So it’s come to my attention that varioriented romantic-sexual people and the split orientation model in general are currently on Tumblr’s shit list.
Reminder: varioriented romantic-sexual people are individuals whose romantic and sexual orientations don’t match: hetero-romantic homosexuals, homoromantic heterosexuals, biromantic hetero- and homosexuals, etc. Technically, both aromantic sexual people and romantic asexuals are varioriented too, but it appears that critics of split orientation identity are only attacking the idea of people who experience both romantic and sexual attraction using this model, not asexuals and aromantics.
Some of these haters are yelling about the split orientation model being “forced” upon them, despite their romantic-sexual identity being totally congruent, and claiming that this is a kind of “violence” or something, especially because they’re LGBTQ. Except, I have yet to see a single instance of anybody—asexual, aromantic, or otherwise—telling romantic-sexual people that they MUST use the split attraction model and terminology to describe themselves. So I’m thinking this is a strawman fallacy that the haters are using to reinforce their accusation of homophobia on the part of people who support the split attraction/split identity model. Nice try but until you can produce receipts, I’m not buying that anybody is demanding all people specify both romantic and sexual orientations. Being alloromantic and allosexual with identical patterns of romantic and sexual attraction is the default, the most common type of human sexuality, and everybody knows that.
Moving on to the central criticism of varioriented romantic-sexual people: from what I gather, based on skimming some of these posts or posts responding to the criticism, the primary objection that the critics have is that the split identity/split attraction model is really just a tool of internalized homophobia. I’ve also seen mention of certain expressions of varioriented sexuality being a denial of full-on bisexuality or an unnecessary re-labeling of bisexuality. Basically, people are saying that it’s not possible to be sexually attracted only to one gender and romantically attracted only to the other, and anyone who identifies this way is actually just in denial about the fact that they’re gay, meaning they want both sex and romance with the same gender. Others who are more willing to allow for homoromantic heterosexuality and hetero-romantic homosexuality are saying that both experiences are already covered under the bisexual identity, and insisting on IDing as homoromantic heterosexual or hetero-romantic homosexual is biphobic or a denial of one’s own bisexuality.
First of all, I just want to point out that the concept of split attractions in romantic-sexual people is not new. This idea has been around since 2010-2011, at least. And that’s just on Tumblr. I know, because I wrote a couple posts about these varioriented people way back when. Nobody had a problem with this model, these identities, or these people at that time. I think maybe there was casual, superficial dismissal and ridicule of the idea from the general corner of the anti-asexual/anti-aromantic bigots, but nobody was attacking split orientation romantic-sexual people on the same grounds that are now in vogue. That immediately makes me think that the sudden criticism being lobbed at the model is simply just romantic-sexual people (whose orientations match) moving on from whatever they were last hating on, in the asexual/aromantic universe, and coming to this particular subject in the rotation. Maybe they temporarily got sick of throwing tantrums about aces and aros identifying as queer.
Second of all, even if they’re not just trolling and creating drama for its own sake, they couldn’t be more wrong about the split orientation model and people who identify with it.
Why would a bunch of LGBTQ romo-sexual people want to deny the reality and the validity of cross-orientation individuals? Our two favorite cultural paradigms, everybody: compulsory sexuality and amatonormativity. This kind of bullshit always goes back to that, doesn’t it?
So according to the haters, if you claim to only or inclusively have romantic feelings for the same gender but no sexual attraction, you’ve internalized homophobia because you think that gay sex is gross and wrong. But if you claim to only or inclusively have sexual attraction to the same gender without any romantic feelings, you’ve also internalized homophobia because you don’t want to deal with the baggage that comes with being involved in a full-blown, publicly recognized romantic relationship with someone of the same gender that would cause the world to read you as gay or queer (even if you don’t identify as either).
The obvious message is that the only proper way to be an LGBQ individual (and a romantic-sexual person period) is to prescribe to conventional romantic-sexual relationships. You’re supposed to fuck the people you date, and you’re supposed to date the people you fuck, don’t be a slutty bastard who denies sexual partners romance, don’t be a shitty romantic partner who fails to fulfill the other person’s sexual needs, blah blah blah, we’ve all heard this shit before, aren’t you bored with it? Because I’m getting kind of bored myself.
