Life as a homoromantic asexual

In this personal essay, Michael Paramo reflects on his experience as a homoromantic asexual in southern California and examines how this identity has played an integral role in shaping his life.


To identify as a homoromantic asexual means that one must navigate within every space in a very distinct manner. There is no “communal space” that exists exclusively for the homoromantic asexual. We are disseminated throughout the internet, dotted on dating sites, isolated on discussion forums, scattered on social media platforms – lost in the billions. We exist as an unknown few belonging to an already largely unknown sexual orientation. Often being excluded from “gay” spaces because of my asexuality along with “straight” spaces because of homoromantic attractions to other men, I regularly felt invisible – never whole – with an aspect of myself essentially vanishing upon entering a space dictated by another majority’s regulation.

The term “homoromantic asexual” itself remains largely foreign today, as there is no access to this identity within mainstream avenues of knowledge. I recall searching, almost indignantly, throughout the internet looking for any trace of who I was in others, left only with a handful of blog posts. Of course, I quickly devoured them, soaking in their experiences, strongly relating to the words of others who I presumed endured the same feelings that I felt – those who were walking in similar shoes to mine. There was scarce mention anywhere else though, even on sites that proclaimed a certain dedication to the LGBTQ+ community. In realizing that this reality of relative invisibility has maintained its prevalence since that time, it is probably best I define homoromantic asexuality before continuing any further.

To be homoromantic, simply put, means to be attracted “romantically” to the same gender. Romantic attraction is distinct from sexual attraction in that one is attracted to the same gender, yet without any sexual contact or desire. Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction or desire for sexual contact with anyone, regardless of gender. In understanding this, it is of paramount importance to recognize that romantic attraction and sexual attraction do not always have to align with one another. For example, one may be biromantic yet also be heterosexual. The same type of phenomenon is also possible for the asexual individual. Therefore, a homoromantic asexual is someone who is attracted to the same gender romantically, yet simultaneously not sexually attracted to anyone.

Often being excluded from “gay” spaces because of my own asexuality along with “straight” spaces because of homoromantic attractions to other men, I regularly felt invisible – never whole – with an aspect of myself essentially vanishing upon entering a space dictated by another majority’s regulation.

Perhaps it would now be best to properly introduce myself. I am Michael Paramo, a homoromantic asexual Latinx man who has lived in southern California for the entirety of my life. I have existed in relative isolation for the majority of my twenty-three years as a result of seemingly innumerable reasons, and I am certain that my homoromantic asexual identity is one of them. Being amidst those whose religious convictions conflicted with my very identity meant that expressing my homoromanticism openly would not only be taboo, it would also be sin. I desired to be with a man, I wanted a man to intellectually love, to hold his arms, to explore the world I so greatly feared, but my intense anxiety of transforming the dynamic that I held with those around me prevented me from doing so. I let them possess the power over me, and I still do in many respects.

I remained silent, lips hopelessly wavering in moments of brevity when feelings of fearlessness arose only to be trampled upon by a reminder of the potential consequences. It would be impossible to tell you of the numerous times that I felt that fire – a fury within me to reveal my “secret” – only to be extinguished moments thereafter. Suffocating with every comment about that “freak” walking down the street, that “faggot” on television, that “sin” that could be gotten rid of by god’s grace. I was debilitated by the constant concealment, exhaustively shielding myself behind an ever-thinning veil of straightness. With every discussion that never happened, every channel that was changed upon an LGBTQ+ issue being raised on the television screen before my eyes, the silence grew exponentially agonizing. I retreated into myself as a coping mechanism. Separation was my answer. And how could I then blame them entirely for my own internal desolation? For they did not know what they had done. As Anzaldúa might say, they were victims not villains.

Pressure eventually becoming overwhelming, I revealed my asexuality openly one day. Of course, it was only my asexuality, but it was a beginning. How it materialized was rather spontaneous, a conversation sparking something deep within that told me that I could not continue living this way. Feelings of fermenting disgust blended with the greatest of anxieties to culminate in what felt to be a raw expression. Even if I could not wholly be myself, I rationalized that partial living was better than none at all. Additionally, I was aware that my asexuality would not incite aversion within others, only confusion, and I was therefore not confounded when this indeed arose shortly thereafter.

I desired to be with a man, I wanted a man to intellectually love, to hold his arms, to explore the world I so greatly feared, but my intense anxiety of transforming the dynamic that I held with those around me prevented me from doing so.

