Thursday, 31 December 2009

The Masturbation Paradox (don't mention the P word)

This is less of a post, more just a note for me to handily link to/copy-paste from to save me writing it out each time. I've been meaning to write this for some time, hastened by Ily's re-working of the issue.

It adresses the flaws in the argument that, logically, asexuals who masturbate cannot be called asexual, and have to be called autosexual, as follows:

There is 1 operational definition of asexuality- X. someone who does not experience sexual attraction. There are others, such as someone who doesn't engage in sexual activity, but these are generally more flawed definitions, and none of them are embraced by the asexual community.

There are 2 operational definitions of autosexuality- A. someone who engages in sexual-esque activity with themself (ie. masturbation), B. someone who is sexually attracted to themselves.

The problem here is that A and X can both be true, but B and X are contradictory. People are often confused between A and B, meaning that they think A and X are contradictory.

In longer speak: If your definition of autosexual is someone who masturbates, then this doesn't affect sexual orientation, or someone's status as an asexual. They can be both asexual and autosexual. If your definition of autosexual is someone who feels sexual attraction for themselves, then, you're right, autosexuals aren't asexual. However, people who tell you they're asexual and masturbate almost definately (excluding the possibilities of denial*) aren't autosexual by this definition, so therefore they're still asexual.

*and I'm not actually sure whether anyone of this definition of autosexual exists. There probably are some people, though.

Boring but neccesary.
This is a pretty effective logical counter to people who use the word autosexual to invalidate masturbating asexuals. It doesn't, unfortunately, work against people who say "Well, masturbation's just inherently sexual". In that argument, you have two choices:
Try and convince someone that their most regular, fantasy-based, dependable and probably best (from a personal pleasure/achieving orgasm point of view) sex, that's undoubtedly been the most major feature of their sex life since their teens, isn't inherently sexual for everyone.
Point behind them, say "Look over there", then run and hide under a bush until they've gone.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Asexuality and the asexual movement

I've been sleeping really weirdly of late, so the basic thought-processes of this morning were "Ohh, it's 7 o' clock. I really should get up... Ohh, it's 10 o' clock, I really should get up. Ohh, it's noon, I really should get up. Nothing on facebook, nothing on deviantart, nothing on blo- Oh ****, Joy Davidson has commented on my last post!!!!!"

She was really respectful, seemed quite glad I'd written about her actual words, rather than assumptions about her beliefs. I'd ask any asexuals or interested parties reading to check out her comment. I knew she'd been a bit typecast, but it never occured to me before that, in just the same way as media appearences don't allow asexuals to have the very in-depth discussions they'd like to, she may have been constrained by the same system.

Anyway, one of the things she said was that there's a difference between asexuality and the asexual movement. It's something I've always known, but never considered before. Like all binaries, it looks fine at first, but is impossibly complicated once you get closer to the dividing line. For a start, we all know it's the asexual community that defines what asexuality is. And asexuality defines what the asexual community is. I have not a chance of approaching the complexity of the effects of this symbiotic relationship, but Pretzelboy's definitions series, especially the two awesome posts on the history of asexuality, do a very good job of exploring the issue (I seem to spend half my time as a blogger looking through his archive for places where Pretzelboy's said it really well).

To assume that the asexual movement and asexuality are somehow seperatable, we have to assume there's some definition of asexuality outside of the asexual movement, a gold standard by which AVEN's cheques are measured*. This is obvious. There are people who were asexual before the first asexual groups, people who took the name before they knew anyone else had, and, assuming that there has always been, behind the scenes, such a thing as sexual orientation, I'm certain that there have always been people who experience little or no sexual attraction to anyone. However, there's a semantic issue here. The word asexual, with etymologically-easy subdivisions, like aromantic and demisexual, its own roots in the language of sexual orienation like homosexual, has influenced the self-understanding of the first generation of asexuals. And the more fixed these become, the more important it will be, in the real world, that the word we chose is asexual, and that the operative definition of that word is 'you are if you feel like it', and all sorts of things that came about through the asexual movement will affect the real world applications of asexuality, as opposed to nonsexuality, nonlibedoism, lack of sexual attraction, none of which really made it this far.

It's not a bad thing. The only way to avoid semantic issues is to not use any words, and I think the operational definitions of asexuality don't have any real major flaws. Also, even the most semantic people (and I count myself as one of them), eventually start thinking "Blow this. I'll be exactly who I am, and the words will have to try and catch up with me." But it's worth considering.

Maybe I should extend this to a less semantic level, now. The fact that asexuality started off as an internet orientation gives it a sort of memishness. It's main proponents are people who can spend their time stuck behind a keyboard, making it's activists a little different from most other activists. The fact that you have to fight to even find it (though that's changing more and more), means that it attracts introspective researchers. The fact that it models itself on the big three sexual orientations has a whole host of meanings. Decisions of the asexual movement affect asexuality itself, and it's often difficult to find where the gold standard exactly is.

No particular conclusion for this, not at the moment anyway, it's just a thought.

*To explain this metaphor: The gold standard is the amount of gold kept in a bank. In the old days, all bank notes were promissery notes, saying that they were worth exactly so much gold from the bank. You could keep circulating the notes, knowing that, if you ever wanted, you could exchange them for gold, but no-one ever did. It was enough just to know that the gold was there somewhere, keeping the value of the money stable, making sure the promises were worth themselves.

At more financially savvy times, the banks lent and printed more money than they actually had gold to refund for, because they knew that whether there was gold or not didn't actually matter. In the early 19th century, the English radical politician Francis Place went so far as to threaten the collapse of the British banking industry by encouraging all his followers to go to the banks and take out all the gold that they had notes for, even though there wasn't anywhere near enough. No-one, now, bothers with the gold standard, money is entirely judged by trust and confidence, hence the lack of trust and confidence leading to the current economic recession.

Don't know how much of that was relevant to the post, but it does make a rather nice story.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Q + A with Joy Davidson (part 1)

This series is designed to give me things about the small world of asexuality to talk about, other than the slightly insular view of things running round other blogs, and the very insular view of things running round my head. Each time I update it, I'll pull another question/answer from this article, and analyse them. I'll try to be relatively fair about it, giving an asexual perspective, but also considering Joy's perspective.

I have no idea what the copyright situation is with quoting things. I'd like to point out that the copyright on this article belongs entirely to ABC News, and I'm quoting directly from it for the purpose of analysis.

Part One:
I am 19 years old, and I've been having a lot of trouble convincing my parents that I do not experience sexual attraction. After watching the asexuality story on "20/20," my father looked at me during your comments and gave me a very snide "See?" as if he feels that I should force myself to do something that I have absolutely no interest in. Is there anything I can say to my parents that will make them understand that sex just is not for me?

This seems to be the relatively confident asexual to start off, so no-one can accuse the article of bias. However, notice that they don't use the term asexual in relation to themselves. Also notice that (if these letters are indeed genuine), Davidson's own comments have caused increased friction in at least one family with an asexual in, and are used by the father as an authoritative justification of his doubts.

This is also the comment that should be easiest enough to answer. Even someone who doesn't believe in asexuality should see that someone who doesn't want sex at the moment should be given space by their parents, and just needs to adress how to get everyone communicating properly.

