Ace Tropes: Allo Savior Complex

Sara K. blogs at The Notes Which Do Not Fit, and has written a number of book reviews of asexual fiction.  She is continuing the ace tropes series, albeit with more of a focus on books.

“If it helps,” she said, tone tentative but casual. “I don’t think you’re a paradox. But you might be asexual.”

Regan’s mouth fell open. He looked up with wide eyes again but for a much different, much better different reason. Slowly, the tension melted out of his shoulders and his frill dropped back down to hang loose. When he looked at her now she saw something else in his eyes. One of her favorite things to see. Hope.

Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver

I am borrowing the name of this trope from El, who in this interview phrases it thus:

But I’d also like to see less of what I call the “Allo Savior Complex”: that is, when the poor, confused MC has no idea why they’re “broken”, and their allosexual friend swoops in to say, “Oh, you’re asexual! TA DA!”

That is the trope in a nutshell. It’s not an ace website, or ace support groups, or even an ace acquaintance who helps the ace character figure out that asexuality is a thing, and that they are not ‘broken’. It’s an allo character who does it. Often, there is no other ace character in sight in the entire story.

How realistic is this? I don’t know. I don’t know what proportion of aces first learn about asexuality as an orientation from “allo saviors” and what proportion learn about asexuality as an orientation from asexual education outreach efforts, or random encounters with other ace people. However, in the asexual fiction I’ve read, it is a lot more common for some allo character to take the ace character under their wing and explain that being ace is okay, and for the ace character to be SO grateful, than it is for an ace character to make contact with other aces.

An example of this trope which I find particularly gross is “Bender” by Gene Gant. [Spoiler warning] the ace character feels so, so broken, until allo character saves the ace character from his misery, and puts him in touch with a counselor who is also allo AND NEVER REFERS ACE CHARACTER TO LOCAL ACE SUPPORT GROUPS, OR EVEN ONLINE ACE COMMUNITIES, and ace character is so grateful to allo character that he has sex with allo character, even though he does not like sex.

That said, some examples of this trope are less extreme that others. For example, the ace character in Ball Caps and Khakis never feels broken, just different. Thus, when the “allo savior” tells him about asexuality, his reaction is “Thanks, that’s helpful” rather than “ZOMYGOSH YOU TRANSFORMED MY LIFE!!!!”

There is also a story in which the “allo savior” eventually turns out to be the antagonist! (And no, I’m not revealing which story it is since I just gave away a plot twist). When the allo-savior-antagonist tells the ace character about asexuality, it’s a major red herring for both the ace character and the reader – who would expect such an empathetic and understanding allo person to turn out to be the villain? The allo-savior-antagonist might not have done it deliberately to throw the ace character of their trail – I think it is just an example of moral greyness in the character (sometimes does the right thing, sometimes does the wrong thing). Nonetheless, it is not much of a leap from morally grey allo-savior-antagonist to an allo-savior-antagonist who deliberately explains asexuality to an ace character in order to gain control over them.

One final point is that, at least in the asexual fiction I’ve read, the ‘allo savior’ is usually a queer character or someone who has been questioning their sexual identity, and that is how they became aware of asexuality before they tell the ace character about it. All of the ace fiction stories I’ve read with this trope are by writers who write a variety of queer identities into their stories, not just asexuality (i.e. they will write one story about a gay male character, then they will make their next story about a bisexual female character, and then they will write a story about a trans character, and so forth). I speculate that the writers who use this trope might have first become aware of asexuality through educating themselves about the many ways people can be queer, so to them, the most natural way for an ace character to learn about asexuality as an orientation is to talk to an allo queer character, not to other aces.

Examples:
“Bender” by Gene Gant
Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver
Ball Caps and Khakis by Jo Ramsey
Crush by Caitlin Ricci
“As Autumn Leaves” by Kate Sands (though at least in this one the ace character also finds online ace communities)
Sister Claire (webcomic)

Discussion Questions:
1. Does the “Allo Savior Complex” trope offend you? Does it depend on how the trope is done, and if so, what would make it non-offensive, and what would make it more offensive?
2. How do you feel about stories in which the ace character and the “allo savior” eventually enter a sexual and/or romantic relationship together?
3. How would you like to have ace characters who feel confused or ‘broken’ to discover that asexuality is a valid orientation?

