Friday, November 30, 2007


For autistic people, "Curebies" are those folks who see autism as a disease in need of a cure. This sometimes results in dehumanizing the person that they're supposedly so concerned about. Some clever folks have come up with a "Curebie Bingo" card so that you can play a game while Curebies rant to you about how damaged you are (And please do look at the link, or this post will not make any sense).
Now, does this sound vaguely familiar to anyone? People chugging on the sexuality Haterade (c) have no name, and hopefully their presence will be too short-lived for them to acquire one. I tried to create my own "Self-Appointed Sexuality Police Bingo" card, but my MS Paint skills are not quite that bomb-ass. But, if you'd like to make a custom card to take to your next Coming-Out/Bingo tourney, here are some options, none of which I am making up:
  • This is just a phase you're going though.
  • Don't you want to keep your options open?
  • You're going to die alone.
  • Who's going to give me grandchildren?
  • You must be gay. Why are you repressing it?
  • So you don't have a penis/vagina?
  • But sex is a natural human function.
  • Maybe you're just autistic.
  • You're just too ugly to get laid.
  • You're pretty/handsome. Why don't you want to date?
  • You must have been abused as a child. Why are you repressing it?
And etc., etc., etc. I'm aware that this is a controversial statement, but I think that autistic people and asexual people share more than we might realize. Whether autistic, asexual, or both, we are often forced to be outsiders. Whether for neurotypical (non-autistic) or sexual people, the world we live in was created with someone else in mind. It's up to us to change it into a place where we can all feel more comfortable.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Here's a Holiday Post!

Today's "duh" moment: doesn't want you to be happily single. They have stockpiled a huge number of articles about dating, some of which are fairly medieval. However, I came across one called "The Single Person's Holiday Survival Guide" (feel free to gag if you'd like), which actually made some praise-worthy points. Here is the best idea:

You don’t need an almost-fiancĂ© to start some amazing holiday habits. Invite a group of friends to go ice-skating, hot-chocolate tasting, tree-trimming (you provide tree and craft supplies, they provide artistic genius). Or if you and your friends are less traditional, organize a totally non-seasonal outing that lets people take a much-needed break from holiday overload—book a group of tanning beds, go play paintball, invite them over to bake non-Christmas cookies (get Halloween cookie cutters and orange icing instead of red and green sprinkles) or go to a dinosaur museum. Either way, give your event a clever name starting with your own name (think “George’s Jolly Paintball Massacre” or “Lisa’s Blizzard Tan Bonanza”), and send out real invites to signal the start of your cool legacy.

Well, except for the whole tanning part. This is 2007, folks-- hello, melanoma! But otherwise, I think starting a tradition with friends is a very good and asexy idea. Or hell, you can even start a tradition with yourself. Our culture seems to send the message that single people are somehow supposed to be unmoored. In a rerun of "Sex and the City" that I was watching last night, Charlotte says, with much fear in her eyes: "That's why I rent my apartment! So when I meet someone, there won't be a power imbalance!" But just because we have no one to answer to doesn't mean we need to have a transient lifestyle (unless we want one, of course). Traditions give people warm, fuzzy feelings, which is something no one should have to miss out on.
I used to think that everyone was always having much more fun than me. If you also think this, then I'm sure the feeling intensifies during The Holidays. But I realized something a few years ago. And the truth is, nobody is clinking hot-cocoa mugs with their sweetie in front of a roaring fire. Everyone is at home by themselves watching DVDs from Netflix. Might as well invite a few of those people over to make Halloween cookies...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy AVENiversary to me!

Today is my AVENiversary-- it's been exactly two years since I joined AVEN.
My thoughts upon this momentous day primarily revolve around: "ONLY two??" Because it seems like much, much, longer. Maybe AVEN years are like dog years...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sneak Peek! Asexuality 101

Okay, so it's not exactly the next New York Times #1 Bestseller, but it is an advanced reading copy...of something. This is my draft for the Stanford LGBT group's info card about asexuality. So if you've been wanting some basic information, read on...

Everything you’ve always wanted to know about
but were afraid to ask!

1. What is asexuality?

Asexuals are simply people who don’t experience sexual attraction.

2. Who can call themselves asexual?

The word “asexual” is just a label. If you feel that it is helpful in describing you, then go ahead and use it. The asexual community is extremely diverse—we are all ages, races, genders, and experiences.

3. How many people are asexual?

According to a recent study, 1% of the population has never felt sexually attracted to anyone.

4. But isn’t being sexual part of being human?

Not necessarily. Sex drive is a bell curve. Just as there are people who are very desiring of sex, there are also people who do not desire it at all. Asexuals are a natural part of the spectrum of sexuality.

5. Can asexuals fall in love?

Definitely. Non-sexual relationships can be just as meaningful as sexual ones. Sexual love is just one of love’s many forms.

