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Jan 17 Reblogged

What is it like to be asexual?

turningblacktables:

Well, this was a nice surprise to see featured on the BBC homepage.

Sep 10 Reblogged

Help Asexual Awareness Week raise $1,000!

acesecrets:

Asexual Awareness Week (October 23-29 2011) needs to raise $1,000 to buy copies of (A)sexual and to create a web advertising campaign.

The money will be spent on two things:

1. $500 will be allotted for a web advertising campaign that introduces asexuality to the wider public and directs people to the Asexual Awareness Week website.

2. $500 will be allotted for purchasing copies of the documentary (A)sexual from Arts Engine. One bought volunteers can do community screenings in October to celebrate Asexual Awareness Week. They’ll then be available to the community as a resource for future events.

The $1,000 must be raised by September 30 so the ad campaign and copies of the documentary are ready in time for Asexual Awareness Week (Oct 22-29)

Contribute money here - http://asexualawarenessweek.com/contribute.html

Check out:

Asexual Awareness Week Website

(A)sexual Documentary

Please reblog (and donate if you can!)

Sep 04 Reblogged

A PSA About Asexuality and Aromanticism

outlawroad:

Dear World,

Please take note of the following facts about asexual and aromantic people.

——

Asexuality is an orientation based on the lack of sexual attraction to other humans beings.

This means asexual people never look at other human beings and experience an arousal response or a desire to have sex with them.

That is all it means.

Some asexual people still have a sex drive and some don’t.

Some asexual people masturbate and some don’t.

What do we think of when we masturbate? Usually nothing. A lot of us use pornographic material to become physically aroused when we feel the urge to masturbate.

Why would we masturbate when we’re asexual? Because being asexual means we don’t experience sexual attraction, not that we have no sex drive. Those of us who have a sex drive lack any connection of that drive to attraction. But we still gotta take care of our physical need for sexual release.

Asexual men exist.

Asexual people have romantic orientations. We can be hetero-, homo-, bi-, pan-, or aromantic. This means some of us can feel romantic feelings, just like sexual people, but some of us are aromantic and don’t feel romantic feelings for anyone.

Romantic asexuals want romantic relationships. They feel romantic love. They want companionship. They just don’t want the sex.

Aromantic people—whether sexual or asexual—still have emotions and a desire to connect to others. They value relationships. They want and need and enjoy friendship and family. Many of them want to have a life partner or partners. They just don’t feel romantic love or attraction. Romantic love is not the only form of love that exists. Therefore, aromantic people still love. 

Some sexual people are aromantic too.

Being aromantic doesn’t make you a sociopath, anti-social, heartless, misanthropic, or cool with being forever alone.

Being aromantic does not solve all your problems.

Being asexual does not solve all your problems.

Some asexual people have sex. Some don’t.

Some asexual people feel neutral about participating in sex. Some feel repulsed by the idea.

Asexual people who have sex make that choice for any number of reasons: they’re curious, they’re romantically involved with someone sexual, or maybe they like it.

Asexual people can like sex for what it is: a physically pleasurable activity. Our bodies are usually fully functional. We can get aroused in the right circumstances. We can orgasm. What we lack is the attraction to people, which motivates you to actively seek out sexual partners.

Asexuality is not celibacy or abstinence. If you choose not to have sex because of religious reasons, personal reasons, health reasons, or whatever, but you still experience sexual attraction to others, you are celibate. You cannot choose to be asexual. Asexuality is an orientation. You are or you aren’t.

Being asexual is not the equivalent of never dating anyone.

Many asexuals and aromantics like nongenital physical affection. We like hugs, we like cuddles, we like holding hands, we like back rubs, we like kisses to varying degrees, etc.

Some don’t.

Just in case you’ve already forgotten: asexual men exist.

Some asexuals are polyamorous. Some are monogamous. Some don’t give a shit and just do their relationships however the hell they want.

Some asexuals are willing to date sexual people and let their sexual partners have sex outside the relationship. Some asexuals are not okay with this. If you want to know about a particular asexual’s feelings on the matter, ask.