About Siggy

Siggy is a physics grad student in the U.S. He is gay gray-A, and makes amateur attempts at asexual activism. His interests include godlessness, scientific skepticism, and math. While not working or blogging, he plays video and board games with his boyfriend, and folds colored squares.
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43 Responses to Ace Tropes: Allo Savior Complex

  1. Unicornduke says:

    I’ve definitely seen this in fanfiction as well. Usually it is a friend of the character saying it, occasionally the soon-to-be-love-interest.

    I mostly find it boring and tiring personally. There’s only so many of them you can read before it gets dull. I also find it unrealistic for the character to just accept they’re ace right off the bat. Maybe other people have the lightning bolt where it makes sense. I found out about asexuality by link hopping on the internet, read about it and dismissed it as something that didn’t apply to me. It was months later that I thought about, and went looking for more info. And then it was several more months of questioning if I was really asexual before I said I was definitely ace. It was something I worked through completely on my own.

    I’m definitely weirded out by the tropes where the ace character eventually has sex with the person who suggested they were ace. But I dislike the trope of ace character is neutral or uncertain about sex, has affirming conversation with significant other about how SO doesn’t need sex and they don’t have to, and then they have sex pretty much immediately after. That’s a trope I’ve only ever seen written by allo writers.

    Generally I’d be okay with it if the all character didn’t get together with the ace character and there was some amount of reflection.

    If a character feels broken I think it would be best for it to come from another ace character because random allo character doesn’t really know what they’re talking about.

    • Sara K. says:

      I agree that it gets boring/tiring after the third or fourth time. That’s one of the things which frustrates me about this trope. I would probably mind it less if it were less common.

      You also have a point about it being unrealistic for so many ace characters to accept it right off the bat. I myself came to terms with being asexual over the course of ~years~ which is why, in surveys which ask ‘at what age did you start identify as asexual’ I answer ‘I don’t know’.

      In all fairness, in some of the examples I listed (such as Ball Caps and Khakis), the ace character had done a lot of reflection *before* the allo character mentioned asexuality, and hearing about asexuality as a concept other people used was the last piece of the puzzle I needed. However, in Ball Caps and Khakis, the ace character did not feel broken in the first place.

      I also agree that, all else is being equal, ace saviors are better than allo saviors (for multiple reasons, including the reason you cited).

      • I also was thinking about fics! (and may or may not have a draft to something related to this, but i’m not sure if i’ll ever finish it)

        The main examples i can think of are Homestuck fics, where when the MC didn’t found out through the internet* (the main connection for everything, since they’re all internet friends), the author used Rose as the Allo Savior, because she was very into psychology when she was 13; and Check Please! fics, where the characters p much always go for Shitty, the Gender Studies bro, when they’re confused about their sexualities. Sometimes he even has a binder with information about every possible gender and sexual/romantic label ever.

        And i also find weirdly unrealistic that after the MC is told they may be ace, there may be a cursory google search, some reading on the AVEN wiki or something like that, and that’s it. One night of light research and suddenly they know everything they need to know about themselves and are so firm in their identities they need the ace community no more.

        * That’s how i found out about AVEN, actually: someone had John see one of the “cake is better than sex” ads in a gaming forum. Wasn’t how i found out i was ace, but that’s how i knew what AVEN was, months after finding the wiki.

        • Sara K. says:

          To be fair, most fiction stories do not outright state that the ace characters are done with figuring out their identities, or that they no longer need the ace community (if they ever were connected to the ace community in the first place – I wish there were more stories where the ace character actually has *ANY* contact with other aces). The plots are generally centered around something other than the ace character discovering asexuality, so they do not generally explore the aceness of the ace character fully.

  2. Paige says:

    RoAnna Sylver publicly identifies as ace, actually.

  3. TreePeony says:

    Well, it was an allo person who first told me about asexuality, but they just pointed me towards AVEN and other ace resources, not affirmed that my life was worth living. Not that I ever doubted it, so I don’t know how they would have reacted if I had been less “well, I wonder whether there are others like me, LOL kidding,” and more emotional. I don’t see anything wrong with an allo person helping an ace person discover their sexual identity, actually. (I’ve never met an ace person outside of ace circles on the web, anyway, so I’m really grateful to the allo person who told me about asexuality)

    It’s just more in the “how” than the “who.” Allo or ace, a person who depends on other people to affirm the worth of their own existence isn’t a strong character, and not one I’m particularly interested in identifying with. If I ever read ace fiction – which I haven’t yet outside of a couple of random fanfic – I would like a character who discovers the existence of asexuality (either on their own or by being pointed towards it by someone who knows about it, allo or ace) and then uses that first spark as the impetus for their own journey of self-discovery and self-affirmation, without needing anyone else to hold their hand.

