Last week, my friend Minerva over at Hypomnemata wrote a series of five delicious posts on the topic of asexuality, in honor of Asexuality Awareness Week. I wanted to give you all a taste in hope that you hop on over to check out the subject in full (along with lots of fun and informative graphics and videos!)
In honor of this, my first experience of this week as a completely out asexual, I’ll be posting every day on a topic relevant to asexuals and the asexual community. For this post, I’ll be focusing on the many definitions of asexuality as well as the subtle side and subgroups present within the community. Tomorrow I’ll be tackling the subject of attraction and asexuality, and you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out the rest.
The last sense of attraction that I’ll talk about here is a bit more personal and a bit more murky, which is why I left it for last. I’m definitely not sure how much of what I’m about to say is generalizable to the asexual community as a whole, so don’t assume so. There is a sense of attraction that I generally feel in addition to aesthetic and intellectual and emotional (personality) which I would have to admit is decidedly physical.
Since I already established on Day 1 that asexuals experience love and can have a romantic or affectual orientation, I don’t think it’s unforeseen that some of us are going to want relationships. Personally, I’d be more than willing to give it the old college try. However, there’s an obvious question looming in the periphery of the discussion when talking about asexual relationships. How is it a relationship and not just a really close friendship?
The question of the day: should asexuals be considered part of the LBGTQ community? Honestly, I never really thought this was an actual question to be asked in the past. It was only when I attended my first meeting of the Smith College LGBTQ group that I became aware of how narrow the definition of community can actually be. A brief synopsis of the experience follows: (N.B. I’m pretty sure the group has changed since my time. They’re probably all lovely ladies now, not that they weren’t then, just a little judgy.)
So what does all of this have to do with asexuality? If you would have asked me a year ago, I would have said nothing. I perceived no contradiction or problematic interaction between my feminism and my asexuality. I technically still don’t, by I’m not the only feminist or asexual on the block. The way I (inexpertly) see it, the problems between asexuality and feminism revolve around three main topics:
1.) Helping women to have positive images of their bodies and sexuality
2.) Helping women to take control over the expression of their sexuality
3.) Combating negative perceptions of feminism
Before I really start all of this talk about the quarrels between feminism and asexuality, I’d like to point out that there are some issues on which we agree well, like breaking down gender roles in relationships, or challenging gendered notions of intimacy. We’re not all judgy all the time.
Go forth and learn awesome new things! Happy Monday.