Aromantic/ kinda – grey Romantic/ grey- romantic, ah the labels!!

Romanitc orientation is often hard to define in the asexual community. Because most people equate sexual attraction to romantic attraction (in which for most people it probably would go hand – in – hand), asexuals are sometimes left wondering how to differentiate romantic attraction to platonic attachment. Crushes, squishes, etc are labels to explain the emotional attraction people experience with others, either regularly or from time to time.

Generally, in asexuality, there’s four main labels in regard to the level of romantic attraction that someone can experience:

Aromantic: Those who don’t experience any romantic attraction (not exclusive to asexuals either).

Grey – Romantic: Those who feel a certain level of romantic attraction sometimes, but not always.

Demi – Romantic: Those who experience romantic attraction to someone after an emotional bond is already formed.

Romantic: Basic romantic orientations are: homoromantic,  hetero – romantic, bi romantic, and panromantic. It’s the feeling or desire for a romantic connection with another person/s.

Even though these labels are helpful, it got me wondering whether they go far enough. Is there a space between aromantic and grey romantic? Let me explain what I mean. Say you’re predominately aromantic, but experience some romantic attraction… or kinda. What if you only experience crushes, but never form a romantic relationship or longing in real life. See, that’s another thing:  the difference between romantic drive, verses actual romantic attraction that you could (and do) act on. Yes, there are lithro – romantic, but something tells me you probably won’t know whether or not lithromantic without actually having someone ask you out, or someone want’s a relationship with you (I’m only guessing. I could be wrong). Other than that, how would you know? What if your just scared about admitting to yourself that you do experience romantic attraction?

Then there’s people that go from one to another (I’ve talked about this before). For example, someone may originally identify as arommantic, then realise they’re hetero – romantic, then maybe go back to aromantic again…. 

 Labels don’t always fit. Regardless of what level of romantic attraction you feel, or what gender/s you romantically connect with, is there any guarantee that you’re going to remain that way inclined.

I remember when actress/ comedian Magda Szubanski came out and she was on the show “The Project”. She said something that stuck with me till this day. When asked about her sexuality, Magda said… “I’m gaygaygaygaygaygaygay….”, even though she said that she didn’ fully identify  as gay or bisexual.

I think it’s the same for asexual in regard to romantic orientation. Yes, there is grey romantic (in between aromantic and romantic). But maybe it’s possible not to fully identify with that either. Maybe there’s a bit of ‘AAAAAAAAAAAA – romantic, grey romantic, AAAAAA…” That’s what I’m starting to think. To put it another way, there isn’t just one shade of grey. There’s heaps and heaps. It makes it harder to explailn yourself to others, but then, maybe it’s time to think, well, should you have to?

I’m weird and complicated. I hope you get this. Basic premise: some people can’t fit a label, even something as broad as grey – romantic. That’s what I think anyway.

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Miley Cyrus’s MTV Performance Controversy

The media has been in uproar since actor/ singer Miley Cyrus did a raunchy performance at the VMA MTV. Yes, it was too raunchy, especially for young children to see; those who idolised (and probably still idolise) her for the Hannah Montanna saga. But, I strongly argue she isn’t the one to blame (at least not solely).

Some people have condemned Miley for being desperate. She’s trying to act “grown up” (probably too hard) and let go of her teen idol image. But there’s more! This whole controversy isn’t just the work of Miley. First, what about singer, Robin Thicke (who is apparently in his 40’s), dancing on stage with her? What about her wardrobe team? I think the whole saga is also a symptom of a greater problem in the entertainment industry as a whole (and music in particular).

People can’t seem to get away with just having a good voice or even be good performers nowadays. Girls (and young women) are often objectified in music videos (been like that for about 10 or 15 years). The “sex sells” slogan is rife in entertainment and advertising (even though looks like it’s about to have a backlash).

I’ve read that Miley is trying to do away with the innocent “Hannah Montanna” image and trying to act all “grown up”. But why is being objectified or overly sexualised deemed “grown up”? Why do people have to potentiallly exploit themselves (or feel like they have to) to be accepted into the entertainment industry? Why does society as a whole link “maturity” with how “sexual” you are? Seriously, why?

The controversy has exposed, in my mind a greater delimma, the exploitation of sexuality to “make it” in the entertainment industry and the world as a whole. It’s not about individuality or talent anymore. It’s about being a.) explotatively sexy or b.) ridiculously attractive (most often times both). Women are still treated like meat in the entertainment industry. 

