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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Sobre la (in)definición de atracción sexual

19 septiembre 2017

Como discutí en una entrada anterior, mi búsqueda de un definición comúnmente aceptada del concepto de atracción sexual resultó infructuosa, pues parece ser que nadie en la amplia literatura al respecto se molesta en definirlo, utilizando vagas nociones comunes en su lugar. Este concepto es clave para definir la orientación sexual y la asexualidad. Una autora que dedica unas palabras a esta indefinición es Diamond (2008, p. 126, trad. propia):

El problema de tratar de definir qué es la atracción sexual es que los investigadores saben muy poco acerca de cómo los individuos experimentan sentimientos sexuales. Aunque nos tomamos el trabajo de evaluar la frecuencia de la atracción homosexual frente a la heterosexual, el equilibrio relativa entre ambas, la edad a la que surgieron por primera vez, etcétera, rara vez nos paramos a preguntar qué quiere decir un encuestado en particular con la palabra “atracción” y qué tipo de pensamientos subjetivos y sentimientos van empaquetados en esta experiencia. En su lugar, asumimos que todos definen y experimentan la atracción sexual de la misma manera.

Cuando Diamond emprendió el trabajo de abordar esta cuestión en sus encuestas, se encontró con “un amplio rango de respuestas completamente incomparables unas con otras” (Diamond, 2008, p. 127, trad. propia). Ante este hecho, concluye Hinderliter (2009, trad. propia):

En la práctica, esto significa que asumir simplemente que todos los participantes entienden que la atracción sexual significa la misma cosa dé lugar probablemente a datos en los que no se pueda confiar, aunque este problema no se limita al estudio de la asexualidad.

Así pues, para intentar arrojar luz sobre el concepto de atracción sexual, acudiré al trabajo de dos autoras que lo han delimitado frente a otros conceptos similares: Fisher (1998) y Diamond (2003).

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Sobre la definición de orientación sexual (Segunda parte)

14 septiembre 2017

En la anterior entrada discutí la siguiente definición de orientación sexual de la American Psychological Association (2012):

La orientación sexual se refiere a un patrón perdurable de atracciones emocionales, románticas y/o sexuales hacia hombres, mujeres o ambos sexos. La orientación sexual también se refiere al sentido de identidad de cada persona basada en dichas atracciones, las conductas relacionadas y la pertenencia a una comunidad de otros que comparten esas atracciones.

En esa entrada descartamos la coletilla que añade la identidad, la conducta y la comunidad, cosas claramente distintas, así como las atracciones emocional y romántica, que son independientes de la sexual, quedándonos con la definición de Bailey et al. (2016):

La orientación sexual se refiere a la atracción sexual relativa hacia varones, mujeres o ambos.

Esta definición es ya más concreta, suponiendo bien definida la atracción sexual, pero sigue presentando problemas. Por ejemplo, tal como está definida y aunque se suponga lo contrario, no todo el mundo tendría una orientación sexual. No sólo tenemos a la gente cuya atracción sexual está dirigida exclusivamente a objetos que la clasificarían como parafilia, sino que también está la gente que no experimenta atracción sexual, es decir, los asexuales. Se les puede dejar fuera de la escala, como hizo Kinsey, pero hay que considerarlos porque existen y, aunque son pocos en comparación con la población heterosexual, no lo son en comparación con la población homo o bisexual.

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