Writing From Factor X

April 29, 2011

Another Note

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sciatrix @ 1:06 pm

I still don’t have a functioning laptop. And mine is not likely to get fixed until well past the Carnival of Aces is set to conclude. So I wanted to post to say that the round-up post will be going up on time–I have a plan and should be able to organize internet access for that.

I currently have limited access to the Internet, so I’m much slower to approve and respond to comments at the moment. I do apologize for that issue.

On a more cheerful note, I got around to organizing the Carnival of Aces Masterpost a while back. If you’re interested in hosting future rounds of the blog carnival, want to know where future rounds will be, or have questions about the blog carnival, that page should be able to answer that. I’ll be working on and editing that page as time goes on.

Also, a (very late) reminder: submissions for the carnival are due May 1st. I might not be able to update the draft for that as frequently as I usually do, so it might take me a day or so to finish compiling any last-minute submissions. After that, the carnival will move on to Ily!

April 24, 2011

A Note

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sciatrix @ 7:07 pm

This afternoon, my laptop collapsed at went to the shop. I’m not going to be able to post anything until it comes back–hence no post today.

Sunday Linkspam

Filed under: Signal Boost — Sciatrix @ 9:38 am

As always, feel free to post additional links in the comments here!

From stackedstars: untitled

I’m tired of taking a backseat to other sexualities.

From half-wayoutofthedark: Asexuality and the Queer Umbrella

And lastly, I would say I’m queer because I’m afraid.

From genuineexpression: Okay, people. We need to have a talk.

You don’t get to co-opt my orientation to feel bad about yourself.

From aceadmiral: Things the internet has taught me, #4782

Because taking the time and energy to educate someone with no guarantee they’ll ever understand how horrible their behavior is? That is a gift. A priceless gift.

From s.e. smith: On Causes and Cures

People who say they want to know the cause of asexuality don’t just want to know because they think it’s interesting and they want to learn more. They want to know because they think it’s wrong and it needs to be fixed.

From the Unapologetic Ace: Unapologetic! 

Here’s the deal: I am tired of being made to feel bad about my orientation and having to apologize for not meeting other people’s assumptions of what I should be and how I should behave if I am of a certain orientation.

From genderweird: Half-assed Ace

 That’s what it feels like for me whenever sex stuff comes into a conversation; people don’t stop to consider the fact that it might make others, regardless of their (a)sexual orientation, uncomfortable to hear or talk about such things.

On asexuality in fiction and fandom

From Writing Like a Shark: Fandom’s Blind Spot: The Asexuality Vacuum

My point here is that if you are a person in fandom whose initial response to asexuality is to scoff and denounce its existence — and, even worse, to argue with an asexual person that they’re not really that way — please stop. Remember that fandom is a place that gives voice to people who have sex with anyone — and in any manner — they so desire, and it should also give voice to those who don’t.

No excuses.

From melannen at asexual_fandom: Writing Asexuals In Sex Scenes

So, what are your thoughts on fics where asexual characters are involved in sexual situations?

From outlawroad: Asexuals and Asexuality in Fiction: Why It Matters to the WHOLE World

Invalidating asexual characters in fiction is not much different from invalidating asexual people in real life. This attitude of, “We, Superior Sexual People, don’t care who or what you are, just go away so the rest of us can live our “Normal” lives undisturbed,” is insulting and dehumanizing toward asexuals.

From _rubber_chicken: The Ace in Escaflowne

But it would be nice not to hear, over and over, the slash pairings justified by “lack of interest in women == interest in men”. It doesn’t work like that. Be educated. Please stop. This type of attitude is hurtful, even if that hurt is unintentional. More people need to be aware that being sexual is not a given, and that that’s okay. People need to acknowledge the existence of asexuality, and not assume that it’s impossible.

Trigger warning: these posts discuss asexuality and suicide.

From neekabe: This makes me sad

I understand it. There was nothing here that was a surprise. But my asexuality is a thing of happy. It wasn’t a sentence of isolation, but rather it was permission to ignore the relationships I was supposed to have and have the relationships I wanted to have.

From edgar-night: (This is the first time I think I’ve ever had to put this…)

Oh, dear God, I need something happy right now, because the poll and its results are not pretty. Admittedly, the number of responses is only a little over a hundred, but when you consider how small the community is in comparison to most survey  populations… Bloody hell.

April 17, 2011

Dealing With Pain

A warning: this post discusses suicide and asexuality.

