Notes of an Asexual Muslim

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Here goes everything

queenieofaces:

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

This post was written for the August 2014 Carnival of Aces.  This month’s theme is “the Unassailable Asexual.”  You too can submit!

Trigger warnings: If you have any sexual violence-related triggers, please consider skipping this post.  Frank (although not explicit) discussion of sexual violence (including corrective rape) and associated emotional fallout, victim-blaming, invalidation, manipulation of survivors and their stories for political ends, and general suckiness ahead.  There should also be a blanket trigger warning for sexual violence for almost every link in this post.  If you think this needs additional warnings, please let me know.

I discovered the Wikipedia page for asexuality in January of 2008.  By September of the same year, I had PTSD.  These two facts are not unrelated.

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"F-ace-ing Silence" Issue 2— Call for Submissions (preliminary deadline: Oct. 15th)

rotten-zucchinis:

"F-ace-ing Silence" issue 2— Call for Submissions:

People on the asexual spectrum have been working hard to get non-asexual folks to recognise that we exist. And sometimes they do. But that means there’s a dominant narrative… we’re just like idealised “normal/healthy” people, but without the sexual attraction part.

People have been talking a lot lately about how and why that discourse is a problem. But that hasn’t done much to stop our ace communities from silencing people: we’re still not supposed to talk about how our asexuality is mixed up with the other parts of our experiences and identities that don’t fit the “normal/healthy” ideal.

  • What asexuality-related thing do you feel silenced about in asexual / ace communities?      and / or

  • Do you feel alone, alienated or confused about how to deal with some asexuality-related thing because there doesn’t really seem to be anyone talking about it in aces spaces?

  • And what do you have to say about it?

Words, images… anything that can be printed on regular letter-sized (8.5”x11”) printer paper— and contributions can be anonymous if that’s what you prefer.

Preliminary Deadline: October 15, 2014 
(will be extended if people need more time— please let me know if you need more time)

Please e-mail contributions, questions, comments, etc. to:
rotten [dot] zucchinis [at] gmail.com

Linkspam on coerced sex and sexual consent in relation to asexuality

Please consider there to be a trigger warning on all of the posts linked to here because of the sensitivity of the issues being discussed.

The first set of posts talk about asexuals’ experiences of coerced sex and about how the concept of coercion is discussed within the asexual community.

Do you want to?

Asexuality and rape and a further comment

The difficulty in talking about asexuality and rape culture

Personal experience of harassment and coercion in romantic relationships

The second set of posts look at the language around consent, particularly models of consent developed by the sex-positive movement, and whether these models work when discussing the situation of asexuals who do not experience sexual desire, or who will usually or always say no to sex, in relationships where their partner may expect sex from them.

Let’s have a conversation about compromise and consent

Willing consent

Consent shaming debacle

Asexuality and consent issues

The model of enthusiastic consent in relation to asexuality

swankivy:

The Invisible Orientation is HERE! Get your copies! Sign up for a giveaway! Find out how to help your library get it!

Watch me take my books out of the box for the first time! YAY!

Response to Ace-Muslim’s UnAssailability Post

epochryphal:

argggghhhhh tumblr not letting me reblog/comment. and argghhhh tumblr mobile is impossible to insert links in. sigh.

[Every post I mention is either on my tumblr /tagged/ace+bloggin or the poster’s username is given.] Cut for length.

Read More

(be sure to click through to read the whole post)

This post responds to @epochryphal’s post but also addresses a larger audience and assumes that the reader is not closely familiar with all of the topics being discussed so it tends to over-explain.

To start with terminology, I think that some of the apparent disagreement within this larger debate is due to people having different meanings for the term “sex-favorable”. From the various links provided by epochryphal and elsewhere, it sounds like the term has mutated more than I realized. The conflation of the term with “sexually available” is awful and I hadn’t been aware that people were using it that way. I should have defined it in my post. I was using it the way that Talia (whom I understand was one of the first people to write about it) defined it: Some asexual people like sex, seek it out, and want it in our relationships. I tend to think of it as being similar to the “enjoy having sex” category in the community census. Besides the interpretation as “sexually available” (WTF, people?) it sounds like some discussions are trying to set up the equations sex-averse = sex-negative and sex-favorable = sex-positive and thus might read my post as talking about sex-positive aces.

