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8 Things AroSpec Folks Want You to Know

Background shows an aromantic flag, foreground text reads: 8 Things Arospec Folks Want You To Know - Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week 2024

Yesterday (February 18th 2024) marked the start of Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week (ASAW), an annual event created to spread awareness of identities on the aromantic spectrum, and celebrate those who identify under the aro umbrella.

While many Aro folks also identify as asexual and there can be some overlap between the two identities, the idea that the two always go hand in hand is a myth; you can be asexual but not aromantic, or vice versa. It’s a spectrum, after all!

Speaking of myths, we’re using this Aro Week 2024 to call out some common misconceptions about aromanticism and asexuality. We reached out to a number of people who identify under the Aro and Ace umbrella, who shared with us everything they were tired of hearing about being aromantic and asexual.

Having a lack of sexual or romantic attraction doesn’t mean Aro and Ace folks are incapable of any kind of love

The majority of love in this world comes from outside romantic and sexual partners. You don’t have to identify as Ace or Aro to appreciate how much love and support you can get from close family and friends! While some people on the Aro-Ace spectrum do have relationships, many find love in other ways - and this kind of love folks get from friends and family can be the most important of all. It’s a misconception that aromantics and asexuals aren’t open to love, they’re so open to love - just not romantic or sexual love. 

Those on the Aro-Ace spectrum aren’t just ‘waiting for the right person’

One of the biggest assumptions is that those who identify as asexual or aromantic are doing so simply because they haven’t found the right person yet. These identities aren’t placeholders - you shouldn’t assume folks who identify this way will one day change their minds. And even if they do, it won’t change their aceness! Aro and Ace folks are tired of hearing that they’re wasting their life (or wasting their body!) by not being in a relationship, and opinions like these can lead to major doubts and setbacks for those discovering their aromantic or asexual identities. 

Aromantics and Asexuals don’t need to be fixed - nor is there something inherently wrong with them

While it can be hard to understand someone else’s way of life that’s entirely different to yours, that doesn’t make their life any less valid, any less true - or any less whole. Badgering on about sexual desire being ‘natural’ for humans only encourages the harmful idea that those who don’t experience sexual desire are inhuman; experiencing little to no sexual or romantic attraction isn’t always a result of trauma, either. Aro and Ace folks don’t need to be fixed, nor is their identity a challenge that can be overcome.

Those on the Aro-Ace spectrum won’t be alone forever - even without a relationship

The notion that not having a romantic or sexual partner means you’ll spend the rest of your life by yourself is a dangerous misconception of aromanticism and asexuality. People constantly telling you that you’ll feel lonely without someone by your side is not just a scary thought for those struggling with their Aro and Ace identity, but one that’s also not true. Having a big support network of friends, family and chosen family is more than enough to live a happy and fulfilled life - and can be more than some people have who don’t identify under the Aro-Ace umbrella have.

You can identify as Ace or Aro and still have a fulfilling life with sex or relationships

As we already said, romantic and sexual relationships aren’t the only type of relationship, and it’s possible to have meaningful and loving relationships with family and friends. Many Aro and Ace folks might also enter into queerplatonic relationships or partnerships for a deeper level of commitment without sexual or romantic expectations. A lot of folks on the Aro-Ace spectrum can also enjoy a fulfilling sex life; a lack of romantic attraction doesn’t negate sexual attraction for many aromantics , while experiencing little or no sexual attraction to others doesn’t mean asexual folk can’t still have a libido.

Aro and Ace folks don’t need a romantic relationship to be ‘complete’

The idea that we’ll never truly be happy while we’re single has been shoved down our throats our entire lives not just on Valentine’s Day , but on the other 364 days of the year, as well. Perpetuating the view that only a romantic or sexual partner can make you feel ‘complete’ can be harmful in Aro-Ace folks’ journeys to finding themselves - not to mention is a wider issue in itself, anyway! Asexuals and aromantics are ‘complete’ as they are, and don’t need to buy into the Western notion that their lives aren’t any less whole without a partner.

CLose up of a ceramic mug by Rainbow & Co with text reading Aro & Amazing above a rainbow shape in the colours of the aromantic flag
Aro & Amazing Mug by Rainbow & Co

Your aromantic and asexual friends still want to hear about your romantic relationships!

Just because someone is on the Aro-Ace spectrum and doesn’t want a romantic or sexual relationship themselves, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to support you in yours. Whether intentional or not, many friend groups are guilty of leaving their aromantic and asexual friends out of the loop when talking about their partners. They might only divulge tiny bits of information with them or else quickly change the subject to seemingly not offend. However, it is possible to respect a friend’s Aro-Ace identity while still leaning on them as a pillar of support. 

Aromanticism and asexuality is a spectrum

Similar to other queer identities, asexuality and aromanticism is a total spectrum. Many outside the Aro-Ace umbrella are guilty of putting everyone under it into a box. However, aromantic doesn’t automatically mean asexual, and vice versa! You can also be aromantic or asexual, and at the same time gay, bi, lesbian, heterosexual or queer - depending on the direction of your attraction. And while some asexuals are sex-repulsed, not all are. That’s not what asexuality means.

Aromanticism and asexuality is a spectrum, and understanding that is crucial to supporting anyone in the Aro-Ace community - and a great first step in celebrating Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week 2024.

A massive thanks to Delphi (she/they), Boog (they/them) and Cardan (they/them) for chatting with me and sharing their experiences. 

Resources for Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week:

  • Loveless by Alice Oseman is a great representation of aromanticism and asexuality and has helped many who identify as Aro or Ace realise they’re not alone.

  • Sounds Fake But Okay is a weekly podcast hosted by demisexual and aro-ace hosts that discusses the asexual experience.

  • TAAP is an organisation that works to advocate for aromantic and asexual folks by providing resources on asexuality and aromanticism to the public.

What’s on for AroSpec Awareness Week 2024:

You can find a ton of events for Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week by checking out Aromantic and Asexual Support PH on Twitter.

Image of Tilly, a smiling woman with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Tilly Brogan

Tilly is a queer Freelance Copywriter based in Manchester. She balances her time between working  with LGBTQ+ organisations and women’s rights charities - and people watching in various Manchester cafes. She is also a proud lesbian. You can read more of her work here.

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