For the asexually curious and the curiously asexual


Languages build like seeds germinate. They root into divisions, cracks in the concrete, where these people are different to those. Those from the other valley, those from across the ocean, those who work in the hut, or the field, or the forge, or the laboratory.

They root into divisions, and thrust their roots down, and cling, and clump, and bind. They create a unity of disparate grains. They thrust green shoots, strange growths into the sunlight of the public gaze.


A language is marked by what is unsaid. Each new word is a euphemism, an unexplained in-joke with the origins lost, but the punchline remains. Old sayings that everyone understands. New words that everyone can learn without asking.


The language starts before we realise we are different, almost. It is planted in us from outside. When we are young, and scared, and hiding is not a choice but a default.


‘Have you told your parents yet?’

‘I don’t think we should tell her. She’s from a different generation.’

‘I just think he needs a little more time.’


And hiding is not a choice but a default, and we understand this, and we build it into our tongue, and into ourselves. And hiding is not a choice but a default, and we invite it in.


‘I don’t want anyone to know right now, ok?’

‘I just don’t think we need to label it.’


And when we open our mouths to speak, we find we have been hiding so long that there are no words. So many years have passed of silent contemplation, and of whispered conversations over pillows and luminous words typed on keyboards to people we have never met. We have built a language to hide in and we have built another language inside our hiding, and we have forgotten how to speak.


‘She’s very important to me, but we’re not…’

‘It’s complicated. I guess he’s…’



And hiding is not a choice, but a state of being. We love in secret and we stumble over words in public.


We learn a new word. That word is ‘pride’. We have learned the word three times before. We have learned that it is a type of joy in the achievements of others, and that it is a type of sin, unrepentant and headstrong, and a kind of family. We learn it a fourth time. We learn it in a new language.


We learn that it is a word which fits our throats well enough to shout for miles, a t-shirt which fits our bodies well enough to read across a street as we walk with our heads high, a ring which fits well enough to raise a one-finger salute to the world. We learn that it is a kind of joy in the achievements of people like us, and that it is an acceptance of what has been called sin, unrepentant, headstrong. We learn that it is a kind of family. We learn to speak in the language of not hiding, in the language that breaks silence.


Words build like seeds germinate. They root into divisions, cracks in the concrete, where these people are different to those. Those for whom hiding is a choice, not a default.

They root into divisions, and thrust their roots down, and cling, and clump, and bind. They create a unity of disparate grains. They thrust green shoots, strange growths into the sunlight of the public gaze.

BDSM and feminism

(This is a pretty self-indulgent post. It’s vaguely on the ‘musings about sexuality’ theme of the blog, but I primarily wrote it for catharsis, and published because something about publishing makes writing even more cathartic. This is not about asexuality, and any ace followers I’ve still got hanging on, feel free to give it a miss)
So I’ve seen a few people on the internet try to explain why their practice of BDSM (especially as submissive women/dominant men) doesn’t contradict their feminism recently (ie. in the last few months, and by ‘a few’, I mean, like, 2. Maybe a few more I’ve forgotten). With varying degrees of flair, and significantly more coherently than this, this seems to boil down to ‘Erm, well, er… there’s no overlap. You can be a feminist and practice BDSM. The end.’


I’ve been thinking recently about how that may well not be the case. I think it’s arguable that the practice of BDSM, or the BDSM movement, is or could be an inherently feminist project. Not just in the third-wave Choice Feminism I subscribe to (as per an Onion headline: ‘Study shows that women are now empowered by literally anything!’). But in a (fairly non-radical) second-wave ideology as well.


Let’s set out our baseline here. Let’s say we have a society influenced by Patriarchy. Patriarchy is a force which influences every choice we take, every thought we have, and conditions it, in a variety of subtle and unsubtle ways, to a choice which is most suitable to the Patriarchy. Think you’ve escaped Patriarchal conditioning? Think again.
Amongst the many intersecting memes that the Patriarchy guides us to are the idea of male objectification of women, and male violence against women.

The typical argument is ‘BDSM is a reflection of the inherent desires the Patriarchy puts in us to be dominant, or to be submissive, according to gender. The occasional role-reversals we see, or same-sex or non-binary BDSM, are caused by people acting out a different gender role, but they still perpetuate the same violence and objectification of women by men, even if the dom isn’t a man or the sub isn’t a woman. Therefore you should all stop.’