Davidson Responds:

I hope you can see the weird humor in having a dad who says, "Be more sexual!" while most of your friends' folks are probably saying, "Wait!"

A humor that a lot of asexuals have pointed out. Some have said there's a magic age of about 16, after which they suddenly get a bit more involved in Project Grandchild.

But I would hate to think you're rebelling against your father's pressure. Rebellion may be part of growing up, but knowing when someone has a good point, (even if it IS your dad!) is part of being a grown-up. In this instance, your dad is picking up on the idea that lack of interest in sex can be based on something other than an irreversible condition called asexuality.

I suppose the crucial difference here between Joy and I is what we've read into the letter. She says 'picking up on', while I think 'refusing to let go of' is probably more accurate.

I don't feel it's worth mentioning that the unsubtle way in which she immediately says "You're rebelling" is quite insulting. It seems people often use whatever's there to justify it not being proper asexuality. In this case, the girl may very well be rebelling. However, the only information in the letter is that she has a dad who's annoyed with her. QED- she must be in a rebellious phase!

Also- irreversible condition. Why don't we have more asexuals who ponder language bias? It's struck me that it's an interesting aspect of the asexual movement.

I totally believe that you're not inclined toward having sex right now. But do I know for sure that you will never be interested? Not without a crystal ball. We all develop sexually at different paces. Some of us are sexually precocious, and some of us are late bloomers. Just because someone is in her late teens or early 20s doesn't mean she is necessarily in full bloom. What you feel now may not be who you are so much as where you are in your own unique cycle of development. By labeling yourself too soon, you run a serious risk of mislabeling yourself, then feeling duty-bound to live up to it.

"I believe you. But I don't." At this point, she's stopped answering the question and just started listing her own views. I hope she gets back to the problem with the father soon, because it seems to me that the girl is pretty mature about knowing what she wants and turning her identity into the problem is just going to make her relationship with her dad, and those of thousands like her, more difficult.

There's no doubt that when you feel like an outsider, when all your friends seem boy crazy or girl crazy and you're not, you'll want to gravitate to a group that better reflects where you stand. I'd be down with that 100 percent if the group in question stood for accepting how you feel right now but also supported the possibilities for change. I'd be more comfortable, too, if the group offered education instead of an "if you think you are, you are" approach to the matter of asexuality. Lay psychology is sometimes intuitive and smart, and sometimes more about inclusion than pure wisdom.

Now, these are interesting criticisms of the asexual movement, and I'm not just going to brush them aside (although it's obvious at this point that the original letter mentioned asexuality, and that it's been whitewashed out).

The question of whether asexuals are 'allowed' by the movement to change their ways is a long one. In my recent change from asexual to who-knows (which is now approximately back to demisexual), I found that asexuals were all entirely enthusiastic about me questioning myself, but I did feel constrained by the asexual label, and there is a certain fear of leaving it that has to be adressed, if we're sure that eager asexuals aren't just denying their partly sexual natures. I'm aware that both Joy and I are rambling horribly, so for now, I'll just ask that you read this post by the formerly asexual-identifying Venus of Willendork, written with Joy's objections in mind.

I personally love the self-definition of asexuality. I'm not sure Joy quite grasps the consequences of denying people the right to define themselves. One reason asexuals don't offer an education is because there is none to offer. Not just asexuality, but sexuality too, is indefinable. There is very little concrete knowledge out there about sexuality, and only the possession of concrete knowledge that someone else doesn't have can possibly raise someone to the level of a Teacher, rather than a Wise Friend.
There is also absolutely no way of deciding any sexuality other than self-identification. Without self-identification, there would be no sexual orientation in the world.

However, the idea of the asexual community offering an education is an interesting one. Maybe, rather than leaving the vulnerable minds of new asexuals in the care of whoever stays in AVEN (and that place, especially the repeated threads, does get a bit too dull after a while), and the occasional awesome but jokey flow chart, it would be better if some form of asexual authority eventually arises to put together some sort of e-guidebook for those questioning if they're asexual. A serious flowchart, perhaps. The FAQ of AVEN is a good example of one or a few asexuals committing what's often thought of as the horrific crime of speaking for all, and maybe it's something that has to be done occasionally, as little as possible, to gain respect. Maybe there should be some sort of protocol for 'am I asexual' and 'I am (or varient). What next?'. Maybe Joy's right, and it's too important a thing to leave to chance, as the term becomes better known, and we get more and more asexuals who aren't neccesarily keenly introspective and able to navigate their own way round finding out if they're asexual.

In addition to the timing of sexual development, there are plenty of other legitimate reasons that someone could feel asexual without being in a permanent or irreversible state. The short list includes endocrine imbalances, history of trauma or abuse, subconscious negative attitudes about sex, fear of being swept up or losing control, depression, anxiety, and the effects of undiagnosed medical conditions. Some people might even just like feeling "special" or "unusual." In fact, there are so many convoluted possibilities that only a trained person can help you sort them out.

More of the same.

Is it scary to dig around in your emotional and physical recesses? Good grief, yes! But when you have another 70 or 80 years of life ahead of you, don't you owe it to yourself to spend a few of them doing that kind of excavating?

I completely agree with her here. And we do need to encourage this kind of thought. But, at the same time, it's already being encouraged more than she realises, and there's no need to police the first few years of everyone's asexuality to make sure they doubt themself all the time.

Also, I did spend years and years not just questioning, but actively trying to invent sexual attraction. And a lot of questioning, of course. This girl's older than me, and Joy's completely dismissed the idea that she could have already spent years trying to figure things out.

Even if, in the end, you are more convinced than ever that you're incapable of being attracted to anyone, male or female, at least you will have come to that conclusion after educated and responsible consideration. I'd really like to see you give yourself the advantage of time, and, ideally, have at least a few sessions with a qualified sex therapist so that you can talk about all your feelings beyond the pressure imposed by either your family or your peer group.

*goes back and looks at the question*
*looks back through the answer again*
*looks at the question again*

You know what, this is what really harms asexuality. Joy Davidson here admits that not wanting to have sex, not feeling sexual attraction, can be a valid way to live your life. However, when an asexual reaches out to her for help, trying to find out how to live this life, all Joy does is melt into a flurry of reasons she might not be asexual. Yes, doubting yourself is important. But I would love, just for once, to see some professional advice about asexuality from the other side of the coming out line. It's like the only asexual issue is whether we exist or not, and we're too busy with that issue that we have no time to actually exist.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The definition of insanity

I’ve remembered what I liked about that rather tacky, obvious, and capital-motivated article on MSN that I discussed five minutes ago.

It ends with the words: “they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for different results!”

And the aromantic majority of my brain and the cynical majority of my brain joined together (as they do depressingly often) and thought ‘hmm... that’s also a really good definition of dating’.

