Author: luvtheheaven

Specifying My Asexuality With Sex-Aversion

This post was originally going to just be a comment on this other blog post, so please read it first:

“We Don’t Know if Asexuals Do or Don’t Want to Have Sex Because They Are All Queer Cats”
https://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/2018/06/20/we-dont-know-if-asexuals-do-or-dont-want-to-have-sex-because-they-are-all-queer-cats/

I really appreciated this post and your perspective, Talia, a lot overall. I’m finally posting this comment because queenieofaces’s response post went up and kinda reminded me I had an almost complete draft of a comment.

“Asexuality as a hard limit (or: the cat is dead)”
https://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/2018/09/15/asexuality-as-a-hard-limit-or-the-cat-is-dead/

Talia’s post went up when I had been on vacation with only sporadic internet, but I’d been thinking about this a lot in my spare moments then and started to write this comment while offline since it seemed (and still seems) like a really important post in the ace blogosphere. It also seems related to the two demisexual submissions in the prior month’s (May 2018’s) Carnivals of Aces and all the people who wrote about desiring sex from an ace perspective, and other sentiments I’ve heard here and there recently.

I think Rachel here in the comments unpacked any issues I maybe had with the general framing for this post really well. The way you started it out… As I am myself an ace who doesn’t want sex but would like to find a partner, being reminded that so many people out there could never date the type of asexual who doesn’t have sex, without any validation brought up in the post itself that this is a frustrating situation for us too, was slightly… Idk. It made the post as a whole echo slightly of worse things I’ve seen written around about aces, while this post itself not being that exactly.

This post you wrote indeed made sense and was about another issue entirely, one important about conflating all asexuals as not wanting sex when actually asexuality is extremely varied and we don’t know whether aces do or don’t want sex if all we know about them is that their orientation could be defined with the word “asexual”. Asexual, in this way, is like the word queer in how “broad/vague” it can be. As Sennkestra said in a comment here, people “can have wildly different and even contradictory experiences yet still find shared labels like ‘queer’ useful.” I agree with the statement you made that asexuality is inherently queer, in general, although I think it’s mainly because all experiences of it deviate from expectations and averages of what heterosexual experiences are like. But yes, there’s a clear analogy to draw with the term queer and the term ace in terms of both being such umbrella terms leaving room for people with really varied experiences under the same one label. So I’m… seeing the point you were making with the title of this post. 🙂

When you wrote about the

important difference between “I came to identify as asexual because I don’t want to have sex and asexual people don’t have sex” and “I came to identify as asexual because I don’t want to have sex and that’s a part of the asexual experience.”

I only really understood the difference you were talking about (which I agree is an important difference!) after reading your further explanation. Somehow the statements on their own seemed too similar to me. Or rather, the idea of “that’s a part of the asexual experience” as a statement didn’t seem to be clear enough that it’s only some and not all asexual people who don’t have sex, meanwhile “and asexual people don’t have sex” doesn’t even seem necessarily to be a generalization about the entire definition of asexuality for everyone. I mean… I feel like there is at least one charitable way to read that as meaning closer to “there are enough asexual people who don’t have sex that…” instead of a blanket “exclusive” statement..

So Idk. I guess my point is it’s a really complicated subject and I wanted to tell you I am glad you chose to write about it.

So, as is now being discussed on queenie’s post about asexuality as a hard limit, I did that for years. I treated asexuality as my “good enough” excuse to not want to have sex, forever. I would be like Voodoo in Sirens where asexuality is entirely conflated with not having sex, repeatedly. As an example, see my LGBTQ+ Characters fanvideo collaboration at the 1 min 10 sec mark:

Where I saw what voiceover my vidder friend chose and realized how my friend was endorsing the “I just don’t want sex” message the show gave for what asexuality inherently is, definitely without making it clear that some asexuals are sex-favorable, gray, demi, or otherwise might want sex.

But back in September of 2017, one year ago, i edited my own video using scenes of characters in tv shows I watch which I decided to title a “Tribute to Embracing My Asexuality & Sex-Aversion”:

My first impulse was merely to say it was a tribute to embracing my asexuality – period, full stop. But at this point I’ve been surrounded by the sentiment, the pushback, that asexuality isn’t just “not wanting sex”.

