For the asexually curious and the curiously asexual

Archive for April, 2010

Asexy link-fest

A couple of things I thought I might as well raise awareness of. Firstly, the asexual non-written media seems to be kicking off forcefully, with A Life back, a new podcast, Unscrewed and Illuminated, and the possibility of a youtube channel- Hot Pieces of Ace. Check it all out. It’s awesome that we’re getting more stuff, especially more stuff with regular time-frames (cos us bloggers are notoriously lax).

I found the latest A Life episode particularly interesting. A lot of the episode dealt with the repercussions of being both asexual and in a same-sex relationship, and the sort of multiple-outness that can generate. All this is stuff I’ve been thinking about recently.

The final thing I wanted to draw people’s attention to is a wonderful blog post I’ve just found about dealing with mixed libidos (NSFW?)- perfect starter advice for asexuals in relationships. I especially liked the last section, a reminder that sex isn’t isolated, and I think a lot of asexuals can get caught in relationships that have psychological sexual issues as well as straightforward logistical ones.

Advertisements

On demihomosexuality (which sounds a bit like some kind of dinosaur)

While composing this, I have 4 tabs open in this window. One is the one I’m writing this on, another is the asexuality and disability essay I’ve linked to in the past, another is a section of the full text of A Christmas Carol, which is what I was about to write about before I found this.

It’s a really good start for that discussion on being in that space between asexual and gay.

I’m not going to say that discussion hasn’t been had before. In fact, two of my all-time favourite grey-area asexuals are Shades of Grey, who I believe is currently in a long-term same-sex relationship, and the now-quiet Venus, who now identifies as lesbian, but used to identify as asexual.

As an aside, I’m wondering if there are reasons why there are more same-sex oriented asexuals than opposite-sex who define themselves in the space between sexual and asexual and write blogs about it. Maybe we tie in better to queer activism, or maybe queerness gives more of a space to play around with individual sexuality than the layers of gender expectations in heterosexuality. I don’t think there’s much point speculating, when the count is 3-0, and that’s just based on a quick tally of the blogs I could remember. That data’s not really going to support anything.

Anyway, a lot of the asexual discussion is quite female-led, especially on the blogs (I never go on AVEN, haven’t got LJ and Apositive is always quiet). Generally, there aren’t many gendered asexual issues, except for the feminist intersection, but I think the way society compartmentalises people who seem to be gay men and people who seem to be lesbians is very different.

Here follows a list of some of the major ways in which I worry society will react to me as I become openly demihomosexual (well, the major way is that I can’t even out myself as demihomosexual without sounding awfully silly).

When I picture myself in relationships (see previous post), as, indeed, in life, I’m often taking on a very feminine role. I imagine myself doing housework, fussing about interior design, loving my fashion, being potentially stone (more on that story later?), staying at home to look after the kids. I’m completely prepared to rock gender-queerness in a relationship with a woman. But it occured to me today that, if I end up in a relationship with a man, all my self-expression will become horribly heteronormative, and I won’t be able to do anything without fitting into that idea that every gay relationship has a man and a woman. Ok, actually, reading back through, this is less an asexual issue and more a SlightlyMetaphysical issue, but I have this almost irrational hatred of having my personality judged by gender, and the idea that I’ll have to spend my whole life listening to friends crack jokes about ‘the womanly one’ when I know that who I am is just who I am scares me so much that I almost want to cry. As I said, weird.

But, yeah, people’s perceptions can hurt. Not once, but over and over again and it becomes this great big bruise that you live in fear of anyone prodding. I know what it’s like from outing myself, for instance, and this’ll become even worse if I end up with a boyfriend, because I’ll have to out myself invariably if he’s ever introduced. As I was saying over at Skeptic’s Play (quoting myself from about 5 minutes ago), this is how I imagine my future:

“So, here’s my boyfriend.”
“I didn’t know you were gay.”
“Well, actually, I’m not…”
*long, awkward conversation, in which they either find out too much or too little about me*

“Oh, hi. Have you met my boyfriend?”
“Oh! Are you gay?”
“No.”
*long awkward conversation*

“So, me and my boyfriend are getting pretty serious.”
“Cool. I didn’t know you were gay.”
“I’M NOT GAY!”
*long awkward conversation, in which I have to persuade them I’m not in denial*

The thing which would outweigh this all, though, would be my ability to legitimately yet ironically wear a T-shirt that says “I’m not gay, but my boyfriend is.”

And then you do the simple maths. People who are headbangingly stupid about homosexuality + people who are headbangingly stupid about asexuality = an awful lot of people. (Yeah, I know some of them are the same people, but they’ll be making the really, really stupid mistakes.)

