Updating the Map: Romantic Attraction and Friendship vs. Romance

This post is for the October 2015 Carnival of Aces. The theme is aromanticism and the aromantic spectrum. Cross-posted to The Asexual Agenda.

Until relatively recently, I never considered whether I might be on the aromantic spectrum. It was patently obvious to me that I’ve experienced whatever feeling it is that people refer to as “romantic attraction.” It didn’t really matter that I’ve only had that happen (with complete certainty) once—if it happened once, then surely it could happen again. The potential was all that mattered. Except as the years went on, and I tried very unsuccessfully to find someone (else—I’ve been polyamorously partnered for the past seven years) to date, it’s started to seem less and less like that potential feeling is accessible. So after much consideration, I’ve started identifying as greyromantic. Continue reading

Guest Post: Interview with C on Aromanticism and Relationships

Back in 2012, I had my partner C* do an interview with me, because I had been getting requests from non-asexual partners of asexual people for advice and I thought her perspective would be helpful. Since then, we’ve been through a lot, including becoming totally celibate and far less romantic. In the past year, she’s started to identify as aromantic. So I thought it was worth revisiting.

For context, she is bisexual and trans. We’ve been together for seven years, minus a short breakup, and have been polyamorous from the start. Right now we’re sort-of viewing our relationship as basically a queerplatonic type of thing. These questions were mostly submitted to me by readers, although I tacked on an extra question at the end today based on an interesting comment C made last night.

I’d like to thank everyone who submitted questions! There was one she really had no idea how to answer at all, so that one has been taken out. Sorry! But she really tried her best with all of the rest, and I hope you enjoy her perspective. If you have further questions for her, she’s open to answering them in the comments. :)

(* C stands for “Cupcake” which is her original chosen pseudonym on this blog. She may comment here using that name, or she may choose something else again. She doesn’t tend to stick with the same pseudonym, but generally they all start with C.) Continue reading

Question for Spanish-speaking aces

Because I know several of you read my blog, and I’m doing asexuality 101 work in an area heavily dominated by Spanish-speakers…

Is there a word for “queerplatonic” in Spanish? Or an equivalent/similar concept?

I got asked that question yesterday, by someone who heard the concept and really identified with it immediately.

It would be really really helpful if someone could point me to some good, ideally not-problematic Spanish ace/aro 101 stuff that I could pass on to people. My Spanish-speaking skills are pretty rudimentary, and nowhere near good enough for me to be able to vet these to make sure that they aren’t saying anything that might feel stigmatizing for ace survivors, or things like that. So I’d really appreciate it!

And hey, if anyone is up for translating some stuff? That would be super awesome, please get in touch!

The #1 thing I want people to do this week to support ace survivors

[mild tw: survivor-exclusive ace 101]

If you’re giving an Asexual Awareness Week presentation or doing any kind of 101 panel this week, here is the number one thing I want you to do to include and support ace survivors:

Tell people how incredibly inappropriate it is to ask others about their sexual abuse history because they came out to you as asexual. Tell people how damaging/hurtful it is for anyone who is actually a survivor to have to deal with that. Encourage people to have some empathy instead, or at least stop being assholes.

Don’t accept the terms that people are trying to set for you when they suggest that people cannot be “real” asexuals if it’s possible that trauma might have caused it. Don’t let them frame the discussion without challenge, and then say things like, Continue reading

Asexuality, hypothyroidism, and PTSD

This month’s Carnival of Aces topic is “living asexuality,” and since I saw this ask mention hypothyroidism, it’s been on my mind. I thought now would be a good time to explore it especially in light of this month’s topic. (Warning for medical talk, and brief mention of corrective rape, but mostly this is just focused on symptoms and treatments.)

I think I may have mentioned before that I have hypothyroidism, but I haven’t really gone into detail about what that’s been like—or, especially, its interactions with PTSD and how asexuality complicates both.

Laura also has hypothyroidism and wrote about her experiences here. It’s a pretty common disorder, and more common in cis women—I have met quite a few people who have had it over the years, both before and after I was diagnosed, and all of them by coincidence. Continue reading

Quick RFAS update on technical issues

Yesterday the RFAS email server apparently got messed up after an automated system recovery reboot. Users were unable to log in through web clients. There was also a Cloudflare DNS error that made two of the three clients not even load. Both of those issues should be fixed now. I posted more details about what was going on on the forum.

