Writing From Factor X

August 12, 2012

State of the Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sciatrix @ 1:42 pm

So I haven’t been writing at Writing From Factor X recently.

There’s a lot of factors contributing to that, mostly the fact that I’m busy and I have been writing less in general, but also that I’m currently blogging elsewhere. In case you didn’t realize, I’m one of the bloggers currently attached to the Asexual Agenda, which is a new group blog focusing on upper-level asexuality issues. I’ve written two posts for that blog so far: Awkward Conversations by Proxy  and Family Planning for Ambivalent Aces. If you’re interested but haven’t seen them, give them a look!

I’m not a huge fan of cross-posting because I’d like all comments to be in the same place for easy accessibility, and I don’t have the ability to keep both my share of the Asexual Agenda up and this blog for right now. So for now, if you want to see what I’m writing, please check over there! This blog is not likely to be updated for the foreseeable future. See you over there!

July 2, 2012

Simplifying The Outing Process

Filed under: Coming Out — Sciatrix @ 8:48 pm
Tags: ,

I’m currently preparing to move to another city quite far away from the one in which I currently live. I don’t know anyone in my new city yet, and I’m leaving behind a supportive, awesome friends circle where I’m already out to people and the asexuality isn’t an issue. Ideally, I would like to create a new supportive, awesome friends circle in my new city, so I am already planning how best to go about doing that.

This has gotten me thinking about coming out. Obviously I’m going to be doing a lot of outing myself in the near future as I get myself out and about meeting people, so I may as well think about how to do it as easily and stress-free as possible. I tend to be someone who worries a lot, so coming up with plans for handling future awkward situations is something I find comforting. Alas, coming out isn’t something you can do once and never have to bother with ever again—Siggy has an excellent piece on this you should probably check out—so it pays to think about efficient ways to get it over with.

Occasionally I am jealous of gay people who can sometimes come out relatively tactfully just by mentioning the gender of an ex or a current partner. So I started channeling that feeling productively by thinking about low-key, easy ways to come out while not having to direct the conversation immediately into Asexuality 101 unless I really want it to go there. I often like doing Asexuality 101, but not necessarily when I am trying to socialize and get to know someone better.

I have a history of outing myself really, really unsubtly by hauling the conversation over to where I want it to be and announcing my asexuality with all the finesse of a wolverine with a toothache. This was fine when I was more anxious about the whole thing than I am now, but not really what I want to be doing in the future.

Recently I had an awkward outing that went hilariously well—in part, I think, because I assumed that the friend I was outing myself to already knew I was ace. (In my defense, we have at least one mutual friend who did know and they had made several jokes/asked me several questions that made more sense if I assumed they knew. Also, there was the whole thing where I mentioned not getting crushes on anyone some time previously.) I wore a shirt with a Kinsey Scale joke on a mutual trip and this friend asked about it, having mistaken the “X” on my shirt for a chromosome in mitosis. In the process of explaining the joke I revealed my actual identity, causing the friend to go “ohhh, so THAT’S what you identify as.” And then we proceeded to talking about how awesome science was and getting on with our trip.

I’m still considering whether to frame that success as “act as if people already know you’re ace” or “don’t bother with it until the subject comes up organically.” In the case I just mentioned, my friend is a coworker I see almost entirely in the context of work, and I’m not necessarily always comfortable mentioning my sexual orientation in a work context for a variety of reasons. This friend was also aware of asexuality before I outed myself to them (which is part of why I thought I had been out—most people don’t discuss it unless they know full well I’m ace!), and that pre-knowledge made the whole thing much easier in a way I’m not necessarily used to experiencing.

Well? Any thoughts from those of you who are used to finding tactful, low-key ways to let people know? This is a big enough part of me that any friends I make will have to find out sooner or later. I’d rather make the telling as easy as possible.

May 26, 2012


Filed under: Fitting Sideways — Sciatrix @ 9:01 pm
Tags: ,

A few days ago, Siggy bemoaned the death of the asexual blogosphere as a direct result of Tumblr. I agree with everything he said, as it happens. I could whine about Tumblr being a more easy formula–longer posts are much more time-consuming and intimidating to write–but frankly, I’d rather read a longer, well-thought out post, and I suspect I’m not the only one. So I thought I’d try to help revive the blogs a little by updating my own.

Lately, I’ve noticed an issue I’ve had in conversations with people I’m trying to get to know better. The subject of dating will come up, or people will start bonding by discussing attractive people, and I’ll freeze, confused about what to say. It’s not a matter of hiding my asexuality, either; this happens with people who know I’m asexual, too. It’s more a matter of not knowing how to react and feeling that responses along the lines of “good for you!” are perhaps more condescending than I want to be.

