Finding close companionship as an asexual can be hard in a world that considers sexual-romantic relationships the only way to pursue close relationships.
Editor’s Note: This essay was submitted by Sara K. for the May 2014 Carnival of Aces.
As an aro-ace, I doubt I or my partner(s) would be happy in a close romantic-sexual relationship, at least not without a ton of negotiation, and staying out of that is easier.
Yet, I do want more close companionship in my life. People with whom I can share physical affection (I am thinking about things like playing with hair). People with whom I can share a very personal part of myself.
One of the obstacles is that this is something which, in the societies I have lived in, is reserved for sexual/romantic relationships, and perhaps is also available in family relationships.
Now, I can get some of the close companionship I want from my parents when a) we are all in the same physical location and b) I actually talk to them. This has pretty much not been happening since I started this blog (email does not cut it), though I do plan to be with my parents again before the year is over.
Being with my parents will help, but it might not be enough.
Yet most people in Anglophone society pursue this type of close companionship within the context of sexual-romantic relationships (and even when they do this with family as well, I cannot suddenly become a part of someone else’s family). I have talked a a bit about what it is like in Taiwan before—the short version is that Taiwan is not a good place for me to pursue close companionship and, yes, this is one of the factors which persuaded me to finally leave.
So, if I try to form these relationships with people, a) they do not expect it in a non-sexual/romantic context b) if they already get their need for close companionship met from their sexual/romantic relationship(s), why do they need to bother with understanding my issues as an aro-ace? c) having a close relationship with me may bring up jealousy issues within their own sexual/romantic relationship(s).
Some people might say ‘find other aro and/or ace folk.’ Well, there are not so many of us, and even less of us who are aware, and I am probably not compatible with every single aro/ace out there.
In a culture which was more open to close companionship with people outside one’s biological family in a non-sexual/romantic context, this would not be so much of an issue. But this clash between my aro-aceness and a culture/society which considers sexual-romantic relationships the way to pursue close companionship is an obstacle towards getting what I want.