Discussion Group Notes 9/9/17

These are notes from the Seattle and Surrounding Aces Discussion Group meeting of September 9th, 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.


There was a couch in the meeting space today.  This is perhaps the most exciting furniture related thing to happen to us since the introduction of the Cookie Chair.


Over half the room seemed like they joined us for the first time today!  Welcome, we hope you enjoyed the discussion, and hope to see you again in the coming months!  (Although, if you’re visiting from California, we’d understand if you don’t come back in October…)

We’re Famous!  Sort Of.  Well Okay, Not Really…

Apparently the book “All the Wrong Places” in the Bluewater Bay series has the characters attend an asexual meetup group in Seattle!  Except…  It’s not us.  They meet in a hipster coffee shop in the U District, while we meet in a hipster coffee shop in Capitol Hill.  Totally different.  They also apparently mention an ace group in Port Angeles.  I think we need to plan a roadtrip to investigate.

There’s another book, Cracked: A Magic iPhone Story, that involves an ace in Seattle, but this one does not feature a meetup group.

Other ace-related books mentioned today:

The Interface Series (which I can’t find a clear link to), although apparently only one book in this series has been published, and that book doesn’t mention asexuality explicitly.

Mr. March Names The Stars, which involves some dating ace pagans.

And then, in the non-fiction category:

Asexual Perspectives: 47 Ace Stories, which is a collection of interviews with ace people.

Ace Inclusion Guide For High Schools, which is a guide for high school staff on how to be more inclusive of asexual people.  This one is also available as a free PDF download.

“A Sexual What…?”

There was a big hubbub about the latest season of BoJack Horseman.  In it, a main character comes out as asexual.  Reaction from ace-land has been largely positive as the portrayal is seen as positive and accurate.  This is probably in large part due to the assistance of members of Ace LA, who worked with show staff to make sure it was handled correctly.

Unconference and Parade

In June, I attended the Berkeley Unconference and the San Francisco Pride Parade, organized by members of Asexuality SF.  They were both valuable experiences and things we should look at doing here at some point.

The Unconference was an all-day event.  About 50 aces, graces, and demis attended.  For an unconference, attendees bring topics they want to talk about, and the day’s schedule is organized on the spot.  People then break off into groups to have 45 minutes to an hour of discussion on the topic, and people are free to switch between them, if they like.  Some of the topics included “Asexuality and Dating”, “Aces in the Media”, “Religion”, “Pathologization of Asexuality”, “Ace POC”, and “Planning for the Future While Aro”.  Many of the sessions are “open”, meaning that anyone is free to join in, but some of the sessions are “closed”, which means they’re limited to those covered by the topic, in order to create a safe space to the conversation.  It’s a great way to connect with other aces in a more in-depth way than we get to in our normal monthly meetups.

The Pride Parade was amazing.  We all got together and marched down Market Street, some of us waving flags, some of us in ace costumes, some of us holding signs.  We handed out stickers and flyers.  The power of marching is in the visibility.  We were there, we showed that we exist.  I saw people in the crowd, screaming with excitement as we passed.  We proved to them that they were real.  Afterwards, I found people mentioning us on Twitter and Tumblr.  And I’ve heard that seeing the aces march in past parades has led some people to discover that they were asexual, has led some therapists to realize that asexuality was a real thing that they needed to learn about.

We should do both of these things here.  The Pride Parade is in June.  There’s apparently a steep registration fee, which is what has turned us off from doing it in the past.  I don’t care about that.  Whatever it is, I’ll cover it.  We are marching in 2018.  I’ll pay the bills, but I’ll need as many of you as possible to show up and march.

An unconference would also be something we can organize here.  We’d just need to book some space (a few separate rooms, if possible), and encourage people to show up with things they want to talk about.

Both of these would also be a great opportunity to reach out to other aces in the greater Northwest.  We’re centrally located between Portland and Vancouver, both of which have established ace meetup groups.  There are bound to be other aces here and there who won’t want to make the effort to get to Seattle for just the ordinary meetups, but who will for the larger events.  Let’s invite them all to town and ace this place up!

My notes from the Unconference are here:  http://www.asexualityarchive.com/category/san-francisco-unconference/

And some thoughts on the parade are here:  http://www.asexualityarchive.com/thoughts-on-a-parade/

Asexual Dating

I’ve covered ace dating conversations in previous posts, and a lot of what was covered today was similar to what was mentioned in the past.  So I’ll skip the repeats and head straight to the new stuff.

