White Aces, Listen to Aces of Colour

apollyptica:

If we want our community to be inclusive, you need to listen to our points of view. 

There is no homogenous experiences in the ace community. What aces of colour deal with is not the same as what white aces deal with. 

Asexuality does not exist in a vacuum, and must be examined and talked about in a critical fashion. 

You must understand that there are groups of people who have had asexuality (different than our understanding of it but still the same word) forced on them or have been hypersexualized beyond compare and cannot access asexual spaces in the same way due to racism. 

Asexuality (and things like it) have an old history in certain groups, and it is vital to understand that. 

You can’t approach the experiences of aces of colour from a white perspective; you can’t. Because you won’t understand. 

Our community is multicultural, and it is important that our discourse reflects it. 

I’m reminded of what I was talking about at the International Asexuality Conference at the Asexuality and Ethnicity panel I was asked to be apart of: “You cannot parse my asexuality from my race. They are not separate. You cannot fully understand my experiences if you break them apart.” 

We are apart of this community

If asexuality discourse does not actively include aces of colour or have our voices dominate in discussions of our experiences with racism and the impact it has had on our asexuality, then it will be inaccurate. 

(via anagnori)

Anonymous: Ok so no question about it I am asexual yay go me for using a label to make myself fit into a concept built by society. ANYWAY I wanted to ask: How do I respond to people when they don't believe me? Because the thing is I know a lot about sex (idk why I just do) and can always see the innuendo in things so when people find out that I'm asexual (and actually have no sex drive either) they don't believe me and aaahhh I don't know how to counter that

I’m detecting a hit of sarcasm in that first sentence, friend, and I’m genuinely happy for you that you’ve found a label that fits you and helps you understand yourself better. The entirety of the modern human experience is a societal construct. That doesn’t make your feelings any less valid or important, and if having a label to define and explain those feelings for other people helps you, I’m really honestly glad you have found one.

Tell them, flat out, that your sexual orientation is not a subject for debate. It is yours. It is not something that must be arrived at through common consensus by a jury of your peers. If they are not capable of understanding that it is possible to have the parts, understand how they work, and even use them without feeling attraction to someone, that’s fine, but that doesn’t give them any right to tell you that your orientation is not valid. Ask them how they would feel if you questioned their orientation any time they weren’t interested in someone of a gender they’re attracted to, or any time they said someone who isn’t a gender they’re attracted to is hot. Being asexual does not come with any requirements in terms of how you should act, what you should and shouldn’t know about sex or reproductive organs, how much of a dirty mind you should have, or anything else, and it is never okay to question someone else’s orientation.  Anybody who cannot understand that is not worth your time. You deserve better.

-Natalie

Anonymous: Am I asexual? I've kissed before and experimented with both genders before but I never liked any of it. I want a relationship but I don't want the physical stuff. My mom says I just need to find the right person but sometimes idk. I still have a sexual drive and a need for stimulation, but not by other people

Hey friend, please do not use both genders when you mean men and women! Nonbinary people exist, using ‘both’ implies that they don’t, and that is a pretty not cool thing to do.

Your sexual orientation is not determined by how many people you sleep with, or who you enjoy having sex with, but rather by who you are attracted to.  Do you ever feel like you’re sexually attracted to someone? (It can be hard to tell whether something is or isn’t sexual attraction, but you might find this tag on our blog to be useful when it comes to figuring that out.) If not, then I would say that an asexual identity sounds like it would be a good fit for you. It’s not ultimately up to me to decide what your sexuality is, though. It’s all about what label feels right to you, and if you’re identifying with asexual, you should definitely use it!

And, needless to say, your mother is not right. For some people, there is no “right person” and saying that there is really isn’t a good thing.  Sure, maybe someday you will find someone you’re attracted to. But building an entire identity around something that might not ever happen is about as reasonable as building a house with an elephant door and elephant-sized furniture on the off-chance that you stumble across and befriend a sentient talking elephant some day and decide to become roommates with it. If it happens, it’s a lot more logical to modify the house later to fit the elephant than it is to build a house that doesn’t really work for you now and hope that it might later.  Sexuality works the same way. Define your sexuality based off of what you feel right now. If you feel differently at some point in the future, there’s nothing wrong with changing what labels work for you, but don’t use those labels now if they don’t feel right.

