Category: carnival of aces

Make Sure To Frame Asexuality, Clearly, as a Sexual Orientation

This is my (1 day late) entry for the June 2017 Carnival of Aces, which was themed around “Asexual Education”.


Today, in the afternoon into evening as we went grocery shopping at a few stores and then cooked dinner together, I had some amazing conversations with my dad, spanning:

  • the nature of asexuality and aromanticism
  • the complexities of what different people experience
  • the often unintentional and subtle erasure in TV shows
  • multiple real people’s experiences in the local ace meetup group and what that ends up playing out like
  • etc

And basically I was engaging in a much more 201 (rather than 101), in-depth version of asexuality education, imparting my nuanced lived experience from 4-ish years exploring these topics and what’s been on my mind lately to a straight ally who has enough foundational groundwork to basically “Get” all of it.

For this month’s Carnival of Aces, one of the suggestions of topics we could talk about was:

How can those of us who aren’t professional educators teach about asexuality? What are some good places/resources to start? Is anyone currently looking for people to teach about asexuality?

and I think there are so many ways!! It’s such a complicated topic.

Continue reading “Make Sure To Frame Asexuality, Clearly, as a Sexual Orientation”

“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

“Kissing, Hand Holding, Bed Sharing, etc!” – the May 2017 Carnival of Aces – Call for Submissions

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. 😉

(Also, vloggers are invited to speak on the topic in videos, artists/poets invited to be inspired by the topic, etc — whatever format you wish to participate with, please, use that format.)

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 is the fourth time that I am hosting the carnival. I hosted in 2014 and 2015, and it’s been a while but I’m excited to host yet again. I decided to make the topic Kissing, Hand Holding, Bed Sharing, etc!.

The topic is meant to be broad. You are not limited to one of those 3 things just mentioned.

A bunch of ideas on what people might write about:

  • A narrative of your personal experience(s) with something like kissing, hand-holding, sharing a bed for any reason, or other things that came to mind when I listed those things
  • A delineation of where specific actions fit, categorically, in your mind/experience/gut feeling. Is marriage inherently romantic? Is hugging something that fits in different categories depending on other factors? Does making-out kissing feel sexual to you?
  • A personal outline of specific positive desires and/or what you wish to avoid in your future that you feel are affected by your romantic and/or sexual orientation
  • Does your perception of certain activities influence your label/add to your reasons for identifying as grey-aro or grey-ace, or why you chose just “asexual” and not grey kind of a thing? How? Or contrarily, does the way you feel about something like “going on dates” or even “having sex”, an action or experience, influence how or why you identify?
  • Is there something that you love/appreciate, or hate/are frustrated by, in terms of how a specific action or set of actions are discussed in ace spaces?
  • What do you think of how these types of behaviors are used in works of fiction? “There Is Only One Bed” is a common trope on TV shows, for instance, or as Sara K. mentioned & linked to in her review here, a couple of us were discussing in a comment thread in March how sometimes writers seem to “consider the dividing line between ‘romantic’ and ‘aromantic’ to be enjoying kissing and hand-holding.” – How do you, the blogger in this Carnival, feel about that?
  • How does touch-aversion, sex-repulsion, or other aspects of your experience intersect with any of these types of scenarios?
  • Talk to me about consent in contexts it’s usually not talked about in!
  • Tell me how you define that nebulous word “cuddling”. When you say you do or don’t like cuddling, what action(s) are you referring to?
  • Are there certain actions that onlookers insist “Seem” or “must be” sexual, or romantic, but to you feel entirely non-sexual or non-romantic?
  • Anything else that this topic inspires in you! I want to know what you have to say!

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or concerns.

To submit your entry, either leave a comment below or send an email to me at pemk7@aol.com . The deadline is the end of the day Wednesday, May 31st!  If you would like to post anonymously, I can copy and paste text from an email into a Guest post on this blog of mine, just let me know that this is your wish. You can also contact me via my tumblr, which is luvtheheaven.tumblr.com – links don’t send in “Asks” though. I do receive submissions and messages but in my opinion, email is easier, and comments here are easiest.

Thanks!