On top of all of this, I’ve seen a few responses that seemed to assume I was criticizing demisexuals and gray-As. In fact, I never referenced either group and I find the conflation of demisexuality and gray-asexuality with either being sexually active or being sex-favorable (in the sense of “enjoying sex” or “liking sex, seeking it out and wanting it in our relationships”) to be problematic. It’s also incorrect; according to the same census, a majority of both demis and gray-As are sexually inactive, a narrow majority of gray-As are sex-repulsed or averse, and a plurality of demis are repulsed or averse as well.

The part of my original post that has gotten the most blowback was my argument that sex-favorable and sexually active aces appear to be more similar to the allosexual majority than sex-averse and sexually inactive aces are. What I meant by this is that having and enjoying sex are characteristics that are considered normative in society, and which most allosexuals appear to have, thus people who differ in more ways from this model (by being asexual and also sex-averse and/or sexually inactive) are further from the perceived norm than people who differ in fewer ways (they still differ by being asexual but share one or both of the characteristics of having and/or enjoying sex). One can certainly argue that I am wrong about this - and several people in the comments at TAA have done so cogently. However, it seems like the mutation of the term “sex-favorable” means that some people did not read me as talking about having and enjoying sex but about something else and thus took a very different idea of my meaning than I intended.

To respond to a few other points, my primary focus in this discussion is on internal community spaces, particularly the degree to which sex-averse aces feel that such spaces are or are not safe for them to talk about sex aversion without being shamed for it or feeling they have to engage in “sex cheerleading”. In talking about the term “unassailability” I also wanted to contest the idea that having a “less confusing” combination of traits, as sex-averse and/or sexually inactive aces are felt to do, puts such aces in a dominant or privileged position within asexual communities because I feel that such an assumption is harmful (I don’t see epocryphal as having made such an assumption but I feel it is implicit in some presentations of unassailability). The larger discussion did focus more on advice blogs and 101 materials, which are more aimed at questioning/confused and new aces, but I tried to separate my post from that.

The question of “passing” came up in the comments at TAA. I understand passing as a form of conditional privilege; the person has some access to the privilege that is granted to the dominant group, but only as long as their passing is successful. If it is not, their conditional privilege is revoked and they revert to the status of the marginalized group. The argument that was made (and this again from Talia) is that sex-favorable aces may be able to gain access to sex-positive spaces by “passing”, that is, concealing or minimizing their asexuality while talking about their liking for sex, seeking it out, and wanting it in their relationships.

This is not necessarily the same thing as my argument about similarity and difference - after all, I could conceal both my sex aversion and my asexuality and “pass” in such spaces too, but I would find it extremely alienating to do so because I perceive the sex-positive movement as being hostile, in practice, to the sex-averse. Talia had said in their original post that they primarily spend time in sex-positive allosexual spaces and prefer them, then, in response to my comment about this kind of access being a privilege that sex-averse aces don’t have, they clarified that they still have to “pass” in these spaces by de-emphasizing their asexuality. I brought it into the discussion in the comments on my own post because I thought that it illustrated my argument about similarity and difference by showing that people with fewer differences find it easier to pass than do people with more differences. (Again, this can and has been argued.)

I agree with epochryphal that the more nuanced the discussions are, and the more based on peoples’ lived experiences, the better. I reject the idea that sex aversion and sex favorability are a binary, and agree that there are many ways for people to be in between these two categories, which are not necessarily linear.

At the same time, I do feel that there are differences that would show up on a “population level” as it were, things that tend to be true for various groups even while individual experiences can and do differ, or factors that tend to lead to certain results. I think that people choose particular labels because they want to express that their experience is sufficiently different from another group that it needs to be treated separately, and I don’t want to erase that difference.

In particular, when I read the experiences of some aces who enjoy sex (“sex-favorable” aces), I feel that I have very little in common with how they relate to sex, sometimes to the point that I wonder if grouping us together because neither of us experiences sexual attraction is really relevant, and that other groupings may be more useful. To me, their experiences seem very similar to how I see many allosexuals talking about sex, and I think ultimately it’s my gut feelings about these situations, rather than any intellectual analysis, that led me to talk about similarity and difference.

