Author: Asexual-Society: You're Valid!!






The other thing about the word “queer” is that almost everyone I’ve seen opposed to it have been cis, binary gays and lesbians. Not wanting it applied to yourself is fine, but I think people underestimate the appeal of vague, inclusive terminology when they already have language to easily and non-invasively describe themselves.

Saying “I’m gay/lesbian/bi” is pretty simple. Just about everyone knows what you mean, and you quickly establish yourself as a member of a community. Saying “I’m a trans nonbinary bi woman who’s celibate due to dysphoria and possibly on the ace spectrum”… not so much. You’re lucky to find anyone who understands even half of that, and explaining it requires revealing a ton of personal information. The appeal of “queer” is being able to identify yourself without profiling yourself. It’s welcoming and functional terminology to those who do not have the luxury of simplified language and occupy complicated identities. *That’s* why people use it – there are currently not alternatives to express the same sentiment.

It’s not people “oppressing themselves” or naively and irresponsibly using a word with loaded history. It’s easy to dismiss it as bad or unnecessary if you already have the luxury of language to comfortably describe yourself.

There’s another dimension that always, always gets overlooked in contemporary discussions about the word “queer:” class. The last paragraph here reminds me of a old quote: “rich lesbians are ‘sapphic,’ poor lesbians are ‘dykes’.” 

The reclaiming of the slur “queer” was an intensely political process, and people who came up during the 90s, or who came up mostly around people who did so, were divided on class and political lines on questions of assimilation into straight capitalist society. 

Bourgeois gays and lesbians already had “the luxury of language” to describe themselves – normalized through struggle, thanks to groups like the Gay Liberation Front.

Everyone else, from poor gays and lesbians to bi and trans people and so on, had no such language. These people were the ones for whom social/economic assimilation was not an option.

The only language left, the only word which united this particular underclass, was “queer.” “Queer” came to mean an opposition to assimilation – to straight culture, capitalism, patriarchy, and to upper class gays and lesbians who wanted to throw the rest of us under the bus for a seat at that table – and a solidarity among those marginalized for their sexuality/gender id/presentation. 

(Groups which reclaimed “queer,” like Queer Patrol (armed against homophobic violence), (Queers) Bash Back! (action and theory against fascism, homophobia, and transphobia), and Queerbomb (in response to corporate/state co-optation of mainstream Gay Pride), were “ultraleft,” working-class, anti-capitalist, and functioned around solidarity and direct action.)

The contemporary discourse around “queer” as a reclaimed-or-not slur both ignores and reproduces this history. The most marginalized among us, as OP notes, need this language. The ones who have problems with it are, generally, among those who have language – or “community,” or social/economic/political support – of their own.

Oh hey look it’s the story of my growing up.

All of this is true.






Aro Despair #33

I can’t remember where, but the other day I read a statement that said something like “romantic attraction/romance is not real, but merely a social construct that romantics and aromantics are dealing with the consequences of differently.”

The aromantic mentioning it said that it was super invalidating, which is fair. But for me personally, it really resonates with how I feel about my aromanticism?

I understand romance to be a socially constructed concept that is usually aligned with a particular set of strong feelings about another person. I don’t experience love and strong attraction in the same way that romantics do. I love strongly, and I’m definitely attracted to people in other ways. It’s just that I’ve never experienced those things in a way that romantics describe romance to be. I may like certain things that are stereotypically romantic and mushy, but I only like those things within the context of friends.

I don’t want to get married. I don’t really want to date anyone. I don’t understand the fixation that people set on their romantic interests. I can’t relate to the way my romantic friends talk about their crushes. From the things they say, I have simply never thought/felt that way about other people. Nothing about romance makes sense to me.

I clearly lack a capacity to be attracted to people romantically, even if that attraction is an abstract concept.

What are yall’s thoughts on the idea of romance being purely a construct?

i think that it’s more complicated than either: all romance is a social construct or all romance is about feeling the exact same kind of attraction

in my opinion it may be different for different people, so we’d have some who feel romantic attraction and fall in love let’s say… naturally, so that without social cues they’d still interpret their feelings as romance. then I think there are people who don’t experience romo attraction, but maybe experience a different kind of attraction and interpret it using the social cues that are about romance (because amatonormativity). then there’d be aromantics – some of whom maybe don’t understand romance/the appeal of romance, some maybe don’t experience attraction in a way that would lead them to think a romantic relationship would be a good fit for them (or the mix of those).

