Ceremonial Proclamations: What They Are, Why They’re Essentially Meaningless, And Why You Should Get One Anyway

You may have seen the news that the Seattle Aces & Aros got a Ceremonial Proclamation, signed by the Governor of Washington, declaring October 20th-26th, 2019, to be Asexual Awareness Week in the State of Washington.

This was a very exciting moment for us, and as far as I’m aware, the first time that Ace Week has been recognized in this way anywhere!

Needless to say, it’s a big deal! A big deal for the Seattle group and a big deal for the ace community as a whole.

But how did we pull it off? How did we get a busy governor, a former presidential candidate, to take time out away from running a state to sign a piece of paper officially declaring it to be Asexual Awareness Week?

Simple: We asked.

The reason it had never been done before wasn’t that it was too hard, it’s that it was probably just never tried to any great extent.

So does this mean that the governor is fully on board the Ace Pride train? Does this mean we’re going to get a black tie reception in Olympia in honor of Ace Week?

Not exactly… (Not yet, anyway…)

So what does this mean?

Policy-wise, and from the perspective of the business and laws of the State of Washington: Absolutely nothing. Nothing at all. This is just a fancy piece of paper with a shiny seal on it. The website to request a Ceremonial Proclamation even has a disclaimer that can be paraphrased as “RT =/= Endorsement”.

But symbolically, this is HUGE. It is officially Asexual Awareness Week in Washington. Signed, sealed, delivered. This is real, this is happening, and here’s a fancy piece of paper with a shiny seal to prove it. This matters and we matter. People see it and they are proud, and excited, and validated, and they want to tell everyone they can about it. Things like that are the essence of what Ace Week is all about.

What is a Ceremonial Proclamation, anyway?

From the page for requesting one from the State of Washington:

Ceremonial proclamations recognize a day, week or month for a specific issue or occasion. The intention of a proclamation is to honor, celebrate, or create awareness of an event or significant issue.

In other words, it’s basically a way to get the word out about something, using a superficial government document that declares it to be important. It’s not an official policy stance from the governor and it does not necessarily represent the views or beliefs of the government. It won’t even be announced or posted on a government website. Hence the word “ceremonial”.

A ceremonial proclamation typically follows this form:

WHEREAS this is a Thing;

WHEREAS this Thing is important;

WHEREAS there are people in Place who are interested in Thing;

WHEREAS this Place is totally awesome;

THEREFORE I, Important Person in Place declare it to be


When you’re requesting a ceremonial proclamation, you actually write all of that yourself! So you get to decide what’s important and how you want to present it, then you send it in. Now, the office might edit it slightly (they did with ours), but it will fundamentally be what you wrote for them.

For the most part, ceremonial proclamations will celebrate the mundane and uncontroversial. Recognizing National Teacher Day or Cowboy Poetry Week isn’t going to move the needle in an election.

At the same time, there is some level of validation here. It’s not completely a rubber stamp, sign anything that comes along procedure. There is some level of vetting that goes into it. Completely frivolous requests will probably get tossed, and governor or mayor isn’t going to want to be embarrassed by signing something that goes against what they believe in. So while this means that the governor probably won’t be marching in the Pride Parade with us next year, it does mean that he (and his staff) is enough of an ally to be willing to have his name associated with it.

Which brings me to another point… These sorts of proclamations are promotional all around. The group requesting one wants to use it to promote their pet issue, and the person signing it wants to promote themselves. You see their name next to the thing you like, supporting the thing you like, so you’re naturally inclined to like them, too. They’re counting on that positive association. Look at the mayor, she’s on our side! So that is something you should consider when requesting one. If your governor or mayor or county executive or whatever is a trash fire of a person, you might be better off not requesting one. (Not that they’d sign it anyway…)

What does it take to get one?

You fill out a form on a website, then you wait.

That’s about it. There’s no lobbying, there’s no coordination, there’s no meetings, there’s no constituent letter-writing campaigns. You find your local government’s information on requesting a ceremonial proclamation, and follow the steps. They may be called something different in your area, so you may have to dig a little bit to find it. State, county, and city may all have a program like this, and there’s no reason not to submit a request to each of them.

