Question of the Week: June 3rd, 2014

If you’re out as asexual, how do you bring up the subject to new friends?

I am terribly unsubtle about it and generally figure out a way to haul the conversation over to activism work when I want to out myself. On the other hand, I’ve found that often you need to be really blunt to actually get people to take notice, so perhaps that’s just as well.

About Sciatrix

Sciatrix is an American graduate student studying ecology, evolution and behavior. She identifies as asexual and has mostly given up trying to sort out the whole romance thing for now. She has previously blogged about asexuality at Writing From Factor X. In her free time, she trains in canine agility and knits oddly cabled hats.
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8 Responses to Question of the Week: June 3rd, 2014

  1. luvtheheaven says:

    To new friends? I need to go about making me some of those, lol. I’m still struggling with how to bring it up with my old friends.

    I’ve recently tried just blatantly responding to a question about my day/weekend or my life in general lately with the truth, which would include: “I’ve been… spending quite a bit of time browsing the asexuality tag on tumblr” or, “oh actually this past month I’ve been writing some blog posts on asexuality” or something to that effect, and if they don’t ask me to elaborate I feel like I’ve made things awkward so I move on and shift the focus to their life and then I never get to end up really explaining my asexuality to them at all, even though I want to. 😛 Yeah major fail on my part. I’m kind of timid about scaring people away with even trying to casually explain/admit my own asexuality when I’m in person, it’s like I want them to be interested first so if they’re not obviously interested in hearing whatever I want to say, I just get quieter and quieter until I fade out of the conversation, and all of my hopes of me being able to be properly “out” and understood to this person die along with my voice’s disappearance. Which is like the opposite of my online personality where I’m like “I’M ASEXUAL, I know you followed me for fandom stuff probably and don’t care, but… I’M GONNA DRIVE YOU CRAZY WITH TONS OF LINKS AND THOUGHTS/REFLECTIONS/RANTS/COMPLAINTS AND EXPLANATIONS AND YOU BETTER UNFOLLOW ME IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT” half of the time. Lol.

    I would probably *only* bring it up for the FIRST TIME with new friends (or older friends who I hadn’t even sort-of come out to yet) when explicitly asked something like “so are you trying to find a boyfriend?” or anything that actually directly relates to my personal truth of being a wtfromantic asexual. If they start talking about sex too or finding people attractive or something, even not asking me but if they’re basically doing something to remind me of my asexuality, I might want to try to work it into a conversation. We’ll see what I end up doing when I am next presented with this kind of opportunity.

  2. Cleander says:

    Some of it’s indirect – I have references to my asexual blogging and activism plastered all over my facebook/tumblr/resume, so anyone who connects with me on social media will usually stumble across one of those mentions at some point. And like, whenever I do those “what are your hobby” things asexuality blogging is usually on there somewhere…

    Other than that, I also go to a lot of ace-related events, so I can also namedrop an event I’m going to/that I just went to. Like, “So I went to an asexual meetup at this new bakery and their cakes are so good you should try the hazelnut one,” or “Sorry I couldn’t make the movie night last sunday, I was speaking on a panel about asexuality”.

    I’ve also tried mentioning papers I’m writing/have written about asexuality but I’m not sure how well that works about getting across that *I’m* asexual. And then there’s always the hella awkward but fairly expedient method of one of my other friends blurting out something like “but what would you care about [sexuality, porn attractiveness, etc.]? You’re asexual!”

    I also have several asexuality tees, but I don’t know if people ever actually read them or get them (Like, the “asexuality: not just for amoebas” is pretty obvious but may not be taken seriously; and “men delight not me, nor women neither” in ace colors is a bit too indirect). They do work pretty well at broadcasting to other aces at LGBT conferences though!

    Definitely the hardest/most awkward part is when I’m not sure whether someone’s taken the hint yet, or whether they think something else. (I remember when I was a freshman, just after I started coming out as asexual, I had a hallmate come in and urgently whisper “you’re a lesbian, right”? I had barely started being comfortable coming out as asexual, so at that point I just sort of stuttered “no, um, actually I’m ace” but I have no idea if he actually understood (or where that question even came from. I still wonder about that…)

  3. Seth says:

    Outside my immediate family and ace meetups, I’m casually out via Facebook (after finding AVEN, I made a status update about it, my cover photo is now a picture of a cake frosted with the ace flag, and I’ve liked several ace-related pages), and that’s it. I’d out myself if it came up naturally in conversation, but it never has, so I can’t answer this question from experience. Even through Facebook, none of my friends have ever said anything about it – which means I’m not certain which of my friends know I’m ace and which have managed to remain oblivious, and that could potentially lead to awkwardness at some point.

    Wait, no, that’s not entirely true. I did come out to one friend via Facebook chat, but the context was a formal survey on sexual activity among teens that she was conducting for a sociology class, so that doesn’t make for a terribly good example.

  4. The discussion of sharing links on social media is interesting. I regularly share links about asexuality on my Twitter account, but they never seem to get any attention and I feel like most of my followers don’t notice them. The only real responses I’ve ever gotten are from other aces. Apparently, indifference is a major barrier many aces have to overcome in getting people to notice us.

  5. queenieofaces says:

    My plan of attack for the last two years has mostly been “pretend that everyone knows you’re ace.” Part of that strategy is because…I don’t always remember who I’ve come out to (yeah, I know, it’s embarrassing) and I’m never sure how much other people gossip about me. It’s way less embarrassing for me to say, “Oh, whoops, thought I was out to you; yeah, I’m totally ace” than it is for me to do the dramatic coming out thing and then have the other person go, “…yeah, you told me a couple of weeks ago.” Also also, people are way less likely to get hostile and invasive and weird if I don’t make a big deal about it.

    All my coming out is in person, though. I try to make sure that my name can’t be connected to any ace stuff I do, since academia and Japan aren’t always kind to queer folks.

  6. I just sort of hide in plain sight. I’m a sort of quiet, private person, so I don’t really go around talking about my personal life. If they want to know something, they can ask a question.
    At the same time, I’ve got a few hints and clues around for anyone who wants to do a little detective work. I’ve got a black-grey-white-purple bracelet that I wear pretty much every day, I’ve got an ace flag bumper sticker, a small ace flag magnet next to a black ring stuck to a cabinet, and I’ve got a “Broken Image” picture frame where most people have pictures of their partners. Plus, occasionally it’ll come up that I’m single. There are enough dots to put together for anyone who wants to connect them.
    I sometimes feel that I should be more actively visible, but that’s just not really who I am.

  7. I’ve met most of my friends at asexual meetups, at queer conferences, or through tumblr, so I would say I’m very upfront about it. I’m also very inept at making friends via other means, though, so I’m not sure how upfront I’d end up being about asexuality to other people. I’m a lot more upfront in general about my autism than about my asexuality.

  8. Nutmeg says:

    I moved earlier this year and thus found a new social community. Deciding to make sure my orientation was clear from the get go, I had several options.
    One was to launch into a lecture with every person I began talking to. Not ideal, trying to spontaneously educate people, whether about lichens or GSRM’s, usually results in them finding someone else to talk to. Another was to say it straight: just wait for a lull in conversation, get people’s attention and make one of those formal-sounding speeches.
    Naturally, I chose a third option: wait, poised to strike, for an opportune moment to covertly yet pointedly sneak it into conversation. I was rewarded with this gem:

    Me: “I love cats. I consider my cat to be my soul mate.”
    Person: *sniggers* “Isn’t that bestiality?”
    Me: *laughs* “Oh, no. I’m asexual.”

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