1. JessiLee
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    JessiLee Member

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    Is this even possible? Relationship question.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by JessiLee, Jun 15, 2015.

    Okay, before I start, allow me to say I mean absolutely no one any offense. This is just a question.

    I had an idea for a romance story, but I wasn't sure if the idea was plausible. The romance would center around a boy and a girl. The girl is a heterosexual who likes the idea of romance but is reluctant to fall in love herself. The guy was asexual up until recently when he fell in love with another guy. That is the only romantic relationship he has ever had, so I would assume that he would assume he is now a homosexual. And while she has never had one, she is attracted to the opposite sex. So here is my question: If love is truly blind and knows no boundaries, could two people of different sexual orientations fall in love?

    I personally believe they can, love has conquered every other obstacle society has thrown at it, and true love is more about the actual person then it is whether or not we are physically attracted to them. At least it is to me.

    Again, just a question and if I stepped on someone's toes I apologize for that was not my intent.

    P.S. this isn't intended as a "turn the gay person straight" story, just a nice romance. No more no less. Sorry if I keep saying "no offense" its just I am new and I really don't want to make anyone mad or say something that might unintentionally offend.
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is another post that seems to be treating sexual orientations as transient things, which isn't in keeping with generally accepted principles. So maybe you're just looking at behaviours rather than actual orientations, which is fair enough, but could maybe be expressed more clearly.

    If you have a straight girl who's afraid of love but nevertheless want to fall in love, you're looking at a pretty stock character in a romance. No problem there.

    A guy who behaved as an asexual but came to believe he was homosexual, about to get involved in a heterosexual relationship? A bit more complicated.

    I think it might be helpful to distinguish between sex and romance, to start with. People can be interested in romantic relationships without being interested in having sex, and they can be romantically oriented in a variety of ways - heteroromantic, homoromantic, etc. Similarly, people can be interested in sex without being interested in romance, and there can be the same variety of orientations for their sexuality.

    So when your guy was being asexual, he may have continued being asexual even after he got involved in a homoromantic relationship. He loved his partner, but didn't have sexual urges. He may have had sex, but it would have been as an emotional gesture rather than a result of lust.

    So he could be biromantic and asexual, in which case it would be no problem for him to fall for your heroine.

    It would be a bit more problematic if you decided he changed from being asexual to being bisexual, since asexuality is generally considered to be as inherent an orientation as any others. But I'd totally buy it if he were just sexually reserved or a late bloomer and then turned out to be biromantic AND bisexual.

    Is that all way too jargon-y?
     
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  3. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    All righty well, step one divorce the idea of sexual and romantic attraction. You can be a dude attracted to dudes but not be interested in sex - that'd make you a gay and asexual. You could also be a lady who likes having sex with ladies but isn't romantically-inclined - now you're gay and aromantic. Maybe you like having sex with exclusively people of the same gender but you also fall in love indiscriminately - homosexual and bi/panromantic. These are all valid things.

    The guy you describe as asexual could be both that and in love with another guy. Asexual homoromantic. I'd do some research to make sure you actually mean asexual, and not just 'hadn't really had a good relationship before' or 'was celibate'. Your orientation isn't typically something that changes so much as something you come to understand differently, so I'd shy away from saying he "used to be" ace or what have you - your character might, lacking a full understanding of Stuff, think he was ace and is now gay, but from your objective all-seeing authorly viewpoint ... is he ace? is he gay? is he both? You need to know for consistency's sake even if he's not sure himself.

    Secondly, you need to consider the implications of this relationship. Because for both asexual and gay/bi people, there is still this idea that they can be 'turned' - you just have to bone the right person, or more honestly have them bone you. The lesbian suddenly likes dudes because this one guy did it right, the ace guy suddenly is into sex because he met the right person ... It's all pretty gross and you have to think do you want to make those implications? Even in the name of romance and love knowing no bounds, do you want to contribute to this?

    On the other hand, if your story was more about learning about oneself and identity, you COULD have a character whose arc involves him thinking he was ace (whether gay or straight), met a guy who was kind and considerate and was like "nah dude sex isn't how you've experienced it before, it's way better" which made him think he wasn't ace but was gay, then later met a girl who made him realize he's actually bi. It could be done. It'd be super hypocritical of me to state otherwise - I have a character who thinks he's gay until he's introduced to some new concepts and realizes it's not all like that and he's probably bi. But I'm also someone who's wrestled with my own sexuality so I kinda have firsthand experience with the subject. I don't want to presume your orientation but unless you have that too, or you have some really great resources to help you understand this kind of thing, maybe this isn't the story you need to tell.

    "Does this need to be said, does it need to be said by me, and does it need to be said right now?" to paraphrase Craig Ferguson.

