Hallo, Aro: Neuronormative


Content advisory: non-explicit sex mentions, swearing, discussions of neuronormativity as it impacts the romantic attraction spectrum, discussions of amatonormativity.

One definition of aromanticism is low or no romantic attraction.

I can’t find romance in me.

Attraction is a human concept, but I’m an android, an alien, a loveless character mocked during nineteen-minute sitcom episodes. A character only redeemed by learning to honour and obey romance’s rules in a partnership with another. When to text, date, fuck and wed; what gifts to give and holidays to celebrate; what to wear and how to speak. As if the world didn’t already seek to bewilder and confuse!

Autistic characters in TV shows and books are only given the label human when we love another master neurotypical displays of romance. Aromanticism’s proud green validates and values my monstrosity in ways autism alone can’t and won’t.

Do I fit the word?

Kissing makes me shiver and shudder.

(Why do you expect me to enjoy your skin pressed against my tingling, screaming lips? Why are you so offended when I say I can’t?)

I don’t hug or cuddle.

(For how long must I bear your perfume hurting my nose and tightening my throat? For how long do I fight to quiet my body against yours when it wasn’t made to stop moving?)

I avoid dating.

(Will I be able to eat at the restaurant you pick? Will I survive the pounding music and the uproarious laughter from the table beside us?)

I struggle to talk to new people.

(What do I say when I don’t like the same things or go to the same places as everyone else? What do I say when small talk is a nightmare? What do I say when nothing I speak allows me the connection I crave?)

Sex doesn’t require words, once you know what sensations I can’t bear and what touches I crave. I can command and consent with my hands, legs and body. Sex is feeling, stimming, sensory: intensity allowable but safely temporary. Nobody expects our bodies to remain pressed together.

Is that attraction?

People are pretty the way I admire my blue plush blanket or a tabby cat. Bright, warm, soft. I like running my hands through your hair; I like tracing moles, scars and those dry patches of skin covering your knobbly knees. I can appreciate your body and the feeling mirrored in my own skin when I know I am allowed, after, to part and retreat. I look at you and I think I want. Is this sexual attraction? The edges catch when I try to fit what I am inside that box, but I can still connect and interact with allistics who use that word to describe themselves.

Maybe it is sexual attraction. Maybe it isn’t. Close enough, anyway; I’ll call myself allosexual just the same. The word doesn’t bruise my skin.

Why don’t I feel that way about aromantic?

(Will I feel better about the word when allosexual aromanticism, the green entwined with the gold, is easier to voice aloud? Or is it because sexual attraction is easier to recognise and define? Less nebulous?)

Romance disdains the safety of distance or escape. Togetherness is love or love is togetherness, the two so entwined that the world sees no need to pick them apart. In this community, we connect by discussing its omnipresence, our monstrosity, their amatonormativity. I am by this light possessed of the same behaviours and desires as others in this sanctuary.

Am I aromantic if I dislike kissing not from repulsion or its association with romance, just its sensory overwhelm?

What if I date another autistic who likes quiet, wants to build Lego sculptures while watching Star Wars, disdains restaurants, collects stim toys, allows me to escape to my room as often as needed and never kisses me when we fuck? The word I have for such wonderment is “queerplatonic”, but what if it’s an autistic shape of romance? Why shouldn’t it be when the West’s view of romance is an allistic imposition, someone else’s reckoning of our humanity? How do I know it isn’t what romance should be?

How is alloromanticism not another neuronormative expectation?

Aromanticism also comes with unspoken rules and expectations: assumptions about feeling and repulsion, attraction, romance. Some behaviours and feelings are alloromantic; some behaviours and feelings are not aromantic … except when they are.

(Is there anything romantic not also non-romantic?)

This word should announce to the world that other people permit, share and celebrate my monstrosity. This word should fit beside my autism, explaining, defining, validating. Instead, I’m flailing. Red rules, green rules. If I am aromantic, why can’t I see the difference between them?