And the typical Choice Feminist response is ‘Nuh-uh. Choice is good, and empowerful and stuff.’ Which I agree with, as an argument, but I think there’s a stronger one.


Which is ‘Accepting that Patriarchy is a thing, then sure, BDSM is influenced by and created by Patriarchy. EVERYTHING is influenced and created by Patriarchy. That’s in your own definition of Patriarchy. Therefore the fact that it’s influenced by Patriarchy CANNOT mean we have to get rid of it, unless you want to get rid of EVERYTHING.


‘What we need to look at is whether BDSM feeds INTO Patriarchy. If it does, then it’s harmful. And the answer is that I guess it CAN. There can be non-feminist, gender-essentialist BDSM sometimes but, ultimately, BDSM is an antidote to Patriarchy.


‘Let’s say, as you do, that Patriarchy instils into boys the idea that they should naturally be violent towards and objectify women, and girls the opposite. Let’s say Bob, from a very early age, is acclimatised to the idea that he should be violent towards and objectify women, so much that the thought erotically pleases him. Sally, from a very early age, is acclimatised to the idea that she should accept violence and objectification from men, so much that the thought of men behaving that way towards her erotically pleases her. Let’s run these basic facts through three simulations.


‘Firstly: The Patriarchy has been dismantled. This is an entirely unrealistic scenario, but I’m just using it to quickly point out that there’s no evidence that Bob wouldn’t still be a sadist and Sally wouldn’t still be a masochist in a post-patriarchal world. The second-wave feminist argument relies on the idea that you can get rid of BDSM practitioners by addressing the underlying ‘causes’, but never really proves the cause. Personally, I’ll generally push for a world where we’re slightly better at dealing with difference over a world where we’re all a little bit more similar.


‘Secondly: The Patriarchy is still in place, and Bob and Sally don’t have access to a BDSM movement or information on BDSM culture. They get all their information from cultural osmosis and porn which is produced by people who also have Patriarchally-induced, gendered, sado-masochistic desires. These desires are reflected in the media so as to suggest that male dominance and female submission are normal, and how everybody works.


‘The crucial point here, and I’ve spoken about this before and will undoubtedly speak about it again, is that we automatically assume everyone else thinks like us. If Bob and Sally find sado-masochism along gendered lines erotic, if that sado-masochism inflects on every sexual thought they have about the opposite gender, they’re very strongly likely, with only a minimum amount of encouragement from society, to identify dominance with masculinity and submission with femininity in general. I’ve seen several of my borderline kinky friends (who don’t identify with BDSM especially) do this.


‘Thirdly: The Patriarchy is still in place, giving Bob and Sally these errant desires. They find BDSM culture, which tells them that their desires are perfectly natural and totally possible to act on. However, the BDSM culture adds two very important things that mainstream male dominance/female submission culture doesn’t really address. Firstly, everyone in a scene is actually an equal partner. Everyone needs to have their needs met and active consent is a baseline. The scene is actually best thought of as a roleplay of a dynamic you find erotically stimulating.
Where people don’t have this way of expressing the dynamic, keeping sex good and consensual can be pretty much impossible. If a man knows that he likes and is meant to like being forceful, aggressive, occasionally inducing pain, and a woman knows that’s how she likes her men, then it’s going to be pretty much impossible to negotiate a consentful scene, with just the right amount of force and violence, unless you have access to the BDSM ‘roleplaying’ ideas.

Secondly, however dominated by male doms and female subs BDSM groups are (and I’m not convinced that they are), there will always be people at them who buck the trend (and the less we try to persecute BDSM spaces and the more we encourage them instead, the more true that’ll be). Every female dom, male sub, switch, same-sex couple or non-binary person weakens the idea, easy to subscribe to if you’re just going off mainstream culture, that sado-masochism is inherently gendered. The BDSM culture de-genders sado-masochism. Does it do it perfectly? Hell no. But it effectively stands as a feminist alternative to mainstream culture, where the Patriarchally-indoctrinated can identify as a dom or sub in a de-gendered way, rather than having it inherently bound into their gender identity, which is the only option they really get from the mainstream culture.