Can we stop this all together? Probably not. But we can stop accepting it. We can create a culture that says “no” to exploitation. That means not allowing ourselves (or others) to be exploited period. As for the entertainment industry, if they’re affected financially because of such outrage, then, so be it. But not much will change if it doesn’t.

Sexual/ Asexual Relationships

I’ll say this from the outset: this post is only going on what I’ve read online and my personal opinion which isn’t based on experience. Don’t take this as gospel, that’s all I’m saying.

Ok, I was just looking up on google about sexual/ asexual relationships, kind of inspired by another blog post I read about how relationships are viewed in society and how asexuals don’t always fit the standard. It got me thinking about sexual/ asexual relationships. Can they really work? Can that sort of relationship work. What I found, I must say, surprised me.

So, it got me thinking, can they work, even if the asexual doesn’t want sex? Well, yes as it turns out, well, some can. Obviously, each case has to be considered individually. Some asexuals are ok with sex, some sexuals (I’m guessing of all orientations), say they can deal with no sex and still have a relationship. I’m not sure how common this is (probably not very, but then again, you never know).

I guess it comes to how each person views sex. In my opinion, if the asexual completely shudders at the thought of sex and their partner thinks sex is an important part of intimacy, then, it may be an obstacle. Some people view sex as, not just an act of intimacy, but rather signal that they’re partner loves them and is attracted to them. Talking in a  completely monogamous context, frankly, I don’t see how a scenario like above can work out successfully. I honestly don’t if something can’t be negotiated (for some people on either side, this would be non negotiable). Some people who aren’t asexual may just view sex as a primal drive and can be satisfied without another person being there (e.g. masturbation) and other than that, they think they can have a non – sexual relationship. I think this could be fine, if resentment doesn’t build up over time.

Of course, then, there is non – monogamy (e.g. open relationships, polyamory, etc). This definitely needs to be considered extra carefully and talked about with the upmost respect for the relationship and both parties considering it. It may be able to work with some people (either sexual or asexual), but with some people, it can be an absolute deal – breaker. It’s not for everyone.

Asexual/ sexual relationships aren’t automatically impossible and an asexual shouldn’t feel like they’re not good enough because they found themselves in love or interested in (romantically or otherwise),  someone who isn’t an asexual. The relationship isn’t automatically doomed to fail. You do need to consider deal – breakers though, from both parties. Are you OK with sex? Are they OK without it? Are you OK with non – monogamy? Are they? In my opinion, if the answer is “no” to any of these questions and both sides feel like they can’t meet the other person half way, then that’s a problem. And there are some people who feel ilke they’ve got absolute needs (e.g. sex or no sex). That’s OK, it’s just the way it is. But can it work out? Should it? I was going to put my thoughts, but I’ll leave it open to you. Are any of you in a sexual/ asexual relationship? What are you’re thoughts?

Pornification of Sex

We live in a world filled with pornography. It’s everywhere whether we like it or not. We are bombarded with sexual images right left and centre. If we choose, we can even view even more porn via the Internet for free.

I’ve just been reading an article called “Generation XXX” and what read troubled me, frankly. Not about the fact that people want to pornify sex, but the lack of communication in relationships and women feeling like they have to “perform” with a partner. They’re being expected to perform acts they’re uncomfortable without question, regardless whether they want to or not. Where’s the respect? Where’s the communication?!

In my opinion, pornography has become overly normalised. It’s even just “expected” that teens and pre – teens will search it out. There’s even being discussions on integrating pornography into sex education (even though, under Australian law as it currently stands, deliberately presenting pornography to a minor is actually deemed a sex crime).

Interestingly, despite stereotypes, it’s not just men who are deliberately accessing and wantting to act out porn. Women are becoming big consumers of the market (approximately 30% of consumers of porm are women). So are women putting pressure on themselves to act in a certain way while having sex? Is this what has come of feminism and gender equality? It’s has to be said that there are markets for “female – friendly porn” and even “feminist porn” where the art of “love making’ or the pleasure of the woman is the main focus.

I’m not a huge fan of censorship of legal content (that’s including the majority of adult entertainment). But discussion needs to be started, especially to young people about respect and communication in a relationship and, if need be, putting pornographic images in context. This discussion has been started, but frankly, I don’t think there’s enough. Too many young people, boys and men in particular, are entering the world of pornography with no context given and demanding certain acts from female lovers or partners. For many of them, it’s probably the only “sex ed” that they’re getting.