Folks recognise the inconsistencies that plague us but attempt to draw lines anyway: I am repulsed by kissing because it is to me a romantic behaviour.  I’m supposed to know what does and doesn’t belong. I’m supposed to find comfort in knowing that this place doesn’t follow romance’s rules. I’m supposed to protect others who chafe in a world of red, but every rule feels a lie, a falsehood. What’s romantic? What’s sexual? What’s platonic? What’s platonic and sexual? What’s alloromantic? What’s aromantic? Why can’t you all just decide?

How is aromanticism not another neuronormative expectation?

I need this word. I need it to survive when autistics weaponise romance in the fight against the ableist stereotypes of androids, aliens and nineteen-minute sitcom characters. I am too monstrous to find validation in autism alone; I must be, have to be, aromantic!

Years clothed in this word, but I still can’t breathe.

I need the vague. A word indifferent to attraction’s binaries. A word that gives me space to be aromantic in so far as it resembles the state of not being neurotypically romantic. A word that doesn’t rely on my ability to pretend that I understand the incomprehensible and the contradictory.

I’m lichen growing over granite, the green unable to thrive without the grey.

I’m arovague.

(Or is it nebularomantic? Why do I have to pick just one word, anyway?)

Hallo, Aro is a series of short pieces about allo-aro experiences and sexual attraction as shaped by aromanticism.

Interview: Rochyne

Today we’re joined by Rochyne. Rochyne is a phenomenal visual artist whose art almost defies definition. It’s a fascinating combination of physical objects, performance, and stories. It’s almost abstract in its presentation. It’s clear Rochyne is a dedicated and imaginative individual with a unique vision. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.



Please, tell us about
your art.

My art used to be on paper, and then it became objects, now
it seems to live in the place between stories, performance and interactions.

A little bit of my website blurb:

My work is about sharing knowledge; expanding expectations;
uncovering what has been there all along; providing a moment where nothing else
is important; testing boundaries and learning what can be done with what
happens to be there.

It involves imagination, participation, movement, journeys,
interaction, perspective, a contrast of soft and hard. Usually made on my own,
I give my pieces to the world and the people, and let them discover what both
the object and themselves can achieve. I want to open eyes; initiate freedom;
spark a new way of thinking.

What inspires you?

People, places, sounds, words, stories, feelings. Anything

Recently the outdoors, climbing, birds, the sky, falling,
failing have all been in the forefront of my mind.

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

I have always had an interest in art, I just find it hard to
fully commit. I stumbled upon the sort of in-between field I find myself in.
having a performative aspect in my art, I found the MA course I am just
finishing (Performance Design) and from that, what I consider my art, or art in
general, to be has broadened massively.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

I think rather than a unique signature, my work mostly
always includes some type of conversation or invitation.

I also like cubes.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Don’t talk yourself down. Your art is worth it, and your
time is not being wasted.

Work hard, be honest and find people who inspire you.

Don’t be afraid to get a ‘real job’ on the side, as long as
it doesn’t sap all of your energy.

Talk, reach out, value others art.



Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

This is a difficult question as I am not really sure. I
think I identify as asexual some days and maybe less so on others. But mostly I
quietly think of myself as asexual.

It’s a process I am still working through, so I sometimes
find it awkward to speak about, and this, in my mind, means I may not have
fully realised whereabouts my identity sits. As a general rule, I don’t enjoy
assigning fixed labels; I believe most things exist in a fluid notion. So I
guess to sum up; asexual-ish.  

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Ignorance for sure, I think I just try to handle it by
opening a dialogue inviting the ideas of identities all existing on a spectrum,
if they can’t get their head around that I think I try to accept that they
might not be open to those ideas. I haven’t experienced any openly
aggressive/abusive responses, and I hope to never have to deal with these.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That they don’t exist. This is frustrating, and I think just
a sign of the times and that we don’t talk enough. More dialogue around so many
topics would help people hiding away and feeling that they are alone.

I find it frustrating when people associate asexuality and
aromatic incorrectly, its an assumption that people shouldn’t have the freedom
to express.  

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their

As hard as it may be, accepting and talking can be helpful.

Also just to tell them that they are not broken.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

Ohh amazing.