There are a few things you’ll need to do to have a better chance of success, though:

  1. Understand the requirements for submission. They may very slightly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so make sure you pay attention to each one you submit.
  2. Submit your request from the relevant jurisdiction. If you live in Florida, the Governor of Idaho won’t care about your request. Same goes for cities and counties. If you’re in a group that straddle borders, try to have someone from each location submit the relevant ones.
  3. Coordinate your requests. If you live in a state with multiple ace groups, reach out to them to decide what you’re going to submit and who will be handling the requests, as well as how you’re going to handle the announcement if you get it.
  4. It’s all about promotion. So talk up how important Ace Week is. Go all in on how proud you are to live in a place that’s leading the way on LGBTQIA+ rights. Promotion promotion promotion.
  5. Start early. Washington had a lead time of a full month before the delivery date. That means you need to be submitting the request in mid-September, and to hit that deadline, you’ll need to be working on the wording for some time prior to that. This isn’t something you can roll up half-asleep Saturday morning before Ace Week and pull out of a hat.
  6. Don’t give up. This was our second year of submitting requests. Our first year, we had a false start with one of our attempts. They said it was going to the Mayor’s desk for a signature, but we never got confirmation that it was done, so we never publicized it beyond the group. We have a 1 in 4 success rate so far.

There are two parts to your submission: The “WHEREAS”es and the supplementary information.

The “WHEREAS”es are the draft text of the proclamation. That’s what will actually go on the piece of fancy paper that you get. I have the text that we used, and you’re free to borrow it. It worked once, so it’s a good starting point! I’ll post it at the bottom of this page.

The supplementary information is a bit more personal. You’ll need to talk about why Ace Week is important to your community. Make it relevant and timely. You’ll also want to talk about who you are. They’re more likely to listen to a request from an established activist or an organized group who’s marched in the pride parade several years running than Ace Q. Public, random person. But don’t let that stop you if you are just Ace Q. Public. You’ll never win if you don’t play, so give it a shot regardless.

Also, it’s important to point out that I’m very much new at this process myself. Plus, I’m only familiar with the process in the US, I don’t know what it’s like elsewhere. I think the more of us who try this, the more tips and tricks for success we’ll figure out. So if you give it a whirl, let me know how it goes! (And if any of you have the political inside track, please spill the beans on how to have a successful submission!)

Example Proclamation Text

Here’s the WHEREAS text that we used. Note that it is templatized with the location AND the population figure, so be sure to change that before you submit, or you’ll get a very goofy looking proclamation back. I used the 1% figure because it’s the most commonly cited value, and then I added the “at least” clause for wiggle room.

WHEREAS asexuality is an often unknown and misunderstood sexual orientation; and
WHEREAS people who are asexual but have not heard of asexuality may often feel confused, discouraged, and lonely; and
WHEREAS discovering asexuality can be an affirming, positive, life-changing experience; and
WHEREAS the goal of Asexual Awareness Week is to promote education and understanding about asexuality; and
WHEREAS there are estimated to be at least [1% OF POPULATION OF PLACE] asexual people in [PLACE]; and
WHEREAS the inclusive and diverse [PLACE] is proud to be at the forefront of LGBTQIA+ recognition and acceptance;

Asexuality Activism Report Card — October 2019

[This post is a submission for the October Carnival of Aces, hosted by @asexualawarenessweek, on the theme “Reaching In, Reaching Out”, and as been crossposted here from its original location.]

Every year around Ace Week, I tend to give encouragement and suggestions about the type of outreach or activism we can do.  This year, I’m going to do things a little different and instead give a report card on where I think we are in terms of various kinds of activism/outreach/visibility.

These are solely my opinions and my categories and are based on my experiences and not any kind of exhaustive research or survey.  Please feel free to provide your own grades and suggest other areas I might have missed. I also want to note that these grades are not an indictment or attack on any particular group, person, or project.  If you’re working on any of these things, you’re part of the solution and your work will make these grades improve over time, so keep at it!

And if you’re doing any of these things, please plug your projects, so people will know about them!