Now, I ought to say, in fairness, that this doesn’t relate dating and insanity in any actual form at all. For a start (and I feel almost embarrassed to be this simplistic when the rest of the asexosphere rings to intelligent thoughts on the medicalisation of sexuality and the DSM IV) , that’s a really bad and obviously colloquial ‘definition’ of insanity. There are lots of times when, counter intuitively, doing the same thing and expecting different results is very sane. The problem is, dating falls across both these categories like a small circle in the centre of the standard Venn diagram*. Sometimes, it really does live up to this categorisation, and I can’t help but feel that only the incredible importance society places on dating makes people keep trying again and again, when they’d otherwise recognise that there’s something wrong at the root of whatever systems they’re following.

*Graphical representational tangent approaching:
A small circle placed across a standard Venn diagram would actually not be very accurate, because it would contain areas where repeating is a sensible thing to do and areas where it’s not, but also areas in the total population (probably ‘all scenarios in which you can repeat something expecting the same results’) which somehow don’t correspond to either ‘x’ or ‘not x’ and areas that somehow correspond to both. A better Venn diagram would be a square divided horizontally, vertically or diagonally into two sections, with the circle lying across this line.

So just what do you do all day?

The annoying girl (let’s call her V) from the last post returns! In a birthday party she had last Saturday, she brought her boyfriend along, who knew all about my asexuality, and he became the third person (after V and a guy from college), who responded to this news with the question:

“So just what do you do/think about all day?”

On the basis that pretty much everyone who I’ve ever come out to who isn’t a largely disinterested virgin has said this in some form, and it’s something I’ve not heard of from any other asexual, I think this idea deserves more examination.
Before, I’ve always answered with “Whatever you do/think about when you’re not doing/thinking about sex,” and they go away still bemused. This time, and largely to annoy V, who thinks I have some problem with her sexuality, and because I was revelling in the discomfort of this conversation, I asked her boyfriend, “How often, as a proportion of the day, do you spend on sex and girls?”
And he said, after much thought, and after we’d debated whether time spent sleeping could count, that everything he did was because of sex and girls. From the high-class degree he’s studying to the amount of time he works out, everything he does (direct quote) “is so people can find me attractive, and spending time with people who find me attractive.” He then asked me why I hadn’t accomplished anything major with my life. I have, in fact, done very little, despite not having this overwhelming amount of time dedicated to sex and romance, which he seemed to feel was fairly normal.

At this point, trusty V, in an effort to make the conversation awkward for me, and not for her, began to suck his face off. I escaped to the prudish corner of the room (which, given the inexperience of my friends, was basically all of it that didn’t have V in it).
But that’s been rattling round in my head ever since. What do you do all day? What have you achieved with the time you’ve been granted by your asexuality and effective aromanticity? What positives have you made out of a situation that would make people like V feel life isn’t worth living?

I was going to write this down and blog it, but I didn’t have an answer. I felt there was no conclusion. And then, today, on the irritating MSN popup window that always opens, I found this article.
I tend to like perusing the dating articles on MSN (which they have about once a week, sponsored discreetly but not too discreetly by an internet dating service), on the basis that, since this girl ruined Cosmopolitan for me, it’s the best way to press my face against the glass of cosy, vapid, thoughtless heteronormativity, and feel that sort of blankness that comes from seeing your future everywhere, which is normally denied to me.
In a cynical, objective way, of course.

I really can’t tell why, but this article got me thinking about my seemingly inevitable slow-motion realisation of some innate aromanticness in me. Somehow, it got me thinking about how people invest such a great amount of time in boyfriends and girlfriends, and how I have nothing to fill that void, no hope of an intimate connection that is just automatically an intimate connection, because society says it is.

And that’s when I realised. I can spend all of my life forming those intimate connections with other people, connections that don’t have to end, and that have a healthier amount of communication than the standard romance, and that are more tailored to our needs. And I can spend all of my time, outside of work and recreation and sleep and all that other stuff, thinking about my friendships, where they are, how to improve them, how to let my friends know how much they mean to me. THAT’s what I do all day. And I really think I’ve picked the longest straw.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Being come-out about

There's one girl I know who's incredibly rude and erm, forthright in her views, lets say. She does it in a way that's hard not to love, and you take the sort of crap unthinkingly from her that you wouldn't from anyone else. Anyway, I can only think of two (non-internet) people who I've actually come out to (her, and my mother. Almost everyone else who knows I'm asexual, including me, knows because she told them.

The fact that I came out to her and then she outed me to myself is rather confusing, and a result of me finding asexuality twice, and not thinking much of it the first time, except casually mentioning it to her. After that, everyone who walked into the room was told within ten minutes that I'm asexual.

Anyway, we all got our grades this summer. I didn't get enough to go to university, so I quickly hopped onto a nice year-long art course, 'cos it'd be fun, and I'm enjoying the heck out of it. She went to university, decided she didn't like it, and dropped out after three weeks. So she moved onto my course, with my help. I'd planned to keep my asexuality pretty secret, considering the amount a couple of guys on my course bonded around sex. I managed (not lying or denying myself, but not having The Talk), for another two weeks. Then guess what's just happened. Go on, you'll never guess.

Anyway, this (being the only tiny tidbit of asexual-related thing that could vaguely be considered to be happening to me at the moment) got me thinking about how little I've been bothered by the reactions to my outings. Apart from my mother (I still have no idea what happened in that conversation), the most common response was "oh?", the best was "ok." and the worst was "huh". I seriously can't relate to the people who've had drama about it.

Anyway, as mentioned in the last post, Dr Who Buzzcocks is on the iPlayer, so I have no more time to rationalise about this now. I'll probably return to it next time I come out/are outed.

Random musings of an internet nature

I guess comfort and danger are always going to be the two driving forces in my life, sailing (too) couragiously out into the big wide waters of unknown situations, pushing myself further at every success and back to safety at every failure (or at least the ones that take a little getting over). Hoping for dreams and dealing with reality sometimes seems too much of a sudden change to not leave a mark, but I suppose it's just like muscles that tear to grow.

The reason I'm posting this here is that, for the last month, maybe two, I've been spending so much less time on the internet. Before I could spend hours on here, it was where I felt safe. Now, I just check e-mails and facebook and deviantart and blogger and think "Hmm... I wonder what I could do in the real world." Which is awesome, it really is. I've done so much new stuff, and so much that was always a 'I really should' has become a 'Got the T-shirt', and that's completely going to continue (unfortunately for my blog).

But I experienced my first medium-ish set-back with mood swing just now (I've taken up sewing, and a costume I was making ended up a little small. A tiny thing, but sometimes you get an emotional investment), and I immediately got on my computer, in the hope that the nice kind internets would soothe the pain. And, of course, they haven't. They aren't my safe harbour any more. They're a tool, not a recreational activity. Which is irritating, because the internet as a recreational activity had no possibility of failure. It also had no possibility of success.

Time to get away from comfort. That's what this kind-of gap year was all about. From now on, my entire life is going to be things with successes and failures, and this small blog doesn't really get a look-in.

Anyway, David Tennant and Catherine Tate are hosting NMTB, and it'll be on the iPlayer soon. If there's one thing an internet-embittered asexual can still enjoy, it's Dr Who related hijinks! :D

(I've been torn for a while on whether to take this blog down a more personal, private lifey type road, or a critical analysis of asexual culture. The problem is, it's difficult for me to combine the two, because asexuality really isn't part of my mental landscape any more. It's just a complete non-issue, personally. Maybe that'll be the death of the blog, but it's good news for me)

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Dead inside

Ok, so I now have some sort of reasonably stable rountine. Seriously. It remains to be seen how long it'll last.

