Rethinking Romance

One of the many things that bothers me about hetronormative depictions of romance, is the way it’s all supposed to happen by magic. Great sex just happens spontaniously when two people who are attracted to each other get into bed. People are supposed to magically know what other people want in this and all other contexts. Failure to magically know what the other person wants is romance-fail.

At the same time we get repeatedly exposed to the idea that women are strange, incomprehensible creatures whose wants, feelings and needs can never make sense to a man. “What’s wrong,” he asks, in all innocence. “You should know,” she says, or maybe she tells him she’s fine.

Why do we hang on to this curious belief that not communicating is somehow romantic and that the proof of love is not needing to tell someone stuff? 

For kinksters, this just isn’t an option. You can’t assume anything about what the other person wants, you have to talk. If you’re queer, plural, trans, nonbinary, assexual, or doing anything else that falls outside the narrow scope of hetranormative romance, you can’t assume much and you have to talk. This is such a blessing and an advantage. It’s one of those rare areas of concern where being cis and straight really doesn’t give you privilege, it gives you a monstrous weight of toxic cultural baggage.

Good relationships depend on communication. If you go in expecting other people to be different from you, then you’re going to be more open to finding out who they are and how they want to do things. The assumption of similarity is a barrier to talking. There have been enough cis-het people in my life for me to be confident that most people are complicated. To feel obliged to play along with social stereotypes is to have unmet, unspeakable needs. I think a lot of apparently normal people experience a lot of feelings of loneliness, isolation, maybe even freakishness because they aren’t really as normal as they think they should be.

I’m not convinced ‘normal’ is even a real thing. I think it’s just a social construct to keep us tame and limited. It’s much more romantic to talk. It’s sexy to communicate. Relationships based on exchange are much more interesting than ones based on fear and assumption.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

3 responses to “Rethinking Romance

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