I’m not a particularly socially adept person outside of my comfort zone, and I’m not always good at reacting to new things on the fly. When it feels like people are asking me to reciprocate in some way, because the experience of dating/having crushes on other people/admiring attractive people is totally universal, I’m often at a loss to respond. It’s particularly awkward for me because I started identifying as asexual at fourteen, never felt particularly pressured to experiment with dating, and consequently have zero anecdotes or experience with dating to use to keep conversation going. I have experience with relationships in general, sure, but bringing those up in the context of dating feels strange to me.

I usually end up just remaining silent and feeling awkward, especially if everyone else is sharing personal experiences. I’m not exactly sure what to do about that, except… continue to occasionally feel awkward when someone is trying to connect with me. Honestly, this isn’t an issue anyone is at fault for or that I think I can or should expect anyone else to change for. It’s not like my experience is a particularly common one, after all, and bonding over dating experiences and cute people is a terribly common, generic topic of conversation. I even do enjoy those conversations when it’s clear what I can contribute to them, as for instance cheering on a friend’s enthusiasm over a new crush or offering advice on a specific interpersonal situation.

I do find it interesting that spending more time with people who aren’t particularly familiar with asexuality and discussing their expriences makes me feel more unusual and more in need of a word like “asexual” to describe how I experience things differently than spending more time around other people who identify similarly to me. I know Siggy has mentioned a similar experience in the past, too. I’m particularly interested in this effect because I wonder if it might partially underlie the tendency of some people to declare labels like “asexual” are unimportant, or even whether it might play into the strength with which someone feels a particular identity. After all, if everyone around you shares similar experiences to yours, or your experience is easily understood by everyone you come across, does your particular label for that experience even matter? It’s only when differences become more salient that it becomes necessary to find words for your experiences and discuss them.

March 13, 2012

It’s Been a While

Filed under: Visibility — Sciatrix @ 5:43 pm
Tags: ,

A lot has happened since I stopped posting every week last year. I’ve applied to and been accepted to graduate school, sorted out a problem in the way I was reacting to some of my relationships, and done a lot of thinking.

I’ve started doing panels through my campus LGBTQA group, which has been a cool experience. One of the ways in which panels have shifted my thinking about asexuality is to make me a little more thoughtful about the contexts in which I use jargon, because I try very hard to keep my explanations of my experiences as simple as possible in panels. That is, I’ve gotten a lot more conscious of trying to avoid jargon unless I’m talking to another ace person who’s already familiar with the terminology I’m using. Since at the moment I’m doing most of my speaking about asexuality to audiences who may or may not even be familiar with the basic definition of asexuality, I’ve become very conscious about both the specific terms I use and also how I present and define those terms to the people I talk to.

In particular, being asked about my relationships and whether I desire close emotional intimacy with other people is always a tricky question. I’m in queerplatonic relationships with two other people right now, and it’s important for me to be able to answer that question as honestly as possible without completely derailing the discussion. I’m usually part of a 3-4 person group with each person representing at least one different identity, and we almost never have enough time to finish asking everyone’s questions by the end, so brevity (never my strong suit!) is an important quality. Usually I handle that question by mentioning romantic aces but emphasizing that my own relationships are a little more complicated, but that I’m very happy with where they are right now.

Also difficult to answer are questions specifically about romantic aces, because I have no earthly clue about how romance works and spending a couple of years questioning what defines a romantic relationship or romantic feelings have left me even more confused and more convinced that the traditionally defined romantic framework for relationships doesn’t work very well for me. I usually leave it at “some asexual people get crushes and fall in love and say they want to date people, but I find the whole thing pretty confusing,” which is a little oversimplified–but when you’re doing a panel or really any kind of teaching, oversimplification to get the concepts across quickly is part of the job.

I’ve got a big aces-only panel coming up in April, which will hopefully have me and three other aces speaking on it. I’m pretty excited about it!

February 14, 2012

Valentine’s Apathy

If you hadn’t noticed, it’s Valentine’s Day today.

Honestly, this is the first year in a long time that I haven’t managed to completely forget Valentine’s was a thing, and that’s more a testament to the fact that seemingly everyone around me has insisted on making a huge fuss about it than any particular interest of mine in the holiday. It usually doesn’t make me feel particularly bad, or particularly good, or anything more than vaguely apathetic. As a holiday, my feeling is that it’s not for me or about me, and it usually passes me by before I bother to pay much attention to it.

