For the Carnival of Aces this month (April 2015) the theme is “an Asexual Culture?”: https://kinkyasexuals.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/an-asexual-culture/ and this is my post for it.
I have cross-posted this onto my tumblr, here.
For the Carnival of Aces this month (April 2015) the theme is “an Asexual Culture?”: https://kinkyasexuals.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/an-asexual-culture/ and this is my post for it.
I have cross-posted this onto my tumblr, here.
This is my submission for the March 2015 Carnival of Aces, which had the topic “Writing About Asexuality“. Details are in the call for submissions here, and once the round-up of all submissions is posted, I’ll edit this blog post of mine to include a link to it so that you can read all of the wonderful things people have written this month that relates to this topic.
I’ve been blogging about asexuality for over a year now, and I’ve also written a couple fanfiction things with fictional asexuality mentions/ace characters, and am working on a more massive ace fanfic project right now as well.
I’ve found that writing about asexuality certainly comes with an array of challenges.
I’ve been reading a lot about various types of abuse lately. I am in the mood to write some sort of blog post to put on my blog here addressing some of these issues… but I don’t know where to begin or what the real topic of my post would be. :P I want to write about some of my very specific experiences being abused as a child by my mother. I want to write more theoretically and philosophically about power and abuse cycles and what we need to do to protect all people from all sorts of types of abuse. I want to write about victim blaming in cases like my own. I want to write about the complexity of my dad being a victim of my mother’s abuse, even after he’d been separated and essentially “common law” divorced from her for over a decade! I want to talk about specific types of abusive actions. I want to talk specifically about cluster B personality disorders like NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) and BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) in many abusive people, and I want to better understand so many of these issues. I want to talk about reading these non-fiction books that have flaws – flaws of sexism or assumptions of not-even-studied hypotheses being treated as likely true. I want to talk about statistics and how flawed and misleading they can be, and how difficult it is to make sense of these things. I want to talk about how the US court system is ill-equipped to handle abuse, but I’d be so out of my depth that I wouldn’t know where to begin. I want to talk about how my experience as a survivor of abuse has affected my life, my desires, my choices, who I am as a person today, but I feel like my experiences were much too minor compared to the horror stories I read about, and I’m not even sure the abuse I faced did damage me much in the long run. I want to do something tangible in the world to help children who are being abused the way I was, and of course all of the people abused in much worse ways too, and I don’t even know where to begin.
FYI, on tumblr, I got a reply to my thoughts here, and then I answered my tumblr fandom friend’s comments:
k8video said: I think its best to start from the beginning and build up from there. Find a way to link each topic within the topic and create chapters/posts that flow from the last. Maybe create a flow chart – if that makes sense? Interested to see what you write.
luvtheheaven replied: Thanks!! ;) I really appreciate the encouragement and knowing that I’ll have at least 1 reader… :P I think that is a good idea… I’ll see what I can do. I have an ace meetup event to go to all day today lol but maybe within the next few days I can find time to come up with a plan. Just outline a bunch of different blog posts I want to do eventually, then decide on an order and a way to sensibly tie them all together.
I don’t really want to be overly specific, but basically, I started volunteer working somewhere, so my “co-workers” (who are all volunteers too, it’s a completely volunteer situation) are all sort of more casual and like new acquaintances/friends, but most of them are significantly older than me, and I feel very awkward about being asexual, all of a sudden.
I’ve been quite open about my asexual status within the past year-and-a-half, to most people, especially people I like and trust as friends.
But I want my co-workers to respect me, so I don’t want to bring up my asexuality, just in case they judge me in any of a number of ways.
I’ve been, however, growing increasingly aware of how uncomfortably back in the closet I’m beginning to feel. I feel like I’m hiding somewhere. What my sexual orientation is shouldn’t be relevant to my job, but because of the very friendly and social environment this new volunteer job has created, it feels like it is relevant, like when people talk casually about their heterosexual marriages and children, I should be able to talk about my life too.