Intra Community – A

We focus an awful lot of energy inward, and that’s a good thing.  Extending a helping hand, providing resources, hosting chatrooms, making podcasts, organizing meetup groups, writing lengthy blog posts, hosting conferences and unconferences, selling t-shirts…  We’re doing a pretty good job supporting each other from the inside.

Queer Community – B

There are quite a few mainstream LGBTQ groups who openly support us.  We often hold our meetups at the queer community center in town.  Many aces are involved with LGBTQ organizations.  There’s an ace group who goes to Creating Change every year.  We’re an obligatory part of many organizations’ Pride messaging.  Lots of groups now deliberately use the “LGBTQIA” variant of The Acronym, and make it clear that “A” isn’t for “Allies”.  The ace group in the NYC Pride Parade this year (likely the biggest pride parade ever) was deliberately selected to be the 10th contingent, which is a huge deal because the parade was literally 12 hours long.

There are obviously challenges.  The uninformed who don’t understand why we’re at the table.  The deliberate trolls who relentlessly hound us online.  But those people will become irrelevant over time.

Unfortunately, this year marked the first time where I saw Rainbow Capitalism set its sights on us.  (With a big name ace group complicit in the exploitation…)  So that’s not good.

Everyone Else – D

We are not doing well in this area.  There are a few people out there who have heard of asexuality, but not many.  Most people use the word wrong or as the insulting punchline to a joke.  There isn’t a single household name who has come out as asexual and put themselves out there as an advocate.  It’s better than it was 8 years ago, but we’re still mostly invisible.

I don’t really have any suggestions here (except that if you’re famous and asexual, COME OUT), because most of the suggestions I’d have are covered in the other areas.

Direct Outreach – F

By “Direct Outreach”, I’m referring to deliberately trying to find people who are asexual but who are unfamiliar with the term or that do not recognize that they’re asexual for whatever reason.  It’s sort of a subset of a lot of these other groups.  (And it could probably use a better name…)

I’m calling this out explicitly, because I think this can have the most impact, if we can figure out effective ways of doing it, and I don’t think anyone’s really doing this.  (I sort of tried, but it didn’t really work out…) Basically, it would be able getting information about asexuality in front of the people who need it.  Taking over the search results for “Why don’t I want sex?”.  Writing articles about how some guys just don’t care about that sort of thing for a men’s magazine.  Maybe even a direct person to person conversation with that friend who never seems to date.  I don’t know, exactly.  If I knew, I’d be doing it.  But I think it needs to be done.

Fiction Media – C+

There are books with ace characters now!  Pretty much entirely YA, though.  And either a love story focused on the asexual character being asexual, or where asexuality is a tangential inclusion token with no real value.

There are TV shows with positive ace characters now!  Huge step forward from lows of Better Half!  Three shows, in fact!. Two of which have been canceled, and the third of which is about to have its final season.  And none of which are anywhere close to the popularity of House.  And none of which are anywhere close to the popularity of another show which completely erased a main character’s canon asexuality.

There are movies with ace char-  Oh no, no there aren’t.  Never mind.  Same with video games.

While some strides have been made, and having productions actively consulting with groups like Ace LA is a huge step forward, we’re still largely living an area of headcanons and unverified conjecture and Word Of God retcons.  There’s so much more than can be done.

Most importantly, we shouldn’t fawn over and praise any little scrap of hope.  Demand better.

If you’re in a position to make things, make them.  If you’re in a position to influence things to be made, influence them.  If you’re in a position to boost content that is made, boost it.

Non-Fiction Media – C-

There are starting to be articles about asexuality that go beyond the typical sensational “There are some people who claim to be asexual, can you believe that, isn’t that SO STRANGE” or the blandly informational 101 interview featuring a picture of sad grey people in bed.  Not many, but they’re there.  But, at the same time, there are blazingly dismissive assholes hiding behind Ph.Ds, writing things like “’demisexual,’ an unnecessary new substitute for the word ‘human’ ” in articles that are published in 20-fucking-19.

There are a number of podcasts and YouTube videos talking about asexuality, but I don’t know how much reach they have outside of the ace community.