Recently there have been a couple of posts about violence against asexuals. They both went on linkspam, but if you read nothing else I put on linkspam you should read these because they are important. And in the comments on Kaz’ post, Siggy made a point about looking hard at suicide rates for asexuals.

And I started thinking. I run linkspams–well, what that means is that I go looking in a whole bunch of places for keywords that clue me in that someone’s discussing asexuality. “Asexual,” “asexuality,” that sort of thing. I look on Twitter, Tumblr, and two different blog searches, and I see a whole lot of stuff. Some of it is very cool, and I pass that on to you guys. After all, that’s why I spend the time to do this in the first place.

A lot of it isn’t so cool. I see so many sentences like “HATE EVERYONE, BE ASEXUAL” and “How do I break from this awful phase of asexuality? I really want to want to love again.” I see so many things that equate “asexual” with “unfuckable” and “ugly” and “unlovable.”  I see sexual people react to asexual people sharing their issues with instant wrath, and I see sexual people accuse asexual people of trying to entrap other sexuals into romantic relationships. Occasionally I get to see huge, vicious, clusterfucks where sexual people feel free to deride asexual people as liars, attention seekers, whiners, and worse. One of those happened last week. Stumbling across it was fun.

(And yes, I’m not linking to any of these for a reason. I am not inclined to hurt myself more by going out looking for them a second time and I don’t want to increase their traffic. If you want to see them for yourselves, feel free to make friends with Google.)

I also see very personal and painful posts about not wanting to be asexual, about thinking that asexual people are doomed to die alone, about wanting very badly to find a cure for asexuality. I see posts from people who are trying to come to terms with asexuality and people who are bone-deep terrified about identifying as asexual, because that means that they’ll never be normal. I don’t link to those either, because that’s private and I don’t link to outpourings of personal pain unless there’s some indication that the post is meant for public consumption.

I see a lot of painful things about asexuality, is my point. I link to a tiny proportion of what I run across, and it’s not because I’m sitting on a hidden treasure trove of awesome.

Let’s just say that I would not be surprised if asexual people do have a higher rate of suicide than average. We’re by nature cut off from a huge, culturally-sanctioned source of support, either by being aromantic and not seeking romantic relationships or through being romantic and having drastically reduced access to these kinds of relationships. We can’t even seek psychiatric treatment without being told that our asexuality itself is the problem, that we have a mental disorder for being asexual, and that the way that the outside world treats us for being asexual is entirely right and just.

Our community is almost entirely online–well, we can reach a lot of people that way, yeah, but people also feel more emboldened to say hateful things. We are isolated, and many of us are invisible to ourselves. We are surrounded with cultural imagery that tells us that it is impossible to be as we are.

And when asexuality does come up, it is often attached to very painful things. I write about pain here a lot, and I’m sorry for that; sometimes that feels like the most salient part of my identity.

I would like to be a beacon of hope, someone who’s figured out to do it right, someone who can say “it gets better, and this is how.” I’m not that person, and I don’t know who is; we’re too young a movement to have many people who can say “this is how you be an asexual without lying to yourself or hiding; this is how I survived.” We have so few role models, particularly if we don’t fit into the monogamously romantic paradigm. And we’re so very different that any role models who do exist don’t apply to everyone.

Combining pain with isolation is not a recipe for good mental health, is what I am saying. And given that isolation is such a big thing–well, I don’t think it’s surprising that we hear so few well-publicized stories of asexual suicides. After all, we hear so few well-publicized reports of asexual anything. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

Sunday Linkspam

Filed under: Signal Boost — Sciatrix @ 1:57 pm
Tags: ,

As usual, feel free to self-promote or link to other asexuality-related things in the comments!

From Jenny at Lashings of Ginger Beer: Choosing Not To Have Sex: Why the Big Deal?

Sexual freedom for women is a big deal deal. A very big deal. And unfortunately, to some people my choice to take this freedom and choose to not have sex seems like a betrayal. Or perhaps, a sign that I’m not as free as I think.

From s. e. smith at Tiger Beatdown: Life Among the One Percent

It is critical to not just pay lip service to asexuality, but to actively learn about it; by talking to asexual people, by exploring resources we design for ourselves, by including us in discussions to take advantage of the experience we can bring to the table.