"Corrective Therapy" for Asexuals from Medical Professionals

queenieofaces:

vaginismusandsexuality:

If anyone has followed me or seen my posts you will know I have gone through some form of ‘corrective therapy’ for being a sex adverse asexual. My counselor told me to have sex until I like it and to have various medical tests to see what was wrong with me; my doctor prescribed me 3 different medications, two of which has been clinically proven to have no significant effect on ciswomen (Viagra and Cialis, the third was a testosterone supplement). I should not have to discuss the emotional turmoil it has put me through and what it has done to me.

Of course these forms of therapy is not as bad as corrective therapy for homosexuality, that is a whole other can of worms. Just because something is not as bad as another thing does not make it harmless and unworthy of discussion.

I am wondering if other asexuals have experienced actual ‘corrective therapy’ from their medical professionals strictly for being asexual. While these events are horrible and traumatizing, I think we need to discuss these things. We need to discuss ways to counter medical professionals who doubt asexuality exists/thinks it is a medical condition so no one in the future has to go through this.

I think first we need to discuss people who have had treatment recommended to them:

  • What treatment was suggested?
  • What was the medical professionals goals with the treatment?
  • Did they expect you to be cured or was it suggested as ongoing treatment?
  • How did the medical professional explain the treatment to you?
  • Did you mention asexuality to them? How did they respond?
  • Did they bring up asexuality to you? What was their explanation of asexuality?
  • After completing treatment and, surprise, still asexual how did the medical professional respond? Did they suggest further treatment or refer you elsewhere?
  • Were you seeing the medical professional for another related/unrelated issue when the issue of your orientation came up?
  • Were you coerced in any way by family/friends/others into seeing that medical professional who recommended ‘Corrective Therapy’?

 You can either reblog a response or submit one on my page - if you want to remain anonymous just say so. If I get any feedback I want to make a post with everyones responses and will simply leave out your name if you request. Don’t feel obligated to answer all the questions, just the ones that you feel effect you. 

Also if you have other questions you think are good to ask don’t be scared to send a quick note and I’ll add them.

Thanks in advance for any feedback. =)

Signal boosting.

Asexual communities, identity, and the question of unassailability

This post is for the August Carnival of Aces.

Author’s note: This post is inspired by this question posed by aqua-ace as well as some recent discussions (follow-ups partly captured here, but there seem to be too many different threads to easily reblog or link to here) about sex-averse and sex-favorable asexuals. It’s something of a long ramble but eventually arrives at a point.

For personal reasons, I recently took a total break from Tumblr for about 10 days and upon returning a few days ago significantly reduced the number of blogs I’m following as the number of posts on my dashboard every day was overwhelming and I felt like I was missing the content I really wanted to read.

The only reason I’m on Tumblr (I otherwise dislike its format) is the asexual community here. And the core purpose for which I seek out the asexual community is to gain benefit from others who share similar experiences in navigating the world as someone who doesn’t experience sexual attraction. So I decided to limit the blogs I follow on Tumblr to those which primarily provide content related to asexuality that is of interest to me. When it comes to other topics of importance to me, I prefer other formats and forums (primarily Twitter for online interaction).

Another thing I had come to realize even before this is that the subset of asexual blogs I follow is not necessarily representative of the asexual community on Tumblr as a whole. This again is because I primarily follow what interests and benefits me in navigating my asexuality. I don’t follow any “asexual advice” blogs as I’m not a newbie, and I don’t follow blogs that primarily produce 101 content as this is not very useful to me in my own life.

As it happens, a lot of the recent debates over how “the asexual community” treats certain groups or certain people have focused on either advice blogs or 101-resource blogs, none of which I had any idea about until reading the critique posts. People would be writing, “the asexual community has such-and-such attitude,” based on these blogs and I would have no idea what they were talking about or how exactly that came to be “the asexual community”.

It does matter to me if the asexual community (however defined) is acting in ways that are harmful to some of its members, or to other groups of people. However, I have neither the time nor the motivation to follow asexuality-related tags looking for such instances or to otherwise seek them out beyond what I come across via the blogs I regularly read (on Tumblr or otherwise). I also realize that by limiting my Tumblr follow list to blogs that primarily post asexuality-related content, I may be missing important discussions on blogs that usually post on other topics. I ultimately found that it was not sustainable for me, given my other commitments both online and offline, to spend so much time sifting through content that is not directly related. I have a lot of respect for those who are able to devote significant time to doing so.