So I've resolved to post something on this blog every single Tuesday. If I'm busy or forget on Tuesday, then Wednesdays. Basically, I have no excuse not to do something every single week, which'll get myself into the habit of it. It'll mostly be random little things- I have two series lined up, one in which I talk about the manifestations of romantic attraction, and one in which I discuss a Q+A article I found written by Joy Davidson.

Anyway, today's (or rather, yesterday's) snippet of thought concerns Freud. Good old Freud. In this article (which I found linked to in Pretzelboy's blog), which I read a while back, Freud, in his discussions on impotence, talks about "all those men who are described as psychoanaesthetic: men who never fail in the act but who carry it out without getting any particular pleasure from it—a state of affairs that is more common than one would think.... An easily justifiable analogy takes one from these anaesthetic men to the immense number of frigid women".

The term stuck in my mind because it has a nice ring to it, and it'd make a good ironic label to adopt, especially since it's actually almost the opposite of my actual sexuality (I'd refuse sex a lot more than I'd accept it, but probably enjoy the physical act) and it's based in all these outdated notions of gender and sexuality that are worth bringing up, just so people question current notions of gender and sexuality.

It was much more recently, as I was pondering the term, that this blanket word for all asexual or low-libedo men literally means 'mentally numb'. A better translation for Freud's asexual men would be 'dead inside'.

Gee, thanks doc.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Asexuality is a sexual orientation

I see this idea around quite a lot. “Asexuality is an orientation in the same way that atheism is a religion,” is a quote I’ve heard on various occasions, most recently from the A Life podcast some while back (but it’s probably also said a lot on AVEN), and remember noting that I wanted to make a post about.
I agree that atheism isn’t a religion, but I do think that it is a faith. The difference is maybe analogous to a religion being “Describe the sort of person you feel sexually attracted to” and a faith being “Who do you feel sexually attracted to?” (in case you can’t tell the difference, the first question can’t technically have the answer ‘no-one’).

So, here comes my post on the subject, which I can link people to, copy and paste from or just generally use to have my thoughts organised if the topic comes up again.

To me, there are a couple of big inconsistencies with the idea that asexuality is not a state of sexuality.
One issue is the semantic issue. To say that an asexual is someone who doesn’t have a sexual orientation (and therefore that asexuality isn’t a sexual orientation) is to completely misunderstand conventional ideas on sexual orientation, and the use of the suffix ‘sexual’. ‘Sexual’ has a different meaning to its actual grammatical implication. For example, heterosexual literally means something like “different sexuality’, while homosexual means something like “same sexuality” and bisexual means “two sexualities”. In this context, it would be reasonable to assume that asexual means “no sexuality.” However, this is obviously completely untrue. In every wording apart from transsexual, the suffix sexual means ‘sexually attracted to people of this gender, relative to you’. So asexual doesn’t mean ‘no sexuality’, but ‘experiences no sexual attraction’.
Now, of course, we have to figure out if experiencing no sexual attraction can be counted as a sexuality. Which is where the second issue comes in.
The second issue is that of common sense. Sexualities could be defined in two ways. The one which includes asexuality is “Which people you find yourself sexually attracted to,” and has a tickbox for ‘none’, the one which excludes sexuality is... hang on, I don’t think there is one. Except the same question, just without a tickbox for none. Which is silly, because then the whole thing just becomes a question of bad survey-writing, and not one of ideology.

Anyway, back on track, the other reason asexuality is a sexuality is because it makes more sense for it to be one, in the real world. Asexuals look inside themselves, figure out their feelings with regards to sexual attraction, come out, stay in the closet, look for asexual relationships, join LGBT groups and a whole variety of other things that are so similar to what every other sexual minority does that the average asexual will get so much more support and community if they accept their personal sexual preference as being a sexuality, since sexuality basically equals personal sexual preference.
With all that to lose out on, those (asexuals and asexophobes alike) who insist that there’s some big semantic reason for asexuality to define itself as ‘not a sexual orientation’ should really ask themselves if it’s a price asexuals should pay for a stubborn insistence on technicalities that I hope I’ve disproved anyway.

(That post ended on rather a heated note, so I’d better clarify, I’d still love to hear from you if you hold the view that asexuality is not a sexual orientation, and can enlighten me as to why you think that).

Tuesday, 20 October 2009


Ok, just another quick little post to keep this blog in a state that somewhat resembles life.

I thought up the best new label the other day. Not only is it rather fun, it’s one that I think the asexual community could use, and one that I personally could use.

Various asexuals have discussed the idea of pomosexuality (Post-Modern Sexuality), a general desire to blur all the lines of sexuality and break out of identifying yourself as a conventional sexuality. I never really understood it until I pondered the meaning of ‘pomoromantic’.

My guess is that a pomoromantic asexual is one who doesn’t fit in with romantic orientation, one for whom romantic orientation doesn’t makes sense, even in terms of a lack of it, or one who deliberately goes out of their way to challenge and break apart the conventions of romantic orientation.

An asexual who subscribes to the community-based intimacy or non-binary relationship theories, for example, rather than just saying that neither ‘romantic’ nor ‘aromantic’ apply to them, could label themselves ‘pomoromantic’.

So, I’m upgrading myself (again) to a demihomosexual pomo(hetero?)romantic greysexual in questioning. Yay!

Anyway, I like the word so much that I’m going to go sign in to AVEN for the first time in ages and make a thread to see what people think. If you like the label too, please do your bit to spread the word, since I’m not in a particularly widely-read corner of the asexosphere.

Disclaimer on labels

In this blog, there will probably be countless posts chronicling the useless minutiae of sexuality and asexuality, and inventing various labels for every little thing ever.

Playing with labels can be dangerous. You may do this at home, but it’s best to make sure the more extreme form of categorisation is all just for fun, and that you can stop at any time.

Be self-aware about being self-aware.
You have been warned.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Attraction, attatchment and asexuality (and alliteration)

This post (shows you how long it takes me to write posts) on appositive reminded me of some musings I had on the very same subject, although they were pretty unrefined, because all I knew of it was a friend (who studies psychology) referring to the model in a discussion about sexuality (she was using it because she thought it’d prove to me that most people need to feel lust to be in a close relationship, a slight misunderstanding of the model, and an argument I’ll discuss later).
There are some very interesting ties with various asexual theories, which I shall now discuss in a haphazard manner.

Here, by the way, is the full report. For this relatively surface analysis of the themes, I’m going to be drawing from this shorter and more layman-friendly article, which focuses more on the human applications of the model. The model basically breaks attraction down into three parts- lust, attraction and affection. I’ll try to explain what I think these parts are, but if you want a clearer view, it’s best to go to the article.

The first part of changing this model to fit asexuality is simple- as with the Kinsey Scale, we must add the y axis. The y axis here stands for either the amount you are capable of feeling this type of attraction, or how important you judge this type of attraction in your relationship. It adds possibilities from “Very interested” to “Not interested at all”. Where are asexuals and asexual aromantics on these scales?