    • Sara K. says:

      I find that most examples are somewhere in between the extremes of ‘using a spark as an impetus for their own self-discovery’ and ‘needing someone to hold their hand’. However, I think the worst examples of this trope *are* the ones where the ace character needs more hand-holding (*cough* “Bender” *cough*).

      I also think it’s more problematic when the allo savior *does not* refer the ace character to ace media (such as websites) or other ace people (again, “Bender”).

  4. Siggy says:

    1. The allo savior complex usually feels gross to me, for two reasons. First, it contrasts to my personal experience, where help came from other aces and from myself, while allo people primarily served as obstacles. Second, it sometimes seems too easy, as if simply saying the word “asexual” without any explanation immediately leads to an epiphany.

    Sister Claire (which I had suggested to Sara as an example) didn’t bother me so much because (a) it’s in a fantasy world where there probably isn’t an ace community, (b) it’s in the context of a parent/child relationship, and (c) it’s worked out in a long conversation.

    2. It bothers me when the savior is a romantic and/or sexual partner, but not because it feels unrealistic. It bothers me how much this happens in real life too. In these situations, abuse is a real danger, and a breakup could result in sudden loss of support, especially if no other resources are found.

    3. I’m not sure how ace characters should discover that being ace is a thing. The internet search montage is awkward too, although for different reasons. I’d prefer an iterative process–a plot arc, rather than a plot event.

    • Sara K. says:

      Yes, I agree with the concern about abuse in an allo savior / ace relationship. That’s one reason why the story where allo savior turns out to be an antagonist is one of my favorite examples of this trope – it acknowledges that allo saviors can do bad things.

      • Writer Ace says:

        I agree with the abuse part too–I think that’s part of the reason I find that part of the trope so icky. There’s a real danger of the allo person feeding them wrong or intentionally cherry picked information and then claiming “oh, I’m just trying to help, see, I helped you figure out what you are”.

    • Sennkestra says:

      I’m also especially skeptical of it when it’s coming from a romantic partner/interest, just because in my experience with vis/ed, conversations that start with “So I think my partner/ex/person I have a crush on is/was asexual and just doesn’t know it yet” are rarely followed by anything good. (Typically, this is followed by complaining about how said person doesn’t want/initiate/enjoy sex enough, and surely it’s just because they are an asexual in severe denial (after all, why else would anyone not be interested in me?).

      So even though this is a slight different case (where they’re actually probably right) it still sets off all kinds of alarm bells for me.

      • Coyote says:

        “conversations that start with ‘So I think my partner/ex/person I have a crush on is/was asexual and just doesn’t know it yet’ are rarely followed by anything good.”

        hahahahehohoha boy are they ever.

        I’m coming from a fatigued place on this, but thank you for pointing that out.

    • Siggy says:

      Elaborating a bit, getting support from romantic/sexual partners feels very realistic to me. After all, some people talk about deep personal feelings with our romantic/sexual partners, and sometimes with nobody else. This really isn’t ideal, given how relationships can sometimes turn out badly. But it’s realistic enough.

      What I don’t like in fiction is that they usually ignore the abuse and breakup angles. In real life, the cuteness of a romantic pairing is no protection against things going wrong, but in fiction, cute couples are basically destined for each other. And it’s great for fiction to let us all forget about how messy real life is, but then the problem for me is I’m not forgetting it successfully.

      • Sara K. says:

        What I really do not like is when a romance story presents abuse or a potentially abusive situation, and presents it as ‘romantic’ rather than abusive. It’s doubly bothersome when I then read a bunch of reviews praising it for being ‘romantic’ rather than acknowledging the potential for abuse (or actual abuse). It makes me feel less safe even, since it makes me seriously suspect that, if I were to land in an abusive situation, these readers would cheer for the abuser, not the victim.

        And example of this is “Bender”. That romance – and its representation of asexuality in general – has major red flags for me, yet nearly all of the reviews I’ve read of it talk about how the allo boyfriend is so sweet and kind and wonderful, and that it is such a wonderful depiction of asexuality, when I felt strongly that it was not (not that the allo boyfriend did anything particularly bad, but I saw red flags). Their affirmations of how wonderful this is as ace fiction makes me seriously question their ace-friendliness. An example of this type of review is: http://www.thenovelapproachreviews.com/review-bender-by-gene-gant/

        • Writer Ace says:

          Not knowing anything about that story, that review and how it talks about asexuality make me so uncomfortable.

