Sunday, May 5, 2013

Carnival of Aces // May 2013 // Appearances



Hello Everyone:

I’m thrilled to finally be hosting the Carnival of Aces here on Asexuality, Unabashed.  This month I’ll ask you to join me in sharing your thoughts and experiences on how your identity has impacted your appearance, or the impact your appearance has had on your identity.

You can learn about the Carnival of Aces here.

source unknown
 To get your gears turning, here are some questions and prompts to inspire your submissions:

-          Do you think your orientation is expressed in your personal style and the way you express yourself to others?
-          What are your thoughts/ experiences on people who dismiss asexuals as people who are not attractive enough to find someone?
-          What role do you think physical appearance plays in sexuality?
-          What are you thoughts/ experiences on people who dismiss asexuals as ‘a waste of looks’ or similar comments?

Have fun with the topic and interpret it in whatever way you relate to it. 

Submissions are due by June 5.  

They will be included in a master post on this blog and at TheAsexual Agenda. 

You may submit via your blog, tumblr, etc…  If you do not have an online outlet but would still like to participate you may submit your entry as a Word document. 

You may link to your submission in a comment on this post, or email them to me at audaciousace@gmail.com

Submissions sent after the deadline will still be accepted and added to the master post over time.

Friday, March 1, 2013

New Thoughts, New Approach

When I first started this blog I wanted to share my personal explorations and ideas about asexuality through essays.  At that time in my life I was doing a lot of self-dissecting and defining to really get to the root of who I was and what my asexuality meant for me and my relationships, etc…  After a couple years that constant thinking and striving for deeper understanding became exhausting.  I realized it didn’t matter if I never understood every individual aspect of my asexuality.  I stopped blogging because I felt I had nothing left to say.

That has changed for me recently.  I think there is a lot more to be said on asexuality than complex relationship talk and activism.  Of course those things will always be important, but what about the simpler, overlooked parts of our day to day lives?  What about who we are outside of our orientations?  I’m growing less interested in the politics of asexuality and more curious about the culture of it.  

As things are, I don’t much relate to the culture we have right now.  I don’t wear a black ring.  Sherlock and Dr. Who don’t appeal to me, and I still can’t figure out the whole cake thing.  Then there’s the lack of discussion and representation about asexuals of color.  It’s hard to connect to a community where I don’t see any representation of myself, you know?

So, that’s why I’m digging this blog back up and approaching things from a new angle.  I’m hoping it will help us connect in some different ways.  I still believe that communicating is the best way to build community, and I’m looking forward to you all of you getting in on the conversation.

To kick things off, what are your thoughts on asexual culture right now?  In what ways do you connect to it and in what ways do you not?  What do you feel is missing, and what would you like to see more of?  Do you feel one exists at all, or are we still building towards one?  I’m curious to hear from you!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Carnival of Aces - December: Attraction

This post is for the December edition of Carnival of Aces, on the theme of Attraction, which is being hosted at Really and Ideally

On Romantic Attraction

bell hooks - author of All About Love
We receive messages everywhere that tell us sex and romance go hand in hand, and I’m sure they do for some people.  However, this becomes problematic when this experience is perceived as ‘correct’ or ‘normal’.  I believe that the concept of romance is fluid and everyone experiences their own personal definition of it.  Not all asexuals experience romantic attraction, but as one who does, I’ve found that people have a difficult time wrapping their minds around the idea of experiencing romantic attraction without sexual attraction.  I identify as panromantic, meaning that I’m capable of developing romantic feelings for someone regardless of their sex, gender, or sexual identity.  I feel fortunate to have such a flexible and generous identity, but being a romantic asexual brings on its own challenges. 

It reminds me of when I tell people that I follow a pescetarian diet.  Anyone who follows any degree of vegetarianism knows what it’s like to have someone gaping at you, eyes wide, and asking, “So what do you eat?” I’m always baffled by this response, as people seem to temporarily forget that all the other food groups exist.  Similarly, there are all types of attraction, from emotional to aesthetic and many in between.  Sexual attraction is just one form and is by no means the cornerstone of everyone’s experience, just as meat is not the cornerstone of everyone’s diets.  We forget this because our experiences in terms of relationships are so generalized and spelled out for us, regardless of how we actually experience things, by the romantic blueprint.   

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On Dating Sexuals

Part 1
Re-defining the Sexual Language


                At this point in my discussion of asexuality some people are still willing to be tolerant.  Whether they believe me or not, they’re still willing to play along. “So, you don’t experience sexual attraction, but you do experience romantic attraction? Got it; but you can’t possibly act on that attraction with sexual people in normal relationships.”  Err, that would be incorrect.  I can and I do, but before I get into any personal anecdotes I want to explain how all this works for me.  I think many people, including asexuals, make the assumption that asexuals can only succeed in relationships with other asexual people.  The idea of  a person who doesn’t want sex being in a relationship with someone how does want sex seems like a recipe for failure because a romantic relationship (RR) is supposed to involve sex, or at least sex expression, at some point.  Sexual people express their sexual attraction through sex.  Asexuals don’t, driving the question; how can you have a sexless RR when one of the partners is sexual?

