“Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality” Part 2 – Review

I’m finally here. This is a review of the first part of Part 2 of “Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality”.This is only the first part of the chapter. I felt that the chapter was too long for a single post (and I had stayed up late last ngiht planning it). So here goes.

Part 2 of the book, titled “Asexual Experience” basically explains, quite indepth about the role attraction and libido plays in asexual people’s lives. She started an introduction into romantic orientation (I’ve wrote about it briefly here and http://https://asexualityinasexualworld.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/1127/. (In the book, though, Decker explains it a lot better and a lot more in depth than what I did). I won’t rehash all the terms.

She made one interesting observation; that asexuals face some treatment that wouldn’t be really deemed acceptable by most people toward others. This includes trying to tell people how they feel instead of letting people own their onw feelings, and asking overly personal questions (about masturbatoin, etc). I can’t help but feel annoyed by that (luckily, I haven’t experienced such events myself). Why is it OK to disrespect asexual people in a way which would be frowned upon if done to anyone else? Seriously.  Again, both Decker and I both plead the non – asexual community, please be respectful to asexual people you come into contact with, like you would anyone else. Rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t say something to people in general (like personal questions), please don’t ask us those same questions. I get you probably mean well, but I’m begging you, please don’t.

Another thing that is oftne dismissed is the love that an asexual feels and that love is so intertwined with sex, however, sex without love seems OK (at least in certain circles. I can kind of debunk the love = sex myth using science (in layman’s terms – in truth, I’ve barely got a scientific bone in my body). On the BBC3 documentary: “How Sex Works”, they showed a couple who just got together to examine the brain activity of the participants. What they actually found was that different parts of the brain were activated when the participants were shown sexually appealing stimuli (that were not their partner, like a model, or whatnot), as opposed to being shown a picture of their partner. When shown a picture of their partner, the part of the brain that (I’m guessing) signals romantic love lit up. Now, this is just my conclusion, but to me that seems to scienfitically indicate that erotic/ sexual attraction and romantic attraction are different on a neurological level.

And yes, love that asexual people feel, whether romantic, platonic, queer platonic (controversial term I know, I’ll explain later I promise. Please don’t attack me), or other forms are affection are real to asexual people, as it can be for anyone else. We’re not all “loners” or “psychopaths”, or whatever, frankly, offensive term you can come up with. Like anyone else, asexual people are a varied group. Some are romantic (see link above), some are social butterfles (like me), some enjoy close friendships, some have aromantic partnerships, some prefer their own company…. I think we get the picture, don’t we?

 

There was quite a funny quote describing what it’s like for asexual people who may experience fleeting sexual desire by “Tom” from the Asexuality Archive:

For some asexual people, the thought “I would like to have sex with that person” could seem as unexpected as “I would like paint that person blue, cover them with twigs and dance around them in  a circle all night.

Don’t know about anyone else, but I found that to be quite an amusing analogy.

 

She wrote a specific part of the book about aromanticism and how their relationships are affected. So, aromantic is someone who doesn’t experience romantic attraction to anyone regardless of gender. This is not exclusive to the asexual community. You can be heterosexual, but atromantic, or anything else (my guess is that this would be somewhat rare). Non – aces with mismatched romantic and sexual orientations can be frowned upon too, as sex and romantic love is so often linked. Non – aces with mismatched sexula and romantic orientations can too, feel confused, isolated and shamed for how they feel.

She goes on to talk about aromantic asexual relationships. Of course, many aromantic people have family and friends that they can bond with. Some have a non – romantic but committed partner, some have intimate relationships that seem “mor than friends” but are not labeled as “romantic”. These relationships are often referred to in asexual circles as “queer platonic”. Now, understandably, this term has been heavily criticised, particularly from members of the LGBT community, because of the term “queer” often used to mean “gay” or another non  – heterosexual orientation (however, someone wrote to me on Twitter explainning that sex workers sometimes use the term “queer (or the letter Q) for themselves…. hmmm).

What confuses things even more in asexual circles, is what’s deemed romantic? If it’s not commitment (since aromantic people can have rather comitted relationships), if it’s more intense than traditional friendship than what is it? I think that each person should be able to decide for themselves (or work out for themselves), what a relationship or even feeling actually is. Let them explain it in THEIR terms if they want. Then, maybe sometimes they don’t know…. yeah, it’s complicated.

Another thing. The above paragraph hints that partnerships aren’t easily defined just by looking at them. A same – sex couple isn’t automatically a gay or even homoromantic couple. Same with opposite – sex couples. A thought to ponder.

Orientations are not always as simple as aromantic or romantic. Some are somewhere in between (grey romantic) or ocurring at times when an emotional bond is already established (demi – romantic). My understanding of demi – romantic, is that they don’t experience “love at first sight” per se. That’s just what i thnk (I’m not demi – romantic myself, if you are and would like to explain your experiences in the comments section, got ahead. I’d love to learn about it from first – hand).

 

This is all I’ll write on  this post. In the next post, I’ll continue with reviewing the chapter (probably Friday).