In terms of lust, the answer is very obvious. Lust translates into asexual terminology as ‘sexual attraction’, the lack of which unites asexuals. So asexuals would have little or no lust.

Attraction is a little harder to line up exactly with asexual terminology. Fisher does describe this as ‘romantic attraction’ at one point in the article. I’ve never been entirely certain on what romantic attraction is, but it seems to be what Fisher describes- the desire to spend your time with someone in a romantic bond. This scale would be the one defining whether you’re romantic or aromantic.

Fisher describes attraction as the ephemeral process at the start of a relationship, which doesn’t fit easily with the asexual version of ‘romantic attraction’.
Some of the quotes; “attraction is also associated with feelings of exhilaration, intrusive thinking about the beloved, and the craving for emotional union”, lead me to wonder exactly where crushes fit in with this model.
Enough asexuals report crushes to make it seem that they don’t need a sexual basis. Are they a form of lust which just doesn’t need to be driven by sexual motives? Or are they a form of attraction which doesn’t need to have a whole relationship built up around them?
This model is designed to talk about relationships, so the crush, generally a precursor to relationships, isn’t mentioned. To make it properly asexy-friendly, though, I’d like to know where the crush lies in this model.

The third and final stage of the fictitious typical relationship, and the last division of attraction, is attachment, the simple desire to stick to someone, even if the initial sources of other attractions are lost. This might also fit well with ‘romantic attraction’ in the asexual terminology, the desire to pair up. However, the good thing about this model is that the labels don’t quite fit with the asexual labels, so it’s another new angle to view things at.

For the sake of convenience though, I’d say that I’d interpret the three elements of a relationship as sexual attraction, crushes/squishes(/aesthetic attraction?) and romantic attraction. There’s a question about whether ‘relationship elements’ (which is how a lot of romantic sexuals tend to think) can really be changed into forms of attraction, which is how asexuals tend to think, but if I get into that, I just know I’ll never finish writing this.

The importance of this theory is a way in which sexual and romantic attractions can be featured in every type of relationship. For different people, their level of interest in the three aspects will be very different. So we can talk about people in relationships who have differing levels of these three attractions, and asexuals don’t seem quite so remote any more. There might be people who don’t have the attachment or crushes or any other combination, and there are a lot of asexuals who have at least one of the other two.

I’d intended to talk about the relationship between the Fisher Model and the big tripartite asexuality model, the Three T’s, in this post, but it’s been languishing in draft form for ages, so I’ll just release this bit and I promise there’ll be a part two. At some point. Promise.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

The American Virgin (and thoughts on asexual denial)

Somehow, I think possibly in my wonderings over various sex- and kink- positive blogs (because they tend to make quite interesting reading), I ended up on the blog The American Virgin yesterday. Reading through it again earlier this morning, I got a strong feeling that this is a very useful resource for triggering asexual thought.

Basically, the blog is dedicated to virginity. It appears staunchly pro-sex education, though, and I would guess that it takes the same line as a lot of asexuals; sex positivity, while pointing out that sex isn't and shouldn't be positive for all.
The posts seem to be either about the pressures and stereotypes of being a virgin in this culture, a chord which I know will resonate with a lot of asexual virgins, or about people's personal stories and experiences of virginity.

I haven't come across mentions of asexuality yet, in the few posts I've skimmed, but that's why I think this blog is so interesting from an asexual point of view. Sometimes I feel we asexuals get so obsessed with our own, socially constructed, definitions and labels that we might not realise that, just outside or beside the asexual label, there are people with whom we can still relate. In terms of Venus' fabulous colour wheel, these people are greeny yellow. Or yellowy green. Or turquoise, cerulian and aquamarine. Or greeny red (a colour which I occasionally see out of the corner of my eye, but probably only due to my colour blindness). Or, indeed, greeny grey.

Ok, overstretching the palette a bit, but you get the idea. Maybe asexuality should look outside of itself a little. It doesn't help the asexual movement much, but it certainly helps asexual individuals to see how people without the magic label justify their similar sexualities and sexual choices.

EDIT: Oh gee, I forgot one of the main reasons I wrote this post. It's often difficult, when justifying a sexless life, to hit that right balance. You always end up swerving off into a pre-created position.
Either you think sex is icky and everyone should stop doing it, or you pretend you're more sex positive than you are so that no-one can call you erotophobic (when plenty of sexual people are just as uncomfortable about the role of sex in modern society, which is actually pretty screwed up).
Either you open yourself up and say, as the last interviewee on the American Virgin blog did, something like; "I'm worried that I have some kind of undiagnosed social anxiety disorder" and open yourself up to the idea of being 'damaged goods', with a disinterest in sex that is obviously entirely the cause of an oversimplified and malignant psychiatric disorder, or you close yourself up and become the Ideal Asexual, with a standard of psychiatric health, confidence and complete wellbeing that no human being could aspire to.

This is the choice asexuals (and other celibate people/deliberate virgins) have to face. Either you deny who you are, or you give your enemy the power to accuse you of denying who you are.
Ok, so I've only read a little of this blog. But, from what I've read, it seems to float above that whole mire quite effortlessly and beautifully. People just are who they are. If they don't want sex, it isn't a problem with a cause, but a choice, with a whole array of reasons. It's something to be admired, and if we can gain that same tranquility and honesty, I feel we'd all be a great deal happier.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Filler post

Ok, I am determined to write about something soon. I have a whole variety of more academic posts at 2/3rds finished and some interesting things that have happened since I wrote the last blog.

I have to get my university application off by October-time, and I still barely have any idea where I'm going. As well as that, I've just started college, and I'm looking for part-time jobs, while keeping my volunteer work going, because I doubt I'm gonna find anything in the recession. I am very, very busy. So sorry for the continuing stagnation, folks.

Anyway, something off-topic and not especially related to asexuality:
I found this today:

"You have had 0 indirect and direct sexual partners.Based on information entered into this calculator, people in your age group have had 296,132 indirect sexual partners"

While this is a fun meaningless quiz for asexuals, I'm really not sure of the maths.

On a hunch, I entered that I'd had one sexual encounter, with a 17-year-old. If the 17-year-old was male, I'd have racked up 3,074 indirect sexual partners. If she was female, I'd have a cumulative total of, wait for it... 17.

Wait, what? I really, really wanna see some methodology. How does that maths even work? Surely they assume that a girl of my age would have slept with someone else before me? If they didn't assume that, then straight boys would have a combined total of only who they'd slept with. But they'd probably also assume that the girl had slept with mostly boys (it can't be very likely that I'd find myself dating a lesbian or someone close to that end of the Kinsey Scale). So I'd be only one degree of seperation away from a whole handful of those slutty, slutty menfolk, and then my numbers should rack up like lightning after that.

Not only is this based on gender stereotypes that are highly questionable (on the second series of The Sex Education Show, they interviewed a lot of boys only a few years younger than me who were pretty much all virgins, so I don't see how men are this much more promiscuous than women), it's also very heteronormative, and simply doesn't seem to add up.