There was a recommendation that you not only mark yourself as Asexual in OKCupid, but that you also cover the subject several times in your profile.  Talk about what it means to you, lay out where some of your boundaries lie.  It’s still no guarantee that people will read and understand, but it’s a start.

There is a new ace dating app called “AceApp“.  It’s new, so there might not be many people there, but there won’t be anyone there at all if there aren’t any intrepid pioneers who decide to take the first step.

Therapists and Doctors

Someone brought up whether or not it’s appropriate to come out to a doctor or a therapist, particularly if they start bringing up sex or relationships in connection to the care they are providing.  In some cases, it may be useful to explain your lack of sexual activity or lack of relationships, as it may allow them to rule out certain things (for instance, you’re not likely to be pregnant if you’ve never had sex, so maybe they can skip that pregnancy test if you’re concerned about a missed period).

However, not all health care providers understand or even accept asexuality.  It may be difficult to know ahead of time how they’ll react.  But know this:  You can demand that they believe you and respect you, and if they don’t, you may want to consider finding a doctor who will, if that’s possible.  Resources for Ace Survivors has an info sheet you can print out and bring into your visit.

The lack of awareness of asexuality in the medical profession was a topic that came up at the unconference.  We discussed possible ways to start to fix that, such as reaching out to local doctors and clinics and offering to provide information, offering to present an Asexuality 101 seminar to a local group of providers, or giving a talk at a convention.  However, I am unaware of anyone who is actively taking on a project to work on building bridges with the healthcare world.

After the conference, I found two counselors in the Seattle area who mention working with ace patients on their websites.  One sounded like they might have a decent understanding of asexuality, while the other sounded like they were more interested in prescribing you a pill that is likely to cause spontaneous loss of consciousness.  At some point, I plan to reach out to both of them, in order to find out how they work with ace patients, and whether or not they would like any assistance or resources from any of us.

Assorted Mentions

Ash Hardell video series on “Everything Asexual and Aromantic“.

The Huffington Post series on asexuality.  And the exploration of all the negative comments on those articles (and how to respond when you encounter them in the wild).

The Unassailable Asexual:  The Carnival of Aces and SwankIvy’s videos.

Discussion Group Notes 12/12/15

These are notes from the Seattle and Surrounding Aces Discussion Group meeting of December 12th, 2015.  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.

“The Ace Vibe”

There was a short discussion about whether or not there’s an “ace vibe” that we give off.  Several people mentioned that they rarely, if ever, were approached by someone seeking a romantic/sexual relationship, and were wondering if it could be because people sense a lack of interest.

On the other hand, it’s possible that it’s just obliviousness.   Perhaps others are flirting and we’re just missing the signals of interest. (As in my case where I was on vacation and had driven over two hundred miles before I realized that a woman had been flirting with me.)

“Tumblr Sexuality”

We spoke about the perception that asexuality is strictly a “youth” orientation. On the positive side, asexuality is accessible many young people because of how widespread it is on social media.  On the negative side, young people are demonized for exploring their sexual identity.  “You’re a special snowflake, using five words to describe your sexuality.“

There was also an unfortunate side effect of this brought up.  Because it’s so heavily explored and discussed by younger people, older aces might feel alienated from the space.  “I don’t want to be a special snowflake, I don’t want to uage to use all these words to describe me.”  How do we reach out to people who are starting to discover who they are at a later stage of life?  How can people discover asexuality when they’re not involved in the young-skewing social media world where it tends to live?  (I’d personally like to explore this topic in more depth in a future meeting.)

TV Shows

Asexuality’s appearance on House was mentioned.  In the episode “Better Half”, an asexual couple was featured.  For the first two thirds of the episode, the portrayal of asexuality was positive and handled as legitimate.  But because House Must Be Right™, in the last commercial break, House “proves” that one of them had a brain tumor and the other was lying.

This awful portrayal has caused numerous people to think that they can’t be ace because “House proved asexuality can’t be real”.  Here’s a collection of reactions and posts to that episode:  https://writingfromfactorx.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/house-linkspam/

Sirens also had an asexual character.  Sirens was a show that ran on the USA Network for two seasons.  The ace character, Voodoo, was in the supporting cast, and several episodes revolved around her relationship with one of the primary characters.  The portrayal of asexuality was largely accurate and positive.  However, other characters said many ignorant and rude things about asexuality.  Asexuality features prominently in the episodes “The Finger”, “Transcendual”, and “Screw The One Percent”.  (Note:  Sirens features crude humor and frequent sexual themes.  Stay away if that’s not your thing.)

