How not to talk about aromanticism

It’s Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week! It’s a week to send all your positivity and affirmation towards aromantic spectrum people. But I’m not much for positivity, so instead I’m going to take a critical look at an article I saw last week, one that is quite frustrating from an aro perspective.

The article is “What it’s like identifying as asexual on Valentine’s Day”, by Aditya Mirchandani, in Vice India.1 The author interviewed four asexual people in different parts of Asia, asking how they felt about Valentine’s Day. Normally, this would be a great premise for an article, but it’s frustrating because the interviewees2 apparently don’t know how to talk about aromanticism.

So let’s use this article as a case study, to outline several things to avoid.

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Linkspam: February 14th, 2020

On Fridays, we will share links to news, blogs, and anything else we find interesting.  We can’t catch everything, so you are invited to self-promote in the comments!

Ace Blogging

Coyote wrote in defense of beginnings, calling people to recognize the newness of our communities instead of just using (or inventing) history as a way to legitimize them.

Coyote asked for perspectives on the reasons people use the term grey-ace/grey-aro

Rose, a mod of the blog Fuck Yeah Asexual, wrote this article on the common erasure of asexuals in history. This post was the start of a mini series called #BelieveAces.

Ranjan Adiga talks about difficulties in his arranged marriage.

Aro blogging

The January Carnival of Aros, on the theme of “New“, was posted.  The next carnival is themed on “Variation and Unity“.

Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week, set to occur February 16-22, has a new website.

AUREA has a bucket list for Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week.

Scholarly work

Excursions Journal published To be real for you: acousmatic cyborgs, asexuality and becoming human by Ashley Barr.

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Question of the Month: February 11th, 2020.

What are your feelings about porn? 

You could answer how you feel personally about engaging in it (or not) or how you theoretically think about porn. I’ve thought about this question for a while, but I always held back on asking it because it reminds me of one of those very invasive questions that appear in academic articles on asexuality. I can’t put my finger on exactly what’s “wrong” with the question. Maybe it’s the voyeuristic context of the academic articles that sometimes shove asexual people into these narrow stereotypical boxes for an assumed allosexual audience, making them seem unusual and other. Or maybe I just know many asexual people don’t want to talk about porn and I feel uncomfortable encouraging them to engage in it (so please don’t, if this is you).

Last month I asked about aegosexuality, which includes some aces who watch, read, or otherwise engage in pornographic content that doesn’t involve their own identity. I’m sure porn is also useful to other aces and completely not helpful or unwanted by many.

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Carnival of Aces: Conscious and Unconscious Difference

The Carnival of Aces for January has been posted on Ace and Aro Acts.  The theme was “Conscious and Unconscious Difference”.  Please take a look!

The next Carnival of Aces is being hosted by Emrys.  The theme for February is “Identity”.  Get your submissions in before the end of the month!

The Carnival of Aces is hosted by volunteers each month.  If you would like to volunteer, please see the masterpost for instructions.  Right now, we don’t have any volunteers for next month!

Posted in Carnival of Aces, Linkspam | 2 Comments

The Echoed No To Sex: Consent And Multiplicity

Crossposted to my Pillowfort.

These days, there is a steadily-growing body of discussion around asexuality and mental health[1]. Over the past decade or so, the topic has recieved some much-needed attention. The relationship between neuroatypicality – particularly autism – and aspec identity is one we are beginning to describe, though there is still much, much work to be done. But while we are beginning to discuss the effects of autism, of depression, of PTSD, the intersection of asexuality and multiplicity has remained as yet mostly untouched upon.

The medical terminology for my perspective is vague, and muddled, and constantly evolving. Once, the default label was Multiple Personality Disorder, but that term has fallen out of favour these days, for reasons I won’t go into here. You’re more likely to hear my perspective referred to as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), or perhaps Other Specified Dissociative Disorder (OSDD), both from the DSM-V (sadly not available online). Personally, I lean in favour of simply using the catch-all of Dissociative Disorders, since many of the differences between them are fairly minimal. (It’s all disorders around here. One gets used to it.)

If we use non-medical language, of the type more common to what scraps of a community can be said to exist, then plurality, multiplicity and systems are the words we see most often[2]. But multiplicity politics is not the point here. The meaning of the words is simple enough, when you break it down. Plural. Multiple. More than one consciousness. To put it simply, I am not alone in my head. As one can imagine, this complicates a great many things, but sex, consent and attraction are some of the biggest giants to topple.

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Posted in Articles, Intersectionality, personal experience | 2 Comments

Linkspam: January 31st, 2020

On Fridays, we will share links to news, blogs, and anything else we find interesting.  We can’t catch everything, so you are invited to self-promote in the comments!

Ace Blogging

Lib is continuing their series on why they’re an inclusionist.

redbeard wrote about trying things out, and green eggs and ham.

Gayming magazine spoke with Chris L’Etoile, one of the creators of Parvati, the asexual character in Outer Worlds.

News & Outreach

Vice interviewed a sexually active asexual.

There’s an asexual character on the TV show Sex Education.  You can see some ace reactions on AVEN or Reddit, and there’s an article in Mashable.

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We’re Bad at Understanding Behavior Based on What We’ve Never Experienced

This is for the January 2020 Carnival of Aces: “Conscious and Unconscious Difference”

In articles describing people’s personal journeys towards identifying as ace, a common theme is ‘I thought other people around me were having sex mainly because of peer pressure’. In fact, one of the other submissions to this month’s carnival describes a similar type of thinking. I think the logic goes something like this…

1) I don’t understand why these people want to have sex.
2) What could cause them to choose to have sex?
3) What could possibly motivate me to have sex?
4) Maybe I would have sex if I were under strong enough peer pressure?
5) Therefore, these people around me are probably having sex because of peer pressure.

I think the flaw in this thinking is obvious. It is skipping over the possibility that people might be having sex because they really, truly want sex. And that possibility is skipped because we cannot imagine ourselves truly wanting sex.
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Posted in Articles, Carnival of Aces, Modeling | 3 Comments