Maybe I’m Not Really Asexual Because I’ve Had Sex

[Up to Main]

A lot of people think that having had sex is a disqualifier, and a lot of people use someone’s sexual history as a “gotcha”, that is, as clear, incontrovertible evidence that someone isn’t really asexual.

That you’ve had sex means nothing, as far as asexuality is concerned.

Sex is an activity.  It’s something you do.  A person’s sexual orientation is not tied to that person’s actions.  If that were the case, it would mean that there couldn’t be virgins who know that they’re straight or gay, and it would mean that a significant percentage of the population would have to identity as bisexual, after that drunken night in college or that high school sleepover experiment.  That would just be silly.  Sexual orientations are a description of a person’s pattern of sexual attractions, not their pattern of sexual actions.  If you’re not attracted to someone before and you’re still not attracted to someone after, whatever you did in the middle doesn’t change the fact that you’re still not attracted to them.  So how could that alter your orientation?

As with masturbation, some people carve out a limited number of acceptable reasons for an asexual person to have sex.  Baby-making and partner-pleasing generally top that list.  Other acceptable reasons include:  Because you’re curious.  Because you like how it feels.  Because a human is warmer than a sex toy.  Because you’re bored.  Because if you get your card stamped enough times you can earn a free sandwich.  Because it relieves stress.  Because it takes care of your libido.  Because it supposedly burns enough calories to make that second donut you had this morning guilt-free.  Because you want to.  Because that thing you just read made your privates all tingly.  Because why not?

And again, those are not the only acceptable reasons for an asexual to have sex, and none of those reasons mean someone isn’t asexual.

Even the type of sex or sexual activities you’ve done are irrelevant, from fully-clothed petting to a rimjob, from vanilla missionary piv to a two dozen person BDSM orgy, from once in your life to three times daily.  There isn’t some line where you suddenly cross from being asexual to not.

[Up to Main]

Maybe I’m Not Really Asexual Because I Masturbate

[Up to Main]

This is one of the more common doubts.  It’s been written about extensively, including elsewhere on this site.  So let me get right to the point:  Masturbating does not somehow disqualify you from being ace.  It’s that simple.

So why does this remain such a pervasive doubt?  Why do so many people think doing it means they can’t be asexual?  A large part of it is the cultural perception that masturbation is some sort of “substitute sex”, that it’s only done as a replacement for all the sex you can’t get with someone else.  This same attitude underlies the thinking that people who masturbate are losers who can’t get any, and that someone is a sexual failure if they discover that their partner masturbates.  In that line of thinking, someone who masturbates obviously wants sex with someone.

Well, that thinking is complete nonsense.  Masturbation is not substitute sex, it’s not always a replacement for “the Real Thing”.  It can, and does, exist on its own.

Some people think that masturbation means someone isn’t asexual because masturbation is a sexual activity, involving sexual organs.  Yeah, and?  What does that have to do anything?  The word “asexual” describes a sexual orientation, it does not mean someone is completely free of all sexual characteristics and can never, under any circumstances, take part in any activity that is sexual in nature.  Under that type of interpretation, they would also have to believe that the word “homosexual” refers to someone who consistently takes part in exactly the same type of sexual activity every time they do something or that heterosexual people are infinitely varied because they must always do something different.  Clearly, that’s a ridiculous assertion.

There is also a common belief that the reason someone masturbates may indicate whether or not someone is asexual.  Some people seem to think that the only acceptable reasons are to “handle a pesky libido” or to “clear out the pipes”.  Certainly, those are acceptable reasons for an asexual person to masturbate.  Here are a few others:  Because it relieves stress.  Because it relieves period cramps.  Because you’re bored.  Because you need to provide a sperm donation for your best friend’s IVF treatment.  Because if you don’t, you’ll have to clean the sheets.  Because you’re curious.  Because you like orgasms.  Because you’re taking part in a masturbate-a-thon for charity.  Because your partner likes to watch.  Because that thing you just read made your privates all tingly.  Because why not?  Because.

There are countless other becauses, countless other acceptable reasons for an asexual person to masturbate.  Just about the only because that might cause a legitimate doubt about your asexuality is “I masturbate because I’m sexually attracted to someone”.  But even that one can’t rule out demisexuality or gray-asexuality.  And it might not even rule out asexuality, as some of the other doubts will explore.