Queenie set up her post with:

In the past few months, I’ve seen a lot of posts in ace communities stating that “asexuality has nothing to do with whether you want or like sex.”

And when I was posting my video I’d also seen plenty of those sentiments, probably already pushed back on Twitter against the sentiment that it has nothing to do with it saying that’s going a little too far even if i get what they’re trying to say.

So no, I didn’t take asexuality out of the title of my vid. My vid showed a tangled journey of figuring out sex wasn’t for me and that asexuality was the orientation that I needed to accept about myself. But I added “sex-aversion” to it. I started identifying as “I’m a sex-averse asexual” in places where i want to make it clear that, in a way that is l tied to my orientation and is a big part of my permanent identity now, i will never be having sex – such as on my online dating profiles! I’m trying to do this so that even if people know some aces do have sex they will see as early on as possible that I’m not one of that category of aces. I’m also hoping it helps sex-favorable aces too by sorta decoupling not wanting sex from being associated with just asexuality, instead linking it to the full phrase “sex-averse asexual” and specifically to sex-aversion.

I think this is a very complicated subject and i was afraid of offending people so I think I delayed posting this comment for months for that reason too. But now that it’s become over a thousand words, I’m posting the comment as a post on my own blog instead of as a comment.

So yeah. Please comment below if anyone reading this has any further thoughts.

Advertisements

TAAP is writing a book… and we need your help!

The Asexual Awareness Project

We were approached by a publisher several months ago who would like to publish a book on asexuality and aromanticism.  This book would be geared towards people who work with asexual and/or aromantic people in a professional setting — i.e. mental health professionals, doctors, guidance counselors, volunteers/employees at LGBTQ+ centers, etc.

The goal of the book will be to review the various issues aces and aros face and present possible solutions and ways of approaching the issues. Our hope is that professionals can use the book to help improve the quality of care they provide to the asexual and aromantic spectrum people they work with.

We are aiming to make this book representative of a diverse range of experiences, and in order to do that, we need your help! We are looking for people who might be willing to share their experiences; either in the form of direct quotes or…

View original post 91 more words

Ace and Aro Hospitality Suite is Official at Creating Change 2019

The Asexual Awareness Project

On May 25th, 2017, thirteen asexual activists sent an email petition to Andy Garcia, the Creating Change 2019 conference director, to include an asexual spectrum hospitality suite as an official part of the event in Detroit, Michigan this coming January.

Hospitality suites at Creating Change are places where people of similar identities can connect with one another, and they often offer resources and light refreshments. Last year, the conference had hospitality suites for elders, trans people, youth, disabled people, bisexual+ people, and people of color.

For the past few years, an “unofficial” asexual hospitality suite has been hosted by asexual activists who were attending the conference. This suite was often bursting at the seams with aces who were attending the conference — despite the fact that it was being hosted in a hotel room and it was not included in the conference program.

Last year, three TAAP members joined the…

View original post 369 more words

There’s No “Murder-Suicide” Specific Prevention Cause To Join, So Instead…

Content Note: grief, suicide, murder, murder-suicide, stigma, etc. Let me know if I should’ve mentioned anything else.


In about one month I’ll be walking in one of ASFP’s local walks as part of “the fight against suicide” and to support their bold goal to reduce the suicide rate 20% by 2025.

It’s a smaller walk than the Overnight one I participated in June 2017, and donations are optional this time around unlike that time. I’m mainly sharing my story here rather than asking for you all, my blog followers, to actually donate but if you do want to then the link to donate is at the end. I’m hoping for a few donations but not necessarily from people who have never met me… I just also want to get these words out publicly.

As regular readers of my blog might remember, I’ve lost two people close to me to suicide. Both were middle aged men, and both died very near the Thanksgiving holiday in the USA.

But the more recent suicide, the one that transpired only 9 months ago at the end of November 2017, was so much more horrific and far reaching than a pure suicide, and this is not at all meant to downplay how hugely devastating suicides are.