Some asexuals like snogging. Some really, really don’t. Yes, there are romantic asexuals who don’t like kissing with tongue; they’re still romantic. If you want to know about a particular asexual’s feelings on this matter, ask.

Some asexuals have a history of sexual abuse. They can still be legitimately asexual.

Some asexuals struggle with mental illness, physical disability, mental disability, or disease. They can still be legitimately asexual.

And even if someone identifying as asexual is only circumstantially asexual based on one of the aforementioned conditions, they still have the right to use the identity if it suits them, as long as it suits them. It is not your business WHY they are what they are or why they’re using this particular identity.

Some people in the asexual community are demisexual. This means they experience only secondary sexual attraction, as a result of romantic or emotional connection with a particular individual or individuals. They never feel sexual desire for strangers, celebrities, or people they don’t know well/aren’t comfortable around/etc. This is the way they are and have always been and always will be.

Some people in the asexual community are grey-asexuals. They’re somewhere in between totally asexual and totally sexual.

For the most part, the asexual community does not care about other people’s sex lives. As long as we aren’t involved, your sex life doesn’t matter to us.

Asexuals can still find people aesthetically attractive. Just because we find someone pleasing to our eye does not mean we want that person touching our genitals. Just because we don’t want anyone touching our gentitals does not mean we’re blind.

You cannot cure us with sex. It doesn’t matter how good you are at sex. It doesn’t matter how good you are as a person. It doesn’t matter how much you love us. It doesn’t matter how much we love you. It doesn’t matter if we enjoy sex. It doesn’t matter if we orgasm when we have sex. It doesn’t matter if we consent to it. We are asexual. We do not experience sexual attraction to anybody, and there is nothing you can do about it. Period.

Asexuality is not about the sexual act. It is about sexual attraction.

You cannot cure aromantic people by attempting to romance them or trying to  persuade them that romance is the pinnacle of human experience. First of all, it’s not. Second of all, aromantic people were born the way they are. You can’t choose to be aromantic. Aromantic people can’t choose to feel romantic attraction. It is what it is.

Mixed orientation sexuals exist. These are people whose romantic and sexual orientations differ from each other. There is nothing wrong or weird about this. All it means is you have an extra complexity in your romantic/sexual/emotional life.

Those of us who are asexual or aromantic are not looking to be fixed. We aren’t broken. We’re different. We don’t need your pity. We don’t need you to show us the light. We need you to respect us or get the fuck out.

And one more time: asexual men exist.

———

Thanks for your attention.

Jul 17 Reblogged

polisci-prelaw:

aftermorrissey:

The photo links to the article origin of ostrich chess and Matt Smith’s declaration of the Eleventh  Doctor’s sexuality. Still looking for the Chatty Man clip of the quote.

This picture speaks the truth. 
MATT LET ME LOVE YOU

polisci-prelaw:

aftermorrissey:

The photo links to the article origin of ostrich chess and Matt Smith’s declaration of the Eleventh Doctor’s sexuality. Still looking for the Chatty Man clip of the quote.

This picture speaks the truth. 

MATT LET ME LOVE YOU

Jul 09 Reblogged

Physiological and Subjective Sexual Arousal in Self-Identified Asexual Women - As documented by SCIENCE.

nextstepcake:

So I finally get back from my blissful but mosquito-ridden week of internet-free camping to find another big flame war going on in the asexuality tag. I guess it started with amazingatheist’s demand for the scientific study of asexuals and arousal?

Well, guess what guys. It’s already been done. And get this - instead of proving that we don’t exist, it actually serves to validate asexuality as an orientation and not a disorder.