Sorry for the density of this post. I was trying to figure out the maths as I wrote.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Shout it from the rooftops

(warning: stream of consciousness approaching)

I am demi-homo-sexual. And I am proud.
That’s the first time I’ve ever said that. Ten minutes ago was the first time I ever thought that. This is my story. And asexuality has a place in that story. But it isn’t everything any more.
Before I found AVEN for the second time, I had a range of theories of what I was. I bounced mostly from straight to gay and back again, but neither fitted. I had some theories about why my crushes on men weren’t as a gay person should have experienced, firstly that homosexuality was tied to masochism in my personal sexual view, and lastly, right before I became asexual, that I was sexually attracted only to straight men. It’s true I probably do have homomasochistic and straight guy fetishes, which overcomplicate my sexuality horrendously by being right in the blurry bit between a fetish and a sexuality (I may talk about fetishes and asexuality some other time, at which point I’ll go into these in more detail).
On the whole, I’ve always been reluctant to admit that I have any homosexual feelings whatsoever other than these fetishes. I’ve been refusing to let myself think this, but part of the reason is possibly because of how homosexuality is considered in society. I’m not afraid of it, since a couple of my friends came out, guys dating has been the most natural thing in the world, but maybe those who exist between the binaries, bisexuals and asexuals, often find themselves going with the ‘right’ sex, to satisfy their ingrained homophobic socialisation.

However, there is a larger and more sensible part of my reluctance to own this sexuality as anything other than aesthetic attraction. I’ve always struggled to see what purpose coming out as homosexual would serve. I certainly couldn’t come out as gay, since I’m either hetero- or a- romantic.
My sexuality towards men is pretty much gazing at them and sighing a bit, described excellently on this blog- these two posts particularly. I don’t want to have relationships with them. I don’t even want to have sex with them, as actual sex would definitely not satisfy this attraction.
But I have to admit that there is a sexual element. It’s not the primary element, by any means, but men in sexualised situations generally spark my attraction easier than men in non-sexualised situations, where the attraction is (unless they really are incredibly pretty) often more passive.

The problem is that, up until now, I’ve ignored these feelings, shut my ears and said, “I can’t be thinking this because I’m asexual, and I’m asexual because I can’t be thinking this.”
I ignored the fact that many people who happily call themselves gay or straight probably just have my level of sexual-aesthetic attraction, but pointed in the same direction as their romantic attraction. How can I claim I’m different from them?

So I’m not doing. I’m going to call myself demisexual (well, I’m going to introduce myself as asexual, still, but you know what I mean), and when I say it, I’m going to know that the grey area is between asexuality and homosexuality, even if it’s still mostly asexual. I’m going to do this because calling myself asexual homoaesthetic took too much effort censoring myself from all the feelings that didn’t quite fit.
I’m looking forward to using a more open-ended term, because now I can accept everything I feel, without having to worry about recategorising my sexuality every time I feel something new.

If you’ve read this far, I applaud you. I’d like to finish with two morals to this story, one a warning to asexuals, and the other a warning to asexophobes.

To asexuals, and demisexuals, I would say that it is, indeed, very easy to leap at the asexual label, because it (and we) makes so much sense, when nothing else ever has to you. It’s very easy to assimilate, slot yourself into the asexual boxes and cut off the corners that don’t fit. But someday, you need to face your sexuality and decide if it really does fit absolutely. That’s why we have labels like demisexual and grey-a, they’re basically asexual with the boundaries taken off, where you can be who you really feel you are.
I always used to say that I’d be happy changing my sexual label if I got any evidence that I was sexual. It was true, but the evidence would basically have to be writing in the sky, and the fact that I was throwing myself on everyone with a pulse. I wasn’t looking for evidence that I was just a little bit away from asexual.
It’s important to let those little things in, even if it means you’re one step away from the asexual label. In the words of the asexy flowchart: Sorry, you’re not asexual. But you can still be a cool person.

To asexophobes, who often have the idea that asexuality is somehow confining, that you adopt the label and rigidly stick to it, you’ll have read this (if you do read asexual blogs) with glee. But I’ll happily join Venus in saying that asexuality has been the greatest help to me in coming to terms with my exact identity.
Without asexuality, I had the choice of only straight, gay or bisexual. The discourse within the asexual community opened my eyes not just to the possibility of not having attraction, but of all the different types of attraction available. Asexuality has given me a label which I still use, and will probably feel comfortable using for a long time to come, but, in the year since labelling myself as asexual, I have questioned myself far more thoroughly and gained more of an insight into my sexuality than in all of the other years of my life put together.

I have things to figure out, but I have a space to do that in, and a community that will support me no matter what.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

The asexual revolution

So in this blog-post, I’m going to share some ideas about the importance of the asexual lifestyle. If you want to be picky about lexicon (which I do), it should probably be called the ‘non-sexual’ or possibly ‘de-sexual’ lifestyle. After all, the celibate lifestyle is one that I, as an asexual, have no particular desire to keep in the long-term, and lots of sexual people clearly do. The basic premise is not of what would happen if everyone stopped having sex, but what would happen if everyone wasn’t assumed automatically to want sex. If sex wasn’t actually a big deal.

Let’s start with the obvious- relationships would change. Too often around me (mostly on TV but worryingly in real life as well) I see opposite-sex relationships that are based on stereotypes of what each gender is. Both people just slip, unconsciously, into gender roles which don’t really fit them. Key to this is sex- the boyfriend/husband, the sexually motivated one, makes overtures of intercourse constantly, in the hope that a few will get through. This system is similar to the way an airline sells more seats than it actually has- it is impossible to gauge how much sex the man actually wants, because he pressures for so much more than he needs. This turns the man into the ‘one who wants sex’, which, in turn, provides the man with all these handy excuses to deny what he feels in a relationship. It’s far too easy, at the moment, for men to escape into the realm of sexual objectification, far more easy, in some cases, than it is for them to show genuine affection.
The woman’s role is harder to define, what with the Madonna/Whore traditionalism and the various waves of feminism all with subtly different expectations. Still, the woman is seen as a prize to be won for the man. This is so easy to convert into terms of sex- if you pork her, you claim her.
Take away the idea that all women are going to want sex, or that all men are going to want sex, and it becomes so much more difficult to be that objectifying in a typical relationship. “Yeah, we sat up and talked all night. I’m such a stud. That bitch was so into me, she really opened up in a way she never has with anyone else.” More trust=less ownership.
It would be too Dworkin to suggest that sex is the essence of objectification. It’s generally something both people want to do. But the fact that a man can enter into a relationship and be reasonably sure of getting sex, the fact that he can dump a girl if she isn’t responsive enough to his propositions and still make her out to be the unreasonable one, all of this helps to maintain the heteronormative standard where men can hide behind sex while using it to ‘take’ women. I’d suggest it would be better for relationships in general if women couldn’t be ‘taken’, just communicated with.

Perhaps it’s too much to hope, but the second great effect of society’s realisation that sex isn’t something everyone wants may be that sexual minorities get greater equality. I’m not too sure about this one, because a lot of people are just randomly bigoted, whatever the facts are. Still, I have a suspicion that genitals are pretty important in a lot of homophobia. Take away the sex, after all, and it just becomes love, which doesn’t really change based on the genders of the participants. Gay men stop being told “that’s dirty, things aren’t meant to go up that way” (and yes, I have heard that one). Lesbians stop becoming the fantasies of random guys, and no one assumes that they’re the way they are because they didn’t meet a man who was good enough. Bisexuals aren’t seen to be in it for the promiscuity. For asexuals, the benefit is obvious.
It seems to me that a lot of the pressure is taken off ‘controversy’ if the controversy doesn’t involve sex.

