Friday, 31 December 2010

Spontaneous moving

I've moved over to wordpress now, for various reasons, some of which I go into in my last post of 2010, my first post of my new blog.

Do come visit me.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

Monday, 27 December 2010

What to expect

I've been thinking more about TEVA. Yeah, that's me, always first on the scene. Cutting edge asexy journalism.

I've seen some people, before the ad was taken down, criticising the way asexuals dealt with that. I was on the verge of it myself. But, well, it worked (I assume. I've not seen or heard of the altered campaign, I'm assuming I would have done had it been the slightest bit controversial).

I think there's something in the asexual movement which could have gone "Oh dear. Look at this terrible representation of asexuality. Let's talk about it quietly amongst each other." I've been guilty of that, before, of not reaching out and EXPECTING.

This time, when we expected, we got what we were given. Some times, it won't be so simple. I'm with Melissa when I say you know what I expect. I know I won't always get it. But if you don't expect, as she points out, there's no way you'll ever get close.

We can expect people to behave a certain way. And only when we have expectations can we tell them how we expect them to behave. That's what the 101 project I'm intending is about, really.

So we expected that this company would apologise. It did. We expected it would remove it's ad. And it did.

We can expect more. We can expect more from the LGBTQ.

Siggy said something so simple on apositive once that sticks with me, that gives me a kind of strength. He asked the standard question about LGBTQ, but with a subtle twist. He asked, not "Does the LGBTQ cater for asexual people?" but "Should the LGBTQ cater for asexual people?".

There's been an air of defeatist acceptance among asexuality. We have the strength to change what we can, the courage to accept what we can't, and we've lacked the wisdom to decide between the two. Siggy's should was, for me, the first whisper of an alternative, an alternative where we expect more.

And now there are some of us who are starting to lay down our expectations. Suddenly, we don't accept. We expect. And yet I feel like this defeatism still looms over LGBTQ. There is still a sense that, because they, like TEVA, sometimes fail now, that we cannot expect any different. And that'll never get that ad changed.

I was so afraid of my university LGBTQ at first. I was afraid to go to the meetings because I had accepted this lie that LGBTQ wouldn't accept me. But they had placed expectations upon themselves, and now I feel rooted. I have access to a history and culture, a shared strength, I've never been able to access before. I have access to a group of awesome people who are accepting, who I feel comfortable around.

We should expect this. Because some of us need it.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

The gay agenda- it's not just for straight people any more!

From the sinister and teal-clad minds of the Evil Fellowship of Aromantics (ie, Sciatrix and I) comes a new and terrifying game. Tiers of Queer, a game of privilege and plummeting, where the stakes are your lives. Wanna play?

This is based, by the way, on the beautiful last line on this post about asexuality, which was clearly not written by non-libedoists, bitter that we'd stolen their word:

Generally speaking, in terms of sex drive and desire, the homosexual and the asexual could not be further apart


(read the rest of the article. It's short, but... informative)
This quote suddenly made staggeringly clear to me the hidden inference behind this. People like simple lines. Asexuals and other 2nd dimensional creatures, can mess up a linear world view. There's us and them. And, for the more refined, there's moderate us, between two thems. It's how a lot of people view sexuality, and the tiers look something like this:

1.Celebate
2.Asexual (dragged down slightly because the word has been stolen by gay sympathisers. You know who you are!)
3.Decent folk.
4.Deviants (BDSMers, mostly. The definition is left usefully flexible)
5.The Homosexual (male. If you're a lesbian, or homoromantic woman, congratulations. You've broken the game)
6.The Transsexual (not quite sure what these people are, but they must clearly be like the homosexual, but more extreme)

This is why asexual and homosexual are more opposite than, say, asexual and straight. Because being gay isn't defined by what it is, attraction to men, but by the level of sexual deviancy that the quality posesses.

Sexual Deviancy is a single-score game. Maybe you fit into more than one category? Tough. Pick the biggest number that applies to you, and that's your score.


And this is where it got to me. I'm 5 on that list. I am a homosexual. I'm not sure if I've directly typed that on this blog, before, but I've said several times that I used to think I was demihomosexual and realised I was more than demi. I don't use gay, because I'm really not. I find it difficult not to identify in some way as asexual, even if there's no technical asexual left about me. Because I'm an asexual blogger, because I'm aromantic, because to invalidate asexuality is to invalidate whatever the heck I am.

I've been trying to introduce myself not as asexual, and it's killing me. Outings are suddenly fifty times more painful than even asexual outings (which aren't fun). I end up with people having no idea what I am, when what I want is to spread visibility. I want to be proud that I'm asexual. Without being asexual.
And if that happens, if I go back to the word asexual, without the doubt every time I introduce it, without the 'so what' of "Um... I used to identify as asexual?", then guess what? I'm a homosexual, pretending to be asexual. I'm a repressed gay, dispite the fact that I think I'm doing pretty well at not being repressed. Dispite the fact that the biggest force ever repressing me was the fact that I knew I could be used as evidence that asexuality is invalid if I ever admitted who I was.

So now I want to say; yes. I am homosexual, and I will identify as asexual. I'm the betrayer in your midst. The wolf in sheep's clothing. What're you going to do about it?

Enough bitter not-quite-sure-which-bits-are-sarcasm for tonight? You're probably right.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

On Static Content

So this comes apropros of two things, both of which have been discussed particularly recently. Firstly, as we've mentioned, there is uncertainty about the role of AVEN. Is it a place for visibility? 101? Community? Discussion? I know I'm not the only person who feels uncomfortable linking someone to AVEN when I don't know what sort of discussions are going on there, what the current mood of the site is. And yet AVEN has, like, ALL the static content in the asexosphere. Apart from AVEN, there's the wiki, which I find much harder to navigate than specifically written FAQs, and the collection of academia on Asexual Explorations, which is hardly the first thing the general public would look for.

And secondly, I know a couple of other bloggers are starting to consider how we might more closely emulate other social justice movements (feminism, LGBTQ, civil justice, etc), I don't know how quick this is going to be, but I think some serious trolling and fail will emerge at some time within the next three years. Up till now, we've largely been doing our 101 seperately, adressing different things in different blog posts, and linking back to them when needed. What I'd like is a comprehensive and easily navigable pool of resources that we can link people to quickly, which is off-AVEN. What I want, essentially, is this.

I'm considering calling it Awesome! An Asexual 101. Yes, it's a complete rip-off of Finally, Feminism 101. That's intentional. It's a homage to those aspects of social justice we want to adopt.

I'm going to be honest, part of the reason I want this is because I think the non-AVENites have been dithering over whether to create static content, or whether that's outside our bounds, for a long time now, and this is possibly the simplest way of getting it off the ground. What we'll essentially have is an average blog, to which I encourage other asexuals who are interested in the scheme to contribute. I'm looking for good summaries of asexual phrases and our responses to typical attacks in a short, sweet writing style, with just a hint of "F*** off" when needed. Also, links to other posts where we discuss the same issues but more in-depth/more ranty/more personal would really help.

Anyone else interested in collaborating with me on this one? I'm kinda scared of starting it all by myself, partly on the 'presuming to speak for all asexuals' basis and partly on the 'running two blogs while also doing lots of essays' basis.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Smiling through the happiness

Ok, I've been spending way too long writing about asexuality. The reason I know this? I saw an advertisement today for eye-drops, which said "You may be up for the christmas party, but your eyes won't show it!" or something similar. The idea being that you have to look smiley and happy. Looking happy being prized over being happy (especially for women, whom the advert was aimed exclusively at) is a big issue in itself, but my immediate thought was to the implications this has for asexuals.

The first of these is that we always have to seem happy in our sexuality for our sexuality to be recognised. Technically, an awful lot of asexuals could count as HSDD if it wasn’t for the ‘distress’ criterion. Distress is held up as the thing separating asexuality from HSDD, but I don’t know a single asexual who has never experienced distress over their orientation. That’s perfectly natural, it’s a new orientation, and the complexities of living as asexual can get really, really overwhelming, but asexuals have to smile through it all. If not, our sexuality is judged to be destructive, unhealthy, and the books even back it up. What’s worse, since the community is so focused around visibility, this pressure to smile at the world comes from inside the community, too. It would be nice if the world would give us space to not enjoy every minute of the ride.

I think asexuality gets a particularly bad deal here because aromantic people as seen as single, thus ‘Bridget Jones’; people who don’t want sex are seen as broken, unhappy, unconfident. I don’t know how our heteronormative world took the word ‘No’, one of the most powerful things you can do in the bedroom, a ‘no’ which is routinely scorned, cajoled and belittled, and turned it into a mark of lack of confidence.

And this segues rather nicely into my second point- consent. I’ve long realised this is (/would be, chance would be a fine thing) an issue for myself, but I’ve somehow never thought to associate it with all the other asexuals who want to/ wouldn’t mind getting frisky. The model which we’re told to want is the enthusiastic consent model. In its extreme, the progression went:
No means no (basics of consent, but lacks awareness of situations in which consent is impossible)
Yes means yes
OH, YES, GOD YES! means yes (enthusiastic consent)

Reading Emily Nagoski (awesome writer, maybe too heavy on bodily fluid discussion for the repulsed, a little gender-essentialist for me) recently, I was struck by the consent issues that her view of responsive desire brings up. How does someone with responsive desire ever say “OH, YES, GOD YES!” at the start of a sexual encounter? The only things they can say are no, maybe and a relatively unenthusiastic yes. She breaks it down:

The idea that functional sexual desire requires wanting sex out of the blue is bullshit – pervasive and intractable bullshit, but bullshit nonetheless.


