Category: aromanticsm

Learning to See Experiences Related to Asexuality as Potentially “Poetic”

This is my submission for the October 2018 Carnival of Aces, which had the theme “Poetry”.

I apologize for any autocorrect typos, I wrote this whole thing on my phone. Let me know kindly and I can fix them.


Two years ago, in September 2016, I wrote a prose poem about my asexual experience without really realizing I was writing poetry again. (“Again”, because I hadn’t written any poetry in 4.5 years, since my Creative Writing class my final semester of college ended.) September 2016 was during that blip in time when Imzy existed and I was in the 100 words community, challenged to write exactly 100 words, no more and no less, on a different prompt each week.

The prompt that time was “Clocks” and somehow I ended up writing:

The concept was always framed with a presupposition; there would of course come a point in time when I’d be ready. When that time came, I needed to be armed with knowledge. I must brace for the emotional consequences. Itwas an inevitability.

So I learned. For over a decade of my life, I prepared. I absorbed more information than was really necessary. I planned ahead.

But society was wrong. Maybe all along I’d been a broken clock. I’d felt stuck. I tried to push myself forward.

As it turns out, though, I am the flower doomed to never bloom.

I am still not entirely sure if it counts as a poem. But writing about an asexual experience with metaphors and without ever once using the word asexual seemed poetic somehow to me.

It was a start of something.

A key concept from those hundred words made it into a stanza of my new poem, No “Just” About It that I wrote two years later in September 2018 — just last month (as of the time of me writing this blog post) — and which was published in The Asexual, a literary journal. My second piece of writing to be published in one of the issues of this journal but my first poem.

http://theasexual.com/article/2018/9/28/no-just-about-it

This poem is kinda… Political. It’s also fun. We’re often our own harshest critics but to me it seems apparent that it’s not very impressive from an artistic standpoint. But I’m glad I decided to write it, and I didn’t let the genre of poetry intimidate me away from something relatively simple like this.

If The Asexual didn’t exist as a platform I never would’ve thought to write poetry with asexual themes so I’m very grateful to Michael Paramo and everyone there who keeps it running.

From 2004 through 2008 when I was ages 14 through 18 and in high school, all four years I participated as part the literary magazine club after school. We accepted fiction but mainly received poetry and a little bit of art. Once a week after school our club would read aloud as a group, discuss the merits of, and also respectfully criticize each submission. They would be typed up to anonymize each submission ahead of the discussion, no author listed and no handwriting to recognize. We were always keeping in mind the possibility that the author could be one of us in the room so we had to be careful not to be unkind in our criticism. (I don’t think the visual art pieces needed to be discussed; I think maybe they automatically got in.)

Continue reading “Learning to See Experiences Related to Asexuality as Potentially “Poetic””

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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.

 

Me & Squishes (a Lack of Experiencing Crushes)

The question of the week this week, Question of the Week: March 20th, 2018, over on The Asexual Agenda, is:

How do you tell the difference between a friend and a crush?

I once saw a post on facebook saying ‘that tingly feeling you get when you like someone is common sense leaving your body’.   I really like this definition because the only way I can really tell that I have a crush on someone is that I notice myself being kinda stupid around them.  Even then though, I don’t really think I treat crushes much differently to how I treat new friends. Either way, what I want is to get to hang out and talk and do fun things with them, so it all ends the same.

Can you describe what it feels like to have a crush?  Or a squish or other types of attraction? Are these things easy for you to differentiate?  How do you decide what to do about your shiny new feelings?

I have a whole blog post worth of an answer. Please check out the other comments there for other people’s answers! There are plenty of good ones.


Continue reading “Me & Squishes (a Lack of Experiencing Crushes)”

My Mental Health Journey & My Asexuality Journey

This is my submission for the February 2018 Carnival of Aces themed around mental health, and per usual, all of us participating linking our blog post submissions in some way back to both asexuality & the theme. The call for submissions was here. The round-up of all submissions is now here: https://hurricanesophia.com/2018/03/01/carnival-of-aces-mental-health-wrap-up/


When I first posted this blog post it had been written entirely on my phone within the final 2 days of February, most of it within one sitting, and it was extra ramble-y and a few of the parts didn’t tie back to asexuality as much as I wanted. So I added a bit more on March 1st in the middle of the day/edited on a computer and hopefully the post is slightly improved, even if the rambling and random nature can’t be entirely fixed as this is kinda stuck as my blogging style.

I’ve been through a bunch of traumatic experiences related to my abusive mother. I’m 28-years-old nowmy birthday was last monthwhich means I’m well into adulthood. That’s hard for he to believe sometimes, as it took me a while to start doing a lot of adult type things, such as to be gainfully employed, and part of what delayed me might’ve been my process of recovering from my childhoodmy experiences with my mother largely were contained to my childhood or teenage adulthood years (18/19).

