I previously wrote a post about what being emotionally responsible means, and how emotional illiteracy is really detrimental to keeping relationships (for yourself and others).
Hanging out around non-monogamous communities (bdsm, swingers, polyams, you name it), you constantly hear people talking about “sexo-affective responsibility” towards their partner(s). But under the guise of ~sex positive~ culture, and owning and exploring your sexuality, people tend to focus a lot more on the sex aspect, and very little on the emotional responsibility side of it.
In part, I believe, because that’s not what sells. People want to have fun, and explore new avenues for pleasure and experiment. Because the sexual act itself is easy (although it’s never ‘just sex’ - and that’s a capitalistic lie). Could you imagine being that person talking about trauma and sexual violence in a space where people go to have fun? non sense! That should be something for therapy (if you believe in such a thing).
And if and when you bring up the topic of power imbalances, abuse, and issues of coercion/consent, generally the community tends to get very defensive and shout ‘shame! you’re shaming me!’ and point blank refuse to acknowledge any of it. Which, imho, doesn’t help anyone at all and just provides abusers from being held accountable.
What I wanted to bring up is how asexuality can help us understand emotional relationships better by taking the focus completely away from sex. Because, when you see sex as something accessory, you put all the value in the emotional bond you have with each other.
David begins his talk by commenting on something basic and universal for everyone: the struggle to find connection. And goes on to define it like this: «And I want you to think back to the last time you had a really good, really deep conversation. Think about how that felt like in your body. Think about what it felt like to be that engaged with another person. That’s what I mean when I say connection.»
What David is talking about here, this connection, is nothing but love in its purest and simplest form. It’s making the effort to know and understand someone, and have that reciprocated - and thus form a relationship.
And it’s important to understand that you can build love in any type of relationship, whether it’s romantic or platonic, sexual or non-sexual. Personally, I find that romance and friendship are simply in a spectrum of love that you find among equals* who have an emotional connection.
So, in his quest to try to understand how these relationships operate, David asks a very simple question: what makes some relationships more connected (or emotionally intimate) than others?
And the answer is simple: it’s about the time you decide to spend with someone. And because you find your interactions and connection nurturing, you decide to prioritize this relationship over others and spend even more time together, so the bond continues to grow and strengthen.
And then he comes to share the example on how he deepened his connection to his friend Brandon, by asking him to have a conversation where they talked about and acknowledged their relationship, how it was working and how they wanted to build on that.
And there was something about that simple conversation that was terrifying. But once I could sit down and have it with him, the relationship was transformed. It didn’t become a romantic relationship. But being able to make explicit the way that we made decisions about time, allowed the relationship to be talked about, celebrated, and prioritized in a way that most friendships are not.
Here’s what I’d like you to take away: as you think more about the asexual community, remember that our struggle for connection is tangled up in a culture of sexuality. And that in order to disentangle it, we need to understand how these things operate. We need to recognize that they are fundamentally the same. Whether they are sexual, or non-sexual. We need to begin to explore the structure by which they grow. So that we can write new scripts for new kinds of connection. And if we can do that, then I believe that our shared struggle for connection may become just a little bit easier. And imagine what the world would look like if it did.
What I like about David’s approach is that it is inviting us to put aside all the feelings of (sexual) desire we might have for a person, and instead focus on the emotional bond - and make an active decision to nurture that.
Because that’s what love is: not just a passing feeling (no matter how strong it is), but the conscious action of getting to know someone on an intimate level and act on those feelings by strengthening and exploring the emotional bond further.
I think when we focus too much on the sexual aspects of relationships, we neglect to take care of what’s really important - the love part. Which is also the hardest part. It’s the part that takes up the most effort, it’s the part that takes up the most time, it’s the part that takes up the most mental capacity.
And when I see people indistinguishably relating to a dozen people simultaneously and then claim to be emotionally responsible, I can’t help but be in complete disbelief, because there’s just not enough hours in the day. People who also would never, ever, dare to have that type of conversation where the relationship is acknowledged - because they prefer to hide behind a thick curtain of “there’s nothing between us (relationship wise)” and “I don’t owe you anything” and “you’re responsible for your own feelings” - which is all just bullshit capitalistic consumerism of bodies (yes, I’ve been promising this post for a while - it’ll come, eventually). These types are simply completely unaware of what emotional responsibility actually means, or they’re simply lying (to themselves and others).
Once the emotional bond becomes the priority, then sex, if it happens, is an added bonus to that. Because if/when sex doesn’t happen - the bond is still there. Being able to talk frankly about your feelings for one another should be the utmost basic requirement for a connected relationship - and, if I may, could also be the stepping stone into repairing broken relationships.
That’s how you start chipping away and subverting at Romantic, Patriarchal, Heteronormative love. By actually learning to connect and being emotionally present for all of it.
*Here’s a piece on how some relationships are inherently imbalanced and thus real reciprocity becomes impossible.
im lowkey tired of how romanticized relationships are.
yes, an intimate relationship should bring you joy; yes, you should be supported by and support your partner; yes, you can be excited to see them and be sad to be away from them BUT a romantic relationship is not going to magically cure your life of all its problems! so no, don’t put all of your hope, and passion, and care into another human being because they are only human and that’s not fair to them nor is it fair to yourself! sometimes the best way to take care of someone you love is to take care of yourself
im just like never gonna get over she ra??? idk why (thats a lie i absolutely know why)???? but like i think about it for too long and i just get stupid happy! like genuinely happy! why do i form attachments to characters?
Hey allos? How do you tell the difference between romantic love and platonic love? Can you tell, or are you also confused? Is there even a difference??
Sincerely, one very confused arospec
Wahhh thank you for giving me the chance to talk about me and Rannie ;;!! @blackevermore
- Randall has freckles!! He’s a ginger so he’s gotta have freckles. He likes to lay his head in my lap so I can trace the freckles on his face!
- I get really touch starved, so I think Randall would like to help by laying on me like a weighted blanket!
- Randall gets jealous easily… He gets embarrassed of it and worries about being overbearing but I think he’s super cute when he’s jealous!
- I love to listen to him talk about archeology and the Azran… He could infodump all day, and I have heart eyes the whole time, because he’s so cute when he’s passionate~
- Randall is super physically affection! He loves to give hugs and kisses and wrap his arm around my shoulder ❤️
romantic love isn’t end all be all. know you aren’t any lesser if you can’t find romantic love.
Romantic love can fuck you up. There should be more songs about what to do when you don’t want to go there for a bit.
Poetry is a naked woman, a naked man, and the distance between them.
~ Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Ci Sarai Pop Rock Music Made in Italy
when i tell you i love you i mean i trust you. and not just a i trust you to love me back and care for me. i mean i trust you to hold me when i break and to help me put myself back together without just doing it yourself. when i tell you i love you i mean that i trust you as a partner to stand by my side as i build myself up not someone there to try to fix me alone.
and i love you.
In every lifetime you are at the center of someone’s universe ~ Giovannie de Sadeleer