‘So what the BDSM scene does is break down these desires that people have and make sure they know that those desires aren’t ‘how everybody works’. They’re fine, but they have to involve good consent (and BDSM culture is trailblazing as a consent culture). And they’re not inherently gendered. If you assume that Patriarchy can indoctrinate people into being kinky, BDSM is the antidote to that, the thing that puts those feelings in their good and natural place. In challenging the idea that men are inherently violent and objectifying and women are inherently violated and objectified, recontextualising that as a speciality interest and encouraging everyone to consider whether they’re kinky, thus fighting the natural impulse to assume that the world works according to your fantasies, BDSM should be a second-wave dream.’

I swear I’ll let this go and just do the ‘ignoring it/bigger man’ thing soon (and I know, and I want to stress to my readers, that this is a tiny number of trolls who are totally not representative of any LGBTQ communities who do anything more useful or productive than sockpuppet and bully people on tumblr- almost everyone I’ve ever come across whose opinion matters even slightly is not a jerk about this), but this morning I noticed an interesting irony which puts some more perspective on the idea that asexuals trying to be queer or affiliate with queers is offensive. The irony is good enough that I felt it had to be mentioned.

So I’m a homosexual man, pretty much. I go by ‘queer’, rather than ‘gay’, and I’m only, like 95% sure of my cisgenderness, but I’m effectively a homosexual man, which, as we all know, is the Most Validly Queer of orientations. And, sure, there’s some reasons I gel with the asexual community that aren’t just accidents of my past. I could commit to a lifelong nonsexual relationship fairly easily (and I believe I still could if I wasn’t naturally poly). I’m aromantic, and there pretty much isn’t a place to be with lots of other aromantics right now that isn’t an asexual space. But I’m still, in essence, a homosexual man sneaking into asexual spaces and appropriating them for my own ends.

And the reaction I’ve got from aces is… 100% positive. Always happy to see me, happy to have me contribute, generally validating my choice to be in that space. They were supportive when I was questioning whether I was asexual or not, and supportive when I decided the answer was no, and generally happy with the fact I’m still here.

As a queer man appropriating asexual culture and forcing myself into asexual communities (in a positive way, but I’ve not seen any arguments that asexuals are harmfully appropriating queerness, just that appropriating it is wrong full stop), I’ve received nothing but support and the wish that I get what I’m looking for. So why do we have to be such jerks?

Top search term this quarter: Penes



This shit just will not die.


‘compromising sex positions’

‘sexually compromising positions’


It amuses me that this person found, I assume, one of my posts on the use of the word ‘compromise’ in asexual discourse. Silly google.


‘sexy asexual’


I don’t know what to do with this. Pride? Concern?


‘Pinkie pie sex’


Another regular favourite


‘Pinkie pie slut’


A new addition


‘my little pony sex games’



‘my little pony threesome gay’



‘my little pony ace pictures’




‘my little pony pride flag’


This exists, right?


(I thought things were getting better, but the next pinkie pie related search is one I’m not going to reprint)


‘does a white rhinoceros reproduce asexually’


YOU AGAIN? 5 times in the last year!? I… I’m really tempted to write a post finally answering this poor guy’s question. If you’re reading, questioner: MALE WHITE RHINO + FEMALE WHITE RHINO = BABY WHITE RHINOS. Good luck with your rhino farm.


‘sexual alliteration’


I just… yes. This has to happen. BEST IDEA.


‘why penes’


I love the mournful, rather philosophical feel of this question

(bear in mind that every search term so far has had at least 4 hits)


‘i want to have sex with my crush’


Good for you.


‘asexual corset’



‘what does an asexual person mean’


Depends what they say.


‘what interesting on the internet’


I wish this worked. “Google! Take me somewhere… awesome!”


‘hey guys wings my back legs’


Give me a clue. Which is the verb?


‘magical queer’


You, sir, have come to the right place


‘lesbians fairies’


I like how this isn’t ‘lesbian fairies’. It’s like. ‘Lesbians. And fairies. Maybe the fairies and the lesbians can be friends?’


‘is it illegal for a human to asexual’


Highly. It’s also very dangerous. I wouldn’t recommend it without careful training.