I just feel like I’m lying by omission and doing a huge disservice to the victim and her family if I don’t mention that I’m in my first year of mourning and recovering from the trauma of my close friend and colleague not only killing himself, but him being the perpetrator of a murder-suicide.

I related to many aspects of this article on Survivors of Suicide Loss, and experienced much of this especially throughout the first 5 months of the aftermath: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/two-takes-depression/201311/understanding-survivors-suicide-loss

And yet most of those experiences listed were tainted by the fact that murder of another person was at the core of many of my emotions and thought processes, so much so that mourning the suicide side of all of it became exceptionally complicated.

Continue reading “There’s No “Murder-Suicide” Specific Prevention Cause To Join, So Instead…”

An Asexual Virginity (or Lack Thereof?)

Virginity. The state of never in your life having had sex.

It means different things to different people. It means different things in different circles. It has so much baggage and causes harm around the world. Many very sexist views are rooted in ideas about it. Shame can be so intricately tied to both aspects of how and when virginity was lost or to the fact that by a certain point in someone’s life, it wasn’t.

While celibacy has been written about a number of times in the asexual blogosphere, I’m pretty sure virginity hasn’t been written about quite as much.

On celibacy, I mainly agree with all the points outlined on Asexuality Archive here back 6.5 years ago:

Asexuality and Celibacy: What’s the difference, anyway?.

Elsewhere on the internet you can find a lot of other nuance to this topic if you search deeper into other things written on how asexuals who are not sexually active feel about categorizing themselves as celibate, including information from the ace community census on the topic. (Or, you can at least see how they felt at a snapshot in time, a few years ago.) The word “celibate” has a lot of connotations and implications for a lot of us native English speakers.

“Virginity” is even more fraught to try to talk about, given all the cultural context of the concept, which I think is why a lot of asexual bloggers often avoid the subject. Not all of us avoid it, and certainly it comes up occasionally, but often I feel like it’s “talked around” instead of being the focus of a conversation.

I do really like Jo’s post on A Life Unexamined from 2012 on the topic. Also, Sara K. from The Notes Which Do Not Fit has written some good posts about virginity too (in 2012 & 2014).

Notably, I probably bring it up significantly more than most ace bloggers do. Here on my blog, it’s come up in passing in various posts, and most notably it has come up in these posts of mine:

There’s a Reason It’s Called a “Virgin” Cocktail

My Doubts about Not Wanting to Have Sex (and my journey through the depths of Scarleteen’s sex-positive sex-ed website)

and

I was curious, so I chose to have sex! Then, my curiosity was satiated. I decided never to have sex again.


The Carnival of Aces this month, May 2018, is themed around “Nuance & Complexity“.

Elizabeth, the host, says,

This month, I want us to focus on those things that we tend to avoid talking about, for fear of being misunderstood, or anything that we may have felt we can’t quite (openly) articulate.

This is my first but probably not my only submission for the carnival this month, as I have multiple (completely different) ideas that fit this carnival topic! But for now, I want to dive more into the topic of virginity.

Continue reading “An Asexual Virginity (or Lack Thereof?)”

I Can’t Just Let The Future Pass Me By (alternatively: Finding The Twigs For My Nest)

This is my submission for the April 2018 Carnival of Aces. I kinda ran out of time to write this and still get it in by the deadline but I’m forcing something so bear with me. Also I’m typing this on my phone so please forgive autocorrect errors. I’ll probably fix them eventually.

This month’s theme’s inspired by a medieval Flemish-Dutch sentence:

Hebban olla vogala nestas hagunnan hinase hic enda thu[,] wat unbidan we nu[?]

All the birds have begun nests except me and you, what are we still waiting for?


On a most basic level, when my peers began navigating flirting, dating, when and where to first have sex, and (for some of them) when to enter marriage, I was indeed “left behind” as an aromantic-spectrum & asexual young adult. This medieval sentence describes a point of view I can relate to, sure. In fact I felt so left behind when my younger brother experienced his first kiss before me (he was 16, I was 18) that I actually cried.