Given this context, I’ve felt rather disconnected from some of these discussions, especially since being away for 10 days sometimes feels like being away for 10 months of non-internet time, and it took me quite awhile to even figure out what everybody was talking about! If this discourse is “the asexual community”, I wondered if I was on an island. This sense of disconnect is part of why I identified with aqua-ace’s post about feeling alone even within asexual communities.

Aqua-ace talks about feeling “broken” because of not fitting certain “narratives” about asexuality, and this has also been the subject of many recent discussions about sex-averse and sex-favorable aces.

According to many of these discussions and narratives, I seem to be somewhat unassailable as an asexual. I’m aromantic, non-libidoist, and celibate. I barely even experience aesthetic attraction. On pretty much every measure, I seem to be almost completely non-sexual. I’ve found it difficult to untangle my sex-aversion from a lot of things, but I have no doubt whatsoever about my asexuality and neither I nor apparently anyone else considers any of the above characteristics to invalidate it.

I’m also considerably older than most aces on Tumblr or even on many of the non-Tumblr ace blogs I follow (I’m 41). I didn’t learn about asexuality as a concept and sexual orientation until I was 31 and didn’t join any asexual communities until just two years ago (I’ve never been interested in AVEN because of its discussion forum format). I’ve had plenty of time to come to understand myself and to come to terms with myself. No asexual community or blogger defined any of that for me; the community only gave me a new set of words to express what I already knew.

Another factor is that I had already shaped my life long since around my sex aversion; I’ve been living on my own longer than many Tumblr aces have even been alive or they were infants when I first started doing so. I have never been interested in sex or romantic/sexual relationships and have always been sure that I wanted to avoid them. Because of both luck (in having parents who accept my choices) and privileges (including white, middle-class, conditionally able-bodied, cis, citizen), I’ve been able to structure my life to avoid entering such relationships and thus to avoid a lot of the difficult experiences many aces have had with sex and romance. While this is a privilege in many ways, it has also entailed significant disadvantages and limitations for me, which are beyond the scope even of this post to discuss. Over the last 20 years, these disadvantages and limitations had become normalized to me and it’s only been while considering new alternatives that I appreciated again just how profoundly my asexual solitariness has shaped my life and what costs I have paid for the particular freedom that I’ve won.

And, again, all of this is something I had built for myself long before I ever heard of asexuality as an orientation; asexual discourse has only provided me with new conceptual language for discussing it. The asexual community did not “give” me my identity in any way and it cannot take it away, whether I fit a narrative or not. That may be the ultimate in unassailability.

Returning to the larger question of sex-averse and sex-favorable aces that has been the focus of recent debates, I thought Ace Theist had a very perceptive comment during an earlier discussion of the same topics. They said that sex-favorable aces are more likely to feel that they don’t have a right to or don’t deserve to identify as asexual (i.e., their asexuality is assailable) while sex-averse aces are more likely to feel that the larger society is very hostile to our particular way of being asexual and that we need the asexual community to be a safe space for us from that. That is, the two groups are talking about completely different things. I think this is very true, and certainly fits my own experiences as described above.

As a political matter, I believe that the asexual community should prioritize creating a safe space for sex-averse and sexually-inactive aces, who often have no place else to go, whereas I see sex-favorable and sexually-active aces as being less stigmatized by the larger society because of being less different from the allosexual majority. It frustrates me when sex-averse and sexually-inactive aces are depicted as “elitist”, privileged (which is ultimately what being “unassailable” is presented as), or oppressive to sex-favorable or sexually-active aces for talking about our own experiences and identities (obviously, this is not to deny that specific individuals may act in any of these ways). To me this ignores important differences in how the groups are regarded by the larger society - which is after all where most of us spend most of our time (there not being any “ace neighborhoods” to live in or even “ace clubs” to hang out in). I see it as reproducing the dynamics of the larger society within our own community and ultimately as marginalizing many aces from a space that should center our asexuality. (That sex-averse and sexually-inactive aces are the majority of the community and are being marginalized makes it even more troubling, in my opinion.)

