So this is something I’ve been mulling over lately, and I’ve been wondering if anyone else thinks the same way.
I’m pretty firmly aromantic asexual, and I’ve never experienced anything even close to having a “crush” or “infatuation” (or “lust” either, for that matter), let alone the kind of “fiery passionate love” that’s the stuff of romance novels.
And yet, I also really like reading angsty dramatic love stories (especially fanfiction, I admit it).
I think a part of the reason I enjoy reading about romance is that it’s sort of a way to vicariously experience what it would be like to have that kind of attraction. So much of our culture venerates these ideas of passion and obsession and love, and while I’m usually fine with the fact that my life’s narrative will be different, sometimes I just want to know what it would be like to simply want another person like that.
And while I can never look at another person and feel that myself, with a well enough written story, I can sort of sink it to that character and experience what it might be like – hence, living and loving vicariously through immersing myself in another character and story at least for a little while.
I think this is somewhat true for sexual aspects as well – I’ve noticed that “live action” porn can rarely hold my attention, because when I look at the actors I just can’t summon that attraction to the phsyical bodies in front of me. But with a well written erotica, it doesn’t just rely on my attraction to the bodies on screen to fuel the erotic atmosphere: it’s already written into the thoughts of the characters in the story, and I can sort of latch onto that desire even if I wouldn’t feel it independently myself.