In 2020 we still live in a very heteronormative world. And hence, attraction for some is very straight forward. But that’s clearly not the case for everyone. There are some who fins themselves not being able to fit in this heteronormative form of attraction and at times find themselves at a daze. And even in that section of the population, a small percentage but a large body of people struggle even further to make sense of their attraction. Here, I am talking about the Aspec identifying people of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Aspec is an umbrella term for people identifying on the asexual and/or aromantic spectrum. Attraction isn’t so easy to understand for the ones identifying as Aspec as unlike the very large part of the world, their romantic and sexual orientation don’t always line up. An asexual can very easily be aromantic, biromantic, heteroromantic, homoromantic, panromantic and more. And similarly, an aromantic can be, asexual, bisexual, heterosexual, homosexual, pansexual and more.
When we say homosexual we by default imagine their romantic and sexual orientation to be towards the same sex. But for Aspecs that default doesn’t work. Hence, many Aspecs use the Split Attraction Model as a language to express their orientation.
The Split Attraction Model
The Split Attraction Model, a.k.a SAM, simply says that attraction for some people is split up. The model prominently states split between romantic and sexual attraction, as those are the first two kinds of attraction one needs to understand when entering a dating world. For many Aspecs, SAM helped in understanding their attractions on a much larger manner. Some have realised their sensual, aesthetic, intellectual and more kinds of attractions towards others. Some from outside the Aspec community have also found SAM to be helpful. For example, one can be biromantic and homosexual/heterosexual. According to SAM this is a valid orientation and must be accepted. It also is one of the reasons why it is surrounded by a lot of controversies from the LGBTQIA+ community and otherwise.
The Origin and Controversy
SAM started in Tumblr as a way to mock Aspecs and bisexuals to spread aphobia and biphobia, i.e. hatred towards Aspecs and bisexuals respectively. The Aspec community found it useful to themselves and hence decided to take it and reclaim it into something positive and helpful.
Although that too has backfired as many from the LBTQIA+ community find it to be against what they have been trying to fight, i.e. the misconception that being homosexual/bisexual/pansexual is just about sex. SAM continues to face hatred and love, but there is no denying that it has brought peace to a lot of confusion for many Aspecs as their attraction isn’t as linear. There are many kinds of attractions and for the Aspecs SAM opens them up to it all and acts as a tool or language or expression.
The different kinds of attractions
Although we only talk about sexual attraction and occasionally romantic attraction, there are so many more kinds of attractions. Here are some that you may have experienced but didn’t realise or misunderstood to be as romantic; just as so many Aspecs did before they learned about SAM.