It’s honestly in being sex-negative as a consequence of my sex aversion that I feel most alienated from the asexual community on Tumblr, and it’s the issue I least feel I can speak freely on. If there’s a sex-averse “side” to the recent debates, I’m on it. I don’t want there to be “sides” and I ultimately want to seek a solution that supports both groups, perhaps through sub-communities or sub-spaces. But I do feel that treating the two groups as if they are positioned the same way, or that it’s just a matter of “accepting diversity” among aces, creates a potential for injustice because it ignores the larger societal structures* and forces (particularly compulsory sexuality and amatonormativity) that asexuals must deal with. To me, there is no point to having an asexual community if it doesn’t help asexuals in finding out to lead livable lives within the larger society as people who don’t experience sexual attraction. It’s not just a social club!

As much as the concept of “unassailability” is used within debates about sex-averse/sexually-inactive aces and sex-favorable/sexually-active aces, and as much as it becomes associated with sex-averse and sexually-inactive aces to present us as a problem because our asexuality is felt to be less ambiguous either within or outside of the community, I have to ask whether this is really the right framework or will lead us to the best solutions.

I think that the concept of the unassailable asexual is better when it is used to discuss characteristics that are considered normative or privileged within the larger society, and which are also possessed by some asexuals, and how asexuals who do not possess these characteristics are excluded from narratives. This would allow us to focus on intersections of asexuality with sexual and racial trauma and with disability and to examine the representation in visibility efforts and in the media of asexuality as white and middle-class, among other issues.

*This also applies to the many other societal structures and forces that impact asexuals aside from their asexuality, including patriarchy, white supremacy, economic stratification, and so forth. However, I do not address these issues in this post.

http://miscellanii.tumblr.com/post/95101938556/epochryphal-miscellanii-cons-of-pointing-out

writingfromfactorx:

demigray:

epochryphal:

epochryphal:

miscellanii:

Cons of pointing out that the vast majority of aces are sex-repulsed or celibate: People might think you’re one of those weirdos who doesn’t want sex

Cons of acting like the majority of aces are sex-favorable (i.e. want to have sex): reinforcing rape…

nope, i read all the related posts by sbl and you before making my own posts and then being motivated to, flippantly, respond, to this train of thought’s mischaracterization of “sex-favorable” aces as making life harder for sex-repulsed aces and enabling rape culture

just because i vehemently disagree doesn’t mean i don’t know the context

and while y’all are trying to boil this down into a simplified form, i don’t think you’re doing it right.

and no i don’t feel personally attacked or whatever, nor am i looking to twist y’all’s words, or derail. pls.

But I cannot agree with y’all taking
- “101 should emphasize some/many aces are sex-repulsed / will never want to have sex” (yes)
and framing it as
- “the only responsible way to do 101 is to say most/almost all aces will never want to have sex. also ‘sex-favorable’ aces are as a class upholding rape culture and oppressing sex-repulsed aces”

Which, as I replied:
- ignores / others grey and demi folks
- alienates newly questioning people who aren’t 100% sex-repulsed
- recreates the “true asexual” as sex-repulsed and reinforces elitism
- suppresses conversation about aces actually having sex, about consent; which, talk about enabling rape culture

And furthermore:
- is setting up an oppression olympics ace-internal axis of privilege, based on identity/experience rather than being about actions/behavior

(Yes, I get being antagonistic to get a reaction; no, I’m not trying to pull a “not ALL” whatever, I’m directly questioning “sex-favorable” as a viable category, and the labeling other folks, and generally framing this as a privilege dynamic, which I find anti-useful here.)

This is the first post regarding this whole discussion which I feel like I can respond to. I am thankful to you, epocryphal, for bringing up a couple of points.

First off, I agree that there’s definitely a problem in presenting asexuals as people who can have sex, and implying that the majority of them are interested in it, simply because this is not true, and we definitely shouldn’t be presenting asexuality in a way which enforces compulsory sexuality.

However, I think it is important to mention that some aces do have sex, largely for those who are questioning. I get a lot of asks (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) from people who desire and/or enjoy sex but don’t feel ace enough or question their aceness because of it*. I was one of these people. When I first learned about asexuality, I originally walked away from the community because I did not know that you could have sex but still identity as ace, and I didn’t feel like I was ace enough. I thought I was a deluded allosexual for the longest time. Identifying as ace has really changed my life and made me feel a lot better about myself, so if not mentioning aces who desire sex is going to result in people like me feeling excluded, then I cannot support it.