Another issue that’s going on is our server’s spam filter—I noticed several legit emails were going to my spam folder, mostly invite request forms. So if you never received an invite code, please check in with us or send a new invite request. I sent out invites for the requests that I found languishing in the spam folder this morning, so if you requested one a while ago, you may have one in your inbox now. Sorry for the delay!

If you’re on our team, I’d like you to try logging in to a web mail client, and check your spam folder. If you find anything legit in there, help us train the filter (instructions are in the same thread).

Our forum also has some minor technical glitches that need to be addressed still, but most of them will likely be addressed in the next major software release, so I’m waiting for that. However, I thought I’d put it out there that we’re looking for someone who can make plugins and/or a custom theme for us. You’d need to be familiar with php, javascript, MVC frameworks, and CSS.

So expect more changes ahead, and a bit of a bumpy road as we grapple with technical problems—hopefully not too bumpy! Thank you all for your patience.

Give my partner some questions to answer!

Three years ago C and I did an interview thing on here about being an allosexual/asexual couple, to show her perspective on what it’s like to date an asexual person. It’s the second most-linked post of all time, so it seems people were very interested! I thought it would be really good to do a follow-up interview, especially since in the last year she’s started to identify as aromantic. I asked her if she’d like me to gather some questions for her to answer, and she said, “Hey, yeah! That’d be fun!”

So let’s do that. I think it’d be a lot more interesting if other people ask her questions than if I try to come up with them myself, since I already know the answers. Plus, I probably won’t think about all the things that people might actually want to know. The questions don’t have to only be about our relationship or aromanticism, but those would probably be the most popular topics.

Here are some things about her (and us):

  • She is aromantic bisexual
  • She is a trans woman, and post-transition
  • We’ve been together for almost 7 years, but when we started dating it was accidental
  • We’re poly, and have been from the start—but being aromantic (and greyromantic) complicates things
  • We used to do some sexual stuff but we’ve been comfortably celibate for a while now—she has mostly lost interest for now
  • She has a lot of interesting thoughts about sexual attraction which she started writing out for a guest post years ago and never finished
  • She is INFJ and really strongly identifies with her Myers-Briggs type (I’m INTJ if you’re interested in relationship dynamics or something like that)
  • She likes outdoorsy things and is really knowledgeable about survival, camping, and hiking

So maybe all of that will give you something to work with.

I’ll leave this open for gathering questions for a while, and then post the whole thing on October 2nd. If you don’t want to ask the question publicly you can email them to me instead.

Ask away!

This survey has nothing to do with RFAS, and is really not okay

[TW: sexual violence, toxic community, erasure of survivors]

So I just got back from the hospital (I’m fine, I’m taking care of someone else), and found a link to this survey in my email. This has apparently been going around since August 1st?? But I didn’t even see it at all until now.

Which is terrible, considering I’ve been the one mainly holding down the fort at Resources for Ace Survivors through the first half of this month. Whoever made this up—it was not a researcher, I presume, because it lacks any kind of information about who is conducting the research and how it will be used—did not try to contact anyone at RFAS at all. This suggests to me that whoever made up the survey either may not be very experienced with the ace community, or may not really know or care much about ace survivors’ actual experiences. A cursory google search would have brought RFAS up, and it should be pretty obvious we’re the go-to place for that sort of stuff.  If Mysterious over there wanted participants, we would have been the place to ask.

This survey as written, though, is NOT safe or trauma-sensitive. In short, I recommend avoiding it. Some triggering details about this survey under the cut…

Continue reading

Let’s discuss how to deal with toxicity in our communities

I had planned to start this probably late this month or early next month, but in light of everything that’s been going on lately, I thought it might be best to start opening up an alternative place for discussing how to deal with the issues facing our community right now.

To that end, I’ve started the first Question-of-the-Week type feature at RFAS, and will start letting non-volunteer members into our private forum to host that discussion. Having more people around in the forum will also help us test everything and work out the bugs.

The question is: How do you deal with a toxic atmosphere in your communities? 

The deal with this is that there’s a public post open to everyone, and a private post for members only, for those who want a little more safety. I hope that this proves useful to everyone.

If you all have specific concerns or ideas about moderation policies, we also welcome those kinds of suggestions, but I’d like to mostly keep that separate from this discussion. The focus of this one should be more about mental health.

Edit: The invite request form had gotten messed up somehow, but it is fixed and working now. There may be a slight delay for emails to go through to us (like 15 minutes-ish), though.