The thing is that even if these haters claim that it’s okay for asexuals and aromantics to use the split attraction model in order to express their corresponding romantic or sexual feelings, attacking split attractions in romantic-sexual people is still fundamentally anti-asexual and anti-aromantic because it’s an attack that seeks to preserve compulsory sexuality and compulsory romance. Concern trolling romantic-sexual people with split attractions, using a diagnosis of internalized homophobia, is still coming from a place of rejecting nonromantic sex and nonsexual romance. And in fact, the very same criticism HAS been used against asexuals and aromantics by romantic-sexual people and will surely continue to be used. Asexuals have been accused of being closeted gay people, and aromantic sexual people are routinely dismissed as being romantics who are just anti-commitment or promiscuous—because aromanticism doesn’t exist.
Mixed orientation allo* people can find themselves in the exact same problematic relationships as asexuals and aromantics because they’re basically the equivalent of alloromantic asexual or aromantic allosexual to whatever gender they only experience one type of attraction to. Trying to make a romantic relationship work with someone you don’t have any desire to fuck is the same damn struggle whether you’re asexual or cross-oriented romo-sexual. Trying to have a satisfying sex life with minimal drama and the respect and acceptance of your sexual partners and society at large, while not entering romantic relationships, is the same damn struggle whether you’re aromantic or cross-oriented romo-sexual. And you can’t fucking say that not wanting sex is okay for asexuals but not okay for anyone else, you can’t say that not wanting romantic relationships is okay for aromantics but not for anyone else, and still be in support of asexuals and aromantics. It doesn’t work that way. Either it’s okay not to want sex or it isn’t. Either it’s okay to stay out of romantic relationships and have sex anyway, or it’s not. You can’t keep the social system the way it is, and free asexuals and aromantics at the same time.
Attempting to coerce someone into sex or into romantic relationships that they don’t want, to prove that they haven’t internalized homophobia is disgusting, abusive, and unethical. It makes you an asshole. A five star asshole. And it doesn’t matter if the person in question is asexual, aromantic, or neither. Nobody has to prove anything to you.
“But we’re not trying to force people to have sex or date people they don’t want to date.”
Oh, yeah? Then shut the fuck up about how wanting romantic relationships with the same gender but not sex is homophobic or how wanting sex with the same gender but not romantic relationships is homophobic. Because that’s exactly what you’re saying when you make those accusations: that the only way for these cross-orientation allo* people to prove they haven’t internalized homophobia is to do shit they don’t want to do.
And where have I heard that before?
Sexual people telling asexuals to have sex. Romantic people telling aromantics to date. This isn’t even a thing of the past, this is going on RIGHT NOW! Do you think you’re helping aces and aros with this shit? If romantic-sexual people aren’t allowed to have nonsexual romances and nonromantic sex, whatever their reasons are, how the fuck are asexuals and aromantics allowed at all?
I don’t care if you repeatedly insist that you accept asexuality and aromanticism as identities or that you accept an asexual’s right to be celibate and an aromantic’s right to be permanently single or never in love. If you don’t accept split-orientation allo-* people, you are not supportive of asexuality and aromanticism, you are not supportive of celibacy and singlehood as lifestyles, and you are not about freedom and empowerment for all people. You’re just a fucking LGBQ version of a heterosexual that goes around spewing the rhetoric of compulsory heterosexuality and heteronormativity, only in your case, you’re pushing compulsory homosexuality and homoromanticism for people who aren’t straight.
To the haters who urge cross-oriented allos* with: “Just identify as bisexual because that’s what you are.”
What does the “bisexual” identity actually imply about a person? In every day conversation? It implies they experience romantic and sexual attraction to two genders, but it ALSO implies that like straight people and gay people, they experience BOTH romantic and sexual attraction to all the genders they’re attracted to. You fucking know it does. You know ain’t nobody out there responding to people coming out as bisexual by wondering if the bi person feels both romantic and sexual attraction to every gender they’re attracted to or not. You know everyone assumes that romantic and sexual attraction are inseparable for everyone on the damn planet, except asexuals and aromantics, and some ignorant romo-sexual people reject asexuality and aromanticism because of that assumption too.
