Category Archives: Asexuality Talk

2013-2014 in Ace Tumblr: the Gray Wars

A compilation of links to the arguments made on gray-asexuality and demisexuality in the Tumblr segment of the ace community, back when they were a big point of contention around the year 2013. This doesn’t aim to include everything, but it is 1) what I was able to recover, and 2) what I consider representative. Disproportionately many of the original aggressors have since changed their URLs or deleted their posts, but I believe I’ve provided enough context here to read between the lines, even if you weren’t there for it all.

A note about the imprecision of the title: Technically, I’m going to include a few links from 2012, as prelude, but the bulk here will be from 2013. Also, you may spot a couple of links to WordPress and AVEN in the mix as well. These are to allow further context and examples of where the conversation had spillover, but this particular post is going to focus mostly on Tumblr.

A note on why I’m writing this: While it might be just as well for this mess to go forgotten, witnessing it unfold was something seriously impactful on me at the time, as someone just starting to read ace blogs and (at the time) newly questioning whether or not to describe myself as gray-asexual. I had no prior contact with the community outside of this, of course. For me, this was one of my very first introductions to the community — a debate over whether or not a given group of people, a group that I kinda sorta maybe was realizing I might be a part of, belonged in the community. You better believe I watched it closely — and slowly formed an impression of who had the best case.

It would have been helpful to have this compilation back when I was trying to explain gray context in 2015, but oh well. More recently, however, there have also been some newer conversations I’ve wanted to reference it in, such as contrasting some gatekeeping in the ace and aro communities, so a post on this may still be useful yet.

[Note: this post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]

Continue reading

Reminders on attraction

In a comment on a prior post, Ib/Arofrantics mentioned seeing a problem with how some people talk about attraction, implying a kind of compensatory role. In their words:

It feels like aspec identities are so open to “I don’t experience [x] attraction but…. I experience [y].”

And based on the fuller context of that conversation, it sounds like this is another one of those topics subject to anxieties over some narratives being (ostensibly) centered over others.

I don’t run in the same circles as Ib, so I won’t claim to know exactly what they’ve seen, and that limits what I can respond to. Even so, it sounds like the issue merits further conversation. For that reason, I’m using this post to spell out some things that have been on my mind — a few reminders that I think some people need to hear: 1) attraction isn’t all (of the subtypes) or nothing, 2) attraction doesn’t need to define you, 3) attraction doesn’t need to define your relationships, and 4) attraction is not a source of legitimacy.

Continue reading

A Mini History of Different Types of Attraction in the Ace Community

A short list of when/where some different pre-2015 terms can be traced back to. Many of these terms, as you can see, are both older than and separate from the creation of the term “split attraction model,” which has its own separate history derived outside of the ace community.

The following timeline lists the earliest uses that I or others have found:

  • 2003 – emotional & romantic attraction were mentioned on an early version of the AVEN FAQ, and they most likely had been discussed even earlier than that. [See also romantic drive in 2002 on HHA]
  • 2005 – aesthetic attraction came up in this NSFW AVEN thread, and ditto above.
  • 2006 – sensual attraction was added to the AVENwiki, and ditto above.
    [Read more about different definitions of sensual attraction here]
  • 2007 – squish (or friendship crush) was coined on another AVEN thread.
    [Read more about platonic attraction and related concepts here]
  • 2010 – queerplatonic attraction was first described on Dreamwidth.
    [Read more about the trajectory of queerplatonic as a concept here]

Most of these terms had more or less entered standard ace parlance by 2012, and I even wrote a post about Differentiating Types of Attraction in 2013 (that I now cringe to reread, but whatever). Different names for subtypes of attraction — or attraction subtyping — never went by any particular name, itself.

The term “split attraction model,” meanwhile, does not appear to predate 2015. It comes from Tumblr users outside the ace community who were reacting (negatively) to this kind of language & the (separate, but conflated) idea of romantic orientation, usually by calling it homophobic. The originating posts have been lost to time, but one of the approximately oldest ones is here, and you can get a better sense of how the term was being used and developed that year by looking at more Tumblr posts from around that time: here, here, here, here, here, and here.


Three Narratives of Non-Rosol Identity in the Aro Community

In the aromantic community, not everyone accompanies their romantic orientation label with a sexual orientation label. The same is true in the reverse in the asexual community, as well. People in these communities who feel alienated by the community norm of the Romantic/Sexual Orientation Dyad have what I’ve been referring to as non-rosol identities — and where the topic comes up in aro blogging, I’ve noticed some distinct and specific patterns, some of which have even surprised me.

Continue reading

Using “Non-SAM” to mean Non-Rosol is Amatonormative

A while back, when I mentioned my growing impression that the way people talk about “the split attraction model” is amatonormative, the response I received at the time was mostly confusion. I didn’t really address it again until later — and since a lot of things were going on in that thread, I believe that particular point may have gotten lost in the shuffle. So this post is dedicated to bringing that back into focus and discussing exactly that: how using “SAM” (or “non-SAM”) to mean rosol (or non-rosol) is amatonormative. Allow me to explain.

Continue reading

Notes on the Nuclear Family

Be advised these are not proper “notes” but more like a slapdash pileup of sources on the subject, loosely categorized, and sprinkled with the occasional quotes and bullet points. I figure they can be a starting point for anyone interested in investigating further. More or less a response to this conversation. Crossposted. Updated 5/21/19.

Continue reading

On “single”

[This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]

In the midst of other inter/intracommunity discussions going on, here’s something I want to put back on the radar: There’s some unspoken assumptions underlying some of how the ace and aro communities discuss “relationships,” and I think that needs to be addressed. For the purposes of making this point, though, I’ve decided to come at the issue by discussing the word “single,” specifically in relation to recent developments in my own life.

This is a post which has been exceptionally difficult to write.

But for now, here is where it starts. The word “single,” for describing a state of not participating in a romantic relationship, has certain limitations — limitations which have been addressed by aromantics before. In short, they would say, the word “single” implies too much. Those observations have weight, but personally, my problem with the word is the opposite: that it doesn’t convey nearly enough.

Continue reading

Relationships to Orientation Language Norms

This post is just a summary of some ideas introduced in a previous post, now with a diagram and more in-depth use of examples. Because I have qualms about the reclamation of the term “split attraction model” to categorize people as SAM vs. non-SAM, I’ve put together some alternative scales to introduce more nuance. This post is simply an explanation of those scales (and can be considered a culmination of the conversations held here, here, here, and here).

Continue reading

Frameworks of Visibility vs. Acceptance

As a followup to my previous post on “visibility,” this (crossposted) post features what I should have started with in the first place: diagrams.

Continue reading

Visibility is a trap

[Note: This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]

This is a post about “visibility” as the name of (and approach toward) a type of primary community goal. While in the drafting stages, I had considered naming this post something more simple, like “on visibility” — but it occurred to me that a potential reader just might think this was simply yet another post on “why visibility is important,” and it is not. This post is not pro-visibility. This is a post inviting the reader to consider the potential for visibility to become a trap.

Continue reading