A 10-year perspective

30 julio 2018

This is a contribution to July 2018 Carnival of Aces.

Next October it will be 10 years since I joined AVEN. The Spanish asexual community has changed a lot from then on, and also my personal circumstances. First, as one can check in my first posts in this blog, I was initially cautious about considering me asexual, identifying more with the grey label “hyposexual.” Only once I learnt what sexual attraction actually is, I could identify as asexual rather than grey. Nowadays there are better descriptions of what sexual attraction is, but the issue of having to describe something we don’t experience remains.

The asexual community in Spain, which back then was entirely in AVENes, was tiny because of the the lack of visibility and awareness among the Spanish asexuals. The international community was still centered around AVEN, but it was more dispersed than the Spanish one. I remember the forum Apositive and a pre-Tumblr asexual blogosphere. Indeed, it was my admiration for these few but worthy blogs what made me start one in Spanish. Nowadays there are a lot of blog on asexuality, especially on Tumblr, and I post mostly for this carnival in English.

There were offline meetups in Spain since I joined the asexual community, but they gathered very few people from remote towns. Nowadays there are plenty of meetups, mostly in towns with a group with regular meetups, as Madrid and Barcelona. But my impression is that the growth of the community in size has increased more the number of groups than their size. I relate this with a phenomenon observed by a meetup organizer: when the size of the group reaches a dozen, a unified conversation is not sustainable and the talk splits into two subgroups.

Nowadays, the role of AVENes has declined a lot, with a fragmentation of the community both in Spain and in Latin America. As it was observed by Chrysocolla Town, the Spanish-speaking asexual community has migrated to Facebook. So, the outlook of our online community is dominated by the use of third-party platforms. The preponderance of a central resource as AVENes has its drawbacks, but so does the preponderance of third-party services.


¿En serio hay un 39,6% de LGBAfobia en la juventud?

2 julio 2018

Recientemente me pasaron la noticia Un 39,6% de los jóvenes españoles rechaza las orientaciones sexuales que no sean la ‘hetero’ alarmados por el casi 40% de jóvenes intolerantes con la diversidad sexual. Curiosamente, el estudio que citan (Barómetro Juventud y Género 2017 del Centro Reina Sofía sobre Adolescencia y Juventud) parece seguir el modelo de Storms: heterosexualidad, homosexualidad, bisexualidad y asexualidad. Es de agradecer que este estudio deje de ignorar la asexualidad y la trate como una cuarta orientación sexual, replicando de paso el famoso 1% de Bogaert. Este barómetro de 2017 encuentra un 0,9% de asexualidad entre los jóvenes, aunque con un importante 2,2% de ns/nc que puede ocultar muchos asexuales en la ignorancia.

El estudio del Centro Reina Sofía encuentra un 3,6% de rechazo de la heterosexualidad, un 11,4% de la homosexualidad, un 13,8% de la bisexualidad y un 14,4% de la asexualidad. Resulta preocupante que la asexualidad sea la orientación sexual más rechazada. Es también reseñable que, aunque el perfil del homófobo, del bifóbico y del asexfóbico es similar en la muestra del estudio, mientras que la homofobia y la bifobia vienen predominantemente de varones heterosexuales, el rechazo a la asexualidad parece venir de varones de toda orientación sexual. Habría que ver si esto incluye a los propios asexuales.

Aunque es plausible y esperable que los porcentajes de diversofobia se solapen, en especial los de homofobia y bifobia, no hay en el informe ningún dato sobre las intersecciones del rechazo a las diferentes orientaciones sexuales. Esto seguramente habrá llevado a los periodistas a sumar directamente las cifras de homofobia, bifobia y asexfobia para dar un resultado global de 39,6% de LGBAfobia, ignorando que con ello suponen que no hay solapamientos. Por tanto, yo no me preocuparía por ese casi 40% de presunta diversofobia, ya que seguramente es bastante menor, pero sí de los porcentajes de rechazo de cada una de las orientaciones sexuales, en especial del abultado porcentaje de asexfobia.

Label =/= identity (Carnival of Aces)

31 enero 2018

This is a contribution to January 2018 Carnival of Aces.

My sense of identity is not strong. I have a greater sense of individuality than of identity. Among the different factors of identity (race, religion, gender fandom) proposed in the call for contributions, I don’t feel strong identity in any of them. I live in a racially homogeneous country (thanks to miscegenation) where the great gap is marked by the Hispanic culture, which includes a lot of countries in the Americas. My country is also religiously homogeneous country, where even the atheistic are so in opposition to Catholic beliefs. Personally, I don’t feel a strong sense of gender identity, and I don’t identify with any fandom. Contrary, I do feel identified with the asexual and aromantic labels.

The label itself doesn’t create the identity, as one’s identity may be expressed with a complex phrase, but it helps shaping it. Identifying with a label is not the same as satisfying the label. For instance, most of asexual are unaware of their asexuality because they ignore the label. Conversely, many antisexual identify as asexuals when they are actually allosexuals who reject their sexuality. I especially dislike when journalists confuse these states as synonyms, speaking of a 1% of the population who identify as asexual, when most of this population is unaware of the label.

Do I belong here?

31 diciembre 2017

This is my take for December 2017 edition of Carnival of Aces: Alienation and Belonging.