When people say “asexuals can have sex,” I don’t hear someone telling an allosexual that an asexual will have sex with them, I hear someone telling a newbie that their ace identity is still valid even though they have sex. When people make text posts about aces who have sex, I don’t see them pandering to allosexuals, I see them shutting down asexual elitists.

Language which is inclusive and validating is important, and that’s what I always strive for when I answer asks. Sex repulsed aces rarely question their place in the community, but aces who desire sex, as well as gray asexuals and demisexuals who have strong experiences of sexual attraction, often do. And even though I finally feel secure of my place in the community, I feel doubtful when doing awareness work because I don’t feel like a good representative of aces.

Here are some suggested solutions for this issue:

  • Use the phrasing “aces can have sex” in an advice-giving or welcoming newbies setting, to assure questioning people that their identities are valid
  • Use the phrasing “most aces are repulsed by or indifferent to sex” in a visibility/awareness setting, to convey an accurate message to the general public
  • Emphasize that sexual behavior does not define your identity and whatever sexual activities you participate in do not invalidate your identity
  • Encourage aces who have sex, kinky aces, gray asexuals, demisexuals, etc. to speak up more about their personal experiences, in order to display community diversity and provide more perspectives for questioning people to relate to—finding stories you can relate to is critical for identity formation
  • Discourage asexual elitism
  • Discourage people from derailing posts about anyone’s personal experience 

*Not to mention aces who participate in BDSM/kink—they need a shout out too. See some questions from doubtful kinksters here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

So hey, I agree with 90% of what you’re saying here, but I want to draw attention to this one line: 

Sex repulsed aces rarely question their place in the community, but aces who desire sex, as well as gray asexuals and demisexuals who have strong experiences of sexual attraction, often do. 

This is unfortunately just not true. It took me months to work up to writing my last full post on being repulsed—and that’s a post that is, not coincidentally, literally all about “why I am incredibly uncomfortable talking about being repulsed and some reasons I think a lot of other repulsed aces are too.” (And part of that is that I am not a sexual assault survivor, I have no good “reason” to be repulsed, I just freaking am. And I am incredibly uncomfortable talking about that most of the time.) It’s worth noting that I have also spent considerable amounts of time over the last four years encouraging repulsed friends of mine to write about their feelings both within the ace community and with respect to the way the ace community interacts with allosexual people. 

Sex-repulsed aces often feel like they’re letting down ace communities by being broken in some way, or that they’re “bad representation.” They think that they make it easier for allo people to challenge ace identities and frame asexuality as some sort of psychiatric disorder that needs treatment. They rarely hear their experiences discussed in the welter of people reminding them that “compromise” is an option, even if for them personally it isn’t. (It’s not for me, for example.) 

For crying out loud, the Ace Theist literally just pointed out an example of someone saying that they couldn’t be ace because they had been raped and were repulsed by sex today.

Almost everyone questions whether they really belong in the ace community at some point or another. In a lot of ways, this is a place where it’s really really hard to WIN at, and I think a lot of the hurt of the last few days’ discussions comes from a place of not realizing that nearly everyone is sensitive about this and hurting. Please do realize that there is no one here except maybe aces who are indifferent about sex but never or almost never actually engage in it who can “win” at this. MAYBE them, and I’m not even sure about that. It’s really important to remember that when discussing this topic. 

If this is a new thing for you and you’d been assuming that repulsed aces feel like they’re, mmm, entitled to the ace community and that its discourse is designed for them, I do encourage you to read the links in Queenie’s repulsion linkspam and the posts in this past month’s repulsion carnival. There’s been a lot of discussion about this recently and a lot of repulsed aces who really do not feel that their experiences are particularly welcome or easy to find. 

scarybalkanlady:

I’m following up my responses on the original post with this post because many people are reading me as saying “don’t talk about sex-favorable aces at all!” when that is literally not what I’ve said in any post I’ve made on this subject ever.

I keep repeating again and again that this is about the fucked-up way our community does visibility and why using this approach to visibility is harmful, but many people are either referring to things I haven’t said or complaining about how *mean* my posts are.