She suggests further down that ‘desire’ should be replaced with ‘willingness’, and that suits me. A lot of asexuals are physically incapable of desire for sex, it doesn’t stop them being willing. Bottom line- enthusiastic consent is a barrier too high for a lot of people to live up to.

And yet- and here’s the issue- it’s fairly important as a notion. The idea that you have to actually want it and not just be coerced in some way is something I’d love to fight for, especially when not-really-consent is an asexual issue too. ‘Willingness’ is something which can be manipulated, ‘desire’ can’t. And I’m lost. How can we create a definition which helps those who don’t pass the desire criteria while still making sure that the system works for the majority?

When I told Sciatrix I was writing this post, she linked me to this conversation. There’s some interesting stuff going on in there, and I especially like the conversion of ‘green-yellow-red’ (yes, go carefully, stop), which I tend to hear in a BDSM context, for asexual uses. The very concept of ‘yellow’, that there is consent which isn’t enthusiastic or total, is likable, and it keeps the power of consent in the hands of the consentee, while other non-enthusiastic, non-total consent mechanisms can be more easily abused.

So, I leave you with this. A world in which displaying our emotions labels us mentally disturbed, and bottling them just makes us more damaged. A world in which we have to confront bigots daily without anger. A world in which we’re encouraged to smile when we don’t want it, but can’t manage a smile if we do.
And even if we get out of this still happy, we have to keep smiling through the happiness.
Till next time, folks,
Keep smiling

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Sexuals talking asexual

This is dealing with cast-off issues from my last-post. When I approached the last post, my head was a mess of all the different things I wanted to put into it, and there was some extremely heavy-handed cutting to get it brief enough to be informative. This post will hopefully be target-audience appropriate right from the beginning.

So this is largely about discussing asexuality in your LGBTQ, or maybe your sex-positive or feminist non-internet-based group.

Asexual canvassing:
There is one discussion that you are perfectly qualified to have without any asexuals present, and that is how much you're going to publicise that you are asexual-friendly. Are you going to add an A? Or a Q? (I know the Q doesn't seem like that much of a victory, but I've seen enough asexuals banned from LGBT spaces because their name wasn't above the door. It sucks to know that you're there at the whim of your hosts) Or chuck the alphabet soup altogether? Are you going to add asexuality and a brief definition to your promotional materials, let people know that your support networks extend to include asexual people? This is a conversation you can have without asexuals, because it might help you snare some. Then you can move on to the next two discussions:

Asexual resources:
Ok, so you have a feisty asexual or two who are willing to spread the message. You can now go one step up and, if the asexual doesn't mind doing some of the legwork, provide asexual resources. These will largely be resources from asexual people to asexual people. The flaw being that you don't know how many asexual people are actually going to find these resources, it's likely to be negligible. But it's good to have them. I'm thinking mostly in terms of asexual leaflets, asexual-specialised support workers, maybe the occasional asexual meetup if there's enough interest. This is something you can't really do properly if you don't have any asexuals on your team. While an asexual can still benifit from a normal queer/sex-positive support group, it's a lie to say that you have resources for them when none of you knows the more complicated aspects of asexuality.

Asexual theory:
I realised the difference between this and asexual resources when a friend asked if I wanted more on asexuality in our LGBTQ. I think they were thinking of asexual resources, and I was imagining an hour of discussion about asexuality being "Asexuality is [trot out definition]." "Okay". *55 minutes of silence*.
Asexual theory (and again, this ball is completely in the court of any asexuals you have around) is basically resources from asexual people to sexual people, with a little more discussion. This is why it is possibly the best way (except maybe a bit of joint visibility) to bring up asexuality in your group discussions. As I said last post, it's the stuff that comes after the AVEN front page that is actually interesting. The stuff on the front page provides five minutes of talk, and 4.30 minutes of that is the "Is asexuality valid?" question, which is a really good way to piss your asexuals off.
Not entirely thought this through yet, but it's essentially ideas that other people would find useful or interesting:
-The y-axis on the Kinsey Scale
-How asexuals define orientation and attraction
-Romantic attraction, aesthetic attraction (leading into Rabger's model)
-Non-binary intimacy, community-based intimacy
-Asexuality and the LGBTQ
-Challenges facing asexuality/asexuals

That's six topics which could each promote a good amount of discussion. In their own way, they're radical. I feel like they're as close to the heart of asexuality as the AVEN definition. They also all link into one another in a coherent order, and would make a nice presentation which would spark some truly enjoyable discussion.


In conclusion, see how hard I, an asexual (shush, brain. Not now), who has spent about four years active in the asexual community and a year active blogging, struggle to sidestep the initial unhelpful and vexing questions and get into a conversation. That's how much effort you have to go to if you want to get a decent conversation about asexuality going among people who don't know about asexuality. I want you to look at yourself and figure out if you really have the expertise to pull this off.

When sexuals write asexuals

I've been hearing this a lot in the last two weeks and it's only now, when I sat down to write a completely different blog post, that my brain suddenly linked it all together and said "Hey, dude, there's this whole thing going on. Forget your other plans, talk about this instead."

It came to me after reading the Feminists With Disabilities bulletin for the blog carnival. I had a load of stuff here about why FWD is an asexual-friendly space, but I cut it out because I want this post to be easy to read for its intended audience.

Suffice it to say that FWD is always very strong on the idea that if you want to know what's best for disabled people, you talk to disabled people. Maybe this is what makes them so good at representing asexuality when asexuality and disability are two groups that the kyrarchy really tries to play against each other. Because FWD lets asexuals speak about asexuality.
And the ironic thing is that I'm sure a couple of their writers could speak so much better about asexuality than everyone else does, because they spend time listening. But, where possible, they encourage asexuals to talk, rather than speaking for them.


Someone recently mentioned that they were fed up of communities saying they were respectful to asexuals and then not trying to provide any asexual materials. This applies to internet communities and also to localised LGBTQ groups. I agreed a little, but on the other hand, I cringe because I know what sexuals write about asexuals when they've had little actual exposure to asexual thought.

A lot of people, and it happened earlier this week on a blog I'm not going to name, just flick onto AVEN, read the definition, read the FAQs if you're lucky, and get this understanding of asexuality that is no better than the corny American shows that're like "What happens when people don't want to have sex?" Then they tie that understanding into whichever point they want to make, often quite clumsily, and there's your asexual dialogue.

Which, as someone who devotes an inordinate amount of resources to furthering asexual thought, kinda pisses me off. It feels like they've proudly made a volcano out of a cola bottle and some papier mache and they hold it up to me and I'm like "Your paintwork is terrible. You've left most of the top of the bottle visible." They hold up their big, inclusive asexual thought and I can see the holes.

This annoys me because I WANT sexuals to be part of our discussions. I really genuinely don't want a world in which only asexuals can talk about asex, because I think the ideas behind asexuality are relevant to a lot of people. I've talked, face-to-face, with some people who have awesome views on asexual theory. I remember on AVEN, some of the commentors I respected and admired most were sexuals. I'd love to hear the views of everyone else. Also, since typing this paragraph, I've just re-remembered that I'm not actually asexual anymore. I suppose I'm a sexual commenting on asexuality, and no-one's stopped me thus far.

But I think that this is the dividing line:
I'm fed up of hearing "So this is what I think about asexuality, ie. celebately-oriented people." It's too close to "Should we let asexuality exist?" And that's a game I really don't want to play any more. This is what I said a year ago last week:

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.


I said it about an article that was four years old. Yawn. Is bored now.

What I'd love to hear is what sexuals think about romantic attraction. What sex-positive people think about repulsed aces. What other minority groups think about detoxing. What other desexualised groups think about the way asexuals experience desexualisation. What polamorous people think about the relationship binary. What feminists think about our own brands of asexual feminism.
What we can add to the discussions on disability, virginity, polyamory, and an ongoing list. What you, dear reader, can add to us.

These are the conversations that are worth having. So when we say that we want you to take asexuality and talk about it, we really, really do. But you have to take more than one bite before you can get anything other than surface. Asexuality isn't useful to you. It isn't something you can talk about. If it was, you'd be asexual (damn, why does my existance always contradict my points nowadays?). But you'll find something will hook you, if you look hard enough. It's past the front page, I'm afraid. If you're not willing to look for it, you could always write throwaway posts. Who knows, you may be thanked by asexuals for even deigning to notice that we exist, and not being more directly condescending than you would be at a museum exibit. You won't write well. And you won't engage me.



(The guest posts idea is still a very good way to get the discussion about asexuality started among your readership. An a certain quasi-asexual blogger is always avaliable, if you want to commission one...)

(a lot of this was also inspired by the blog post by Minerva about the sexual Sherlock fandom writing asexual and ACTUALLY DOING IT RIGHT!! I've found some small scraps of the discussion since then, and there really is some incredibly in-depth, gorgeously respectful discussion going on, a lot of which is by sexuals who have very little experience of asexuality. I was going to discuss what makes this work so very well, but I had to cut that out for succinctness, and because I don't really know. I think some large proportion of it is for the reasons I've mentioned, because they're willing to go beyond 101. But it just shows that sexuals can write asexual)

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

A film about corsets

I was watching Rocky Horror Picture Show tonight, for the first time in over a year. It was a shocking realisation of how queer I've become. Before, I thought it was just a bad film, made fun by corsets. I was so shocked I actually asked my friends "Is it bad that I actually understand this film now?" I think they assumed I meant the plot, but the plot was simple, it was the film that was giving me problems.

