Asexuality and Valentine’s Day: The stereotypes of love.

Anonymous - I’m asexual, and that means I’m on a spectrum. For me personally, I experience aesthetic attraction and romantic attraction. A lot of people grow up understanding that you’re supposed to fall in love and get married. Typically, when someone finds attraction, most people think that you fall in love, you have sex, and you get married. People see those things as a package or as something that happens altogether, but I don’t. For me, a lot of those things are very different facets. That’s why on Valentine’s day I can’t identify the need to show more attraction or affection on one particular day. Anyways, it seems like it’s good to show that on every day of the year. 

Ideas around Valentine's day are getting better, but I think Valentine’s day is still not imagined as diverse and inclusive of different sexual identities or romantic experiences. Valentine's day often addresses one romantic narrative or experience while there are actually many different types of relationships that exist, and there are many different types of ways to express romantic love. However, like I said, I was always shown that physicality was a natural part of romance. With that being said, I had a really hard time coming to terms with my sexuality. Because physicality was portrayed as a must-have condition of romantic relationships, I was really hindered from finding out who I was.

For example, I’ve only actually had one relationship. And for a very long time, I was under the impression that I had to behave a certain way within romantic relationships because this behavior was all around me. I thought that I was supposed to hug him and kiss him and do stereotypical, romantic things with him. I thought this behavior was what I was supposed to do when I felt in love. It was all I knew, but it didn’t really feel right for me. I knew it wasn’t sitting right, but I didn’t know that asexuality was an option. If I had seen more projections and ideas around asexual or nonphysical romance within the media and in things like Valentine’s day, accepting my sexuality would have been a lot easier for me.

I just needed to know that it was okay to not want to kiss a person and still really like them, but behavior can be very conditioned when it comes to romance. 

Like - even apart from sexual attraction, on Valentine’s day, both parties are expected to behave a certain way. The "masculine" one is expected to present flowers and chocolate, and the "feminine" one is expected to dress up and present themselves in an attractive manner in order to have a good date. But there could be an instance where both people in a relationship might want to stay in, watch TV, and eat, but instead they go out to dinner and dress up because that is the expectation.

When you have to adhere to certain expectations and narratives around romance, this inhibits who you really are and causes pressure. But, you can even celebrate Valentine’s day platonically by doing the things that both of you truly love to do.  

Romantic love and romantic behavior do not come in just one form. Although I am not interested in the physical aspects of relationships,  I can still very much deeply be in love. I can also be okay with getting physical, but more often than not, it’s not really my thing. If I were to be in love, I just wouldn’t think about whether or not the person is interested in getting physical with me. Asexuality isn’t celibacy though. At any given point, I can choose to be with someone in that way, it’s just not an impactful aspect of a romantic relationship for me. Now that I'm older, I’m more secure in this. Because some people think that asexual people have something wrong with them or that they are lacking in some way, I spent a long time being concerned about wondering if I was okay. I was stuck trying to find an answer, but there wasn’t one. It’s just apart of who I am. All expressions of healthy, romantic love are valid, and no matter what, communication is key.