As I told in my last post, when I entered the asexual community, I was not sure I was completely asexual, maybe hyposexual, but I felt the community was welcoming enough to stay there, even questioning. It was only later that I came across the antisexual elitism, people or groups that kidnap the asexual label for a meaning tailored to fit their convictions, especially of a religious kind. Apart of those, who try to policy who belongs, the community is built around an agreed definition focused on sexual attraction, which makes the rest of the variables free and welcomes the grays. Moreover, there is a tradition to give advice but to leave the last word on their asexuality to the subject.

In real life, I feel discriminated as aromantic and single than as asexual. In my current circles it doesn’t matter if you get laid or not, but having a steady partner matters a lot, and has a lot of unfair advantages. As I haven’t explicitly come out, I don’t know if I would be discriminated for being asexual. Another chapter is what would happen if I came out publicly, but this was treated in the carnival theme Unassailable Asexual of August 2014.

Labels left behind in my discovery of asexuality

30 noviembre 2017

I came across the asexuality jargon in 2008 while trying to help a friend to understand their sexual orientation. When I read the definitions, they resonated a lot with my experience, but I didn’t identify as asexual right then. I had previously considered if I could be bisexual, but I discarded the idea because I didn’t desire guys sexually. I didn’t desire girls sexually either, but what confused me is that I was open to sexual exploration with girls, so I was an odd kind of heterosexual in my mind.

From my first encounter with asexuality terms, I remember reading about Rabger’s model, whose author has changed their mind later, and about the split attraction model. The distinction between sexual attraction and desire was clarifying, though I still needed better descriptions of them in order to decide if I could be asexual. Also, the split attraction model made me realize I could be aromantic, though by that time the concept of squish had not been coined yet.

Three months later, after some conversations with more sexual people, I realized I was not in their wavelength, so I reconsidered asexuality and joined AVEN. At the beginning, as my first posts in this blog prove, I didn’t consider me asexual yet, but within the gray spectrum. I considered myself hyposexual on the heterosexual branch. In terms of Storms’s model, I would score a little in the heterosexual axis and zero in the homosexual one. This was still subject to revision under better descriptions of sexual attraction, however I was pretty sure about my aromanticism.

The concept of squish made me completely sure of my aromanticism, and further conversations with asexuals made me refine the definition of sexual attraction and labeling me as asexual. Nevertheless, I am still attached to the term hyposexual, and defend it as a useful and legitimate category within the gray spectrum. So, I encourage people to explore their orientations and take as many provisional labels as they need, using them always descriptively and never prescriptively.

An answer to exclusionists of asexuality

30 septiembre 2017

Although I don’t listen to those who spread hate and exclusion of asexuality while nominally fighting against hate and exclusion of sexual minorities, but restring it to the tetragrammaton LGBT, I listen to the complaints of asexual activists who have suffered it first-hand. These haters use to exclude both asexuals and non-binary genders with the excuse that they are not oppressed, as if the oppression-privilege rhetoric were a truth, especially in the contexts where they try to extrapolate it. Unfortunately, this rhetoric has already crossed the sea and is heard even in Europe, where it was not even applicable its very initial example, and activists uncritically adhere to it, both for attacking and defending asexuality and non-binary genders.

While non-binary people are deemed by the exclusionists “not trans enough,” the asexuals are directly regarded as cis-hetero, ignoring the diversity of the asexual community. Some exclusionist know a bit about this diversity and claim “asexuality is not queer per se, but some asexuals may be LGBT if they are homo/bi/panromantic or transgender.” What neither of them wants is to admit any cis-heteroromantic people among them, regardless of how asexual they are. Aromantics are usually ignored or grouped together with heteroromantics in order to exclude them, since their very existence disrupts their preconceptions, so they may prefer not to analyze it in depth.

If the reader doesn’t mind the Gospel and the patriarchal whiff of its parables, I’ll retell one I find relevant for the topic (Matthew 18:23-35) discarding most of the patriarchal features: A slow-paying debtor gets, out of mercy, a deferment for a one-million debt, but applies for an impoundment in order to get paid a one-thousand debt. Then, the original creditor says “as I was merciful with you and waived several thousands in interest, you should have had mercy with your debtor in a business much smaller,” revokes the deferment and applies for an impoundment.

Although the LGBT community doesn’t owe anything to the cis-hetero one, the former asks for inclusion to the latter. If the LGBT community excludes asexual and non-binary people, it may happen to them as to the unmerciful debtor who asked for mercy. So, my answer to these exclusionists is the following: If you include, you may be included. If you exclude, you will be excluded.

Conceptos relativos a la atracción sexual

26 septiembre 2017

En la anterior entrada discutí la indefinición de atracción sexual y di una definición tentativa de ella combinando los trabajos de Fisher (1998) y Diamond (2003). En esta entrada repasaré los conceptos allí definidos para compararlos con los usuales en la comunidad asexual.

Uno de los conceptos que distingue Fisher (1998) es lo que ella denomina lujuria, impulso sexual o libido y define como el deseo inespecífico de gratificación sexual no dirigido a ningún objeto sexual en particular. Aunque ella utiliza “lujuria” (lust) en los títulos, los nombres de “impulso sexual” (sex drive) y “libido” son más comunes en la comunidad asexual, con la misma definición que Fisher, aunque hay algunas corrientes que entienden “libido” con un sentido no exclusivamente sexual. Este impulso sexual es, pues, inespecífico como el hambre, a diferencia del apetito, que se suele comparar a la atracción sexual.

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