Me & wanting a future as a parent, an update

This post was written for the April 2017 Carnival of Aces, which is themed around Asexuality, Aromanticism and Parenthood. The call for submissions was here – and please check out the round up post containing all of the submitted entries! http://abnormaldiversity.blogspot.com/2017/05/aromanticism-asexuality-and-parenthood.html


Over on Asexual Activities, back in January (2017, so only a few months ago), 34 different people (including me) answered the theme on Having Children, plus one person replied to another person’s thought that being single meant they couldn’t adopt/foster and encouraged them to consider that that may not be true where they live. About 11 to 16 of the responses seemed to be “I don’t want children”, depending on how you count the “maybe one day” sentiments, meaning it actually is approximately 50/50. See all the different themes here: http://www.asexualactivities.com/tags, and click through to find the answers on asexual people’s perspectives on kids.  Which submission is mine should be pretty obvious if you read my blog regularly, or even if you just read to the end of this blog post.

About a year ago, in May 2016, aceadmiral started a conversation on tumblr also related to aces and having children, and there are two (– I think only two? Not 100% sure) different branches of the reblog chain/thread that are worth reading. If you’re interested in the topic of this Carnival, I highly recommend you click the “Read More” links, read the other linked things within the responses, there is so much that is interesting over there.

  1. https://aceadmiral.tumblr.com/post/144126451728/christian-ace-nerd-aceadmiral
  2. https://aceadmiral.tumblr.com/post/144128006058/tristifere-aceadmiral-luvtheheaven (yes I myself talked quite a bit in this one)

I have so many thoughts on this topic, honestly, but it’s hard for me to currently talk about. Nothing has really changed about what I desire since a-year-and-a-half ago when I wrote on Being an Aro Ace and Desiring (Foster and/or Adoptive) Parenthood, but also so much has changed since then in my life and in how feasible this desire seems!

Continue reading “Me & wanting a future as a parent, an update”

Asexuality, Shame, and the Importance of Ace Pride

This post was written for the March 2017 Carnival of Aces, which is themed around Ace Pride. The call for submissions was here – and the round up post containing all of the submitted entries is here: http://purrplelace.tumblr.com/post/159167437413/march-2017-carnival-of-aces-round-up


We’ll get to Ace Pride by the end of this post. First, I need to talk about Ace Shame.

[Content note: Heavy discussion of anti-ace sentiments, invalidation, shame, negative emotions, etc. Some NSFW text. Unhappy ace/allo sexual relationship dynamics also touched upon. It’s a bit of a rambling mess too.]


shame: n. A painful emotion caused by the belief that one is, or is perceived by others to be, inferior or unworthy of affection or respect because of one’s actions, thoughts, circumstances, or experiences.

  • What is there to be proud of? Isn’t asexuality nothing?

pride: n. a feeling of honour and self-respect; a sense of personal worth

  • “Are you sure you’re not repressed? because you grew up Catholic?”
  • “Everyone masturbates – and the few who say they don’t? are lying.”
  • What do you fantasize about though?
  • Everyone is turned on by some type of person.
  • “Maybe you should talk to a doctor about your hormone levels.”
  • “WAIT — you’re 22 and you’ve never been kissed??”
  • The 40 Year Old Virgin is a great movie, made me cry. I’m so happy that he finally lost his virginity at the end.
  • “It’s natural and healthy to have sexual thoughts and desires”.
  • You’re betraying feminists if you fight Flibanserin (Addyi) being on the market.
  • Who do you have a crush on?”
  • “You should watch this tv show, if for no other reason than the eye candy, you know what I mean? 😉 “
  • “Philosophical or psychological hypothesis: What if all human desires are, deep down, influenced by sex because it’s instinctual that we need to want sex in order for our species to survive? I mean it’s probably true, it just makes sense.”
  • My mom: “You don’t have to get Confirmed Catholic if you really don’t want to however… You might want to belong to a church for when you get married?”
  • “A soulmate is your other half,  the person who completes you, everyone is waiting to find theirs unless they are so lucky to have already found them.”
  • lust can be such a powerful feeling that it motivates people to cheat with a stranger they just met
  • without ‘passion’ in that marriage can you blame that miserable spouse for cheating?”
  • OK Cupid question: “How many dates will you want to go on before you’re ready for sex? One? Three? 12?” (See the 100 words prose poem thing I wrote, which I just tonight posted about this topic.)
  • Check a box: “Which of the three fits you best: straight,  gay,  or bi?”
  • “Have you tried having sex with both men and women and didn’t like it? Only men? You probably just didn’t give being lesbian enough of a chance.”
  • “Ok interesting.  But. Are you absolutely sure you haven’t just not met the right person yet? You don’t want to close yourself off to that possibility too young”  (said to me when I’m 24.)
  • Me before I accepted I’m ace: “I… this first kiss to you feels just as lackluster as the other time I tried kissing a different person last year. I need to admit something… I’m starting to worry I might be asexual, unfortunately. I like you a lot as a person already, so maybe I’ll turn out to be demisexual? Over time? (If we… fall in love or something?)”
  • It’s the standard narrative.  Boy meets girl.  One is too traumatized or just mistrustful of the world. Let’s say it’s the girl this time. The guy loves her hard enough, for long enough… that she learns to love him back with time. Or she suddenly has a revelation that the love of her life has been there all along. He might be suddenly attractive to her too. Like Lois and Clark in versions of their story where you see them before they get together. And wow.  They feel all the feelings. They have a magical kiss or even the best sex ever by the end of the story. Happily ever after. It wouldn’t be a happy ending without getting together romantically.
  • “Are you sure you’re not aroused right now?” – when I tried sex with my boyfriend.
  • “I’ve never met anyone who’s asexual before. (That can’t be real.)”
  • “Oh, that explains a lot about our conversations these past years. I always just thought maybe you were a bit prudish.”
  • Isn’t the idea of being proud to be ace arrogant, elitist, and saying you’re better than people who have sexual desires, shaming them for that, and that’s not cool?
  • “You’re lucky you’re ace. I wish I was ace. You have it so easy.”

