Asexual and/or Aromatic Relationships in VNs?

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Asexual and/or Aromatic Relationships in VNs?

#1 Post by Ryn » Mon May 16, 2016 4:03 am


For a long time, I've been trying to write queer romance, but I've finally come to the conclusion that I'm asexual and pretty aromantic so I don't think writing romance is right for me...

So now, I'm thinking about what kind of relationships do asexuals and/or aromantics want in a story? I personally really like queerplatonic relationships as I see that kind of relationship being the most ideal for an asexual and/or aromantic person. Just plain old friendships are good too! And sibling relationships (without the incest haha...) Hmmm, then there's relationships with parental figures and teachers. I'm not the most social person... so that's all I can think of right now.

Does anyone have any other suggestions?
I just think it'd be a cool thing to explore with the VN/KN format. It would be nice to see stories move beyond romance and explore different kinds of relationships and people.

I'd like to hear some other opinions on this topic! So let me know what you think.

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Re: Asexual and/or Aromatic Relationships in VNs?

#2 Post by Laniessa » Mon May 16, 2016 5:51 am

Mmm, aromatic. We smell nice.

Common misspellings of aromantic aside, I am aro/ace! I really would like to see a aro character in a VN one day and not 'settle' for the friendship routes. Because it's often treated as the 'you didn't quite do well enough for the romantic end'.

Any sort of relationship is fine though! Siblings are great - strained relationships that heal throughout the story, relationships where they simply trust each other, fighting testy relationships where they would rob a bank for their siblings if necessary. Friendships are great! I love friendships! Any sort is awesome!

Of course, aro/ace can be aesthetically attracted so it'd be interesting to have relationships where they were aesthetically attracted to someone but not romantically or sexually attracted, and a friendship or something kicking off of that.

Mentor relationships are great, haha. From FFX13, Lightning and Hope have a kind of off kilter mentor relationship for a short while that I absolutely love!

There are so many kinds of relationships!!! Rivals!!! Mysterious half-friends!!! Frenemies!!! Upperclassman/underclassman!!! If we move beyond the physical real world then you can have spiritual dream mates or something!!! Have fun and please make more non-romantic stuff <3

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Re: Asexual and/or Aromatic Relationships in VNs?

#3 Post by Ryn » Mon May 16, 2016 8:31 am

Laniessa wrote:Mmm, aromatic. We smell nice.

Common misspellings of aromantic aside, I am aro/ace! I really would like to see a aro character in a VN one day and not 'settle' for the friendship routes. Because it's often treated as the 'you didn't quite do well enough for the romantic end'.
Oh my gosh! Hahaha, I didn't notice that typo. But it's pretty cute so I'll leave it there.
You're absolutely right! And it's great to know that there is a fellow aro/ace here! I was afraid I'd be the only one and that no one would really be interested in this. Looks like I was wrong! I really want to see aro characters in VNs too, so I'll try and make it happen!

Mentor relationships are real cute! I liked Lightning and Hope's relationship too, hehe.
I also like Rivals! You've given me some great ideas and inspiration to make this happen. Hopefully I can find some other people who are interested in creating such stories too. For now, I'll do my best!
Thanks a lot for your response. <3

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Re: Asexual and/or Aromatic Relationships in VNs?

#4 Post by MoonByte » Mon May 16, 2016 9:44 am

I am neither, but know a few ace (though no aro personally, only via tumblr).
Since I am currently looking into the topic myself for my own game, I am wondering a lot about that as well :P