From several people: Responses to Having an Asexual Friend Creates Many Benefits (linking for commentary)

And also, yeah, I totally want someone to be my friend because they collect people of different sexualities, wtf

From The Carnal Asexual: Pinpointing the color red–An examination of different types of sex

There is more than one type of sex, just as there is more than one type of love.  For some reason, no one is examining types of sex.  Sex is sex is sex.  Only it’s not.  Not for me.  And there don’t appear to be words with which to explain this.

From vaultedthewall: tl;dr: Sexuality and Relationships

I’ve tried to make asexual characters more times than I can count, in an effort to do the whole ‘YEAH! BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD!’ thing (most recently: Chrome was originally going to be played as asexual) but as soon as I start getting some chemistry-like CR with another character I just drop it like it’s hot, because I can’t stop thinking about how hard those interactions are for me in Real Life and I just … don’t want to put my characters through that. This is fantasy, and in my fantasy, I can be some sembiance of ‘normal’.

From qbqt: maybe I should ask more questions haha

I just think it’s kind of weird and maybe a bit stupid that it seems from my answers that people HAVE to have sexual characters, and that asexual characters in mainstream writing just plain don’t exist/get noticed, for however much that’s true. Maybe that’s my point.

From Asexcapades: The Opinions of Some Random People

“We are created to procreate.” What a simplistic view of humanity–or of life in general, of any species. This statement is not just acephobic; it also invalidates the love of couples who can’t procreate, like homosexuals, those who don’t fit into the heteronormative mold, or even just people who are infertile–it is like saying, because you have no desire to or cannot procreate, you are worthless. I like to think that my worth is located somewhere other than in my pants.

From The Human Library: Talking about relationships

I still love people. I still set myself up in roles around them. Why does it have to be a significant other that I only do this around?

From Hacking the Heart: Oh hai

And I think that’s one of the biggest revelations I’ve had this year – I need to start developing relationships that work the best for me.  Not for society, not for what anyone expects me to do.

From anotheramoeba: An introduction

As for a history of my aceness, well. I knew I was ace a long time before I could admit it to myself, let alone anyone else.

Not technically asexuality-related but interesting:

From Thought Catalog: Why I Love My Straight Boyfriend

So what exactly does a contemporary relationship between a gay man and a straight man look like?

April 10, 2011

Newsflash: There Are More Than Two Rules

So I’ve been seeing this list around lately that claims to explain the root of all unpleasantness around sexuality in mainstream culture with two simple rules:

  1. It is simultaneously inconceivable and intolerable for a woman to have sexual desire.
  2. It is simultaneously inconceivable and intolerable for a man to be sexually desired.

And you know, I see a lot of excitement around it! I keep seeing people exclaim that it totally explains everything! So it’s a pity that I think it’s horseshit.

I’m not going to go into much detail on the second point, the one about men, because I’m not male and don’t have much personal experience there. I will point out that all those super-masculine images of the Stud, who has All The Girls, is presumed to be sexy and handsome and at least attractive enough not to have to actually pay women to have sex with him. Seriously, you think women aren’t supposed to find Manly Men attractive? Really?

But you know, it’s the second contention–women aren’t allowed to express desire–that really amuses me. Because I’m a woman, and I don’t experience sexual attraction and therefore don’t exactly go around saying “mmm, you hot thing, I would totally like to sleep with you!” You’d think that society would be all over me as the Perfect Woman from that list!

And you’d be wrong.

Even before I was out as asexual, I was generally pretty open about not being interested in anyone. I didn’t go around proclaiming my asexuality, but when people asked me direct questions I answered truthfully. So I’d be asked whether I found specific boys attractive and I would say “no.” And instead of going “well done then!” and getting social brownie points as this little set of rules assumes would happen, I get suspicion. I am told that I am broken either in my body or my mind. I am told I must be lying. In short, the reactions I get for not expressing sexual desire for anyone are a far cry from accepting, let alone praising.

It’s funny how according to this, mainstream society finds it inconceivable for a woman to be different from me.

It is not okay within mainstream society for a woman to never express sexual desire. It is certainly not okay to be openly, loudly asexual, and it is damn well not the ideal for women to be asexual. Where do you think the term “frigid” comes from? Did you think it was a compliment?

I have a problem with the kinds of discussion I often see in sex-positive spaces, and things like this are an excellent example of why. I find that sex-positive spaces often set themselves in opposition to a presumed sex-negative mainstream, as if the nasty dynamics surrounding sexuality in mainstream were as simple as black and white. They’re really, really not.