                This question is completely fair and logical and presents serious obstacles to tackle.  Most people will at some point in their lives start having sex because they want to.  It’s what makes them sexual people.  This doesn’t make them more ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ than asexuals or anyone else; they’re just the majority.  Part of being a sexual person means using the language of sex to express yourself, and naturally this flows over into relationships.  It can also be argued that sexual people need sex.  It is after all just as much a part of their make up as asexuality is mine.  On the contrary, most asexuals don’t want sex.  Sure, we could have it, and could even enjoy it, but we don’t have a need for it.  There is no inner drive making us want it and we can get along just fine without it.  It’s simply not a part of our language of how we express ourselves with other people.  This is all fine and dandy within our individual spheres but when we come together, a sexual and an asexual in a RR, it can feel more like a collision.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

The "R" Word Continued

Tackling Romance and How It Fits In with Asexuality
Part 2 of 2

Apfel Zet - Letter R
I’ve explained romance’s place in our culture, but there’s no place for that kind of romance in my life.  It doesn’t fit and I won’t accept it.  As a romantic asexual it would be convenient to train myself to do one of two things; I could follow the romantic blueprint, get into a relationship, and try to mold that relationship around the pre-set standard.  (After all, isn’t that what partners and couples do every day?)  Or, I could avoid romance at all costs.  I could not interact with anyone in a ‘romantic’ way and flat out not pursue relationships at all; and for a long time that’s what I did.  I thought I was taking a stance for myself by refusing to concede to this way of coupling.  If those were the rules to the game, then I wasn’t going to play at all.  I thought I was doing what was best for me.
            In reality I was doing just the opposite.  I was depriving myself of experiencing other people on a higher intimate and emotional level because I didn’t want to do it in a way that wasn’t true to my feelings, wants, or needs.  I was taking a stance, but those same wants and needs were still going unmet.  Neither of the options were working for me.  I couldn’t avoid romance, but I couldn’t force and pretend my way into either.  Society had been right.  What I wanted was impossible to achieve, but only because I was playing by their standards.  If I was going to have romance there was going to need to be a change.  I was going to have to do it my way.    

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The “R” Word

Tackling Romance and How It Fits In with Asexuality

Part 1 of 2
[Before beginning with this topic I want to reinforce the fact that this is about my personal asexual experience. Like sexuality itself, there are no set rules, only the ones we create for it, and not all asexuals are alike.  There are just as many variations in asexuals as there are in sexuals. Not all asexuals experience attraction in this way.  In fact, there are many asexuals who identify as aromantic, meaning they experience no romantic attraction.] 

When I tell people about asexuality it’s not usually a problem for them.  The immediate connection is; ‘Okay. You don’t want to have sex. Cool.”  However, that is often followed by the assumption that because I don’t experience sexual attraction I’m incapable of being attracted to anyone.  This is where I throw the wild card in and tell people, “Actually, I am attracted to people, just not sexually.”  Because our culture makes it impossible to separate sexuality from attraction this is a puzzling proposition.  For me it’s pretty simple.  I experience romantic attraction, as well as attraction on an aesthetic level.  Aesthetic attraction is simpler to explain.  I can be attracted to someone by the way they look but it doesn’t turn me on or bring up any sexual feelings for me.  For me, being attracted to someone on an aesthetic level is no different than being attracted to a really great piece of art.  It’s the romantic attraction that begins to get sticky and difficult for people to grasp.  It’s the only attraction I’ve ever known, and while I can perfectly understand how other people experience sexual attraction, it’s hard for me to wrap my head around why romantic attraction is devalued or flat out dismissed.  I’ll explain what exactly romantic attraction means for me, but in order to do that I must address my view of romance itself and its context in our culture.   

Monday, February 28, 2011

On Coming Out as Asexual

            
Coming Out as Asexual

         From the time I began to associate myself with the term asexual* in my sophomore year of high school, I have found myself coming out to groups of people.  Large or small, in learning environments or in groups of friends, the scenario of sitting amidst a collection of people as I try to extract the aspect of sexuality from the meaning of attraction has become familiar to me.  I’ve never been able to keep quiet for too long about concepts or issues that are important to me.  I’m obsessed with sharing and exchanging information that changes how people see me and how I see them. 

           In high school, when a group of boys demanded to know “Why won’t you go out with anyone?”  “Do you think you’re to good for me?”  “Are you like a lesbian or something?”  I was happy to silence them by explaining that I wasn’t sexually attracted to anyone.  Their reactions were varied.  Some were confused while others were flat out insulted, but by the end of the class period, regardless of whether they liked it or agreed with it, I made sure all those boys understood that I was asexual, what that meant to me, and that any thoughts they had of getting with me could be checked at the door.  In hindsight I can see how I may have come off as a little abrasive, but at the time all I wanted was to stop the unwanted sexual attention that was being forced my way.  Coming out to my peers several times throughout the rest of high school not only validated asexuality to my peers, but also helped me validate it within myself.