For the asexually curious and the curiously asexual

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So, I appear to be at wordpress now

You can completely blame Sciatrix for this. That’s not entirely true- I’d been having problems with people trying to comment on my blogspot blog for a while, and with having an account that worked with other forms of blog, and with not having enough flexibility to do what I wanted. And, since I’m going to start the 101 project soon, and that’s probably going to be wordpress, I thought I’d better see how it works.

So, here I am. To the dozen or so people following me, sorry for the inconvenience.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Aromantic until further notice

Firstly- no, I have not posted for the last month or so.
Secondly- I doubt I will post again before my three-week internet holiday starting next week.
Two reasons: Firstly, because I decided this blog simply has to take last priority in my life. If I can’t keep it last priority, I can’t keep it at all.
Secondly, because I tend to write when an idea pops into my head, I mull over it for a day or so, and then set it all down. This all relies on ideas. At the moment, I have little about asexuality. My head has been buzzing about the practicalities of aromance, but not really in bloggable form, and not that much. A lot of awesome real-life stuff is happening. And now is where I sort of want them to connect. I’ve been over 2 years asexual and now I want my pay-off. I want to take all the theories and graphs and deeper understandings and cash in in meat-space.

I’m having to deal with the loss of social circles. At this time of year, I’m stopping seeing my friends and acquaintances (worse- friends I never made) from college, I’m reminded of this time last year when I went through the same about school. And my very best friends ever are back from university, and we’re having to re-negotiate our closest relationships. At the same time, I have more circles blossoming. Two activities I’ve been doing for years have, for various reasons partly to do with my new independence and partly through random luck, started blossoming in various ways into something more approaching social circles. And then there’s university this autumn. Whatever happens there.

And something about me is changing, and I think it’s the aromantic in me. I’m getting stronger. More world-wise, more determined. I have ways of looking at friendships now that I never had before.

This year, which, you notice, has been the main year of my blogging, was all about change, independence that had been fought off too long, growing more comfortable in my skills, my place in the world. And I’ve transformed, slowly, and asexuality has helped me. Asexy posts like these have been the final straws.

I’m declaring myself aromantic polyamorous. No relationships, and many. I like the contradictions, but I like the lifestyle better. I like the focus I can have on creating satisfying, meaningful relationships. I like the fact that my relationships can just be what they are. And I like the fact that, with this idea in my head, this map of what the future can be like, I can start to develop the tools to make it that way.

Also, I like the fact that, after a year of transformation, this blog (and my sexuality) finally has relevance to my real world! Which means my real world, what happens to me day to day, has relevance to this blog! Which means reams of easy materal! Harrumble!

(more will follow on the actual technique of living aromance. Once I’ve figured it out, mostly)

Random musings of an internet nature

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

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

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

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

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

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

Filler post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Out of stealth mode

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

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

Hooray for summer!

Spectacular failure

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

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

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

So much for spontaneity.

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