For instance: women are supposed to have sexualities. Sexualities directed, I might add, specifically at men. They’re just not supposed to take charge of them or express them openly. Which is probably a large part of the reason that asexual women–I repeat, women who don’t express sexual desire for others because they don’t experience sexual attraction–come in for so much crap, because women who identify as asexual are already stepping out of the narrowly constricted boundaries for female sexual expression and owning their own sexualities.

The thing is, it would be one thing if all that came out of this depressing tendency to oversimplify the fucked-up attitudes that culture has to sex was that asexual people get to trip over works assuming that we’re what the mainstream wants and laugh until we choke. That would be obnoxious, but manageable and at least entertaining. But that’s not actually the worst of it.

See, if we’re being held up as “what the mainstream wants,” if people are hanging out in circles that espouse this kind of thinking, they’re likely to think of us as part of the problem. If the problem is that mainstream culture doesn’t like sex, then clearly people who also are not particularly interested in sex must be collaborators in oppression!

And that’s where I think most of the terrifying anger you see at asexuals in feminist and queer spaces–those most likely to identify as sex-positive–comes from. After all, if you’re dealing with a ton of crap about your sexuality and you’re being told it’s the fault of all those people who (gasp!) don’t like sex, of course you’re going to get angry when people stand up and claim to not experience sexual attraction and furthermore explain that this is not actually an enviable state of affairs.

It’s a pity that so much anger comes out of such a fundamental oversimplication of what Western culture really thinks people “should” do about sexuality.

Sunday Linkspam

Filed under: Signal Boost — Sciatrix @ 4:13 pm
Tags: ,

If I have missed anything interesting about asexuality, please let me know in the comments–and seriously, feel free to self-promote here!

From Shades of Gray: Do You Want To?

Do you know what? If you (any of you) have spoken directly to someone who has suffered that, do you think you would know it? Given the victim-blaming reactions, and the idea that “you’re not asexual, you’re just suffering from trauma—did someone ever do anything… weird to you when you were a kid?” do you think it’s likely that people who have experienced anything like that would feel welcomed to disclose it to you?

From acewatch: What about asexuality? We are a sexuality too! (for the comments)

Obviously, this isn’t an article about asexuality or asexuals which is… you know, good, but I keep seeing it pop up as a referrer of my wordpress blog (I was linked to at the bottom) and thought some courageous aces might want to offer their opinion.

Subtlefire in particular comments on the same article:

The crushing fear that you will never be loved, or that you will have to give up a piece of yourself to maintain a relationship, which will probably cause a lot of resentment, likely ruining said relationship, and then you’re back where you started but with a lot more self-loathing because it’s all your fault: that’s always in the background, and at times it can be overwhelming.

From Charlie the Unicorn, Ace Detective: Yeah, but are you DISCRIMINATED against?

True, you don’t really hear about “asexual suicides,” or people being assaulted for not being interested in anyone, or bullied into a deep depression. But saying that asexuals don’t face any significant problems is absurd. The problems may come from a different place, but they are still there.

From Psychology Today: For Asexuals, Gays, and Lesbians, Adolescent Response is Especially Depressing

Some of the adolescents in the study said that they were not attracted to either sex, and some said that they were attracted to people of the same sex. Romance had the same implications for them as it did for adolescents attracted to the opposite sex – they became more depressed if they became romantically involved than if they did not. The difference was this: The effect was even greater for adolescents reporting no attraction to either sex or attraction to people of the same sex. Depression deepened even more for them if they became romantically involved.

From An Asexual Space: Being in an ace/sexual relationship

This is a long post, but Girlfriend, otherwise known as Drake, offered to have a conversation with me about being in an asexual/sexual relationship, and we found a few things to discuss. Lots of this is, of course, unique to us. But since the number of available accounts are so small, any addition to the conversation helps build a wider picture.

From qbqt: Something I wanted to ask!

Asexuals who are also writers! Or, I suppose, not necessarily writers but people who have characters. Characters who, unlike you, are sexuals.

  • That is, do you have any?
  • If you don’t, why not?

From Asexuality, Unabashed: On Dating Sexuals, Part One

Remember, most RR are following the romantic blueprint, the romance manual for sexual people.  When you toss in the asexual factor the game changes.