And then we get to our sex lives. Can I really claim they could be improved if we scrap the assumption that we all need sex?
“OMG, sex” seems to be the order of the day (no pun intended). The multi-billion dollar industry telling us exactly how to get our kicks in bed provides us with all the pills, instructions, body image role models and toys that are so clearly necessary. And it can’t just be me who feels really insulted. Perhaps its because I know that one day I’m hoping to have to sift through all these disparate shards of sexuality with some equally confused partner, trying to figure out which bits of what we’re told we need we actually want. But it still strikes me that sex should be something wonderful and individual, something we all figure out for ourselves. Perhaps it’s the incredibly individualist culture of the asexual community, but I don’t want to be spoonfed someone else’s idea of sex.
All models of sex, though, have one thing in common. They say that sex is enjoyable, and that it’s of crucial importance. Even the fundamentalist sex-negative view acknowledges that these two generalisations are true of everybody.
Which is, of course, why asexuals are so damn scary. If it isn’t enjoyable and it isn’t important, WHAT THE HECK IS IT? And the answer has to be; sex is whatever it means to you and whoever you choose to practice it with. Go out and non-conform. Because everything you’ve been told about what you have to need is a lie. Just have fun.

This prediction is, of course, a fantasy. There will never be enough people saying “Actually, I never really saw why it’s worth the fuss” to significantly change the views of that proportion of people I call ‘heteronormative’. The vast majority of the world does want sex, and, quite rightly, want to identify by that desire. Even if they didn’t, the old-fashioned ways of thinking would find ways to cling on. But, in small, open-minded pockets, I think asexuals can really make a difference. We can, just by our existence, truly challenge most of the great beliefs about sexuality. So maybe just a small revolution, or a series of them. Maybe revolutions that, like the asexual community itself, are more about individuals than about groups.


Tuesday, 30 June 2009

The A is never the problem

Ok, so I’ll succumb to the pressure and have a little rant about those darned asexohaters. Just one. Just to get it out of my system.

A couple of months back, there was a thread on a sex-positive forum, which I think has now been blocked, in which the members of this forum discussed the validity of asexuality, quickly joined by AVENites, anxious to set them right. There was only one poster who seemed to directly disagree with the idea, once we’d explained what asexuality was not.
For three or four pages, the battle raged on between this poster and a handful of determined AVENites. It was only a short time before the thread was finally blocked by the moderators (not for the constant flaming on all sides, but for various weird reasons) when we figured out she didn’t disapprove of asexuality. What she disapproved of was the labelling of sexualities, believing people should be free to experience whatever they experience without it being tied down in a label.

The view has been echoed by the arch-asexohater Joy Davidson (who, to be fair, has probably been cast in that role more by chance, from Montel and such, than by an especially sustained malevolence to the community), who says that asexuals are “closing themselves off” (paraphrased from Montel show) to possibilities.

For the moment, I’m going to lay my cynicism aside and pretend that this isn’t hypocrisy. I’ll pretend that they’d react exactly the same if a straight or gay person came out. I won’t mention that only asexuals (and possibly other minorities the speaker is uncomfortable with) get this reaction. I’ll take them at face value and assume that many asexohaters really do just want all sexual labels to be weakened, and just happen to be taking them on alphabetically.

Arguments about the validity of sexuality still have no place amongst arguments about the validity of asexuality.

The two are completely different issues. In a world where everyone believes in straight and, often, gay, the idea of sexual orientation, however flawed, is an assumption that we’re perfectly aware we’re making when we talk about asexuality.
The phrase ‘asexuality is a sexual orientation’ wouldn’t make much sense if there was no such thing as a sexual orientation. But the arguments over whether sexual orientation makes sense are so massive that they eclipse the whole point of the debate if brought in to argue against asexuality.
Our hypothesis should be “Asexuality is a sexual orientation, given that sexual orientations are valid.” We don’t bother with the last bit because, to those of us who identify as asexual, it often seems self-evident. But it annoys me when any passer-by with an axe to grind about conventional sexuality then has to do it on asexuality, because it’s weaker.

I doubt this is how many asexohaters think about it. Joy Davidson may not think she’s attacking sexuality when she criticises asexuality. But so many of the arguments against the validity of asexuality don’t actually make any sense until you consider them as criticisms of sexuality as a whole.

Here’s where I borrow from some really good recent articles on the rest of the asexual blogosphere, which argue that criticisms of asexuality can be equally applied to any other sexuality, a thought which was the main inspiration for this post.
The argument that ‘asexuals haven’t met the right person’ is based on the idea that sexuality can change, and sexual identity is often too rigid to allow this change. There’s just as much chance of someone of a more conventional sexuality falling for someone outside their presumed parameters as there is an asexual.
The argument that ‘you’re all repressed’ is based on the idea of denial. Sexual identity is a confusing place, and the identity you choose affects far more than how you think about your feelings- sometimes, it can be life or death. So there’s a lot of denial going on around sexuality. The traditional asexual answer to this, as shown on Montel, has been in explaining that the asexual community is very hard to find, and still full of questions about your sexuality even once you’ve identified, so not likely to provide any space for denial. It’s a good response, but I rather like the Venus of Willendork’s new angle. Of course asexuality can serve as denial. So can all sexualities.
I expect the largest proportion of people denying their true sexuality (even if it’s just a Kinsey-esque ‘a little bit bi’) can be found in heterosexuality. It’s an argument against sexuality, sure, but not really one against, or even about, asexuality.

I’ve run out of claims that are made about asexuals. I think those are the main two, but said in slightly different ways. They’re arguments that sexual identity is too constricting, too obstructing a thing to be placed on anyone. Except they focus on asexual identity specifically, for unexplained reasons. Tell me if there’s more I’ve missed.

So I’m finally brought, in a round-about way, to the title of this post. The A is never what people have the problem with. People have a problem with the sexuality. It’s only when a startlingly new concept, like asexuality, comes up, that people start to see the problems engrained in sexuality, which they hadn’t allowed themselves to see before.
Actually, no. Scratch that, it’s a load of rubbish. People use arguments against sexual identities as a whole to argue against asexuality because they’ve decided asexuality is unnatural, and they need to find reasons why they think that retroactively. It makes a pretty depressing end to this post, though.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Out of stealth mode

So, as of 10.59 this morning, I've finished my A-levels and, assuming I don't find a job, which'd be hard in this economic climate, I'll be completely free all summer. So that means a lot more time to devote to blogging. I've got a couple of drafts which I'll try to get out as soon as possible.

It also means I can stop this weird stealth-mode thing I've been doing, and add all the asexy bloggers out there to my reading list.

Hooray for summer!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

'Demisexuals' and the blogosphere

Catchy title, yeah? Well, consider yourself lucky I’m posting at all, with this many exams.

