Carnival of Aces: Briefly Comparing My Communities Online

[This is my submission for the Carnival of Aces for February 2021 hosted this Month by Ace Film Reviews on the Topic of “Comparing Ace Spaces“]

My first introduction to the Ace Community was through the WordPress community in 2014. I was 25 and had just come back home to Texas after working out of state for two years and had finally ran out of excuses for why I had literally never dated. Well, obviously the answer is my interpersonal skills leave much to be desired BUT I had also come to the conclusion that if dating had been a priority in any way for me, I would have found a way to do it. So, the real question was, why wasn’t dating even on my list of of priorities? With that in mind I finally sat down and literally Googled “25 and never dated”. After skipping over a bunch of pop-psy articles that amounted to “don’t worry, your prince will come” I finally came to a wordpress blog by an asexual man.

I kick myself everyday for not bookmarking the page because I have never been able to find it again nor thank him. Part of the reason I keep this blog going is as a way to pay that moment forward. That man’s blog post means a lot to me because it set me on the right path to finding out that not only am I asexual, but I’m aromantic and agender too. Before that I was living and believing the lie that I was cis and straight “by default”. It’s scary to think it’s like I didn’t even know myself before that. Because of that the WordPress community will always have a special place in my heart as a place of learning and personal growth.

The next community that meant a lot to me was Tumblr. Specifically the chat created by The Asexuality Blog. I’m missing a huge chunk of history and discourse knowledge because I tended to avoid drama. I mostly used tumblr as a resource for writers. Every single job title you can think of was putting out lists of common bad tropes and mistakes writers make. Doctors, EMTs, MEs, nurses, lawyers, firefighters, *literally every professional* you might have as a background character had wishlists of tropes they wanted writers to stop using. Historians and scientists putting out debunk lists. Every minority group you could think of was putting out dos and donts and how to lists as well as answering plot specific asks. It was a magical time to be a would-be writer. I eventually left tumblr because the nsfw ban also nuked my *collection of writer’s resources*, but before that the ace chats gave me a chance to talk to real humans in real time and that was an important step in not only accepting that I was aromantic, but also an important step in figuring out I was agender.

One major difference that was kind of alienating between wordpress and the TAB chats was the age difference. Most of the aces in the chats were in their teens and I very much wasn’t. It just felt weird for most of the chat to be talking about figuring and setting into their ace identity on top of highschool problems (by which I mean absolutely zero judgment because high school problems are serious, serious business) and then I was off in the corner figuring and settling into my ace identity while complaining about paying rent, the ethicacy of tax returns, and debating the pros and cons of coming out to coworkers. Granted the chat mods were older and wiser, but they were there to moderate rather than counsel. I still owe a huge debt to the chats for helping me figure out I was nonbinary.

Another alienating thing about the chats is how amatonormative they were. Even the aro chats! I now know that I’m a romance-repulsed aro trying to figure out life and stuff, but people are constantly wanting to talk about how cute/amazing their partner/gf/bf is. I’m not anti-romance; absolutely gush about your five year anniversary, but sometimes I *just want a break* that doesn’t involve isolating myself from other humans.

Last, but not least, I’m now mostly involved with the Twitter community. It’s kind of a mix of both info dump and real time interaction. I’ve tried discord, but that gets too overwhelming. Twitter offers a lot of control over what content you want to interact with because you can save searches and mute words as well as accounts. Since the pandemic started I haven’t actually been doing the most “healthy” of searches since most of the time I’m snooping for content for @AphobeHottakes like a sleezy mag reporter. There ain’t no drama like Twitter drama. If you missed the tumblr discourse era, don’t worry, it plays out every week like it’s on syndicate in the Twitter stream.

I can’t attest much to the conversation about RL meet ups because the only other ace I’ve met in RL is my high school friend who stopped talking to me for other (and I’m prerry sure are perfectly valid) reasons. Even at 25 I still had a LOT of growing to do as a person and while I mourn the loss of a friendship even after five years, the only thing I can control is trying to maintain what I only hope an upward trend of personal growth. For now RL meetups are on hold because of Covid, but I maintain the hope that they’ll happen some day in the future.