[Up to Main]

Maybe I’m Not Really Asexual, Because…: An Exploration of Doubts

Many people who are asexual will have doubts about whether or not they’re actually asexual at some point in time.  For some, it’s before they’ve embraced asexuality and the doubts stand in the way of recognizing that they’re ace, while for others, the doubts emerge after they’ve discovered that they’re ace and the doubts make them wonder if they’re really asexual after all.

Doubts are common.  It’s okay to doubt.  The doubts may never go away.

The doubts may usher in a new period of self discovery, or the doubts may simply be a temporary nuisance, the result of misinformation.

This series explores some common doubts that I’ve heard ace people express about their asexuality.  Sometimes I will ask questions.  Sometimes I will provide information.  This is meant to be a guidepost on your journey, a tool to help you find your way, but it is not meant to provide all the answers.  It is ultimately up to you to resolve these doubts on your own, as you are the only person who truly knows how you feel.

And it’s okay if you change how you see yourself or change how you identify after digging into a doubt.  You weren’t wrong before, you weren’t faking it or lying to people.  You just had an incomplete picture of who you are, and now that you know more, you are able to understand and present yourself in a more accurate way.

In general, my advice for any doubt is to take a step back and look at things from a somewhat outside perspective.  How do you compare to other people, the way they act, the things they say?  Are you like them, or is there a fundamental difference in your experience?

An Exploration of Doubts

Thoughts on a Parade

I marched with Asexuality SF in the 2017 San Francisco Pride Parade.  It was an amazing experience, and I’d like to share some of what I learned.

(I suppose this also counts as a submission to the July 2017 Carnival of Aces, since it’s about “Ace-ing it up Offline”…)

To get the full parade experience, please follow this link and start the song playing.  Additional music cues will come later at the appropriate times.

Finding your group is important.  I walked right by our marching group, which was squeezed in between a dance troupe and a tour bus.  Make sure your group is visible.  If possible, post pictures of your location on Facebook or Meetup or wherever else you’re organizing the march.  I’d even consider using something like Glympse or some other location tracker, so people can just home in on your signal.

Be prepared to wait.  We were told to arrive by 10 AM for an 11 AM step off.  At around 11:15, the “Drivers to your vehicles and start your engines!” call came down the street.  That was supposed to be the 15 minute warning.  And so we waited.  15 minutes.  30 minutes.  An hour.  An hour and a half.  We eventually started moving about two hours after that initial call, after having sucked on diesel exhaust from the tour bus for the whole time.

You group will probably be squeezed.  Realistically speaking, your ace contingent won’t be the largest group around.  The other groups in the area will start to take up more and more space.  We were crammed between a tour bus, a dance troupe who kept growing members and decided to practice their dance moves in the middle of our group, and the literally thousand+ member Google contingent.

Please pause the continuous loop of “Raise Your Glass” at this time.  The Oakland Fire Department requires you to dance the YMCAYour participation is mandatory.  You are at a Pride Parade, after all.

Good.  Now please resume the endless loop of Raise Your Glass.

Be prepared to move fast.  We were waiting waiting waiting.  Waiting waiting.  We lost a member to boredom.  Wait wait wait.  We’d sent out scouting parties to look at the other blocks, and they reported back that no one was moving.  Then, as I was about to head up the block to see what was going on, our block suddenly began to move.  I went back to our group, shouting “THE UNICORN JUST MOVED!”, and we scrambled to get lined up.  The tour bus took off down the street, and we started walking.  Then jogging.  Then full-out sprinting, when a monitor told us to “Move faster!”.  I don’t think we lost anyone in the scramble, but that was a real possibility.  If someone had been in the bathroom, or wandering around the block, they would have been left behind.

Be prepared to wait.  After we ran to the next block, we stopped again for a while, as the groups on the other side of the street moved their positions, too.

Please pause the continuous loop of “Raise Your Glass”. For the next bullet point, you must play Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling” as loud as possible.

It doesn’t matter once you roll.  You turn that corner and start down the street full of screaming, cheering people, and all that waiting and running and waiting and everything else that came before just disappears.  You are there and you are a part of something amazing for the next mile and a half.