Negative Reactions

We spoke about how people have negative reactions to asexuality.

I’ve written extensively about the nonsense you’ll see in Comment Sections.

SwankIVY’s Letters To An Asexual also covers these themes.

Gordon Hodson’s “Prejudice Against Group X” article, and its accompanying paper (”Intergroup bias toward Group X”, MacInnis/Hodson) talks about “Differences as Deficit”, where any difference from “normal” is viewed as wrong.

We wondered if it will get worse before it gets better.  As more people know about us, will their reactions become more negative?

At the same time, the more well known asexuality is, the more people will know someone who is openly asexual.  That’s where the contact hypothesis comes in.  People are less likely to be prejudiced against groups that they know on a more personal level.


Some people mentioned getting negative or dismissive reactions from doctors.  Sometimes they’ll say things like “Well, that’s what you think”, other times they’ll ask if you were abused, etc.  There are often invasive or irrelevant questions, like a form for an eye exam that includes relationship status or sexual orientation.  Doctors sometimes expect patients to be sexually active and do not believe it when they say they’re not.

Resources for Ace Survivors has a reading list and printable fact sheet for healthcare professionals.

Coming Out, Being Out, Staying In

Some people “Live Out Loud”, where they are openly and freely asexual with anyone who comes along.  Some people “Sneak Out”.  Others come out to friends, but not family.  Some people tell their family to stop the “When are you bringing home a [boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other/grandchild]?” conversations.  Other people don’t tell their families because they don’t really want to talk about their sex life (or lack thereof).

Tips for talking to others about asexuality included:

  • Slip it into conversation and don’t make a big deal.
  • “You know how there are people you aren’t attracted to?  I feel like that about everybody.”
  • “Does hypersexual exist?  Then why not asexual, too?”

Sometimes people bring up the past when you come out to them.  “Well, what about when you…?”  They don’t always understand that’s not who you truly are, that maybe you were trying to be something you’re not, trying to meet someone else’s definition of “normal”.

Relationship vs. Friendship

Some things brought up as possible ways that a “relationship” is different from a “friendship”:

  • Being able to negotiate intimacy and what you’re looking for.
  • Being a primary consideration.
  • Whether or not concepts like the “Five Love Languages” are applied or make sense, and whether you’re able to assert how you feel about them.

Extroverted Aces

Are things more difficult for extroverted aces?  Introverted aces can go to their personal hermit caves and be fine.  But to extroverted aces feel conflict, where their desire for more personal contact ends up in an undesirable sexual realm?


Apparently goth clubs might be worth checking out for aces who want to go clubbing, especially for more introverted aces.  Compared to regular clubs, they’re more individual, there’s more of a personal bubble, and less “Lady Gaga and d-bags”.  Some goth clubs/nights include the Mercury, the Baltic Room, and Contour.

Also mentioned was Night Crush, which was described as less hypersexualized, more full spectrum than other clubs.

Books and Documentary

We had a brief overview of three books about asexuality.

First was Asexuality: A Brief Introduction. (Also on Amazon) This is my book.  It’s virtually all content from my website, so you’re probably better off reading it there.  In book form, it can get redundant, because it’s a collection of webpages that were written to stand alone.

Julie Sondra Decker’s Invisible Orientation was mentioned.  It’s in paperback now, so it’s cheaper than it was.

Anthony Bogaert’s Understanding Asexuality was the final book to make an appearance.  It’s also now in paperback.  I gave my opinion on it:  It felt like he forgot asexual people existed about halfway through, and it seemed like he had a bunch of papers he hadn’t published elsewhere, so he jammed in a paragraph about asexuality then slipped them into this book.

The documentary “(A)sexual” is available on numerous streaming services.  Though imperfect, it’s worth a watch.  The ending is especially a downer, however I have heard that David Jay has had a happier ending since the filming.  (I’m not privy to the specifics, though, and I can’t find where I heard that.)

Speaking of Books…

Let’s write one!  The idea was floated that there should be a book of ace experiences:  Stories, vingnettes, comments, etc.  Not just focusing on one aspect of asexuality, but exploring living as an asexual.

I know of a few similar projects:

So yeah, let’s write a book.

Let’s March In Pride

This is our year.  Let’s do this.  Who’s with me?  …  And who’d like to organize it all?  We’ll need to get started now to build momentum, reach enough people to have a good showing, and to meet all of the deadlines for being a contingent.