Interesting but not technically about asexuality:

From melannen: Love & Marriage

One thing I love in a good SF story is ways of doing love, marriage, and romance that don’t buy in to our society’s idea of love+romance+sex+monogamy all on one single person as the only way to do it.

I have a small collection of worlds that have come up with better ways, and I have a great deal of fun trying to fit the ‘shipping debates from various fandoms into these other ways of looking at love. I especially love the way that many of them explicitly acknowledge the value of non-sexual, sometimes non-romantic, relationships that are of equal importance with the sexual ones.

April 4, 2011

Monday Linkspam

Filed under: Signal Boost — Sciatrix @ 1:53 pm
Tags: ,

As usual, if you think that something interesting’s been written about asexuality that I haven’t got to, feel free to link to it or self-promote in the comments!

From asexy beast: Virginity, No Excuses

I wanted to answer the question “is virginity my choice?” but gave up in frustration. The usual reasons why people have sex–romantic love or sexual attraction–don’t apply to me.

From clashingcurves: Feigning Sexual Attraction: Being in Park

An “a-sexual’s” sex-drive is not in neutral. It is parked with the engine off and the key kicking about somewhere in the backseat.

From demisexuality: Some statements that are insulting to and/or ignorant of asexuals, grey-as, and demisexuals

You do not just go from sexual to asexual by choice.

From Too Asexy For My Shorts: Why Pinning Down Aesthetic Attraction Is Like Herding Cats

Even now I’m aware that I don’t have a broken sexuality, just a lack of one, it’s still very hard to pic down. When look at pretty people, there will be something about them, but there’s none of the ‘phwoar’ my friends express when they see a ‘faaaine individual’.

From Stephanie Silberstein: Asexual Dating 101: When should you come out?

When it comes to dating sexuals, however, many asexuals worry about when they should come out as asexual.

From Find (Y)our Way: Asexuality and Victim-Blaming

While perusing the AVEN forum, I noticed several participants posting stories about their experiences dating sexual individuals. In some, there seemed to be a great understanding and mutual respect within the relationship, but in others, the asexual person was being made to feel guilty about their identity and lack of interest in sex.

From Neutrois Nonsense: An Asexual/Sexual Relationship

A post over at Sciatrix’s blog called out for more asexual writing, and specifically mentioned the topic of discussing asexual/sexual relationships. Given that I am in one of these seemingly rare oddities, I feel obliged to expound on this matter.

From Kaz: Asexual oppression and all that

Reading in the asexual community, there is this thing I see over and over, and every time I end up clenching my fists and gritting my teeth and stewing in silence. It is:

“Oh yeah, asexuals are just invisible, we don’t experience real oppression/legalised discrimination/violent oppression/other things go here as well.”

April 2, 2011

If You Can See The Invisible Elephant, Please Describe It

Sam posted a piece last week about the limits of “sexual attraction” as a term, and I’ve been feeling confused and ranty ever since. It’s a good piece, and you should read it, but mostly what it’s done is remind me why I get frustrated a lot by discussions like this.

See, I’m one of those really analytical people who likes to quantify things. I like to have certainty. I like to have operational definitions for my terms so I’m sure what we’re all talking about. I like to be clear about things. Most of all, I like to be fairly sure that I know what we’re talking about when I have conversations.

There is a large part of me that reacts to something that says “well, actually, this term is squishy and imprecise” with flailing and dismay, and then my natural tendency is to start trying to construct better definitions. Unfortunately, when you have no actual personal experience of the thing you’re trying to describe and you’re trying to define a feeling, constructing better terms is fairly challenging.

It’s like this: you’re born into a world where, upon maturity, everyone gets a pet elephant which is invisible to everyone but themselves. Society is structured around the needs of peoples’ elephants. People talk about the elephants and their foibles incessantly. The mass media includes the elephants in every story ever as major plot points. Until you hit the age where you get your own elephant, you can’t see them, but you’re assured that you’ll get your own when you grow up and then you’ll understand everything.

So you grow up, you reach the Age of Elephant Acquisition, and… no elephant. You infer that elephants exist–after all, people keep insisting they must, and people your age have started talking about their elephants and how wonderful and interesting they are, and also people with fairly unusual elephants are willing to do truly baffling things for the elephants’ sake. Probably, you think, the elephants exist, but you’re not sure, because you’ve never experienced anything that seems like an elephant of your own, and couldn’t it be possible that this is some sort of elaborate plot or mass delusion or something?