I hope you went to the bathroom first.  Now that you’re marching, it’s a bit late to bring this up, but there aren’t any bathrooms for at least the next hour.  You’re also marching toward the crowds at the Pride Festival, so there’s probably going to be a line when you get there.

You may now resume the loop of “Raise Your Glass”.

Be prepared for the weather.  When we first got to the staging area, it was 60 degrees, overcast, and occasionally misting.  By the end, it was 70 and sunny.  We had off and on wind the whole time.  So bring sunscreen, jackets, umbrellas, water, whatever you expect you might need.

Have your water (and snacks) accessible.  I had mine in my backpack, which seemed like a great place for it, until I decided I needed some.  My backpack was on my back, under a flag cape, I had cameras and bags hanging off of me, and a pair of large flagpoles strapped to my chest.  There was no way that was all coming off so I could get to the water while we were on the move.  We had a rolling cart that was always available that was a good place to keep swag and water and stuff.  (However, that means that the cart needs to the hauled along for the entire parade.)

You don’t stop.  Once the parade gets moving, you’re on a conveyor belt.  You can’t stop.  If you do, you’ll be in the way of the dance group behind you, and they’ll expect you to take part in their marching dance to Michael Jackson’s Black Or White, and you may never get back to your marching group.  Now, it’s not entirely true that you never stop, but you have no idea how long you’re going to be stopped, but it’s never for very long, and you’d better be ready to move when the tour bus in front of you takes off again.

Take pictures.

Take lots of pictures.

No, seriously, take a lot of pictures.  One person in your group should act as a designated photographer and spend the entire time circling your group, taking tons of photos of the dancing and flag-waving and videos of the singing.  It’s great if everyone is taking occasional phone snaps of what’s going on, but make sure that it’s someone’s job that pictures get taken.  (And make sure that photographer has extra batteries and memory cards handy.)

And then share those pictures everywhere you can.  The point of being at a pride parade is to be visible, and you should work to extend that visibility beyond just the audience of the parade.  It’s one thing to say “Yes, we marched in Pride”, but it’s an entirely different matter to show a dozen pictures so people can see that you were there.  Live blog some of it, if you can.

Please pause the continuous loop of “Raise Your Glass”.  The tour bus in front of you has started blasting Icona Pop’s “I Love It”, which contains the refrain “I! DON’T! CARE!” and turns out to be a perfect ace pride anthem.

See what I was saying about pictures and videos?

You may now resume the loop of “Raise Your Glass”.

Put someone on roller skates, give them a flag cape, and have them dance around for the entire length of the parade.  Seriously, just do it.

Come decked out in an ace or aro getup.  People love costumes, and it can really help drive the sense of community, if people are wearing the flag colors or an ace t-shirt.

Come as you are.  If you don’t want to get dressed up, don’t worry about it.  Come as you are.  Just being there is important.

Have a few catchy slogans on signs.  We had someone with a sign that read “Asexuals Literally Give No Fucks”, and that sign caught a lot of people’s attention.  They took pictures of that sign and put it up on Twitter, and people on Twitter retweeted it.  Extra visibility for free!

Bring flags.  Large flags.  Medium flags.  Small flags.  Flag stickers.  Flags worn as capes.  Everyone in your group should have access to a flag or two if they want it.  Flags are important for visibility.  Even if they don’t see your t-shirt or your banner, they’ll see your flag.  And be sure to have multiple kinds of flags.  I made sure we had a demi flag and an aro flag on display.  Someone in the crowd screamed “OH MY GOD!!  AN ARO FLAG!!” when they saw me.  Speaking of which…

You matter to someone in the crowd.  You matter.  What you’re doing is important.  Someone out there will see you and discover who they are.  I’ve heard stories of people who didn’t know what asexuality was until they saw an ace group in a pride parade and decided to research it.  Someone out there will see you and know that they’re valid, that asexuality is real.  You will change someone’s life.

Someone in the crowd is important to you.  You’ll see someone in the crowd get excited as you pass, and you’ll know that what you’re doing matters.  You’ll know that you’re not just walking down the street for no particular reason.