‘poly, or asexual’


Go on. Have both. I won’t think you’re greedy.


‘do the white rhinos reproduce sexual or asexual’


Ok, so either a) my theory about a hilariously incompetent rhino farmer is correct, b) this is a homework question and all the kids googling it find my blog, or c) someone is deliberately finding my blog using these search terms to lay a false trail.


‘asexual pretty’



‘zucchini sexual reference’


Normally you don’t need a sexual reference, the standard two work/academic references will do


‘what is an alliteration for attraction’


This is some grade A irony right here.


‘introspective blogs on relationships’


I… guess this counts?


‘what are your curiosities about men’


Erm… not that many, searcher, but thanks for asking.


‘magical queer hat’


I was halfway through going ‘WTF’ when I realised this was a direct quote from me.


‘sexual alliteration t’


Oh. Now we’re just getting demanding. At least let me choose the letter, honey.


‘paradoks sex’


So apparently this is a kink now. All is right with the world.


‘sex all the alliteration’


Seriously, leave me alone.

Dear straight people pretending to be ‘heteroromantic’ so you can gain access to queer spaces,


I see your game. As a queer space organiser, you cannot fool me. As you already know, we genuine queers (except the gay and trans* asexuals, who you have tricked into solidarity) see right through all your talk of oppression. We see that it’s nothing more than a ruse. And when we saw through ‘heteroromantic’ (please, its even got the same prefix as heterosexual. The only hetero we can cope with is heterogeneity), you invented ‘aromantic,’ and ‘demisexual.’ Please. I’ve been ‘demisexual’ ever since the first time I saw a random guy on the cover of GQ magazine and realised I was sexually attracted to men. You can’t make a sexuality out of what everyone is! And as for aromantic… well, I have no idea what ‘aromantic’ is. But I’m beginning to suspect that you don’t either!
Anyway, you know all that. You’ve been plotting long in advance, besieging us and oppressing us at every turn. Well, now for the point of this letter:




You win.

From now on, we’ll be letting all asexuals into queer spaces, not just the actually queer ones. From now on, it’s a fucking free-for-all. You’ll be allowed to come along with your opposite-sex partners and lord it over us gays (and bisexuals, pansexuals and trans* people) with our exclusively same-sex attractions.

I mean, I don’t know why you want to. You’d think that the fact that we’re explicitly focused on queer acceptance and open-minded expressions of orientation and gender identity would discourage anyone who wasn’t into those things. You’d think that only those asexuals who felt like they had a place with us would turn up regularly and reach out to the queer communities. But no, there you’ll be, the masses of straighties who’ve tricked your way in. Week after week. Coming along to all our pub crawls and bingo nights and day trips just to silently oppress us with your secret straightness. I can’t understand why you hold so much hatred for us that you’d spend so much time making friends with us and becoming part of our communities and maybe even helping out with panels and protests and bake sales. I guess you’re just that petty.
Fine. Whatever.

See you at the bingo night,

A queer spaces organiser

So I said I’d try and make everything ace that I wrote be an asexual agenda guest post from now on. This one isn’t, because its kinda petty and pointless and I am so totally bored of this subject now. Basically wrote it to vent.

This is a brief reply, speaking purely for myself, to NextStepCake’s tumblr query. It’s less of a blog post and more of a comment, but I don’t have a tumblr, and, let’s be honest, this blog is pure self-indulgence nowadays anyway. (sorry, recent followers, but any serious stuff I do in future I’m probably going to try to just guest-post on asexual agenda. And, given ridiculous lack of free time, that probably won’t be much.)

Out of curiosity, do you know any specific instances of [the word queerplatonic] being in use that way among aromantic non-asexuals?  The term originated among aromantic asexuals, and in that context it did usually refer specifically to a type of non-romantic and non-sexual relationship, but I could see it being adapted to include sexual but non-romantic relationships. (Although, personally, I think I would rather there be a seperate term,  as sexual-but-aromantic relationships could be very different from asexual-and-aromantic relationships in terms of structure and implications, so that could be confusing. In addition, when I (as an aromantic) have discussed queerplatonics before, I have always understood it as referring specifically to a non-romantic AND non-sexual relationship.)