Physiological and Subjective Sexual Arousal in Self-Identified Asexual Women (-Lori A. Brotto and Morag A. Yule))

Abstract (emphasis added by me)

Asexuality can be defined as a lifelong lack of sexual attraction. Empirical research on asexuality reveals significantly lower self-reported sexual desire and arousal and lower rates of sexual activity;however, the speculation that there may also be an impaired psychophysiological sexual arousal response has never been tested. The aim of this study was to compare genital (vaginal pulse amplitude; VPA) and subjective sexual arousal in asexual and non-asexual women. Thirty-eight women between the ages of 19 and 55 years (10 heterosexual, 10 bisexual, 11 homosexual, and 7 asexual) viewed neutral and erotic audiovisual stimuli while VPA and self-reported sexual arousal and affect were measured. There were no significant group differences in the increased VPA and self-reported sexual arousal response to the erotic film between the groups. Asexuals showed significantly less positive affect, sensuality-sexual attraction, and self-reported autonomic arousal to the erotic film compared to the other groups;however, there were no group differences in negative affect or anxiety. Genital-subjective sexual arousal concordance was significantly positive for the asexual women and non-significant for the other three groups, suggesting higher levels of interoceptive awareness among asexuals.Taken together, the findings suggest normal subjective and physiological sexual arousal capacity in asexual women and challenge the view that asexuality should be characterized as a sexual dysfunction.

From the study itself (emphasis mine):

The study of vaginal photoplethysmography has led to some important advances in our understanding of women’s sexual response….. lesbian and heterosexual women showed the same degree of increase in vaginal pulse amplitude (VPA; the more sensitive and specific index in vaginal photoplethysmography), regardless of their stated sexual orientation and irrespective of the stimuli shown—whether heterosexual, homosexual, or non-human primate (Chivers, Rieger, Latty, & Bailey, 2004; Chivers, Seto, & Blanchard, 2007). If such ‘‘target non-specificity’’ was a feature of all women, including asexuals, then one might predict that asexual women would show a similar degree of genital response to stimuli compared to heterosexual and lesbian women despite their stated preference for no sexual partners.

so really, photoplethysmography (a fancy name for detecting blood flow and thus physical arousal) isn’t very useful as measure of orientation, at least in women. And this kind of pokes a hole in the whole argument that responses to porn invalidate asexuality, since it is clear that genital arousal in response to pornographic material doesn’t correlate to actual orientation. Also, it’s important to note that physical arousal by itself is only one part of the complex response that is sexual attraction - there are also complex mental/neurological components. 

And the Summary of Findings (emphasis added by me):

Summary of Findings

Overall, the findings revealed no significant differences between asexual women and heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual women in the genital arousal response to a heterosexual audio-visual erotic stimulus in a controlled, laboratory environment. Instead, all women showed a significant increase in response to the erotic film. A main effect of Film was also found for subjective sexual arousal in that all groups showed a significant increase, with no significant group differences. On perceived genital arousal, there was a trend towards a Group x Film interaction such that there was less of an increase among the asexuals compared to the other groups; however, this did not reach statistical significance. Given the small effect size, this effect might not be magnified with a larger sample. As predicted, there was a significant Group x Film interaction on the sensuality-sexual attraction domain of the Film Scale such that there was a significant increase following the erotic film in all groups except the asexual women.

On other self-report measures of affect, there was a significant Group x Film interaction for positive affect to the erotic stimulus such that asexuals did not show the increase in positive affect with the erotic stimulus seen by the other groups. There were no main effects of group or film on negative affect, and anxiety decreased by a similar magnitude for all women with exposure to the erotic stimulus. Interestingly, there was a significant Group x Film interaction for autonomic arousal in that all women showed a significant increase with the erotic film except the asexuals. 

also,

Taken together, these findings suggest that desire for sexual activity with another individual is significantly lower in asexual women compared to other sexual orientation groups; however, desire for solitary sexual activity was the same in asexual women compared to sexual women….

and finally, the conclusion:

Conclusions

Overall, we found a significant psychophysiological sexual response in the laboratory among asexual women that did not differ from responses seen in groups of heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual women. Moreover, subjective sexual response did not differ between the groups, but self-reported sensuality-sexual attraction in response to the erotic film was significantly lower among the asexual women, as expected.

Interestingly, concordance between genital and subjective sexual arousal was significantly positive for asexual women, and non-significant for the other groups of women, suggesting greater interoceptive awareness of genital excitement in asexual women.

