Narratives of Aromanticism (vs personal experience)

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)

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

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

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?

Why are Korra and Asami in a Romantic Relationship?

Yep, spoilers for all of The Legend of Korra in here, in case the title of the post hasn’t scared you off already.

It will surprise no-one that I am a huge fan of The Legend of Korra. Back in the early days of Korra, I used to ask myself which I loved more: the original Avatar: The Last Airbender series, or Korra, and I could never quite make up my mind. Into the third season and then the fourth, any doubts were decisively pushed aside – there was no longer any question about it that (for me, at least) Korra had far exceeded Avatar.

So it will also surprise no-one that I loved the ending of Book 4 of Korra (like the vast majority of the internet and the Korra fandom). Korra decides that she’s finally had enough of the love-triangles and relationship-dramas of Books a 1 and 2 and decides to head off to explore the world with Asami instead? Brilliant! But it took me all of two minutes to realise that the reasons I adored the finale were kind of different to what everyone else was squeeing about. You see, what I was most excited by was the fact that Korra and Asami didn’t kiss … More Why are Korra and Asami in a Romantic Relationship?

Doubly Invisible

I’ve been pretty quiet these past few months, for several reasons. One is that I graduated from my degree (as valedictorian) in July, and there was a lot of busy stuff happening prior to that with uni. The other is that I’m currently working on archaeological digs, currently in Turkey, and next month in Italy. I was lucky enough to win a travelling scholarship from my faculty as well, so I’ll be off on research-travel until December. So it’s been a good, but busy and intense few months.

But enough housekeeping notices. I wanted to write today to share some thoughts I’ve been having on being invisibly queer: in my case, being an invisible aromantic ace. It’s something I’ve really been noticing since I started digging here in Turkey. Here, I’m spending a large amount of time with a group of people whom I didn’t know previously, and with whom I live (or camp) and work in close quarters. There is a lot of talking, a lot of discussion, quite a bit of sharing about aspects of our personal and professional lives, as in inevitable in a setting like this.

I have always been an “out” person, even before I knew I was asexual and thought I was a lesbian. At home, most people with whom I spend a lot of time know that I am asexual. It’s not something I hide, but something I am proud of and talk about quite openly. I don’t walk up to random people and blurt out that I’m asexual. But where sexuality or relationships come into the discussion, or someone asks, I will happily jump in. Nothing makes me happier than when someone I am talking to references or makes a joke in which they acknowledge my asexual identity (as long as I’m not the punchline, obviously!) … More Doubly Invisible