This year the generalized feeling of not existing has been a bit worse than usual, precisely because people have made more fuss about it than I’m used to. When people try to discuss Valentine’s with me, I often find them surprised that I am so completely apathetic about the holiday–it seems to me that the vast majority people expect others to be either happy to be spending the day with a partner or bitter and upset about not having one. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of room for honest apathy in the range of allowable emotions for the holiday.

Oddly enough, that reaction is what has made me irritable today, not the fact of the holiday itself. I’m not bothered that people in romantic relationships are taking the day to make a big fuss about it, and I’m mostly not even bothered by the massive commercialism that always comes along with the holiday. But I am bothered that people expect me to care about it.

One of my classes felt the need to play this TED talk today, which didn’t particularly improve my mood. I don’t like fluff in class–I’d rather be absorbing useful information–and the talk felt to me less like an interesting set of scientific work and more like an excuse to recite anthropological poetry about romantic love and talk about how important and universal a feeling it is. It also did a lot of universalizing about the feeling of romantic attraction, which was occasionally interesting but mostly just annoying.

However, I’m attempting to drag myself out of a grouchy funk at the moment, so I’ll talk about the one thing I did find interesting about the talk. Dr. Fisher describes romantic attraction in an interesting way in that she relies heavily on describing the feeling in terms of obsession.

Out of curiosity, people who say romantic attraction is clear to them, is that an accurate way to frame the emotion? I’m finding it interesting because it’s totally alien to my experiences; for me, initial interest in new people I’d be interested in forming a relationship with is very much “out of sight, out of mind.” Once I am good friends with a person, it’s a little different, but even people I’m terribly fond of don’t get anywhere near the level of fixation I’d call “obsession.” So the idea of obsessing over a person, particularly a person you don’t know well, is fairly alien to me. Thoughts?


Filed under: Signal Boost — Sciatrix @ 6:35 pm

From Asexual News: Trevor Project Seeks More Asexual Resources

The Trevor Project works to prevent suicide among LGBT Youth. The Trevor Project also offers a series of videos on Youtube. Several “It Gets Better” videos point to the Trevor Project as a resource. The “It Gets Better” project is the work of Dan Savage and his partner.

From Feministe: An Asexual Map for Sex-Positive Feminism

As it currently stands, many asexual people often describe the sex-positive movement as unsafe for them. This is a problem that needs to be addressed by the community.

From Zombie Headquarters: Asexuality Semi-Open Thread/Crowdsource

Kaz just put up a really cool post on Feministe talking about asexuality, specifically in relation to sex-positivity. I got very excited and jumped the gun somewhat, posting two rather lengthy comments which I subsequently realized were derailing. I’m withdrawing my questions from that thread, therefore, but on the off-chance that there are some asexual people who can help a very confused person out with a thought or a relevant resource, it would be greatly appreciated.

From shiyiya: Introducing Ace Hate Bingo!

INTRODUCING ACE HATE BINGO! Almost entirely populated from that Feministe thread!

From sidneyia: prude-shaming

If rape culture and the systemic oppression of women’s sexual agency can be traced in large part back to the virgin-whore dichotomy, then all the focus on slut-shaming is only dealing with the “whore” part. The purpose of this post is not to excuse slut-shaming, but to point out that it’s only half of the story.

From A Life Unexamined: Being an Ace Feminist

I’ve been thinking about the way that my identity as a feminist and my identity as asexual intersect. Although I discovered feminism and asexuality around the same time, I’ve only started pondering their influence on each other over the last few weeks.

From Good Lesbian Books: Asexual Lesbians/Asexual Women in Fiction

For the purposes of this list, only characters inside a sexual canon displaying asexual traits should be counted as asexual (i.e. they have to be presented with an opportunity to display sexuality, not just ‘never have sex’). Some of these characters may generally be assumed to be ‘lesbian’, but often that’s only because they’re obviously ‘not straight’.

From Charlie the Unicorn, Ace Detective: Allies in opposition

In some ways, asexuality is very obviously distinct from other sexual minorities, at least according to the public view – asexual people don’t want sex, homo (bi, pan, poly) sexual people want sex outside of expectation. But at the same time, there are a even more similarities, at least insofar as media representation (and even moreso, the grasping at straws for representation that occurs in places concerned with the consumption of and resulting community related to said media) is concerned.

From samhainsugarspectrum: Asexy rant?

When people say; “Gee, I wish I was Asexual” I want to turn to them and say “No. No you don’t.”

From scar-lip: Invisible [abuse, rape culture, etc.]

For asexuals, invisibility is the culture that leaves us feeling broken and wrong and alone. It’s the culture that tells us we need to put ourselves through abuse, we need to consent to things we do not want, we need to let people do things to us no matter how horrible they make us feel, because this will make us normal. Invisibility is being diagnosed and even drugged because your partner’s desire to force sex on you is proof of your problem.

