Posts tagged asexuality
Posts tagged asexuality
So I’ve been thinking about asexual culture and asexual perspectives lately. There were a few recent comments on an old post at Asexuality Unabashed on the topic, and then last week’s journal club got drawn out on a tangent about whether asexual people see the world differently than allosexual people, on the whole.
I often see people complaining that asexual culture boils down to cake, Sherlock and Doctor Who, and that it’s just an annoying collection of in-jokes. The thing is, I don’t actually think that’s true. I’m one of those people whose thinking about sexuality is very much a product of the time I’ve spent in ace circles, and I am always noticing that I think very differently about things than many of my peers. For that reason alone, I think there’s more to ace culture than the references that people often seem to think of.
So here’s one thing I think is central to asexual culture: a reductionist view of sexuality.
Hey, I wrote a thing for the Asexual Agenda! If you’re interested in reading more, you should check out the link.
I think it’s interesting that, despite the amount of people I see saying asexuals are super into slut-shaming (which is just a really terrible term pls stop using it), I never actually see anyone in the asexuality tag getting angry at people for having sex.
Sure, I occasionally see people saying…
I’ve seen it. For example, recently there was a post talking about how love without lust was more special or real or something.
I have also seen it, but at relatively low frequencies and with a high-level of in-community pushback—I’ve never seen slut-shaming go unremarked on, for example, and I often see multiple people wading in to say “that’s really not okay!” when it does happen.
I think that it’s probably more relevant to those people to ask whether the asexual community values slut-shaming, to which my first response is “which community?” Different communities will have different values and different standards for acceptable behavior within the community. I can name one historical asexual community where slut-shaming was an active part of the culture, which is the Non-Libidoist Society. (This community has been effectively dead since 2006, IIRC. But it’s a good example of what an asexual community based on antisexual values looks like. I should also note that it was in large part because of its prescriptive values and judgement of other people’s sexuality that this community has had very little direct influence on later asexual communities. In particular, the culture of AVEN—the largest community at the time and certainly the most influential—largely arose as a reaction to the antisexual elements embodied by the Non-Libidoist Society. So the impact it had on asexual history as a whole was to shift community norms as far away from its own norms as possible.)
On the other hand, in all extant communities that I’ve been part of (including AVEN, tumblr asexual communities, asexual_fandom on Dreamwidth, and the asexual blogosphere), not shaming other people for their sexuality or sexual activities has been an explicit core value of the community which is strongly socially enforced, particularly in the case of non-asexual people. (Paradoxically, my experience on both AVEN and tumblr is that people identified as within the asexual community were more likely to get criticized for their sexual activity than allosexual people were. YMMV, though.)
Basically, my point is that I’d argue that “not shaming people for their sexuality” has been a central core value of asexual communities since AVEN decisively won the Non-Libidoist Society/AVEN culture war of 2004. That doesn’t mean that individuals will always act in accordance with those core values, but it means that the community itself tends to police individuals who violate them.
It will be interesting to see what happens as asexual community fragments away from AVEN, though. Is a resurgence of explicitly sex-negative groups like the Non-Libidoists Society likely or possible?
Also, relevant to the “are aces queer” / “do aces have any place in queer spaces” argument that appears to be going across the Internet for the nth time: I finally got round to reaching out to my new university’s GSM resource center and saying “hey, I have an asexuality group going, I know it’s not a university group but would you be willing to add it to your list of resources for aces?” and they said “Yes, wonderful, we have a few ace students and being able to give them access to a larger community would be awesome! Also we’re doing a showing of (A)sexual in a month or so, would you mind passing that on to your group?”
I’m very tired and going to bed now, but I just wanted to share, because communication is good and creating resources for people is better and I need to pop in and see if I can volunteer with them to do anything I’m good at this coming week.
Perhaps inspired by the Vice article, there has been some renewed interest in the question “Are asexuals queer?” My answer to this question has slowly developed over time, from “Yes, obviously!” to “Let’s think a moment what that question even means.”