And the crazy thing is, I have good reason to believe these people might all be understanding and accepting and fine with it if I came out. I just… don’t know. I have no clue. Their average age, especially, is what is making me extra uncomfortable – I am prejudiced that the older the people are, the less likely they are to accept that I am correct about the label I’ve chosen to apply to myself. They might assume incorrect things about me. Etc.
For the first time since realizing I was ace, I feel like I can trust and enjoy the company of a new group of people who are all dedicated to the same volunteer cause that I am, and at the same time I just… don’t trust them enough. And I wish I did. I wish I wasn’t so scared.
Hey there, everybody. This is my second of two, connected, late submissions for the February 2015 Carnival of Aces, which had the theme “Cross Community Connections”. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, please check it out here. Please also read forzandopod’s take on the subject, in a reply to my post, here: http://forzandopod.tumblr.com/post/112589310859/being-an-asexual-fangirl-part-1 ;) And my reply, in return: http://luvtheheaven.tumblr.com/post/112641376582/being-an-asexual-fangirl-part-1
Part 2, here, of my two posts on this topic, is where I discuss my experience as a person who is now well aware she is aromantic-spectrum, kissing- & sex-averse, and asexual while being in fandom communities. Part 1 was exploring being in the fandom communities before I knew the term asexuality and before I knew I was ace myself.
Meaning I’ve been blogging about asexuality on my From Fandom to Family WordPress blog here for about 1 year now! March 2014 was when I wrote my first post on these topics.
However, it has been about 1 decade since I became a fangirl. Yes, 2005, and in some ways 2004, was when I, as a young teenager beginning high school, began to become involved in online activities that some could classify as fandom.
I hesitated to write this post for this particular carnival topic, because it is less serious than most of the wonderful other posts I’ve seen written for it. It is not about “intersectionality” in terms of “the study of intersections between forms or systems of oppression, domination or discrimination.”
I’m simply discussing the fact that I am someone who is both asexual and has been in the fandom community for a long time now.
I could’ve also discussed what it’s like to be a person invested in fandom in the asexual community. But that’s… harder to put any words around, and isn’t as big of a deal.
So let me proceed, in Part 1 of my two posts on this topic, to discuss my experience as a person who didn’t know she was aromantic-spectrum, kissing- & sex-averse, and asexual while being in fandom communities. (The fact that I am maybe aromantic, and do not enjoy kissing/sex cannot be separated, for me, from my personal experience with asexuality. I know not all asexuals have the same experiences.) Part 2 will explore being in the fandom communities once I did call myself asexual. Once I had figured out the label applied to me.
This is my entry for the December 2014 Carnival of Aces. Please consider writing something too! There’s still time – the beginning of January is okay too. ;) Or… consider writing something for whatever the current month when you’re reading this is, since the Carnival of Aces likely is still going on! Hopefully it will continue to go on, into 2016, and beyond!
Content Note: Around the middle of this post, I discuss my mother’s physical abuse toward me when I was a child/teenager.
Soon after I learned what asexuality was from AVEN’s website, I also discovered terms for other types of attraction, rather than sexual attraction.
To be honest, to this day I still don’t feel like I fully grasp what most of the other types of attraction mean. I’m not 100% sure how much I have in common with people who do and who don’t experience varying types of attraction. Some days even the concept of sexual attraction can continue to confuse me. Lmao. It’s hard when people don’t have concrete definitions for these things!! It’s harder when most of it is based on describing feelings one already has, so when you likely lack the feeling… you’re never going to fully get it.
When people speak of aesthetic attraction, for instance, I imagine this magnetism to LOOK and well for me, while I can judge people on a scale and decide who seems prettier than most, and while I can appreciate certain looks, I don’t feel drawn to stare most of the time, so I wonder if I experience aesthetic attraction for people at all.
Since the theme of this month’s Carnival is “Touch, Sensuality, and Non-Sexual Physical Intimacy”, allow me to focus upon sensual attraction.