I'm going to need to watch it again, looking out for the meaning beneath the words, but there were moments when it just pierced me. At the end, when the house in which your wildest dreams come true, the house of mirrors, vanishes, Brad, corset torn, looks up at the camera and says that, through all his searching, through all the crapsack of identity and gender and power and pain, he is never any more than he was when he started, bleeding inside, an eternal question mark without hope of answers or solid ground. I almost cried. It begins with answers, solidity, gender stereotypes, certainty, and ends with nothing but the potential of what the individual might one day be, if they weren't so afraid, so lost, so alone. I'd heard of the interpretation where it's all about 'yay, let's celebrate our sexualities', but I didn't give it much credence because, well, Frankenfurter is a rogue. Columbia rips into him about his horrible power games and then he carries them out anyway. He is punished for his transgressions, and dies unmorned except by the primitive and external id that he created. How's that for non-judgemental?

But now I'm seeing it as part of the cleverness. It isn't just the anthem of sexual freedom, it's the story of it. Metaphorically, it's what is going on inside us all, and inside our societies, when we decide to challenge established ground. There is fear and pleasure and lies and knowledge and ignorance. Nothing is real, and you have to keep comforting yourself that at least you don't believe the lies. If there wasn't badness, it couldn't be sex, because sex can be bad (and there's a radical asexual notion I'd like to stand behind).

And I've always seen Rocky as asexual. Don't ask me why. Maybe it started with the first time I watched, when I missed his sex scenes, but even after I re-watched and saw Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me and the song where he's like "My libedo hasn't been controlled," I still think of him as a sex-liking asexual. He never (until he's hypnotised) initiates sex, he goes along with it when two powerful and domineering people push him into it. And that's a beautiful little thought- Janet has to pretend that he's the big, strong man, and can't admit, even to herself, that the reason she gets with him is because she needs someone to do what she wants, but has to externalise it and pretend it isn't coming from her. Everyone externalises onto Rocky. In fact, now I think of it, I remember thinking something very similar when I decided he was asexual, and they're connected. Everyone has their own desires, their own perversions, and they take them out on Rocky. Rocky never has real opinions or ideas or arousal shown, he's just the playtoy of all the others, and I feel like I can see through the unreliable forcing of the other character's motives onto him and see through to the simplicity of him. He likes sex because it feels nice, and because he has a libedo, but there doesn't seem to be genuine sexual attraction there.

He's an unlikely asexual champion, I'll admit. But I like him.

A privilege check: 'Missing: Presumed Primary'

We interrupt the scheduled blogging to bring you a post entitled 'Missing: Presumed Primary'. Regular readers will recognise the comforting themes of me being mopey about aromance, also, making up words. We at Asexual Curiosities are sorry for any inconvenience caused.


There's a lot of very cool stuff going on in the blogosphere, about community and detoxing and the autistic spectrum. Right from when I first found Dreki's post, I knew that there was something incredibly potent in the message, and I'm glad it's gripped everyone else the same way.

However, every way I try to get involved, I experience massive privilege-crash, from my original post, as a sex-positive person not recognising how much sex-positivity hurts the exact group of people I'm meant to be caring about and a non-repulsed person who probaby tends to lean too much on the side of 'would you mind hiding that bit of your identity that I don't think anyone should see?', to a neuro-typical person getting involved in the first non-101 nuanced autism-spectrum conversations we as a community have had, and feeling like I'm getting it wrong, to an essentially cis person trying to write a post about my trans 'inspirations' for questioning my gender without sounding like a massive jerk.

The annoying thing is that I now understand the theory of privilege in a much more practical way. Before, I had seen it cheifly as a tool to try and attatch judgement to human behaviour, which may or may not fit in with common sense. Now, I see it as a tool for allies, that allows you to, as I'm doing now, not say "But how can you disagree with me?! I'm a neutral observer!" and just say "Damn, this feeling that I'm not as neutral or respectful as I thought REALLY HURTS. Can't come out to play today, guys. Am doing a privilege check."

So for that reason, I'm going to share some brief thoughts about romantic attraction and how much I feel isolated by it (deja vous?). Also, this has completely nothing to do with the fact that I ran into my squish (Squish: An asexual term, kinda like a crush but non-sexual and often non-romantic) and his impossibly cute boyfriend randomly the other day and they were all like *eskimo kiss* "Sweetie, why don't you tell him that anecdote about this morning" "Oh, that was adorable. You're so cute when you wake up" and I was all like "Hahahaha i want to die."

Completely nothing. Definately the noble intentions, privilege-check thing.

So one of the (many) ways in which I've described the lack of sense which the romantic kiboodle makes to me is this idea that you pick someone, often almost at random, and then you presume that you're each other's primary relationship (Primary Relationship/Partner: A polyamorous term that basically means the same as 'significant other'). If I could encapsulate my feelings on dating (note: it's usually dating I get irrationally angry about, not romantic attraction in general), I'd like it to be a pithier version of "Dating is hoping you can lie to yourself long enough that the lie becomes true." The lie being that this random person is the soulmate, the One.

But my ideas of the presumed primary phenomenon have been loosening recently. It's likely I'm going through an aromantic version of that detoxing stage (detoxing: a still-contentious asexual term where asexuals go through strong negative emotions about sex when first finding the community), and "BUT NONE OF IT MAKES SENSE!!" is, through being able to talk and find people who empathise, becoming "Well, I want no part in it, but I have nothing against it."

Firstly, I don't now think that presumed primary is some antiquated law of monogamy that's been retranslated and retranslated and never rethought since back when women were objects. Well, I do, but that's not the point. I think the presumed primary rule actually has grounds in common sense. When you start having a relationship with someone that's really exciting, people in general will monopolise that relationship, often over their previous but less committed relationships, something that I as the aromantic friend tend to be paranoid about. When that relationship involves emotional intimacy, the two people will very quickly find themselves knowing more about each other than their existing circles. When it involves sexual intimacy, there's firstly a natural Pavlovian reaction to go back to them and get more, but there's also a clear placing above the rest of their relationships because there's only so many people you can have sexual relationships with at once, due to time and safety constraints. And then the final part of my important relationships triangle comes into play, and there will naturally be wild esculation of commitment. When you have someone who you've poured your heart and soul out to, who is also starting to know how to get you going in bed, essentially, a relationship that you prize as 'special', then it's natural to put in concrete plans for seeing them more often, to pine when they're away, and, once all that's happened, to actually start living together, basing your life choices around each other, essentially becoming fully primary.

The thought-test I used to get to this point was this: Imagine that tomorrow, all the crap from romantic monogamy disappears- the idea of soulmates, compulsary monogamy, this binary between friendship and romance, the presumed primary rule. Everyone is suddenly single again and gets another chance, playing by the new rules.

Now come back in 50 years. What stuff did you kick away which stayed out? Unlearned, unneeded. Of that list, the idea of soulmates has disappeared completely. There is still exclusivity of various forms (and much richer and more useful forms), but compulsary monogamy is out. People are categorising their relationships, probably in a binary, but a much vaguer one. Meanwhile, I was surprised to discover that, in the hypothetical simulation in my head, the presumed primary rule is almost as strong as ever. A lot of the sting has been taken out of it because there is no longer a binary between relationship and friendship, so the things which used to be called friendships are seen as valid relationships which need maintainance.

But this whole thought experiment lead, as they inexorably do, to the big question: How do I, as an aromantic person, use this?
I think the key point is seperating the presumed primary rule from its couching in the relationship binary. When you succesfully manage to do that, what you end up with is NRE (New Relationship Energy: A polyamorous term meaning the flood of excitement one gets at the start of a new relationship) leading to a monopolising of time. Which is perfect for our evil plans of binary subversion!
Because NRE can totally be cultivated in friendships as well as romantic relationships. Unless I've misunderstood all sexuals, and only asexuals get the "Wheeeeee, an amazing new friend!" However, from how people have talked about their friends, I'm going to say that's not true.
And I refer you to the story above, where NRE, through the magic of something that works exactly like presumed primary, leads to monopolisation of a relationship. Leads to a relationship fulfilling some or several vital needs, be they emotional or sexual intimacy, or others I've not thought of. And if you can hang on through that phase where you begin to see what needs each other can meet without it becoming a romantic relationship, you then reach the point where you have (fanfare): A highly significant but non-romantic relationship!!

Then, from significance comes commitment, and from commitment comes not dying alone and being eaten by your cats before anyone finds you (which I wish wasn't implied to be part of the natural life-cycle of the aromantic).

I'm very excited now. If I wasn't still snowed in, I'd rush out and find one of the 5 or so people with whom I'm sure I can kindle some NRE and try it out.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

On yadas and community

So I tend to get easily distracted by things. It shows on my blog, where I simply cannot put in the effort to be structured. I was mining this awesome vein on simple asexuality (as in, not being messed about by aromance and gender and queerness and demines and tricky things) and the structures we can put in to deepen asexual thought, and I had loads of plans, and then I got distracted by essays. And then I got distracted from essays by Yadas (for those who don’t know, the yadas are a group of originally non-binary trans asexuals who have formed a queer-ass e-gang). So it’s finally sunk in, and now I have two things I want to talk about. The next one is going to be more about my personal gender exploration, in relation to the gender exploration of everyone else I know. This one is, unfortunately, going to be difficult to appreciate fully if you don’t know about the yadas.