        • Coyote says:

          “The saddest thing was that Mason derived no pleasure, could not achieve an erection from any kind of sex, for you see, that is not what he craved.”

          The saddest thing. THAT’S the saddest thing? After you just got done explaining his abusive situation and massive guilt complex, the saddest thing to you out of it all is that he’s nonlibidoist.

  5. Jen says:

    I can’t say that I have much of a problem with this trope actually. I know that this is an unpopular opinion but this is very similar to me discovering asexuality. I had seen the word on tumblr and had done a little of my own searching. I was starting to think that this would be true for me however I also have a very long history of mental illness and low self esteem and would always use that to explain away how I felt. I did feel broken or that something was wrong with me but I had always explained it away as low self esteem and later once I was diagnosed my mental illnesses, not asexuality. Which has a certain level of irony because I had seen other aces talk about feeling that way too online but I just couldn’t see that in myself. When someone else, in this case a gay friend, pointed out that this was a term that makes sense for me, I don’t want to describe it as an aha moment but it was the validation that I needed to reach the point were I was comfortable to use that term for myself. I think I just needed someone else to say “Hey I see this experience in you too. You aren’t just deluding yourself to make yourself feel better.” Yes I am fully aware that makes no sense but I’m having a hard time putting this into words so I’m sorry. I only met another ace person much later and I have a hard time reaching out to other people even online so yeah my allosexual but gay friend was the person who helped me make sense of this term for myself

    In terms of fiction anytime one voice is taken for the end all be all about another person that does annoy me so I guess I would rather it be more like my story where there was a level of self discovery first or after the term is brought up to the ace character showing them reaching the point where they are comfortable using the term. The idea that one person can know exactly the experience of another and be able to “diagnose” them as having that experience correctly and without question does rub me the wrong way though.

    The whole relationship thing annoys me for another reason and that probably has to do with me being on the aro spectrum more so than anything. It just annoys me that there always has to be a romantic or sexual subplot in media. I would love for there to be more works were that isn’t a focus and even more if this could include ace people too. The whole ace person falling in love with the first person who accepts them for their orientation which I have seen waaaayyy too often in fic is by far the more annoying trope in my opinion.

    • Sara K. says:

      I don’t think that’s an unpopular opinion, and your experience is as valid as anyone else’s. And like I said in the post, I literally do not know how often it happens that an allo person is the one who tells an ace what they need to hear to figure it out. Experiences like yours might be very common, for all I know.

      I do think it’s a problem when one character gets to dictate to another character their sexuality/identity, and that’s one of the problems I have with this trope. I mind this trope a lot less when the allo savior points the ace character to other resources (for example, ace websites, if the story is set in a time and place where looking up ace websites is an option).

      I also wish there were more stories which did not have a romantic/sexual plot (especially one which has major female characters who don’t have a romantic and/or sexual plot!) As it so happens, most of the ace fiction being published now is published by LGBTQ+ romance publishers (though some of them consider queerplatonic relationships to be a type of ‘romance’). I cannot begrudge romance publishers for publishing romance. Self-published ace fiction is much less likely to have a romantic plot simply because they are not required to have a romantic plot. Now, if other publishers would step up and publish more ace fiction…

  6. Rivers says:

    Even though I’ve had some pretty good coming out moments with my allo friends, I definitely think it’s somewhat unrealistic to have allo characters be ‘ace saviors’. Though I do like supportive allo characters, it is definitely wrong to have them do it in a way that makes the ace some sort of ‘personal project’ or pity character to the point that the allo character becomes some kind of savior instead of a good friend.
    Although this does bring up the good and necessary discussion of how we should introduce aces in fiction. I personally didn’t have the language to accurate describe my orientation till I was sixteen even though I knew I was Aro/Ace at nine, and even though I did experience moments where I was looked down on or criticized, just the happiness of realizing I didn’t have to ever get married or be in a romantic or sexual relationship brought me too much joy to actually care.
    In a lot of ways, Aces make pretty good saviors of themselves, and they may need other characters to help them or support them a bit, but all truly great characters bring change about by their own actions #Aceswithagency.

    • Sara K. says:

      Yes, this is one thing I dislike about the allo savior trope. In the worse examples, it denies ace characters their agency. It the better examples, the aces still do a lot of the self-discovery on their own. There is also the rare ace savior (confident ace character who tells the confused ace character about asexuality as an orientation) which is almost always better because 1) acknowledges ace agency 2) ace savior is much more likely to understand aceness than allo savior.

