Discussion Group Notes 10/22/16

These are notes from the Seattle and Surrounding Aces Discussion Group meeting of October 22rd, 2016. These are notes about what we talked about, relevant links, and other information about discussion topics. This is not meant to be a transcript and is not necessarily even meant to be a coherent recounting of the discussion.

Privacy of group members and keeping that room a safe and open place is important to me. I will try my best to not post personal information or individual stories without permission. If I write something that you’d rather not have on here, please let me know immediately and I will remove it.

Asexual Awareness Week!

Asexual Awareness Week runs from October 23rd through 29th, 2016!

Spread the awareness!

There will be a lot of good resources posted in the #asexual or #asexualawarenessweek tags on Twitter and Tumblr, so stop by them for interesting finds.  If you come across something good, please share it with the Meetup or Facebook groups!

Additionally, What is Asexuality has pamphlets and things that I bring to the meeting, and you can get a PDF of the books that I have at Asexuality Archive.

Sensual Attraction And How It Fits In

We talked briefly about sensual attraction and where it fits in with asexuality and other types of attraction.

Sensual attraction is something you can feel regardless of your sexual or romantic attraction.  You don’t have to feel romantic attraction to want to kiss someone, and you don’t have to feel sexual attraction to want to cuddle.

(BTW:  The glossary can be found here.)

Alphabet Soup

The LGBT acron-, I mean, LGBTQ, um LGBTQIA, er LGBTQQIAA2PPD…  LGBTQ+ acronym was mentioned, in relation to workplace or campus groups.  It was brought up adding a letter is inherently not inclusive, because no matter how many letters you add, you’ve still left someone out.  (Not to mention that the ordering implies importance.)  Alternatives like MOGAI or GSRM were brought up, but they don’t have the same recognition.  Vague terms like “Rainbow” or “Pride” might work well for group names.  “Queer” is a term that is divisive.  Some people love it for its inherent inclusiveness and instant recognition, while other people loathe it for its history.

Ace Relationship Tips

There were suggestions for putting it clearly in your dating profile (if you have one) and for being forthcoming early on so people have a clear idea of where things stand.  Another suggestion was to be casually open among your friend group (using ace puns wherever appropriate, for example), so that if you meet someone that way, there’s a good chance they’ll know you’re asexual.

Does anyone else have any tips for starting a relationship when you’re ace?

Asexuals At A Sex Club?

No, really, this is not a joke.

We’ve talked about the Center for Sex Positive Culture before, with several group members who’ve attended ace-friendly events there.  This month, we had someone who runs those events come to the meeting, looking for ideas for future events (When the CSPC finds a new space).

Currently, they run three asexual/no sex/underwear-stays-on events:

  • Blanket Fort:  A blanket fort with optional cuddles.
  • Aces Wild:  Kink without sex.
  • Mind Fuck: Fuck with your mind, not your body.  Hypnosis, mental bondage, etc.

While these events are not strictly aces-only, there is an enforced expectation that there will be no sex in the room.  People who want to get it on are asked to head to a different room.

(And if you want to involve your genitals, just not involve them with other people, the CSPC also holds masturbation parties, where it’s watch or be watched, but keep your hands to yourself.)

At any rate, they’re looking for new ideas for ways to cater to asexual people.  (For the record, a basket of kittens or puppies was suggested, but apparently they’re not able to do that.  Unless it’s people dressed up as kittens or puppies, in which case they can make that happen.)

Asexual Outreach

Shameless plug time!

I’m a member of the Board of Directors for Asexual Outreach, a 501(c)(3) non-profit for ace and aro advocacy.  We are looking to help form connections between local ace and aro community groups, and to help those groups grow.  We are also reaching out to schools and LGBTQ groups to help them become more ace inclusive.

Asexual Outreach organized the 2015 North American Asexuality Conference in Toronto, Ontario.  Over a hundred asexual activists and organizers attended to share what they do and how they do it.  AO has also reached out to over two hundred schools with its Ace Inclusion Guide.  Within the next year, we will continue this mission by launching a platform and resources for ace and aro community groups, hosting a conference where ace group leaders and other activists can get together and collaborate, and we’ll reach out to more LGBTQ groups and schools (Including at the 2017 Creating Change conference.)

I was 31 when I found out that I was asexual, and before that I felt broken and confused.  The work Asexual Outreach is doing will help to ensure that no one else will have to feel lost and alone for as long as I did.

If you want to help out, you can volunteer to get involved, you can work with a local school to incorporate the ace inclusion guide, you can attend the conference next year, and, if you can spare a bit, you can donate to help support the work being done.  AO is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, meaning that donations can be tax-deductible and that it is probably eligible for a corporate matching program, if you have one at work.

Other Notes:

Ignition Zero: Webcomic with an ace character.