There’s one documentary that hasn’t aged well and I think has been removed from most streaming services, and another that hasn’t been released yet and is phenomenal and you should all see it.  So that…  Two documentaries.

Taking a quick look on Amazon, there are about seven books of substance on asexuality.  Three are academic queer theory textbooks with a very specific audience.  Two are self-published.  One is a weird collection of essays, half of which have little to do with asexuality at all, written by someone who isn’t ace and who didn’t seem to bother even talking to aces for much of the book.  That leaves one book about asexuality for a general audience written by an asexual that had a real publishing run.  Just one.

So, y’know, Cs get Degrees or whatever, but we can do soooo much better in this area.  Someone go write a book about asexual dating.  Someone go write a book about asexual history.  Go.  Do.  Now.

Education/Schools – D

Well, it seems like it’s getting at least mentioned occasionally, and groups like Asexual Outreach have put some work towards this.  But we’re still left out of sex ed in most places, and when we are included, the information can be confused, inaccurate, or even ridiculed by the instructor.  Tackling this area will, over time, help out every other area on this list, because the next generations will all know and understand what asexuality is, and we won’t have to start from zero in order to get anything done.

Political/Legal – F

Earlier this year, I did a cursory review of anti-discrimination laws as they pertain to asexuality.  Where asexuality was protected, it was often by accident.  Only one state explicitly mentioned asexual people.  Many states which did have strong LGBT anti-discrimination protections have defined “sexual orientation” in such a way to exclude asexuality.  Even the “Equality Act” that the Democrats have made a lot of noise about this year has that narrow definition.

We need to start making connections with politicians and political groups, and we need to start leveraging our connections with queer organizations to get them to push for better language in these laws.  (Many of the non-discrimination laws were deficient or bizarre in multiple ways, so we’d all be better off with improvements.)

The Seattle group did manage to get a Ceremonial Proclamation from the Governor of Washington in recognition of Ace Week this year! But, uh, those things have zero political or legal weight to them, so it doesn’t change the grade. (I’m going to write another post about how ceremonial proclamations are pointless and why you should get one anyway…)

And I should note that it’s an F— as far as protections for aromantics…

Health Care – D+

Well, we managed to get parts of the DSM-V rewritten.  But even those parts are less than ideal.  There are some therapists and doctors who are well versed in asexuality, and others who, as I mentioned above, hide behind their Ph.Ds writing horrible things and going unchecked.  There’s a raft of sex pills with marketing that explicitly targets people who are probably asexual but don’t know it yet, trying to sell them worthless junk that will make them suddenly black out randomly or permanently change the color of their skin.  We’re still not an option on the clipboard the doctor hands you to fill out.  We’re still forced to take unnecessary and invasive tests for no practical reason.

I think we need to be showing up at health care conferences.  We need to be reaching out to local providers.  We need to be telling people how they should be treating us, instead of letting them fumble around and hopefully get it right on their own.

Overall GPA: 1.59

A 1.59 out of 4.

Now, like I said at the beginning, that doesn’t mean people who are working on these things are doing a bad job, or that we’re failing as a whole. It means we have work to do. And all of the activists out there know we have work to do, and that’s why they’re out there doing it! The point of this report card is to inspire people to get involved, to stand up and say, “I think I can help make this better”. That’s all activism is.

We have a lot of work to do. Time to get busy.

AAW Day 7: Assorted Bits of Ace

So…  This is really hard to say, but I feel that I have to tell the truth.  You all deserve to know.

I don’t really like Doctor Who.

There.  I said it.  I’m awhovian.

I don’t hate Doctor Who, I just don’t really care for it.  I know I’m supposed to.  Everyone else does.  I’ve tried to like it.  There’s been the black and white ones, the ones with the question mark umbrella, the ones with the bow-tie, and the ones with the guy that played “The Actor” in that episode of People Like Us.  I even had a Doctor Who book that taught me about Timelords and Tardises back when I was ten.  But none of them grabbed me.  I just don’t feel it.

Sometimes it’s difficult to be around ”normal” people when they start talking about River Song or Daleks or Time Travelling Telephone Booths.  I just don’t understand them.  Sometimes, I feel broken and alone.

