Tag: asexual representation

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 of 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””

Advertisements

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.

Asexual Representation on Sirens (& maybe implied aromantic representation? Maybe?)

(This has been cross-posted to my tumblr, too.)

In April 2015, USA Network’s TV series Sirens was canceled, and with it, the USA lost their only current canonically asexual character on prime time television. Season 1 is still on Netflix for anyone curious enough to watch, and presumably season 2 will be added eventually.

Let’s discuss what exactly the representation was, though, and what it is that we lost when we lost the show.

Sirens is a half-hour comedy TV series, meaning each episode is actually only 22 or so minutes long. It is about a group of EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians), aka Paramedics. It involves treating serious medical problems and even death with humor and lightheartedness, at times.

Valentina Dunacci, who prefers to go by the nickname “Voodoo”, is revealed in season 1 episode 6 “The Finger”, to be asexual. But this isn’t the only episode she appears in, or even the only episode where her asexuality is mentioned. No, she is a significant part of the entire series.

In fact, the first three episodes of the show involve some highly sex-based plots and jokes, and in episode 3, when the character Billy walks into a room full of his friends and acquaintances bare naked, and his dick is supposedly the largest dick anyone has ever seen, Voodoo already is more in the background, not really reacting, not someone showing any sign of sexual attraction the way the other women (and the gay man) in the scene are. Even back in 1×03 a reading of her as asexual works well.

The show closely follows 3 men who work together in the same daytime shift, and on the same ambulance, aka “rig” — Johnny is the straight white man with a fear of commitment to his longtime girlfriend, a cop named Theresa, who is also a main character of the show. Hank is the gay black man who enjoys a lot of casual sex and flings with men that don’t last long. Finally, Brian is the nerdy, good Christian, straight white man who still lives with his parents and is new to the job in the pilot (the first episode of the series).

Continue reading “Asexual Representation on Sirens (& maybe implied aromantic representation? Maybe?)”