Carnival of Aces Round Up: Then, Now, & Tomorrow

Alright folks, this is the Carnival of Aces Round Up for June 2019. The topic for this past month was Then, Now, & Tomorrow.

<> Our first submission is an enlightening post titled “On Purity, Asexuality, and Timing” by Perfect Number . In it she talks about Christian purity culture and touches how she would like to see asexuality included in sex education:

…if I wasn’t in purity culture, would I have had sex I didn’t want, because I thought it was “normal”? The sex-ed stuff I read now, it’s not written in a way that’s inclusive of aces. (ace = asexual) I’m trying to imagine an alternative to purity culture, that teaches kids it’s okay to have sex before marriage, but also helps asexuals understand their asexuality and be confident in their feeling that “no, I really don’t want to have sex…

<> Next up Jess wrote about both physical health and mental health in a fantastic post that is sure to get everyone thinking about their own future challenges:

… over the past year or so, I have dealt with new challenges to my mental and physical health that have really made me reconsider my priorities… [Aro-ace] lives have the potential to be very different from whatever roadmap we envisioned when we were younger, and living life without that roadmap …

<> Ace Film Reviews wrote a riveting post titled “Unhappiness and Other Unexpected Blessings” that will hopefully get folks thinking about something to look forward to:

…Is there a word for the opposite of nostalgia? Whatever it is, it’s what I felt as I stood in that chocolate shop. Not a memory of the past coupled with sorrow and longing to return to it. But a memory of the past coupled with relief and gratitude that it was over!

<> The last submission this month IS A POEM! titled Then Now & Tomorrow by LoyalTiger06 so be sure to check it out and let them know how awesome they are in the comments

A BIG “thank you” to everyone who took the time to make a submission this month and I hope everyone had a happy Pride. To see past Carnival of Aces submissions and/or to volunteer to be a future CoA host (it’s super easy, I promise) please check out the master post on The Asexual Agenda. The next Call for Submissions has been posted by The Ace Theist

15 Day Asexuality Challenge: Day 6

Tell us about a time you met another asexual, whether in real life or online.

The majority of asexuals I have “met” are online. I’ve met only one asexual in real life since it turned out that one of my friends from high school is also an aromantic asexual. We met up for tea and I basically just blurted it out because I just wanted someone to know and they said, “Me too.” We didn’t end up talking about our asexuality, but I wish we had. I would have been nice to discuss asexuality outside of the internet so it would feel more legitimized for me and not “just a tumblr thing” as some would claim. Unfortunately since then I have lost touch with this friend despite several attempts to reconnect. Since then I’ve felt distant from most of my friends from high school.

There were four of us who were really close, shared interests, have similar world views, and are unfortunately in the same drifting-not-knowing-what-to-do phase in our lives. All of us are college educated, for all the good it did us. Another of my friends is moving out of state an I can’t find the energy to pick up the phone and talk to them or confess to our mutual friend that I didn’t keep the number when I switched phones. I’ve come to the conclusion that trying to tether these old friendships instead of letting them run their natural course would do me more harm than good. It’s lonely sometimes, but I realize that’s just how I am. I’m not really the one to make the first move which makes me appear unfriendly, guarded and uncaring. I care deeply, but quietly. I need friends who understand and accept that as well I my “new” identity.

I’ve met one asexual in real life, but I hope to meet many more and make new friends where I can be myself and not just the warped shadow of who I was in high school.



15 Day Asexuality Challenge: Day 4

Have you faced oppression because of your asexuality, whether institutional or societal? What have other people said about your asexuality?

I am never sure how to answer this question. I’m not technically “out” and don’t feel safe coming out to more than a handful of people. The fact that I don’t feel safe is a sign of oppression, but I’ve never been overtly oppressed because of my orientation because I don’t advertise it. I’m very picky about who I come out to so as of yet it’s only been positive or neutral responses to my asexuality (or confusion and denial). No one has as of yet openly expressed hate or been derogatory about my orientation to my face. Unfortunately it’s that same fear of negative responses that makes me hesitate to be a more active advocate for asexuality and my other A identities. I would rather just be myself and let people figure it out later when asexuality awareness becomes more prevalent.

15 Day Asexuality Challenge: Day 3

Are you out? To whom? Tell the story of the first person you came out to.