I want to talk about community. Because some of my greatest losses have been the deaths of communities. And the loss of relationships that could have been. I’ve spent quite a bit of time recently looking at the good days, with friends, proto-friends, former friends, internet friends, meatspace friends, good friends, poor friends.
There’s something which hurts me just a little when I spend time with the Yadas, and that’s this sickening sense of de ja vous. Believe me, any Yadas reading, you are not the first (here comes the ‘back in my day’ story).
I remember the gang I used to hang out with on AVEN. Maybe a dozen regulars (I can remember about 6 of the usernames), and up to 30 familiar faces on the edges. We spent our time in Just For Fun, and started out just as posters who vaguely knew each other. Then came The Longest Thread on AVEN, and things- exploded. Almost literally. I think, at our strongest, we managed to get through about a hundred pages in a night. You know the chatterbox? That was made to try and contain me and my gang. We were despised! We were infamous!

And that’s the thing. I remember being the New Young Avenites. I remember our impenetrable in-jokes. I remember the way we all praised each other, and then copied each other’s praise into our signatures. I remember the thrill of making AVEN work for us, being radical. I remember hanging around the boards at midnight, taking over practically every thread as we greeted each other, and the forums rang with our delight. I remember laughing at the previous gang of New Young Avenites, as they disapproved of us, mostly just because we weren’t them and didn’t have the same jokes as them. I remember disapproving of the next gang of New Young Avenites, as they laughed our group into the fragmented darkness of the internet.

Boy, do the yadas remind me of me.

I wonder how much the name makes the community. ‘Our group’ seems to eventually get a name, and with that, it becomes something more. It’s happened with pretty much all my irl friendship groups, and the ones with a name seem to inherit a purpose. It seems to me that there’s a sharp difference- communities with names die, or are saved from dying. Communities without names just loose the potential to one day exist.
I’m vividly reminded of this by the fact that I’ve just been texted by one of my old best friends while writing. We had a gang of three, with a name. Within a gang of six, with a name. And each group had an identity. And each group isn’t going too well. And each group is starting to fight for it.

Some random thoughts. Don’t stop fighting, yadas. Really, don’t.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Saving Spaces

EDITED TO ADD A DISCLAIMER: I've come under severe criticism for being so blindly supportive of sex-positivism in this post, which I think is pretty fair. The problem is, up until this was pointed out to me, I'd always gone with the sex-positive movement's rhetoric of assuming that sex-positive is a synonym for non-judgemental. I'm not going to edit anything out of this post, but for now, please read 'non-judgemental about people's sexualities' where I've written 'sex-positive'.


Not been writing much recently, restraints of work, and all, but every few days, I seem to stumble across new cool asexy blogs. My list has increased almost exponentially. Check out the list to the left-hand side if you’re interested.

One post in particular, from Dreki’s archive, has just got my head spinning.
If you’re interested in (post-101) asexual community building, you must read this.

(It’s so important that I’m not going to summarise what they say. I’m going to wait here until you’ve read it. Done? Good. I’ll carry on).

I’m still really not sure if I want to believe Dreki is telling the truth. On the one hand, they argue well, it is, for example, kinda weird that the only safe space on AVEN is for sexuals. There’s a whole thing about asexual investment in sexual pain which is another issue entirely- I think a lot of it stems from romantic clich├ęs of bodies burned by the irresistible forces of lust, and unavoidable hyperbole when sexual people try to describe sexual attraction.

My biggest argument against them is that asexuality is fundamentally different from most other minority groups. We live in societies that are cissexist, ablest, racist, ect, but we also live in societies that are often quite anti-sex. When some other minority talks in a way which might be called ‘un-PC’, the privileged can ignore them. That’s what the privileged do anyway. When asexuals talk with a hatred of sexuality, that hatred is fuelled by the strong political groups which invest in creating hatred of sex, in breeding judgement and human misery. That hatred is also picked up by the same currents in society. These are horrible lies, I don’t want to see them spoken at all, let alone by people in a group that theoretically represents me. I’ve always seen sex-positive conformity as an acceptable price. True, it means we can’t say what some of us think, but it also means we’re not feeding straight into the judgemental power games of the natural opponents of alternate sexuality. Asexuals should be held to the same standards as others when making judgements about the moral value of sex.

These were my initial thoughts. Essentially, this is what I think the chief difference would be if AVENites stopped self-policing so rigorously. There would instantly be a lot more of the vile sex-negative threads that pop up occasionally, and there would be no stopping them. All the good work of AVEN would be wiped clean, massive asexual loss of credibility, planes falling out the sky, etc. And I don’t think it would help if we had safe spaces, because I still don’t want that filth in my community, thanks.
But then, re-reading and re-reading, I realised that this doesn’t answer the entire charge. In a slight twist to the Ideal Asexual idea, Dreki asks; why is it that transpeople and people with mental health problems and non-neurotypical people (three communities which appear to have a larger incidence in the asexual population than the general population), have to be hidden away? What sort of positive community can that make?

And are we limited to sitting around for an eternity saying “Jolly good lark, this asexuality business! Such fun!” while we secretly blog and queersecrets and PM our (perfectly valid) questions about intersectionality? That’s why I like the blogosphere and apositive, we can talk without worrying too much what the sexuals will think. When I posted a series of angsty cries for help because the loss of my assumed privilege as a romantic person hurt Too. Damn. Much, a month or two ago, I found myself supported by other bloggers going through the same things as I was. It’s comforting, and a conversation which probably couldn’t have happened on AVEN, where there’s suggested censure at your unhappiness, and no way you could have a proper discussion about romantic privilege.

Dunno. What do you guys think?

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

"I sometimes think no poetry is read...

...save where some sepultured Caesura bled.”
A letter to a living poet, Rupert Brooke

So I found an ancient (given as a gift in 1944) copy of the complete works of Rupert Brooke in a charity shop for 50 pence. And oh my god.

Because up until now, I’ve only read one poem of Brooke’s. I think it was his last, before he died in his early twenties, in World War 1. “If I should die, think only this of me...” (watch as I completely disobey that instruction). The poem is pompous, patriotist, and famous. In my opinion, it’s one of his worst works. The poetry of Brooke seethes with passion and life, even as the things he agonises about are melodramatic, teen poetry.

Here’s the one I’d like to discuss today:

Thoughts on the shape of the human body:
How can we find? how can we rest? how can
We, being gods, win joy, or peace, being man?
We, the gaunt zanies of a witless Fate,
Who love the unloving and lover hate,
Forget the moment ere the moment slips,
Kiss with blind lips that seek beyond the lips,
Who want, and know not what we want, and cry
With crooked mouths for Heaven, and throw it by.
Love's for completeness! No perfection grows
'Twixt leg, and arm, elbow, and ear, and nose,
And joint, and socket; but unsatisfied
Sprawling desires, shapeless, perverse, denied.
Finger with finger wreathes; we love, and gape,
Fantastic shape to mazed fantastic shape,
Straggling, irregular, perplexed, embossed,
Grotesquely twined, extravagantly lost
By crescive paths and strange protuberant ways
From sanity and from wholeness and from grace.
How can love triumph, how can solace be,
Where fever turns toward fever, knee toward knee?
Could we but fill to harmony, and dwell
Simple as our thought and as perfectible,
Rise disentangled from humanity
Strange whole and new into simplicity,
Grow to a radiant round love, and bear
Unfluctuant passion for some perfect sphere,
Love moon to moon unquestioning, and be
Like the star Lunisequa, steadfastly
Following the round clear orb of her delight,
Patiently ever, through the eternal night!

I think it might have been the second poem I read. I loved it from the moment I read “who love the unloving and the lover hate.” Such a simple illustration of the cruelty of human relationships.
To briefly explain where I think Brooke is coming from, he was part of a movement which abandoned chaperones, went on long, mixed-sex walks, slept naked under the stars (he went skinny-dipping with Virginia Woolf), but never had sex before marriage. You can kinda see it in his poetry, it’s all about attraction and kissing and mystery- part of what I like about Brooke is that the beautiful, classical language flows from a guy who is seriously horny quite a lot of the time, and willing to talk about it using a form often reserved for true love.
Brooke was also incredibly pretty. Half his friends, by most reports, were friends with him not because of his amazing wordcraft but because he was devilishly handsome. I want to know what would happen if Brooke took up modern day feminism, because a lot of his poems contain, between the lines, this cry of the objectified male. The objectified male who is so, so scared of growing old because all he has are his looks, because he refuses to validate desire when it doesn’t come from someone classically good-looking.

And so we get back to this poem. “Kiss with blind lips that seek beyond the lips.” We try to know people through sex, through intimacy, the act is never the act but some frustrated attempt to connect, to feel like you really, truly know someone when it is truly impossible to. The body is a clumsy metaphor, its own isolation unit.
“Who want, and know not what we want, and cry,
With crooked mouths for heaven, and throw it by.”
Don’t tell me you’ve seriously never felt like this? Me and Brooke can’t be the only ones.

“we love, and gape,
Fantastic shape to mazed fantastic shape,
Straggling, irregular, perplexed, embossed,
Grotesquely twined, extravagantly lost
By crescive paths and strange protuberant ways
From sanity and from wholeness and from grace.”
Here, he’s describing the body as imperfect, monstrous, an illusion of what we truly are. And it’s so fucking queer. “Grotesquely twined, extravagantly lost.” Since reading this poem, I’ve genuinely considered replacing my ‘questioning’ label with that phrase. There is something I find so beautiful, so human, in imperfection.
The imagery here is astounding. Last year, I was doing art (as I think I mentioned), and for his final piece, one of the guys took close-ups of people’s faces and then zoomed in so much on the corner of a nose, the fold of a brow, that they became abstract, hauntingly beautiful patterns of sumptuous flesh. Reading this poem, those photographs are what burn themselves into my mind.
“By crescive paths and strange protuberant ways,” the human body, coming to terms with it, loving it, is a journey. You can literally lose yourself.