Regarding other “ace” things…

I think our flag is kinda ugly.  It’s great that we have one, I get the symbolism, and I’ll use it where appropriate, but come on…  Black and white and grey and purple bands?  Looks a bit like a broken Atari game.  But still…  It’s mine, it’s ours, and I’ll take it.  Plus, the colors themselves are fairly distinctive.

Cake.  I like some cake.  Not all cake, but some.  I tried to get a cake for AAW in order to celebrate.  Unfortunately, they don’t seem to sell cake for one.  So I had to get a big unfrosted cake and some frosting to go with it.  That meant I had to try to put frosting on the cake.  I failed.  I also thought about bringing the cake into work, but I realized that I didn’t have any kind of cake transportation device, so I’d have no way to frost it at home and still get it to the office without creating a huge mess.  So much uneaten cake.  Sad.

(Now I’m reminded of the “Celebrate with Cake!” ads from GTA San Andreas…)

I’m not a ring person.  I tried wearing a black ring all week and I hated every moment of it.  It felt like everyone was staring at it, which, I guess they’re supposed to do, since it’s for visibility and all, but…  It just felt weird.  It seemed like it was in the way all the time.  And my fingers just aren’t built for rings.  No one mentioned it, either.  Next year, I’m going to have to find a bracelet or something instead, because I don’t think I can do the ring again.  (The ace shirt, however…  That one I can do, even though it’s not my typical style.)

Then there’s cuddles.  Not a big fan of cuddles.  Even with kittens.  (Kittens themselves are okay, though.)  Cuddles were often uncomfortable for me and I usually felt like I had to fake interest in them.

Anyway, this concludes my Asexual Awareness Week series.  Stay tuned in the future, when I return to my ordinary question-and-answer/wall-of-text posts.  Thanks for reading!

AAW Day 6: Masturbation

One of the most common question asked of asexuals is “Do you masturbate?”.

The answer:  Yes.  I do.

(Not all of us do.  Some of us do, some of us don’t, and some of us can’t.)

(BTW, it’s NOYDB.  So stop asking.  Anyway…)

It generally confuses people when we do, though…  (It even confuses us sometimes.)

It’s not just “scratching an itch” for me.  It’s not “just a biological function.”  It’s not “cleaning the pipes.”   It’s not a way to calm an undirected libido or prevent nighttime accidents.  It’s not some bothersome vestigial leftover of the sexuality I’m supposed to have.  It’s none of that for me.

I do it because I like it.  It feels good.  It’s fun.

And it does not invalidate my asexuality to feel this way.

Asexuality means that I’m not sexually attracted to anyone, it does not mean that my equipment doesn’t function.  It functions, and how.

You don’t have to be sexually attracted to someone to become aroused.  You don’t have to be sexually attracted to someone to experience and enjoy an orgasm.  All you have to do is touch your sensitive bits in the right way and presto!

I never understood the old religious claim that “Masturbation isn’t necessarily a sin, but lust is, and you have to have lust in your heart in order to masturbate, because you’re fantasizing while you do it.”  It just didn’t make sense to me. I never had lust.  I never fantasized.  When I first heard it, I was young and had only recently started masturbating.  At the time, I just figured that I was new and I hadn’t figured out quite what I was supposed to be doing, and that when I got older, something would kick in and I’d start fantasizing and feeling lust and have to confront the moral question then. (And all this even though I was never actually religious…)  But all that happened was I got older.  The lusting and fantasizing never began.

I don’t fantasize.  I just can’t.  I’ve tried, though.  I tried to picture naked people doing naked people things.  I tried to imagine erotic scenarios.  It never worked for me.  I tried because it was supposed to help.  It was supposed to turn on the sexual overdrive and make everything ten times more exciting.  All it did was distract me.  I had to concentrate so hard on the mental stage direction that I lost focus on what I was doing.  It was so much effort to get the imaginary naked woman in the right pose and performing the right motions that the slightest stray thought would kick me out of the fantasy and force me to start over.