Sexual attraction, as it’s typically depicted in media, often includes aesthetic attraction and sensual attraction mixed in as if inseparable, as they are for many people. Nonsexual aesthetic attraction is sometimes treated as believable, especially between women. However, nonsexual sensual attraction is treated with a little more skepticism, a problem not helped by the fact that some people use the word “sensual” as a euphemism or synonym for “sexual”.
Sensual attraction is a feeling pertaining strictly to touch, creating an impulse to initiate contact with the recipient. A nonsexual example of this would be touching someone’s face or embracing them in a hug. Since this is a type of attraction, it’s not the same thing as wanting to cuddle someone as a way to comfort them when they’re sad, or as an expression of affection, or because you’re craving contact in general. All of those are valid, real feelings, but they’re not what I use the term to refer to. The best definition for it I’ve ever seen — and I can’t find the source where I found this, unfortunately — is that sensual attraction is “the feeling you get when you see a fluffy kitten”. For me, this term is a useful description for how I sometimes feel a random and inexplicable (but controllable) urge to touch people.
And it fascinated me. I walk through clothing stores and see a fleece jacket or something else that’s a cool texture, and yes, sometimes I want to touch, I want to revel in how soft these pajamas would be and oh I wish I had the money to buy them because they’re so amazing to touch. But… toward a PERSON? Wanting to reach out and touch them just to feel what they feel like? No… I’ve never felt such a thing. I’m fairly sure of it.
Pretty much the only times I’ve ever initiated touch of any kind toward the people in my life have been toward my closest 3 family members – my brother, my father, and one of my cousins. I’ve reached out to try to comfort with a hug or a gentle touch in a time of their grief, briefly. I’ve playfully/casually leaned my feet on laps or rested my head upon a shoulder while watching TV. I don’t do it very often, especially recently, though.
And I’ve never actively craved touch. I remember being comforted by a hug a total of one time in my life – and yes, this hug felt SO amazing, at the end of a day that was probably the worst day of my life in many ways. There was something so special about that form of touch, for me. But it was just one instance, and in other times of being upset, I’ve felt pretty comforted by other things, instead of touch.
I am not touchy-feely; on the other hand, I am not touch-averse either. If I got into a close relationship, and my partner wanted to touch me a lot AND had respect for my boundaries AND communicated well with me, I don’t think it would be hard to find a mutually-satisfying arrangement. What I’m averse to is people touching me without permission or insisting that I must touch because touching is good for me.
I feel like her words describe me too. I’ve been on dates with 3 different guys, and all of them have touched me in different ways.
When the first guy I’d ever tried dating kissed my cheek, it felt SO intimate and amazing, like a rush of wonderfulness. When we tried holding hands, it was uncomfortable and awkward and did nothing for me. When guy # 1 & I kissed… I ended up in tears, so needless to say I did not enjoy the experience.
I found all 3 of these guys via online dating, btw, so when I first met guy #2 in person and the first thing he did after stepping off the train and us recognizing each other from our profile pics was embrace me in a hug… I wasn’t comfortable.
Guy #3, my first official boyfriend… I enjoyed leaning on while watching TV. I didn’t really like the awkwardness of having to shift from growing hot/sweaty/uncomfortable over time. There was something special about cuddling with him, perhaps because he was getting sexually “turned on” by it, and I’d never had that effect on anyone before. I had never cuddled in quite this intimate of a way before and it was a new experience, and overall pretty nice. Really, though, I didn’t “love cuddling”. What I loved more was being able to talk openly and honestly with him. Enjoying TV together. Him teaching me to play Magic the Gathering. Him giving me a homemade gift. Him actually watching my fanvideos I’d created and enjoying them. Him letting me make one of my favorite recipes for him. If I had never once touched him throughout our entire relationship, I wouldn’t have been longing for it. I’m fully satisfied by non-sensual and non-touch-related pleasures. Touching can be nice, but I can take it or leave it. I certainly don’t feel drawn to it. And I don’t need touch on a regular basis.