And then he goes a bit crap and wusses out and says that it would be better if there were no such things as bodies, these perfectly imperfect forms of wonder and delight, because it would be better if we all connected spiritually, throw in a random classical reference, bob’s your uncle, another Romantic poem churned out.

Which is where I get annoyed with Brooke, because he always has such great potential. He definitely wasn’t afraid of breaking the rules of his day, and his poetry seems, when it’s really flowing from him, so transgressive, so full of fire and change, that even a century after he lived, the world still trembles from his vision.

And then something pulls him back. Whether it’s the fact that he’s essentially writing emo poetry about the latest girl to dump him, moping around in his room at the age of 16, or the fact that he’s stuck in the Romantic framework, where there are easy answers and you have to prescribe to them, or because it was Edwardian times, and there simply weren’t the words, or because he was so young that he never got to realise that he could be more than an object, that desire isn’t something you have to justify.

Poetry changed, months after he died. Possibly the most poetry has ever changed. It became about raw power, emotion that could cut through the heart, mockery of those in command, it became a tool for radical critique of society. Brooke died in the old system, and is remembered by it. He is remembered by silly poems about the honour of death and the romance of war, couched in pretentions. Had he lived even three years longer? I think the world could be very different today.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Operational definitions: Where things get technical

First- time for a short squeal of delight. A personal first: Someone I know mentioned the split between romantic and sexual attraction without being asexual or, to my knowledge, knowing an asexual. This made me fiercely happy. It also gave me the perfect conditions with which to bring up asexuality for the first time with my LGBT, but various people interrupted and the topic moved on to something different.

Anyway, I’ve been stumbling across a new way of defining myself for a while now, and I think I’ve finally got it sorted. It reconciles asexual and homosexual in a way that demihomosexual never did for me.
It’s based on the idea that sexuality has a number of ways of defining it, subtly different in ways that normally don’t matter. The three which I’m largely thinking of are:

The social constructionist:
Sexuality is defined by identity, feelings, belonging. It isn’t prescriptive or intuitive. Whatever labels fit, stick. It’s also very generic and vague, offering absolutely no definitions of what sexuality is, how important sexual attraction is, etc. In being open, it is blurred and unspecific. According to this definition, I’m asexual.
The asexual:
A definition of sexuality created by people who were told about sexual attraction in the assumption that they’d already know about it. A logical, thorough image of sexuality, like painstakingly painting around something invisible. Very much based on the word attraction. Compartmentalised, due to the difference in the romantic and sexual feelings of many of its creators. I’m guessing I’ll get a bit of flak for saying that asexuality doesn’t reflect reality, but my point is that nothing does. Not completely. I think the asexual theory is utterly awesome because it’s the only one that really looks deep into the complexities of what orientation means. Under the asexual definition, I’m homosexual.
The behaviouralist:
Defined entirely by how you act/want to act. A pretty sucky approximation for orientation, but it has in its favour the fact that it’s actually more important than orientation, in a real-world kinda way. In this sense, I think I’m bi.

The nice thing about this is that it gives me a reasonably succinct description of my sexuality that invites dialogue and hints at the complexities involved, while referencing all the identities that are important to me (my preferred label, my technical label, my behaviour). It’s way better than the “Don’t know, not sure how to say it” that I’ve been trying for recently, which is so difficult to make not sound defensive. Instead, I’ve got “depends on what definitions you use. From a general understanding, I’m asexual. From an asexual understanding, I’m homosexual. From a behavioural understanding, I’m bisexual.” Which is- well, it’s the most compact I’ve got it since I gave up being asexual, and it makes me feel so much happier than any partial label.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Witness the awesome power of synoyms!

In primary school (dunno what non-UK equivalents are. Kindergarten?), they told us never to use the word said. Or nice. We had a big list of synonyms up on the wall, and we were told synonyms had power. Synonyms were strong and had specificity (my new favourite word).
So we, as asexuals, have the generic word ‘friend’, which we’re trying to extract highly varied, nuanced and specificitised (sorry) meanings from. And we’re having as much luck as juicing a stone. Time to turn, as my teachers would be glad to hear me say, to the awesome power of synonyms.

As a thought exercise, inspired by a comment from WritingFromFactorX, I’m going to list a variety of synonyms and the meanings we might have a chance of getting them to have:

Someone I know- Less formal-sounding than acquaintance, without the commitment of friend.

Acquaintance- A fairly simple one. It’d be nice if we used this more. If you ‘Acquainted’ someone on facebook. It would remove a lot of the extreme end of the devaluation of friend. However, it sounds rather frosty. It’d be tricky to use often in real life without people thinking you were standoffish. Which you especially don’t want to do when you’re forming your Awesome Circle of Asexy Intimacy.

Associate- Someone you associate with. Someone you work as a team with? Would be useful, if it didn’t sound as if you were threatening corporate takeover every time you used it.

Mate- Still fairly casual. To me implies someone you spend time with, but it doesn’t run that deep. Banter and paintball, not soul-searching and commitment. Alternatively pal, buddy, etc.

Confidant- A nice word, indicating a relationship very deep but not romantic or necessarily committed. I think this could be one of the more useable ones on this list, especially if you find yourself with an inner circle who you tell everything to.

Companion- You could get it to imply some sort of faithful commitment outside of sexual/romantic relationships. There’d be a bit of the romantic idea brought it. I think this word would only really be useful if you had a few strong, primary relationships, romantic friendships, binary-blurring stuff, and decided together that you would actively use the word ‘companion’ instead of ‘partner’, to indicate the different nature of your relationship.

Partner- A good fallback for a primary relationship that’s still not best described by standard labels. However, it’s a bit too monogamous.

Darling, dear, treasure, honey, pet, duck- Said with a bit of humour, I think meaning could underlie the joke. If there’s someone with whom you’re very intimate in some way, constantly referring to them as ‘my darling’ (both in first and third person) could show a little more flexibility in the status of the relationship than just ‘friend’. Definitely that you see your relationship as important enough to give them their own unique title.

What do you think? What words do you want in your vocabulary?


PS. The online thesaurus has girlfriend as the antonym for boyfriend. How peculiar.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Asexual literary criticism I: “How would a gay person read this?”

Note on the series: This started off as one post, but it’d be fiendishly long if I did that. I’m now considering doing it in three, this introduction and comparison to homosexual criticism, then a post linking to various worthwhile pieces of asexual criticism, then a conclusion on what asexual literary criticism might look like. I could take this series down another aromantic, non-binary route, but I’m going to try my absolute hardest to drag it back to standard, possibly romantic, asexiness. Which basically means screeching the blog to a halt and turning it back the other way again, but these things have to be done.

Note on homosexual literary theory: I don’t actually dislike it. It’s because I respect it that I am especially disappointed when it descends to laughableness. I did a whole essay on the homoerotic themes in Hamlet last year. Along with one about the stagnancy of traditional romantic models in Brideshead Revisited, and another about the heteronormativity of WWI literature. Looking back, I wonder what my teachers made of me.

This is based on the summary of literary criticism in my English textbook, and, more specifically;

What lesbian/gay critics do:
[points summarised in brief]
1. Identify lesbian/gay authors
2. Identify lesbian/gay pairings in mainstream work, and then discuss them as such, as opposed to reading same-sex pairings in non-specific ways
3.Set up an extended, metaphorical sense of ‘lesbian/gay’, so that it connotes a moment of crossing a boundary.
4. Expose the ‘homophobia’ of mainstream literature and criticism.
5. Foreground homosexual aspects in literature which have been glossed over.
6. Foreground literary genres which influenced ideas of masculinity and femininity.

To which a queer friend responded: “Not all of us!” (by which they meant, ‘Some of us just read and criticise literature while also being gay.’)

Maybe you can see my criticisms of this section of criticism. For a start, it’s trying too hard, mugging the book in favour of the critic’s obscure and unobjective approach (so, in #3, for example, practically any sort of conflict could be seen as ‘gay’. And since conflict is at the heart of literature, the kids at school were entirely right when they told you reading was ‘gay’). From a more asexual point of view, #2 is downright disrespectful- why must you read a relationship as being gay when it is actually a close friendship? That just a) denigrates further the already impotent power of friendship, b) allows no possibility of an asexual reading, c) makes it harder for two people of the same gender to be allowed to be friends without someone reading into it.

And it occurred to me that we already have the basis of an asexual literary criticism (PHD material? That would be kinda cool). A lot of what we do is ‘literary’ criticism (see Ily and Shockrave), Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, Sheldon Cooper, Dexter (wow, writing the names of all those aliens/psychopaths/sociopaths all together made me feel kinda sad).
And notice we’re fighting already against homosexual criticism, gay people and asexuals both laying contradictory claim to Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, even Spongebob Squarepants. We are never given heroes. We must find those we like the best, and then fight like hell to make sure no-one stronger takes them.

And this is part of where homosexual criticism invisibilises us. It’s not just stealing our characters, it’s actually writing us out of existence. In the frantic desire to analyse what isn’t necessarily there, gay critics, hungry for evidence, revert to the following formula:

Absence of heterosexuality = Homosexuality

Gee, doesn’t that look familiar. Where have I seen that before? How about, oh, everywhere?

Gender: Oh yeah, forgot about that

So, in this utopian world with ultra-flexible relationship models that we’re going to create (we being me and the Imaginary Brotherhood of Aromantics that I’m increasingly talking to. All you other guys are just eavesdropping), what do we do about orientation? By which I mean sexual and romantic attraction along gender lines.

