Earlier this month, elainexe wrote this post on defining allosexuality, and in response, ephochryphal criticized it here. I’m only weighing in because elainexe says she’s confused about the response it’s gotten (mostly from gray-as, as far as I can tell) and I thought maybe I could help.
At the end of the original post, she wrote:
I don’t know if I really have answers here, but I haven’t really seen this discussed. (Possibly because I haven’t specifically looked at gray-asexual discourse as much though ^^; )
And that actually would explain a lot.
So! Here’s a quick, informal primer for asexual people who don’t know much about gray-aces and the discursive context surrounding gray-asexuality.
- The term “ace spectrum” is a convenient shorthand for “asexuals and associated asexual-ish people,” and I use it all the time, but it’s best not to take it too literally. The “asexual spectrum” is not actually that linear. Gray-aces have argued this for a long time — see Siggy’s classic old post here and a more recent post from me here. Gray-asexuality does not require any numerical precision and never has.
- This is why a statement such as “We have a spectrum of sexual attraction. On one end we have placed asexual people, and on the other allosexual. Gray-asexual people inhabit the wide area in the middle,” can kind of chafe at some of us — it represents a model of our identity that we’ve rejected.
- Trying to assess what’s “too high” and “too low” to count as gray-asexuality is a huge part of anti-gray gatekeeping. All it has ever done is make newly-identified & questioning gray-aces anxious about adopting the label. Having been through my share of this myself, I’d estimate that a lot of other gray-aces wouldn’t respond well to that line of inquiry, and that’s why.
- In the same vein, trying to place an upper boundary on (gray-)asexuality tends to go hand in hand with accusing gray-as/demis of oversexualizing allos — that is, snide remarks about how we must think everyone is hypersexual and constantly having sex all the time. Supposedly, the only reason we ID as gray-a is because we overestimate how sexual most people are; if we just Understood The Truth, we’d recognize ourselves as average allos and ditch the gray-a label. People can get really vicious about insisting we’re just
heterosexuals* in denial.
- Given that context, it should be understandable why asking “What is gray-asexuality?” and “What if we’re contributing to compulsory sexuality by estimating average sexual attraction rates to be higher than they really are?” in the same post would hit a nerve, or at least, make people uneasy.
Aaaaand that doesn’t cover everything, but let me know if it helps.
*To me it’s funny how the “gray-asexuals are just straights” thing has persisted when, from my POV, the big-name gray-a bloggers feature hets in the minority.