My mother was abusive toward me growing up, and some of that abuse certainly was physical. I consider her abuse to have been mainly verbal/emotional… but to give you a taste of the physical…
It didn’t often leave marks, but on a few occasions I did bleed a tiny bit from small scratches caused by her fingernails onto my forearms or hands. More often, though, she’d use her body to trap me in a corner, and I’d try to push her away, but being a child I wasn’t strong enough, and all I’d succeed in doing was bruising her arms, which she’d later yell at me for, blaming ME for hurting HER. Or she’d violently push down my arms when I was using my hands to cover my ears as she yelled the loudest she possibly could. She broke a favorite, expensive bracelet of mine by ripping it off my wrist, while I was still wearing it. Or my hair was in a pony tail and she’d move my whole body by pulling on it, not even pulling out one hair, just pulling it enough to hurt a bit, to obtain control over me, and even to knock my much needed and expensive (breakable!) eyeglasses off of my face in the process. On a couple of occasions, she literally spit on me. She dumped out a bowl of cereal with milk in it onto my head. There are probably many, many more cases of things that were pretty “physically” abusive. But I think I’ve listed enough. So many of these things don’t leave physical injuries, just… emotional ones, I guess. But they often involved invading my personal space. Using “touch” in a negative way. Etc.
I remember that once I’d finally stopped living with her, while in the hallway of a courthouse as my dad and she fought over custody of me and my brother… on multiple occasions she tried to hug me and I jerked away. I did NOT want to be touched by that woman, okay? I wasn’t afraid she’d actually hurt me in a public place. I certainly expected it’d be “just a hug”, but the contradictory nature of such a loving action from her made me SO uncomfortable, and I wanted to avoid it.
As I soon ended up going away to college, on my campus there seemed to be a tradition at one point, by the Student Union, of “Free Hugs Friday”. And… I just really didn’t want to be hugged by strangers, okay? I felt so weird every time I dodged the people with their arms outstretched and the cheery posters. I felt like someone with “intimacy issues” who maybe would like hugging more if I’d tried it more. But whatever. I was happy enough with my life of not ever touching anyone.
I’m pretty sure part of the reason I identify as wtfromantic is because so many romantic ace narratives include so much TOUCH and I often feel like I must be aromantic, if I could be fully satisfied in a relationship that includes absolutely zero touch. That for most people, some level of touch that is reserved for only “non friends” is what makes a romantic relationship romantic, or something. But then again, I have a lot of other reasons for NOT feeling like I’m aro… but still, I feel like my relationship toward sensuality & touch, toward cuddling and non-sexual physical intimacy of all kinds… comes up a LOT in my self-analysis of my feelings when I’m trying to place myself somewhere on the romantic spectrum.
I feel like I enjoy hugging some of my extended family members slightly more now than I used to. Maybe enjoy is the wrong word. I think… I no longer feel awkward and uncomfortable hugging them.
I think for me, it’s about comfort with the person. How much I love them. How much I feel like they’re friendly and like me at all. How much I know them. To me, even a simple hug is a pretty intimate thing. My uncle who I rarely say one word to despite us showing up at the same Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, etc celebrations for years, who I don’t feel like I know at all? Hugging him is still uncomfortable and I’d rather skip that ritual when he decides he’s ready to leave the house, but I still go through the motions because I feel like I have no choice. But now that I’ve grown up, and I’m almost 25 years old… I feel like I really have gotten to know quite a few of my other extended family members better, after having many moments of conversational bonding with them… and all of a sudden hugging them feels so much more natural/simple/easy. Could I live without it? Sure. Would a wave hello and goodbye, or a simple smile, suffice? Yeah I’d be totally cool with never touching these people in any way, ever again.
If I compare my feelings of sex-aversion to how I feel about touch, I am 95% sure I’m not touch-averse, not as a blanket statement. I think I am pretty touch-averse in cases where the person is a stranger, a near-stranger, or my abusive mother. But in cases where I feel comfortable around a person and feel like I’ve gotten to know them fairly well, I can kind of find touch to be either something I’m indifferent to, or in a few select circumstances, a wonderful experience. I definitely don’t crave touch in my life, though. And I don’t experience sensual attraction toward specific people, either.
