Concept Awesome

Sending ace-related emails in Japanese; suddenly realize that クイーニー is an extremely ugly name in katakana.

The round up for the July Carnival is up!  There are a whole bunch of really interesting posts, so check it out!

I was just wondering what the actual definition of asexuality is because some people state it is 'a lack of sexual attraction' whereas other people say it is 'a lack of sexual attraction AND sexual desire'. This may sound ridiculous, but is there a big difference between the two and if so, what exactly are people referring to when they say 'sexual desire' (psychologically, biologically etc.)? Also, is one of these definitions invalid? Thanks!
Anonymous

Hey, anon!

Well…this is a complicated question, ‘cause you’re gonna have to parse what “actual” means.  It’s not like there’s some Word Arbiter out there who says, “Oh, yes, this is what this word means forever and always and anyone who says otherwise is wrong.”  That’s not the way language works, fortunately.  (Yes, I really do mean “fortunately”!)

If you’re talking about the most commonly used English-language definition, it’s the one originating from AVEN: “An asexual person is a person who does not experience sexual attraction.”  There are a variety of reasons why this definition is the most commonly accepted one, including AVEN’s historical significance, how neatly it fits in with other sexual orientations, how it leaves room for aces who have sex or who want to have sex, etc.  That’s a post in and of itself, though.

There are some people who identify as asexual because they lack both sexual attraction and desire.  Here’s a piece from swankivy that touches on that idea (and wtfdynamics phrases it as a “lack of interest” in sex here); I also know a couple of people who tend to prioritize their lack of desire over their lack of attraction in claiming an asexual identity.  It seems to me like there are two groups that take two different paths to identifying as asexual.  Group One is composed of folks who begin identifying as asexual because they don’t want sex (lack of sexual desire) and then, when they discover AVEN’s definition, realize that they’re also lacking in sexual attraction.  Group Two discovers asexuality (and begins identifying as asexual) because lack of sexual attraction is causing friction/alienation/feelings of brokenness in their lives rather than lack of sexual desire.  Personally, I think either path (or another path entirely!) to an asexual spectrum identity is valid.

Also worth noting that there are differences across languages!  In Japanese, for example, the definition of asexuality offered on Wikipedia is “他者に対して性的な関心・欲求を抱かない” (“not having sexual interest/desire towards other people”), and I usually see asexuality expressed as “not having sexual desire(s)” (“性欲がない”).  Russia has the antisexual community, which is coming at sexual orientation from a completely different angle.  So if you’re learning about asexuality in a non-Anglophone context first, you might have some pretty different ideas about what asexuality means.

On the topic of sexual attraction vs. sexual desire, I know someone who’s written a really great piece on differentiating sexual attraction, desire, and drive, but unfortunately, they haven’t published it yet, so I can’t link you to it.  I can link you to The Ace Theist’s equally great Differentiating Sexual Attraction and Sexual Desire, though!

You were probably looking for something more concrete and clear-cut than “lots of different people have different feelings about it”; sorry about that.  The sexual attraction definition is the most commonly accepted one in Anglophone communities, so that’s probably the one you’ll run into most frequently if you’re hanging around these parts.

August 2014 Carnival of Aces: Call for Submissions

Hey, everyone!  I’m hosting the August round of Carnival of Aces!  (The masterpost for the carnival is here, for anyone unfamiliar with it.)

If you don’t know what a blogging carnival is, it’s an event where various people across the internet blog about a single topic.  At the end of the month, I (as the carnival host) will collect all the links into a single post.  Blogging carnivals are a cool way to see a bunch of different ideas about the same topic, find new blogs to read, and (if you’re a blogger yourself) motivate yourself to write.

The theme I’ve picked for this month is the Unassailable Asexual.  If you don’t know what the Unassailable Asexual is, here’s the forum thread where it was first formulated.  I’ve also heard it go by other names including "the Gold Star Asexual," "the ideal asexual," and “No True Asexual.” 

Here are some ideas to get you started off:

  • How has the idea of the Unassailable Asexual personally impacted you?  Did it make you harder for you to accept an asexual identity?
  • Has the Unassailable Asexual made it hard for you to accept identities/experiences/etc. unrelated to asexuality?
  • Has the idea of the Unassailable Asexual made you feel like you can’t talk about certain aspects of your identity/things you have experienced/etc. while being a visible asexual advocate (or even a visible asexual person)?
  • Have you ever had anyone (inside or outside asexual communities) attempt to invalidate your identity because you’re not an Unassailable Asexual?  How did you respond?
  • Does the Unassailable Asexual impact people differently depending on their place on the asexual spectrum?  Does the Unassailable Asexual impact questioning people differently than it impacts asexual spectrum people?
  • How can asexual communities better combat the idea of the Unassailable Asexual?  In what spaces do we need to work hardest to combat the idea of the Unassailable Asexual?
Feel free to write about any of these…or something completely different!

You are welcome to submit in formats other than blogs—vlogs, comics, fiction, graphics, you name it!  As long as it’s related to the topic, I’ll be happy to accept it.

