Immy (22) is aro/ace: 'I’ve never experienced sexual attraction and I don’t think I ever will'
While her schoolmates got boyfriends and/or girlfriends at a certain age, Immy (22) always felt a bit different. Now she knows why and she is happy with the fact that she is aro/ace. She has been in a long distance queerplatonic relationship since 2021.
Asexual (ace) and aromantic (aro) means that you don’t experience any sexual or romantic attraction to any gender. In the ace community, a differentiation is made between sexual and romantic attraction. This is so important to the ace community, because there are a lot of people who are asexual, but they can still experience romantic attraction to any gender.
“I first heard about asexuality when I was twelve years old. At the time, it didn’t really occur to me that I could be ace. I thought that I’d probably fall for somebody who I’m good friends with, because I care for them and love them a lot. But then the years went by and I didn’t feel anything for anyone ever. So, I became more comfortable with the label asexuality. I’ve never experienced sexual attraction and I don’t think I ever will, because that’s not the way my brain works.”
“Coming to terms with being aromantic was a lot more difficult. I figured that romantic attraction was an emotional thing, and because I feel a lot of emotions for the people I love, I thought I’d eventually feel romantic attraction for someone.” Reading the book Loveless by Alice Oseman, which has an aro/ace protagonist, made Immy realize that she was aro as well. “I became much more comfortable with identifying as such, but that wasn’t until I was 19 years old.”
‘I am now in a queerplatonic relationship’
Although Immy is aro/ace, she can still be in a relationship with someone special. “When I say I’m willing to be in a romantic relationship, people get confused, because I don’t experience romantic emotions. If I want to be with someone, it’s because I think we’d work well together as partners and we can work together for the long term. It’s not as emotionally detached as it sounds. If I were to date someone and have them as a romantic partner, I’d obviously care for them a lot and share this emotional intimacy and closeness with them.”
Since 2021 Immy has been in a queerplatonic relationship, which looks a lot like a romantic relationship from an outside point of view, but it’s not the same thing. It is a relationship where two or more people are incredibly close to each other in a way that is unusually intimate for a friendship. It is not just a ‘close’ friendship, but it’s also not a romantic relationship, it’s in between the two. “Some of my friends have a tendency to reduce my relationship to being just best friends. The confusing thing is, for others in a queerplatonic relationship, it can be that they are just best friends. It really depends on how you want to define things, it’s totally your own choice and how you choose to define your relationship doesn’t change the nature of it. For my partner and I, calling our relationship a queerplatonic relationship indicates how much it means to us.”
‘Being aro/ace makes me feel different, but I am okay with this’
In general, a lot of asexual people go through their lives without realizing they are asexual. Asexuality and aromanticism mean that there is a lack of something. And this may not bother some people as much or they don’t care as much. As long as they are happy and accepting of themselves, that’s great. “For me, my aro/ace label is a big part of who I am and my identity. It makes me feel different from other people, but that’s okay. For me the label is important, but others don’t experience it like that. You might not have all of the answers yet and you may never have all of the answers. The important thing is that you do what makes you happy.”