  7. luvtheheaven says:

    Ah what an awesome discussion here!!

    I actually read that quote from El before, probably thanks to you quoting or linkng to it before, Sara K., but then promptly forgot about the idea of the Allo Savior, clearly I did, because just 3 days ago I was reading a short Fanfiction oneshot about Alex and Maggie on Supergirl where Alex doesn’t want sex in her romantic relationship with Maggie, doesn’t want sex at all, and Maggie is the Allo savior, no doubt about it. But it didn’t cross my mind.

    I found myself believing that part of the story more than I could just accept that *yet again*, this was a fanfic where an ace character is in a romantic relationship and loves kissing/making out, and of course cuddling and other touch, it’s “just sex” they don’t want. I’ve met a lot of aces in person who are like me and are kissing-repulsed or experience kissing as not pleasant at all and I’m kind of craving representation of the idea that ace romance might be able to exist without (open mouth/making out) kissing.

    But yeah, this fic was written by an allo yet queer writer (she identifies as queer, I’m pretty sure? she’s not ace spectrum) and I now am curious to keep my eye out for how many aces fall into writing this trope vs choosing other routes, or HOW they write this trope.

    I actually wrote a fairly long Fanfiction story once, 47,000+ words, about 4 ace characters and I had the first character find out about her demisexuality from her (presumably allo?) therapist, then her (straight/Allo) romantic partner became the voice of wisdom to another straight character trying to figure out his girlfriend, so this second guy was the Allo savior too in his own Romantic relationship. His girlfriend in my Fanfiction story did not immediately accept the aceness though, and learned about romantic Orientation and other aspects of the identity on her own and had introspection to work through.

    The *other* two ace characters in my story basically have to figure it all out on their own. One is inspired by overhearing a conversation and the other is just Googling their experiences 100% on their own.

    I’ve written other two other, shorter, ace fics that didn’t include any Allo Savior trope but I am an ace who’s utilized it, I must admit.
    I basically agree with most of the points in Unicornduke’s comment… But also Siggy and some other folks make important points. I’m not sure how I feel because it’s pretty complicated. I think for now I’m more concerned with the internal experiences of asexuality and aromanticism actually feeling like they are being represented realistically. The other characters feel like a secondary issue in my mind most of the time.

    1. “Does the “Allo Savior Complex” trope offend you? Does it depend on how the trope is done, and if so, what would make it non-offensive, and what would make it more offensive?” — I think it can be frustrating or disappointing but it would take a lot for it to actually offend me. That one offensive example you mentioned sounds awful though. Generally I think it’s subtly offensive and implies a degree of “aces are always behind in knowledge/need help” because it is a trope and a pattern in stories that even I internalized maybe when writing my own Fanfiction. I think if the allo character Savior is a Romantic partner who is not OK with it and it results in a breakup or in clearly shamed by the narrative abuse, that would make the trope way better yes. I also think it the allo savior is confused or wrong about some aspect of asexualty, is less than a perfect savior, that can help.

    2. “How do you feel about stories in which the ace character and the “allo savior” eventually enter a sexual and/or romantic relationship together?” I think like any love story, I prefer a slow, realistic build up and can be put off in general by a lot of Romantic plots if I just don’t believe it. However in the context of this trope… Hmm. I think it makes more sense and in fanfiction I’ve seen more they characters already together when this Allo savior trope happens. I don’t know. I’d have to judge it case by case but mainly I really don’t like the way sex and kissing are handled in the majority of ace fiction I know about. That may be my own personal hangups.

    3. “How would you like to have ace characters who feel confused or ‘broken’ to discover that asexuality is a valid orientation?” I prefer the idea of something catching their eye or an allo character casually mentioning it without realizing how big a deal it’d be to this character, a passive, by coincidence allo savior perhaps. Kind of like finding a news article about aces directed at allos rather than finding a “you might be ace if” quiz. Or meeting an ace person as an introduction to the concept but not actually learning everything from them, there still being a process over time and a big internal component to it, learning from multiple sources, etc.

    Idk I just have a lot of thoughts.

    • YES to the wanting portrayals of ace romance with varying physical boundaries! I’m very put off by open-mouth kissing, but it seems to be a prerequisite for most people to consider a relationship romantic.