From metapianycist: A somewhat rambling post about sensual attraction, romantic attraction, and physical affection

If there are romantic asexual people who don’t ever develop a desire to kiss their partners, a sign that sensual activity is not an essential quality of romance, then whatever romance is, there are no grounds to assert that my kissing my queerplatonic partner automatically means I must be romantically attracted to him.

From Confessions of an Ist: Sexual Attraction

So I thought I would talk about what it means for me not to experience sexual attraction. These are my experiences, and do not reflect on any other person.

February 4, 2012

Saturday Linkspam

Filed under: Signal Boost — Sciatrix @ 7:17 pm
Tags: ,

The Carnival of Aces just finished its monthly round-up! This month’s topic was “Re/presentation.” The next month will be held at Shades of Gray on the topic “Sexual Exploration.” If you’re interested in hosting the carnival, we’re currently a little short for hosts, so please think about leaving a comment on the masterpost!

From Love from the Asexual Underground: Asexy Politics: Report-Out From Creating Change

Well this year, thanks to the help of Asexual Awareness Week and the (A)sexual documentary we got [a workshop], and it landed better than we could have hoped. Here’s a blow-by-blow for anyone interested in the state of ace politics.

From Asexual Explorations: National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) 2012 Call For Papers About Asexuality

Papers on any topic at the intersection of women’s and gender studies and asexuality will be considered.

From Aromantic Aardvark: Valentine’s Day, Single’s Awareness Day, and What They Mean for Aromantics

The idea of celebrating romantic relationships isn’t one that’s inherently bad, but what is is the idea that romantic love deserves a day more than any other type of love. That romantic love is so fundamental, so important, that we need to have a day just for it. I realize Friendship Day and things like it do exist, but I have never seen them celebrated with the fervor that Valentine’s Day is.

From Bitch Magazine: Double Rainbow: Erasure and Asexuality

Until recently, were I asked to comment on the subject I might have written something like “Popular representations overwhelmingly present autistic people as asexual.” And I would have been incorrect. What popular culture tends to do is to deny that autistic people possess the agency and self-awareness to think about and establish sexual identities.

From Skeptic’s Play: Asexuals Are Not X-Men

I’m not really sure where people get this idea, that asexuality is the future.  It’s comparable to Creationism in how wrong it is on evolution.  It’s a magical worldview, where cultural saturation of sex will somehow spawn asexuals as a spiritual counterweight.  It’s a false equation between “evolution” and “progress”.  It’s a mythical view of the pure, superhuman asexual.  It just doesn’t make any sense no matter how I look at it.

From Flare’s Lair: One of Those Gosh-darn Ranting Asexuals

“I wish this TV show didn’t portray asexuality in a bad light” does not translate to “I have it worse than gays.” “It was hard to explain my asexuality to my family” does not translate to “I have it worse than gays.” “My asexuality puts a strain on my relationship and sometimes drives me to tears and self-hatred” doesn’t translate to “I have it worse than gays.” These are personal statements about personal experiences that have absolutely nothing to do with you.

From Musings of an Ist: Worrying

 I’m not particularly out here; San Francisco, this ain’t. And I’m concerned that, if certain people found out my orientation, I could be in… a significant amount of trouble.

From Ace Admiral: Outside my Bubble

As I’ve gotten to know my classmates here better, I’ve been more open about who I am and the people who are important to me. So far, no one’s really batted an eyelash when I say I prefer girls. It’s been really nice, being able to say it, because it wasn’t that long ago that I was in denial about it to myself. But, for some reason, I haven’t been able to tell them (with the exception of the group I mentioned coming out to during AAW) that I’m asexual, and I don’t know why.

From emerald-ace: I wrote a story about asexuality for my creative writing class today

I’m afraid that I shouldn’t be writing this story, because I’m going to ruin it. I think I’m too close to it to take criticism well, but these stories need to get out there, and after that House episode, I don’t really trust zedsexual people to do it well. And I feel that by writing this story and then being enthusiastic about it, I’ve basically painted “I’M ASEXUAL AND NEED OTHER PEOPLE TO VALIDATE ME” on my forehead.

From Kami Doodles: Question: Asexuality and Marriage

Now, I have a friend, who is intending to get married. Now, he and his future wife are asexual. They’re completely uninterested, and desire no children. However, his future wife is Muslim, and one tradition they’re supposed to follow is to consummate their marriage.

