It’s provocative, isn’t it? Using the word “gay” in the pejorative sense in which some young people use it today is bound to evoke a strong reaction from members of the politically mighty LGBT community. And how about saying that relationships are “gay,” obviously in the colloquial sense people usually mean “relationship,” referring to romantic and/or sexual involvement with another person? Isn’t it the wackiest thing you’ve ever heard?
No, it’s not. There’s a significant minority of the human population who do believe that relationships are “gay.” We’re called aromantics, which means that we have no capacity for romance. Although some aromantic people are sexual, meaning that they still need and want sexual gratification in the absence of romance, I happen to be asexual as well as aromantic. It’s a clean way to be, with no muss or fuss involved in dealings with other people.
I’ve been told by people that they feel sorry for me because I’m “missing out” on the things that are part of their nature. That’s like telling a First World War reservist who never went to the front that he “missed out” on trench warfare and mustard gas. Sure, that reservist didn’t do any fighting, which was what he had joined the military for in the first place, but he played a valuable role in the war through his support activities, and he avoided the horrible privation and misery that was the staple of frontline troops’ lives. That’s pretty much how I feel about being an aromantic asexual. I don’t abase myself in pursuit of romance or sex, I don’t have to compromise in order to satisfy animal needs (because, to me, both sex and romance are animal needs), I can treat men and women and trans people exactly the same, and I always look a woman in the face without ever checking out her boobs. That last one earned me praise from a young woman who actually had to tell me that she had large breasts, and was sick and tired of everyone staring at them, before I even noticed them.
My admittedly biased observation of how romance and sex affect people is that they make the average person both neurotic and psychotic–needy, dependent, insecure, possessive, frequently distressed, sometimes violent. Doctors recommend that people with major mental illness (and I happen to be one, just by the way) avoid having what most people call relationships because they are emotionally and intellectually destabilizing and cause great amounts of stress. Think about it: what has caused the most stress in your life? Not your job, not your blood relatives, but your marriage or your contact with your lover. That is generally what makes most people unhappy in the deepest ways.
There are indeed tradeoffs in all aspects of life. The severe distress caused by relationships brings certain benefits with it. But do those benefits really compensate you for the harm relationships cause? In which direction do the scales tip? I’m betting that, if you could think about it lucidly and clearheadedly, rather than through the distorting prism of someone who feels a need for love in her life, you’d rather be like me than like you.
#relationshipsaregay. Pass it on.