Asexuality and the Relationship Escalator

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

An Annotated Australian National Anthem

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

Things I Wish I’d Known About Being an Aromantic Ace in a Relationship

It’ll be different to everything you imagined growing up – especially given that you’ve never been in a relationship before. It will even be different to everything you’ve learned by talking to other people in relationships. Loving another person isn’t anything like it is in the movies – it’s quieter and deeper and stronger, and you haven’t experienced anything quite like it before. You might not always know exactly what sets this person apart from everyone else, this relationship apart from the other important relationships in your life. But you know, instinctively, that this is a person you’re in love with, who makes you feel things you didn’t think you ever could or would … More Things I Wish I’d Known About Being an Aromantic Ace in a Relationship

A Masterlist of Writing on Asexuality

I’ve been looking back at some of the things I’ve posted on this blog about asexuality over the last week, and I’ve realised that there’s actually a lot more there than I thought there was. Which feels pretty good, to be honest, because over the past year I’ve not exactly felt the most confident in my asexuality-writing endeavours. This is possibly a side-effect of being an Honours student, and spending every bit of my reading and writing energy on my thesis. And probably some other things as well.

But, the thesis is now done and dusted, and seeing as I’m trying to tidy up the blog a bit, I thought I’d make a masterlist of all the things I’ve written over the past four years. Eventually I want to include this on the asexuality resource page I’m working on (just for this blog, nothing fancy). In the meantime, I thought I’d post it here as a reference for anyone who might be interested … More A Masterlist of Writing on Asexuality

Carnival of Aces: September 2015

Welcome to the round-up for the September Carnival of Aces! This month’s theme was ‘living asexuality,’ and there were some really great submissions. A big thank you to everyone who wrote something for the carnival – it’s been really lovely reading about all your different experiences. luvtheheaven writes on Non-Libidoism and Asexuality (aka: I have … More Carnival of Aces: September 2015

An Asexual Future?

This is my post for the September Carnival of Aces, which I am hosting this month.

Last month, Queenie posted to The Asexual Agenda on how hard it is facing the future without some sort of map. Her post really resonated with me. (It was also one of the reasons why I chose the theme of ‘living asexuality’ for this month’s carnival.) One of the things she wrote was this:

In the past few months, I’ve kept coming back to Laura’s piece on growing old alone. In some ways, it’s a very real worry–while I do have a lovely partner and a wonderful found family, there’s always the concern that my found family won’t prioritize me because I’m not a romantic partner (or a blood relation) and if my girlfriend and I ever break up there’s my super tiny dating puddle hanging over my head… The loneliness I connect to in that piece is a different sort of loneliness–it’s not having role models, not having other people who’ve already navigated the same territory and can point the way.

Like Queenie, I have been thinking a lot about what my future is going to look like as well. It’s something I’ve written a bit about before: how there’s not really many different options for living arrangements if you don’t want to live with a partner or start your own family. But that was quite a while ago now, and things have changed in the three years since I wrote that post. Or perhaps they haven’t. Either way, it’s a topic that’s been on my mind a lot. … More An Asexual Future?

Feeling Apart

I have been having a lot of weird feelings about being asexual lately. Feelings of doubt, confusion, isolation.

Part of this has to do with the fact that a few months ago, I ended my relationship with my partner – at least, I ended the aspect of us being partners. Never having been in a relationship or ended a relationship with someone before, I didn’t really know what I was meant to be feeling or doing – and there are very few resources out there on what ending a relationship looks like when it doesn’t fit into the standard romantic-sexual mould, and how to deal with the feelings that I was having. There were certainly times when I felt my ace-ness very acutely. It has not been the smoothest few months, but things are starting to look up again now, which I’m grateful for. If nothing else, my honours thesis did an excellent job at keeping me distracted.

But there have also been other feelings over the past weeks, which I haven’t quite been able to shake … More Feeling Apart