It seems to me that those sexualities which disregard gender, asexual aromantics and bi/pansexuals, get to smoosh around with the definitions a bit, play loose and easy with the rules. Which is fun and all (except for, you know, when it’s not), but it leaves the monos playing catch-up a bit. How does a mono-sexual person implement a non-binary approach to relationships? When you clearly don’t have infinite possibilities with fifty percent of the population, do you deal with them the same as the others?

My point isn’t that monosexual people are incompatible with this hypothetical universe, simply that it’s going to seriously change the validity of orientation in everyday life.
Imagine, for example, two straight people of the same gender becoming committed life partners, living together, raising children, sharing hobbies, talking about everything and looking outside their relationship for more ‘casual’ ones, focussed on romance and kissing and sex, and those few things which they aren’t getting from their committed friend. How often would this type of arrangement occur in our hypothetical universe? Theoretically, not that rarely, I think a lot of people have the ability to share incredibly strong bonds with people they’re not sexually attracted to. In fact, I think the idea that the person who really gets you going in bed is the same as the one you can share amazing conversations and commitments with is getting kinda strained. I think a system where sexual intimacy comes relatively detached from everything else would be a pretty useful one for a lot of people.

And this ties in a little with a point I threw hurriedly into my last post- the mechanics of jealousy rely on the idea that you only have to be worried about one gender. The idea that only opposite-sex interactions are threatening. This is convenient because it allows an awful lot of control through wielding jealousy, but it still allows your partner to have someone in their life other than you. And this myth and the myth of the romantic binary prop each other up in loads of other subtle ways. If a relationship with people you’re not sexually attracted to is completely unthreatening, but any relationship with the slightest hint of sexuality is suddenly a massive deal, does that tell us anything important about our culture's relative valuations of sex and emotional intimacy?

I’d argue, nothing we don’t already know.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Aromance and polyamory

Mage has just posted something about the intersection between polyamory and aromance, which, coincidentally, is what I was gearing myself up to write.

They talk about why friendship can have the same sorts of intimacy as an emotional affair, but without the judgement. It’s like a get-out clause in conventional monogamy, the poly-style steam vent without which the whole thing would certainly blow.
(It’s also, as a side-thought, often routed in heteronormativity. “My boyfriend can go out with his guy friends because men don’t form threatening relationships with other men”, “My girlfriend can do likewise, because even when girls do form relationships, they’re sexy and controllable.” Hence the gay best friend. Hence one of the reasons many people don’t want to date bisexuals (because they know they’d have to be jealous of everyone, thus allowing them no friends). It doesn’t work when you start to consider the real gender-sexuality smoosh.)

I don’t want to be one of those non-monogamous people who then decides monogamy is terrible and should be destroyed (but I’m allowed my tactless venting period, right? Like snotty new AVENites?). However, I don’t think I’m stretching my luck when I say- It’s impossible to get all your intimacy from one person.

Monogamy is going to have to struggle with that fact. Doesn’t mean it can’t survive (as Mage calls it, ‘monoamory’), but it can’t pretend otherwise. When it comes to intimacy, humans will always be sluts.

I think polyamory and aromance have a lot to offer each other. And not in a theoretical, we can both learn things, kinda way. In a practical, “Hey, Poly, wanna hook up?” “Sure, Asexy, prepare to be cuddled harder than ever before” kinda way.

It seemed weird to me, first pondering this, that the answer to ‘I can’t have one romantic relationship’ would be ‘have several’. But there’s two very important points about polyamorous people.

Firstly, as a group, they’ve spent a lot of time thinking about relationships, figuring out why the relationship structure they saw around them didn’t work for them. They’re going to sympathise, if you can spin it right.

Secondly, they’re less keen on this idea that intimacy has to look a certain way, and all come from the same person. That means you’re more likely to get a tailor-made relationship with exactly the kind of intimacies you both want, and both of you having the freedom to look elsewhere to fulfil your remaining intimacies.

At the end of the day, a monogamous person who hopes to find the one and have a traditional relationship with them can never be more than ‘just friends’ with poor old Asexy. You can break the occasional small friendship boundary, you can commit to each other and look after each other more than normal, but they’re always going to be holding a little bundle of intimacies out ready for Mr. Right.

What you need, my dear, (he says, giving out fake advice to an imaginary person who is clearly actually himself, somewhere in the depths of the internet) is something queerer. Someone who won’t bind you up with ‘just friends’.

Another awesome plus is the visibility. If you reject the relationship binary and then hang out with people who haven’t, then you’re never going to be read as anything but friends. In the same way that asexuals aren’t assumed to be asexual, they’re just assumed to be single. Whereas if you create interesting relationships, that gives you the ability to subtly indicate to your corner of the world that stepping outside the binary is possible. And, as David Jay would say, it also gives you something to gossip about.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Get me off this tiger

I want out. Yeah, the hard way's more rewarding if you survive it, but I really fucking want the easy way. Because we are the first, and we have no idea if that elusive milk-and-honey land that we've been telling each other about actually exists. Because we're deluded fools on a ship bound to nowhere. Because I've been swimming against the tide for a few months now, and I'm starting to feel like I'm drowning. Because I can't imagine how I could live my life like this.

And it's true, only a few hours ago, I was feeling happier about this than I have done in weeks, talking to a friend who really genuinely gets where I'm coming from. And it's true, I'm blaming aromanticism for completely other issues, screaming at myself that it's my identity to blame rather than confronting what's really going on. Yes, I have a crush that's becoming unignorable. Yes, I have no idea how I'd ever translate that into any sort of mutually beneficial relationship without my aromanticism flaring up. Yes, it kills me to see him go home with another guy. But it's more a standard story of unrequited love. If he really liked me, we could work something out. It's the fact that he doesn't like me (after, I should point out, spending almost no time with me socially) that makes all my old insecurities come screeching back with "YOU'RE DULL! YOU'LL NEVER BE AN INTERESTING PERSON!" Which, I should probably mention, is where a lot of my fears about aromanticism truly originate.

But sometimes you just need to rant, and lately, this blog has been nothing more than a place I can scream. And scream.

Construction will come tomorrow. And I mean actual construction, not this crappy, fake 'blame it on the identity' thing. I mean actually what's bothering me, and why, and what I can do about it.

For now, just remember that feelings make you stronger. Remember that feeling you had as you were leaving and you shook your crush's partner's hand, staring into his face and wishing him a good night, smiling.

That's a new one.

Friday, 15 October 2010

An explanation, if not an apology

Here’s where I actually spend just a little bit of time doing more than wailing at a computer screen. I can do that, you know. I keep a blog so I can join the exciting asexy discourse, not so I can go “WAAAAA, I HAVE NO FRIENDS, EVEN THOUGH I ACTUALLY HAVE A HANDFUL ALREADY AND HAVE ONLY BEEN HERE THREE WEEKS, WAA!”

Thought number one- this is exactly why I don’t want to join the LGBT. If I was proud and asexual, I would demand acceptance, but I’m not. I really hate that questioning implies ‘straight, maybe bi/gay’, possibly ‘cis, maybe trans’, and can never mean ‘asexual, maybe whatever’. So for now, I want to lick my wounds and concentrate on how to actually negotiate my sexuality, not just all the idiots who want to use it as their political victim. Screw them.

I want to explain my last two posts to you. Some of you may already know exactly where I’m coming from, but it’s those people I need to address most of all.
I don’t know what aromantic means. Romantic attraction as a concept seems nebulous to me. I don’t know if I am aromantic through and through or if I’m just too cynical, but this fact remains:
I am almost sure that I could not happily be in a standard romantic relationship.

That’s not to say I couldn’t have a relationship with the exact same structure as a romantic relationship, from the handholding and the kissing to the long-term living together and babies prospects. But each of these would have to be genuinely negotiated to be what we, as a couple (or triad, etc), thought was truly best for us.
I couldn’t pick a partner, do the wooing, buy flowers on valentine’s day and spend years being their ‘person-who-makes-me-not-single’ while they are mine. Literally could not do that, without living a huge and destructive lie.

What I have here is potential. I can tailor-make truly exceptional relationships. I can live by David Jay’s new guides, rip up the rulebook and really make things happen.

But there’s a lot that you miss when you give up romance. A lot that you don’t realise until you’re in that position. Sometimes, I think of romantic relationships as celebrated kidnappings, holding just one person in the crowds and making your needs their responsibility (see what I mean about cynical). Which is sort of... irresponsible. Especially if you then abuse that by expecting and assuming left, right and centre and never communicating. Your needs are your own. Deal with them.

That’s what I’m doing. Every need, out into the light, figuring out how to meet it. And it’s scary. I’m scared. I can see why people don’t do this if they have a choice.

I wish I had a choice.


So that’s why I talk about friends. Because they’re what’s important to me, friend relationships are my primary relationships. And I reckon this blog’s going to get seriously self-indulgent. I don’t know how long for. Stick around. Especially if you’re going through the same questions about romantic relationships as me. Learn with me.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

That super-random last post- Part II

So the last post- a lot of where it came from was what I've been thinking about aromance recently. Thinking about friendships and relationships, and how I can create relationships which work for me. How I create relationships is fundamentally an asexual issue, and that's... odd, when you've just abandoned the only label you've ever felt comfortable in and now you have a suuddenly decreased quality of relationships.

I'm not going to talk about relationships today. Instead, I'm going to talk about creation. I want to create something. Something interpersonal. It was a goal of mine already to figure out how to do that, and now it's a need. For want of better words, a party, but not a party as such, because a load of strangers and loud music is the opposite of what I want. A gathering. A meeting of minds. Mostly, I want to create a space. A space in which I can be myself and relax.