Also, at least in the original use of the word, the “platonic” part was a reference to the usual use of “platonic” in the asexual community to refer to non-sexual and non-romantic affection, (and which is used more generally to refer to non-sexual and sometimes non-romantic), which makes me think that it really wouldn’t be as useful a term for non-romantic but sexual relationships, as the term platonic means “non-sexual” in pretty much all modern contexts. 

And again, personally, I think I would prefer that it remain defined as aromantic and asexual relationships, as they intersect in very particular ways that contribute to the nature and discussions of queerplatonic relationships in a way that I think aromantic sexual relationships do not.

Rather, I think that aromantic sexual relationships have their own issues and would be best treated as a distinct category in order to be able to better understand their own particular nature. Although I’m not sure what a good term for them would be. (Fuck-buddy and sex friend are the closest I can come up with in existing english, but I think the first is too crass and they both imply a lack of any other intimacy than sex, so neither really works for what I think you are referring to)


So, I’m allosexual aromantic (possibly. Enough to answer the question, anyway), and I use the word queerplatonic for the relationships I intend to form. I’ve written far less about my perceptions of romance and aromance than I’d have liked, but there’s an awesome blog here which you can read for a sexual aromantic viewpoint. He doesn’t use the word queerplatonic, but it’s an interesting read non-the-less.

I disagree with your theory that sexual queerplatonic relationships are very different to non-sexual ones. They’re definitely not the same thing as fuckbuddy relationships. For example, I conceptualise all my relationships as friendships with elements that are traditionally romantic grafted on. A fuckbuddy relationship is a friendship with elements of sexual partnership attached to it. Let’s call that Element #A.
There’s no clear definition of what elements of romance a queerplatonic relationship adds to friendship. You mention intimacy. Personally, my definition of queerplatonic is less emotional and more utility-based; I would define a queerplatonic relationship as being one which takes friendship and adds to it elements of support structure that are primarily found in romantic relationships- living together, raising children, joint bank accounts, etc, like a Boston Marriage. Let’s call this Element #B.

So, there are words to describe Friendship + Element #A (ie. fuckbuddy). But those words obviously don’t mean Friendship + Element #B. A sexual queerplatonic relatonship is Friendship + Element #A + Element #B. Therefore, trying to find words which mean Friendship + Element #A is utterly missing the point, when we’re trying to find ways to describe Friendship + Element #A + Element #B in terms of Element #B. And I know you said yourself that the words don’t really work, but I just wanted to explain why and how much they don’t work- not only do they not accurately describe what we’re talking about, they specifically don’t describe what we’re talking about at all.

So, in conclusion, I think that sexual queerplatonic relationships are the same as non-sexual queerplatonic relationships in regards to their queerplatonicness. Just like, I dunno, same-sex queerplatonic relationships are as queerplatonic as opposite-sex, or long-distance queerplatonic relationships are just as queerplatonic as close, or whatever other factors you want to put in which are irrelevant to the fundamental meaning of queerplatonic, which is Friendship + Element #B.

HAVING SAID THAT, and established that we’re all talking about the same things, we then enter the semantics we’re using to talk about it. I’m using the word queerplatonic here as shorthand for Friendship + Element #B, and it’s possible that it just doesn’t mean that. I tend to adopt the ace word without thinking about how it was actually put together. There’s definitely an argument from etymology that queerplatonic means ‘a non-sexual (ie. platonic) relationship that doesn’t obey the allosexist assumptions.’ In which case, the literal meaning is Friendship /+ Element #A, the meaning it has come to have through use may be Friendship + Element #B /+ Element #A, and it may be too much to shift that word into just meaning Friendship + Element #B, because it contradicts the plain and obvious meaning of the word. I really don’t like that, because words like queerplatonic are really important, and I don’t like having them taken from me on technicality. My preferred interpretation involves a 21st century reconstruction of the original Platonic relationship, which was, as far as I understand it, non-romantic but anything else you wanted, often including sexual (but weighed down with all the crap the Ancient Greeks believe, like the inherent supremacy of men, and shame of sexual passivity and pedophilia). It’s probably not the spirit the word queerplatonic was created in, though. Which sucks, because allosexual people really need words for this, and, trust me, we’re going through the same things as you.


Protesting AVEN? Wishing something would change? Wishing there was SOMETHING you could do?

