This is a call for submissions for the Carnival of Aros:
The Carnival of Aros is a monthly blogging carnival centered on aromantic and aro-spec identities and experiences. Anyone can participate, but responses should deal with aromanticism or the aromantic spectrum, and they should relate to the month’s theme (which is announced each month by the host). Responses should postdate the call for submissions. Alternate forms of media besides blogs are also welcome as long as they deal with the prompt. If you’re not sure whether your piece is okay, submit it anyway and we’ll figure it out.
Check out the submissions from last month’s carnival – it was hosted by VioletEmerald on the theme of “Friendship.” This month’s theme is “Limerence.”
It’s easiest if your submission is posted on your own platform and submit the link by commenting on this post (you do not need a WordPress account to comment), but if you would like to make a guest post or an anonymous contribution, comment below and I can try to arrange it. If commenting doesn’t work, use this contact form. Submissions are due by November 30, but there could be some wiggle room for submissions after that. Just give me a head up at the end of November if you’re planning to send a late submission.
Let’s Talk about Limerence
Limerence is a mental state of profound romantic infatuation, first defined in the 1970s by the psychologist Dorothy Tennov. It is characterised by an initial period of elation and intense emotional arousal that can progress to an involuntary, obsessive craving for another person.
Please see the post for a more detailed discussion of what it is, if you are not familiar with the term. Based on the way Dr. L describes it, you’d think that someone on the a-spec would probably never experience something like this. Yet, I (someone on the a-spec) discovered Dr. L’s blog and the community of limerents at LwL after having suffered a bad case of limerence. I’d say that the initial high one experiences due to limerence is not necessarily bad, but when it becomes a full fledged person addiction and you can’t get over someone you need to, it can become a problem. Interacting with the LwL community was instrumental to my recovery. But I became very interested in how to view the concept of limerence through an aromantic lens.
I had assumed this topic was probably never discussed in aromantic circles. Not true! After a quick search I discovered this post by Aceing History and this post by Sophie Concannon in which they each suggest that “non-limerents” as defined by Dorothy Tennov was a precursor to the label “aromantic”. Dorothy Tennov speculated that there are two kinds of people in the world – those who have experienced limerence or are prone to experiencing it (limerents) and those who have never experienced it and likely never will (non-limerents). I don’t know enough about the history of the coinage of “aromantic” to know whether the person who coined it had been drawing on Tennov’s work or not.
I’ve written at length about being confused by what entails romantic attraction. Is it this feeling of limerence, or is there more to it? I’m not alone in wondering about this. Here is a what a reddit user has to say on this (in this post):
that is the most descriptive definition of what romantic attraction may feel like, without having “sexual attraction” [*] as a necessary symptom
[ * or sensual attraction, as I’ve discussed here]
I’ve found posts discussing whether lithromantics are prone to experiencing limerence (here and here). I’ve found posts by people who identify as aromantic because they don’t experience limerence (here, here, and here). But I’ve also come across posts where people talk about experiencing platonic limerence (here, here, here, and here). That would imply there is more to romantic attraction than limerence, as was discussed here (but tbh, I think this person was commenting from a different understanding of limerence, i.e. this commenter was focused on the initial high of limerence and not the agonizing person addiction that can follow).
Also, Dr. L recently posted about platonic limerence and acknowledged how complicated it can be. He brings up limerence experienced by aces, but regrettably conflates aces and aros. (DW, I’ve commented on that post and brought up aroallos!) (Note that Dr. L uses “platonic” in the classic sense of Plato’s “ideal” love relationship, which would be free of sexual urges. I am aware others use the term “platonic” in other ways.)
So, now I want to hear from you!
Have you ever experienced limerence? What were your experiences like?
Does the concept of limerence seem relatable to any extent or completely unrelatable?
Are you aware of more prior discussions on limerence in the aro communities? Do you have any interesting insights from those discussions?
If you identify as aro or arospec, do you think you are non-limerent? Does limerence factor into why you identify this way?
If you think you might be non-limerent, do you experience romance / romantic attraction? How do you experience romance?
What do you think is the difference between romantic limerence and platonic limerence?
Does platonic limerence refer to an infatuation and obsession with a person that does not involve a wish to enter into a partnership with that person? What would such an obsession look like? Or do you conceptualize platonic limerence as something else entirely?
[If you choose to write about platonic limerence, I’ll put in a request to please define/explain how you are using the word “platonic”.]
Thinking about the past themes on the Carnival of Aros, can you relate any of them to the concept of limerence?
These are some prompts based on questions I have on the topic, but feel free to interpret the topic in any way as long as it relates to aromanticism. Please try to get in your submissions by the end of the month and I will try to post the round up early in December. (Oh and in your comment, please let me know what pronouns I should use in the roundup if that should be necessary.)
Looking forward to your submissions and have a good November!
The November 2021 carnival is now closed for submissions and the roundup of the submissions is available here.