I didn’t realize my future might take a different path when it comes to matters of romance than the average person my age, because among other things, I didn’t realize aromanticism or asexuality existed.

So I kinda just felt like a social failure, someone embarassed to have to admit to college roommates I’d never been on a date, mortified after my first kiss at age 22 to be asked if it was my first time kissing.

But at the same time, I kinda did know that the future was uncertain really early on. Sure, I incorrectly assumed I was straight, but I knew that not every straight person takes the same path to happiness in adulthood anyway.

In fact, I saw firsthand from the 3 main people who raised me that not everyone gets happiness at all in adulthood, because my grandmother seemed pretty unhappy most of the time, and my abusive mother was downright miserable. The third person to raise me was my dad, who found happiness in his kids (and maybe in his career, and in small things in life like music, or nature, or good books, television, and film all of which he knew how to truly appreciate). But my dad never had any romantic partner the entire time I could remember (my parents split when I was 3), and seemed to really lack in the friendship department as well. He seemed stuck in a toxic cycle with the mother of his children holding too much control over his life too, and life wasn’t fair for him on many levels either.

Expecting my adult life to just turn out with me happily married or loving being a mom seemed far from something to take for granted.

Continue reading “I Can’t Just Let The Future Pass Me By (alternatively: Finding The Twigs For My Nest)”

“Physical Health and/or Our Bodies” – Round Up Post for the March 2018 Carnival of Aces

(This post has been cross-posted to my tumblr as well: http://luvtheheaven.tumblr.com/post/172508082527/physical-health-andor-our-bodies-round-up )

The “Carnival of Aces” is a blogging carnival where each month people are invited to write on a specific topic that is related to asexuality/the ace spectrum in some way.

Check out the masterpost of all of the other amazing topics previous carnivals have been on: https://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/a-carnival-of-aces-masterpost/

March 2018’s I hosted here on my blog. It was my fifth time hosting the Carnival within the past 4 years. (This was the call for submissions: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2018/03/01/physical-health-and-or-our-bodies-the-march-2018-carnival-of-aces-call-for-submissions/ ) The topic was “Physical Health and/or Our Bodies”. Thank you to all 13 of you who submitted. (There are 14 authors below if you include me.)

In no particular order:

1) socace wrote: https://almostalmost.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/carnival-of-aces-physical-health-our-bodies/

Which included thoughts like after puberty hit:

I hated my loss of androgyny, even without really knowing the reason why.

 

I grew increasingly depressed about those changes; I thought about suicide and started to self-harm.

2) Elbs wrote Asexuality, Fetish, and Sexual Dysfunction: https://acemindbreaker.tumblr.com/post/171491783818/asexuality-fetish-and-sexual-dysfunction-my

3) Rotten Zucchinis wrote “Invisible” chronic illness as an “invisibly” chronically ill ace: https://rotten-zucchinis.tumblr.com/post/172475544975/invisible-chronic-illness-as-an-invisibly

4) redbeardace wrote Physical Health, Our Bodies, and Asexuality: Some Vignettes: http://redbeardace.tumblr.com/post/171736607105/physical-health-our-bodies-and-asexuality-some

His post included a lot of good stuff on “Men’s Health” that wasn’t discussed in the other posts.

5) I, luvtheheaven, wrote a fairly similar post that was more a bunch of unrelated thoughts than a coherent single essay. Mine is from the perspective of a cis woman though: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2018/04/01/6772/

6) I received an anonymous guest post about PCOS & Pap Smears: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2018/03/24/guest-post-pcos-pap-smears/ (PCOS is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)

7) (Purr)ple (L)ace submitted Fat Acceptance, My Eating Disorder, and Asexuality: http://purrplelace.tumblr.com/post/172446919913/fat-acceptance-my-eating-disorder-and-asexuality

8) Demisexual and Proud’s submission is more on the poetic side, Demisexual Body in Action: https://demiandproud.wordpress.com/2018/03/15/demisexual-body-in-action/

9) Dating While Ace submitted a post called Looking into the mirror which, in large part, discusses “Korean cultural beliefs on how women should look and behave” and how that affected her: https://datingwhileace.wordpress.com/2018/03/17/looking-into-the-mirror/

