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Would I Wear a Gas Mask if Love Was in the Air?


Shammi Syera Simin


Gary Chapman’s 1995 best-selling book The Five Love Languages had become a go-to guide for people looking to discern how their partner displayed love. Based on his 30 years of experience as a couples’ counsellor, Chapman broke down the five love languages as the following: Words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. These five basic languages are used by people to connect with their loved ones in their own ways, but the most important thing that we learn from these varied expressions of love is that clearly, the meaning of love differs from person to person.

Keeping that in mind, let’s explore how asexuality and love are not two separate things, and how love can mean so much more than just attraction to the opposite sex.

I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. A very universal struggle in today’s modern world is the struggle to find this sort of connection.

But wait a minute! Shouldn’t only “broken” and “crippled” asexuals find it difficult to have a connection with people? Because the last time I checked, these were the only groups of people that were “incapable of love”. If that were really the case, why do cishets often feel lonely too?

That’s because, dear bapdhon, love is a secondary emotion, and the primary ones that actually lead to love are attraction and connection. It’s never a good idea to mix these two things up in a dissociative soup of an unawared, heteronormative field of vision.

You can be sexually, romantically, aesthetically, sensually, and platonically attracted to people. The first two are very obvious, so I would like to briefly break down the rest.

Once, a junior of mine had asked me, “Apu, am I gay if I think person X is really handome?” to which he received a firm “nO” as an answer, because clearly, he was only harmlessly appreciating one of God’s excellent creations. “It’s just like a firework,” I had told him, “you love its beauty but won’t let it come near your genitals,” and he had barked out a laugh. That is what aesthetic attraction is.

The next one is somewhat like the orbits of Neptune and Pluto, with their territories overlapping each other, so much that the smaller planet loses its whole identity as a planet. We call this sensual attraction. It involves being attracted to a person through your five senses (i.e. feeling happy when you get to smell their scent, hold their hand, et cetera). It is often in line with romantic and aesthetic attraction.

And lastly, my favourite type, and a very underappreciated one too: Platonic attraction. The one where they don’t make you want to be a better person or make you want to sacrifice anything for them. Love songs on the radio don’t suddenly make sense. This sort of love is what true friends have. This is what friendship actually stands for.

Now, The next thing that we’re going to learn about is how to ditch loneliness connection.

Try to remember the last time you had a very deep conversation with someone. Or a moment where someone’s gestures made you feel valid, and that although you knew you were not the best person in the whole wide world, you realised that they knew that you were trying your best. Or simply that it was okay. Recall how that made you feel in your flesh prison. That, my dude, is connection.

It’s not the easiest thing to get.

However, something else that I want you to understand, is that no matter where you are in the spectrum of showing love, know that what everyone craves, at the end of the day, is that connection. Some of us may be conscious about this wish, some may not. But rest assured, knowing that when one finds themself in the radius of this feeling, they are bound to feel happy. Genuinely.

Hence, us asexuals too can yearn for such connection, more when we figure out that our language of attraction and appreciation will never be a part of the norm. Thinking that someone is broken just because they are different from you is not the best thing to do. So please, be a bit more compassionate towards people who do not express their love sexually (asexuals) or romantically (aromantics) and try not to be the part of the population that calls us delusional or in-denial. 

 


Want to have more insight? Have unanswered questions on this topic? Want to throw a shoe at me? Then mail me at [email protected].

 

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