A lot of my posts tend to be addressed to the tumblr ace community nowadays, and tend to end up there as well. So I’m going to speak directly to the tumblrite somewhere down the line, maybe one who follows ‘I Can’t AVEN.’ Maybe one who submits posts to ‘I Can’t AVEN,’ or who reblogs ‘I Can’t AVEN,’ or who spends increasing proportions of their day worried about how AVEN shouldn’t be the community that represents all asexuals.

Fucking follow through.

Do you know who’s not going to stop AVEN from being the primary asexual community? AVEN. Obvs. As long as there’s a single forum with an irreparable history of dodgy moderation as the centrepiece of our community, there will always be problems. Hello, welcome to the internet. As long as there’s a single forum which attempts to do 101 for aces, 101 for allos, media visibility and 201 all in one space, there will always be problems. Petitioning to AVEN will do no good, grumbling about AVEN accomplishes nothing.

The good thing is, there’s really fucking easy ways to take what you’re feeling and turn it into something positive for the asexual community. Something which the tumblrites and the AVENites and even, you know, asexuals who don’t particularly have asexual online identities, can benefit from. Something which weakens the hold of AVEN as a single source of asexuality AT THE SAME TIME as strengthening the community resources we have. A good plan isn’t one where somebody wins. It’s one where nobody loses.

So if you’ve looked at the whole situation and felt despair, and felt like there’s nothing you can do to change it, you’re the underdog fighting some great system that won’t even acknowledge that you’re there? Here’s what you can do:

Help out with asexual awareness week. Or, if you have no time, donate. Asexual awareness week is simply the best alternative hub we have. And that’s what we’ve really NEEDED AVEN for, for the Project Team and the Media Team, who do an amazing and under-appreciated job. But if you want to do that job somewhere else, or support someone who’s doing that job somewhere else, go to AAW and ask what you can do. Remove the officialness from AVEN and it becomes just another forum.

Frequent the Asexual Agenda. As a group, it leans heavily towards the same perspectives as the tumblr community, often drawing the tumblr discussions into a more permanent space. I reckon it’ll do a very good job of being a safe space to talk about intersectional stuff. And it creates a community of asexual thought that is thorough and safe (unlike AVEN) and accessible to anyone and permanent (unlike tumblr). We NEED this resource. And, if you’re blogging about AVEN on tumblr, the chances are that being a commentor on AA won’t even feel like work. If you want to help out a little more, they’ve indicated they’d be happy to accept guest posts, and they have regular blog carnivals. This month’s is on age and ageism. Deadline Friday.

Do offline stuff. Try to find out what LGBTQ stuff goes on in your area (especially, especially, if you’re a student), and turn up even if they don’t explicitly say anything about asexuality. They’ll more than likely welcome you, especially if you’re non-confrontational at first and they get to know you as a person first and an asexual second. This is a really important thing because LGBTQ groups are in a fantastic position for offline activism. Read more advice.

Also, because LGBTQ spaces are a fantastic place for aces to meet. Those people I know who’ve met aces IRL without planning did it almost exclusively by going to LGBTQ hangouts. And then you can organise asexual meetups. And when you’ve secured an LGBTQ meetup as ace-friendly, or you’ve created a new tiny ace meetup, tell us about it.

In fact, that map needs a hell of a lot of promotion. Because the other big thing AVEN does is allow aces to do offline stuff, and that’s a market that’s going to have a massive growth in the next few years. We’re just starting to get the numbers now that a meetup every month in every second city is looking feasible, and the resource that gives people best access to that? That’s the resource that wins. If that’s AVEN, that means people who don’t like AVEN, whether because of its policies or just because they’re not really forum people, don’t get access to this resource. So get working on making that map as awesome as possible.

One last thing- we need more 101 stuff. An idea occurs to me, which I’ll mess about with when I have time.  But if you have any good ideas about creating a good place to land into the asexual identity, please. Take them further. If not, you could always go and ask the awesome Asexuality Archives if they need any help.

And I know that some people really don’t have time. Remember you can donate to AAW. And I know that some people really don’t have time or money. But, hell, the ‘grumbler about AVEN’ I know with absolutely the least time is also dedicating a whole load of it to one of the projects above. I- I seriously suspect time-turners. Do what you can.