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Julien Blanc and Attitudes Toward Women

Trigger Warning: This post talks about sexual assault and rape culture. If this is triggering for you, please proceed with caution. If you need help with personal issues, please get it.

On Wednesday night, The Project did a story on controversial “dating coach” (I use that term extremely lightly, hence the quotation marks), Julien Blanc, who’s “seminars” have been recently cancelled in Australian capital cities, particularly, Sydney and most recently from what I’ve read, Brisbane.

As people probably know, Blanc is an American Youtuber that is infamous for filming himself forcing young women to kiss him or of him inappropriately groping them. He argues that this is a successful “pick – up line”, even though the women that comes into contact with him are very resistant in the least.

The thought of someone like that even having an audience, people who is actually intrigued by what he has to say, let alone believing it, scares me. It feeds into misogyny in society. It further pushes the message that women haven’t got a right to their own sexuality or bodies. These attitdues NEED to die out.

I’m saying this in this blog, because it’s *believed that asexual women are more vulnerable to sexual assault*. When an asexual woman says to a man who’s interested in her that she isn’t interested, her requests get ignored. Huffington post has done an article on this here.

 

Let me be clear. This dangerous attitude toward women and their sexuality isn’t only damaging to asexual women (althought it is believed that they and lesbians in particular  are vulnerable), it affects women in general. How many times has rape been legitimised because of what a victim has supposedly wore? Too many times I care to think about. And that’s from what I’ve heard!

Nobody “owns” anybody. We need to get that. We don’t have the right to demand that other people become our property. This is where abuse starts. Each person owns themselves. This attitude of people “owning” women has had the opposite, but same damaging effect in other circles, particularly hardcore conservative communities.

 

*I’m not sure of the exact statistic, so I can’t for certain say hte rate that this is happening. In the xojane article http://http://www.xojane.com/#!/sex/true-love-waits-pledge, Samantha Pugsley explained how growing up in a culture where virginity was prized above all else, actually ended up damaging her view of her own sexuality, even after marriage, because of the shame she grew up with. This again, I believe stems from the same toxic attitude, that women can’t control when they have sex or whom they have sex with. It’s in the hands of someone else! I’ve argued before that if someone wants to remain a virgin or celibate, then their wishes should be respected. But I also argued that it should stem from personal conviction and choice, not enforced by the outside.

 

I want to give credit where it’s due. I commend the people responsible for the boycotting of the Blanc seminars. I also applaud the panel on “The Project” and how they responded to it. A further heartfelt hats off to Pete Heliar and Hugh Riminton who both condemned Blanc’s show, particuklarly Riminton, who rightfully slammed Blanc’s attitudes  as  being “misogynistic”. Thank you all for such a strong approach to it. And what the panellists said was right. We need to talk to young men (in particular) in how to treat women properly. We also need to talk to women on how THEY are the masters of their own bodies. THEY get to decide when they have sex (or not). NOBODY has a right to take that away from them. And of course, it goes the other way round too.

Compliments

Apparently,  some Australian men are finding it hard to compliment a woman that they don’t know in fear of it being taken as sexist. However, columnist for Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, Sarrah Le Marquand, has lamented that men aren’t forward enough. I want to make my own point.

I don’t mind genuine compliments. In fact, I love them, whether from men or women. Of course, chances are that I’ll become uncomfortable if the so – called ‘compliments ‘ become incredibly suggestive. Regardless of orientation (or gender, for that matter), don’t most people have a basic idea of what will likely to be appropriate and what’s not? Like saying ‘you look lovely in that dress’, or ‘I love your haircut’, without getting sleazy about it? Maybe just be sensitive to the other person’s cues? Are they receptive? Do they look uncomfortable? Because you want to compliment someone to make them feel better, don’t you? Like I said at the start of the post, I love getting compliments. However, I’m also a big believer in respecting the sensitivities (cultural, etc). So, out it simply.

  • Keep it clean (Just say: ‘I like your….’)
  • Beware of cues (body language, etc). If they express any discomfort, don’t take it personally, but don’t push it
  • basically, it all boils down to one word…. RESPECT!

10 Things You’re Actually Saying When You Ignore Someone’s Gender Pronouns — Everyday Feminism

This is an interesting and, at least I thought, an insightful look into addressing transgender people. Good, and frankly, hard – hitting read.

Charissa's Grace Notes

10 Things You’re Actually Saying When You Ignore Someone’s Gender Pronouns — Everyday Feminism.

Constance…immediately pass this on to every stubborn person who is important to you.  It is that good, and it does give the basic and true message communicated by those who refuse to use proper pronouns.

I know in my life?  So unfortunate, but the people that I love, was willing to sacrifice for and even die a bit for, well, they did not feel the same way about me and they engaged in terrible acts of betrayal.

So, weirdly, it set me free.

Now?  Well, thanks to them, and my wonderful horrible very own haters who come as dementors, I have toughened up…and here is the truth:

When you gender-shame me with improper pronouns and hate filled speech, you identify yourself as a hater, and make the whole thing easy for me.  I can save…

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