Asexual Activities: Exploring your sexuality as an asexual.

Seattle Aces Facebook Group

Consent and Tea

How I Discovered I Am Asexual

Discussion Group Notes 8/13/16

These are notes from the Seattle and Surrounding Aces Discussion Group meeting of August 13th, 2016. These are notes about what we talked about, relevant links, and other information about discussion topics. This is not meant to be a transcript and is not necessarily even meant to be a coherent recounting of the discussion.

Privacy of group members and keeping that room a safe and open place is important to me. I will try my best to not post personal information or individual stories without permission. If I write something that you’d rather not have on here, please let me know immediately and I will remove it.

Asexual Awareness Week

Asexual Awareness Week 2016 is coming!  October 23rd – 29th.

Are you doing anything for it?  Should we as a group do anything for it?

I know there had been a discussion about hosting a “Movie Night” of sorts, with a screen of ace documentaries and a panel, but I haven’t heard anything more.  We also talked about moving October’s meeting to be the 22nd, just before AAW.

Different Ways to be Ace

The way people think about asexuality is not the same for everyone.  For some people, asexuality is strongly associated with never having sex, never masturbating, never dating.  Others might date, some might masturbate, and some might have sex and even enjoy it.  This can lead to a lot of confusion when someone is first discovering asexuality.  People may doubt that they’re ace, because they’ve only heard one person’s description of how that person experiences and thinks about being asexual, and it doesn’t exactly match their own feelings.  Common points of confusion include “What is attraction?” and how current or past actions play into things.

Some people hear about asexuality and know right away.  Others can have a group of ace friends for years, but still not know, because their asexuality isn’t quite the same as their friends’.

All this speaks to the importance of telling all sides of asexuality, from the sex-repulsed permanent virgin, to promiscuous domme, from the flirtatious serial dater, to the permanently single, to the 50-something that got married right out of high school, has two kids, hasn’t has sex in years, but has a shoebox of sex toys under the bed.  It also speaks to the importance of a general awareness of asexuality, so that people can find out about it earlier and understand the varied forms it can take.  This can be done by people being out, by asexuality getting included in sex ed programs, by sharing articles and videos on the topic, among other things.

Broaching the Subject

So, if you’re asexual and you’re an expert on asexuality, that means you should tell other people you think might be ace that they’re probably asexual, right?

No…  Not exactly.

If you go up to someone and say “Hey, you’re asexual!”, that’s more than likely going to make them defensive and not be interested in what you have to say.  More importantly, you have no idea what that other person is feeling.  It is not your place to try to push an identity on someone else.  It is entirely up to them to discover themselves.

If you bring it up the wrong way, it can be uncomfortable and invasive.  It can feel like you’re trying to “diagnose” or “fix” them, rather than introducing them to a description that might apply.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t say anything.

  • You can come out to them.  “Hey, I want you to know that I’m asexual, and this is what that means.”  It can even be a no-drama, off-hand, statement of truth as part of the conversation.  “Well, you know I’m ace, so I don’t really see what’s so interesting about Random Sexy Celebrity.”
  • You can share articles or videos or websites, with a note like “I found this interesting”.  With the way social media works, you don’t even have to single them out.  You can just start posting stuff on broadcast and they’ll see it.
  • You can just start talking about asexuality as a thing that exists.  You can ask “Do you know what asexuality is?”, then start describing it.
  • You can tell them all about the wonderful and exciting Seattle Aces meetups you attend!  You can even invite them along as personal support.

“I Just Want You to be Happy!”

We talked about how people sometimes make well meaning remarks that end up being hurtful.  People tend to use what makes themselves happy as a benchmark for what makes other people happy, and when that benchmark isn’t met, people tend to want to meddle and “correct” the situation.

This is often seen when people think that being single or sexless is a miserable state.  Many asexual or aromantic people are just fine being single or sexless, but other people can’t understand that.

If it comes up, tell the person that what they want for you isn’t going to make you happy, and that your current situation isn’t making you unhappy.

Partner Exclusivity and the Third Wheel

It was brought up that being single can sometimes be isolating.  You might be close friends, but you’re not the Priority Person™.  Some suggestions were to find a group of people who are single or soloists, to look into the polyamorous community where there’s less of a sense of the One Exclusive Priority Person™, or to get involved with things like volunteering or going to social meetups, where there’s no expectation of coupling up.

Create Your Own Meetups

You can create your own meetups!  Want to get together on the Eastside?  Form a Thursday Lunch Group at the Bellevue CPK!  Want to go for a hike, but don’t want to go alone?  Aces Conquer Mt. Pilchuck!  Anyone who’s in the group can create events.

Other Things

Asexual: A Love Story

Pieces of Ace Podcast

The Guardian Legend