It’s up to you.


A short clarification: My feelings on AVEN. I don’t think it’s awful. I’ve seen too many truly horrific asexual communities to be that phased by it. I actually wouldn’t mind if it was just another forum. My problem is that it’s the Official Place, and asexuality would need, at this stage, to be more than one website even if that site was utterly perfect.

Worldpride Conference

So I realise I’ve used this blog to be mostly negative for a very long time. It’s because it’s a lot easier to write about something you dislike and want changed than something that you thought was perfect. Here’s a nice post:

I had the honour today of attending the Worldpride Asexuality Conference, which I think is the first non-academic asexual conference ever. And wow.

The conference had a bizarre sort of coherence to it. There almost seemed to be a single, complex narrative running through the day- I came away feeling like I’d read an incredibly well-crafted novel that I wouldn’t quite appreciate the genius of until the third re-read. I don’t know whether this was because of Michael Dore’s nuanced organising or the presence from the two key speakers, Nat and DJ. The relationship between the two was palpable; Nat addressed their talk largely to DJ, as a reminisce, which added to the sense that an incredible story was finally, in this place, being told (there wasn’t much you couldn’t find in Hinderliter’s history, but the use of first-person prounouns gave Nat’s version an edge). The symbolism of the conference was inescapable- from Nat’s prodigal return to the community that they had started and then slipped away from because they didn’t feel like a good enough representation, to DJ’s request that the asexual community not be about just telling the stories of people like him any more, and Michael’s ability to select a very wide range of voices for his talkers and panelists without any hint of tokenism. The message, so slickly and holistically presented that it goes straight to the subconscious, is that the asexual community has grown up.

 I really can’t fault the conference (apart from pointlessly trivial things like lateness and the disproportionate fruitcake/edible things ratio). When I tried to think of constructive criticism, I only got two things. Firstly, that it felt a bit like the researchers they got to talk to us are basically saying what we’ve been saying for years, but to a different audience and with bigger words. But then I realised that I may have been unique in that viewpoint, especially since I was already familiar with Foucault and had heard Mark Carrigan very recently, and a lot of the people around me seemed to find that segment really stimulating. Secondly, I feel conflicted as to whether I’d like DJ’s talk earlier- the conference seemed like a closed book of people I didn’t know before DJ worked his magic, and then became a network of awesome people to draw on and feed off- unfortunately, too late for me to really get stuck in. Again, that’s probably more of a personal issue, since there was a whole evening of networking opportunity afterwards that I couldn’t attend.

The talk by DJ was seriously incredible. If anyone finds a link to it online, please share it with me. I’ll probably discuss one of the concepts in a later post, the one which made every allosexual person in the room think ‘Get out of my head!’  After his talk, he got us all into groups of two or three to discuss activism. I thought it’d be pretty unproductive. I ended up in a three with Ily (who I embarassed myself in front of horribly by prattling on about her socks) and a guy who said ‘I’m good at comic book art but I have no story ideas’ at exactly the same time as the woman in the group behind said ‘I’ve got some ideas for ace comics, but I can’t draw.’ From the impression I increasingly get from DJ, I’m willing to bet things like this were probably happening all over the room. The guy is actually magic.

So there’s my nice, happy post. I’m not that happy with it, maybe its ‘cos there’s no conflict, but its about time I wrote one. Because today just showed me how amazingly well the asexual community is doing. And how much better it’s gonna get.

Also, on the topic of niceness and joy: Miller is auditioning for a group blog:

If anyone can do this, it’s him.  It’s also by far the best idea for a 201 space- centralised, but outward-looking, space for a big community without the sluggishness and maintenance of a forum, individualistic but collaborative, easy to access but well-moderated (although Miller’s typical troll-handling would be incredible if scaled up to a forum like this). I 100% emphatically endorse this. It’s awesome.


On providing everything that is currently on-AVEN, off-AVEN. Here’s what we need. More precisely, here’s what you need to support, if you want to create an asexual internet that can exist fully outside of AVEN, which I’d argue is desirable, given the fact that the community can’t just be one site, and necessary, given the flawed definitions of asexuality that the AVENites seem to be moving towards:

I could link a whole load of other awesome stuff here- non-101 conversations, resources aimed at scientific research, asexual journalism, asexual advice columns. But these are the basics for anyone who wants to make AVEN a non-essential part of the asexual community. I’m especially excited about Asexuality Meetup Groups- it could be the perfect place to store all our information about ace-friendly LGBTQ groups, for example. I’d encourage everyone reading to make as much use of the above as possible.

