all 23 comments

[–][deleted] 12 insightful - 13 fun12 insightful - 12 fun13 insightful - 13 fun -  (0 children)

I've only known 1 person who claimed to have split attraction. Said she was bisexual homoromantic. She's currently engaged to a man.

[–]CaptainMooseEx-Bathhouse Employee 17 insightful - 1 fun17 insightful - 0 fun18 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

I think it's stupid. If you are able to enthusiastically consent to sex with one sex, you are capable of loving a member of that sex. Case in point, my "heteroromantic" bisexual ex who was the first to drop the L-bomb in our relationship before freaking himself out. For him, the possibility of a relationship with a man meant having to actually face the homophobia in his family, mainly from his sister.

The SAM also plays into the fact that gay men and lesbian women who were in relationships with the opposite sex don't have spaces in which they can be vocal about how what they experienced wasn't love but was more like Stockholm Syndrome. They can't even say "Hey, I disassociated/depersonalized to get through sex acts." One of the older gay men I knew (I think he's passed from cancer by now) when I worked at the bathhouse was blackmailed into a relationship by his deceased wife (she was friends with him and his boyfriend who killed himself in the 80s and threatened to out him to his family once the boyfriend was dead), raped repeatedly by her, and now has kids and grandkids. He only opened up to me because I'm open about being the victim of corrective rape. Even though the wife was dead, he still couldn't tell his family the truth because none of them could handle the reality that mommy/nana was an absolute monster.

[–]Athelhilda4Questioning 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

That's horrible. I hope he found a little bit of happiness before he died.

[–]IridescentAnacondastrictly dickly 10 insightful - 1 fun10 insightful - 0 fun11 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

There are men I wouldn't mind fucking (um, hypothetically, HI HUSBAND...) who I wouldn't ever be interested in romantically. I can't think of anybody I would have been interested in romantically who I also wouldn't also have wanted to have sex with. However, sexually or romantically, all these people would be men.

Plenty of men and women who don't fall into either category for me, of whom I nevertheless think very highly and/or love platonically. Sex and romance isn't everything.

[–]dilsencySame-sex community[S] 7 insightful - 1 fun7 insightful - 0 fun8 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Sexual orientation doesn't describe being attracted to every person of that sex.

[–]yousaythosethingsFind and Replace "gatekeeping" with "having boundaries" 10 insightful - 1 fun10 insightful - 0 fun11 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

I think for most people the split attraction model is more likely to lead to rationalizing away cognitive dissonance that shouldn't be rationalized. This was my personal experience. I think the concept of "demisexuality" is also relevant here.

In my personal experience when I heard of split attraction and demisexuality, I thought that maybe I was demisexual, heteroromantic and bisexual, though I never outwardly identified as such. I never internally identified as anything other than "not straight" and never outwardly identified as anything. I did not wanted to spend any time thinking about or discussing my sexual orientation or have anyone question it because I was aware that it was a house of cards I did not want to touch and blow up my life. I would be the last person trying to learn the ins and outs of sexual orientation. I wanted an out, not a real answer because I was not ready for that answer.

My logic of thinking I could be demisexual, heteroromantic, and bisexual was that I found it hard (read: impossible) to be physically attracted to men. I was closer to neutral about them than actively repulsed. I also never could or did imagine myself in a relationship with a woman, and in fact I didn't meet an out lesbian or bisexual woman until I was 25 and not until I was 26 did I meet one who was in a relationship with another woman at the time, and that wasn't really a relationship I had a line of sight into.

When I finally could see for my very own eyes a relationship between two women, it flipped a switch in me. Everything I never wanted to address all came flooding out and suddenly everything made sense. The easiest thing for me to recognize had been my sexual attraction to women. This was ubiquitous in my life and I had been aware of this since I was a teenager. I was only attracted to female celebrities, I spent a lot of time thinking about how attractive other women I knew in real life were, how they made me feel, and would distance myself from them every time I felt my feelings for them were getting too real and strong (aka the romantic interest in them I refused to recognize because it would topple my world). I rationalized never feeling that way toward men with the concept of "demisexuality," but I always assumed I could be attracted to men. In reality I only assumed I could be because that was the norm, everyone else expected me to be, and because of the societal benefits of such a relationship. I didn't really date, but ended up in one relationship with a man who still remains the most solid human being I've ever known. We had a very close bond and friendship, and were able to continue this after our divorce because my love for him has always been platonic. I was not repulsed by him so I figured this was demisexuality. I would often look at him and reflect on the fact that I wasn't actually physically attracted to him. That made me feel bad, but it also felt shallow to put too much emphasis on physical attraction, and it felt almost noble to ignore that. When I left and finally got to start kissing and having sex with women, the difference was so abundantly clear it was ridiculous.