I think that what we see now – the division between alloromantics and aromantics – is that those are just generalized labels where you try to fit your experiences, which all could have different causes for every one of us

Woah. An actual description of how I actually feel about my aromanticism. WORD FOR WORD.

tumblr: talk about how bad society is! aro pe…

tumblr: talk about how bad society is! aro people: okay tumblr: no not like that

YEAH BASICALLY alloros are too fragile to examine the societal norms that they personally like aka romance and it’s really embarassing



What is Asexuality?

Asexuality is a sexual orientation, like heterosexuality or homosexuality, etc., but instead of being sexually attracted to men or women, asexual people are sexually attracted to no one.  This doesn’t mean we all hate sex or avoid it, it just means we don’t find people sexually attractive.

What is the Asexuality Archive?

The Asexuality Archive is a collection of all things Ace.  In these pages, I hope to provide a comprehensive and uncensored look into what asexuality is, what it means to us and how it shapes our lives.  My intention is to provide information that is approachable and informative, whether or not you’re asexual.


What is Asexuality?:  A companion site, dedicated to providing information about asexuality in multiple formats, including pamphlets and slideshows.

Asexuality: A Brief Introduction: An informational book about what asexuality is, what it’s like to be asexual, and what people should know about asexuality.

An Asexual’s Guide To…:  A series of in-depth posts on topics that are typically wondered about, but are rarely explored in ace circles.

The Comment Section:  A series of posts that explore troublesome comments left on articles about asexuality, and tips for responding to them.

Articles and Information:

Asexuality 101

Asexuality in the World

An Asexual’s Guide To …

Ace Images

Asexual Life

Asexuality and Me

Love, Romance, and Other Relationships

Sex, Masturbation, and Other Activities

Quick Questions

The Comment Section

Ask An Ace Guy

North American Asexuality Conference






Since telling my Mum that I considered myself ace, I already noticed that she was a bit… too interested, if you want to say it like that. Asking for “signs”, or how being ace feels like… I tried to answer her to the best of my ability, giving her links to websites that would explain better as I ever could.

Today she said, very quietly, “Do you think I could be ace, too?”

And I said very carefully “If you think it suits you, I don’t see why not”

And my Mum, my strong, self-confident Mum, who never once  has ever felt uncomfortable in her own skin as far as I know, beamed in relief. Relief

 Because she never knew. Because getting married young and bearing children for her husband (meaning sex) was expected of her. Because everyone gave her the feeling as if something would be wrong or broken about her if she didn’t want, didn’t do that.

Because her whole life long, she thought there was something wrong with her.

I’m honestly torn between feeling happy and relieved for her, and angry that humanity has such trouble with showing some understanding to those who don’t fit in the boxes society has designed for all of us.

Update: My
Mum was getting ready for bed when I noticed her humming loudly around her
toothbrush and I asked her what the good mood was about.


She beamed
around a mouth-full of toothpaste and said, very proudly and deliberately, “I
think I like that, being ace.”

And continued
on with her brushing, humming a bit louder.


(Or in
other words, I’m more than a little bit teary eyed.)

I had almost the exact same conversation with my Mom. We were talking about the LGBT acronym and explained that it’s LGBTQ and that some people add the PIA at the end as well. And she asked me “What’s the a?” So when I explained it she said immediately “Me. That’s like me.”

This is why I get so mad at people who think this is all just trendy bs, people just don’t have the vocabulary or permission to describe their lived experience.