From No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz?: Tim Gunn Hasn’t Had Sex in 29 Years, And It’s None of Our Fucking Business

The consensual, safe, and emotionally healthy actions I take with my own damn body are none of anyone else’s concern. The same thing is true of Tim Gunn. He might be a famous person, but he has not given up his right to not have people be assholes about him, and long-distance diagnosis of mental problems because of his happy, consensual, safe sexual choices is clearly asshole behavior.

January 29, 2012

Paneling Versus Coming Out: Thoughts On Presentation

Filed under: Carnival of Aces,Visibility — Sciatrix @ 11:19 pm
Tags: , , , ,

This post was originally written for the Carnival of Aces. This month’s theme is “Re/presentation.” 

As it happens, one of the things I’ve been doing while I’ve been on posting hiatus recently is doing Q&A panels with my local LGBTQA campus group. (I have posted recaps of some of them in other places.) Recently, I’ve been thinking about the differences in the way that I present myself when I’m speaking on a panel as a representative of aces and the way I present myself when I’m just coming out to someone I think needs to know I, specifically, am ace.

For one thing, I’m pretty guarded when I’m coming out. About a year ago I wrote about a concept I called the “unassailable asexual,” in which I argued that there was pressure (especially internalized pressure) on aces doing visibility work to present themselves in a way that opened as few avenues to attack on their sexuality as possible.

I still think that that internal pressure is a bad thing that discourages some people from doing visibility work, but it’s not something that I spend that much time personally resisting, either. Particularly when I out myself, I often take care to omit anything that might be construed as an invitation to doubt my orientation. I’m actually a lot more willing to talk about some of the ways in which I fit the ways that people usually attempt to invalidate asexuals  in panels than I am when I come out.

I think this may be because I’m typically much more relaxed when I’m paneling  than I am when I’m coming out to someone. There are several reasons for this. First, when I’m paneling I’m sitting as an invited authority next to two to three other representatives of other groups from my LGBTQA organization. Often I’m paneling for a class of some sort, in which case the instructor has often warned their students to be polite beforehand (and in one case, had apparently briefed their class roughly on asexuality before I ever walked into the room!). In contrast, when I have to come out, I don’t have any more psychological authority than the other person does, which means that people are less likely to acknowledge that I know what I’m talking about, even when it comes to my own sexuality.

I also feel more comfortable when I’m giving panels because it’s understood, when I panel, that I’m speaking as an individual representative for a larger group of people who share an identity, not just for myself. The very fact that I’m sitting on a panel states that I’m not speaking and answering questions purely for myself but for a larger category of people whom I belong to. It’s easier to avoid invalidation when the discussion becomes not a question of whether you personally are deluded/lying/ill but a question of whether a large group of people could all be correct about themselves. 

Panels are easier for me, too, because (paradoxically) the point is to be as open and forthright about everything as possible. I often find that I have a hard time figuring out where the social line between “silent and vaguely uncomfortable on all aspects of discussion of sexuality” and “cheerfully breaking out odd facts about animal reproduction as well as interesting aspects of human sexuality” lies. The fact that I have no personal experience with romantic relationships or romantic and sexual attraction usually doesn’t help. Panels are squarely in the “TMI” category, which makes it much easier for me to deal with the limits of what counts as socially acceptable and what doesn’t. 

There are also certain questions, like the masturbation question, that I am actually personally completely unbothered by answering. However, outside of a panel situation where I have offered ahead of time and signed up to be asked all manner of personal questions, I don’t believe in encouraging people to ask random aces that question or allowing people to demand aces to bare every detail of their personal lives as the price of coming out. I believe that (outside of a situation in which I’ve agreed ahead of time to share), if one person is sharing in a conversation, everyone should expect to have to share the same level of personal information in the conversation. I also find that many people asking aces the masturbation question become extremely uncomfortable if you ask them to share their own personal sexual habits. Given those beliefs, it can be a little difficult for me to handle questions like that in a personal setting. Panels let me answer them and then add a post script on the basic right of privacy for everyone outside of a specialized situation in which people are offering to answer questions. 

There are other differences in the way I behave when I panel and the way I behave when I come out. I am often much friendlier about the whole topic when I’m paneling than I am when I out myself. Part of this comes back to the point I made earlier about feeling safer and more comfortable when I’m paneling, and part of it comes back to the fact that I have found that the more brusque and confident I am when I out myself, the less likely people are to take this as an invitation to attempt to invalidate me. 

I also sometimes out myself in situations when I’m not mentally prepared or particularly willing to answer many questions, and I have found that being not particularly friendly and welcoming about coming out lessens the chance that I will suddenly be expected to give a tour of Planet Asexual without warning. This usually happens when I’m suddenly asked a direct question about my sexual orientation or about my romantic status and I want to clear up the problem, but I don’t have the emotional energy to discuss much further or entertain the inevitable personal questions. 

