For many people, their sexual and romantic orientations are congruent. The people they want to have sex with are the people they want to hold hands with and kiss as the sun sets behind them. However, that’s not the case with everyone. Some people may find that their relationship between sexual and romantic orientation requires a bit more probing.
It took me a long time to figure out my sexuality because I never had any crushes. I didn’t experience that head-over-heels state of mind where I couldn’t think about anything else but one of my peers. To be honest, I didn’t understand how anyone could feel that way about someone. Sure, I had sexual urges, but I didn’t have romance as a guide for pinpointing them. That made figuring out my sexuality more difficult.
When I first began my foray into LGBTQ-affirming Christianity, I initially pegged myself as Side A. In other words, I accepted same-gender relationships that were consistent with other standards such as commitment, monogamy, and, of course, romance. However, as I grew older, I realized that I simply wasn’t romantically inclined. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand the concept of romance, but simply that I never felt that way about someone.
Being aromantic, I find myself alienated from Side A’s loving, monogamous relationship standard. I can’t feel romantic love. I am not unwilling to love romantically. I am incapable of romantic love and I feel broken because of it. Since Side A’s position is based on the capacity to feel romantic love and to adhere to a certain standard for a relationship, adhering to this position still made me feel like I was something that was inherently incompatible with God’s design for humanity.
To be clear, since love is not limited to the romantic, I do not consider myself incapable of love altogether. I can love writing without wanting to date or marry my keyboard. I can love how others experience romance without experiencing it myself. Reducing the concept of love to romance is an insult to anyone who has ever loved in a non-romantic manner. It’s just that, when I can’t feel one of the most widely understood forms of love, it’s a rather alienating experience.