And you KNOW that all of you allos* with a singular orientation expect your romantic relationships to be sexual and want your sexual relationships to be romantic at least some of the time. You know that if someone fell in love with you but didn’t want to fuck you, you’d consider that a problem, whether they’re asexual or split-orientation. You know that if you started fucking someone who refused to date you and refused to date anyone else too, you would eventually freak out about it and decide they’re a bad person because nonromantic sex is acceptable only as a temporary or transitional situation. You damn well know you expect bisexuals to be capable of romantic and sexual feelings for all people they’re attracted to, and if you met one who only wanted to fuck one gender or only date another, you would still hate on them even if they did ID as “bisexual” and not as a split-orientation person.
So I don’t want to hear this bullshit about “bisexuality” covering homoromantic heterosexuals and hetero-romantic homosexuals or even biromantic monosexuals and monoromantic bisexuals. If someone with one of those experiences WANTS to identify as bisexual without further specification, that’s their choice and one that is likely anyway, but you don’t get to force all of those groups of people to ID as bisexual just because YOU think it’s more convenient. A homoromantic heterosexual is NOT the same as a biromantic bisexual. A hetero-romantic homosexual is NOT the same as a biromantic bisexual. And even biromantic monosexuals and monoromantic bisexuals are not the same as biromantic bisexuals, not when they’re in love with someone they feel no sexual desire for or when they feel sexual desire for various people of a particular gender without ever developing romantic feelings for any of them.
If you’re hating on mixed orientation allos* because you don’t want to end up getting rejected by one romantically or sexually, you need to get the fuck over it because nobody owes you sex or romance. If you’re hating because you want to make as many people as possible exclusively gay, that is some fucked up motive you have for bullying other people about their sexuality. If you’re concerned about anyone who’s got a hetero- aspect of their sexuality coming into your “queer only” spaces, you need to a) get the fuck over your problematic exclusionary attitudes that are already anti-bisexual and b) accept the fact that getting into the fucking LGBTQ clubhouse is not at the top of the mixed orientation allo* priority list, just like it’s not at the top of every asexual and aromantic person’s priority list. You overestimate your own importance, LGBTQ allos*.
Nobody needs your stamp of approval to identify as a mixed orientation allo* person or asexual or aromantic. If you’re an allo* with a single romantic-sexual identity, congratulations and of course you don’t have to go around fucking telling everyone that you’re a homoromantic homosexual or a biromantic bisexual; you don’t have to do that because everyone assumes that’s what you are anyway, as soon as you use the word “gay” or “queer” or “bi.” If it were a common human experience to have romantic feelings without sexual attraction or sexual attraction without romantic feelings, there wouldn’t be a fucking need for anyone to distinguish themselves as mixed orientation or asexual or aromantic. That’s the point. You, alloromantic allosexual with one identity, are the default.
Other people’s identities are NOT ABOUT YOU. The earth does not fucking revolve around you and your feelings and your needs and your desires and your fucking ignorant-ass opinions. Nobody was thinking about you when they decided to name their own experiences with romantic and sexual attraction. If you’re so “concerned” about fellow LGBQ individuals being in a healthy head space regarding their own romantic and sexual feelings, why don’t you spend your time looking out for people who actually do identify as LGBQ allo* with one identity and consider the possibility that anyone who even has access to the concept of split-identities is a person who’s fucking done their research and put more than just a passing thought into what they are? Nobody’s teaching this shit in schools or talking about it in mainstream forums of human sexuality. You have to go looking for the information and know enough to make the right search in the first place. The odds of someone like that having internalized homophobia enough to deny their sexual feelings for the same gender but not their romantic ones or vice versa are low, even negligible.
In conclusion, fuck you and your advocacy of compulsory sex and amatonormativity.