Writing From Factor X

December 31, 2010

What Are You Writing For?

Filed under: Asexual Community,Fitting Sideways,Visibility — Sciatrix @ 11:18 am
Tags: , ,

I’ve been writing here for about three months now. What started as an experiment to see whether I could sustain commentary about asexuality for an extended period of time seems to have lasted. And it’s the New Year. I have time to navel-gaze.

Anyway, I want to talk about why I write.

One day, I would like to see academic discussion of asexual identities. Almost every paper I see right now is attempting to answer the question of whether we exist at all and whether our experiences are valid, and frankly I’m not actually all that interested in proving my own reality. I want to talk about what that reality is like.

I see so many people come into asexual communities and ask for places they can get information about asexuality besides the bare-bones Asexuality 101 FAQs. I see them asking for things like asexual history, asexuality literary criticism, asexuals in stories, or even just a whole book about what it’s like to be ace. Right now, there’s nothing there. Those books don’t exist. Oh, you might have a book on celibacy here or a paper on Boston Marriages there, but asexuality? No.

I’d like, one day, for Asexual Studies to exist. And the best way I can see to build up those kinds of discussions is to have the larger ones here on the blogs and on the communities and on the forums. I hope that in twenty years asexual_fandom might have started a tradition, that something like Asexual Feminism might be bound up in hard copy and still running. I hope Andrew’s resource pages will have grown tremendously.

I hope that the questions I ask here might eventually play some small part in shaping such discussion.

Because I think that this–talking about alienation, about identities, about representation–I think that this is a form of activism just as important as Visibility and Education. Visibility is important, but it can’t be everything we have. We need to have deeper discussions. If visibility is all we have to share, then our identities must be pretty small to begin with. I do not believe that this is the case.

And more, I want to see asexuality discussion decentralized. I want to see communities with the level of discussion that AVEN has. I want to see more people coming into asexuality who aren’t immediately influenced by AVEN culture, because the culture of one board should not be the culture of an entire sexual orientation. I want to see diversity in activism, and I want to see more asexual activists who have learned from other social justice movements. I want to see different voices heard.

I want to see asexuals thinking of themselves as a real orientation which demands real respect. I want to see less justifications for why asexuality isn’t “really” an oppressed sexuality. I want to see less internalization of asexuality as a model minority for queerness. I want to see us taking ourselves seriously.

Mostly, though, I write because I want to see more asexuality discussion. And the only way to get that is to start speaking up yourself.


  1. I want all of these same things, especially Asexual Studies.

    Mostly because I want to be one of its leading figures. No joke, I would give a lot for that, which is part of why I’m thrilled that I was approached to write a YA novel about an asexual when I was – I hate that we don’t have more explicit representation, but I love that I get to be as close to a pioneer as I’ll probably ever be, especially because I love the community/cause for which I am one.

    Comment by Charles — December 31, 2010 @ 7:16 pm | Reply

  2. There is currently an asexual studies mailing list (there’s a link to it on my blog somewhere from May 2010), and there is a call for papers for a book titled “Asexual Studies.” Drafts are due in May. Currently, there is that book as well as one on queer and feminist perspectives on asexuality in the works. And there is a special issue of the journal Psychology and Sexuality about asexuality (papers are due at the beginning of next month and I’m currently in the process of writing mine.)

    As a general rule, if there isn’t much research done in an area, the early work is going to involve a lot of feeling your way around trying to figure out how to go about researching it. I believe that there are at least two papers on asexuality due out in the near future, one in Sexualities and one in Feminist Studies.

    Comment by Andrew — January 11, 2011 @ 10:15 pm | Reply

    • I know about both the book projects and the journal entry, although I’d forgotten about the mailing list. Thank you for reminding me about that.

      Comment by Sciatrix — January 12, 2011 @ 8:38 pm | Reply

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