Show up.  I’m socially anxious and heavily introverted and I managed to pull it off.  Once you’re out there, you can actually mostly tune out the people (They sort of all turn into a noisy fence after a while.) and just walk along, if you need to.  If you don’t want to wave or interact with parade goers, carry the sign or haul the wagon or take the pictures, do some other job, so you’re there, but kept occupied.  The more people who show up, the better, and that includes you being there.  Someone else will do all the dancing and singing, so don’t worry about it.

Bring swag to hand out.  We had a bunch of stickers that we were handing out.  It seemed like we needed several levels of swag.  Generic, cheap-o stuff for the people who were just grabbing at anything over the fence, and specific awesome ace swag for the people who were actually excited to see us.  I wish I’d had the presence of mind to give an aro flag to the person who screamed about mine.  I wish I’d been able to reach the person with the ace flag sign to hand them a wrist band and a button.

We have reached the end of the parade route.  Please keep right, turn off your music, and do not stop until you are out of the fenced in area.  Thank you.

Be prepared for assholes.  You’ll probably encounter a few along the way.  It’s unlikely you’ll meet someone who is acephobic specifically.  Those people tend to only inhabit dark, smelly corners of the Internet and never come out into daylight.  However, you may run into garden variety ignorance, where people have no idea what asexuality is, no interest in learning about it, they just know that whatever it is, they don’t like it and don’t understand why we’re there.  One of our marchers was actually even pulled aside by one of the official parade safety monitors, who demanded to know what we were doing there and who let us march.

This is what an asshole looks like.

Fuck you, buddy.  Your boss let us march in the parade.  And we’re here to fight against ignorant dumbshits like you.

We belong here.  That’s the most important thing to remember.  WE BELONG.  Asexuality is a real and valid sexual orientation.  It’s invisible.  It’s marginalized.  It’s looked down upon.   We’re not going to hide anymore.  We’re not going to told that we’re broken anymore.  We’re not going to be told that we don’t belong.  We are here to be seen.  The rainbow flag is ours.  Pride is ours.

So just do it.  Next year, get out there and march.

Carnival of Aces Call for Submissions July 2017: Ace-ing It Up Offline

The Carnival of Aces is a long-running monthly asexuality-themed blogging event, run by The Asexual Agenda.  Each month, the host picks a theme and puts out a call for submissions from the community, then collects the submissions into a roundup post at the end of the month.  (Last month’s Carnival was hosted by Writing Ace, and the theme was Asexual Education.)

The theme I have selected for this month is “Ace-ing It Up Offline“.

The roundup of submissions is here.

Last month was Pride Month, and I was fortunate enough to travel to San Francisco for the annual Ace Unconference and to march with the Asexuality SF contingent in the San Francisco Pride Parade.  It really struck me how important, how energizing, a physical ace presence can be.  I do most of my activism from in front of a keyboard, so it’s a very different experience to grab a flag and go for a walk.

That’s why I picked the theme of “Ace-ing It Up Offline” for this month.  I’d like to hear about how all of you approach asexuality in physical, off-line spaces.

Here are a few possible prompts, but please feel free to talk about anything else that might come to mind:

  • Do you attend a physical ace meetup group?  How is it organized?  What are the meetups like?  What do you get out of them?  Is there anything you would change about them?
  • What sorts of off-line/real-world asexuality related events or activities would you like to see?
  • Are there any barriers that prevent you from taking part in real-world ace activities?  What are some ways those barriers can be torn down?
  • Do you approach asexuality differently off-line vs. on-line?
  • Do you make an effort to be “visibly ace”?
  • Do you ever reach out to other ace groups or people beyond your local area?
  • Are you involved with a local Queer/LGBTQIA+ center?  Do you focus on asexuality education?
  • Have you ever done any asexuality outreach or visibility work for non-aces in your community?  What was it like?  Do you have any tips to share?
  • Have you ever taken part in a pride parade or other pride event?  Were you accepted?
  • Have you ever come across another ace “in the wild”?
  • Pictures!  Send pictures of your ace meetup groups, pride marches, ace flag bumper stickers, or whatever other physical manifestations of asexuality you might have pictures of!