But honestly, I think one major thing for Aro is to make the option of NOT romancing someone attractive. If one manages to make "just friendship" a nice and good thing instead of a "You failed to woo that character" punishment, I think one can already go a long way, especially with Aro.
Ace is a little bit tricky to convey unless there are explicit scenes for everyone BUT them. Because honestly? Unless the character doesn't out themselves as Ace, chances are that no one will even know. I myself only found out about two of my friends being Ace (of the "I don't like sex at all" variation) because I offhandidly started mentioning porn and they asked me to skip the topic because they're Ace. If I wouldn't have talked about anything sex-related with them ever, chances would be, I wouldn't know about it even now, simply because it's not even necessarily my business *shrug*
And I mean, with Ace comes the additional difficulty that there are different types from what I've noticed.
Those that just don't feel the need to get intimate, but will if it makes their partner happy. With those, there are the ones that enjoy it, but simply not seek it out themselves and those that don't really enjoy it but "endure it". Then those that avoid the thing, but can talk about it and at least kind of relate to why people have it. And then people that just don't get sexual relations at all, find them weird or even disgusting.
There is just a big variety of them (especially since the first kind sometimes does overlap with Demisexuals, which makes it only more complicated). Not to forget that some people are "temporarily" ace because of issues with themselves (such as borderline and transgenders disliking sexual relations because of their disgust with with their own body).

In general, I fully support the idea of bringing in Aro and Ace. And there are plenty and plenty of relationships that are neither (friendship, siblings, neighbors, classmates, teacher-student, co-worker, rival, enemy, "master-pet" [in a non-sexual way of course], etc). But - since most people get conditioned by media quite badly - Aro might be fine (so that person is a friend, alright), Ace may get difficult to convey as "happy" (since we get teached quite early that a "healthy" relationship involves having sex). And with Aro, there will always be pigheads that are absolutely convinced that they "just haven't found the right one yet". You can't force someone to believe and understand it, if they don't want to :P
All you can do is portray them well and make them relateable. For latter, it would be curious as to WHO you try to make them relateable for. For other Ace/Aro's? Or for those that are actually NOT any of that? You say you are both, so you know how it is for yourself, it might be difficult to make it understandable for others though since you maybe don't know how it "usually" feels? Opposite of my problem since I am romantic AND sexual and while I try to relate and understand, I am constantly checking with my friends to be sure that I am not making up bullshit with my ace character.
Knowing your audience is the key here. Are you open for whoever plays the game? Do you target other Aro/Ace? Do you try to convey being Aro/Ace to people other than that?

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Re: Asexual and/or Aromatic Relationships in VNs?

#5 Post by gekiganwing » Mon May 16, 2016 10:54 am

Laniessa wrote: There are so many kinds of relationships!!!
Indeed. There is storge, or love between family members. People care about their parents, siblings, cousins, and so on. There is also philia, or love between friends. This can include coworkers, club members, fellow soldiers, and more. One other possibility is agape, which can be unconditional or sacrificial love.

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Re: Asexual and/or Aromatic Relationships in VNs?

#6 Post by Sleepy » Mon May 16, 2016 8:00 pm

As an ace, I know I'd love more games that explored those relationships - either from an aromantic relationship perspective or a romantic perspective.

In terms of relationships, I agree that to do something aro/ace related, they should be presented as rewarding as doing a traditional route. One thing that annoys me in games in general is when either: a ) platonic routes are presented as the 'bad' ending or seriously gyped in terms of depth b ) lots of alternative scenes are gated behind the need to romance someone. One of the reasons I liked the Mshe route in Persona 3 Portable over the MC route, for example, was that in MC route you're forced to romance girls to get close to them while Mshe can choose to keep relationships platonic or go further and you can still 'complete' that character's story.

Or, in terms of romance, if you're doing an ace relationship embrace the potential for doing something alternative with it. Just because you're ace it doesn't mean intimacy is off the table, it just means you might explore it in different ways (or, similar to the comic Sex Criminals, explore how ace relationships can still involve that element but from the alt perspective). For example, if other character routes involve sex as part of the romance path, do you address it with ace route - either to make clear it won't be happening or to agree that sexual partner is free to have sex with other parties? Do you provide different events or conversations, to fit the characters? One nice post on that sort of topic is posted here ( ... l-intimacy).