If you start to plan out the script of your sexual fantasy because your brain doesn’t do improv in that genre, that’s a pretty good sign that something is up.

That bothered me for a long time.  Everyone else fantasized while they masturbated and I just couldn’t.  That bothered me more than my lack of interest in dating ever did.  Not wanting to ask a girl out could conveniently be explained away by shyness or social anxiety.  But not being able to include her in a sexual fantasy that would have stayed in my mind and been free of awkward conversations and fear of rejection?  That made me feel broken.

I eventually overcame that, well before I discovered asexuality.  I realized that it didn’t do anything for me, I just didn’t think in that way, and it wasn’t actually a problem for me.  I enjoyed masturbating adn I wasn’t going to let something like that stand in the way.

So, that brings up what is probably the second most common question asked of asexuals:  “If you’re not attracted to anyone, what do you think about when you masturbate?”

(Again, NOYDB.)

What do I think about?  Furniture.  (No, really.  I have planned out how to decorate a room while involved.)  My day.  The plot of some TV show.  Video games.  Politics.  Music from the 80’s.  The next vacation I’m going to take.  The weather.  But most of all, I think about two specific things:

“That feels good.”


“That feels even better.”

“Attraction, not Action”

I think I’m going to use “Attraction, not Action” instead of “Orientation, not Behavior” to talk about asexuality from now on.  I accidentally used it in a Facebook post this morning because I was in a hurry and couldn’t remember the “orientation” line. Seems to work better anyway.  Shorter to type, too.  Plus, it avoids the objection that some other people have about asexuality being called an orientation because it’s not exactly “oriented” in any particular direction.

I’m sure I’ve heard it before, though.  I just can’t figure out where.

AAW Day 5: Love

I’ve been in love before.

She invaded my dreams.  She monopolized my thoughts.  I’d talk to her for hours every day.  I’d smile whenever I saw anything that reminded me of her.  I’d laugh about something she said days after she said it.

I wanted to spend every moment with her.  I wanted to share my life with her.  There were no secrets.

I saw her face when I closed my eyes, I felt her touch after she was gone, I smelled her hair on the breeze, I heard her voice in the silence.

She was everything to me.

I just wasn’t all that interested in sleeping with her.

AAW Day 4: Porn

Yes.  Porn.

I’ve looked at porn before.  In fact, porn is a big reason how I knew that I was different sexually than most other people.

You see, everyone else seemed to really like porn.  Really really like it.  And I didn’t.  Not all of it, anyway.  After I got past the initial rebellious feelings of “OOH, I’M LOOKING AT BOOBIES!”, I just felt bored.

Yes, bored.

I was supposed to like it.  I was supposed to fantasize about taking part in every scene. I was supposed to turn into a drooling horn dog at the mere hint of an exposed nipple.

But I just didn’t.

It was repetitive.
It was fake.
It looked uncomfortable.
It was formulaic and predictable.

Thoughts ran through my mind…

No one ever does those things.
That would pull a muscle.
The camera angle is horrible.
The lighting is horrible.
Why is she pretending to have an orgasm when no one in the scene is touching anything capable of producing that reaction?

I didn’t want to do pretty much anything I saw.  I could not imagine myself in the scenes.

I wasn’t disgusted by it. (Well, most of it, anyway…) I didn’t have a moral objection to it. But I wasn’t all that excited by it, either.  Yes, I would sometimes get aroused, but more often than not, I’d become distracted by poor staging or unrealistic activities and lose the arousal before I could really put it to good use.  (Yes, I’d get aroused.  Arousal is not the same as attraction.  I’d get aroused because, well, it’s sex, and some part of my brain knows that sex thoughts should produce an erection because sex thoughts may be followed by sex.  Plus, being the owner of one of the sets of equipment shown in the videos, I knew that some of the activities would be pleasant, so a signal would get sent downstairs to prepare it for those sorts of pleasant activities.)

Sometimes I’d pause the videos and look in the background to see what books or movies or games they had on a shelf, or to figure out what city was in the background out the window.  Little mysteries like that were often far more entertaining than the repetitive in-out-in-out mechanics in the foreground.