There were more of these experiences than I can easily count, more than I’ve ever really blogged about, including the two times most recently:

1) being in a deposition for a civil case between her and her former fiancé, as a character witness against her/in her fiancé’s defense at the end of 2014 (when I was 24) which shook me much more than I anticipated, and

2) at the end of 2016 (when I was 26) the experience of seeing her again at my grandmother’s funeral and witnessing how much this woman I’ve been successfully avoiding entirely (other than her voicemails) just hasn’t changed at all, seeing her siblings call the cops to have her removed from the funeral home.

Then, on the other side of my family and while she remained completely unaware of this part of my lifebecause my brother, father, and I successfully went No Contact with her years priorI witnessed my uncle die by suicide, in November 2013. (I was 23, and this occurred about 1 month after I settled for sure on the asexual label for myself.)

4 years later, almost exactly 4 years from the date in fact, a person I considered a friend and a peer perpetrated a murder-suicide in November 2017. Yesterday was the 3 month mark since this transpired.

These events all have almost no overlap with asexuality, but these traumatic things all certainly did affect my mental health. (Also I’ll note that while I experienced abuse, none of it was sexual abuse, nor abuse in the context of a sexual relationship of any kind.)

At the same time, despite the lack of overlap, my asexuality affects all my interpersonal relationships, and always has (even before I had the word asexual to categorize myself with!). It affects who I am and the context I’m in when I repeatedly find myself needing to process traumatic things.

(For instance, those 2 most recent experiences with my mom happened after the summer of 2014—which was the moment in time at which I slowly started making friends via the in-person asexual meetup group in my city. I had grown extremely isolated over my 4 years at college and 2 years post graduation, and my only friends were via online friendships… until meetup.com kinda saved me from that life. I spoke to at least one ace friend about the deposition at the time, and I talked to a number of ace friends about that horrible experience with my mom at my grandmother’s funeral.)

Continue reading “My Mental Health Journey & My Asexuality Journey”

“The Romance of Friendship” in ScreenPrism’s analysis of the TV series “Friends”

This isn’t a real blog post or anything. I just thought people who are interested in the concepts of:

  • queerplatonic relationships
  • what is romantic vs. platonic
  • What does it mean to value friendships really highly even as an adult?

Etc…

I felt like you guys might, um, need to see this analysis of the TV series Friends, because wow it presents quite an interesting argument:

 

Also note I included only Chandler&Joey of the Friends core group as a possible queerplatonic type bond when I hosted my own fanvideo collaboration about queerplatonic-type-bonds on TV shows I know…

(Actually I hosted two fanvideo collaborations about queerplatonic bonds, but this is the collab containing Chandler/Joey.)

(I didn’t vid Chandler/Joey, my friend who vidded them though did capture multiple moments referenced in ScreenPrisim’s later-published analysis video, above.)

 

Anyway… I just felt like basically “reblogging” someone else’s (or, as I’m pretty sure it’s a team working with ScreenPrism, multiple someone elses’) awesome analysis work and a video I really appreciated. So check it out.

Once Upon a Time I Was a “CisHet Ace”

This is my submission to the September 2017 Carnival of Aces, themed around “What’s One Thing You Want To Tell Ace Exclusionists?” or “Messages to Ace Exclusionists”. See here for the masterpost and explanation of what the Carnival of Aces is. (The call for submissions this time was here.) I’m a day late, which is nothing newsworthy if you are familiar with me and my bad habits…


So… Cishet aces or cishet aros are just straight people, and therefore the logic follows that they’re your oppressors. That’s what you Ace Exclusionists say, right?

You don’t seem to really believe or understand just how huge asexuality or aromanticism can be as an influence in a person’s life. You don’t seem to really accept they’re real. There truly is a reason these concepts evolved into being commonly accepted by people who use the identity labels as analogous to sexual orientations.

If you accept a trans het ace into being “LGBT” but only because they’re not cis (because they are trans), you’re saying that heteroromantic asexuality is the same as typical (allo) heterosexuality, and it just isn’t. You’re saying being Trans is the only aspect of their queerness, their non-straightness, you’ll even bother to see. You won’t give them space to feel fully welcome as their full selves.

If you say people who live their lives as aromantic while meanwhile feeling sexual attraction toward “the opposite gender” are exactly the same as most straight people who happily date and easily feel fluttery romance stuff or easily fall in love, you’re missing another point. But aromantic people aren’t brought up as often on any side of this “Debate”, this “Discourse”, this Fight. They are lumped in as a sidenote with the aces. I’d love to defend these aromantic people, but about allosexual (including heterosexual) aromantics I fear I might say the wrong thing. I still have to learn how to be the best ally possible. I still think about them more theoretically than have I read or heard enough personal accounts from real people who live those lives and right now this is all outside of the scope of this post. Let’s get back to the more blatant fight here, against asexuals.