Sorry I decided to write such a downer of a post for such a seemingly happy theme.  I kind of went a pretty… different direction than the other entries. At first I wondered if I was completely going off topic but now I realize… My post is basically a long answer to (Purr)ple(L)ace’s final bullet point in the suggested topics:

How do displays of pride (in whatever forms you choose to show it) help you deal with any negative aspects of being ace? How do they help you love/accept yourself and your asexuality more?

Continue reading “Asexuality, Shame, and the Importance of Ace Pride”

Please Don’t Extrapolate My Asexual Experiences

This is of course late – yes, it’s already February – but actually this was written for the January 2017 Carnival of Aces, which was themed “Many Ways to Be Ace”. The call for submissions was here, and I’ll update this post with the round up of submissions sometime soon.


I’m an openly asexual person. Not only that but on a surprisngly large number of occasions I’ve been a person’s first and/or main exposure to asexuality, most often either through my use of Tumblr, or through an in-person coming out. 

Continue reading “Please Don’t Extrapolate My Asexual Experiences”

Why “Romantic Orientation Does Not Apply” Does Not Cut It (For Me)

This is my second submission for the August 2016 Carnival of Aces, which was themed around Naming It. And yes, it’s September 1st now, so I’m late. I apologize. Please enjoy the post below!


Sure, people don’t have to apply* the split-attraction model to themselves if they don’t want to. That’s what the vast majority of supporters of this model say – only use it if you want to. If it feels right.

And if I’m having a lot of trouble coming up with any identity label that feels right to me other than just “asexual”, then maybe I should consider myself to simply be asexual, end of story. Maybe I should not apply the split attraction model to myself. Maybe that’d be the easiest, simplest solution. Maybe that’s all I need to do.

But there are a lot of reasons that it makes sense for me to want to apply it to myself.

One of the main reasons is that I am a member of a group (the online ace blogging community, specifically) where most people seem to apply a romantic orientation to themselves, and if they don’t actively claim one, with time they tend to eventually accept that they are aromantic – by default, by nature of not dating, etc.

Another reason I feel like I need a romantic orientation is because, while I know I am cisgender (female), I need to clarify exactly why I’m not “het” in the way the “aces aren’t LGBT” discourse on tumblr lately has been going, talking about “cishet aces” to… at their most generous, only mean the heteroromantic aces. Because at this point in my introspection, one thing I do know deep down is that I’m not heteroromantic.

Now “not wanting to be marked as cishet” is not just me trying to be “a special snowflake”, although I’ve let that cross my mind. No. That’s unfair to me and so so many other aces.