But people keep insisting that the elephants are totally real, and everyone else your age has started talking about how their elephants are doing. And you’re seriously the only one who is confused by the elephants thing, so you maybe try to casually bring it up–maybe you sort of try to ask people how their elephants look in casual conversation, because it’s possible that you do have an elephant and you just haven’t noticed! Possibly they are in fact very small and hard to see, but they cause a lot of mischief! After all, sometimes funny rustling things happen around you, too, just like they do to people who do have elephants. So you try to ask around, in case it’s something that you can miss, or you’re not interpreting things right, and you look very hard for things that can be interpreted as being sort of vaguely elephantine. But when you do ask them, people give you funny looks and treat you as if you’re stupid for asking, because duh they know what an elephant looks like. Everyone has one! All you have to do is look, it’s not like they’re hard to see!

You see how this can become frustrating.

Eventually you assume you are, in fact, different and not just unobservant, and try to construct the image of what an elephant looks like so that you can understand properly. But no one who has one will sit down with you and answer your questions and help you understand, even if you’re really stubborn and you ask a lot of people a lot of questions. You end up having to construct your understanding of the elephant from tiny snippets, little bits of information you can coax out of normal people before they get aggravated and change the subject. And of course everyone emphasizes different parts of what the elephant is, because everyone is different and thinks about things differently, and you have to try to pick at the distortions as best you can.

That’s what it’s like, being asexual and trying to define sexual attraction on its own. Or being aromantic-ish, and trying to define how romance works. I suppose being agender and trying to suss out gender identity is similar, and I bet there’s other parallels to make. The thing is: you don’t have something, and you’re trying to understand how it works, and no one who says they understand will try very hard to teach you what it’s like.

The thing is, you could say that my innate need to define things is fairly unproductive, and that human sexuality is so varied and complex and squishy that operational definitions are useless. You might also say that there’s no point to defining things well enough to have labels, because that gets in the way of celebrating our Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. Except I’m not going to say that, because I think operational definitions are really useful even if you don’t have an innate desire to categorize everything properly so you can understand it better.

For one thing, operational definitions are sort of necessary to having conversations about things. If no one is quite sure what the terms we’re using actually mean, conversations usually end up confusing a whole lot of people. Especially if someone asks for a bit of clarification and no one is able to provide it.

You know who else operational definitions are really useful for? Questioning people. No, seriously, if you’re questioning whether a particular label works for you or not, or how you should identify, or whether you “count” with a specific group, it really helps to be able to point to things and say “well, I have that, and that, but not that.” How can we use terminology that says “asexuals don’t experience sexual attraction” without explaining what sexual attraction is? How can we expect questioning people to make a decision about whether a term fits them when the definition of that term is unclear?

I have been trying to figure out how romantic orientation theoretically works so I can decide what mine is for, oh, two years now, because there is no concrete definition anywhere and every time I corral a bunch of romantic asexuals into a corner and demand that they explain I get shrugs and “I don’t know, you just know.” (Well, when I’m not getting outright condescension, anyway. That’s always fun.) Asking people who haven’t spent a lot of time around the asexual community is arguably worse, because they’re prone to giving silly explanations like “friendship but with sex!” and that’s clearly wrong because the category of friends with benefits also exists, and also there are longstanding romantic relationships which are without sex–lesbian bed death, anyone?–even outside the asexual community. No matter how much I ask this question of people who use these terms I never get any answers.

So how on earth are we supposed to get people who actually do claim to see the invisible thing to describe it? Because if those of us who can’t see are trying to paint around the invisible thing–well, it’s clear we’re missing something, even if we’re not quite sure what.

The problem is that people who aren’t missing that feeling are considered to be the default. So there’s no incentive for them to define the modular feeling that some of us are missing–be it sexual attraction, or romantic attraction, or other things. No matter what they do, on that aspect of their sexuality they get to be easily understood and mainstream. Why would they spend their time defining what an elephant is? From their perspective, all they have to do is invoke the concept of “elephant!” and everyone will understand them! Except those of us who don’t have the elephant to begin with, and we’re in the vast minority.

Here’s the thing. If painting around an invisible concept doesn’t grasp the whole of the thing, perhaps someone who actually experiences the invisible concept should define it. Until then, those of us who aren’t “default” and need to explain how ought to continue to try. It would be good to have the help of people who do experience these forms of attraction. But if they’re not going to work on a definition, the rest of us need our painted edging to get by.

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