Continue reading “Once Upon a Time I Was a “CisHet Ace””

“Kissing, Hand Holding, Bed Sharing, etc!” – the May 2017 Carnival of Aces Round Up of all Submissions

(I’ve cross-posted this round-up to my tumblr as well, if you want to reblog it!) 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. Aromanticism is often grouped in as a thing to talk about as well, or even just “instead”, if desired. 😉

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/

April 2017’s was on “Aromanticism, Asexuality and Parenthood” and received 5 submissions (see all the way at the bottom of that post for some of them) – it was hosted by Ettina over at Abnormaldiversity.

For this current month, May, this was the fourth time that I hosted the carnival, and once again it was a big success! Thank you to ALL of you who submitted.

I tried to choose a broad topic:

Kissing, Hand Holding, Bed Sharing, etc!

and the “etc” was important and part of it too, I swear lol. Feel free to go back to the call for submissions if you’re curious for what I suggested and explained the topic to be.


This month, 10 different people turned in posts, and 1 of those people did their submission in two parts.

One other person claimed not to have enough to say in order to write a post for the Carnival but did write a great paragraph response on their thoughts on the topic and gave me permission to include it here as well. (So you’ve got 12 links to click. )

I’ll (sort of) try to group them by theme:


We’ve got the general replies to thoughts on the whole Carnival.

Lib at is the person who didn’t turn in a post but whose thoughts near the beginning of their A “Catch Up” Post I felt would be good to share with you all. Most of that blog post is unrelated to the Carnival, but near the beginning there is a paragraph that sums up Lib’s feelings on most displays of affection:

https://acubedblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/a-catch-up-post/

Isaac at mundo heterogéneo wrote this month about his thoughts on all three things in the title of the theme — kissing, holding hands, and bed sharing:
https://heterogen.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/my-thoughts-on-kissing-holding-hands-and-bed-sharing/

Blue Ice-Tea over at Ace Film Reviews wrote Growing Up Platoniromantic: Kissing, Hand-Holding, Bed-Sharing, etc.

https://acefilmreviews.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/growing-up-platoniromantic-1/

Continue reading ““Kissing, Hand Holding, Bed Sharing, etc!” – the May 2017 Carnival of Aces Round Up of all Submissions”

Kissing Aversion, but Demi-Sensual About Other Touch

This is my entry for the May 2017 Carnival of Aces, which I hosted and chose to theme around “Kissing, Hand Holding, Bed Sharing, etc!”. The round-up of all 12 submissions that month can be found here. I’m sorry this post is so long. I’m sort of overflowing with thoughts. Also this was written in one sitting late at night so please feel free to point out errors. This was cross-posted to my tumblr as well.


I don’t feel like I need touch in my life much at all, most of the time.

That being said, I have the ability to really like it. In a kinda demi-sensual kind of way, if that’s a thing. (I’m 100% asexual, no grayness there, no sexual attraction, but if I have a lot of trust-feelings for you, like a LOT of positive feelings about our relationship, then there is a pretty good chance I’ll like touch.)

I am comfortable but fairly neutral with touch when it comes to me and small children. (They can still cross boundaries that make me uncomfortable, such as making me take off my glasses and then I feel overly vulnerable, which kind of happened to me a week and a half ago with a 3 year old in my extended family lol.) I don’t crave touch from small children – I crave other types of attention from children, I want to make them happy, I love the emotional reaction they can have to me at times, but I’m not overly touchy feely unless they initiate it. I am much more comfortable holding babies than holding any animal though.

With people who are peers though, fellow young adults, or from older family members… I can have positive associations with touch!

Continue reading “Kissing Aversion, but Demi-Sensual About Other Touch”

Guest Post: Carnival of Aces Submission

This is a submission for the May 2017 Carnival of Aces which I myself hosted this month here on my blog. The theme is “Kissing, Hand Holding, Bed Sharing, etc!”

I offered to host guest submissions on my blog if anyone desired that. Here is Rachel’s essay:

I define myself, broadly speaking, as sex-averse, romance-averse, and touch-averse, but the more that I think about it, separating these repulsions into neat and tidy categories really doesn’t make sense.  The three blend so easily into each other that I can’t conclude which is causing which.  For example: kissing?  Not a fan.  Now, is that because of sex aversion (since kissing can be coded as sexual), romance aversion (kissing is coded as romantic), or is that just generalized touch aversion?  All three?  Rinse, lather, and repeat for all other sexual/romantic/sensual coded activities.  

