Category Archives: Asexuality Talk

Problems in the Promotion of Romantic Orientation

While romantic orientation isn’t inherently bad, there have been some recurring problems with how people promote the idea, as demonstrated in the article picked this month for Ace Journal Club. So in the hopes of showing people how to spot these issues, this post pulls some quotes from that article and explains their implications, illustrating the tensions between introducing/endorsing romantic orientation as a conceptual tool (favored by those who use it) vs. leaving space for those of us who find it personally unhelpful.

Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image: Stoplight Silhouette, NYC by Bruce Thomson, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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A Case of Romantic Binarism in Scholarship

This month, the Ace Journal Club read an article in Archives of Sexual Behavior called “Sexuality, Sexual Behavior, and Relationships of Asexual Individuals: Differences Between Aromantic and Romantic Orientation” (2022). There are a lot of things to take issue with about this piece, and you can read the AJC summary for an overview, but in this post, I’m just going to focus on the binary treatment of romance.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image created in Inkscape.]

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A Timeline of Anti-Ace Blogging

A compilation examples of, responses to, and discussion about anti-ace blogging and its surrounding context, extending back to the year 2010.

To be clear, this is not a comprehensive masterpost of every anti-ace thing on the internet; this is an attempt to document anti-ace blogging as a specific cultural phenomenon, particularly in its language and its impact on online ace communities. To that end, I have included links which are not anti-ace themselves but are contextually relevant in some way. Things I am interested in here include 1) how anti-ace bloggers have been referred to, 2) how the conversation has been referred to, 3) other recurring terms and phrases, and 4) how the conversation has been remembered. Contributions are welcome to the extent that they contribute to any of those areas.

Be advised, I do not recommend actually trying to read through all these. Instead, I suggest you skip down to the Retrospectives and Discussion sections.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview Image: Ace of Spades by Adam DeClercq, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.]

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Dear Bi Lesbian Defenders: Stop Throwing Me Under the Bus

If you’re out there arguing against identity policing, that’s great. While you’re at it, try making room for people like me, too.

This post explains how defenders have been lured into an essentialist framework, what the problem is, and how to fix it.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image: Tire Track in Concrete by Darren Hester (GrungeTextures), licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.]

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Romantic Orientation Cannot Be “Appropriated”

If you have been involved with identity blogging for a while, you may have encountered the claim that romantic orientation is being “appropriated” or “stolen” from the asexual community. These claims are never accompanied by supporting evidence and have no basis in reality.

That’s all that should need to be said, really, since the burden of proof ought to lie with the people flinging accusations. But for anyone curious, here’s a bit of further background:

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image by Aaron Burden on Unsplash, used according to their license.]

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Sexnormativity and the Android in Syfy’s Dark Matter

The last time I talked about asexuality and nonhumanity in fiction, I suggested that we ask, on a case-by-case basis, what role (non)humanity plays in how (a)sexuality is portrayed. When it comes to the television series Dark Matter (2015-2017), the answer to that question is simple: sexuality is framed as part of what it means to be “human.”

[Crossposted to Pillowfort.]

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Ace Family Resemblances: Absences & Alienation Beyond Attraction

This month, Sildarmillion selected “beyond attraction” as the theme for the Carnival of Aces. I appreciate this theme because over the past decade or so, the ace community has become saturated with what I have called attraction fixation or attraction-based essentialism. For instance, you can see a lot of this in the AVEN debates over the phrase “little or no” (note, this series is PF login-only). Other examples, while less extreme, still reflect an attempt to isolate one specific feeling or experience that aces don’t have, which I think is inadvisable as well as unnecessary. When people take this kind of approach to asexuality, it generally reflects an ignorance of the history and prior debates on this subject.

Personally, I appreciate the “attraction” framework for describing certain kinds of experiences, but over the years I’ve gotten increasingly disillusioned about centering it in definitions of asexuality or gray-asexuality. Not only does that approach contribute to identity policing, but it also leaves a lot out of the picture, including what I consider to be more salient to my own identity as ace.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image: 1800 Series by Weijie, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.]

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Ace of Spirals

This is a followup post to A Case for a Convergence-Divergence Spectrum, so if that terminology is new to you, start there.

Previously, I explained convergence and divergence as a gradient, a subjective judgement, and a matter of degree. For example, I’d map myself on the divergent end of the spectrum — with a narrow, specific orientation rather than more broadly-encompassing one. However, that also comes with a few caveats.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort. Preview image: Spiral Selfie by Howard Ignatius, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.]

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A Case for a Convergence-Divergence Spectrum

Introducing “convergence” and “divergence” might seem like introducing unnecessary jargon into an already jargon-heavy ecosystem, but whatever you want to call it, a concept like this is necessary in order to address a certain lexical gap. This is a subject that people are already talking about — and without a dedicated term for it, they’re being hobbled by terminology that wasn’t designed for the purpose.

In this post, I explain into the nature of the problem, where it might’ve came from, and a possible solution. Written for the January 2022 Carnival of Aces.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort.]

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It’s a Buffet, Not a Binary (Infographic)

An infographic based on the post Don’t Make Me Choose, where I talk about different parts of my identity & experience being pitted against each other in a false binary. Much thanks to all my PF mutuals who helped with feedback and revisions.

These images are free to repost and distribute. If you do so, I would prefer if you would also link back to this post, which includes a transcript below the cut.

[Crossposted to Pillowfort, and reposted to Twitter.]

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