To give an example of suddenly be expected to educate without warning, I was once hanging out with a group of friends. I had been there for a few hours and was dozing, half asleep and completely relaxed, on my friend’s couch. Suddenly one of my friends, who I was out to, mentioned asexuality to a friend I was not out to as part of some other conversation. The second person was understandably interested and wanted to know more, whereupon the first said “Well, it’s [Sciatrix], you should ask her!” There went my lazy afternoon! Now I was expected to drop everything and play question-and-answer with a person whom I hadn’t actually had any plans to talk to about asexuality in the future, let alone in that particular instant. 

Paneling, by contrast, has a specific schedule and a time limit, and I know exactly when and for how long I’m agreeing to answer questions. Moreover, I’ve agreed to do that ahead of time, so I can’t be surprised by the sudden need to educate, and I can have as much time as I want to prepare for any questions that might come up. The questions are even pretty standard both ways, so I can prepare answers ahead of time if I want. 

I don’t think any of these reactions are particularly ace-specific, but I do find it interesting that I am far, far more comfortable paneling than I am coming out to new people. I hear a lot of people tell me “Oh, I could never do that!” when I mention paneling in ace spaces, but I find that at least for me?

The paneling is way less scary. 

January 28, 2012

A More General Linkspam

Filed under: Signal Boost — Sciatrix @ 9:44 am

Aaaand this is that more general linkspam I promised a few days ago!

There was a Carnival of Aces round-up at Confessions of an Ist recently! The current carnival is at quode inane vocamus on asexual representation.

From Kris Lignan: My Sheppard is Asexual, and That’s Okay

 In games, of course, there’s not just the expectation that love and sex are interchangeable, but the assumption that sex a la carte is somehow expected. We can attribute some of this to the straight male point of view behind the design of a lot of these games, but really, it’s an attitude endemic of most of contemporary Western culture.

From asexy beast: Coming out to those “situational friends” …or not.

Situational friends can be the hardest people to come out to. The level of emotional investment is fairly low, and yet you still have to spend a lot of time with them, making things difficult if their reaction is negative.

From Jezebel: I Am Asexual (and It’s Awesome!)

There’s a devaluation that happens with relationships that are intimate, but not necessarily sexual in nature, and I hear that devaluation every time I get asked if I have “someone special” in my life. The answer to that question, of course, is “YES!” I have several special people in my life. People whom I love deeply and am very intimate with, rely upon for support, support in turn, and consider very close partners. They are not romantic or sexual partners, but that doesn’t make our relationships less valid or less strong.

From jeyradan: Let’s talk about asexuality, the BBC’s Sherlock, and today’s interview with Steven Moffat.

Asexuality is not an invention.  It’s not lesser.  It’s not uninteresting.  It just is, and right now, Sherlock Holmes is the strongest representative we have.

Let’s not allow that to be erased, taken down or dismissed.

From aceofholmes: A response to the contention that asexual characters are inherently boring

The number of implicitly asexual characters in all of fiction could probably be counted on two hands; explicitly asexual ones are even rarer. So while a handful of overused sexual plotlines aren’t relevant to them, a shitload of others become available that have never been used before everAny writer who tackled an asexual plotline would automatically be a pioneer. How is this boring?

From eccecorinna: Asexual/Aromantic Show and Tell: Who’s Interested?

As I’ve read through the posts on my dash, I’ve noticed a lot of people alluding to aro/ace characters in their original works. This makes me both excited and curious.

Why? Because I want to hear more about your original characters who are asexual and/or aromantic!

From Asexual News: Web Series Seeks Actors to Play Asexual Roles

Producer Billy Reil issued a casting call forThe Coffee Pit, a new web series. Reil seeks Asexual actors to star in the new series.

From Charlie the Unicorn: This is where a title goes.

Actually, that is my solution. We all turn on Steven Moffat, because apparently he doesn’t care for interpreting Sherlock as asexual or as gay. And that’s the real problem –  a character who very well could be either, for whom there is canonical evidence for being very decidedly not straight, he has taken time, more than one, to re-assert as unreservedly heterosexual.

From romanticscientist: In which Jen rants about the importance of Queerplatonic

When every other post on tumblr is some form of “they’re so obviously gay for each other” I think it’s very valid for aces to feel constantly on the defensive about it and to pick at other people’s wording carefully and ask them to check their privilege.

From Q: Asexual activist David Jay on Q

Jian talks to asexual activist and the founder of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network David Jay about his personal and political struggle, and what asexuality can reveal about human intimacy.