      • luvtheheaven says:

        I honestly think this kind of representation is a big part of my continued “wtfromantic” feels and why my current queerplatonic relationship doesn’t feel like a *romantic* relationship to me… At least probably? Maybe? But I don’t know? But like, I love my partner and the thought of us ever even trying kissing seems to laughable to me at best, completely horrifying at worst, mainly just very foreign. We are ace, we don’t like kissing, neither one of us would ever want to go there. And if the majority of asexuals in romantic relationships that I see described, even if they’re all fictional portrayals not based on anything real, include implicitly or explicitly that kissing is part of what makes their relationship different than friendship… Well… It’s just another example of how I can’t see myself in a “romantic” relationship then.

        • Sara K. says:

          Reviewing all of the ace fiction I’ve read in the past four months … kind of confirms what you say. Generally, the stories where the ace does not kiss their ‘significant other’ are stories which are labelled ‘queerplatonic’ and/or ‘aromantic’. There are some ~borderline~ examples of an ace maybe having an romance without kissing, but… the best example I can come up with right now of an ace romance where there is *no* kissing is “The Cybernetic Tea Shop” by Meredith Katz. And that is a human/robot romance (the human is also ace).

  8. Writer Ace says:

    I was going to be like, that’s terrible, and then I realized I have some iteration of this in one of my stories, but with an aro character. Basically the character is stuck in an arranged marriage because magic, and the magic isn’t working properly because it relies on their romantic attraction/feelings for each other (more or less), and she’s upset that she doesn’t love her husband and feels like she might never, and someone reassures her that some people are like that and don’t feel that kind of love but can love in other ways like how she loves her family, etc.

    I think part of the reason I’m okay with how I did it is that it’s set in a fantasy situation where they don’t have a word for aromantic people, and she would have no reason to know the concept because she grew up in a small village while he grew up a noble in a situation where being not-straight is accepted, so he would have a valid reason to not only know this but want to reassure her about it. It’s also a bit less him going “you’re definitely aro” and more “some people feel love differently and that’s fine”.

    I think one issue I have with the trope as it usually appears is that I have (with the possible exception of early conversations with my school’s LGBTQ coordinator) never met an allo person who knows more about asexuality than me, or for the most part knows about it at all. So 1) this trope is super unrealistic and 2) it presents allo people as the experts on asexuality. Like they’re giving themselves credit for something that they 100% do not deserve credit for. I hate the idea of them pretending allo people are something other than, as a group, woefully uniformed and kind of bigoted.

    Also, I’ve had the experience of explaining asexuality to someone who I thought might be on the ace spectrum (and turned out to be), but I could only do that because I know what it feels like.

    • Sara K. says:

      Yes, I also find it hard to believe that there are *that many* allo people out there who know enough about asexuality to be a good savior. The odds of an ace randomly running into another ace seem higher. But then again, it’s not like I have statistics or anything to back me up. I do think the odds are higher with allo queers than allo straight people, and the fact that the allo savior is almost always queer does make the trope easier for me to buy.

  9. queenieofaces says:

    I always find the allo savior partner trope odd, because when I told my first boyfriend I thought I was ace, he tried to tell me I wasn’t. And while there is a pattern of people writing into AVEN etc. saying, “Hi, I think my wife/partner/boyfriend is asexual,” that’s a bit of a self-selecting group, and I more frequently hear stories that are closer to mine–the ace partner coming to the realization and then the allo partner shutting them down or trying to convince them they’re wrong. Orrrr pretending to be supportive and thinking they can “change” them somewhere along the line. So I generally find the “allo savior” + “I’m so grateful; let’s have sex” combo throws up a lot of red flags.

    Also, personally, I’ve introduced SO MANY folks to asexuality–at one point after I started coming out, something like 10% of my dorm identified as ace, most of them introduced to the term by me–that I think aces teaching aces is much more likely, but it appears so rarely in fiction. (The extent to which aces can be drawn together without realizing it because they’re picking up subtle flags is still kind of amazing to me.)

    • Sara K. says:

      I find it odd too (or rather, I find it odd that it is so *common* – if there were five stories where an ace introduces another ace to asexuality for every story in which an allo introduces asexuality to an ace, I would find it less odd).

      And I agree that that combo throws up red flags.

  10. Coyote says:

    “and ace character is so grateful to allo character that he has sex with allo character, even though he does not like sex.”

    WHOA whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa.

    Whoa.

    Whoa.

    Whoa.

    • Sara K. says:

      It is “a powerful novella that gives the reader a glimpse into what it is to be asexual and find a lover who is willing to understand your needs, and often hold back their own.” (I am sarcastically quoting the review I linked above) (and as far as I can tell, having read the novella, “and often hold back their own [needs]” means “he does not rape” – what a high standard).

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