This is possibly a bit of a contentious topic, but I have been wondering for a long time whether describing asexuality as ‘a lack of sexual attraction’ is the most effective way of communicating what it’s all about – especially to the broader, non-asexual population.
I’m just testing the waters a bit here – I have been meaning to write a longer series on how we talk about sexual attraction in the ace community for a while now, but haven’t quite gotten to where I want to be with it yet. So these are just some thoughts that come to mind, rather than a definitive argument or anything like that. I’d be interested in hearing other people’s comments and thoughts in response.
The thing about ‘sexual attraction’ is that it’s a nebulous thing, that defies definition even for a lot of allosexual people (who you think would be experts on it, but who most of the time have just as little idea of what it actually entails as we do)… More Is ‘lack of sexual attraction’ the best way of describing asexuality?
There aren’t many books out there that are a) about sex and sexuality, and b) ace-friendly. So when I first came across Australian journalist Rachel Hill’s book The Sex Myth: The Gap Between Our Fantasies and Reality last year, I was pretty excited, but also slightly nervous. (The nervousness I blame on all those anthropology textbooks I had to read for university one semester that told me that sex was inherently what makes us human – and, well, most of what is written about sex in general.)
Turns out that I really didn’t have to worry in this case, because The Sex Myth is one of the most ace-friendly books about sexuality and sexual culture (for lack of a better term) I’ve ever read. So I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on the book here – alongside copious quotes to illustrate why I like this book so much.
The Sex Myth is all about the role that sex plays in our lives and our society – and critiquing the way that sex has become so all-encompassing, so fundamental to our identities and self-worth and ideas of success, that is has become more powerful and more elevated than all other things we do… More Book Review: Rachel Hills, The Sex Myth
A while ago, I wrote a post on my personal blog about my experience of being an aromantic asexual in a relationship. As various people in the ace community have noted at various times (for instance here, here and here) there seems to be a quite noticeable absence of conversation around the experiences of aces who are in relationships, at least in comparison to more popular topics in ace communities. We theorise a lot about relationships, or talk about what relationships we’d like to have in the future, but there is not much out there in terms of aces talking about their own, personal experiences of being in a relationship. So I decided to write something myself, to try and contribute some of my own experiences to the small pool of personal stories that do exist.
Interestingly, the reactions I got to that post very very mixed. I got a bunch of comments from people who could relate positively to what I’d related, who really appreciated hearing someone talk about their experience of being in a relationship as an aro ace. But there were also negative comments and reactions, from people who felt that my experience didn’t match up to theirs, that I was trying to write about the aromantic experience, rather than my aromantic experience, and that I was therefore ‘invalidating’ their own experience. I think this had something to do with the format I chose, and some of the terminology I used (e.g. falling in love). But I think there was also a slightly different problem, in that some readers didn’t seem to recognise that there are a whole range of different experiences even within the small subset of asexual people who are also aromantic… More Narratives of Aromanticism (vs personal experience)
Since starting full-time work, I have been thinking a lot about the intersection of queerness/asexuality and the workplace. In my last post I talked more specifically about coming out as ace at work and what that might entail. More recently, I’ve been thinking about a slightly broader question, of whether queer (and I’m using queer as an umbrella for all gender and sexual minorities, including ace folks) people belong in workplace diversity and inclusion policies. Specifically, in more than a purely anti-discrimination sense.
From what I’ve seen and heard so far, the public service where I work is very good at recognising diversity and promoting inclusion, and mostly that encompasses queer people too. There are express statements against marginalising or discriminating against someone on the basis of age, gender, ethnicity or cultural background, religion, sexuality, disability, and probably other things I haven’t listed as well. This is the very basic stuff, the (usually legislated) stuff that say that you can’t get fired because you happen to have a disability, or are seen at a pride march, or wear specific religious or cultural attire, etc.
Beyond anti-discrimination legislation and policy, though, is a further level to inclusion, usually in the form of diversity and inclusion policies and strategies, and this is what I’ve been thinking about more specifically… More Should queer people be part of workplace diversity policies?
Something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is the whole coming out process. It makes sense, really – I’m at the start of my third week in a new graduate job – my first post-uni, adult, office job (definitely wasn’t expecting to be here so soon).
I haven’t had to think much about coming out in a long time, since I discovered asexuality. In my uni years, I was openly out to just about everyone except my lecturers (well, except for that one lecturer who I realised was part of the Ally training event I was part of the student panel for about halfway through introducing myself. But that obviously went well), and if someone ever gave me crap (which happened very rarely), it wasn’t very hard to just avoid them entirely. I was part of the uni’s queer and women’s collectives, I ran a couple of workshops on asexuality. Most of the time, being out was never an issue, and I never really considered not being out.
I’m feeling a bit differently about this job, which, to be honest, I’m a bit surprised by… More On Coming Out as Asexual at Work (or not)
Written for the January 2016 Carnival of Aces, on the theme of ‘relationship stages.’
One of the concepts that I often use or reference when writing about asexuality and relationships is the relationship escalator. It’s a concept that I’ve mainly seen explained in relation to polyamory, specifically in this post on SoloPoly and a follow-on book project on unconventional relationships. (I’ll be referencing these resources quite extensively in this post.) However, there doesn’t seem to be any comprehensive overview of the relationship escalator as it relates to asexuality.* This post is therefore intended as a resource which explains what the relationship escalator is, and how it intersects with asexual and ace-spectrum people. As such, it will be open for revision and addition – let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see added or changed.
What is the relationship escalator?
At its core, the relationship escalator refers to the set of societal expectations around relationships and how they should be ‘properly’ conducted. It’s the default view of how relationships ‘should’ work, from how they develop to what they involve. It’s what we grow up thinking is ‘normal’ and ‘expected’ in a relationship. More importantly, it’s also a way of determining whether that relationship is serious or significant… More Asexuality and the Relationship Escalator
For this Australia Invasion Day, let us all reflect on what makes this country so great, using the words of the Australian National Anthem (annotated version).
Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free;
I don’t know about free, but Australia certainly isn’t young: close to sixty thousand years of continuous occupation by Indigenous peoples sounds pretty damn old to me. But we don’t like to talk about that, do we? We like to think that the first people (that is, people who are actually considered people) who settled here landed on Australia’s shores on the 26th of January 1788. (To avoid future confusion: they came by boat, but they were by no means ‘Boat People.’) Even our former Prime Minister likes to say that Australia was ‘nothing but bush’ before white people arrived. So yeah, I guess you can definitely say we’re a ‘young’ nation… More An Annotated Australian National Anthem