Some people think it means, “Do asexuals fit under the definition of queer?” On one side you have people saying, “Queer means any non-normative gender or sexual orientation, so asexuals are queer.” On the other side, you have people saying, “Queer just means LGBT, and I don’t see any asexuality in the L, G, B, or T.” Both of these arguments are missing the point
Siggy has posted something for the Asexual Agenda! You should go check it out.
Hi! When I did it, the black did tend to overwhelm the cupcakes—I have photos of the first batch I did with a visiting friend here that goes through the process of how I put them together initially, although I think we did a bit better the next time around. They look pretty good on the outside, but I still haven’t figured out how to make them look really good when you bite into them.
(If you look closely, the black layer is quite a bit thicker on the final cupcakes than the other layers, especially the white. That’s not a coincidence. If you flip the layers and do purple on top, which I did at one point to experiment, the purple layer becomes thickest—it’s not a dye problem, it’s a batter sinking into the other batter problem.)
One of the things that I did better when I did this again some months later was using a spoon to lightly pour the layers of batter on, not a gravy ladle as we initially did. It also helps to spoon the batter for each successive layer around the outside of each cupcake, because that helps keep the color layers within the cupcake a little bit more even, and it also helps get that layering on the outside of the cupcake that results in the flag effect you’re looking for. Does that help at all?
(Link to the tumblr photos for anyone who’s curious.)
If you’ve read any of my previous work, a lot of it is about trying to come up with operational definitions for things like sexual attraction, romantic relationships, and so forth. I’m most comfortable thinking about things by defining my premises, building a model, and following that to its logical conclusion. That’s very useful in my research, but I do it constantly—anyone who has socialized with me for long has watched me ruin a lot of perfectly good jokes that way.
I spent a lot of time trying to clarify my understanding by interrogating those premises. For the most part, that wasn’t a productive avenue of thought. I spent a lot of time arguing in circles and trying to collect data that didn’t ever coalesce into a functioning theory. I tried so hard to make the model I was working with internally consistent that I burned myself out on the entire discussion.
Instead, I’ve learned to be comfortable with ambiguity.
I have written a thing for the Asexual Agenda! Go check it out.
So my blog feeds have been drowning me in reactions to the recent “homosexuality is caused by epigenetics” paper, and now a lot of stuff about asexuality’s compatibility with evolution is crossing my dash and there is a lot of misconception in it. I’m therefore currently developing an outline for a series of posts on evolution and asexuality, on the theory that I may as well put my specialty to good use and write from the perspective of a specialist in a closely related field.
Are there any topics that people would be specifically interested in seeing me address in this series?
I have a lot of gay friends who are friends through my boyfriend. Recently some of them heard that I was asexual, and they started quizzing my boyfriend when I wasn’t around. This is pretty nasty for reasons I’ll get into later. But what’s odd is that I’ve known them for years and been out the entire time, and they only realize now?
Siggy has posted something new over at the Asexual Agenda. Come check it out!
I think there are many ideas in LGBT politics that asexuals can learn from, and one of them is the concept of liberationism vs assimilationism. They describe different attitudes or different political strategies. Assimilationism emphasizes that gays and lesbians are thesameas straight folks: they just want to live in long-term, monogamous, committed, loving relationships. Liberationism instead emphasizes that queer* people have the right to bedifferent. Why invest so much resources into same-sex marriage, when marriage is just another tool used to privilege heterosexual monogamous couples?
These two attitudes are not necessarily in conflict, since you can simultaneously talk about the similarities and differences of queer folk to straight folk. But when you have major activist organizations allocating limited resources, different people are bound to disagree on the relative importance of the two strategies.
There’s a new post up at the Asexual Agenda by Siggy! Come check it out.
In honor of National Coming Out Day (October 11th), I will share one of my many coming out stories, this being a light-hearted one.
When I want to be out to everyone, there are always stragglers who I just haven’t come out to yet. Among those stragglers are the entirety of my extended family on my mother’s side (the Chinese side). It just never comes up, because they don’t talk about that sort of thing. Or so I thought.