Now, it isn’t unusual for repulsions to be inexplicably arbitrary in their limits and tolerances (some aces/aros like cuddling but hate kissing, may like or tolerate certain types of sexual/romantic materials but not others, etc.).  Me?  I’m an aro ace who is vaguely repulsed by both sex and romance, yet am actually astonishingly positive toward sex and romance under certain circumstances.  Like, I am okay with and sometimes really enjoy romance in media, to the point that many of my standard complaints about romance in media are identical to those of alloromantic people (the characters have no chemistry, the writing is cliché, their dynamic is forced and obligatory, etc.).  With that in mind, it makes tidy categorizations of repulsions even more hazy.  Because how much, philosophically, can you stretch a term before it loses coherence and value?  What value is there in calling myself sex-averse and romance-averse specifically when I’ve admitted to not having the conspicuous and visceral reactions that repulsion otherwise implies, the way the community usually talks about them?  Am I actually sex and romance repulsed, or is that just the unfortunate overlap of generalized touch aversion with activities rooted in touching?

Given the above, it makes separating repulsions kind of arbitrary and impossible, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t find the terms useful.  I obviously wouldn’t use them if I found them pointless.  Calling myself sex-averse is a useful way to get across “no, I am not, in fact, interested in or open to sex with you (or anyone else for that matter).”   The same goes for romance and touch.  Because people tend to assume that if you aren’t explicitly revolted by something, that something doesn’t really hold inherent appeal to you but doesn’t specifically upset you, then that means that you’re broadly okay with it, right?

And here is where the core of my aversion lies.  When I say that I am averse to these things: it isn’t because they inspire a deeply-felt, immediate, all-consuming gut reaction; it is because they don’t.  I cannot find the words even describe the special kind of NOTHING that I feel when interacting sensually with others.  Yeah, I tolerate touch as social protocol, and don’t mind it in small bursts from people that I know well.  But knowing that I supposed to be feeling something positive, and getting nothing from it internally, no matter how sincerely-intended the gesture, makes touch a dissonant and hollow experience.  My life is filled with Voldemort-awkwardly-hugging-Draco moments.   It has taken me years to admit to myself that I am emotionally indifferent to touch, and that, no, touching the people that I care about doesn’t provide any warm and fuzzies (to the point where I suspect neurodivergence), it’s just this vaguely disconcerting thing that I’m expected to perform.  This all makes sex and romance-coded behaviors feel invasive in their hollowness, and it is for this reason that I ground myself in the vocabulary of aversion, rather than mere indifference.

The triple-combo of sex, romance, and touch aversion creates sites of conflict for me.  This overlap heavily stymies my ability to pursue relationships that otherwise interest me.  Because when the ace and aro communities talk about relationships and practicing physical intimacy, this is what I mostly see:

Alloromantic aces: We may not like sex (unless we do), but we still like romance!  Kissing!  Cuddling!   Holding hands!  Sensual stuff!

Aro allosexuals: We may not like romance (unless we do), but we still like sex!  Kissing!  Cuddling!  Holding hands!  Sensual stuff!

Non-touch averse aro/aces: We may not like sex or romance (unless we do), but we still like touch!  Kissing!  Cuddling!  Holding hands!  Sensual stuff!

The more repulsions that you have, the more it chisels away at your ability to perform the motions of intimacy under the predominant relationship models.   The way we talk about relationships in the ace and aro communities, whether sexual, romantic, or none of the above, still contains the language of touch-as-intimacy, and that leaves people with stacking repulsions effectively out in the cold, as our communities scramble to highlight what physical intimacies remain.  But what happens none remain?  Because, seriously, how many in our communities would be on board with a relationship where not even nonsexual or nonromantic sensuality is involved?  Who will have you, when even your own community probably won’t?  This is something that I wish that both communities would discuss more directly, rather than just giving lip service, leaving cute validations, and then things going back to the same as before.   It’s all well and good to say that people with  multiple aversions deserve to have the relationship models of their choice, but that doesn’t mean we get to ever have them in real life, or guide us through navigating them if we do.  

My relationship prospects being more or less nonexistent, I’ve more or less settled on being perma-single, something that I am, luckily, fine with.  But this creates problems with possible parenthood.  Being disabled, having a someone to co-parent would set me at ease with having children (and this is my backdoor response to last month’s submission, an entire month late), but as I’ve detailed before, that isn’t likely or practical.  Also, being a single parent with touch-aversion threatens parent-child interactions (children, as a general rule, require a lot of touch for bonding and development), which having a co-parent would alleviate.   Our community’s lack of exploration of these questions leaves me alone, without guidance, and uncertain of my options.  

As a community, we need to discuss touch-based intimacy, the place it holds in our relationship models, and how to we ought to restructure said models when its pieces wear thin.  As a community, we need to discuss touch aversion with the same gravity that we do sex and romance aversion, as being a serious part of many ace and aro experiences, not just as an afterthought.  There comes a point when pithy positivity posts and acknowledgements stop helping you progress, and talk of practical and living concerns needs to take its place.  I’m hoping that this Carnival serves as a start.   

Rachel