This is the most wholesome thing I’ve ever read, bless this post 🙌🏼






hey you guys want some fuckin uuuuuuuh bi pride?

hey you guys want some fuckin uuuuuuuuh pan pride?

hey you guys want some fuckin uuuuuuuuuh ace pride?

hey you guys want some fuckin uuuh aro pride?







friendly ace reminder: there’s probably much more aces than 1% of the population because there’s like zero asexual awareness, many people have no idea they are actually asexual and/or they’re confusing romantic and sexual orientation… also that 1% survey is like 10 years old, AVEN was only starting back then and the community was pretty much non-existent… lately i’ve found out that some of my real life friends are actually ace so really, it’s not that uncommon… it can be just hard to find out who you are in an over-sexualised society such as ours where boys are afraid to admit it because they’re raised to believe banging is the best thing ever and girls think they’re just “being girls” and not wanting to bang is the norm for them, so… anyway, what i’ve been trying to say is… WE EXIST AND YOU’RE NOT ALONE, YAY

some great tags that prove my point:


I keep finding new ace friends, or finding ‘Asexual’ on a new mutual’s ‘about me’ 

Talked about asexuality with my bro. 

Found out my brother is  aro-ace and didn’t realize there was a definition for that.

Ace siblings and we didn’t know it till last month. 


@nextstepcake did a post (on WordPress, idk if it got cross-posted here) about the twice-annual National College Health Assessment. It surveys tens of thousands of students in the U.S., from dozens of schools. (You can see it here:

One of its demographic questions is about your sexual orientation. In 2015, they added ace and pan as options. They were getting 5%-6% people identifying as ace! (And 4.5%-5.5% bi folks, around 1.5% pan, and about 3% gay/lesbian.)

One caveat: the ace numbers plummeted in the Fall 2017 one, and idk why. They haven’t released Spring 2018 yet. I looked at their website, and way fewer colleges participated last fall; they got data they could use from 52 schools, instead of the 92 that they had had that spring. So there could be something there – like maybe there was a type of school that didn’t participate much, that for some reason has more students who ID as ace. (Maybe larger schools, or liberal arts schools, or some other type, have better ace awareness?… OK, I just compared Spring 2017 with Fall, and the main differences are that there were a bunch more schools in the South, and that there were a lot more schools in big cities. I’m assuming it has to do with big cities, but I’m also curious about what people in the South might be doing differently. If anything.)

So the backstory behind the number change, for those who may not have seen the comments on the original post – it turns out that they suspected, based on additional feedback, that the number from the first few years was being inflated by large numbers of people just clicking the first thing on the list instead of reading through and considering all the option  (”asexual” was first since it was in alphabetical order) even if they wouldn’t identify as asexual unprompted. This is a known problem in survey design, often referred to as “satisficing”, in which people pick the first potentially-suitable term instead of considering all options equally. It’s a problem that is exacerbated by many people (especially straight people) who have no idea what “asexual” means and may make wildly incorrect guesses, which may be another factor in the inflated numbers (i.e. if non-sexually active straight people think it’s a survey question for virgins or something).

Because of that, they’ve started experimenting with other question formats, such as changing the order of entries, randomizing the order of entries, or removing asexual and only backcoding it from write ins. I don’t, however, know which method they used  in the last survey; but it will be interesting to have comparative data once they have a few more years of trying different question structures.

It’s basically all part of finding a tricky balance – on the one hand the number may be artificually inflated by confused straight people, but it may simultaneously be deflated by aces with multiple identities (ace lesbians, gay aces, bi aces, etc.) who may choose whichever category is shown first, and will always leave one or the other undercounted.

This is part of the reason I prefer to present prevalence estimates as ranges of percents – because survey outcomes can vary so much based on simple things like question phrasing and differing working definitions, it’s hard to nail down a single number. For asexuality, that usually means a range of ~1%-5% since most randomized studies seem to fall somewhere within that range. 

definition of “platonic”





i think it’d be useful for the aspec community to discuss the meaning of the word “platonic”. this is an aro blog, i’m aro and only inhabit aro spaces, so imagine my surprise when i saw an ace person talk about their confusion with the description of a platonic relationship that featured sex but not romance. my reaction was that well, of course a platonic relationship doesn’t include romance and can include sex?? and then i learned that in ace spaces, “platonic” has taken to mean a non-sexual relationship that may be romantic. so this state we’re in, where those definitions are outright contradictory is confusing and can impact apec intracommunity discussions. 

so what we can do right now is untangle this and either specify what kind of “platonic” we’re talking about (non-romantic or non-sexual), or give them different names, like courtly for relationships that are romantic but not sexual, erophilic for relationships that are friendships but sexual, and platonic for relationships that are neither sexual nor romantic. so give this a thought, if it’s needed and useful