    Lastly, I'd avoid thinking of varying orientations as 'obstacles'. Frankly a lot of the people I'm attracted to aren't going to be attracted to me, and I can tell you right now it's not healthy to think of this as an obstacle that true love can surmount. It's unfortunate. But it's the way things are, and you're almost never going to win someone over to a 'compatible' orientation, and believing that you can leads to some friendzoney-type thinking, so, yknow. Be aware.

    So I guess my advice would be to educate yourself on asexuality and both pan- and aromanticism. Learn about the stereotypes associated with being ace. Make sure you know what you're talking about, basically.

    eta: -shakes fist at BayView for saying similar stuff to me but faster-
     
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  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    But not said quite as well, I don't think!

    I'm not sure I agree with you on the "does this need to be said by me" front - but I'm not sure I disagree, either. I mean, I think stories with diverse characters need to be told. Do they need to be told by writers who don't share the orientations of the characters? If we're writing about various characters with various orientations, then unless the story is told by committee, the author is going to be using her imagination for significant parts, right?

    Yeah, it's probably easier for a writer who belongs to a sub-culture to write about characters from the dominant culture, since the dominant culture is so pervasive that it's hard not to understand it. But I think (I hope) writers from the dominant culture can write compelling characters from sub-cultures, too. But you're right, it has to be approached responsibly.
     
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  5. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Intimacy also means a lot more than sex. ie the asexual guy could be incredibly intimate and in love without engaging in any sexual activity.

    Like an echo. Apologies.
     
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  6. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Yeah, for sure it's shaky ground. It's a lot easier for people to mess up something they don't have any kind of experience in and especially when you live in a culture filled with stereotypes about a certain group, actually getting it right can be pretty difficult. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. People who try to write inclusive stuff and then get this victim complex of "maybe I shouldn't've even tried, then!!" when it's pointed out where they went wrong are a whole 'nother problem, too.

    I forget the exact wording but the other day read I read something on this blog along the lines of "people in non-marginalized groups should definitely write stories about people in marginalized group, but maybe they shouldn't write stories that are about being in that marginalized group" - they said it a lot more eloquently but the idea was sure, be a straight guy whose main character is a lesbian, but maybe don't be a straight guy whose story is about being a lesbian. Being a steampunky lesbian overthrowing an evil undead wizard king or something like that, okay, but writing about specifically lesbian experiences is probably best left to the lesbians who understand them.

    But I'm also down with educating yourself to the best of your ability and having people to double-check you and plowing ahead anyway, too. If you can make something good and genuine, maybe you are the/a person who needs to be saying this.
     
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  7. JessiLee
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    JessiLee Member

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    Wow... First thing: I REALLY need to do a LOT more research on this. 0_0

    Second: Thank you izzybot and BayView for those great responses!

    BayView: A little jargony but nothing that made it difficult for me to understand the point. :) And thanks for all that information. To be honest, I wasn't sure if sexual orientation was something that you yourself determined or something you couldn't change. I think I still sound confusing so I'm gonna stop before I put the whole shoe store in my mouth. -_-

    Izzy not: YES!!!! That was what I wanted. Sorry, more specifically you said what I was trying to say. Self discovery. And in regards to whether this is my story to tell, frankly I'm not really sure if it is myself. I'm a heterosexual, and I've never really been in a situation that made me really question that. Maybe this is a good idea in theory, but I'm not sure I have the writing chops to do it right.

    Thanks again for those wonderful responses! You have no idea how much those helped me out.:-D
     
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  8. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not sure if we understand everything about human sexuality or romantical feelings yet, so I think what you're cooking can happen. The label placed on a person doesn't have to read the same throughout his/her life. E.g. some women have attested that they discovered they were bisexual, or even lesbian, only later in their life. Who am I to challenge that? It's just that before they may not have met the right person, had the right circumstances, or had decided to follow a path expected of them by society/family.

    I think reading more about the subject of sexuality, sexual orientation, and romance will give you a clearer idea of the direction you want to go with your characters. Read different people's experiences, even interview an expert or two about the subject (sexologists, for example) or at the very least look up publications about the areas pertinent to your story. You might also find some answers by exploring your own feelings about the subject.
     
  9. JessiLee
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    JessiLee Member

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    Like, and this may be extremely corny, but just sharing your fears or hopes with someone would be something I would consider an intimate gesture. My experience with romance is little a best and nonexistent at worst.
     
  10. terobi
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    terobi Contributing Member

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    1) The "turn a gay person straight" story has been done a few times - and very well, in a lot of cases. See if you can find the TV miniseries Bob & Rose (written by Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies) for one of the best television examples.