10) Perfect Number went above and beyond this month for this carnival, as she wrote 4 posts on these topics. They cover sex, sex ed, masturbation, fear, “lust”, and “sexual sin” from her perspective as an asexual who grew up in Christian purity culture. This is the linkspam collection of them: https://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/2018/03/asexuality-and-my-body.html

11) Elizabeth submitted Body Baggage: Chronic Pain, Trauma, Aging, and Asexuality: https://prismaticentanglements.com/2018/03/25/body-baggage-chronic-pain-trauma-aging-and-asexuality/

A small part of the post that I found really interesting is:

Because I’ve been writing about asexuality here for such a long time, under a sorta-pseudonym, and have developed this pretty sizable body of writing that is the primary way I interact with the ace community… I feel like my actual physical body is pretty invisible, and inconsequential to most of you reading this. There’s a disconnect there, between my physical self and my internet self.

12) A³ submitted Sleep Hygiene, which doesn’t tie back into asexuality at all in the blog post but is an asexual person’s perspective on the topic: https://acubedblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/25/carnival-of-aces-march-2018-sleep-hygiene/

This post convinced me to install a new program on my computer screen. I’m liking it so far.

13) Rowan’s is the second submission this month that brings up being ace and having PCOS! Also though, this post covers a number of relevant medical topics including sex drive (or lack thereof) and how doctors basically have certain Priorities: http://adventures-in-asexuality.tumblr.com/post/172422161028/priorities

Finally,

14) Rachel submitted a guest post, Asexuality and Poisonous Body Positivity: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2018/03/31/guest-post-asexuality-and-poisonous-body-positivity/

That post is great and has had my blog reaching a record number of “likes” in a day, actually.

I appreciated every submission this month; so many great perspectives!!

If you have a post you’d like to turn in late, if you notice I’ve forgotten to include a link to a submission, or if you have anything else you’d like to ask me or tell me about last month’s carnival, please feel free to let me know in the comments below! You can also still email me at pemk7@aol.com or contact me on tumblr (I’m luvtheheaven over there too).

My Body & My Asexuality

In March 2018 I hosted the Carnival of Aces here on my blog, on the topic of “Physical Health and/or Our Bodies”. This was the Call for Submissions: https://luvtheheaven.wordpress.com/2018/03/01/physical-health-and-or-our-bodies-the-march-2018-carnival-of-aces-call-for-submissions/


I have a lot of thoughts on physical health and, often unrelated, on my body that don’t feel very directly connected to asexuality. I wasn’t sure if I was going to write a post for this carnival theme, even though I myself was hosting this month.

But let me try, a day late, to throw something out there nonetheless.

1) Well a big thing I’m starting to feel a little less alone with is that I have no libido/sex-drive/ability to feel arousal and orgasm, which is a topic people don’t talk about very often in asexual communities since we focus on the psychological experiences and because masturbation etc is a fairly taboo/too “persona/private” topic in many spaces. And because when does the lack of it even “come up” naturally in conversation?

I think the asexual community has more of us who have no sex drive than many of us realize, and I’m constantly desperate to not be alone in whatever I’m experiencing, including that, so I’m glad I’m in a community of people where my experience is some degree acknowledged. I especially appreciate the context of for some of us being a lifelong thing, not a lost sex drive, and that even if it was lost due to side effects of medications or due to other illness, it’s not a “problem to be solved” but rather a plus side for at least a handful of ace folks.

Continue reading “My Body & My Asexuality”

Guest Post: Asexuality and Poisonous Body Positivity

This is a submission for the March 2018 Carnival of Aces which I myself have been hosting this month here on my blog. The theme is “Physical Health and/or Our Bodies”

I offered to host guest submissions on my blog if anyone desired that. Here is Rachel’s essay, “Asexuality and Poisonous Body Positivity”:


Content Warnings: vague discussion of ableism and sexism, body shaming, bullying, body negativity, weight (?), industrial strength bitterness, awful metaphors including one about eating pork

*Looks at the theme for the month*

*rushes out from under my rock to write this*

I’ve been practically chomping at the bit for a theme like this for a while, having a mess of loosely connected thoughts on this topic knocking around in my head for years now. For the sake of keeping this semi-coherent, and because I have at least a semi-unifying theme that underlies all of these separate thoughts: a systematic estrangement by the rhetoric of body positivity. What initially set off this domino chain was an anonymous post on Queenie’s site:

Here: www.queenieofaces.tumblr.com/tagged/body-negativity

To my fellow aro ace, whoever and wherever you are, this is, at least in part, for you.