I think people put too much stock in a way of thinking that encourages dissociation and disregards social influence. Some people want to be subversive. Some people just want to be normal. I was the latter and rationalizing away my nature. Even sadder, since coming out I feel like I inherited the burden of gender identity ideology, and had I known how fucked it would be to navigate this world as an out lesbian, that certainly would have only encouraged me to stay dissociated from my nature. I think the model also encourages unicorn hunting and treating women like sex objects and giving unicorn hunters the protections of calling themselves "LGBTQ" when they're not attracted to women, but rather to taboo, sexually enticing men, and the idea of a woman being attracted to them.

[–]PenseePansyBio-Sex or Bust 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

Somehow I'm only reading this now, months after the fact... but it's so moving (and so perceptive), s/yousaythosethings, that I felt like I just had to respond anyway.

I'm so glad that you managed to find your way through this fucking obstacle course that society set up to prevent you from knowing who you really were. And so sad that it took so long... that you were forced to spend all that time, make all those unnecessary detours... and so angry that this was done to you, to ANYONE, in the first place.

My story is similar, maybe, even if the components are not (abusive childhood that left me with PTSD and internally alienated from myself + having a sexual orientation that's still largely regarded as not even real)... and, unlike you, I'm not out of the woods yet. Still hacking my way through with a machete. But I hope to come out on the other side someday soon :)

[–]yousaythosethingsFind and Replace "gatekeeping" with "having boundaries" 2 insightful - 1 fun2 insightful - 0 fun3 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

I was eager to find out what I wrote 2 months ago that apparently had an impact! I share with you the experience of having an abusive childhood that left me with complex PTSD. I'm working on unpacking a lot of it now in therapy and it's made me realize how much avoidance and denial have featured in various aspects of my life including figuring out my sexual orientation (or rather in not figuring it out until I did). But don't cry for me Argentina. I'm not angry about the way things worked out for me. In the grand scheme of things, my adult life has been quite good. And I tend to be forward looking. I do get wistful sometimes about experiences I missed out on and what could have been, but I do generally accept that I figured it out when I was meant to and that I don't think it could have happened any other way for me. I also think my reasons for taking so long were more personal than societal though certainly both were in the mix. I hope you find your way out of the woods soon. You have such a strong presence of mind and clarity of thought that I'm sure you're well on your way. I think when you're bisexual it may sometimes take longer if you're like me and prone to avoidance and denial because bisexuality has a built-in quiet room that you can perhaps stay in indefinitely.

[–]PenseePansyBio-Sex or Bust 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Hope I didn't disappoint :) Though I do apologize for somehow not considering the possibility that one of the obstacles in your path might be the same as mine... still so accustomed to seeing myself as "abnormal" compared to everyone else (even though I should know better) that this often just doesn't occur to me. Old habits die hard I guess.

All of which is to say... are you me? :) Yeah: life shaped by avoidance, denial, and C-PTSD here, too. Also crippling self-hatred and the certainty that everyone else will hate me at least as much. Both of which seem to have particularly impacted my sexuality. So, like you, I think that the problems I've had there are more personal than societal, though the former made me hypersensitive to the latter (didn't dare risk disapproval, even when I had zero respect for the reason or the source).

But we've also got this in common: having found effective therapy to deal with these issues. And making progress there. Which I hope will ultimately outweigh all the rest.

You're very wise, "Evita" :) Probably a lot more than me. So I particularly cherish your kind words. As well as your own strong presence of mind and clarity of thought, so often on display here in this sub.

I'm glad that we're both finding ourselves, despite the forces that stood in our way. And that we both found each other, too :)

[–]INeedSomeTimeAsexual Ally 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

To be honest, even if I am asexual and never experienced attraction which made me wanna do more than to just get to know someone in a friendly way because I thought they were a cool person but I concluded how split-attraction model... doesn't reflect the reality. If we know people have different personalities, different reactions to the same event/thing/stimuli then I believe that some people experience attraction in this kind of split way as this model presents but there are people who don't experience attraction in such a split way.

This model just doesn't reflect the reality and causes confusion. I think that sexual attraction shouldn't be understood as just who you wanna strip naked and fuck in a second. It doesn't have just this component. I also see a possibility certain people evoke different experience of attraction in the same individual. Some evoke this more purely sexual desire but no desire to settle, get to know each other. But there are other people, who don't make such an individual wanna immediately bang them but instead take the "slow burn" approach.