    2) If you are asking about what it's like to be asexual, I have a friend who is asexual, and have asked her about these kinds of things on several occasions (to satisfy my own curiosity) - from what I gather the term "asexual" is generally misleading, because it covers a broad spectrum of different persuasions and preferences - some of whom do occasionally "fall in love", but for reasons which are utterly non-carnal, and generally have nothing to do with gender or physical attributes. My friend has had several 'relationships', sexual in nature, all of which have been based primarily around a shared interest in a particular thing and a general desire to spend time together, but not (on her part) any physical, sexual attraction. According to her, some asexual people find the very concept of sexual relationships extremely displeasurable, while others don't really object to those activities, but don't have any particular desire to engage in them.

    Generally, it seems to be a bit complicated to me.... hopefully some of this has been helpful :)
     
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  11. JessiLee
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    JessiLee Member

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    That is what I want to do. I want a love story that is just that. A real Love story. Two people, from different walks of life, become friends, and that slowly and subtly changes into a romance. They're not sure when or how, but they did despite obvious reasons as to why they shouldn't have. I think I should change my guy's story to he was just never interested in anybody of wither gender because he'd never met someone that had ever mad him feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Then he meets this guy and BOOM! Heart rate speeds up and his face is doing a great tomato impersonation. I haven't come up with the reason why his single when he meets the girl. ( I have one idea but I need more research on it before I even think of going in to that territory) so now he believes himself to be homosexual until he meets this girl who has the same effect on him. So now I see him being very confused and very frustrated and wondering what in the world is he supposed to do about it?

    Thanks so much guys I've got a lot to do before this gets close to being a book, but I think I've got a better grip on what this story is and where I want it to go.

    Thanks so much!
     
  12. EmptySoul
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    EmptySoul Active Member

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    I think Terobi has offered you some solid leads and in that regard I can add nothing, however, you should keep in mind that the question should always be "can I sell it to the reader" not "is it possible". We are the gods of our universes, everything is possible, the reader will believe it if we move subtly rather than use miracles.
     
  13. JessiLee
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    JessiLee Member

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    I didn't know that, I guess I didn't want people to think I was against gays and was trying to do that with this story.

    ......

    Which now sounds extremely paranoid when I think about it. Maybe I should worry a little less about what people assume are my reasons for writing something and just write it to the best of my abilities and do my best to get my point across.

    Great food for thought at the very least.
     
  14. terobi
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    terobi Contributing Member

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    It's not paranoid - it is a very controversial storyline to embark upon.

    In Davies' case, he is an outspoken homosexual man in a long-term relationship, who was already well-regarded for writing drama regarding homosexual relationships (having previously written Queer As Folk, and since leaving Doctor Who, has continued in this vein with the linked dramas Banana, Cucumber and Tofu, each centring around different demographics of the Manchester gay scene). Writing Bob & Rose, however, there was some definite controversy - as you rightly suspect, even when your storyline is "not impossible", a persecuted/ignored minority can take issue with the idea that their orientation is somehow temporary, variable, fluid or a "phase" - even if that may be the case where some members of those groups are concerned.

    One reason I suggested Bob & Rose as research material is that, not only is it excellent, it's also a drama about a homosexual man falling in love with a woman - written by a homosexual man (and reportedly based on true events which happened to a friend of his).

    Interestingly (and possibly usefully, in your case) Bob continues to define himself as "gay", despite being in love with a woman. It's a 'one-off' abberation, just as your story seems to suggest.
     
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  15. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't say that:

    1) Accidental messages can be at least as damaging as deliberate attacks if it's clear that the writer didn't about potential damage

    2) Great writers succeed because of - not in spite of - how well they understand the real people who live in the real world, and you've just learned a lot about other people because you were willing to ask their opinions (instead of just running with potential stereotypes and hoping nobody complained)
     
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  16. JessiLee
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    JessiLee Member

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    Thank you. :)

    Oh yeah I've learned a lot today.:D thank you for the adivce.
     
  17. Sundowner
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    Sundowner Member

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    I think what you're asking is "How would people perceive this as being realistic?", in which I must point out that I don't think most of the general population even knows about asexuality, and the few people who do usually believe it just means they're a Dalek, devoid of all love and joy. I think the best way to go about this is to describe exactly what asexuality is though the eyes of your character, letting the reader live it out though their shoes. After that, I think your story would work out.

    If it means anything, my life is essentially what you described. I didn't know what I was, I just knew I didn't like either parts but I disliked dicks mildly less (probably because I have one so it's not mysterious and scary). Then I met a girl, we became friends, and she asked me out. I loved her and found her attractive, but I was also scared of her and didn't even want to think about sex. Eventually I learned to cope, though, so it worked out. I didn't "turn straight", since that's questionable, as some said. I just learned to get over my fears and please my partner. But basically, what you're describing actually happens a lot for asexuals, because the partner always demands sex, and the asexual just has to give in or lose their friend.
     
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