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.