Submission Instructions:

There are several ways you can submit your blog post for the carnival:

  • Leave a link to it in the comments below.
  • Email me at:  a c e @ a s e x u a l i t y a r c h i v e . c o m
  • Send an ask or a message me on Tumblr (@redbeardace)
  • @AceArchive on Twitter
  • Postcards or physical letters would be totally awesome and appropriate for this theme, but unfortunately, I don’t plan on giving out my physical address…

Submissions are due by July 31st, 2017.

I’ll acknowledge every submission I get, so if you send something in and don’t hear from me within a couple of days, please try again with a different method.

(If you want to write for this month’s carnival and don’t have a blog of your own to post it on, contact me above, and I’ll be happy to help guest host your post.)

SF Unconference 2017 — Session #5: Ace Pathologization

This is a summary of some of the topics discussed in the “Ace Pathologization” session at the 2017 SF Asexuality Unconference.

In this session, we talked about how asexuality is pathologized in some medical or psychological circles.  In the DSM-5 (the latest version of the handbook for diagnosing mental disorders), there are a pair of similar disorders:  Male Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder and Female Sexual Interest / Arousal Disorder.  The diagnostic criteria for these “disorders” are things like “Absent interest in sexual activity”, “No initiation of sexual activity, and typically unreceptive to partner’s attempts to initiate”, and “Persistently or recurrently deficient (or absent) sexual/erotic thoughts or fantasies and desire for sexual activity.”  Or, as an asexual might call it, “Just another Tuesday.”  Now, the DSM-5 has made a few improvements over the DSM-IV.  It removed “Interpersonal distress” as one of the criteria, which means that you can’t be diagnosed if you’re fine with it, but it bothers your partner.  More importantly, the DSM-5 introduced explicit exclusions for asexuality, stating plainly that if someone self-identifies as asexual, they should not be diagnosed with either “disorder”.

Now, hey, that’s great, asexuality is recognized and all, but there are several problems here.  First, is use of phrase “self-identifies”.  In order to qualify for the asexuality exclusion, you have to say something like “I am asexual, so I don’t have MHSDD”.  But if you’ve never heard of asexuality, well then, you can’t say you’re asexual, so congratulations, you’ve got MHSDD!  (And now that you have MHSDD or FSIAD, here’s some potentially dangerous pills for you.  Here’s some ineffective therapy tips that will only make you feel more broken.)

Second, the asexuality exclusions in the DSM-5 are buried in the notes about these “disorders”, where it’s easy to overlook them, and only in the full version.  The desk reference for the DSM-5 omits these notes and any mention of asexuality entirely.

Going back to the remark on “potentially dangerous pills”, we talked about Addyi/Flibanserin.  Addyi is terrible on several fronts.  First, it doesn’t really work.  Clinical trials showed barely any difference over a placebo, and what little difference there is comes with side effects like “sudden loss of consciousness” and a restriction on drinking alcohol (and grapefruit juice!) while taking it.  Second, the approval process was questionable.  It had failed FDA approval several times before (because it didn’t work and was dangerous).  It was originally meant to be an anti-depressant, but it didn’t work as one, so they decided to change what it’s meant to treat and try again.  Part of the clinical trials for a pill designed for women were only tested on men.  Because the pill was a medical failure that couldn’t be approved on the basis of safety and effectiveness, the company who owned the rights decided to push a “gender equality” angle instead, saying that it’s unfair that men have Viagra and Cialis and Levitra and women have nothing. (Disregarding the fact that they are entirely different types of pills.  Addyi isn’t a mechanical drug designed to aid physical arousal, it’s literally meant to be a mind-changer, something that’ll make you mentally more interested in having sex.  Men don’t have a pill that does that, either.)  And third, the corporate shenanigans going on with the companies involved with this pill are a staggeringly clear example of what people are complaining about when they talk about greedy pharmaceutical companies.  I don’t spend my days decrying Big Pharma as the devil, but hoo-boy do these people have some slimy things going on.