-Natalie

Anonymous: Sometimes when I'm around someone I'll get impressions of sex and slight feeling in my genitals, but there's no "hunger" or "urge" or any other desire to touch or have sex with the person, and I'm sex-averse. The people aren't always those I find at all attractive aesthetically either. Someone suggested that this is libido, but I wanted a second opinion. Is this sexual attraction? Am I still ace? This has been bothering me because I still don't want sex ever, and I don't like these experiences.

You are still ace for exactly as long as you feel like asexual is a word that describes you and feels right to you. If you still think that it is the right word for you, and it feels most comfortable to you, nobody, myself included, has the right to tell you that you cannot use it.

I would tend to agree that what you’re describing does not sound to me like it’s consistent with my understanding of what sexual attraction is. I’m definitely nothing like an expert on what sexual attraction feels like, but my understanding is that it is supposed to be directed at a particular person. Directionless arousal is more like what I would describe as libido. And yeah, if you’re sex averse it can be really, really inconvenient to have one of those, but you absolutely can have a libido and still be asexual. You also never need to feel like you’re required to act on it unless you want to, but acting on that desire also doesn’t make you any less asexual.

-Natalie

Anonymous: I'm having trouble finding out my sexuality. I have only been in one relationship and was sexually aroused once that connection was formed. I don't know if I'm demisexual or gray-asexual and I'm having a hard time being comfortable with my sexuality. I feel like I'll never fully be accepted.

To address the most important part of this first:  regardless of what you ultimately decide your sexuality is, you are a human being who is worthy of respect and love.  I cannot speak for the entirety of the rest of the world, because there are people out there who don’t care about the feelings of others, but as far as I’m concerned, you will always be accepted exactly as you are. You are the best judge of your feelings, and nobody has the right to question them. Even if you ultimately decide that an asexual identity isn’t right for you, I am proud of you for taking the time to try to figure out what labels will make you feel good, and you are amazing exactly as you are.

Now, on to the details.

Arousal doesn’t necessarily imply attraction. If it did, masturbation would be a physical impossibility. It is possible for arousal to go hand in hand with attraction, but not required. One can exist without the other.

In terms of figuring out which label is better for you, the important question to consider is which experience do you identify more with? There is no right answer written in an answer key somewhere when it comes to your sexuality. This is not a test, and you can always change your answer later if you decide that another label actually feels better to you. Use the label that feels more right, for as long as it continues to feel right. If you’re not sure what label feels right, it’s okay to say that you identify somewhere on the asexual spectrum, or that you’re questioning, or that you just plain don’t know. Not knowing is okay! There’s no particular time limit in which you have to have everything figured out either.

-Natalie

Anonymous: Thank you so much, I'll definitely talk to him about it again. I don't think he meant to come across as he did. Hopefully it'll all work out. Thank you.

Good luck to you, Anon, and I’m hoping it works out for you too!

-Natalie

Anonymous: how do i tell my parents im ace? and worst of all, how do I tell the boy im dating that im ace? he's clearly expecting for us to have sex soon... (I didn't tell him i was ace from the beginning because i wasnt sure... i didnt know much about it.)

We get a lot of questions like this, Anon, and it is really difficult to answer them for a few reasons. The main problem is that there is no one foolproof way to come out to a person. It depends on you and what will make you most comfortable, and it depends on the person you’re talking to and how they’re likely to react. If I knew you, and I knew your family and your boyfriend, I might be able to tell you “in your shoes, this is what I would do.” But since I don’t know any of you, I can only give you very, very general advice.

First, remember that you are never ever required to come out to someone. Be as honest as you feel comfortable being with someone. If that means keeping some or all of how you feel to yourself, there is nothing at all wrong with that. Your safety and comfort are paramount.