6. How is asexuality different from celibacy?

While celibacy is a conscious choice that people make, asexuality is an orientation. Like being straight or gay, it is just the way we are.

7. Are all asexuals virgins?

Some are, but not all. While some people have known they are asexual from an early age, others experiment with sex before coming to the conclusion. Asexuals are physically capable of sex, and may choose to have sex for any variety of personal reasons.

8. Does being asexual mean you’ll die alone?

No. Asexuals may choose to live with any combination of family, houseplants, friends, roommates, pets, spouses, or partners. Part of the reason why it may seem difficult to form asexual relationships is because our orientation is still relatively little-known. Speed the process and share what you’ve learned here with others!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Restaurants, Scenes for Transformation?

One thing about writing a blog on asexuality & pop culture: I don't have much to say about The Holidays. At any rate, I hope you had a grand Thanksgiving. Now, on to a musing!

Usually, I don't think about the fact that I don't date. If I do, it's usually to affirm my relief at not having to worry if my hair looks perfect. The only time I feel wistful about dating is when I see a very strange and atmospheric restaurant, such as this one. I love going out with my friends, and going out with my family is always fun, especially if they pay. But even though dates are, I am assuming, usually awkward and uncomfortable, sparks always fly in strange and atmospheric restaurants. Well, at least in the movies, which is where 90% of my dating experience comes from. Films tell me that dates are a mysterious, magical time when anything can happen, unlike outings with family and friends, which are usually comfortingly predictable. Films tell me this, and my mind knows that it's a suggestion, not a reality.
My inner location scout just sighs.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

(A)sex on Chesil Beach

Ian McEwan's new book On Chesil Beach contains one of the most awkward euphemisms for sex I've ever read. For your wincing pleasure, here it is:

"...Edward had been mesmerized by the prospect that on the evening of a given date in July the most sensitive portion of himself would reside, however briefly, within a naturally formed cavity inside this cheerful, pretty, formidably intelligent woman." --pg. 8

Now, I will be the first to tell you that the human body is a beautiful thing, but really now, "naturally formed cavity"? Yuck! However, I will forgive McEwan this, because also contains a depiction of the first asexual character I have ever read about in a novel. Since the book takes place in the 1960s, the term "asexual" isn't used. But McEwan's descriptions of Florence, while not always flattering, are extremely realistic and on the whole, gentle. Much like Reading Rainbow, you don't have to take my word for it. Here are some quotes that, among others, really sealed the fact that Florence is, indeed, "one of us":

"Florence suspected that there was something profoundly wrong with her, that she had always been different...Her problem, she thought, was greater, deeper, than straightforward physical disgust; her whole being was in revolt against a prospect of entanglement and flesh...she simply did not want to be "entered" or "penetrated". Sex with Edward could not be the summation of her joy, but was the price she must pay for it." --pg. 10

If Florence lived today, I suspect she would be a regular at London's AVEN meetups. However, in Chesil Beach she attempts to do what millions of asexuals have done and still try to do: go through the motions. Since this is a literary novel, there are, of course, disastrous consequences. Later in the story, Florence tells Edward, her husband:

"Not only am I no good at [sex], I don't seem to need it like other people, like you do. It just isn't something that's part of me. I don't like it, I don't like the thought of it. I have no idea why that is, but I think it isn't going to change."-- pg. 187

My favorite thing about Florence is that even though she's asexual, she isn't dispassionate. It's clear that she deeply loves Edward, possesses a zest for life, and as a professional violinist, is truly dedicated to her music. Since music is the "sex" in my life as well, I really enjoyed that McEwan chose to make her a musician. And since I have the attention span of a locust, I also appreciate that this book is very small. I recommend it for short train trips-- and as a cautionary tale. It's a pocket-sized manual for what not to do in a "mixed" (sexual & asexual) relationship. If you somehow missed the memo that communication in a relationship is key, Chesil Beach will remind you. Fail to communicate, and you could end up the victim of a strange and speedy epilogue. Don't say I didn't warn you.
For once, I've talked about a current and popular book, so I have hopes that some of you have read it as well. What did you think? (Well, besides the fact that you thought the ending was odd...)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tastes Like Tibet

I just got back from our A-Team meetup in Berkeley. We ate Tibetan food (no, I didn't find yak on the menu) and I actually tried hot bubble tea. Crazy. We had a nice group of 5 people, both old and new faces. One of the people from Stanford brought a card that their LGBT center had made to answer questions about transgender people. And they want to make one about asexuality! Apparently, all we have to do is provide the copy, which I'll be working on this week. We'll have literature, at last!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Asexy Thing of November: Jens Lekman

Dear Sweden,
You know that celebrity who's so awesome or super-cute that if they suddenly showed up on your doorstep, you would say, "oh, screw my sexual orientation, let's go out!" For me, that celebrity is Jens Lekman. Well, he's famous in Sweden, where his music tops the pop charts. (And we get stuck with High School Musical-- how fair is that?) Anyway, I would have lukewarm English beer and vegan pancakes anytime with you, Jens.