It’s probably not something that can be stopped and, chances are if we just condemn pornography, it’ll only go underground which, frankly, will probably make things even worse. But we need to stop treating pornography as if it’s “normal” and dismissing concerns of people about the issue. We need to bust myths about sex and sexuality and give boht men and women a voice of what they both truly want and how to ask for it while respecting their partner’s wishes too.

No one should be forced to do anything sexually that they don’t want to and no one has the right to do anything to another person they don’t approve of, or haven’t given consent to. We really need to go back on basics of respect, even in the midst of what seems to be a ponography pandemic.

Pain of Beauty

It’s no surprise, really, that people, both men and women, think that stilettos are sexy. They’ve been in fashion for as long as I can remenber, from catwalks and magazines, to high school formals and deb balls and  other special events. I had mild fascination with high – heels when playing dressups at pre school )when basically my whole foot would’ve fitted in the toe part). By primary school and early high school, it was more the heels that covered the hole heel and about 3 cm roughly. As a progressed into high school, and certainly in my adulthood, my fascination with high heels has well – and – truly waned all together.

Stilettos have been worrying health professionals for years. Podiatrists have warned about crows feet and other defomities potentially caused by consistently wearing high heels, back problems, neck and head pain, and the list goes on. Even “Sex and the City” star Sarah – Jessica Parker has admitted that she struggles with pain bought on by ongoing stietto wear over the years of playing Carrie Bradshaw.

Why do so many women put themselves through so much agony? Not surprisingly, a recent study confirmed that both men and women  think htat women look attractive and confident. But why do women have to endure pain and long – term damage to be confident and to potentially attract a member of the opposite sex? I’ll be upfront, I don’t get the whole attracting a mate thing full stop. But do straight men really expect women to sacrifice their own health and well – being for beauty? Can a woman just be happy and confident the way she is? like seriously!

Look, I’m not trying to judge either men or women. You either find someone or something attractive or you don’t. I get that. However, I will say, it bothers me that women (and men) come to the conclusion that to be OK, you have to put yourself in harms way and potentially risk your life in order to be deemed “attractive” or, even more importantly, to be OK with yourself. In my opinion, it’s just gone to far.

The Need For Acceptance

Everyone craves acceptance from those around them. Our sexuailty can be one topic where conflicts can occur. Frankly, I’ve read some pretty bad stories about the rejection of asexuals as they come out to family, friends, or even potential dates. To be clear, Asexuals don’t get the same persecution as LGBTQI people get. Nor is hostility so avert.

What many asexual people face when coming out to family, friends, online, etc is denial of the existence of their orientation, the assumption that one can be “fixed” (either by medical means or even sex itself), intrusive rude questions, and general social isolation.

That’s actually why I created this blog in the first place; to raise awareness about asexuality, and also how it somehow relates to me personally (as well as other subjects, as you can tell). I can’t wait until we come to the point when we just accept each other for who we are, or at least accept the fact that everyone is different. We can dream, can’t we?

Asexuality And the Media

One thing I would love is for asexuality to be discussed more in the media, away from stereotypes and assumptions people may have. A few years ago, a study in the UK estimated that approximately 1% of the population are asexual and in 2006, the creator of the online forum for asexuals, Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) David Jay advertised the site on The View. Other people, as well as couples in America spoke about their experiences of being asexual on other news programs.

Fans of the hit sitcom, “The Big Bang Theory” have speculated that physics expert Sheldon is asexual. I don’t usually speculate on a character’s sexuality unless it’s made public in the storyline that X is whatever orientation they are.

Few years ago, blogger Jo Qualmann, had a feature in Australia’s Cleo magazine, briefly explaining her asexual identity. Apart from an option in a survey, nothing has been spoken in the media since. I don’t mind reading about other people, sex advice (although that can get tiresome and boring), but I want there to be a bit more about asexuality. I know we’re only a very small minority, but don’t our voices deserve to be heard?

I would love, to, for there to be more exposure in the media abour asexual romantic relationships (or when at least one partner is asexual). I think it would be great to share stories about how other people deal with relationships, a part from hearing how important sex is.

I hope it’s only a matter of time before the discussion keeps on going. Maybe, it’s up to the asexual community to be willing to be open and honest about how we feel, and not hide. I’ve often thought about commenting on the Cosmopolitan (Australia) or Cleo magazine pages on Facebook about presenting stories and features on asexuality a bit more, but I guess, I haven’t had the guts to. Maybe I should… well, just see what happens.