Is “platonic = not sexual” a recent thing? Cause I was faairly active in the (tumblr) ace community until semi-recently, and I don’t remember seeing that. To me it’s always meant specifically non-romantic. Or perhaps it’s a much older thing? It does strike me as maybe being from before we really separated romantic and sexual attraction. So maybe in the younger side of the ace community the meaning has shifted to non-romantic, but it hasn’t shifted among older aces

As to your proposed new definitions, I think platonic meaning both non-romantic and non-sexual kinda leaves people in quasi/queerplatonic relationships who do have sex, out in the cold. We wouldn’t want to push them to use a different term from people in non-sexual QPRs, cause they’re still fundamentally based on the same idea.

And I assume you’re suggesting romantic mean both romantic and sexual? (As you’ve proposed a different term for romantic non-sexual.) I think that would do a disservice to the work that’s been done to try to separate the two concepts, and to the fact that allo aces, if seeking a relationship, will be looking for what wider society calls a romantic relationship, and I don’t think we want to muddy the waters with that.

idk where it came from, maybe i just encountered a certain group of aces where the meaning shifted. maybe it is some kind of remain of not separating sexual and romantic attraction, im not sure. consider the fact a lot of qpr descriptions feature it being a non-sexual relationship, maybe it’s tied to that? 

when i was writing the post, i was wondering about what it would imply for queerplatonic and decided that it’s a separate thing, but you’re right, it’d have implications for the queerplatonic relationships, as i was talking about terms for different relationship conceptualizations, with a different word for a non-sexual relationship and a sexual relationship

i guess thats not what i’m suggesting myself, as i see them as separate concepts, that was born out of the “platonic meaning non-sexual romantic” i saw, which may reflect a need for some alloace people to give this kind of a relationship a different name, instead of pushing against the expectation that romantic relationships aren’t defined by sex or the lack of it. i was going off the assumption that maybe it is a need for some people to describe those relationships differently, but it’s possible it’s not

Actually, this comes from entirely outside the ace and aro communities altogether. If you look platonic up in a dictionary, it will say non-sexual. So you probably just encountered aces who weren’t exposed enough to actual ace/aro community terminology. Ace and aro communities use platonic to specifically mean non-romantic and not non-sexual. I always specify this difference in every 101 guide I write now because people do get confused.

I have heard non-ace, non-aro people use the phrase “platonic relationship” to refer to non-sexual romantic relationships, and that is harmful to all types of aros and aces. It is harmful to aces who want romantic relationships because calling them platonic implies that they are not real romantic relationships. It is harmful to aces who don’t want romantic relationships but who do want a committed non-romantic relationship because they often don’t want anything to do with romance, and that takes away language needed to separate what they want from romantic things. And it hurts aros who want non-romantic sexual relationships with some sort of emotional component, also because it takes away that language that they need to describe their experience.

Honestly, I think the word outside of the ace and aro communities is heavily dependant on conflating sex and romance. When you untangle the two, I think we just naturally started using platonic to mean non-romantic. There is no adjective form of friendship, so we needed to think of something to use.



Back in 2014, the ace community as a whole started talking about the trichotomy of sex-favourable, sex-indifferent and sex-repulsed aces, and the problems of making space within the ace community for aces who might fall under any of those hats, and thus might have different or even conflicting needs. This quite quickly became emotionally-laden, as summed up in Siggy’s post on the see-saw cycle; more importantly (and more problematically), almost all of these conversations were predicated on the existence and mutually exclusive nature of this trichotomy.

Recently, Talia posted about not knowing if any given ace might like sex without asking them, using Schrodinger’s cat as an analogy for any given ace’s position on sex. While the basic thesis of the post (that you can’t know someone’s opinion on, really, anything without asking them) is very true, this has brought the trichotomy back into clear focus, with blurring of the lines that only goes one way. That is: Talia mentions in their post that repulsed aces might want to have sex (so they’re presumably not defining ‘repulsed’ as ‘not wanting sex, thanks bye’, although I think that’s a pretty common definition), but they don’t suggest that it might go the other way, that sex-favourable people might not want to have sex. Instead, they mention in a comment that ‘I am not sure how often other sex-favourable aces think about sex, but it’s definitely on their radar and they definitely care about it’, and suggests that if someone doesn’t, then they might be sex-indifferent or sex-neutral. I think this is an example of the trichotomy being twisted to fit somewhere it doesn’t: either these do describe your willingness to have sex (in which case, ‘repulsed but also favourable’ doesn’t make sense), or they don’t (in which case, the assumption that sex-favourable aces have sex on their radar and care about it falls down).