And, for me, it's big stakes. It's not just the people I chat to in lunch breaks, friends mean everything to me and they will always mean everything to me. There is nothing more out there.

Friday, 8 October 2010

On the doorstep

I have a small group of friends, back home, that I used to hang out with. One of the best moments I remember was when we first started meeting outside of school. We went to one girl’s house, and someone assumed that their mother wouldn’t let us in. So we hung around outside the door for a while. A while turned into a little longer, people who had been standing sat on the doorstep and the pavement and eventually, her mother opened the door and said we were welcome to come in. We never got round to getting up.
We sat outside as evening fell. We sat outside, a circle of pale faces, and talked and talked into the darkness.

We never made that mistake again. We went round to that girl’s house every week and watched youtube videos and films, until her mother became too passive-aggressive and we started going round to mine. Where we watched films. And youtube videos.


One of the group understood. We used to go for walks, and we’d sit on the grass and talk and talk. One day, it threatened to rain as we were leaving. We only grabbed one, large umbrella. We sat on a bench as it started to rain. We huddled under the one umbrella. We watched the drifts of rain, the banks of clouds, the foggy lights of the city beneath us. We talked. Every time we tried to get up, the rain got worse. We sat down, and continued our conversation, deeper and deeper. We agreed- we were glad we had only brought one umbrella. It forced us closer.
Hours later, the rain stopped. The familiar world had become different, breathtaking. A beautiful, shared experience.

Within the last year, I’ve fallen in with a crowd who, I’ve just realised, have spoiled me rotten. They have this unspoken habit of finding some quiet room or garden in which to lounge- going to some event and then almost deliberately avoiding the actual event, just hanging out with the same old people in strange new places, as dusk falls, transfigures. As the dark draws in.

As the dark draws closer.


I was thinking, before I went to uni, about how to capture these moments, make them happen more often. And here- well, I’m in the middle of a sudden neurotic episode caused by the combination of my periodic “Oh god, I’m aromantic. How can I have the relationships I want while people won’t commit to me because we’re ‘just friends’” and the new “oh god, I need to go out and make some friends, but I’m incredibly ill with freshers flu.”

And every single event on the freshers week programme was in a nightclub, apart from the mother and baby group.

And the girl who’s likely to be my best uni friend hates walking even five minutes, which caused some tension today when I just needed go get out and stretch my legs, because that’s practically how I emote (I even wear holes in my hallway carpet).

And I just feel so scared that I won’t find anyone who does this thing of collecting moments, moments of non-conformity, of the elements, of coming together through the weird places you find yourself and the wonderful people you find yourself with.

And I just want to be back on that doorstep, on the corner of the street next to mine, as the light fades.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Quick post-freshers week update

Hi, all. Little internet access, so this'll be short.

Apparently, the uni LGBT is both vaguely transphobic and probably asexophobes, too. I've not had any first-hand experience of them because I accidentally fell in with a small and awesome splinter cell who are much more accepting.

Also, I've decided not to label myself as asexual anymore. This decision happened more than a month ago, but I somehow never got round to writing the long-winded explaination. Basically, if the label fits, it'll come back to me. However, I'm still aromantic, I'm getting more and more sure of that. So:
-I still feel like part of the asexual community.
-I should still have a lot to write on here. Whether and when I do depends on how busy my life is.

My society went out to a trans resources centre, and they had forms which actually had an asexual option on them! I ticked them, partly because asexual is the option I most identified with, and partly because I didn't get a single asexual tickbox when I actually was asexual, and I don't want to miss out on the opportunity.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Jump at the sun

Am leaving in a day or so to go to uni. Once there, real life will catch up with me rather harder. I'll try to update- oh, who am I kidding, see you at christmas.

Had meant to build this up with sexuality-tinted reflections on how I've learned and grown this year, finishing climactically and leaving the reader with a view over the wrapped-up fulfilment that I feel, looking back. All finished, time to move on.

Then life got in the way. And I was too busy enjoying it. Sucks, I know.

See ya.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Salad


First off, here’s a picture of Spiderman, making the American Sign Language sign for ‘I Love You’. It’s derived from a mixture of the signs for I, L and Y, so what Spiderman is actually saying, as he swings his way through the streets is “I love you, Ily!”
This is clearly a shoutout to the fantastic and most prolifically asexy blog Asexy Beast, and its writer, Ily. Even superheroes demand asexual visibility!

Now, with that acknowledgment out of the way (random, but I promised Ily I would), here’s a David Mitchell-esque rant about innuendo that I thought asexuals might particularly enjoy:


Did you really have to make the word salad gross? Just from a foodie point of view, didn’t you think there was enough of a force in the world that made salad seem disgusting already, to all those people who are scared of vegetables and things that haven’t been grilled or fried? Did you really have to make it so that, whenever anyone says “I’m going to have a [blank] salad” in company, someone else is going to take advantage? See, it might seem like harmless fun at your en- to you, but this rant really isn’t about sex. Can you understand that, innuendo? Do you get that something could possibly not be about sex? Because what this is about, is language.

As you close off words, as you make more and more obscure sexual acts share the same lexicon as innocent things, what you are essentially doing is making those words unusable in the context they were meant to be used in- in an uninterrupted conversation that isn’t about sex, but is instead about, say, watersports.
Have you read 1984, innuendo? In that book, people are controlled by words. When there are things they can’t say, there are things they can’t think. The greater the vocabulary, the more open the consciousness of society.
I reckon you’re also starting to go bad for sex, as well, innuendo. Sex being all about communication, why can’t it be “You want to stick your what where?” All these nonsense terms for obscure (dare I use the term pornified?) acts almost amounts to using Urban Dictionary as a checklist. Which is not going to give anyone what they really want in bed.
I think you’re dying, innuendo. It started with come. One of the main verbs in the English language and you thought it would be oh-so-clever to take it for yourself. And now almost every book or short story or imperial-verb using conversation in the world contains an innuendo at least once.
The problem, innuendo, is not that you’re too hard. It’s that you’re too easy. You, innuendo, are a slut (word used rhetorically, this blog does not endorse slut-shaming). Sure, we’ve had our good times over the last few years. Remember that time when the racist Americans all called themselves teabaggers? Gee, that was fun. Or the last time we watched Rocky Horror together, when Frankenfurter was like “I’m coming” and we were all like “So’s Brad!” See, you used to know how to have fun, innuendo. Now you’re trying too hard.

So, innuendo, when you finally die, under the crushing weight of your own hunger, I’ll be at your funeral. I’ll even go to the wake. There’ll be salad. And it won’t be funny.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Quotes of the da- of the night

Staying up way too late, ostensibly finishing a long and introspective blog post, I decided to check what Figleaf had been up to recently. He's found some killer quotes since I last read him, quotes which resonate with me, and I think could have a particular meaning in the asexual community. So, in the aim of spreading the love between asexuality and sex-positivism/queerness/kinkiness/otherness in general:

What I am saying is that as we intersect with a world full of people who don’t yet understand what we do and who we are, we aren’t doing ourselves any favours by putting on a good face and only trotting out the kinks and the people who are easiest to digest. No real understanding can come of it.


Andrea from Sex Geek (I think this may have actually been in Figleaf's reading list, rather than his posts), on queer community-building, sounding almost exactly like a lot of conversations we asexuals have had in the past. The speech is full of interesting poly/kink stuff, two areas I feel the start of a personal involvement in, as well as that random "Don't forget the asexuals! How'ya all doin' out there?" line that always makes me go "Ohh! Ohh! That's ME!"

Like Svutlana mother always say, if it take only two adjective and one noun for describe your sexual proclivities in headline, you no try hard enough.


The titular Svutlana, on Vivien Leigh.
To anyone who knows my label addiction, or anything about the vast, polysyllabic sexualities asexuals often build themselves, this needs no explanation.

The lures of the feminine- bloomin' quests

Recently, I've been feeling like I've been having the tiniest bit of sexual attraction to women. I tend to over-minimise my attraction on this blog, so 'tiny' tends to mean 'minor'. In this case, it means 'less than tiny'. It's not even got to the stage of being sexual attraction yet, it's like... increased responsiveness. Like before, I went looking for the bit of my brain that stores my gynophilia and there was just a wall there. Now, the room is still empty, but the wall has disappeared. There's a room in my brain that I've never been into before, waiting to be filled up.

I use this metaphor because that's what it feels like when this feeling strikes. It's that physical sensation when you open a door in pitch black, and somehow, you can sense the open space in front of you.

And I've been thinking about why this is, and what this means. Neither are easy to answer. Neither, I know, are strictly neccesary to answer, sexuality can be what it is without cause. But I think it's useful to look deeper.

When I was younger, I used to think that girls were off-limits. I used to surpress any proto-feelings I developed for girls, and encouraged the ones for boys, because I've been raised in a culture where heterosexuality is destructive. Where it is a metaphor for destruction heaped on the female by the male. Fires which, as they kiss, consume.

I've been going on a bit of a journey on that front, recently. I'll write about it when I have time. Knowing internally what I knew academically- that heterosexuality isn't wrong. Giving myself permission to feel things. When I do, now, it's interesting, exciting, not shameful or confusing. I feel like I'm on a new, a wholesome, adventure. And that could be the reason for my feeling of newfound space.

Also, and I'm less sure about this one, I've hinted before that my attraction to men may be as much about who I want to be as who I want to be with. Now I've come to the horrific realisation that I'm moderately attractive, I feel like that whole issue is coming to a close, and leaving me more mentally healthy.