There is an ever-present fear that the makers of Addyi will eventually start to make a marketing push for the pill (they haven’t yet because congressional investigations, federal subpoenas, and the SEC poking its nose in your business tends to make you nervous about introducing a pill that can cause a “sudden loss of consciousness”).  When they do, it will undoubtedly lead to thousands of asexual women (especially ones who don’t know they’re asexual, but certainly not limited to them) being pressured into taking this dangerous pill that doesn’t work.  Well-meaning people will throw “They have a pill for that now” at anyone who says they’re asexual, and doctors will push this medication on their patients, because the ballpoint pen they just got says it’s wonderful.  The existing marketing materials for Addyi push it as a treatment for Female HSDD, which isn’t even recognized by the DSM-5 anymore.  They make no mention of asexuality, because asexuals aren’t going to be profitable.

A lot of things have been written about Addyi/flibanserin, so I’ll leave a few of them here and move on.

The Ace Flibanserin Task Force

For Asexual Community, Flibanserin Is A Bitter Pill To Swallow

Flibanserin:  The Female Viagra is a Failed Me-Too Antidepressant

I’m a Feminist.  Here’s Why I Don’t Support The “Female Viagra”

The prevalence of asexuality was discussed.  We went over the 1% statistic, the wider 1-6% estimate, and talked about some of the problems with accurately determining the true number of asexual people.  This post provides a decent overview of the numbers and what’s wrong with them, and potentially what can be done about it.

We talked about good and bad experiences with therapists, but as those conversations were of a personal nature, I will not repeat them here.  Suffice it to say, there are some therapists who are good and some who should have their licenses revoked.

We talked about finding an effective therapist.  One of the tips was to look for a solid LGBTQIA+ friendly therapist.  Ask around for references.  If you don’t have any friends you can ask, your local LGBTQ Center/QRC might be able to help point you in the right direction.  However, that’s not a sure-fire solution.  Some people mentioned that they have encountered queer therapists who are not ace-friendly.  Another tip was to provide your caregiver with research or informational materials on asexuality, if they are skeptical.  RFAS has some good resources, some of which are designed for healthcare practitioners.

At the same time, it was clear that it shouldn’t be the patient’s responsibility to make sure their doctor knows how to work with an asexual patient.  We talked about more proactive outreach, where asexual people talk to doctors and therapists and others about asexuality and working with asexuals.  Maybe that’s going to a conference and running a session on asexuality, or maybe that’s talking to a local clinic about doing a lunchtime brownbag session for their doctors.  Is anyone out there working on something like this?



SF Unconference 2017 — Session #4: Asexuality Jokes and Memes

This is a summary of some of the topics discussed in the “Asexuality Jokes and Memes” session at the 2017 SF Asexuality Unconference.

Some of the jokes/puns/comments mentioned:

I like my sex like I like my coffee:  I don’t like coffee.

Why frick-frack when you can snick-snack?

Asexual in the streets, still asexual in the sheets.

Asexual Ace Hardware puns

Asexuals literally give no fucks

Of course, no discussion about asexuality and humor can leave out the chapter from the Bogaert book.  In Understanding Asexuality, Anthony Bogaert devotes an entire chapter to talking about sex jokes and how asexual people are probably incapable of understanding them (not that he bothers to actually talk to any of us about it).  Since we had a group of aces at the table, talking about jokes, we had to test his hypothesis.  The chapter begins with a joke involving a dentist, a patient who is apparently immune to sedatives or anesthetics, and a dangerous off-label use of a prescription drug that would almost certainly lead to the dentist having their medical license revoked.  The joke was told.  There was, in fact, not much laughing at the joke.  However, when someone remarked “I’ve had sex that hasn’t lasted as long as the setup for that joke”, the table erupted.

So yeah, asexuals can laugh at sex jokes sometimes.

Some people mentioned that they didn’t like jokes that infantilized asexuals.  Others mentioned they didn’t like jokes based on the stereotype that asexuals don’t understand sex.

It was mentioned that asexual jokes can be important, because it can be a good way to spread visibility.  Non-ace people might not care about educational information about asexuality, so they’ll ignore it.  But they might laugh at a joke and share it with others.  The next day, this idea proved itself, when one of the parade marcher’s “Asexuals Don’t Give A Fuck” signs made the rounds of social media, with many non-aces sharing the image.

Humor also can be used as a signal of approachability.  As in, “I’m comfortable enough to laugh about this, so you should be comfortable to talk to me about it.”



SF Unconference 2017 — Session #3: Aces in Fiction and Media

This is a summary of some of the topics discussed in the “Aces in Fiction and Media” session at the 2017 SF Asexuality Unconference.