The findings have implications for our conceptualization of asexuality and suggest that, contrary to recent media speculations, asexuality may not be a sexual dysfunction given that arousability pathways appear intact (insofar as our measures test them). Moreover, because the proposed DSM-5 criteria for Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder require the presence of dis- tress or impairment (Brotto, 2010; Graham, 2010), asexuality would not fall under this definition given asexuals’ lack of distress. The clinical implication of this conclusion means that the asexual woman who is prompted to seek sex therapy at the insistence of a distressed (sexual) partner should not be the recipient of taught sexual skills to boost sexual desire nor should she be a target for pharmacological and/or hormonal intervention to boost desire. Rather, the (sexual/asexual) couple might be the focus of relationship therapy aimed at how to negotiate her lack of sexual attraction and what agreements can be reached about sexual activity that sufficiently appease both partners (e.g., agreeing that sexual activity may take place consensually but without interest for it on her part).

Taken together, these results add to the small but growing literature on asexuality. What remains to be studied are whether there are neural correlates to the lack of sexual attraction, whether there are other (non-sexual) biological indicators pointing to asexuality being a sexual orientation (e.g., digit ratio measurement), and further understanding the mecha- nisms by which romantic and sexual aspects of attraction may become de-coupled. The scientific study of asexuality might also be advanced by systematic comparisons of asexuality (which is lifelong) versus acquired HSDD in order to understand how these populations might be distinct.

Jun 01

Being asexual is a life of … well, of fitting firmly outside of the projected norm and presumed default state. It means going through puberty and missing one if its most crucial steps, as according to essentially everyone re: puberty, it means having to deal with relationships that may continually crumble because you can’t satisfy the desires/needs of your partner, it means having to deal with the seeming impossibility of finding someone whose level of sexual interest is compatiable with yours, and being confused, and alienated, and, yes, often bullied. There seems to be this overwhelming misconception that asexuality is the cushy, uncomplicated sexuality – that it’s all just sitting around, not being bothered about relationships, not having to deal with any of the difficulties that come with relationships, and never having to deal with sexuality at all.

And that is complete bull.

Sure, being asexual is easy and/or enjoyable to a lot of us. But certainly not all. To suggest that our collective experiences are a monolith is just as ridiculous as saying that all gay people went through the same amount of trouble, or all women do, or all trans people fit one single narrative. It just doesn’t hold water, and it doesn’t hold water because it relies on a fundamental negligence of, you know, objective truth. Asexuality can be extremely difficult for someone to deal with, and while there isn’t the same level or kind of systematic discrimination against asexuals, that doesn’t mean that it’s entirely absent. Anyone of a misunderstood sexual minority can feel confused, alienated, harrassed, or hopeless enough about it to be driver to depression, or to become suicidal. And frankly, I think a lot of the lack of discrimination against asexuals is because hardly anyone even seems to acknowledge that we exist. It’s hard to sign into law hatred against a group you aren’t willing to recognize.

May 18 Reblogged

Sexual Attraction vs. Romantic Attraction (NSFW link)

megkips:

Fucking excellent article about asexuality and defining why people are confused with the idea of asexuals in relationships and why.

“Sexual people do not have the monopoly on defining all human relationships.  We cannot keep insisting that without sexuality all non-familial love is therefore friendship.  What’s wrong with calling it a friendship, then?

Because non-sexual relationships are often assumed less serious, less involved, less important.”

I fear for the day that I encounter someone with this attitude.  Because someone is getting mauled.  

Apr 19 Reblogged

coolmoniker:

This is the first comic of my asexual comic blog which can be found here: http://unapologeticace.wordpress.com/
ENJOY? 

I’m babysitting this blog and I don’t know what that means really. May I post? I’ve been checking far submissions and questions but there has been none. I hope Chloe won’t be upset that I’m posting now. /Mikusagi
Hey! I’m looking forward to read more of this comic!

coolmoniker:

This is the first comic of my asexual comic blog which can be found here: http://unapologeticace.wordpress.com/

ENJOY? 

I’m babysitting this blog and I don’t know what that means really. May I post? I’ve been checking far submissions and questions but there has been none. I hope Chloe won’t be upset that I’m posting now. /Mikusagi

Hey! I’m looking forward to read more of this comic!