So here’s the facts:

52% of AVENites polled said that we should change the definition of asexuality to ‘does not experience sexual attraction and/or has no desire for partnered sex’.
In another poll, 47% of AVENites said the definition should be ‘does not experience sexual attraction and/or has no desire for partnered sex’, while 49% preferred the old definition.
 In a third poll, there was a 50/50 split between those who don’t mind and those who disagree with changing the definition to ‘the lack of an inherent inclination to engage in sexual relations’.

 The third thread is particularly interesting- ‘rewording the definition of asexuality to increase clarity.’ It’s a wonderful euphemism- minor policy change, got to consider the PR angle…

It doesn’t say ‘Change to the operational definition of asexuality which will invalidate the identities of thousands of asexuals.’ It doesn’t say ‘Change to the operational definition of asexuality which will encourage slut-shaming and anti-sexual elitism in our communities, and representations of our communities.’ It doesn’t say ‘Change to the operational definition of asexuality which will drive a wedge between the ideological basis of asexuality and those of other queer identities, which will cut asexuality adrift from every other discussion of and campaign for the rights of sexual identity for the last century.’ No. ‘To increase clarity.’

I don’t have much to say about this. The first thing I want to say is, as an allosexual person, I call bullshit. Sexual attraction is totally, 100%, definitely, A Thing. (Personally, I’d go so far as to say that it’s actually Several Different Things). I can’t describe it(/them). Someone on one of the AVEN threads said that an asexual describing sexual attraction was like someone who had never eaten chocolate describing the taste of chocolate. It’s a good analogy, because an allosexual person describing sexual attraction is like someone who has eaten chocolate describing the taste of chocolate. It still can’t really be done, unless the listener has tasted something relatively close, and even then, never perfectly.

So I’ll just say this. I’ve experienced inherent desire* to have sex with people without being sexually attracted to them. Not often, and it doesn’t tend to be especially person-specific (because that would make it sexual attraction), but still. Also, I’ve been sexually attracted to people without having any inherent desire to have sex with them. Often. And definitely.

*I’m defining ‘inherent desire’ as desire free from pressure, experimentation, desire for partner’s happiness, etc. I’m not sure that’s a line that can actually be drawn, but that’s a post for another day.

Secondly, I’d like to use this timely interval to remind people that no other sexuality has an Official Website. The way I see it, the AVEN Project Team, the AVEN FAQ, the AVEN Media Team and the AVEN Meet-up Mart still do fantastic and necessary work. But why do they have to be connected to the forum? A forum which gains an official status simply by its connection to them, and a forum which is now apparently getting to the tipping point where the majority of its members believe that asexuality should have a partially/entirely behavioural definition. If AVEN forums keep on this course, I see only four ways of developing the online communities from here:

1. The AVEN project team, etc, breaks off from the forum.
2. The people behind the AVEN project team get involved in other things, and leave the forum to organise its own resources, with whatever definition it chooses. AVEN ceases to be the one official site.
3. There is a contradiction between the very definition of asexuality as agreed by the AVEN members and as publicised by AVEN’s media wing.
4.  AVEN’s project team and media wing change to the behavioural definition.

I dislike the behavioural definition. I think it doesn’t fit real experiences, it causes anti-sexual elitism and it alienates us from other sexuality movements- unsustainably. The common analysis is that rejection of the behavioural definition in favour of the orientation definition is the only reason AVEN survived while other early ace communities failed, and I think it’s as important, if not more important, now than in the early days of the movement. Of course, the AVENites have a right to their views on what defines asexuality. If they want to have a website based on their definition, I wouldn’t wish to stop them. But I think we have to consider whether we can still link to them as the main hub of asexuality, when their definition is so misguided, both in terms of truth and PR. I have always been in favour of more extra-AVEN resources, and this news just strengthens my views. The future belongs to the orientation model. And the future does not, I fear, belong to AVEN.

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