Anyway. I have a long time to think about this subject- either for the rest of my life, or until I discover that I’m not going to end up with a guy (either through aromanticism or a sudden onset of heteroromanticism). So I’m going to leave this point here for tonight. Again, I don’t think I’ve presented the subject as well as Miller, and he got to all the more relevant points (such as the interaction with the ‘scared to be gay’ myth) first, so if you haven’t already read it, and you somehow expected me to present you with a cogent argument on the intersection between homosexuality and asexuality, well, for once, I can actually oblige. Lucky you.

Options

At some point, I’ll warm to this subject and will have the time to write real, witty and devastating critiques of the structure of romance in our society, rather than short and graceless gripes. Don’t hold your breath, though.

I’m the sort of guy who daydreams, constantly re-imagines what my life will be like in 10, 20 years time. I’ve been planning, scrapping and re-planning the smaller details of my wedding meticulously since I was about 7, for example, (in a casual, relatively non-creepy way) and, when I’m in a daydreamy phase like I am now, I tend to imagine plots for myself and where I’m going to end up. What annoys me is that any of these plots with happy endings have three variations, excluding gender variations (which I care surprisingly little about) and small nuances:

1. I fall in love with someone, pursue something as similar to the traditional pattern as I want (which isn’t really that similar), but enough to keep my mother happy, make myself look reasonably normal (as long as this person isn’t a man, but same-sex relationships are getting more and more respected) and either conceive children or look normal enough to get an adoption agency to give me some.
2. I don’t fall in love with anyone, but there’s someone understanding of my aromanticism with whom I have a very close friendship, maybe with sex, which would make it basically the same as a relationship anyway, and then we move in together, get married and concieve/adopt, and my mother is happy if eternally confused.
3. I become polyamorous (because how do you solve the fact that you’re not capable of even one romantic relationship? That’s right- get loads of them!) and end up doing steps 1 and/or 2 more than once at a time.

This proves three things about myself:
1. My subconcious is very unoriginal, and can’t think of any way to get what I want out of life that doesn’t involve a romantic relationship.
2. I need to be really, really careful, if devoting my life to someone, that I’m doing it for them and me, and not just out of the obvious desire to one day raise children (but I think I’d probably notice).
3. I need to stop using my mother as a foil for heteronormative society. It really isn’t fair, as she’ll eventuallly be fine with anything that makes me happy, even if it baffles her, and it also makes it sound like I’d let her control my life negatively. Which I’d never do, even if she was trying to.
4. I need to channel some of my daydreaming time into writing blog posts about asexuality, rather than whiny notes about aromance.
5. I like lists.

I’d rather have 100,00 dollars

More inflammatory stuff here-

Found via:

Nonetheless, if you had to take more than three seconds to think about this question, you are absolutely crazy. Marital happiness is far more important than anything else in determining personal well-being. If you have a successful marriage, it doesn’t matter how many professional setbacks you endure, you will be reasonably happy. If you have an unsuccessful marriage, it doesn’t matter how many career triumphs you record, you will remain significantly unfulfilled.

From the moment I saw the headline, I knew I just had to do a post on this. It seemed to slide so neatly into that whole dismissal of the aromantic lifestyle that I’ve been brooding on recently. However, as I read through, the research seemed laughably far from the hypothesis above. Basically, the big news was that money doesn’t make you as happy as social interaction! People who try to make themselves happier by getting more money fail!

This blog is basically anonymous, so I don’t want to take pictures of myself, but one thing you should know about me is that I have a very good and well-practiced unimpressed face. And I’m doing it now.

Anyway, skipping briefly over “Money isn’t the root of all joy! Who’d have thought it!”, I’m going to address the first issue in the article.

Brooks correlates achievement and finance in a way which makes no sense to me, a finance/’spirituality’ binary in which love is the spiritual side of life (oh, Ily, I hope you’re reading this). He says that a marriage gives the same amount of happiness as $100,000 a year. So, as an aromantic, my only hope is to become Scrooge*, amass a vast amount of wealth and prove him wrong. Or I could join groups, share dinner, live with people, have sex and hang out with people after work, all of the other options which he admits are just as viable as marriage, but, you know, they’re not proper relationships.

What doesn’t work is Brooks’ hasty analogy to Sandra Bullock. Because there, the game changes from financial success v. love to achievement v. love. These aren’t opposing forces. Pride in yourself, in what you’ve done well, is not a hollow and cold replacement for healthy interaction- it is the very core of healthy interaction. Good relationships with others can be no more than mirrors of good relationships with yourself. In the comments to one of my recent posts, Joy talked about ‘differentiation’, the idea that you can only have some form of success or happiness in a relationship if you have that connection to yourself.

Not sure where I’m going with this, I just know that it hurts when people say marriage is the only chance anyone ever has at happiness. Actually, that’s pretty much what this post and a lot of past and future posts could be boiled down to. Screw that. I have my primary relationships and I have my ambitions, and I have a whole damn life ahead of me. I’ll get me my $100,000 worth of happiness, one way or another…

*I think I’ve just realised why A Christmas Carol always makes me cry- and it’s to do with aromanticism. More on that story later.

Tag Cloud