Question of the Week: October 14th, 2014

In the past week, there’s been a lot of discussion about how people can fail to fit in neat boxes (particularly in the context of a certain survey which tries to do just that).  Is there anything about yourself that makes you difficult to categorize?

I’m a gray-A, but I wouldn’t say that this means I experience sexual attraction infrequently.  Nor would I say it means I experience it frequently.  In fact, the entire idea of frequency doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, because sexual attraction doesn’t feel like a thing that occurs, more like a thing that is.

About Siggy

Siggy is an ace activist based in the U.S. He is gay gray-A, and has a Ph.D. in physics. He has another blog where he also talks about math, philosophy, godlessness, and social criticism. His other hobbies include board games and origami.
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17 Responses to Question of the Week: October 14th, 2014

  1. Taka says:

    I think that in general, for aces (or at least for me), it can be difficult to try to sort out which bits of your “oddities” and deviations from the norm are Ace Things, and which are (or are not) Aro Things, and which are just You Things. I’ve had to look at things like my behaviour in high school a year or two back, and wonder whether the fact that everyone was having their ubiquitous high school romances while I wasn’t was due to aceness or due to something on the romantic spectrum, or any number of other factors (I don’t think I’m very attractive, so that probably played a part, and I was going through some tough times mentally, so I wasn’t exactly focused on that). I’ve seen “making up crushes as a child because everyone else had one” cited as an Aro Thing, for example, and I think that for some people it is, but for me when I did it was more of an Ace Thing, or maybe a Me Thing.

    I identify as tentatively heteroromantic asexual for now, because I think that despite that real crushes in my life are somewhat rare and I’ve had no romantic relationships as of yet (lack of experience: another factor in my difficulties categorizing myself), I do experience romantic attraction, but sometimes it’s hard to tell, and while the separation of the sexual and romantic spectrums is a great thing in a lot of ways, the fact that the rest of society hasn’t caught up makes it difficult to discern why exactly you differ where you do from the Almighty Societal Norm.

    I also think that things like the often-discussed Ace Doubt (and presumably Aro Doubt) play a part (this being the name I’ve given to that niggling voice in your head that tells you you aren’t /really/ asexual, you’re just deluding yourself, etc.). It’s hard to definitively stick yourself in a category when you doubt even the parts of yourself you have most figured out, let alone the ones you’re still struggling with and questioning and exploring.

    • luvtheheaven says:

      Yes. Everything here. The line between what makes something an “Ace thing” vs an “Aro thing” can be so tricky. Throw in things like being a non-libidoist/having no sex drive or being sex-repulsed and it can be quite confusing about which things about me mean what/are caused by what. My embracing of a WTFromantic identity label is precisely because I find my feelings/experiences in the romance vs. friendship department particularly hard to categorize and reading stuff that aromantic aces feel often resonates with me… until it completely doesn’t and i feel like “Wait, that’s how aros feel?? Then no, I’m not aro” lol and it’s just quite the cycle.

      • Carmilla DeWinter says:

        I can empathize here. In the end, I know I was socially awkward – still am, to a degree – however, in hindsight, what about that was ace-ness, aro-ness, me being an introvert or me having internalized my mother’s fat-shaming: No freaking idea. Probably a bit of everything.

  2. notunprepared says:

    My gender is so uncatagorisable that even I don’t know what it is. It’s not an ace or aro thing, but it’s there nonetheless.

  3. luvtheheaven says:

    I also find it hard to categorize if I’m a virgin or not. It’s a part of my identity that shouldn’t matter, and virginity is a concept I kind of hate, but sometimes I still wish I could definitively say one way or the other “yes I’ve had sex” or “no I have never had sex”. Instead, I feel like I’m virgin-ish. That I’ve tried sexual things. (On only two occasions, and I never plan to again.) That what I’ve had was basically me trying sex in my mind, but I worry if I described my experiences some people would think I was a liar, that what I tried was not sex. I feel content to be a virgin for the rest of my life, except I don’t really feel like I am a virgin. But I don’t feel like I’m not a virgin, either. I’m both, and neither.

  4. killerbee13 says:

    I consider my combination of libido and revulsion to be counter to easy categorization, especially considering that my revulsion is neither exclusive to sex nor totally inclusive of it.

    • Talia says:

      This is similar to how I’ve been thinking about my own libido and revulsion, which I end up calling sex-favourable… but that really doesn’t encapsulate me because there are so many “normative” sexual experiences that I am averse to, repulsed by, or uncomfortable with. I’ve been dwelling on a better categorization (is there one?) for the last two or three months.