Also remember that your body belongs to you, and nobody else. You choose who gets to touch it in what ways, and nobody has the right to make you feel bad for not wanting a particular kind of touch. If you don’t want sex and your boyfriend does not respect that, he needs to go. You deserve that respect.

Apart from those two things, how you ultimately decide to come out should be based on how and when you will feel most comfortable bringing this up. Figure out what the easiest way for you to talk to them about this will be. You don’t have to make it into a big production, just do what feels right to you, whether that’s mentioning it casually over dinner or sitting your parents down at some point to talk.

I’d also suggest that you read this, which is a compilation of coming out advice from other asexual people over at the Asexuality Archive. Not everybody’s advice is going to work for every person, but even if it doesn’t give any suggestions that you feel like you can use, it’s a reminder that you’re not alone. You’re not the only one who struggles with this stuff, and you can do it.

-Natalie

Anonymous: Attraction is confusing... I'm an a- or possibly demi-sexual, the problem BEING I can't tell if my feelings for my SO are sensual or sexual??? I feel a sort of longing when I look at them (because theyre gorgeous and I love them) and want VERY MUCH to touch and kiss them all over, but not in a specifically sexy way?? Like I do not care if it results in sex. I dont feel aroused, I just have a powerful wanting to touch and hold and feel them in a tactile way. Does this still qualify as sensual?

That does sound more to me like it is sensual than sexual. Sexual attraction would have a sexual component that it doesn’t sound like you’re feeling, whereas sensual attraction is more about nonsexual touch.

With that said, if it’s stressing you out trying to put an exact label on every kind of attraction you feel, remember that it’s not something you have to do unless it’s going to be helpful for you. It is perfectly okay to say “I identify most strongly with this label” and leave it at that. You don’t have to justify your sexuality to anyone with a list of kinds of attraction you do and do not feel.

-Natalie

Anonymous: do you know of any good aromantic blogs? i follow quite a few asexual blogs like yours, but i haven't found many aromantic blogs

I absolutely do, Anon! I’m gonna put this under a read more so I can edit it as needed even if it winds up getting reblogged.  This is in no way a comprehensive list, and I’m always willing to add to it.

-Natalie

Read More

hunterinabrowncoat: [1/2] Hey there. I was in the autochorissexual tag recently, and came across several of your posts. You talk about the origins of the word and the problems with it. Well, I was surprised to find I actually teared up when I discovered the term when it floated across my dash, in light of a recent crisis I was having with my sexuality, and to find a word that so aptly describes where and who I am at the moment was incredibly special to me. So I'm really sad to discover the term isn't being accepted

[2/2] within the asexual community (but… with reason I suppose; I think the concerns you have are very valid). But in none of those posts did any of you mention a possible alternative term to describe the autochoris orientation. I was wondering if you were aware of any? The autochoris- prefix is pretty unknown as it is, and gather support/spreading awareness for an entirely new word will probably be quite an effort. (also, excuse my cluelessness but what’s appropriative about the lith prefix?)

I wouldn’t call my posts speaking for the entire asexual community. I am only one person with an opinion. I do not like the term for the reasons I’ve previously mentioned, but I don’t have any authority to tell people that they aren’t allowed to use it, nor do I want that authority.

I am not aware of any alternatives to describe the idea of feeling a disconnect between oneself and an object of arousal.  I’d be uncomfortable trying to coin one for some of the same reasons I’m uncomfortable with the autochoris- prefix to begin with. It would be ideal to see a term created by and for people who identify with that feeling, and I am not one of those people.  If I do see any proposed, or if any of our followers bring them to my attention, I’ll be sure to help spread the word about them, because I know that shared identity is important to a lot of people!

As for the lith- prefix, the concern stems from the fact that it may have been based on the stone butch/stone femme identities, which originated in the lesbian community. I don’t know if a consensus was ever reached there regarding whether that was the true origin of the prefix and if so, if it was a problematic borrowing, but I’m erring on the side of better safe than sorry.

-Natalie