Carnival of Aces: Staying in the Closet

Warning: brief mention of LGBTQ+ discrimination and violence. If this affects you, please proceed with caution. 

I want to make another attempt in writing a post for the “Carnival of Aces December – Staying in the Closet”. It’s still going on the premise of the pros and cons for both; with more emphasis on “coming out”. Hopefully, I better explain myself than what I did in the last post.

I want to start with a question: should asexuals (or anyone else) stay in the closet or come out? I think there are pros and cons for both. Before I get into that, I want to talk more in depth about the argument that it’s nobody’s business”.

Fair comment. It ISN’T anyone’s business who you sleep/ not sleep with. Or at least it shouldn’t be. It’s no surprise that many LGBTQ+ around the world  cop a lot of garbage because of who they are. It’s obvious that, in lots of these cases, it’d be safer for LGBTQ+ people to stay in the closet.

Here’s my point. I don’t believe that “coming out” means telling someone “I have sex with X” or, in the case of asexuals “I don’t have sex”. It goes deeper than that, if you want to come out. When you come out, I believe what you’re saying is “this is who I am. This is who I’m attracted to. Living a “married – with-children-and-house-with-white-picket-fence is most likely not going to happen”. I’m going to extend this point later in the post.

 

For people, especially young people, rejection can be a big factor in determining whether or not someone comes out. For asexuals, this can come as an “accusation” of being gay, which can be, to be quite honest, scary because of the possible implications that may have. To be quite honest, this fear affected me for a long time. To avoid this, I make sure if I do talk about asexuality, I’ve made it a habit to make sure I know that the other person knows what I’m talking about. I’m optimistic that this need for an explanation will become a thing of the past. Most young people I’ve talked to who are in their early 20’s know what I’m talking about when I mention asexuality. It’s often been in the context of this blog.

 

Back to the “married – with – children – with – kids – and -house-with-white-picket-fence”. Coming out as asexual (at least for me), has ended the assumption that I’m going to find a boyfriend and marry and so on and so forth. I know many asexual people do, but, for me personally, when the I knew I was asexual, that image of that life went out the window. So in my opinion, this is the biggest “pro” of coming out; to put to rest the assumption that you’re going to go down the common “married – with – children” path. That’s great for me. Finally, I don’t have to pretend that that’s going to happen to me, when, frankly, it’s likely not to; at least not in the most common way.

Romantic Orientation

I was only thinking about this yesterday, actually. I’m an avid participant in a few Asexuality groups on Facebook. I check out what’s been said almost every time I log on to the site. For some asexuals, stating your romantic orientation isn’t considered. However, I find it interesting those who state that their homo-romantic or bi – romantic. What I’ve noticed is that most people who come out as homo-romantic or bi – romantic have already identified and often come out as gay or bi before they realise they’re asexual. My question to that is, how do you bring up romantic orientation when it doesn’t match what people initially thought? How do you bring up the fact that you’re homo-romantic (or on the spectrum), when you’ve never come out as gay, bi or had no one close to you strongly suspect you are? What if it’s a late discovery, like you just realised your romantic orientation beyond, say, 21? Or 30? What do you do about same – gender partners when coming in contact with family or friends? It was just something floating through my mind. How do you deal when you love your own gender romantically or have a same – gender partner? How do you explain it to friends or family? Do you? What if you have a romantic/ emotional crush on someone of the same gender? Do you keep quiet about that?

Now, I know I’ve left out aromantics and hetero – romantics out of this post. To be quite honest, I don’t know what it’s like to be hetero – romantic, (especially since identifying as asexual) so that’s why I’ve left it out. Nothing against you guys, I promise.

What are your thoughts?

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New Term: Aroflux

Aroflux. According to Aromantic Wikia:

Aroflux is a romantic orientation on the aromantic spectrum and is defined as:

  • someone who’s romantic orientation fluctuates, but always stays on the aro spectrum (ex. one day you’re demiro, the next day lithro, the next day aro, etc)
  • someone who’s romantic orientation fluctuates from experiencing lots of romantic attraction, some romantic attraction & no romantic attraction

Some people who are aroflux feel as if they are alloromantic at times, while other aroflux people don’t feel that way. Aroflux people can be romance – repulsed, romance indifferent/ neutral/ apathetic toward romance, or romance positive. Like with any romantic orientation, aroflux individuals can have any sexual orientation.

Interesting. Makes sense.

“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).

Misconceptions About Sexuality (In My Opinion)

Let me say this from the outset, what I’m about to say is purely opinion. I haven’t got any research about this (yet). If I’m proven to be wrong, I’ll make sure I’ll make another post that’s actually accurate.

i read a lot of blogs (I follow a few), on bisexuality. A lot of posts written by self – proclaimed bisexuals talk a lot about discrimination, from both the gay and straight communities, bi – erasure and negative stigma, both presented in the media and society as a whole. I think that this goes beyond the moral condemnation that the gay community have historically faced (and still do in certain parts of the world). I think the reason why bi – phobia exists is because (at least partly), is because of the misunderstanding of sexuality as a whole.

I think the link between sexual identification and sexual activity has been too closely linked. Most people do end up acting on their attraction at some point in their lives. But those acts (albeit sexual and/ or romantic), doesn’t make the orientation. On the flip side, actions don’t always reflect orientation either.

 

I’m a firm believer that sexual/ romantic orientation is primarily about attraction and that is at least largely innate. Sexual and romantic orientation is a pattern of attraction, usually starting in adolescence. I have read bisexual bloggers insisting that they has experienced attraction from adolescence onwards, like when other people realise they’re gay or straight. For most people, this realisation (or at least suspicion), that a person could be bisexual, happens BEFORE any relationships take place.

Next, relationships. Again, this this goes back to the perceived link between sexual orientation and sexual activity. One of the damaging stereotypes that plague bisexual people is that they can’t remain monogamous and faithful. Unfortunately, I think the media plays on this. Put it this way, can someone who is straight remain single and celibate? Or, put another way, do people who are straight HAVE to have sexual with everyone of the opposite gender? No? Well, why assume that about people who identify as bi?

 

Discrimination like this is plain vicious, and, in my opinion, very ignorant and usually very ill- informed. Real people get hurt because of of how society continues to stigmatise others because of their sexuality (I have written about this in the past). It’s time we start respecting people and nog treating others like garbage like we seem to do.

About Romantic Orientation

I just thought I’d write a post about romantic orientation in the context of asexuality. Contrary to popular belief, sexual and romantic attraction are not the same thing and they don’t always go hand in hand (even though for most people they do).

A lot of asexual people experience some level of romantic attraction. Conversely, some people who are not asexual may not feel romantic attraction or have a romantic attraction that doesn’t match their physical attraction.

The romantic orientations include:

Aromantic: someone who experiences no romantic attraction to people regardless of gender

Hetero -romantic: someone who experiences romantic attraction towards members of the opposite sex.

Homoromantic: someone who experiences romantic attraction  toward people of the same sex.

Bi – romantic: someone who experiences romantic attraction toward both men and women

Pan – romantic: someone who experiences to romantic attraction towards people regardless of gender, including people who don’t fit the male/ female binary