So, it appears I have a flexible sexuality. And, what's more, it appears that my sexuality is often tied into whatever issues I'm dealing with at the moment. So, here I am, the perfect example of a late bloomer who deals with repression to fully accept themselves and suddenly open new vistas of sexuality. Yes?

Well, no, not really. The important take-away message I have about asexuality and flexibility here is that it really works both ways. As someone like me goes on a journey, their sexuality will change to reflect that journey, in subtle and unexpected ways. All too often, in our society, coming into a sexuality is seen as maturity, openness, a good end goal. But coming into asexuality, a restriction of sexuality, can be just as much of an emotional blossoming. It can stand for maturity, contentment, refinement of personal knowledge. So there is such a thing as a late bloomer. Right now, I feel like I'm blooming quite a lot. But asexuality is just as much a bloom as sexuality.

Monday, 30 August 2010

As sexy as they get

This depressing thought struck me as I was waiting at the platform of the train station in the rain.

I am an attractive young man.

I have no deformities, nothing that would repulse the shallow or unsuspecting. I am tall, dress smartly, my hair finally looks like it was grown by someone who realises that hair can be aesthetic. I fit narrow, Euro-centric, even Aryan beauty standards. Careful choice of glasses hides the things I hate about my face, and careful choice of clothes hides the things I hate about my body. I am skinnier than I think, even if I will never take the massive time/money/pain investment that leads to a great body. I am reasonably healthy. People who know me well wouldn't call me confident, but various strangers have loved my confidence so much that they crushed on me. When I talk with passion, when I reveal what I tend to hide, I can feel people responding to that.

When I realised this, I felt as if I'd been gutted. Because that's it. Battle over. Goodbye, irrational complexes, see you again sometime in middle age. Have fun.
Because I've spent so long looking at uber-pretty men, I can't bear to accept that this is it. This is how far I get. This is attractive.

I don't feel any different. I don't feel like I always imagined attractive men to feel. So therefore I don't feel like I'm attractive.

It's sort of like the myth of thin, which I read about somewhere and now cannot find (prizes to whoever provides me with a link). You keep putting your life on hold, thinking 'when I'm attractive, I'll have this amazing and successful life'.

Well, I'm attractive.

It's time to start living.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

On redefining queer, and who's allowed to use it

First off, a quick asexy link, courtesy of my friends at American Virgin. I think I've heard about this film before, and I'm guessing the first place they came to fundraise was AVEN, but, in case you haven't heard the trailer, go and take a look.

Anyway, I forgot to write down the big list of topics I had to write about, so now I've forgotten them all, and I'm back to writing whatever comes into my head.



How does this reclaiming the word queer thing work, guys? Are we still meant to be slightly disapproving of anyone who uses it and doesn't fit in the LGBTQ crowd? Does it still hurt too much that we don't want to give others a free pass to use it?

I ask because I may one day decide that asexual is too confusing a shorthand for demisexual etc, and decide queer would be better. If I label myself queer, am I defining myself by a word that over half my friends can't even say? Cos that sort of sucks for them. It sort of sucks for me, as well, when they try and explain what I am, and can't use the actual word that I find most helpful.

Is it free to use, but you have to be prepared to grovel the instant any non-hetero-cis person takes offense?
Or is it based on how progressive you are? Feminists and sex-positive people get in free? Do you have to donate a certain amount to gay rights organisations (in which case, I'm not entitled, and won't be until I have some actual disposable income, in several years time [hopefully])?
Maybe you have to have a seal of approval by an actual queer person. If so, we could get little cards printed. That would definately save on confusion.

Or maybe we could just say 'ok, a word's a word. What's more, it's the only word we've got for a concept that needs expressing*'. If it's used in hate, sure, point out the hate, same as you would if someone viciously spat the word 'gay' at you, but just agree that the word itself isn't offensive any more.


*And a concept that needs expressing is a concept that EVERYONE needs to be able to express.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The demi closet

So, quick recap:

In the last post, I promised my next few posts would be short. I then wrote a post that I thought would be really short, and it ended up the same length as the others.
In the post before that, I promised to make things less asexual-based, or at least more wired towards a readership that I don't assume to be asexual. That's also notably been failing.

Today, I hope to meet promise #1, if not promise #2.


I've been thinking about how little I really mention the sexual side of my demisexuality on this blog. A lot of what I write about is written from the 'asexual perspective', and I almost seem to be trying to aviod the part of me that's, well, normal. Seriously. Second-guessing how sexual everyone really is makes my brain hurt, but I reckon there's happily sexual people out there with the same level of sexual attraction to me. I know that my feelings are the only ones I can comment on, but the more I let them be what they are, the more they seem to mark me out as subversively on 'the other side'. It doesn't mean I'm not asexual, the label is still the most useful to me without getting complex (like demihomosexual), but maybe that I'm less asexual than my deliberate persona.

I think it's a matter of bravery. I don't want to stand up and say "This is who I am" because it goes against the idea of the Ideal Asexual. Or maybe, if the Ideal Asexual is the asexual sexuals want to see, the Pure Asexual, the one who's as asexual as possible, who has earned their place at the table of the sexless.

And then there's the excuse. The excuse being- we live in a society with screwy notions about sex (especially queer sex), and I know that I can never rely on this blog to be anonymous. I want the worst real-life experience I can come away with to be "Yes, I blogged about asexuality for several years. God, I was privileged, time-wasting and self-obsessed back then" and not to be "You've read my blog? Oh, great. Now you know way too much about how I think about sex." I draw the line very high so I have a little further to slip.

And the problem is that it's quite a good excuse. The chances aren't all that remote, especially as I remain openly asexual, if someone just decides to google asexuality and do a lot of reading on it. I'm probably blowing the effects out of proportion, I'd never planned to be any sort of graphic sex blogger. After all, that would isolate some of my asexual audience (see promise #2, above) and be practically impossible, considering I'm not reckoning on having a sex life to write home about any time soon.

But anyway. What's courage and what's foolishness?

And, looking back, I'm less convinced that I've met promise #1, or that I've not met promise #2. The moral of this story is- I always break my promises (must be because I'm an evil demisexual aromantic).

Monday, 9 August 2010

Sexual aromantics and asexual romantics- guess which are the bigger bastards

Note on the title: Yes, I'm perfectly aware most asexual romantics don't agree with the people quoted here, and the ones who I have quoted probably didn't think about it in this much depth. Now I've got your attention, I'll put away my broad brush and start painting with the narrowest implements I have. Which would be the knives.



So I spent three weeks on holiday and what feels like another half a week catching up on all the internet stuff I missed out on (and that only includes the blogs I have feeds for- the busier ones I tend to just check whenever I have time and inclination- that’ll take me months!). Anyway, I tend to compose my subjects for blogging away from my computer, so I have two or three short things that will basically write themselves, and one big, epic post I want to make about heterosexual masculinity, and am building up to.

When I came back, I noticed Charles (I’m avoiding Pugnacion because it’s harder to spell), who has been the most admirably busy asexual blogger in my absence, had linked to a thread on sexual aromantics on AVEN.

I’m demisexual a?romantic, I’m probably the closest anyone has come to self-identifying as sexual aromantic, and I want to use that thread as a springboard for some of my thoughts on the matter.

It wasn’t as bad as I’d thought, to be fair. Only two or three comments were actually offensive, a lot of the rest were telling the offensive ones that they were wrong.
In the manner of a very effective presentation on pedophilia that Pretzelboy recently linked to, I’m going to re-phrase each negative statement made so that it reads as a statement about you, the reader. This is effectively what the AVEN thread was saying about me as I read it:

I find you rather horrifying, and I think many people here would agree with me on that count.

The emotional aspects mean absolutely nothing to you. You trick people to get them into bed and then never call them back or talk to them again.

There may be people like you who do not come off as sleazebags, but I'm not entirely sure how that would work . . .

I think you are horrifying, or disturbing in the very least.


The final quote is one I’d like to pull out for further analysis:
“it would be so much simpler, if you wanted to satisfy sexual desires, not to be so focused on the other person. Sex for the sake of pleasure rather than the intimacy and focus of love and whatnot.”


Ok, so there’s a whole load of stuff about how I don’t feel the right thing. I can’t feel love. I’ve said how much that hurts. In its place, I have (a small amount) of lust. And that’s bad. That’s shallow. That’s wrong. Thank you. Thank you for reminding me where I stand.
I’ll skip over that for now, I’m certain I’ll come back to it later. What overwhelms me are the misconceptions. According to the quotes above, someone who feels sexual attraction but not romantic attraction:

-Tricks people and lies to people
-Does anything possible to get people into bed
-Is incapable of human connection
-Is incapable of self-control
-Is always and irrevocably selfish in bed

And, I know, asexual people aren’t the best at understanding how sexual attraction goes, for obvious reasons. And AVENites are often not on the same page as me regarding sex-positivism. But how are any of those things linked directly to sexual attraction? You can have casual sex without deliberately hurting or deceiving your partner. You can be sexually attracted to someone and want them to be happy in bed. That’s how it tends to work, in fact.

The ideas in that thread were based on two paradigms. The first is that a sexual relationship without love is inevitably destructive, and that people (often interchangeable with ‘women’) will only have this destructive sex if they think they’re tricked into getting love. The second is that sexuals cannot control themselves- sexual attraction, sooner or later, is a matter of selfishness, especially when not balanced out by the healing and benevolent and entirely unselfish powers of romantic attraction.

A lot of gender/sexuality blogging seems to be about picking out the paradigms behind what someone thinks, and then pointing out that the paradigms are wrong, to a load of people who already agree with you that those paradigms are wrong.

They’re wrong. See. You agree with me, don’t you?

God, I’m good at this.