From BBC UK: What is it like to be asexual?

Twenty-one-year-old Jenni Goodchild does not experience sexual attraction, but in an increasingly sexualised society what is it like to be asexual?

From Lashings of Ginger Beer: Comments on Consent (Based on the BBC2 Article on Asexuality)

As some of you may know, I recently appeared both in a TV program on BBC3 and in a linked article on their news website. Most of the response I’ve had has either been positive, or curious, but here I’m going to discuss the negatives.

Not technically about asexuality but interesting

From Psych Central: Part 2: Social Scientists Do Not Hear What Singles Are Telling Them

There is a great big elephant in the room and the authors seem unaware of it. If they took their hands away from their eyes and their fingers out of their ears, they might notice the elephant saying this: Single people have social support.

January 25, 2012

House Linkspam

Filed under: Signal Boost — Sciatrix @ 7:18 am
Tags: , ,

I figure that having a collection of links in one place might be a useful resource, given the discussion I see happening all over several communities. Please feel free to drop links about Monday’s House episode in the comments if you think I’ve missed something that should be included; I expect this to be a frequently-updating linkspam for at least a few days.

(I have a more general, if not terribly up to date, linkspam going in a couple of days, but I wanted to get this up, too.)

Initial hopes for the episode at the asexuality LJ community

Initial hopes for the episode at the asexuality DW community

The AVEN thread of reactions to the new episode.

The asexuality LJ comm post of reactions to the new episode. 

The Asexual Awareness Week Facebook discussion thread on the episode.

From sentientmachine: I’m upset about House

I’m upset because I got thrown under the bus so some asshole character who has been suffering the worst kind of character derailment for the past 5 years can look clever.

From sir-kit: Asexuality, Anger, and Media Representation

I just … there are some things that I shouldn’t have to live by “expect nothing and you’ll never be too disappointed” for. And seeing someone of my sexual orientation who’s not an alien, a serial killer, suffering from a brain tumor, or somehow not human is one of them. And I know good representations of asexuality exist, I just … can’t think of any off the top of my head.

From annwylcariad: Hey, FOX.

Thanks so much for all the harmful and offensive stereotypes about asexual people perpetuated by last night’s episode of House. As a community with low visibility and virtually no portrayals in mainstream media, we really appreciate your association of us with life-threatening medical conditions and relationships based on lies. We also want to thank you for all the conversations we’re now going to have to have with well-meaning friends who no longer believe that our sexual orientation is valid. That’s just what we wanted! 😀

From confessionsofllesk: I hate House. 

Because of that idiotic episode of House my mom said it “got her thinking” and now she wants to have my glands and other things checked.

From mallamun: That House episode.

But to seriously take a demographic that already struggles with invisibility issues, and to make your big fucking punchline, “Oh, just kidding, they’re not real!” Not even, “Hey, we’re going to insult you”, but “Hey, you don’t exist.

From kallian: So I’m a little behind on the tumblr explosion…

But, in the last scene of this subplot, House says “You saved a man’s life, and of course corrected two people’s wildly screwed up world views”.  This was unnecessary.  What was even more unnecessary was Wilson’s passive acceptance of this.  And this is where I call bullshit on Fox’s “House needed to solve a mystery” excuse.

and Also…

The House episode is being talked about, not because we want to let everyone know how oppressed we are, but because it is promoting problematic views of asexuals, and as a community, we need to figure out how to address and deal with them.  The first step of that is figuring out what the problems we want addressed actually are.

From Hollywood Jane: Asexuality on House: You’re Doing It Wrong

What I didn’t expect was how much the reality of it – not just the idea of it, but the episode’s actual existence – upset me. Like, tears-in-my-eyes-right-now upset. I’m not the only one, and I think that’s why it’s so hard. Yes, it’s a dumb TV show. Yes, I saw it coming. But I hoped. Despite knowing better, I hoped that for once there would be someone, something I could point to, to show others, some clear, concise portrayal of how I feel that wouldn’t be debunked like a Southwestern cryptid.

From me: This Is Not My “Better Half”

If Ms. Lingenfelter needed a medical mystery to solve for House, I understand that. What I do not understand is why this mystery had to be directly related to the asexuality of the couple featured on the show. I’m an asexual woman, myself. I’ve been sick plenty of times. Aces are not mysteriously resistant to all unusual diseases except those pertaining to asexuality. Why, if she genuinely wanted to be an ally to the asexual community, did she make the choice to portray her characters’ asexuality as a disease and a lie? Was there some sort of reason that her asexual characters couldn’t have a completely unrelated disorder?