It's extremely rare that I look at a photo of a guy and go, "he's cute", but Jens does it for me. Must be his dulcet-toned mispronunciations of "th" or propensity to rhyme too many things with "cigarette lighter". Or maybe those Arctic winters just preserve people well. Jens, this is getting a little awkward for us, so I'm going to have to stop here. But ooh la la-- ever been an asex symbol?
Pop love,
PS: A-Team meetup on Sunday! I'm psyched.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Different Loving

Need a bit more titillation? Well, here we go: Dominance and submission.

Also at the Great SF Book Swap, I picked up a weighty tome (525 pages!) called Different Loving: The World of Sexual Dominance and Submission. That sounds pretty scandalous, but it's actually quite the serious study. Ah yes, I guess I'll have to find my cheap thrills elsewhere.

However, I've read the first 50 pages, and I'm discovering that asexuals and D/Sers (as the book calls them) have more in common than I ever thought possible. Even though Aces avoid sex while D/Sers dream up new ways of having it, we've both been pegged as vaguely non-human. Aces and D/Sers see straight, purely reproductive sex as nothing to get excited about, and so the more haterific in our midst label both groups "sexual deviants". Funny, isn't it?

Both groups suffer from a lack of research and education, and young members often feel freaky and alone. Different Loving also makes a good case for the idea that we all suffer from sexual mores still mired in Victorian-era theories. If medicine was stuck in the same place that our sex research is, I'd be writing from a sanitarium right now. Cough, cough.

I also found the writers' attitudes (there are three of them) to be refreshing. They're not advocating certain kinds of behaviors, but encouraging us to live and let live, as long as our actions harm no one. And that is a view I'd like to see a lot more "experts" adopt.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Dilemma

Apparently, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry contains a reference to asexuality. Do I watch the movie in order to see this for myself? head hurts.
Hopefully, that is not related.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sensuous II

Hi friends, I'm back! I had fun hanging with my family in Washington. We saw many of the sights of Tacoma. Here's Hello Cupcake bakery:

If I say something is "better than sex", it doesn't mean much. To me, a great multitude of things are better than sex, from eating broccoli (nom nom nom) to whittling small animals out of driftwood. But those red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing? Pretty darn good. Not to mention, everything in Tacoma costs about half as much as it would in San Francisco. Pity about all those clouds.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Asexy in Seattle

Exciting- I'll be traveling to the Great Northlands for a few days. I'll be back on Monday. But until then, here's something to consider:
One thing the A community seems to agree on is our dislike of the phrase "just friends". It seems innocent enough, but insidiously fosters a belief that friends are somehow just not good enough. You don't need to be a scientist to know that the language we use influences the way we think. So, here's a nice piece of signage, created with my bombass MS Paint skillz. Feel free to print it out and post it prominently anywhere that relationships are discussed.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Firstly: I voted in Starbucks today. That was my polling place. Serious.
Secondly: Thanks for all the affirmations of my loveability. While I promise that an ego-boost wasn't what I was going for, who could resist? At any rate, friends and readers, you've proved to be a progressive bunch. Consider my hat eaten.
Thirdly: Let's talk about sensuality. It's not something I've ever thought much about. According to an article on,

"Frigid? Ugly? Boring? A plant?

These were the responses I got when I tossed out, "So, hey, what do you think an asexual is?" (Alright, so my friends aren't too smart.)"

(Damn straight they aren't. Where did you find these people?) Anyway, I would probably assume that a large number of people (of course, that do not read this blog), if asked whether asexuals can be just as sensual-- if not more so-- as sexual people, would answer "no".
Well, prepare for a little myth-busting.
While at The Great SF Book Swap, I picked up a book called The Psychologist's Book of Self-Tests. I do love to be quizzed, as long as I'm not being graded. So, I took a test called "How Sensual Are You?" which was created by a student for his honors thesis in psychology. Anyway, my results placed me solidly in the 50th percentile, which means I'm about as sensual as 50% of the population. The book's author, in an extremely pompous afterward to his student's test, states:

Our research did find that this scale was able to predict several elements of sexual behavior. Scores on this scale, for instance, are related to the age at which one has sex for the first time, the frequency with which one has sex, how long one's average sexual encounter lasts, and how much one enjoys touching and caressing. Nothing surprising about any of that.
--Louis Janda, PH.D.

