I've been intending to write a blog post for the carnival of aces for...the entire year, but uni and stuff got on top of me/I couldn't really think of anything to write on the topic which wasn't "yeah, I think what other people have said about this is right/interesting/worth reading...soooo".
But! Now, I'm finished uni for the year, and I have words which I wish to say (type?) on the topic this month.
Which, by the way, is attraction.
I'll start off talking about the kinds of attraction I don't* experience, namely sexual and romantic.
I actually have a hard time with romantic and sexual attraction, mostly because I have no idea what it actually feels like. And not in the "I've never been bitten by a redbacked spider, but I've been bitten by a huntsman so I have a reference point", but in the "everyone keeps talking about invisible elephants and I have no idea what the hell an elephant is".
But. I do have demonstrable interest in cuddling a few people, and extreme interest in skin on skin contact with S. Both of which are things that are mostly classed as sexual attraction. Except the way I feel it, doesn't seem sexual. (I'm equally happy running my hands over S's arms or back as I am running them over somewhere else. Which, from what I've gathered, is not How It Works for most people. And I cuddle with many of my friends, something I've spoken about before, again to an extent I'm fairly sure is quite unusual.) And (primary, at least) sexual attraction is usually described as having a sense of "I want to have sex/be sexual with this person(s) now/at somepoint" which is not a feeling I can say I have ever experienced. On the other hand, if something with S does become sexual, my reaction is usually to continue it. Quite a bit. And enjoy myself thoroughly while doing so.
And as for romantic attraction, I can say the same kind of thing. "I want to spend lots of time with this person, and have a mutually acknowledged important relationship with them, but it doesn't feel romantic (and in the case of people who are not S, it is not my most important relationship but it is important)", whereas the view of romantic attraction I have pieced together is "I want to date that person and be important to them and have ~romantic feelings~ for them (and generally be monogamous)", which is something I don't...really understand. I don't know what these romantic feelings actually are. Except I think I would know what they were if I had them, and since I don't seem to...
But. (there's always a but, isn't there?) I know there is something different about my relationship with S that is not present in my relationships with others. And I do things and say things** and feel things and want things which are typically romantic. (except not this time because they don't feel romantic (oh my god this has become the refrain of my life "it's this except not because it doesn't feel this"), and this is why it is Very Confusing to be me sometimes)
Romantic and sexual attraction are kind of like unknown languages for me, ones that the majority of the world speak fluently. I can see the effects these languages have on native speakers, but I can't understand them. And then the language I speak, which appears to be one I'm making up as I go along half the time, sometimes sounds like these languages. But it's not. And pretending it is just means I and everyone else gets confused (people may pretend my language doesn't exist, but that's a separate matter)
But. Enough about the types of attraction I don't experience. Onto the ones I do.
Um. This is where it gets even trickier.
I experience aesthetic attraction to people, but really it's more just an urge to draw them a whole lot. But this seems to come in two 'stages' - primary and secondary. Primary is more of a "I've never met this person, but god I'd really like to draw them/they're really awesome looking, like a piece of art", whereas secondary is more of a "This person is my friend so they mean a lot to me and also I would like to draw them because they mean a lot to me and I have gotten used to their faces and because their faces remind me of them they are awesome and should be drawn." For some of my friends, there has been both primary and secondary aesthetic attraction, for others only secondary, and still others there just doesn't seem to be an urge to draw at all. They still mean a lot to me, but I'm not aesthetically attracted to them at all. And gender doesn't seem to have any impact on whom I'm aesthetically attracted to - I've been attracted to people all over the gender spectrum.
I also experience what I'd call intellectual attraction - that is, I find myself wanting to talk with some people because they have a really interesting point of view on something/have a huge range of knowledge/ know lots about something I'm interested in/will discuss with me interesting things. And I'll want to talk with these people even if they're kinda arseholes.
So. I've got attractions, and in addition to this I like specific things on people. (Longish hair on men, dark or red hair on any gender, curvy women and skinny-ish guys). Not in a "This is the best, any thing else is ugly", but in the "I prefer Russian caravan tea to Irish breakfast tea -they're both tea (which I like), I just prefer one"***.
And this is the point that I've run out of words.
So, in summary - ATTRACTION, IT IS COMPLICATED.
*or if I do, I sure as hell don't know I do/ do so really weirdly.
**Like, you know, write Gallifreyan sappy notes on his whiteboard. Or other typically romantic/sappy things.
***I cannot think of a non-problematic way of saying this, despite the fact I don't mean it problematicly - if anyone's got any ideas/want me to clarify this, I'm happy to answer in the comments