I’m out to my younger sister, one of my younger brothers, my parents (technically), one high school friend and one coworker. The first person I came out to was my sister and she was awesome about it. Her reaction was like, “Okay, well, duh.” But she did pressure me into telling my parents before I was ready. That was a bit of a train-wreck, but it was a good lesson on the importance of T.P.L. (time, place, location) when it comes to coming out. Coming out is a very vulnerable position because you generally have no idea how people are going to react. I’ve also found out that I get better results when I just talk about my feelings without using community jargon. Instead of saying, “I’m aromantc/asexual” I say “I’m not comfortable with dating/I don’t think I need a significant other to be happy/I’m more comfortable being single/etc…” I play the “privacy” card like no tomorrow.

When somebody at work asks me if I’m in relationship (because that’s like the 1st question people ask me) I say, “Dude, I don’t even put that info on my Facebook. Privacy settings are a thing.” I feel more comfortable defending myself on a privacy issue than an LGBT+ issue. I firmly believe just because somebody asks you a question doesn’t mean they have a right to an answer. When in doubt, I plead the 5th.

15 Day Asexuality Challenge: Day 2

What does being asexual mean to you? Do you identify as a part of the queer community? What communities do you identify with?

I define an asexual as someone who does not experience sexual attraction or experiences low or rare instances sexual attraction, but not enough to act upon it. Libdo is different. The best metaphor I’ve seen is “You’re hungry, but nothing looks good.” The urge to have sex is different from wanting to have sex with a specific person. It can definitely be alienating at times to have to explain this to people when the majority of society believes that love and sex are part of human nature, thus implying that not having these things (not just abstaining) implies to be less than human.

I consider myself LGBT+ (or whichever is the current acronym). I’m not an active member of any local orginiztions, but will contribute sparingly to online groups. I’m most active with asexuality groups because there are few (read: nonexistent) aromantic and agender groups. Several of the asexuals I talk to on a regular basis are also aromantic and/or fall under the trans/non-binary umbrellas. For now that’s enough to give me a sense of community.

15 Day Asexuality Challenge: Day 1

What is your romantic/sexual orientation? How old were you when you realized you were asexual? What made you realize it? Where did you first learn about asexuality?

This is a bit of a refresher post since I’ve answered most of these questions already. I’m an aromantic asexual. I was 25 when I first learned about asexuality and 26 when I identified my romantic orientation. I found out about asexuality from personal blogs by asexuals. That’s part of the reason I started this blog. One day I just suddenly google searched “Is it normal to have never dated at 25?” and eventually I found a blog by an asexual man. The phrased that triggered my light bulb moment was when he said that before learning about asexuality he thought he was “straight by default” and that was the same thing I thought. I didn’t feel attraction to the “opposite” gender, so I thought I was straight for the most part and just didn’t have time for relationships. I wish I had thought to save the post because I have been unable to find the blog or the post again. It is my hope that my blog will similarly offer answers to those that need it.

15 Day Asexuality Challenge

Since I just wrapped up doing an aromantic challenge I thought I would do an asexuality one. The prompts I found are for a 30 Day challenge, but since I have already answered several of the questions repeatedly in past posts, I felt it was alright to skip a few and combined some of the questions.

1. What is your romantic/sexual orientation? How old were you when you realized you were asexual? What made you realize it? Where did you first learn about asexuality?
2. What does being asexual mean to you? Do you identify as a part of the queer community? What communities do you identify with?
3. Are you out? To whom? Tell the story of the first person you came out to.
4. Have you faced oppression because of your asexuality, whether institutional or societal? What have other people said about your asexuality?
5.Your favorite asexual Tumblr site. Your favorite asexual website.
6.Tell us about a time you met another asexual, whether in real life or online.
7. Your favorite asexual character/celebrity/person.
8. Your favorite “asexual” book (as in, sex and/or romance are not the main focus) and/or Your favorite “asexual” movie.
9. What is your favorite asexual pride image?
10. What do relationships mean to you?
11. Write something or post a picture about asexuality that upsets you.
12. What do you believe causes asexuality?
13. What is the worst argument you’ve heard against asexuality?
14. What is your favorite types of cake? (Or, is pie an acceptable replacement for cake?)
15. Anything about asexuality that you want to end with.