Despite the endless prodding regarding my asexuality, I continued to conceal my homoromantic identity and subsequently became conceived as a solitary soul, one that someone close to me stated “were in the Bible,” as some type of justification for my difference. I was aware that other religious individuals, connected to me in one way or another, likened themselves to the idea of their own child potentially being asexual, “wishing” that their child would be asexual so that they would not have to address their child’s own sexual desires. Asexuality became almost beneficial within this space in a disturbing sort of manner. It was as if my eternal state of being was something that should be temporarily applied to their child until marriage. How thoughtless and absurd, but also clearly demonstrating a lack of understanding. I was also conceived as “doing it for attention,” “in a phase,” “an impossibility.” Living with sexual desire was so innate to the human experience for these individuals that it became universal.

I have only revealed my homoromantic love for men to two people close to me as of today, aside from a few others in an academic environment. My homoromanticism always existed as the aspect that was the most problematic to others. Within religious circles, half of my identity (asexuality) was to be temporarily desired; half of my identity (homoromantic) was to be entirely rejected. I was ripped, divided into two parts that were both deeply intertwined within me. I could be “the asexual” around them, but it had to cease at that point. If I acted on my desires for love, I would become categorized as “gay” and no longer as “solitary” or “strange,” yet still “straight.” This phenomenon exemplifies the ingrained power of the gay/straight binary. Being conceived as “gay” in their minds would be of no issue to me if I possessed the necessary resources to separate physically, and not just in spirit. I have not done so though, and am still in the midst of that arduous process.

And so I have acknowledged my relatively hopeless state of being in my quest for love with another man. Even when I do break free of this physical space, I know that my opportunity to be with another man will not greatly increase. For I will rarely be able to act on these impulses of love as a result of belonging to such a minuscule identity. I must almost expect to never be loved back by a man in the way that I would fully desire, while also being unable to fulfill the type of love most men would require. Love will never come easily. Understanding that I may live the rest of my life alone in this manner as a result of my homoromantic asexuality can be exhausting at times, but I will never see it as a curse. It is who I am. And although it may be unlikely that I will ever find the right homoromantic asexual man for me, I’m not giving up hope just yet.

Follow Michael on Twitter (@Michael_Paramo)

4 thoughts on “Life as a homoromantic asexual

  1. Hey, Micheal, amazing post.Ive had a similar dilemma, and maybe one you’d be interested in. Growing up in a religious community, and knowing that I was attracted to guys, I honestly thought I was gay through and through. Finally one day at 24 years old , after much suffering, depression, and anxiety from silence, and bigotry all around me , I decided to tell someone.I connected with an LGBT group of my faith. I still however couldn’t figure out why I was having trouble accepting myself as gay. At first I thought I was super repressed,broken, and even just being homophobic .I thought I was being very picky, and after getting close to a couple of friends I’d stop when it came to sex.I enjoyed going out to bars, but I’d be freaked out if anyone wanted to dance with me.Fast forward half a year later of loathing myself for being “picky”, and “scared of intamicy”and desperate for someone’s love, I came across another label.
    DEMIsexual. Heres where it gets confusing.
    Demisexuals as the term states, is one who has the ability to get attracted to one if they create a close bond.That means I wouldn’t know who I was attracted too?! It would explain why even when I’d spend the little amount of time with girls I’d feel something. See I knew I was attracted to girls to, it was just very fleeting, and I’d been around guys my whole life (making bonds with them), being brought up in a religious community where boys and girls don’t mix, and are not supposed to until dating time. I still prefer men, because they’re the only ones I’ve even tried getting close to, I just don’t know which ones lol.Ive literally been afraid of getting close to people since childhood because I thought I was gay, and also , like most demisexuals, when you get close to someone you could be attracted to them, which would explain a lot. I was(, and still do,) confusing romantic attraction and sexual attraction, and it’s confusing sometimes really. I’m not a full asexual, and I also want sex, and want to touch someone else body, and I can get very horny sometimes, it’s just that I have no outlet, and wouldn’t have sex with someone I like either.I used to look around for people I liked, and I still do, but I’m trying to accept the fact that it won’t work like that. I’m not sure how I’m gonna do this, and dating someone’s gonna be hard, because even if I do like them romantically, it’s not a sealed deal to be sexually attracted to them.But I guess I’m just gonna have to forget my original approach and wait for one day we’re I’ll find someone.
    Ive thought to myself, and came up with a label, which by no means defines me forever, but something that I like, which would be
    Homo-romantic pan-demisexual. Have an awesome one, and I hope you find someone.