If you would like to submit something but don’t have your own blog (or would rather not post your piece on your blog or would rather submit something anonymously), let me know, and I’ll be happy to host it for you!

If you are planning to submit (which I hope you are!), the deadline is August 31.  When you’ve finished your submission, you can send me a link at queenieofaces@gmail.com or by dropping me a message/ask/what have you.  I also track the #carnival of aces tag, although tagging on tumblr is notoriously spotty, so it’s generally good if you also send me a message.  If you have any questions or comments, my ask box is open (and my email inbox is too)!  I’m really excited to see what all of you come up with!

People keep asking me why I call my linkspams “teeny tiny” when they’re sooooooo looooooooong.

I have a personal linkspam with over a hundred links in it.

The linkspams I post are teeny tiny.

Not everybody wants to do it

This post has been cross-posted to The Asexual Agenda.

This post was written for the July Carnival of Aces; this month’s topic is “Sex-Aversion & Sex-Repulsion.”

Content warnings: mentions of sexual violence and gender dysphoria, but no specifics

When I wrote about the treatment of sex-averse and sex-repulsed aces in ace communities last month, Elizabeth commented that she wasn’t sure what sorts of resources repulsed aces need. Needless to say, I sat down and thought about exactly what resources—beyond the general acceptance and respect that I discussed in my last post—I would have liked to have as a younger and less self-assured ace.  Let’s start with an extremely basic request: I want there to be judgment-free space for people who don’t want to have sex.

Sounds obvious, right?  It’s not like I’m the first one to recommend it; emeraldincandescent has mentioned the need for spaces for newbie aces to “detox,” Sciatrix mentioned the need for subspaces more than six months ago (as well as four years ago), and the need for more subspaces (including possibly subspaces for sex-averse aces) came up multiple times in the comments on this post.  But let me reiterate: I want there to be spaces for people—not just aces—who don’t want to have sex.

Read More

On Sexual Abuse, Repulsion, and Aversion in the Asexual Community

This is a really incredible piece.  Please do read it if you have the chance.

rainbow-after-the-stormy:

This is a submission for the July 2014 Carnival of Aces.

TW: discussion of sexual assault

I questioned for a long time whether or not I was sex repulsed or simply sex averse. A quick Google search will tell you that repulsion and aversion are synonyms, but our community hasn’t always used them in their dictionary defined sense.  I think that we’ve differentiated these  terms to help us better describe ourselves. In most contexts “aversion” has been used to mean “strong dislike” whereas “repulsion” implies physical reaction involving disgust. In theory, neither of these things actually involve sexual attraction (which we define sexual orientation on), they just happen to frequently accompany the asexual experience.  Unfortunately sex aversion/repulsion also frequently accompanies the aftermath of sexual assault. This posed a dilemma for me: If I did feel sexual aversion, was it the result of my asexuality or sexual trauma?

Read More

knopperbrister said: Does this include all non-English speaking countries or is it meant for people outside Europe and North-America?

It includes all non-English speaking countries.  If you have other questions, feel free to leave a comment on the original post or email the Agenda team at asexualagenda@gmail.com.

Edit: And further clarification:

godlessace said: They can also be English-speaking countries outside the dominant countries. For instance, English is an official language in the Philippines, where my mother is from.

Hey, you should think about either being interviewed or submitting a guest piece if you’re eligible!

Teeny tiny linkspam on asexuality and sex-aversion/sex-repulsion

In honor of this month’s Carnival of Aces, I give you a teeny tiny linkspam on sex-aversion/sex-repulsion!  None of these were written for this month’s Carnival (as far as I know), so if you’re interested in what people have been saying this month, you’ll just have to wait until Friday.  (Also, if you haven’t already, you should consider submitting something to the Carnival.  It’s cool and fun and a great way to motivate yourself to write something.)

Some definitions:

Terminology: sex aversion vs. sex repulsion from ace-muslim

Some definitions of sex-aversion/sex-repulsion from me

aceadmiral on What Aversive Means

Posts on sex-aversion/sex-repulsion and asexuality:

Fistfelt on Lying by Omission

ace-muslim on the way we represent the asexual community vs. demographics

Repulsion is not shaming by Siggy

More on repulsion vs. shaming

I am not your dirty secret (here on The Asexual Agenda) by me

Don’t yum my yuck, or being respectful of sex repulsed people is a pretty cool thing to do (here on The Asexual Agenda) by me

aceadmiral on Aversive Me

The Ace Theist differentiating the types of anxieties sex-favorable and sex-repulsed aces deal with

I Am Not Your Sex Cheerleader by Sciatrix

Sex isn’t always good (here on The Asexual Agenda) by me

Bonus posts on sex-normativity/compulsory sexuality in ace spaces:

beranyth on having spaces for “lack of sexual attraction” but not “lack of sexual activity”

beranyth on shutting down conversations about compulsory sexuality because “aces have sex!”

Your Sex-Normative Ideas Ain’t News by The Ace Theist

swankivy on sex-positivity and sex-normativity in ace communities

beranyth on pressuring aces into trying sex