We do exist. And our queerness doesn’t need curing.
It’s common in the online asexual (ace) and aromantic (aro) communities to see a lot of disclaimers along the lines of ‘Being asexual doesn’t mean you’re socially awkward’ or ‘Being aromantic doesn’t mean you can’t love’.
This is because these communities don’t want ace/aro identities to be associated with the negative stereotypes that exist of socially anxious/avoidant people.
That would taint the ‘coolness’ of their ‘queerness’. Asocial asexuals and introverted aromantics aren’t on-brand.
To which I say, obviously: fuck that.
Some ace/aro people are asocial, they do struggle socially, and for some, their disinterest in sex/romance does extend to other kinds of relationships as well.
What’s more, their asexuality may intersect with their asociality; their aromanticism may overlap with their introversion. Being shy or socially avoidant may not ‘make’ someone asexual or aro, but at the same time, it may not be possible to entirely disentangle their queerness from their quietness either.
Knowing that asexuality and aromanticism exist can help some socially distant people to understand themselves better.
They may have always put their lack of sexual/romantic experience down to being shy. They may have thought their lack of interest in sex/intimate relationships was another sign of their social ‘failure’.
But with asexuality and aromanticism now on the table, socially distant people have permission to ponder whether they even want to have sex; whether they even want a romantic partner.
Asexuality and aromanticism tell us that not everyone wants these things; that sex and romance are not universal human desires. Some of us do just fine without sex, without romantic love, or without both.
And this applies just as much to the socially awkward asexual or the aromantic schizoid , as it does to the more socially typical aro/ace person.
Just because someone’s shy, it doesn’t necessarily mean they need help with asking someone out. Just because someone’s schizoid, doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be more open to being in an intimate relationship.
Some socially distant people just don’t experience sexual and/or romantic attraction.
And no amount of social skills training or therapy is going to ‘fix’ that.
Although, unfortunately, evidence of sexual/romantic partnerships is often sought by mental health professionals as a sign of ‘healthy’ social functioning, of social success, in their patients.
And so this can cause problems for aro/ace people who seek help for their difficulties with socialising.
For example, asexuality can appear on diagnostic checklists for schizoid personality disorder. Therefore, the asexual schizoid’s lack of interest in sex may be flagged as something that needs addressing, as it’s taken as symptomatic of their personality ‘disorder’. But it’s perfectly possible that the schizoid’s asexuality causes them no issues at all.
Similarly, a disinterest in, or lack of experience of, intimate relationships, could also be raised as a red flag. However, again, it’s perfectly possible that the schizoid patient, or the socially anxious patient, could be aromantic. Their social difficulties may intersect with their aro-ness, but that doesn’t mean the lack of romantic inclination should be treated as one of those social difficulties.
Any therapist or other mental health professional that tries to convince the aromantic schizoid, or the socially awkward asexual, that they ‘should’ become more open to/comfortable with sexual and/or romantic intimacy, are doing something that is, quite frankly, tantamount to conversion therapy.