And it’s like…yeah, they are mean. They’re mean because I honestly hoped that the discussions of recent months would change the way people on this site do visibility and cause them to think about what exactly they’re trying to communicate to allosexual people when they stress that “many” or “most” asexuals are okay with having sex. But apart from the people I follow and a handful of thoughtful Ace Bloggers, that really hasn’t been the case. I still see new ace visibility posts and even elaborate slideshows intended to give a more accurate view of asexuality doing the exact same thing as always, which is to treat survivors like hypothetical concepts and sex-repulsed/sex-averse or celibate aces like a minority. And idk if I’m just feeling particularly fragile because of recent events or what, but tonight was the final straw.

So yes, I’m feeling mean and angry about this, and I have to wonder if a lot of the people here have ever actually tried to date allosexual people —in this instance I really mean “men” because of how that’s an additionally fraught situation—while being a sex-repulsed ace survivor. Because it is actually really fucking scary. Leaving aside the usual clueless/sexually aggressive/threatening comments one gets, I am honestly frightened by how many men I’ve talked with on OKC or in person who seemed to be okay with me being openly asexual and then said some variation of “But you guys can still have sex, right? I’ve heard that ace people still have sex to make their partner happy?”

That is the point at which I officially bail, but not before experiencing an intense bout of fear and anxiety. Because no matter how much I like this person or how much they seem to initially get it, I still have to wonder what kind of expectation they’ve formed about what “asexuals” as a group are willing to do, about what our relationships with them will look like, about dating asexuals insofar as they don’t have to be reminded of our asexuality, of our difference from them in any significant way. Because even if these things don’t seem to be an issue at the beginning, there’s no guarantee that it will stay that way. And again, these are the people who *don’t* immediately start off with hostility or thinly-veiled rape threats (because informing someone who tells you they are asexual that “well that’s just because you haven’t dated me” is in fact a type of rape threat).

Yes, I obviously know that not all allo men (because I’m talking about men here since they are far more likely to be dangerous to me, although the point stands for everyone) or even the majority are sexual abusers and/or rapists. It doesn’t matter. I can’t go back to the point before I was raped, I can’t shut that part of my brain off. Any kind of romantic/dating interaction I have with allosexual men is now forever accompanied by a deep undercurrent of fear.

I don’t know how to explain it, honestly. It’s one of those things where other survivors nod their heads in understanding when you tell them and most other people struggle to understand because, well, why can’t you just believe the best of people? Why do you have to be so suspicious? Is it really that bad? And so on and so forth.

Usually when we talk about corrective rape in the context of asexuality, we talk about people being raped by partners, and that type of corrective rape doesn’t always follow the pattern of “partner A rapes partner B in a fit of anger in order to exert power over them and forcibly change their sexual orientation.” My experiences don’t fit in with that scenario and I suspect many other ace survivors’ don’t either, although I’m speculating here because the silence surrounding ace rape survivors is so powerful and many of us have locked our feelings away so deeply that even when we’re presented with a safe space in which to talk, we still don’t say anything. It’s not even that we don’t want to speak but that we can’t—the words won’t come, we don’t know how to talk about it, we don’t know how to make sense of it.

Specifically with regard to asexuality, corrective rape isn’t just about power but also about sex, and that’s why the way in which we talk about asexual people’s relationship to sex and make statements about their collective willingness to perform sexual acts in a relationship is important.  My partner raped me not just because I was asexual but because I was an asexual who wouldn’t “compromise” and let him have sex with me, and he really really wanted to have sex with me. That matters. That’s why acknowledging that most of the community does not want to “compromise” matters.

This is the best I can do with explaining my feelings. I don’t hate sex-favorable aces—I am angry with many of them specifically due to their actions, because their actions affect me. As things currently stand, I and many other aces cannot freely opt out of rape culture and compulsory sexuality, and that’s not the same as sex-favorable aces wanting to opt in to sex. 

[edit: i’d appreciate it if my ace followers reblogged this because I really want people to see it, considering that the original post keeps getting reblogged while my individual replies are not]

queerascat:

bisexualpoc:

the-goddamazon:

fuckyeahbiguys:

"I’m sick of how bisexuality is erased in LGBT spaces. I get really nervous before any LGBT event, especially Pride. I feel incredibly sad and hopeless when gay and lesbian people call me insulting names. If gay and lesbian people don’t understand me – Continue reading Prejudice at Pride at Empathize This

This just punched me in the heart.

This really hit me hard. I’m just about in tears.

…….this. so much this. i can’t even…. ;(