This post has been cross-posted to my tumblr. Read it there instead, if you’d prefer.
Pegasus hosted the November 2014 Carnival of Aces, and the theme is “Expectations in friendships/relationships” – you should consider submitting something for the current month, whatever it is! My submission is below.
When I was around 20 years old, in college, and an online acquaintance mentioned having asexual friends, I asked her to clarify and she sent me a link to the AVEN homepage. I vaguely realized, on some very far away/buried level in my mind that I might be asexual as I read the definition, but I had so completely convinced myself that I was actually a very (100%) inexperienced straight girl that no, that couldn’t be me. I’d had crushes before (although, now, in retrospect I’m not 100% sure they were actually romantic crushes, which contributes to my current WTFromantic orientation label I’ve embraced), I could find certain guys, especially celebrities, (aesthetically) attractive, etc. I had all these hopes and dreams and EXPECTATIONS that one day, I would be in a heterosexual romantic relationship and suddenly all the love songs, all the romantic subplots in fictional books/movies/tv series, etc would make sense and I’d feel what they felt too.
I was the girl who didn’t feel broken, who felt rather happy and whole and human and full of plenty of self-esteem, therefore I must have been a “sexual being”, too, and while every time people spoke of sexual desire I was confused, I figured once I got into a relationship it’d all make sense. Once I started dating, I expected to enjoy all aspects of dating, including the kissing & sex.
So when I graduated college and I was encouraged to get into online dating, I decided to go for it.
…and wow. I’m a little surprised by some of the ways people have found me.
(Trigger Warning for some discussion of Child Sexual Abuse in the first 3 paragraphs below.)
This is my post that I’m writing for the September 2014 Carnival of Aces, which has the theme Asexuals, Advocacy, and Allies.
People can act a variety of ways. The worst non-allies to asexual-spectrum folk are our enemies. Those people sometimes write severely ignorant articles about us, spread harmful misinformation, or potentially, in-person do horrifically hurtful things to an asexual-spectrum person they might meet. There are an array of things you can do to clearly be a non-ally.
But if your sister comes up to you and tells you she’s asexual, and you don’t quite believe asexuality is a real thing; if you just nod and say okay to her and walk away… you’re not an ally to your sister, but you’re not the worst type of non-ally possible. If you understand and accept asexuality yet keep on naively reinforcing compulsory sexuality and silently participating, “by accident”, in ace-erasure, for instance, you’re hurting us very slowly, very quietly, and usually without realizing it, and if you were only taught how what you were doing was hurting us you might change your ways, but as it is now, you’re still a non-ally.
One of the things that is confusing is when* asexual people consider themselves part of GSRM (Gender, Sexual, and Romantic Minorities) or LGTBQ+, or QUILTBAG, or whatever acronym, yet there exist people who are allies to gays and lesbians, maybe possibly gender minorities’ & trans’ and/or bi folks’ allies too, yet aren’t asexual people’s allies. If a potential person is the most amazing ally to homosexuals, that’s great, but that doesn’t say anything about whether or not they are our (an asexual person’s) ally. It doesn’t tell you what they think about homoromantic asexuals/lesbian asexuals/etc either. It can be confusing to weed out when allies to other parts of the LGBTQ spectrum are and aren’t our allies.
Another confusing thing is that there are a few self-labeled allies out there who are unbelievably selfish, self-centered, and frustrating. Calling yourself an ally doesn’t actually mean anything about whether you are an ally or not. People in minority communities use the word ally to describe other people – to describe those who fit a definition that the minority themselves gets to set. It’s not an identity label for someone else to adopt. Being an ally isn’t about the ally. It’s… it’s more nuanced than that. It’s about the people being advocated for and if they appreciate the advocacy or not.
Then there is a gray area. People who some other people might consider allies, and yet the rest of the world might consider non-allies (including these allies/non-allies themselves – some of them might consider themselves to be allies, and others of them wouldn’t consider themselves allies). It depends on your definition of an ally.