As people sometimes do, the demigray tumblr recently linked one of my posts here with a mixed positive/negative comment, and I am once again reminded of how annoying it is to try and reply to things across blogging platforms.
First of all, a blanket statement: if you are a tumblrite who doesn’t do wordpress but has some thoughts on something I wrote — you’re invited to use the comment section as well (you don’t need an account), even if all you want to express is disagreement. I’m nosy enough to want to know what people are saying about my stuff, and my ways of finding out about these sorts of response posts on my own are… unreliable. So help me out and leave me a comment or drop me a link, is what I’m saying. Feedback is appreciated!
Onto the meat of the matter itself, now. Here’s what demigray put below the link:
A good article describing the experience of one gray-asexual. This is why I usually try to define gray-asexuality as something like “experiences sexual attraction rarely, weakly, or questionably,” the latter meaning that the person is unsure of whether or not they even feel it. I think “weakly” might apply for the author more than “rarely.” I also always say that those are not the only definitions, and gray-asexuality is used as a catch-all term for people who identify with asexuality.
The point of the post (which I guess I didn’t get across very well, oops) was to make an incomplete case for why it’s important to define gray-asexuality as things like “a gray zone between asexuality and allosexuality”, “a catch-all term for people who aren’t completely asexual but who identify with asexual experiences”, or “a way to describe people who find asexuality to be a useful idea, but not a perfect fit” (to paraphrase one of Siggy’s definitions), rather than simplifying it down to one particular manifestation of that.
For me, I think “weakly,” “rarely,” and “questionably” all apply, if you’re set on describing it that way, but the original post explains why the “experiences attraction _________ly” framework doesn’t fit me well in general. That’s why, in defining gray-asexuality, I would prefer that people go for the broader definitions, and if they mention any specific subtypes (weakly, rarely, questionably, under certain circumstances, etc.), that those then be marked as only examples.
However, I don’t really like the assertion that “experiences attraction infrequently” leaves the door open for people to question gray-asexuality. I don’t disagree with it, necessarily, but I find that phrasing to describe my experience perfectly, so I don’t think it should be thrown out just because it makes it harder for allosexuals to understand us. I am closer to the allosexual side of the spectrum of the author, and I even think that heterosexual could accurately describe me. It’s just that gray-asexual is more precise. I have only felt sexual attraction for three people in my life, but once it started, it was consistent and similar to the experience of an allosexual.
That’s a fair criticism, and I agree that “experiences attraction infrequently” is a valid experience and valid reason for self-describing as gray-asexual. Using it as the sole/central definition is a problem, and I can follow the logic of people who then draw faulty conclusions from it, but they’re not actually in the right for rejecting gray-as on that basis. My (perhaps failed) intent was not to put down gray-as for whom the description “experiences attraction infrequently” resonates, but rather to demonstrate why I’m bothered by people speaking as if that’s the only way to be gray-a, but I can see how it would seem otherwise, and I apologize for that.
I’ve sometimes described myself as “pretty much asexual with exceptions,” which would maybe help solve the problem the author brings up, but I don’t feel entirely comfortable using that, because I don’t entirely relate to the experiences of asexuals. I honestly feel like I am split 50/50 between asexual and allosexual. “Experiences attraction infrequently” is the best descriptor I’ve found for myself. It certainly shouldn’t be presented as the only definition, but if it’s useful for some people, it shouldn’t be discarded just because it’s confusing for non-aces.