Confession time: I kind of loathe body positivity as a movement. Please refrain from throwing rotten tomatoes at me until the conclusion of this essay. I know how this looks: I’m nervous to even write this, let alone submit it, because I know this will attract naysayers out of the woodwork like flies. My feelings are born of a convoluted brew of bullying, sexism, asexuality, aromanticism, disability, and quite possibly gender all mixed into an obnoxious cocktail.

I am going to start with the bullying since starting at the beginning is easiest: I was bullied a lot as a child, and by a variety of people. My repertoire of elementary school bullies reads like a college diversity pamphlet. It was the body-shaming and body policing from other girls though, that I think did the most damage. My excessive body hair, acne, and, believe it or not, my thinness all made me a prime target for body shaming (the other girls kept insisting that I had an eating disorder and that I should put on weight).

It took me years to put all of these pieces together, in large part because of my then unrecognized aro aceness. My aro aceness comes into play because women’s beauty standards, as an extension of women’s gender roles, are heavily tied in with performing heterosexuality. Even as a kid, long before I knew that I was aro ace, I had an instinctive aversion to performing women’s beauty standards in part because of that non-straightness. Tie in my ADHD and the fact that women’s beauty standards tend to be taxing on executive function, and performing girl was very much a diminished reward. All of that failure to conform, born of disability and unrecognized aromanticism and asexuality (and possibly being quoigender as well) all painted a body-policing target on my back.

The weirdest part is, I actually managed to bounce back from most of this because my ability to avoid internalizing most of that filth. I always thought of myself as having good body image because, well, I didn’t have a poor body image (compare how I thought I was straight because, well, I knew I wasn’t gay). What I do have is in fact an apathetic one. My first epiphany on that was I undergrad, when my dorm had a poster on the wall allowing female students to write something that they liked about their body. At the time, I was supportive of this (and still am), but that flipped the first switch when I realized that I couldn’t think of a single thing that I actually liked about my body. I had good body image, right? So I should have been able to come up with SOMETHING, right…? Please note that while body image is a component of self image, the two are heavily conflated, which I think is shortsighted. It is possible to have an overall positive self image without having an outstanding body image. I am extraordinarily lucky to be in a position to be able to sustain a healthy self image despite my apathetic body image. It’s more than a lot of people have.

Remember what I stated before that I managed to avoid internalizing that body-shaming filth? That wasn’t entirely true. I did internalize it, just in a different way. Instead of internalizing the messages that the traits I was bullied for were flaws that diminished my worth as a person, I internalized the idea that these traits made me an easy target. It has made me acutely aware of the standards that I fail to fulfill. I don’t consider myself attractive to others because I know that my body is coded as unattractive by others. And you know what? I’m okay with not being attractive. Because when you are aro ace like me, and averse to sex and romance to boot, being attractive loses its appeal. But that has still left its scars. I have a knee-jerk mistrust of compliments concerning my appearance. After enduring so much bullying about my body, compliments on it feel insincere, not to mention also kind of sexist. If you want to pay me a compliment, couldn’t you be bothered to pay me one that is more personally and materially relevant? Apparently not, instead I have to make do with insincere sounding ones about the very thing I was mocked for, because all women prioritize beauty first and foremost, right?

Now, what does all of this have to do with my distrust of body positivity? One, body positivity at its most insipid is all about vague and platitude-laden validations of ~you’re beautiful~. Uh, no I’m not, and stop insisting that I am (remember the insincerity hang-up). Women of the world: you do not get to specifically and deliberately target me with ableist, sexist, and aphobic body shaming and otherwise ingrain the message that I am ~not beautiful~ and then pull a complete 180 on me with impersonal and clichéd validations that don’t mean a thing now that it’s easy and convenient. I am not buying it.