People can find me here:
or here
or here:

Thank you, Rochyne, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

To the biromantic ace – I thought the same thi…

To the biromantic ace – I thought the same thing and had pretty nuch resolved myself to just being alone for the foreseeable future. But then I met my girlfriend, and she has been absolutely amazing about everything.

Thank you <3

To the biro/ace anon: you are not alone! I gre…

To the biro/ace anon: you are not alone! I grew up in a very conservative religious community, and when I got out of it I had a hard time considering myself lgbt enough to find a community of my own. It’s rough, and I went thru some false starts, but I am currently in a very loving and romantic relationship with an allo who understands that I’m ace and we may never end up having sex. The best thing for me was to find other aces online, it helps me be confident in my identity even when I'm down.♥

For the biro/ace!! Thank you for your message!

(You can answer privately or via dm). You inte…

(You can answer privately or via dm). You interviewed me, Paola, a few months ago and then i didnt have music out but i am going to record in the fall. Could you add my insta and fb to the link page if it is no trouble? Idk if people check but still. Insta (and fb, soundcloud, etc) is @psykonauternaofficial. Thnx!

Interview: Lisa Dawn

Today we’re joined by Lisa Dawn. Lisa is a phenomenal author and blogger who writes about a number of things. She loves fairy tales and focuses on it. Lisa also enjoys analyzing princess movies, books, and TV shows on her amazing blog. It’s clear she’s a passionate and creative individual, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.



Please, tell us about
your art.

I’m a self-published author, blogger, and screenwriter. I
love stories, especially fairy tales. The Disney Princess movies were
everything to me when I was growing up. I’ve written several fairy tale adaptations
and original fairy tale novellas at
and regularly review and analyze princess movies, books, TV shows, and more on
my blog at
I studied screenwriting in college and am about to complete the UCLA
Professional Program in Screenwriting Online. My latest screenplay is an
original princess story that draws inspiration from one of the hardest times in
my life.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by beauty, but not just the visual kind. I love
musicals with songs that tug at the heartstrings, stories that are cathartic
and empowering, and of course beautiful artwork of mermaids, faeries, and
magical princesses in lacey flowing gowns. My love of animation has been a
driving force for my creativity even though I can’t even draw a circle. I was
devastated when traditional animation got replaced by CGI, but I attended a
visual effects school in Florida to learn how to animate on a computer, which
landed me a job in Los Angeles.


What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

Yes, I have always wanted to write. I can’t remember ever not
wanting to write, even when I was a very tiny Little Mermaid-obsessed preschooler. I love stories and the effect
that they have on people’s psyche. A good story will simultaneously bring
someone to tears and allow them to accept something in their life that they were
struggling with. When I graduated college and had to deal with the hardships of
being an adult for the first time, I wanted to tell my own stories even more
because there’s a comfort in viewing life through the lens of a magical fairy
tale instead of facing the harsh reality head-on.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

You’ve probably noticed the princess theme by now. Not all
of my stories are about princesses, but I focus on them because princesses are
the most magical and empowering female characters in any given fantasy story. I
love how princesses have evolved over time from damsels in distress to strong
warriors. I analyze the dichotomy between these archetypes in The Princess Blog
and try to find a healthy balance between them in my own writing. For me, Ariel
from Disney’s The Little Mermaid is
the perfect combination of vulnerability and inner strength.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

It has never been easier than it is today to promote
yourself through technology. Everyone is connected through social media, so if
you’re willing to share your art, people will find you. You can also easily
reach out to the people you admire via Twitter, which is something that used to
be much harder. Unfortunately, that also means there’s a lot more competition out
there. In that respect, I would say to work even harder than you think is
necessary. Write, draw, sing, and create every single day, even on the days
when you don’t feel like it. I thought I would never make it as a screenwriter,
but now I feel like I’m closer than ever because I’ve learned how to make
connections and get valuable feedback from my peers. Yes, I do occasionally
take breaks, sometimes even year-long ones, but I know now that the more time I
take off, the longer it will take me to accomplish my goals. Promote yourself
and keep it up!



Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

I am a heteroromantic repulsed asexual. I’m also married, which
still surprises me sometimes, so for those of you lonely romantic aces out
there, there is hope!