When I started dating my ex, in 2012, the general tenor of the ace community at the time was that you had three options if you wanted to date someone: date an ace (who presumably wouldn’t want sex, not that that caveat was ever given); be polyamorous so that your non-ace partner can fuck someone else (because having sex is a need, etc); or compromise and have sex yourself (because: need). My ex wasn’t ace, and I was too insecure to be poly, so… (To be clear, I of course can’t blame the ace community for my own decisions, even if they were flawed, but I do wonder sometimes what I’d have done if I’d had a community that more strongly underscored that I didn’t have to have sex, and that not wanting to was a good enough reason.)

In 2014, then, I felt that I had to claim the identity of sex-favourable; after all, I was sexually active, which seemed to be the only criterion, and a lot of the early discussion was framed as sex-favourable aces not letting sex-repulsed aces have space or resources, so it would be wrong not to identify myself, lest that make me take up space or resources that weren’t mine to use. Ironically, I felt a lot more alienated from the community during and after those conversations; I was taking up too much space in the ace community mostly by existing (and so should withdraw, and for some years I did), and beyond that, people had repeatedly suggested that the ace community should have sex-optional subspaces for repulsed aces only (such as ace-muslim’s comment here, though I should stress that she wasn’t the only one and I am not trying to criticise her specifically).

You can’t quite square this circle: either anyone with any sort of not-100%-repulsed actions or feelings, past or present, can be lumped under sex-favourable, or sex-favourable only means people completely unaffected by compulsory sexuality and in no need of resources and sex-optional spaces. And as Siggy pointed out, the set of ‘people completely unaffected by compulsory sexuality’ is an empty set, and the set of ‘sex-favourable aces’ is absolutely not a subset of it. Plenty of people have also talked about the issues with assuming that anyone not 100% repulsed is favourable (or maybe indifferent, but with the same results) and up for sex all the time, with the flipside being that any aces who have sex or have had sex – as I mentioned above – are automatically assumed to be sex-favourable (or even grey-ace).

Of course, those assumptions aren’t unique to the ace community, nor did they originate there. As Queenie points out, one of the mainstays of compulsory sexuality is that once you’ve consented under one particular set of circumstances, you’ll always consent under those circumstances. This is also reflected in both purity culture (the marriage debt, etc) and in sex-positivity; it’s not surprising that we replicate these assumptions in our own taxonomies, but it’s also not helpful.

Where does this leave us, then? If we pick apart this trichotomy, what are we left with? I don’t have an exact answer for this, but one thing I do know: we need to stop segmenting and siloing our narratives based on the perceived immutability of this taxonomy. I’ve sketched out how I fell into the narrative of ace has a partner → ace has to have sex → ace has to be sex-favourable → ace never has any complicated or upsetting experiences with sex and never needs any resources or sex-optional spaces (and any experiences or thoughts this ace does have are appropriative and attention-seeking). I’m sure this is not unique, and I think that taking care to leave our narratives open – to avoid assuming that the only people who need our resources or words are one adjective or another – can give our community, and by extension the people in it, a broader spread of possibilities. From 2014 until a few months ago, I read so many narratives and posts and resources by and for sex-repulsed people that could have helped me, and reminded myself that I wasn’t allowed to think that I might be allowed to use them; I don’t want that to happen to anyone else.

Coming out in ten vignettes


This post has been cross-posted to The Asexual Agenda.

Content notes: discussion of bad coming out experiences including being outed and harassment

1. The first time someone comes out to me, I’m 16.  We’re talking about…I honestly don’t remember.  He says, “I think I might be bisexual,” and I have a moment of pure elation followed by one of pure panic.  I’m not alone.  But also unless I say something he’ll think he’s alone.  I don’t want to say anything, because I’ve never told anyone before.

In the end, my desire to be a good friend wins out.  “I think I might be bisexual too,” I say.

(I’m not, but I don’t know that yet.)

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