it, although TBH personally my only problem with 'aromantic' is that I constantly mis-read it as 'aromatic'. Even if I'm the one who typed it.

Since my own exposure to the sexual viewpoint on aromanticism is severely limited, I wanted to start by asking what people who are sexual aromantics would like to see in a sexual aromantic character, especially a modern one.

That's a good question. I'd really like to see someone similar to myself, which seems like a rather self-absorbed answer but thinking on it, I know my situation isn't unique, so. Basically I guess what I would like to see is someone who's aromantic but still perfectly capable of having committed (do not read as synonymous with 'monogamous') relationships that are fulfilling. And the major stereotype I don't like to see is the promiscuity one. Not that there's anything wrong with promiscuity, but as you pointed out, the 'player' type of character is pretty much the only kind of sexual aromantic typically presented in media.
1st-Mar-2013 06:08 pm (UTC)
I'll second poto_heart on the kind of aromantic person that would be nice to see represented in media. Another stereotype to conquer might be the belief that (if we operate with just two sexes for the sake of this point) women are romantic and men aren't.

One important part is how a partner on an aromantic person handles the issue. I guess that to introduce the idea of aromanticity in some piece of fiction (with the relationship as its main point), there would need to be a very basic rundown of the issues and differences from the point of view of a romantic person. Something like how the romantic person doesn't understand it first, then the aromantic one explains, then there's a conflict, but they get over it and make compromises, and then the romantic person sees how it's okay to be aromantic. Hm, that sounds like it would be rather clichéd, but it could be the "classic" when it comes to the topic of aromanticism in fiction.

I also think I agree with "nonlimerent" being a good term. I had to look up limerence (at least I'm pretty sure that's the base word) but I can't find anything about it in my own language and it's hard to make sense of limerence vs. romantic when I don't really understand either concept at all, heh.

Edited at 2013-03-01 07:45 pm (UTC)
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