For the asexually curious and the curiously asexual

Archive for the ‘Silly things asexuals say’ Category

Update: Aromantic sexuals- still evil

What’s this? An asexuality test? Now we can pinpoint with precise accuracy whether someone is a/romantic or a/sexual. Like, HALF the bandwidth of AVEN could be saved by this simple test! If only there weren’t these minor flaws in just a few of the questions:

1. Confuses sexual attraction and sexual activity.

2. Gives two options- finding sex a ‘biological necessity’ and ‘not caring’ about sex. Also, ‘liking to date’ and liking casual sex, and ‘not caring for a partner’ is kinda a restrictive spectrum. In fact, I’d personally agree with ALL FIVE of those things (admittedly, the first one only from a species-wide viewpoint). It makes ticking one box kinda hard…

3. How would you describe your libedo? Erm… irrelevant to my sexuality? We’ve kinda discussed this one. To death.

4. And this is where my WTFromance gets the better of me. I want EVERY SINGLE kind of relationship they propose. The rub being- I want them with different people, possibly at the same time. Because I’m fickle like that.

5. Do you think you are asexual?  Finally, the question is right! But every single answer is wrong:

‘Yes. I do not desire, want or care about sex’ -Not the definition of asexual

‘Maybe. I am a bit indifferent to sex, so it would be interesting to see the results’ -I’m not sure where to start with the wrongness of this one.

‘No. I am a sexual being.’ -A relatively trivial and arguable point, but I think that everyone with some sort of reproductive organs or piping is a sexual being. My definition of ‘sexual being’ is based in biology, not in sexuality. Of course, you can make a word have two meanings.

Ok, so badly written quiz, you say. Wait! There’s more! Here’s what I got:

Aromantic sexual

You are basically out to fulfil your sexual desires without buying into romance or love. On a purely honest level, you are admirable, but as an exemplar of social standards, you are dispicable.

Erm… thanks? This quiz just called me dispicable- I’m sure gonna give it a high rating. I mean, luckily, I wasn’t the only one it stereotyped. “American society is alien to you (asexual aromantics) and you are alien to it.” I mean, they’re TECHNICALLY correct- I’m not American, nor have I ever been to America, so, by the traditional meaning of ‘alien’ as ‘foreign person’, I am definately alien to America. God, this quiz is insightful. Or I could have been a Romanic Asexual!  Which means ‘of or relating to Rome or Latin’. So, you know- TOGA PARTY (do any of those people know how heavy togas are? They are definately not party gear, unless you have lots of chaise longues to be pinned to). Anyway, as well as all that lead poisoning, and the discomfort of living in a society that seems to socialise mostly through orgies, I would also ‘seek a prince or princess’, ‘suffer agonising loneliness’ and ‘be burned by my partner’s groinal needs’. No, serously.

Why am I spending all this time taking the piss out of a quiz which probably took 5 minutes and isn’t even spelt correctly? Well, I’m not gonna lie, it’s partly because when I took the quiz and got “Oh, hi! You’re dispicable! (dictionary definition: worthy of hatred and contempt)”, that really, really hurt. BUT! It’s also partly because very, very shortly after I took that quiz- this guy showed up.

It feels rather great to have someone else who has some stake in the label ‘sexual aromantic’ to be blogging. Because now I have someone to justify how dispicable I am. Because he has lots of awesome ideas about intimacy, and the way romantic monogamy as a culture creates and uses artificial intimacy scarcity. Let’s pull out some quotes from his two non-101 posts:

[On possible definitions of aromantic] saying that aromantics can form deep emotional connections, but they aren’t a “purposely initiated monogamous separation as found in romantic couples”. This definition seems little better, as it puts the essential difference in external, culturally defined relationship practices. This definition would include all polyamorous people in the definition of aromantic, which seems to miss the point….

…I think we’re onto something here. According to J, this natural high is much stronger with people she would consider herself romantically attracted to, doesn’t require touch but is amplified by it, doesn’t require symbolic gestures like flowers but is enhanced by them, and is not necessarily connected to sexuality, conversation, or “good company” (though it can and often should be combined with those things)….

…So here’s a preliminary definition, that I’d love to get some comments on:

“Aromantics are people who do not experience the feeling of romance. Romance is a natural high that occurs in the presence of certain people, without obvious connection to sexuality, ‘good company’, or emotional intimacy.”…

…Looking back at my life, a lot of the things I’ve done have been an attempt to squeeze a little more intimacy out of the world around me.

There is, however, a socially sanctioned way of getting more intimacy: a “relationship”. In a (sexual, romantic, monogamous) relationship, you have a lot more freedom and power to gain intimacy. You are supposed to be a scheduling priority, and you can expect a certain amount of regular alone-time. You have some say into where your partner lives, and if the relationship goes long-distance you’re assured of constant communication and visits as frequently as possible. You have both the time and societal permission to really let down your barriers and be emotionally vulnerable. All of this is wonderful. There’s a reason I don’t spend much time single…

…No one negotiates with their platonic best friend about how their relationship will progress… but why not? Platonic relationships can be just as meaningful as the best sexual/romantic relationship, why not give them the same time and energy and communication skills? Why do we assume we have to only be “partners” with people we’re attracted to? If we decouple intimacy, sex, and romance, then we have so many more ways we can make our relationships work for us. Why not have a straight guy and an asexual guy as primary partners, with the straight guy having sex with women on the side? Why not have a triad where only one of the relationships is sexual? If we break down the assumption that we have to sleep with people we’re intimate with, we can start to solve our intimacy problem.

I think the (whateverwe’regoingtocallourselves)romantic scene needs this. I suspect a lot of the exciting discourse around romance, intimacy, relationship models, is going to happen around Intimacy Cartography. I’m happy because I finally have a second go-to blog for this stuff, now Asexual Underground doesn’t update regularly. I’m also happy because a (possibly) aromantic sexual is contributing to society. Is honest and emotionally mature and non-deceitful. Is, essentially, not wearing an opera cape and a twirly moustache. On a purely social level, we’re dispicable. We’re worth hating. Which shows we’re onto something good…

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.

Asexuality is a sexual orientation

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

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

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

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

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

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