Writing From Factor X

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?

Linkspam

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.

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