Janda might have a PH.D., but he failed to tell us how exactly these things are related. Are we just supposed to assume that there's a positive correlation between sexuality and sensuality? For sexual people, maybe there is. But for asexuals, there definitely isn't such a correlation, which makes me think that the correlation for sexual people might be tenuous as well. For pop culture examples of sensual asexuals, take the hedonistic characters of the film Withnail and I. Or, recall Amelie, from the film of the same name, whose (a)sexuality has been debated on AVEN more than once. In one scene, Amelie describes the sensual pleasure she derives from running her hand through a bucket of lentils. At A-Team meetups, we'll joke about the fact that so many of us love to cook and eat. In fact, chocolate cake seems to have become asexuality's unofficial mascot.
We might seem like ascetics because it's so hard for some people's friends to believe that we naturally lack a sex drive-- they must think we're fighting off our urges by force of will. Not so. We enjoy the pleasures of the flesh as much as anyone else, just not- ahem- those pleasures.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

It's Finally Happened

"And if I seem a little strange
Well, that's because I am."
--The Smiths, "Unlovable"

I knew this would happen eventually; I just didn't expect it to be so soon: The vast majority of people I know (probably at least 90% of them) are in serious romantic relationships. I looked towards this day with a mixture of fear and twisted awe, but it actually hasn't been that bad at all. I'm glad to know that people can find others out there that love them and are willing to spend large amounts of time with them. Isn't that nice?
No one's gloated about how wonderful their relationship is. No one's felt sorry for me. No one's mentioned their great, single male friend. When I go places without my plus-one, there's just more wine and cheese for me. What was I so worried about?
The only problem is something I frequently fall victim to: Comparing myself to other people. I know that if you're going to compare yourself to other people, it should at least be people in a similar category to you. When it comes to relationships, I should think about the asexual people I know. When I do that, I'm a member of a vast majority. However, this is not an automatic response yet, and something my mind still has to work its way into.
This sudden rash of serious monogamy has had an unintended consequence: more openness from me about my sexuality. I'm normally a fairly private person, so this isn't saying much, but relatively speaking, it's a lot. I have a gut reaction; I'm scared that people might think I'm single because there's something wrong with me, and I want to make sure that they know there's a logical reason. In a better world (and it IS out there), people would say of my perennial singleness: "Oh, Ily's just a free spirit" or "Ily just values her time alone". I think that most of the people I know, bless them, are too evolved to say,
"SHE IS UNLOVEABLE!", but irrationally enough, this is my fear: What I think other people might be thinking. This kind of cross-personal meta-cognition is what makes being human such a weird experience. If you can find a way to balance it with boyfriends and girlfriends, more power to you.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


I recently became acquainted with a social networking site called, which stands for "Gay, Lesbian, and Everyone Else". It's not literally everyone else, but it gets a whole lot closer than Myspace or Facebook. I was so glad to see "asexual" as a choice under "Orientation" that I actually joined another stupid social networking site. If you're on Glee as well, you can be my friend. (Well, you can be my friend if you're not on Glee, but that's not the point.) My name there is ilypants.
Oh, and join my asexual group. I'm the only person in it right now, which, while a fitting reflection of most of my real life, is a little sad in cyberspace.

Friday, November 2, 2007


"You, like...sweat glitter. Are you a unicorn?"

I think my favorite queer acronym is still FABGLITTER. No, I can't picture the FABGLITTER Community Center either, but I am just a strange and random person.
The term was coined by Anything That Moves, a now-defunct magazine begun around bisexual issues.
And there's already an A in there, so we can just appropriate it. Hee hee.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Yay Genderform!

This site, Genderform, lets you make a little (or in my case, huge) web-thingie displaying the various labels we use for sexuality, gender, personality, etc. There are countless options for gender and orientation, and I had fun looking through them all. There were even some orientations I’d never heard of: Mesbian? Monosexual? Peopleplatonic? I was happily surprised to see “pan-romantic” (as well as bi-, homo-, and hetero-romantic) as an option. (“Pan-romantic” would be my affectional orientation—we all have one, but most peoples’ match their sexual orientation. If pan-romantic asexuality just makes you throw your hands up in confusion, try, err, being one.) The site states, “There are exactly 904 options here, and a total of 1.3524×10272 or 135 novemoctogintillion possible combinations, more than there are elementary particles in the universe.”
How-lee crap. So much for the gender binary.
The site also has statistics telling you how many people chose which identities. Interestingly, 10% of the page’s visitors chose “asexual”. 2% chose “pan-romantic”. Someone had even written in “borderline chapstick asexual.”
Think you’re the only [insert incredibly obscure sexuality] in the universe?
Maybe you’re not. Genderform is worth perusing for that reason alone.
I'm not going to post my web-thingie, because for some reason it ended up being as big as my head. But you should try it, it's fun!