In terms of other relationships, fun ones for me include complicated relationships or even antagonistic relationships. Not all relationships will be 'close' per se but you can have a lot of fun with say, two characters in conflict who know each other well and tack advantage of each other's personal ticks to get under each other's skin, both seriously and comedically.



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Re: Asexual and/or Aromatic Relationships in VNs?

#7 Post by Parataxis » Mon May 16, 2016 11:48 pm

I'm probably Ace or at least Demi, and I think the answer to your question is that I want complex relationships with interesting people. I feel like since so often friendship routes are thrown in to complement romantic routes, they sort of get the short end of the stick in narrative arc and complexity. I therefore tend to enjoy games (even romantic routes in games) better when they have an external plot outside the relationship that prevents all the stakes from being varieties of "But wait, does he like me or not?"

The big project I am working on now has an Ace Main character, but that's basically incidental beside the fact that she's pretty screwed up at the beginning of the story and not in a position to "Romance" anyone, so I am not sure if it counts directly. On the one hand all 5 character routes are focused on non-romantic relationships--which is definitely a bit of fan service to myself--but on the other hand I am not sure it's accurate to think of them as ace/aro "versions" of the standard VN plotline. They are fairly fraught emotionally ranging from estranged former friend to destructive mirror of behavior to complicit in friend's murder. So not generally your straight friendship routes.

I think ultimately what if comes down to is that because I am generally more interested in the plot, but still wanted to maintain the character routes, the story is structured sort of fundamentally differently than others with the same sorts of content. Ultimately each character route is still part of the main story about the main character overcoming her grief, and solving her friend's murder--just with added "flavor". By approaching the story as a mystery first and a character story second I ended up somewhat automatically with mostly Ace/Aro and platonic relationships.

That said, plot as fan service is definitely a personal preference and I am sure others would prefer more directly character driven stories for their routes in the way of a traditional otome or bishoujo game.

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Re: Asexual and/or Aromatic Relationships in VNs?

#8 Post by Klawzie » Tue May 17, 2016 1:25 am

Fully in support of the idea of ace/aro characters - just in general.

Is that what you want your game to be about or are you just going to create a story/stories that don't have romance on the table at all? (Obviously, you could make many games of either type - I'm just not sure if you know what your intentions are for the next game you want to make yet.)

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Re: Asexual and/or Aromatic Relationships in VNs?

#9 Post by RotGtIE » Sat May 21, 2016 5:59 am

Just write about my life. All of my relationships are asexual.

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Re: Asexual and/or Aromatic Relationships in VNs?

#10 Post by Didules » Sat May 21, 2016 7:06 pm

As an ace, I'm not opposed to any kind of relationships (including romantic ones that end up with s*x), the only thing I feel uneasy with is relationship where characters litteraly have to have s*x because it's normal in a romantic relationship (spoiler alert, NOPE :lol: ). I'm glad when I have the choice to choose whether there'll be or not to be in this kind of relationships.

I'm also craving for warm family feelings, things that are beyond love, beyong frienship, but that are very strong feelings for someone you wouldn't be able to carry on without. Honestly, families (without the "We're not real brother/sister, so it's okay to date, lolz") are so underrated in VN.
Mentor/student relationships are interesting too, actually I thing the most interesting thing is the bond of faith (which you can break by making one of them a traitor).

I'm not sure I'm happy when I see a self-declared "Ace" character in game, because everyone has a different experience of being an ace, and so I often can understand the story that is being told, but cannot really relate to it, all the more when it's just "something being said once in a game", I see it as something tha should be really developed and questioned, and not something that peope say "oh, okay, you see the worl differently, that's fine" too (though when i ends like that I'm happy, because it sounds like people are open-minded, which they're often not IRL :lol: :( :cry: )

And as everyone said, the "you're not good enough to get a romantic ending so you got a friendship one" is frustrating. I liked the last Cyanide Tea's game about this: the romantic and friendship feeling were exactly on the same level...

It's a tough question though, I hope you'll get many more answers and many interesting comment :)

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