The word “attraction” confuses me and always will. It only causes problems in my life. My life would be better without the word “attraction”.
Growing up, I was waiting for this mystical sexual attraction to suddenly appear in my body, in my mind. Like it seemed to for everyone else. I imagine it is like an ‘on’ switch, happening to everybody but at different times. But I never got turned on. Accidental pun.
When I hit puberty, suddenly everybody diverged from me and I got left behind. They started thinking and feeling things that I would never understand. When my sister got her first boyfriend, when I found the pill in her handbag, it broke my heart a little. She’s my baby sister, I was always supposed to experience things first, protect her. But now she has left me behind too.
As an adult, I started to worry. I found myself walking along the street, staring for a little too long at each person as I passed them. Thinking: am I attracted to this person? Or this person? It’s a cruel game my mind plays with myself. I can’t seem to give up on the possibility that I might feel it, deep down. I try so hard to feel something.
I imagine that for sexual people, attraction is pretty simple. A kind of all-or-nothing sort of thing? When I try to explain the split-attraction model to my sexual friends they can’t understand how sexual and romantic love could be separated. For an asexual who is terrified of being alone, this model seemed like the solution to my fears. I embraced it when I first heard it and it gave me hope. But recently, I’ve realised that it doesn’t really work for me either.
I think for me, attraction is on the sliding scale of friendship, at the top. When I get to know a friend really well, I start to feel ‘attracted’ to them, I guess. In that I want more. I don’t want them to leave. I want to touch their skin, I want to hold hands and hug and lie next to each other. Beauty is relative for me: I think people are beautiful when I know they are beautiful inside too. I worry that I am falling in love with my best friends. I have to hold back for fear of being ‘too much’. I have so much love to give but no one who can accept it all. Just little bits, to different people. No one person who wants all of me without my body too.
I asked my friend once: do you think anyone would want to be in a relationship without sex? She said: no, probably not. I thought that was a pretty brutal thing to say to an asexual friend. I joked that I would stick a magnet on people to attract them to me. That’s how mystical sexual attraction is to me. Some strange physical force that metal objects experience and I know exists, but never experience myself.
Thinking attraction is such a good title, because I am constantly thinking attraction, imagining I feel it, trying to work out what it is, being scared that others feel it towards me. I think my life would be better without the concept of ‘attraction’ constantly invading my thoughts. I overthink it, I see it everywhere. I can’t escape from it.
I don’t need this word. My love is simple and based on a person’s personality rather than some mysterious force that can turn on and off for no obvious reason. Dividing my loved ones into people I “love” and people I am “attracted to” doesn’t work for me.