Continue reading “Why “Romantic Orientation Does Not Apply” Does Not Cut It (For Me)”

When Someone Learns a Word, But It Will Take a Lot for Them to Grasp the Concept It Describes

This was my first submission for the August 2016 Carnival of Aces, which was themed around “Naming It”.


Sometimes you have this nebulous concept in your life, and yet you don’t have any word or phrase to describe it. Learning at age 17 that my mom likely had Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and reading a list of the symptoms online was certainly like that for me. I had always kind of known my mom frustratingly saw no gray areas, but seeing it spelled out with concepts like “Splitting”/”black and white thinking”/”idealization and devaluation”/”perfect or horrible, with nothing in between” felt amazing & validating, realizing experts at studying ways human people could behave (psychologists) actually knew this kind of person might exist. And that’s just one symptom of the personality disorder – just one example of the many ways BPD described the way the person I was living with 6 days a week for 7 years (and every day prior to that) behaved. One way that validated that what I was both witnessing and experiencing really was unusual.

To be fair, the reason it felt so nice to learn there was a word for “it” was because I’d been living with “it” for my entire freaking life. Because I definitely had the concept and had experiences which had been crying out desperately to be framed with a “name”.

People often describe finding out about asexuality in a similar way. Most readers of this blog or readers of Carnival of Aces entries probably already know the stories.

“I never wanted to date anyone yet I never knew why and then, after years of wondering, I found out that people could be asexual & aromantic!”

or: “I tried dating a few people/getting married/I was in love… but sex never felt right and I wondered what was wrong with me”.

Getting a name for your experience meant you weren’t the only person to ever experience it. It means you know what to do next – in the case of realizing your experience can actually be considered a sexual orientation, it can mean you can stop trying to fix yourself, as long as you already accept that non-heterosexual orientations are innate parts of people not to be fixed. Often realizing this kind of thing is very powerful. You can feel a lot of relief, feel the satisfaction of finding an answer, feel the comfort of finding where you belong in the categories set out for human beings and also where you belong in terms of a new community of other people.

Sometimes, especially if you’re currently in a marriage, or in a romantic relationship of some kind, when you find out about asexuality, you experience mixed feelings and not only the happy, positive ones of relief and validation. Sometimes it’s sad to learn you can’t just “become straight” if you do the right things, if you recover from your mental illness(es), etc – sad to realize this is a permanent state of your being. Sad to come to accept that you’ll never enjoy this thing you were hoping to enjoy someday. Losing what you expected for your future can actually be experienced like grief for a lot of people. Sometimes it means your romantic relationship is going to end, which is (of course) painful for so many of the reasons that break-ups usually are.

Figuring out you don’t fit into the typical heteronormative, amatonormative script for life leads to a combination of relief and grief for a ton of folks.

The problem isn’t that you found a word for what you already knew – the problem is that you only knew some of the truth – for instance, you only knew that “so far” you had never really desired sex, for example, or that you desired sex without finding people attractive in the conventional ways…

The problem, in actuality, is that you didn’t have the concept that a person – that you – could potentially be asexual. You didn’t realize that sometimes people just don’t ever find people sexy, or that sometimes people never want sex. You didn’t realize there would be no way you’d ever be the person your significant other wants/wanted you to be when it came to sex. You didn’t realize that society had been gaslighting you in its own way, convincing you everyone who is an adult wants sex, the compulsory sexuality so strong that you convinced yourself you’re repressed or that aesthetic attraction must be sexual.

And you see… That’s what happened to me.

On an even more extreme scale, when I first learned about asexuality, I felt zero recognition that this was me, even though I could not be more asexual as a sex-averse, non-libidioist, probably aromantic or at least aromantic spectrum asexual person. I’ve always been sex-averse and always had no libido, and never once experienced anything closer to sexual attraction than a general thinking a friendship with “the opposite gender” might be just as nice as it’d be for a friendship with people who are the same gender as me (having no concept for nonbinary genders at the time), and maybe also at times not really being attracted to but being able to appreciate certain people’s appearances, appreciate certain conventionally attractive people especially as “pretty” in my opinion…

And I certainly, therefore, felt no relief to find a name for what I’d been experiencing my whole life. No, I started to learn about asexuality out of curiosity, but it did not click that I needed to use the word to apply to myself until years after first coming across it.

Continue reading “When Someone Learns a Word, But It Will Take a Lot for Them to Grasp the Concept It Describes”