Two, related to point one, body positivity is heavily tied up with sex, romance, and sensuality. Messages about ~celebrating~ and ~enjoying~ your body abound, all tied up with eroticism. I’ve written before about how I am averse to sex, romance, and touch. As a result, a lot of body positivity is actively anathematic. I live effectively severed from eroticism and limerence, so what is a heady perfume to most is a noxious sewage to me. Being aro ace with a triple helping of aversions and absolutely no libido means that I don’t have a body that I can enjoy, and certainly not one I can celebrate. To risk misquoting Coyote of The Ace Theist: “I don’t want to celebrate my body. Go jump in a lake.”

Three—and this is a damning thing to proclaim—I don’t think it’s possible to build authentic body positivity for someone like me. Body positivity that encompasses me is self-defeating: it’s great and wonderful that you do not enjoy your body and are indeed stuck in a body that is incapable of being enjoyable. See, aren’t those empowering vibes just overwhelming? Even if I’m wrong and it is possible, I don’t like the idea of creating a permanent underclass of second best in which I can only get the ham hocks and pig ears while everyone else gets the juicy, juicy bacon. (Incidentally, I’d sooner go without pork than eat ham hocks or pig ears thank you very much). Or to use a punny metaphor: a system where everyone else gets to fly first class while I’m confined to flying economy. But I should totally be grateful of the fact that I am at least allowed part of the pig or am allowed to fly at all, right?

Look, I get why these points take center stage in body positivity. I know that these are uplifting messages that a lot of people need. But… I’m sick and tired of being cast aside because I don’t fit trendy rhetoric. I’m sick and tired of being expected to applaud things that benefit OTHER PEOPLE when it comes at my own expense. Because we aces and aros are constantly expected to sacrifice and de-prioritize our own needs for the sake of People Who Matter More. It’s alienating. It’s embittering. It’s isolating. And I really don’t want to be bitter. Despite bitterness being the cool thing to be online these days, I don’t recommend it. I’m not the first one to point out that body positivity is a mess of well-meaning but contradictory sentiments and competing access needs, but I wish that I wouldn’t get branded as regressive for the crime of pointing that out. I wish that body positivity would be honest about being inherently built for some people but not for others. I’d still hate it, but at least I’d respect it.

 

Guest Post: PCOS & Pap Smears

This is a submission for the March 2018 Carnival of Aces which I myself am hosting this month here on my blog. The theme is “Physical Health and/or Our Bodies”

I offered to host guest submissions on my blog if anyone desired that. Here is an anonymous person’s short submission. (They asked for this to please be posted anonymously.):

I have an endocrine disorder, called PCOS. Basically, my body doesn’t know how to regulate some hormones. It isn’t something I share with a lot of people, like my asexuality, but I can’t share both. Because I know what will happen next: they will think the asexuality is just a result of my hormones being off, and that if I treated the PCOS the “right way”, then my asexuality would be cured. But the thing is, I’m already treating the PCOS with the recommended treatments. And I didn’t suddenly become attracted to people once I started treatment. I’m just as asexual now as I was before I started treatment. I hate hiding this part of me, but what I would hate even more is feeling like a “bad” asexual because of my hormonal condition providing ammo for those who refuse to accept asexuality. Both things still make me feel broken, and it is hard to get past this.
I am also a sex repulsed asexual (first time I’ve even typed those words) and I know part of it is tied to my pain (related to PCOS, and other diagnoses that are suspected but not yet confirmed, because the exams are horribly invasive and painful). Any gynecological exams I’ve had were extremely painful, and I can’t bring myself to do anymore (panic attacks), so I’m not up to date on my reproductive health (pap smear isn’t going to happen anytime soon) and I hate the constant nibbling of anxiety in my mind about it. But I also find the medical requirements idiotic. The guidelines in place for these exams all assume sexual activity. I have no idea what my risks (cancer) really are, because there is no information about people like me, who aren’t sexually active.