At first, I just thought that I hit a bad batch.  Like maybe everything I looked at just wasn’t all that good.  There were a few pictures of “cute” girls that were nice to look at, but I didn’t find any “hot” girls that I’d like to have my way with.  That’s what porn is supposed to be all about, right?  So I went exploring.  Surely there was something out there I’d like.

Maybe I’d like blondes.
Maybe I’d like brunettes.
Maybe I’d like black women.
Maybe I’d like Asians.
Maybe I’d like redheads.
Maybe I’d like skinny girls.
Maybe I’d like fat girls.
Maybe I’d like goths.
Maybe I’d like S&M.
Maybe I’d like grannies.
Maybe I’d like nannies.
Maybe I’d like shaved.
Maybe I’d like natural.
Maybe I’d like cheerleaders.
Maybe I’d like lesbians.
Maybe I’d like gay men.
Maybe I’d like two on one.
Maybe I’d like three on one.
Maybe I’d like big breasts.
Maybe I’d like flat chests.
Maybe I’d…  Maybe…

Maybe not.

I went through just about every permutation, combination, variation, deviation and perversion that’s on the Internet and virtually none of it appealed to me in any way.  (Well, okay, there was a bit of aesthetic attraction toward the redheads, but other than that…)  The vast majority of it was dull and boring. The more it turned to stereotypical “porno movie with porn stars” (You know, the “Did you order a pizza, ma’am?” variety), the less appealing it became.

That bothered me.  I was supposed to like it, right?  I mean, I was supposed to have a primal reaction.  There were supposed to be urges and all that.  Everyone else got all excited by it and talked at length about all the hammering, nailing, screwing, and various other assorted construction-related metaphors that they fantasized about doing with this porn star or that porn star.  All I got was a feeling that I’d wasted my time and money.

It wasn’t until I discovered that I was asexual that I realized what was going on.  It wasn’t that I just hadn’t found some narrow subniche that would do it for me, it wasn’t that I’m just picky, it’s that nothing would really do it for me, ever.  Porn would never trigger the emotional reaction in me that it did in other people.  Where other people saw a stream of fantasies and desires, I saw a poorly filmed video of mostly naked people doing things to each other that neither one really seemed to be interested in being a part of.

Now that I know I’m ace, I’ve gone back to look at porn from time to time.  I’ve realized that the stuff that I do find interesting is almost always well-lit, well-framed, in-focus, it has a pleasing array of colors and shapes, and the people in the shot generally seem to be willing and engaged.  In other words, it seems to be far more important to me that the picture be a good photograph in general, rather than necessarily be erotic or revealing or whatever.

So, in conclusion, what I guess I’m really trying to say here is:  If you happen to make homemade porn videos, buy a bright light and a tripod and smile once in a while.  Seriously.

AAW Day 3: Attraction

The words “hot” and “sexy” might as well be in a foreign language.  I don’t relate to them at all.  They always seem to be used to describe people or things that I find artificial, impractical, and unappealing.

I had a girlfriend once who complained that I thought she was “cute”.  She didn’t want to be “cute”, she wanted to be “hot”.

My brain is simply not wired to understand it.  When someone says “Check her out, she’s so hot”, what I see is someone with oversized lips, plastic skin, breasts that’ll make her lose her balance, a face with more paint and spackle on it than my house, and it’s all wrapped up in clothes that cannot be comfortable to wear.  Those features stand out and scream that I’m looking at an artificial creation instead of a person.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong for a person to like that sort of thing.  I’m just saying that I can’t.

I do experience aesthetic attraction.  There are certain people or types of people that I do enjoy looking at.  Those people will stand out and I will notice them.  But all I want to do is look.  It’s like I’m looking at a cute puppy or beautiful picture.

Those are words I understand.  “Cute”, “Beautiful”, sometimes even “Pretty”.  I see people who I consider cute or beautiful.  There is always something about them that will stand out.  Maybe it’s the clothes, maybe it’s the hair, maybe it’s the smile.  But whatever it is, it always feels natural.  It feels real.

But even so, I get the feeling that I experience aesthetic attraction even less often than most people experience sexual attraction.  It’s a rare feeling.