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

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?

Reflections on Writing About Asexuality

I haven’t written a post for the Carnival of Aces in a long time, but this month’s theme is ‘writing about asexuality,’ and I guess I do quite a bit of that, so I’ll give it a shot again. I have actually been thinking quite a bit about this topic recently, so it’s kind of fitting that that theme should come up now.

I’ve been writing about asexuality for over three years now. The funny thing is, it’s been getting harder the longer I’ve been doing it. Seems kind of counter-intuitive really – you’d think it’d get easier. I think it has a lot to do with the sorts of things I’ve written about (and wanted to write about) as I’ve developed more as an asexual writer … More Reflections on Writing About Asexuality

Taking a Step Back: why not moving forwards doesn’t mean a relationship is failing

For those interested, I’ve got a new post up on The Asexual Agenda, in which I talk about the rhetoric of relationships needing to ‘progress’ to be successful and how just because you’re taking a step backwards doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed to fail.

Check it out if you like! … More Taking a Step Back: why not moving forwards doesn’t mean a relationship is failing

Caught In Between

Sometimes, as an asexual person, it feels like I am constantly stuck in between, in some sort of liminal space that doesn’t seem to have a destination on either side. I’m stuck between straight and queer, because although queer has felt right to me for as long as I’ve known of its existence, that idea … More Caught In Between

Everything Changes (except for the stuff that matters)

This is my submission for the December Carnival of Aces on the theme of change – somewhat late, but hey, I’m hosting it, so I’ve got the final word on what gets included anyway! Sometimes, when I first started identifying as asexual,  I asked myself how long it would last. Everything changes, right? Being ace … More Everything Changes (except for the stuff that matters)