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  2. Hey Michael,

    I have had a totally different experience growing up, coming from a totally secular background.

    However I can totally relate to your confusion and feeling of isolation, caught in a gap between different groups that you feel you never fully belong to. To me it was almost like “gay” was the group I felt most related to within the whole of society, but within that group I still felt isolated by the fault of differences between myself and 99% of others in that group.

    Sex was definetly something I did and even seeked, not for the pleasure I got from it but because as a “gay”guy, there was tremendous expectation that I would want to have “gay sex”. Unfortunately this has also greatly complicated many relationships.

    After 10 years of trying to fulfil myself as “gay”, I gradually realized, thanks to other’s accounts on the interwebs, that I was homoromantic+asexual. This label, invented by others who go through the same stuff I am going through, gave me confidence and courage because I was not alone anymore.

    The feeling of being the only of my kind was both depressing because of the isolation it promised, but it was also maddening thanks to the self doubt it sowed in me : I sometimes legit asked myself if I was not self-delusional about who I was. Not a pleasant experience.

    This complicated identity is still largely ignored by society, but I am hopeful it is slowly getting easier for everyone to be accepted as they are, and to accept others as they are.

    For some hope, let me add that I have been in a relationship with another homoromantic asexual, and it is sort of an accident that we found each other because we had never discussed that part of our identity, both assuming that the other was simply “gay”. He is a wonderful man, beyond what my words could explain, and I feel incredibly lucky to be able to love him in the most natural way I can love someone, never having to worry what I need to do to take care of his sexual needs, since he doesn’t have any either.

    There are more of us out there than it seems. For instance, I have a feeling that many gay guys who prefer to only have oral sex might be demisexual or even asexual… I used to think I liked oral, since to me something about it is more disconnected than anal.

    This message is already long, let me conclude by saying that our identity is valid, we are more numerous than we think, and that love is also something we deserve to experience.

    Cheers,
    Jules

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  3. I am a 17 year old homoromantic homosensual asexual female and I’m terrifyied of the axact same thing. There is already the fact that I live in a country where less people accept gay/bi than in the US so being a homoromantic homosensual asexual complicates things to the maximum. My mother thinks I’m sick even tho she has no problems with gay and and my worries and fears are thrown away :((( Thank you for your post.

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  4. Hi Michael

    Thank you for sharing this moving essay. I’m in a similar situation though in many ways luckier than other people. I’m now thirty but have identified as a homoromantic asexual female all my life, from about the age of 9 or 10. I was lucky enough to be born and raised in England but half my family live in India and the other half in England. I am far closer to the Indian side of my family but am forced to point out repeatedly to the British side of my family that living in India for months at a time or permanently would be intolerable with India being homophobic not to mention the difficult climate. I never blamed the Indian side of my family for the situation and I always knew they were not homophobic and thus proved to be the case when I told them the truth in my early twenties. They were accepting but advised me to say in India I want to stay single. Since I love them too much to bind them to secrecy over a same sex romantic relationship and have genuinely come to enjoy the freedom of being single on a day to day basis, I cut through the tangled problem by staying single and am waiting patiently either for God to stop India being homophobic or for old age to come and rescue me from the situation.

    I was more angry with the British side of my family for taking so long to accept my orientation as they are atheist/agnostic and therefore in my eyes had no excuse but I had to put up with the assumption that I was too young to know my orientation until I was over 24. I used to think romance without sex was my own idea until I came across asexuality in a newspaper when I was 17. One or two of my close British friends who know the truth sympathise with my situation thinking it is very hard for me to stay single for life but luckily for me when I was 22 I came across an online virtual roleplaying game called Second Life. I joined it and chose to roleplay a man. Roleplaying a man ensures universal acceptance of my romantic love for women and as an added bonus even my asexuality is accepted. I’m out and proud but use the term heteroromantic asexual to identify myself because I swapped my gender. I have been dating on and off on Second Life since I was 24 and this has made me feel much better about staying single in the real world – apart from one or two ex girlfriends nobody on Second Life is aware of my true gender. I’m able to fulfil my dream of being in the man’s role romantically and have even come to enjoy being in the man’s role socially and calling the men mate, something I can’t do in the real world.

    I feel for you Michael but maybe if you like me focus on the freedom of being single – hobbies, studying something interesting part time, maybe it will be easier, unfair as our situations are. I have no idea if it would be safe for you to play the Second Life game under the opposite gender like I do but it’s worth bearing in mind if you think you can. look after yourself.

    Lizzie

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