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I write independently, but I’ve experienced ignorance in the
workplace a few times. I once had a job converting movies to 3D, and some of my
co-workers there were a little immature. There was one man in particular who
would not stop harassing me after I blurted out that I was asexual. He kept
naming all sorts of different scenarios and asking me if I would have sex under
those circumstances (not with him). I probably should have reported him to HR,
but he was part of a large company layoff shortly after that, so I never saw
him again. A few years later, I did an interview about asexuality for a famous
magazine right after my wedding that promoted my husband and myself in a
humiliating way on several Facebook pages with millions of subscribers. A
co-worker I had at that time tagged several fellow employees, including a
supervisor, on one posts and didn’t tell me. I only found out about it after
going through all the comments. I did
report that to HR and got an apology out of her. If this happens to you, do not
tolerate it sitting down! That’s what Human Resources are for.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

“You’re not capable of love?” is always a classic.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their

The world is a very different place today than it was when I
came out as asexual in 2005. Hollywood is pushing for more diversity in the
media. Uncommon sexual orientations are becoming more commonplace. Social media
is all about expressing yourself. You are living in one of the best eras to be
different. Embrace it. Know that there are more people willing to accept you
today than there would have been fifty, thirty, or even ten years ago.

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

I have a subscribe link on, but most
people find out about new posts through my Facebook page at
I’m also on Instagram at
and Twitter at
I have a YouTube channel where an animated version of myself reads my blog
posts at,
and of course you can find my books on Amazon at

Lisa Dawn also has an author website:


Thank you, Lisa, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.




I got drunk and I just want y’all to know. It is NEVER okay to like someone. Like Romantically

thanks man

Interview: Desdemona

Today we’re joined by Desdemona. Desdemona is a wonderful writer who specializes in fanfiction, mostly involving m/m erotica. When she’s not writing m/m erotica, Desdeomona collaborates with her father to write fantastic queer sci-fi stories and she also enjoys writing tales involving strong women saving the world. It’s clear she’s a passionate author with a wonderful creativity, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.


Please, tell us about
your art.

I am most known for my m/m erotica of the fanfiction
variety. I like to write a whole range of genres, from comedy to angst to smut
to action/adventure. I like it best when I can mix more than one, which is most
evidenced by my current story, in which a vampire king of an imaginary country
tricks a feisty little prince from a neighboring country into marrying him.

When I’m not writing fanfiction, I collab with my dad to
write what I like to call “queers in space” and then I also dabble in stories
on my own that usually feature things like girls with swords saving the world
and badass witches getting revenge on well-deserving men.

What inspires you?

You know when white cishet men cry about women invading
their spaces? I really like that. Also, I’m a slut for a good cliché.

If I were to give an answer that wasn’t chalked full of
feminist rage and flippant sarcasm, though, I would probably say music. I can
really focus on unfolding plots when I have the right music.

But, really, anything’s inspiration if you’re spiteful

What got you
interested in your field?  Have you
always wanted to be an artist?

When I was a kid, my dad taught me how to play chess. When
he didn’t have time for a match and I couldn’t convince one of my siblings to
play with me, I’d set up the board and then use the pieces to create very
detailed stories that had absolutely nothing to do with chess. Or, y’know, I’d
play against myself, but the point of this story is to showcase that sometimes,
there isn’t a beginning. Some people are just born that way. (Heh.)

Basically: yes, I’ve always wanted to a writer. Words are a
deep comfort to me and making stories has been a part of my life for as long as
I can remember. I didn’t really have friends growing up, so books were the
things that kept me occupied, and then eventually, I started writing down the
stories I would tell myself.

The thing that drove me for a long time was a total lack of
media featuring main characters like me. I was a teeny-bopper asexual girl who
didn’t actually know she was asexual and I couldn’t understand why all these
female characters were so worried about what the boys in their life thought. I
wanted to read about girls with swords going on adventures, kicking ass and
taking names. The ideas of “damsels in distress” and “love interests” were
pretty much eye-roll worthy to my younger counterpart.