From Ace Eccentric: Stereotypical

People who are asexual, gray-a, and demi, but have not connected with ace communities, also had a huge road block placed between them and the opportunity to Google and find other people like them. Why would you want to look up asexuality after being told in no uncertain terms that half the people are sick and half of them are faking?

From Shades of Gray: On “Better Half” – Gregory House Is Not Infallible

Here’s the thing: while I understand that writing workshops are tough sometimes, and especially in a group writing situation where you’re not in charge you can be easily overruled, intent still isn’t magic. And this episode is not just offensive, it actually does tremendous damage to the asexual community.

From Asexual Fandom: House “Better Half”

Is it ironic that the only place that hasn’t got a post about “that” House episode is this community?

From Queereka: Asexuality on House, M.D. 

The main character, Greg House (played by Hugh Laurie), is known for being a complete and total asshole. He often says ridiculous and offensive things, leaving no person or group out of his misanthropy. His best friend, Dr. James Wilson (played by Robert Sean Leonard), is the voice of reason. […] House’s diagnostic team (played by various people, it’s changed over the seasons), also often speak up against his assholery.

But not on last night’s episode.

From the Asexual Sexologist: My Initial Reaction to tonight’s (er, last night’s) episode of #House… #spoilers

Certainly I’m disappointed that 2 asexual-identifying characters on a major television show ultimately are supposedly “proven” to not be asexual but that is by far not my biggest complaint (though I’ll address it later in this post). My biggest concern is not the terrible publicity this causes for the asexual community because of more misinformation being spread but rather the negative impact it will have on aces seeking (or not seeking) medical  attention when there are things that are actually wrong with them.

and What will @retlefnegiL write for the next @HOUSEonFOX episode?

It’s about a gay couple trying to adopt when suddenly one of them has a terrible cold! Of course poor sweet tolerant Wilson wants to believe they are actually happily homosexual men but House won’t let him wear his Rose colored glasses for long!

From Swankivy: Add “been checked for a tumor?” to the bingo card

Suppose homosexuality was relatively unknown. Then a gay guy showed up on House. House, because of lack of exposure to the idea, decided all guys like vagina, so therefore, the gay guy must be mistaken. Investigation commences; gay guy is exposed as secretly straight and/or suffering from a hormone problem that made him gay; gay guy is treated and becomes straight; House nods sagely and communicates to his audience the following message: “See, I was right; all guys need vagina.” Problem? I think so.

Asexual Awareness Week is organizing a petition.

From Greg at the Dapper Ace: Week 49; Fuck you, House!

Why do we care about House? Well, they did an episode on asexuality. And I know! Before you get out of your seats and jump for joy, I gotta warn you–the fifty-two seconds of awesome-tasticness they gave for their trailer? Yeaaaaah, it… was a false positive. Because they basically did forty minutes of fail. And by forty minutes of fail, I mean that they took two perfectly valid asexual characters, tore them apart, spit them out, and then put them back into their comfy little sexual shoes.

From Aiffe at the LJ community: About Last Monday

As House and Wilson smoked their cigars, the threatening specter of asexuality defeated for good, I still wasn’t angry. But I was baffled. Whoever had written this, I felt, really couldn’t comprehend the idea of not wanting sex, and thought you’d have to be broken to be that way.

Added February 06

From Skeptic’s Play: House Did Not Do the Research

Yeah, there’s really no way for me to see this story in a positive light.  It’s not just Dr. House being the person he is, but the factual events in the show not reflecting the reality of asexuality.  Instead, the factual events played into a few common myths about asexuality, meaning that the writers failed to understand just how insensitive the narratives were.  Lastly, while different characters offered different perspectives on the asexual couple, the “positive” perspective from Dr. Wilson was patronizing, and effectively a strawman.

From Salon: “House” gets asexuality wrong

Last week’s episode of “House” marked the first time a major TV network featured self-identified asexual characters. But the asexuality community isn’t exactly celebrating this breakthrough; in fact, many are petitioning Fox executives in outrage.

That’s because the episode ends — spoiler alert! — with the revelation that the characters aren’t asexual after all.

From yamx: I do believe in Yamxes, I do! 

They managed to reaffirm BOTH of the most damaging stereotypes about asexuals in one fell swoop. This is *worse* than invisibility. It’s a step back.

From foolishfiish: Asexuality on House

Asexuality, in the show’s take on it (which wasn’t even the right definition to begin with), disrupted the norm. Therefore there was a quest to correct that disruption and slide it back in place within the norm. No amount of validation would have helped to prevent that. Asexuality could have been validated 30x times in the show, but it was a disruption to the general norm and therefore needed to be fixed.

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