Unlearning Expectations: The Fundamentals to Accepting Asexuality and Aromanticism

The Oxford Dictionary defines unlearn as a verb meaning “to discard (something learned, especially a bad habit or false or outdated information) from one’s memory.”

A lot of my adult life so far has been centered around unlearning things I was raised with. Part of growing up is pushing past what you were taught and doing your best to figure out what you do, in fact, believe, so that you can create a better future for yourself and others. This involves both actively learning about the world around us and taking the time and effort to challenge our core beliefs.

Challenging Our Core Beliefs

So what’s happening in the brain when our core beliefs are challenged?

Unlearning is uncomfortable.

It takes continuous, hard work. It challenges us to our very cores and asks us who we are and if that’s the person we want to be.

Challenging Expectations For Love and Sex

If we want to talk about why it can be difficult to discuss and learn about asexuality and aromanticism, we have to talk about how it relates to unlearning the expectation that everyone experiences sexual and romantic attraction.

Cultural Expectations of Sex and Love

It is an understatement that “you’re supposed to love and want sex” is hammered into us. Everyone seems to be talking about sex and love from the moment we’re born. These norms start young and our world is saturated with them; with heterosexual, heteroromantic, cisgender, perisex couples just having fun and having the privilege to just exist without extra questions, explanations, or fear of being themselves. The desire for sex and love is thought to be a fundamental part of the human experience, and when aspecs say that it doesn’t need to be a part of ours, those around us may feel as if their core beliefs are being threatened.

Our Brains Can Change

The human brain is incredibly complex but one thing we do know it is capable of is change if the person in question is willing to put in the work.

Sexual and Romantic Attraction Are Not What Makes Us Human

Everyone is different, but one thing that’s true of everyone is that our experiences are far too wide and varied to narrow us down to just our sexual and romantic attractions.Those of us who don’t experience one or both of these attractions, or who fall somewhere in between, or who are questioning what our experiences truly mean and how we feel are not less human. We are not inherently missing out on anything; many of us don’t feel like we’re missing out at all.

I am a 27 year old gray ace advocate for asexuality and other queer identities. I also advocate for mental health and disability.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store