      • killerbee13 says:

        I dont know of any, I’ve been using the term “revulsion” (as opposed to “repulsion”) until anyone comes up with a clearer term. Please tell me if you get anything good for “sometimes uncomfortable to varying degrees but also interested in other acts”. (I should really write something clearer than that piece I submitted to the carnival, looking at it later, it’s terribly unclear.)

  5. Renayko says:

    Being in a long distance relationship makes it hard for me to discuss and measure how okay I am with sex beyond saying that I’m not completely repulsed by it. I only see my partner twice a year and when she comes to visit we will fool around a little bit but it’s kind of meh for me.

    I have no idea how things might change if we saw each other more often. I might warm up to it with more experience or I might realize that it’s not really my thing. I’m just fortunate in that regardless of what happens my allo partner is okay with our relationship mainly being a romantic one.

  6. My sex-repulsion is difficult to categorise. I am repulsed by anything penetrating my vagina, even my own fingers. I am sometimes okay with receiving oral sex and am always okay with giving it. Penetrative sex terrifies me to even think about. Sometimes, however, my body strongly desires it but mentally I don’t want it. I think I could have possibly been a victim of child sexual abuse but I have no memory of any abuse. I do have potential suspects in mind, though.

    I consider myself asexual, but there have been rare occasions where I experience fleeting sexual attraction. I think it’s happened three times in my entire life, and it was either when I was already in a sexual mood or it was based off a scent. So technically, my sexuality is gray-A I suppose. But I am more comfortable with the asexual label.

  7. Isaac says:

    At the beginning of my questioning of my asexuality, not knowing exactly what sexual attraction is, I didn’t know if I fit as asexual or heterosexual, maybe hypoheterosexual. Also my squishes, before knowing of platonic attraction, I didn’t know if they were crushes or not. Nevertheless, after leaning the definitions, I could label myself accurately. So, in this case it’s not label’s fault for being fuzzily defined.

  8. Aqua says:

    My romantic orientation. I’ve changed labels a few times, and each one I identified with, I didn’t do so with much confidence. None seemed to fit, because I’m uncertain if I experience romantic attraction, and if I’m uncertain about that, how can I figure out what gender(s) I’m romantically attracted to, if any? I recently found the quoiromantic label, which is the same thing as WTFromantic, but the definition I saw for quoiromantic was much clearer to me. I can’t seem to distinguish romantic from platonic feelings, and same goes for relationships. It’s nice having a label for it, but I couldn’t answer the romantic attraction questions on the survey.

  9. Pegasus says:

    I find it difficult to categorize the kinds of relationships I want (and have). I can describe them, but then never really know where they fit in the platonic vs romantic vs queerplatonic boxes. Guess it’s probably related to my wtfromantic orientation, so can’t just use platonic/romantic feelings to base what I label a relationship. What I want relationship-wise is far from being a typical romantic relationship, but I also want things that tend to be labelled as romantic (kissing and other intimacy, so not sure if queerplatonic is quite right either).

    Though also I tend not to use labels that much anyway, and just go with descriptions (or something ambiguous like queer). So I don’t give too much thought how to categorise myself, which probably has something to do with me not coming up with a good answer!

    • Isaac says:

      I also find difficult to categorize my relationships, whether they are platonic or not. I’m aromantic but I can’t distinguish when a relationship goes beyond plain friendship, even when I recognize my platonic feelings. I has to do with their slow evolution, so I tend to get stuck to the friendship label.

  10. C. Snow says:

    I feel like I have a lot of weird things too.
    I’ve only ever had 1 crush ( that I knew was a crush at least) and it was on a guy, but it it seems wrong to say I’m “hetreoromantic” from one piece of evidence. Still, whenever I “made up” crushes on people I thought were nice, they were usually guys. A large part of this was probably hetreonormativity (I’m female and afab), but another reason I felt very afraid that if I dated a cis lesbian or a non-asexual girl, that she would DEFINITELY want to have sex with me (internalized hypersexualization of lesbians maybe?) the thought repulsed be WAY more than if it was a guy, I think it’s because if we had the same genitals, it was easier for me to empathize with her, and therefore my sex repulsion doubles. But if she was a trans girl, then she’s still a girl and it was still easier for me to empathize with her and the thought of anyone similar to me (genitals or gender) having sex flares my sex repulsion, but I don’t know if that’s an actual Ace thing, or a Me thing? And this is obviously related to my (grey(?))romantics behaviours, so yeah, I’m pretty much all over the place.
    Also, the sort of reluctance to date a girl, is negated if she’s asexual, or at least it’s the same as an asexual guy. So it seems like it is an Ace thing.

  11. Pingback: Another adventurer mapping the gray area… | Cake at the Fortress

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