And let's not forget people can have their unique way of experiencing/forming attraction to people. Some kind of style of their attraction to people. And then add to the differences happening also depending on people such a person gets attracted to.

And then the only very strict thing is what sex you just feel attraction to - no matter what kind.

Okay, that's my thoughts on it just on a basis on seeing what people say and share. When it comes to my experience, well I have nothing to bring up to see if what I say isn't also totally detached from the reality.

[–]TransspeciesUnicornI sexually identify as a mythical sparkly equine 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

Even back when I was identifying as aro ace as a teenager, I sort of thought the split-attraction model didn't make much sense. But I just shrugged it off, thinking that as an "aro" I just couldn't understand "romantic attraction".

But I was wrong, it's simply that the concept of "romantic attraction" as an entirely separate entity from "sexual attraction" is bullshit. Consider this, for example; if we're meant to believe that romantic attraction is completely distinct and separate from sexual attraction, then why are "romantic orientations" still based on sex? Heteroromantic, homoromantic, biromantic... they're all orientations based on attraction to a certain sex or both sexes, right? Isn't attraction to people based on their sex... kinda the very definition of sexual attraction?

Let's take a "heteroromantic asexual" woman for example. She's solely attracted to males... but not due to their maleness, somehow? What, then? What makes her attracted to males but totally not because they're male? When you get down to it, what meaningful, significant distinction is there between a "heteromantic asexual" woman and a low/no libido straight woman? Nothing so far as I can see. And that's when you realize that "romantic attraction" IS sexual attraction... just not accompanied by the sexual desire you might usually expect, perhaps. Although considering that many argue now that "asexuals" can like and want sex, perhaps not even that.

So what I feel is that the split attraction model is bullshit that falls apart as soon as you apply even a little logic and critical thought to it.

[–]HelloMomo 5 insightful - 2 fun5 insightful - 1 fun6 insightful - 2 fun -  (1 child)

Even back when I was identifying as aro ace as a teenager, I sort of thought the split-attraction model didn't make much sense. But I just shrugged it off, thinking that as an "aro" I just couldn't understand "romantic attraction".

SAME!!! I used the terminology, cuz I had to, but I always kinda thought it was bullshit. I also had this sorta truscum mentality, like aro aces like me are the real deal. Everyone else, they're just weak-ass fakers. (Although I guess I still think that; I just don't think I'm one anymore.)

[–]INeedSomeTimeAsexual Ally 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Well that will very not unbiased from me but logically aro ace is this person who truly feels no attraction to either sex so as a concept they should be the true asexual. Romantic ones are still attracted to certain sex or 2 sexes...

[–]HelloMomo 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

I'll be willing to revisit the concept when someone can actually give me a clear explanation of what romantic attraction is, and how's its different from friendship.

It reminds me of the gender identity thing, is that they want to keep the like... social scaffolding of the thing, for lack of a better term, while removing the foundation. So you're left with basically stereotypes, unmoored from anything, and then people start asking, "wait, what was this supposed to be again?"

[–]INeedSomeTimeAsexual Ally 5 insightful - 1 fun5 insightful - 0 fun6 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

It feels like a weird role-playing of romance. Well even as asexual myself just never understood it and I just take the existence of this model as a lot of spicy straight girls or closeted gay/bi people's way of rationalizing why they are queer (or are queer but not exactly fully gay or bi).

[–]HelloMomo 4 insightful - 1 fun4 insightful - 0 fun5 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I just take the existence of this model as a lot of spicy straight girls or closeted gay/bi people's way of rationalizing why they are queer (or are queer but not exactly fully gay or bi).

I've heard 2 different stories of lesbians that go like this: She's trying to convince herself she's bi, and using the split attraction model to justify why — even though she knows in their gut that she's not really as attracted to her boyfriend as she should be — that it's ok, or normal, or to be expected from them.

[–]chandra 7 insightful - 1 fun7 insightful - 0 fun8 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Like with all the sex and relationship terminology that came out of Tumblr, it's probably a useful way for a small niche of people (some bisexuals and 'asexuals') to describe what they're looking for, but it isn't at all relevant to like 99% of people.

[–]INeedSomeTimeAsexual Ally 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Honestly I don't think this is useful for actually asexuals. Think that all of these romantic asexuals aren't really asexuals. Especially the ones, who get oddly angry if someone implies asexual doesn't wanna have sex on their own. I think a lot of weird Tumblr concepts we see are mental gymnastics of spicy straight girls who wanna desperately prove they're queer without doing anything than just writing just long essays on why they're still queer by living like your average straight person.

