Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Asexuality: The First Internet Orientation

The nature of asexuality has made it a fairly unknown orientation throughout history. I mean, look at the things it has going against it!

1) According to most sources, only about 1% of the population is asexual.
2) It's defined by the lack of sexuality, not an openly "different" sexuality.
3) In many, if not most, historical cultures, love has been a secondary matter in marriage and sex. As such, asexuals would not have found anything unusual about not being attracted to their partners.
4) It's likely that asexuals would have taken the "just suck it up" approach to sex.
5) Like homosexuality, it would have historically been considered a problem, psychological, medical, or other (demons have stolen your sex drive, or whatever tripe medieval and puritan people would have used).

I'd say all of these are major factors today as well (with the possible exception of #3). So it's no wonder that asexuality hasn't become apparent until the last few years. Even though asexuality is gaining visibility online, it is still lacking in real-world visibility.

I think this is the biggest issue with asexuality right now. It can't continue to exist as an "Internet orientation". Even if asexuals don't particularly want to "come out" to friends and family, there should be some more effort to show up at meetups and the like. Community-building is crucial, because the more visible you make the community, the less chance you give the rest of the world to dismiss asexuality because of its nature or its beginnings.

Unfortunately, I live in a rural area for college and don't have the same large population to pull from for meetups. Thankfully I have two close asexual friends at home in Texas. However, I'll soon be starting my own personal campaign of asexual community-building in my college. Even if only 1% of the population is asexual, I have numbers on my side: in a college of 1500, with most living on-campus, about 15 should be asexual. That's more than almost any meetup I've heard of, and that's just on a small college campus. There's hope left for community building, even in rural areas. And maybe I'll take my chances and drive to Philadelphia for the Pennsylvania meetup--but a 3 1/2 hour drive might be a bit much!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

More Me and More Why

First of all, Me.

As I said, my name is Erin, and I am currently a pseudo-freshman in college. I'd explain the pseudo, but... it's complicated. Regardless, I live in an all-female dorm in a small, rural liberal arts college, studying English and Environmental Science. I am a person of many interests. I'll bring them up as I go, but suffice it to say, my hobbies and passions are legion. I have a job as a web designer, and also do freelance web design. I am a scholarship student, and therefore blandly middle-class. I'm non-religious, but I was brought up in a Methodist family and confirmed Methodist and fairly acquainted with all things Christian.

As for the asexual side of Erin, I am currently identifying as heteroromantic asexual. For the uninitiated, that means that I'm romantically attracted to the opposite sex but my sexual attraction is nil. In my case, I'm a pretty straightforward asexual. I can't remember feeling sexual attraction to anyone and I have no interest in anything involving my girl parts. I strongly identify with my female gender and am a bit of a feminist. Even so, I'm a tomboy in many regards (except for my athletic ineptness).

Second of all, Why.

At this point, asexuality is so unrecognized by the public that I think there's still more to be said. The more personal literature that is out there about asexuality, the more presence the asexual community has, and the greater likelihood there is for us to become accepted as another part of the sexuality spectrum. There are still too many psychologists and therapists out there that look at asexuality as a condition and not an orientation. By personalizing it and showing how this is a valid experience, asexuals can show the rest of the world how we should be accepted by the world at large. The asexual movement is still very new, and perhaps collecting this information here online will be a step towards publishing it and making it known in the real world.

On a more personal level, I live in a small community. I will admit that I am currently finding it hard to find my social 'group' without the help of drinking or partying--neither of which I'm really in to. I don't have issues making friends so much as finding a way to relate with them in a communal way that doesn't involve us making idiots out of ourselves. Over the course of the past year, this situation has led me to think more closely about relationships and friendships in a way that I hadn't been able to during most of high school. My musings often wandered back to sexuality, and how it played such a greater part in other peoples' lives, but not so much in mine. I eventually came to accept that I was, indeed, asexual, as the idea lodged itself more and more in my head. I found myself often pushing myself away from relationships where I might end up in a sexual situation. So I'm now resolved to move more freely socially, reminding myself that I should never worry about the issue of sexuality unless it became immediate. I feel that I should chronicle how different social life is when you're dealing with differences of sexuality, especially lesser-known sexualities like asexuality. There has to be an alternate way to interact with other people beyond the context of parties, sex and booze: this is my search for that.

Beyond my personal experience, I want to document asexuality as I see it in the world and as I stumble upon it in my studies and random readings. Where does sexuality stop and asexuality begin? Is asexuality really such a new concept, or does it have more historical and current context? I'm not repulsed by the idea of sex, and I tend to take both academic and personal looks at it. Asexuality should be examined both in relation to other sexualities and the culture that is being formed around it.

And so, we'll take a look at asexuality and all the fun things to do with it! Wheeee!

The Asexualist

My name is Erin, and this is my blog.

So I've come to use the label "asexual" recently--and I went through the rites of passage for all Internet-dwelling asexuals: joined AVEN (www.asexuality.org), read all the little essays and explanations, and started up a new blog.

Most blogs I've started have withered and died from a simple lack of focus or lack of input. That is not to say that I never have anything to talk about. Oh, I have oodles. But I feel narcissistic talking about myself outside of my deviantART journal. So I thought--hold on; surely there's still something to be said on the subject of asexuality. That can be the focus here. Even though on AVEN it's a very well-discussed subject, there's not a ton of organized talk about it. Therefore, consider this post as tossing my hat in the ring. Let us prove to the statisticians that we're not all uneducated, closeted weirdoes!

I wished to imitate my favorite asexual blogger down at Asexy Beast (http://theonepercentclub.blogspot.com) and choose a specific topic to commentate (in her case, asexuality in pop culture), but recently I realized the folly of this. I am alllll about doing a million things at once: I draw, paint, write, play cello, piano, and guitar, sing, do martial arts, and my God, I could just exhaust myself listing crap. So this will be a more general blog about asexuality, from a personal perspective.

One of my biggest issues in asexuality is when it is dismissed by the argument that, if there's nothing happening, what's the big fuss about? But the whole thing is, just because sex is not happening doesn't mean that nothing is happening. Asexuals face lifestyle differences in many ways that aren't immediately apparent. And it's not just the issue of being propositioned by your drunk friend that one time, and then trying to keep their attention span long enough to explain why exactly you'll not be having sex with them anytime soon. We live in a society that's both sexual and repressed at the same time, and asexuals are caught right in the middle of it all.

So join me in my fantastical quest through the world of asexuality. Will I survive? Will you survive? Will we cast the one ring into the fires of Mt. Doom? ...We'll see.