This session was mostly talking about ace and ace-ish characters in fiction, so much of the discussion was about plot points and storylines that I won’t go into here.  There was also a discussion about something that is very good news and that was very exciting to hear but that I don’t think is widely publically known, so unfortunately, I don’t think I can talk about it here.  (But trust me, it’s awesome.)

Here were some of the items mentioned as having ace characters, whether explicit, implicit, or headcanoned.  (This is not intended to be a complete rundown of all ace characters out there, just a list of those mentioned that I was able to write down fast enough.)

Bojack Horseman

Shades of A

Supernormal Step


We Awaken


Shortland Street

Sex Criminals

Minority Monsters



And it was recommended to steer clear of:

House (S8E8 Better Half)

The Olivia Experiment


Some people wanted to see multiple aces together in fiction, so that it’s clear that asexuality isn’t just a personality quirk of that one character.  Some wanted to see relationship negotiations.  Some wanted to see the ace character be more than just ace, to have hobbies or to have problems (including relationship problems) that don’t stem from asexuality or sex.

And check out the Ace Tropes series, over on The Asexual Agenda.


SF Unconference 2017 — Session #2: Out in the __________

This is a summary of some of the topics discussed in the “Out in the ________” session at the 2017 SF Asexuality Unconference.

This session was about coming out or being out as asexual.  How to do it, where to do it, why to do it, and so on.

First, there’s a difference between “coming out” and “staying out”.  A lot of people tend to think that you come out once, and that’s it, you’re out forever.  Not the case.  Get a new roommate?  Time to come out again.  Get a new job?  Time to come out again.  Move to a new city?  Then you’re coming out all over the place.  It can get easier the more you do it.

There’s also a difference between being “out” and being “out loud”.  You can be “out”, where it’s a nonchalant part of who you are and you don’t really go around broadcasting, or you can be “out loud”, where you make an effort to make sure everyone around you knows.

Coming out tends to come with questions.  Be prepared for them, but understand that you’re not obligated to answer them if you don’t want to.  You’re not responsible for someone else’s education.  Some people direct those with questions to other resources (like this site).  When answering questions, you might have to decide whether to take a broad view and launch into an Asexuality 101 lecture, or whether to be specific and stick to how you feel.  Which you choose can depend on the context.  Your best friend might get the pour-your-heart-out unabridged version, while a coworker might just get a simple “I’m asexual.”

Speaking of coworkers, many of the people in the group talked about how they weren’t really out at work, for one reason or another.  Some discussed working in a sexualized atmosphere where asexuality would be ostracized, while others mentioned that sexuality isn’t really discussed in their workplace, so bringing up asexuality would be out of place.

Some people talked about coming out on social media.  For some, it was a helpful way to get the information out to everyone at the same time, while avoiding in-person drama.  However, it was brought up that it’s easy to miss posts on many social media platforms, so if you’ve posted something, maybe some algorithm down in Mountain View decided that your mother shouldn’t see it.  Additionally, some people rely on customized security settings to keep some posts from certain people or groups, but those security settings are easy to get mixed up.

Compartmentalizing was important to some people.  They may be out loud around their friends, out to their coworkers, and deep in the closet to family members.

One suggestion for coming out was to just assume everyone knows, then act surprised when someone doesn’t know.  It turns the tables on the common, “I have something to tell you script”, by making it into “How did you miss that?”, which can lessen the stress around it.

It was brought up that we lack a prominent person to point to and say “They’re like me”.  We don’t have an Ellen.  We don’t have an Alan Cumming.  We don’t have a Laverne Cox.  Having someone like that would go a long way to help people be comfortable in their asexuality and give them a common point of reference when they come out.  There’s some people like Janeane Garafalo or Tim Gunn, but no one prominent who’s vocally ace.  We need someone better than Sheldon and Sherlock to point to.

Card Carrying Asexual

Are you a card-carrying asexual, aromantic, or demisexual?  Well, you’re not one YET.  Never fear!  Now you can make your own cards to prove your identity!

These images are designed for a 300DPI print at a standard credit-card size.

Card-Carrying Asexual

Card-Carrying Demisexual


Card-Carrying Aromantic