[–]fuck_reddit 7 insightful - 1 fun7 insightful - 0 fun8 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I think the “split attraction model” is splitting hairs by people that have nothing better to do with their time. Like you said, it has almost no use outside of explaining away the behavior of a very small group of people. It has a far greater negative effect in how it creates way too many sub-groups.

[–]MarkJeffersonTight defenses and we draw the line 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

It sounds like flawed taxonomy to me. Real romantic attraction is just a subset of sexual attraction where you like their personality as well or even mainly. A person could not be romantically attracted to someone they could not also be sexually attracted to, I think. That would just turn out to be a platonic friendship, which lacks all the (sexual) energy of romantic relationships, and I feel like the former can't be as intimate in the same way. I think that sometimes people who haven't much experience in relationships are more likely to confuse the two. Because they haven't yet encountered the real thing to be able to compare the feeling.

A few more takes on this here.

[–]firezemiszziles 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I used to be very-open minded to the concept. It still bangs around in my head as a thing that is a logically possible category, but not consistent with reality. If you're making a complete typology, having categories that might exist, sure. These sorts of abstractions can sometimes make clear a confusing, but real thing. I modeled a sort of communication cable today in my engineering job as having an infinite length. Made the math come out wonderfully... but no such thing exists.

Ultimately, I think love and lust are two different sides of the same coin. Maybe it only ever comes up heads.

/u/TransspeciesUnicorn makes a most excellent point that if it's hetero or homo romantic attraction, that is still attraction on the basis of sex. Sex matters.

That being said, I have to pivot and say that not wanting sex, the activity, also very much matters. That's important. These people going on about the split-attraction model might not have that idea quite right, but not wanting sex, that is important to them, and it should be recognized. It makes them stand out quite starkly, and they are different in that way, insofar as much as they are not closeted homosexuals--which would be a typical resolution. I recognize that there are people who are not gay, and are not interested in the activity of sex, are attracted the opposite sex (often; sometimes both and the opposite,) and they are their own thing. It's rough for them. Imagine navigating the world where the majority of people want to initially form a relationship on the basis of a thing that you're either neutral on or disgusted by, naturally.

I'd add that the asexual-crowd definition of "sexual attraction" is far too nebulous. As if you could even get people to agree on the topic of what the adjective "sexual" means. You can't. E.g. are women who engage in penile-anal sex virgins? Some say yes, some say no. Pardon the explicit example. I've seen the research. Opinions about what even constitutes "sex" are quite varied.

Split-attraction is one of these awful semantic arguments where nobody is really playing with a full deck of cards. They will defend their rather bleak conceptualization of things with semantics, in defense of some concept they're not being honest about, or have not realized.

So, I have a lot of criticism for the asexual/split attraction thing, as far as it is presented, but I think it's people trying to make sense out of an uncommon situation. Maybe they'll find their voice. It also strikes me as completely absurd to say that there is only one kind of sexuality that matters--a desire for genitalia, and if you are not in possession of that, then you are not part of the club. There's other things out there, peculiar things, yes, but they still share the same nature.

[–]cryptoterfthrowTomcattin' 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I'm sexually attracted to men but couldn't imagine having a loving relationship with them. I'm sexually attracted to women and would fall head-over-heels stupid for them.

I can recognise that it's a social thing, because I don't believe in forever and the current state of dating between women and men is abysmal.

It's apparent that some of the TQ+, like demisexuals, want to take social behaviours and say that they're biological. A coworker of mine said she's demisexual because she feels she can 'fall in love with anyone [she's only dated men btw] but only after getting to know them' because she's 'biologically programmed to understand them before dating and marriage'.

[–]PenseePansyBio-Sex or Bust 3 insightful - 1 fun3 insightful - 0 fun4 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Basically agree: "romantic" is simply a flavor of sexuality-- one form that it can take. But it's still sexuality. Just as much as being attracted to someone in a purely physical way is. And the whole thing comes down to sexual orientation. Always.

"Romantic", in this context, just means that the emotional component of sexual attraction is especially pronounced. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not a separate thing. And there's no need for it to be.

So, no, I don't think that "romantic attraction" can be "split" from "sexual attraction". Pretty much the sole legitimate use of homoromantic/heteroromantic (imo) is for some bisexuals, and then only in a very qualified, restricted way. Since we essentially have two separate (if intersecting at various points) types of attraction, and they can operate in quite different ways, it's possible for us to have a stronger emotional attraction to one sex than the other. Not that it's necessarily so simple even in those cases (speaking from personal experience here)... but this seems like one example of how our sexuality is distinct from that of gay and straight people. However, note that, even here, it's still fundamentally about sexuality. Just a matter of how that sexuality is interpreted/experienced by the individual to whom it belongs.