Feb 07

Savage Love by Dan Savage

I read your column every week, mostly out of abstract interest. My thoughts reading your advice are usually some variation on “Wow, that’s a lot of work to do, just to have a sex life.” So reading you, I came to the conclusion that I was asexual. I liked this conclusion, as it was a sexual identity that made sense for me.

Then I joined an asexual community. I soon realized that I was unlike those people, too. It turns out that they have no sexual attractions either way, whereas I comfortably identify as a straight male. I look when a pretty girl walks past (much to the chagrin of an asexual I dated for a short time), I like to kiss, and I enjoy some genital contact—but I’m in the mood for penetration very rarely. Asexuals seemed to be turned off by physical intimacy.

I soon realized that asexual was the wrong label for me. In reality, what I am is minimally sexual.

Here’s the question: How do normally sexual persons feel about being with someone who can perform but doesn’t particularly want to? I know that being in a relationship means making compromises, but will a normally sexual person accept a partner who is able to have sex but does not wish to for certain reasons, e.g., a lack of confidence or stamina? Can a person please a partner without pleasing said partner in the euphemistic sense?

Not Sexual, Not Asexual

It should come as no shock to someone who reads my column every week—or any other advice column—that there are lots of people out there who want to be in relationships but don’t particularly want to have sex. We don’t usually hear directly from these “minimally sexual” types. Instead, we hear from their maximally unhappy partners, i.e., the “normally sexual persons” who find themselves unhappily married to and/or otherwise stuck with minimally sexual persons.

With all the minimally sexuals out there making normally sexuals miserable, NSNA, it should be obvious to all regular readers that there’s not exactly a shortage of people who aren’t interested in sex. With that being the case, why would you even contemplate inflicting yourself on a normally sexual person? Why not go find another minimally sexual person? You’ll be doing your minimally sexual self a favor, you’ll be doing your future minimally sexual partner a favor, and you’ll be doing all normally sexual persons everywhere a favor by removing two minimals—you and your future partner—from the dating pool.

Unless you’re more interested in sex than you let on, NSNA, and you find the idea of a normally sexual partner appealing because a normal might be able to help you build your confidence and learn to enjoy sex. I certainly hope you’re not another asexual/minimally sexual person who wants a normally sexual partner because you take a perverse pleasure in depriving someone else of sex, constantly rejecting that person’s advances, and ultimately destroying their confidence.

Dan Savage doesn’t get it.  What a jerk.

Nov 11 Reblogged

Ace Lingo 101

itsanacelife:

Asexual — A person who does not experience sexual attraction towards anyone. Asexuals come in many shapes and flavours, have various attitudes towards sex, view their asexuality in different ways and are extremely diverse.

Indifferent — A word used to describe asexuals who, in a nutshell, don’t particularly mind the idea of having sex someday.

Repulsed — A word used to describe asexuals who want nothing to do with sex. They don’t have to be antisexual, they just don’t want to take part in sexual activities.

It’s important to note that the words “indifferent” and “repulsed” as used in the asexual community are different from how they’re used in general — e.g., an indifferent ace may actually be genuinely interested in sex.

Romantic orientation — Just like sexual orientation, except describes with which gender(s) a person wants to form romantic relationships rather than have sex. Sexual and romantic orientation don’t need to be congruent — it’s entirely possible for someone to be, for example, pansexual and homoromantic.

Aromantic — Generally understood to mean “never falls in love, disinterested in forming romantic relationships”, but it can be more complicated, for example only retaining the second half of that definition. Ace romance sure is weird!

Grey-A — A catch-all term for everything between sexual and asexual. There is no simple definition of grey-A, except that if you feel neither fully sexual nor fully sexual, it’s something you might call yourself.

Demisexual — Oh dear, this one’s a bit complicated. Basically, a demisexual person’s default state is asexual, but they’re capable of experiencing sexual attraction in connection to romantic attraction — or, in simpler terms, when they are in love.

These are just the basic and most well-known terms related to asexuality. New words, labels and identities (such as demiromantic) pop up every now and then, but they aren’t very widespread at this point.

Also, these are just simple definitions of the terms; if we tried to decide what exactly aromantic or indifferent mean, it would probably be a long debate.

Please let me know if I’ve left out anything important!

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