Asexual or Aromantic people
The world is heavily biased towards sexual and romantic relationships.
Many times people incorrectly assume that asexual or aromantic identities are due to trauma, hormones, or attachment style rather than a natural and normal part of the sexuality and romantic spectrums. Even within the asexual and aromantic spectrums, there is also a huge amount of diversity!
Some people identify as both asexual and aromantic; they have little to no interest in either sexual or romantic relationships. In a world that has little knowledge or empathy for this experience, this can feel quite isolating!
Some people feel like they need an emotional connection before they can feel sexual with another person. They may use the term demisexual to describe themselves. A demiromantic person only develops romantic feelings after a strong emotional connection. In a world that feels like it is set up for one-night stands and random hookups and prioritizing romance over other types of emotional connections, this can feel isolating, particularly when trying to find a partner.
Others feel like asexual feels too ‘binary’ as it is set up often set up as asexual vs sexual as a continuum. Greysexual refers to those who experience sexual attraction rarely or at a low intensity. This may be fluid or constant.
Others may identify as alloromantic and asexual. This can cause difficulties in dating as many dating apps are geared towards sexual encounters. When finding a compatible partner, there can be additional relationship strain when falling in love with an monogamous allosexual person. Some asexual partners can derive emotional pleasure from their partner’s sexual satisfaction, whereas others can feel disgusted or used. Some asexual/romantic people engage in consensual non-monogamy, so that their partner(s) can engage with sexual relationship with others without the pressure to be sexual. There is no wrong way to meet your relational needs (as long as everyone is consenting!).
With all these messages about what feelings ‘should’ be there and what relationships ‘should’ look like, it is easy for people on the asexual and aromantic spectrums to internalize messages of shame. Psychotherapy can help tease out these messages in order to increase self-esteem and even build better platonic relationships to increase social support.