When I’ve had time to settle down to this blog (and taken it out of the current 'stealth mode'), I’ll find out how to put one of those lists on the side with all the blogs I read. They’ve been really helpful to me in seeking out loads of new asexual blogs.

Anyway, I was looking at my list of blogs the other day, and it surprises me just how many of the blogs are written by ‘demisexuals’.
To clarify, when I say demisexuals, I don’t use it to mean people who are sexually attracted to romantic partners, which I think the official definition is. I use it to mean everything in the grey bit of the AVEN triangle, grey asexuals, demisexuals, semisexuals, kinky asexuals, honorary asexuals, or just ‘proper’ asexuals who are so involved in a personal way in sex positivism that they find a way to apply it to their lives. Names such as ‘Edge of Everywhere’ and ‘Shades of Grey’ are on everyone’s reading list.
I can hear you pleading with me to get to the point. Maybe the stereotype of the (possibly aromantic) ‘frigid’ asexual who wants nothing to do with sex or the sex culture is just that, a stereotype? But they’re very common in AVEN. It’s just that less of them seem to write blogs.

The traditional asexual doesn’t feel they have anything to say. That’s interesting. So, putting on my best pseudo-scientific head, I thrashed out a couple of hypotheses:

1. If you don’t want to interact with sex in society, you can largely ignore it. Aside from bitching about the occasional lewd advert or film scene, an aromantic asexual won’t build up a complex relationship with sexuality. A romantic asexual who draws very strong lines outside the bedroom door will have a slightly more complex relationship with sexuality, but still largely simple. Their problems will mostly be with getting their partner to understand them. These sorts of issues are the kinds of things AVEN is really helpful for, with the emphasis on escaping the annoyances of everyday sexual society and on relationships (as a glance at the forum titles shows; ‘Asexual musings and rantings’, ‘Asexual relationships’, ‘For Sexual partners, friends and allies’). They’re not good issues to run a blog on, though.

Now take a look at the standard ‘demisexual’. They want it all, flirting, romance, physicality, platonicness, and all of it uniquely repackaged for their own brand of asexuality. Better start drawing a lot of graphs!
Suddenly sexuality is something really complex- far more so for the asexual than for the standard sexual. So we need words and diagrams to help us figure out what we want, which is something more complex than the ‘No sex, please’ of the traditional asexual, even if that’s still a recurring theme.

‘Demisexuals’ have something to say to the world, a big speech to give, an explanation of who they are. Asexuals less so. Especially since most readers of asexual blogs are already familiar with standard asexuality.

2. Or, alternately, ‘demisexuals’ are self-selected to correlate to people who think too much. Hence the blog-writing. Indeed, hence this blog.

It sounds quite insulting (or possibly quite bigheaded), but the people who identify as asexuals have to be looking off the beaten track a bit anyway. For those asexuals who want a lot of what sexuals want, arriving at the conclusion that they’re asexual indicates that they’re very introspective. Then you can get a weird alternate version of Big Fish syndrome. Having jumped from the ocean of sexuality into the rather small box of asexuality, we find that there’s still too much room for our liking, and abando it for our own, smaller boxes. Most of them hand-made.

Now, that’s the kind of mind that would write a blog, that takes intrigue in little intricacies and (no offence, most demisexuals are fascinating) finds themself a fascinating subject of academic study.

3. The final theory is, and I admit it’s quite a stretch, that there are two almost entirely separate asexual blogospheres. The demisexual or sex-positive asexuals relate more to one set, so link to them, while the other side relates more to the other. I would expect these other blogs to turn up on the AVEN or the asexual wiki blog lists, though.

But there’s still a chance that I haven’t found them, for whatever reason, or they just resonate less with me.

Any other explanations I’ve missed? I feel like there’s another one I meant to put. I may do an update of this when I remember.
In the meantime, back to the graphs.

EDIT: About 2 minutes after submitting this post, I stumbled across a really awesome and long-running aromantic asexual blog, and remembered there's quite a few out there I was already reading. I hope the trend I've been observing is real, and not just random chance mixed with my own interests, or the entire post will be a failure. Any other day, I'd feverishly tally up blogs, but tonight it's 1 AM.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Spectacular failure

Wow. This blog has just been so utterly neglected. When I started, I was halfway through a variety of small essays to put up here, confident that I could promote it in the asexual community within two weeks as something worth reading.

About 3 days later, I remembered that my A levels are in about a month and a half. Since then, I've been working flat out.

So, if anyone finds this blog, don't worry, its not abandoned. Keep half an eye on it, because it may very well blossom in June/July.

So much for spontaneity.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Terminology check

Today, I added the word heteronormative to my Microsoft Word spell-checker. I predict I may use it a lot over the next few years. It’s really fun adding new words to a spell-checker. The words you add reflect the sort of person you are. The last word I added was hecatonchires, when I was a massive Greek mythology buff.

And now, writing a rant about how asexuals fit into society for my new asexual blog, I feel like I’ve finally let that part of myself, the part that is egregiously queer, that’s going to join the LGBT society as soon as I get to university and possibly never leave it, into every single part of me. Even into that most modern of external displays of a personality, my personal computer.

Hellos and cakes

Oh look, another asexual whose input on AVEN is wavering has started a blog. Well, join the queue, there’s a whole blogosphere out there.

Yeah, that’s basically it. I like the whole asexual blogosphere, it seems to be friendly but at the same time political, intellectual and individualistic. It’s so popular with asexuals who have something to say that it now seems like some sort of recognised ‘next stage’ after AVEN. So, with my first AVENiversary just passed, I decided to finally make one.

I’m not going to try to update this with any sort of regularity. That would just end in failure. So I’ll update when I have an idea and the time to write it up. This could mean that I get a lot of stuff up in the first few weeks and then nothing, or it could mean that this blog really gets going in summer, when I have more time to think, or Autumn, when I join university and LGBT.

As for the demographics you may need to imagine me: I’m British, male, 18, asexual, and out to close friends and anyone vaguely interested who’s not going to tell my parents. I’m a pretty ‘bad’ asexual, in that I have romantic and aesthetic attraction, sex drive and sexual arousal.

Oh, yeah. I’m writing this blog mostly for asexuals (and sexuals who are part of the asexual community). It’s easier because I’m mostly interested in asexual culture in itself, more than how asexuality relates to the world. Any non-asexuals can read, and I’ll try to provide basic definitions of all terms, but it may be a little confusing if you don’t know the asexual community. If you have any questions, ask me. If you’re new to the concept of asexuality, it would be better to start with AVEN, particularly the FAQs. If you’re a relative outsider to the asexual community looking for blogs, I’d recommend Love from the Asexual Underground, Ace of Hearts, Glad to be A, What Do You Mean By Sex and Exploring A/Sexuality and Gender. They’re all good blogs for people who aren’t too wise on the issues around asexuality (or, at least, the issues the asexual community has around asexuality).

Erm, yeah… I think that’s it. I was gonna make this lead into a whole entry about demisexuals, which is roughly what I am, and their place in the asexual community, but I think I’ll save that for another day. This’ll do for an intro.
Hello to everyone reading. For those who don’t know, it’s an AVEN tradition to give cake to anyone you meet, so please, have some cake. I hope you enjoy the blog.