When I got older and started questioning my sexuality, it
became about more than just Girls Do It Better. I got to explore sexuality in a
very nuanced way that was still comfortable to me thanks to the popularity of
erotica in fanfiction.

Do you have any kind
of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work
that you’d be willing to reveal?

Have I told you the good word about our Lady & Savior,
“Girl With Sword” yet? No? Would you be interested in taking this informational
pamphlet that outlines how very much she is my sexuality?

I also seem to have a serious kink for women who want
revenge. It’s possible I’m continually working through some stuff that never
truly gets resolved.

What advice would you
give young aspiring artists?

Create selfishly. Create that thing that feels like it’s
pure self-indulgence. The best thing you can ever do as an artist–any kind of
artist–is to create the things that you, as a consumer, want to see. It
translates better than what you create when you’re writing for someone else.
Always write for yourself and let anyone else’s enjoyment of your creation be a
bonus, not the sole purpose.


Where on the spectrum
do you identify?

So, when people ask me about it, I generally say that I know
I’m somewhere on the asexual spectrum, but I’m not sure where. I generally lean
toward the idea that I’m demisexual, but my party line is that I don’t have
enough evidence to fully support this hypothesis.

Have you encountered
any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I’ve been lucky in the way that the only asexual prejudices
I’ve seen or heard were random posts on the internet. Nobody’s ever come to my
door, so to speak, to spout their ignorance directly to me. I still expect it
to happen one day, but so far, it hasn’t.

And really, handling it would depend on the prejudice or
ignorance itself and who it’s coming from. Some instances can be a good
teaching moment, but other times, life is too short to argue with people who
won’t see reason.

What’s the most
common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

The thing that really fucked me up when I was questioning my
sexuality was this widespread idea that asexuality is only a complete lack of
sexual desire–that asexual people don’t have a sex drive at all.

That idea was pretty rampant for a while and it made me
think, “oh, well, that’s not me.” I do have a sex drive, but I have a distinct
lack of desire to share that sexual drive with…well, I would say most people. I can think of exactly one
person I’ve met in my almost-29 years of existence on this planet that I wanted
to fuck. That seems, to me, like a fluke more than anything.

The fact that that misconception was so common caused me
some undue angst for a number of years before I found out it wasn’t actually
the case. I found my way eventually, but I’d like to save other people said
angst if I can.

What advice would you
give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their

Listen. Your truth is not going to be someone else’s truth.
Someone else’s truth is not going to be your truth.

Figuring out your sexuality–especially when it’s messy and
complicated the way sexualities often are–is a bit like one of those treasure
hunts where people leave little clues/notes in random places and you have to
decipher the riddle to figure out where to go next. You have to sift through
someone else’s dirty laundry in hopes that you’re going to find something
useful. You might find a scrap of paper in a pair of jeans, but it’s up to you
to figure out whether or not it’s the clue you needed to unlock the next step
or if it’s just a faded receipt from Walmart because someone doesn’t know how
to clean out their pockets before they wash laundry.

Take the stories of other experiences with a grain of salt.
Your experience doesn’t have to fit perfectly, it only has to fit enough that
you can find some comfort in the fact that you’re not broken like you thought
you were. (I’m projecting with that last bit, in case you hadn’t noticed.)

Finally, where can
people find out more about your work?

I am both greenbergsays
and greenbergwrites on Tumblr
and greenbergsays
on AO3.

Thank you, Desdemona, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.



Aromantic is a complete identity. Aros don’t need other labels if they don’t want them. The community already has helpful terms like no-sam/neuaro to describe aromanticism as your main identity, but they aren’t universal. These terms refer to more specific experiences, and even people who don’t relate to them (or who do and don’t want to use them) should still have the freedom to just be aro. It should be enough for someone to say “I’m aromantic” without any followup. There shouldn’t be pressure for aros to take on more identities because of the mindset that it isn’t enough just to be aromantic.

Pretty much every aro is gonna have a different relationship with their aromanticism, so the identity is already very broad. It’s alright to embrace this broadness. Lumping your relationship to sexuality/other attractions/qpps within the aro identity is always an option. If you feel that aromantic describes your entire experience, it is enough!