These are notes from the Seattle and Surrounding Aces Discussion Group meeting of February 11th, 2017. 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.
I’ve neglected to make summary posts for a couple of months now. We did have meetings in both December and January, I just never got around to writing about it. Sorry!
I Forgot The Swag Today
I didn’t bring my fabled Bag o’ Ace Swag today. I had it all packed and ready to go and was halfway to the freeway when I realized it wasn’t in the car. Sorry!
Anyway, enough with the apologies and on with the show!
Pressure and Doubt
Much of the discussion today was a conversation about pressure and doubt. The external pressure to date, the internal pressure to be who people expect you to be, and the doubt that you’re really ace, that it’s actually something else.
As the conversations were personal in nature, I will not summarize them here. Instead, I’ll share some other resources on the subject.
There is a three part series on “Possible Signs of Asexuality“. It’s not a checklist or a diagnostic tool, but it can be an extremely helpful tool for thinking about how you feel, as well as understanding that others feel the same way. There’s also “Am I Asexual?”
Julie Decker has written about being asexual, aromantic, and single, and how people react to that, several times: Asexual, Aromantic, Partnerless, Childless … And Happy, as well as Enjoy Your Houseful of Cats.
Here is a discussion about the symptoms of Low Hormone Levels, beyond just a lack of interest in sex.
Bottom line: It’s okay to “try on” the asexual label. If you’re not into sex, that’s all right. You don’t have to be into it, and you don’t have to change yourself to meet the expectations other people have imposed on you. And most importantly, you are not broken and you are not alone.
(Many of these are on this site’s Resources page!)
WhatIsAsexuality.com and AsexualityArchive.com are two sites about asexuality that I run. WhatIsAsexuality.com has a bunch of resources like pamplets and postcards and slideshows, and AsexualityArchive.com has a free downloadable book.
Speaking of books, the book mentioned was Julie Sondra Decker’s The Invisible Orientation. I believe someone said that this book was in the Gay City library.
Another book on the subject is Understanding Asexuality, by Anthony Bogaert. It’s more academic, and I felt that it veered waaay off course, turning from a book about asexuality, to a series of essays on sexuality on culture where asexuality was barely a footnote. At its lowest points, it wildly speculates about things that could easily have been explored in a more concrete manner by simply talking to some ace people, which he stopped doing about halfway through the book. (Did he forget we exist? Did he get kicked off of AVEN? Was he crunched for time? Was that the week we all left the planet?)
Dr. Bogaert is known for the paper that introduced the “1% Statistic”, which says that around 1% of people are ace. The paper is “Asexuality: Prevalence and associated factors in a national probability sample“, from 2004. Bogaert has acknowledged some issues regarding that 1% number and its source. He spends a chapter on the topic in his book, ultimately coming to the conclusion: “The original estimate of 1 percent may not be a bad one, all things considered, and it is possible that it may underestimate the true number of asexual people.”
There is a recently started asexuality research bibliography, if you’re interested in the academic side of things. (The goal of this project is to replace the Asexual Explorations website, which recently disappeared.)
For the fiction side of things, Agent Aletha is keeping a list.
If you’re going to tell your parents that you’re ace, try sending them this: A Parent’s Guide To Asexuality.
And finally, here’s this week’s Savage Love post, the summary of which I totally mangled during the meeting. It’s about a man who has identified as gay, but now believes he’s ace and is worried about how to explain that and where he fits. (…and I’m mangling the summary again, so just read the original.)