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.


Disproved =/= unproved

26 agosto 2017

Versión en español

In a recent post, I have mentioned the ad ignorantiam fallacy, which is based on the confusion between disproved and unproved. I shall explain the concepts. A claim is proved if a proof thereof is found according to the standard of the corresponding discipline. A claim is disproved if a proof of its negation is found. In both cases it involves proving, whichever it means in the corresponding discipline. In the case of disproving, it also involves proper negation of the claim, avoiding false dichotomies. When a claim is neither proved nor disproved, it remains unproved. The unproved claims lie in a kind of limbo, where they stay until proved or disproved.

Each discipline has its own proving standard and, in the experimental ones, a proved claim can return to the state of unproved, or even be disproved, if contradictory evidence is gathered. In the case of being unable to disprove the claim, it may happen that the researcher can prove that current evidence can’t prove or disprove it, bringing it back to the state of unproved. These two scenarios should be clearly distinguished, since disproving a previously proved claim is much stronger than just proving the evidence too weak to prove it, and the implications are different. The ad ignorantiam fallacy consists in deliberately confusing them by considering that a proof of the second kind as if it were of the first kind, concluding thus disproved the opponent’s claim.

My view of asexual research

19 agosto 2017

Esta entrada es otra colaboración para el carnaval de blogs, que este mes trata sobre la asexualidad y el mundo académico. Escribo en inglés porque es el idioma de este carnaval.

Versión en español

When I entered the asexual community, I realized some facts I could check by my experience there. Some of these facts were supported by scientific research, but most were unresearched. In the first category we find the works of Storms and Diamond to which I have devoted my first contribution to this month’s edition of this carnival. The first work proposes a bidimensional model of sexual orientation that places asexuality as a fully legitimate sexual orientation. The second work supports the separation of sexual and romantic attraction, and even gives ground for explaining demisexuality. But most of the interesting conclusions of the asexual-community experience remain scientifically untested. Moreover, with the exception of Storms, who published in 1980, the rest of the scientific literature on asexuality is very recent and, in most cases, it comes to rediscover facts that are well known to the asexual community, even in weaker forms. It’s true that each scientific discipline has its research standards, and that passing from an empirical fact to a scientific truth takes its work, but good research should take into account the community experience, at the price of making up another theory of phlogiston.

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My favorite asexual research

11 agosto 2017

Esta entrada es una colaboración para el carnaval de blogs, que este mes trata sobre la asexualidad y el mundo académico. Escribo en inglés porque es el idioma de este carnaval.

Versión en español

I’m glad to learn that the baton of Asexual Explorations on compiling a bibliography of research on asexuality has been picked up by Asexual Research in the platform Zotero [see introduction]. This way I’ve found recent articles revisiting my all-time favorite piece on asexual research, Storms (1980). The reason I like Storms’s article is because of his bidimensional model of sexual orientation, which I’ve described previously in this blog and, in a nutshell, considers heterosexual attraction and homosexual attraction as perpendicular axes, obtaining four regions: heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality and asexuality. This model improves Kinsey scale, considering asexuality a fully legitimate sexual orientation instead of an off-scale outlier.

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30 julio 2017

Esta entrada es una colaboración para el carnaval de blogs, cuyo tema de este mes trata es Ace-ing it up offline. Escribo en inglés porque es el idioma de este carnaval.

I envy those asexual people living in areas with regular meetups. I live in the middle of nowhere and I don’t have easy access to meetups. Since my beginning in AVEN, I was interested in meetups, and I was lucky to attend one in Madrid in my first half year in AVEN. Madrid has always been my reference for meetups, and I have attended a few there, but I have also dealt with the scarcity of AVENites in my area by arranging private meetings. These private meetings are not meetups as usual, but they’re meetings of only two AVENites, which allows a schedule fitter to the needs of both people. I have arranged such private meetings when I was going to visit towns where I knew a fellow AVENite was staying, so they depended on fortunate coincidences, and I’m lucky to say that they have always been successful. A disadvantage of these meetings over group meetups is that there’s more risk of not being chemistry between the two people, something that in a group meetup blurs, what makes them riskier to fail for incompatibility.

An issue in both kinds of meetings is how to recognize each other. I think it’s useful to exchange phone numbers and/or pictures (through private ways, or course) especially for the private meetings, apart of arranging a very specific place to meet. For group meetings the latter could be enough if the group is recognizable by any means like a flag. There are in AVEN safety guidelines which are advisable to follow especially in the first meetup, among which I would highlight the rule of staying in public spaces.

Another kind of meetups I have attended is the fortnightly meetings of the campus LGBT group. I was not out to them as asexual, but they were very accepting, since they’re a group that accepts straight and questioning people. These meetups were held in a corner of a gay bar, and were split into small groups, so I had the opportunity to talk with different people of the group each evening. For the first time, I contacted the group leaders and they met up with me in the same place half an hour before the rest of the people came, making it very welcoming.

When visiting a town for attending a meetup, I’ve had good experiences with pre-meetups and post-meetups. In pre-meetups, people coming early for the main meetup met the evening before. In post-meetups, people in the main meetup arranged an extension of the meetup for the next day. Also the International Conference of Asexuality, held this month in Madrid, despite not being a meetup, allowed to meet AVENites and to arrange pre-meetups.

Though I’m not out in general, when you meet up with an asexual person or group, it happens the miracle that, inside this circle, you are all out without having to come out and, if you have to do any explanation, you are understood because you share the terminology. This happens too, though at a lower level, in the LGBT meetups where I was not out as asexual.

Storms square as a model for education

29 junio 2017

Esta entrada es una colaboración para el carnaval de blogs, que este mes trata sobre educación asexual. Escribo en inglés porque es el idioma de este carnaval.

Versión en español

In its very name, AVEN has two objectives: visibility and education. Though intertwined, this month we’ll focus on education. Each effort of visibility educates by teaching people that asexuality exists, but maybe not in depth, and each effort of education makes its objective visible, but maybe not in the most effective way. Of course, it’s not the same trying to educate the general population, the LGBT people or their allies. One can go more in depth with the two last populations because of the shared knowledge. Notice that there are still people who can only picture a binary straight/gay or, if they conceive a spectrum, it’s the faggish spectrum, which start with straight, follows with cis-gay and ends with trans, mixing apples with oranges.

As any reader of this blog may know, I am a big fan of Storms square, and I find it suitable both many levels of education. For the simplest level, it shows how asexuality is the missing piece in the puzzle of orientation, preventing the response “and how many orientations more?”. This way we can picture the four cardinal orientations: heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality and asexuality. This picture, apart of framing asexuality as a sexual orientation, also prevents the common misconceptions like equating asexuality with being antisexual or abstinent from sex.

Advancing further than the fourfold reading of Storms square, one can introduce the grey area, including demisexuality, but with the warning that the four cardinal orientations come before and that a demisexual still has a sexual orientation for their sexual attraction. I would compare it with grammatical gender in Spanish. There are two grammatical genders in standard Spanish, masculine and feminine, together with a vestigial neuter, but then there exist some phenomena regarding gender, like common gender, ambiguous gender or epicene gender. These phenomena are not genders, and require the two cardinal genders for their explanation. For instance, a word cannot have epicene as its gender, but it would be either masculine or feminine. An epicene feminine word like “persona” is a feminine word, and being epicene means that its feminine gender has preference over the gender of its referent. In the same way, a straight demisexual is heterosexual; their demisexuality explains how their sexual attraction works, not where it is oriented.

Finally, Storms square is a scientific model, published in 1980, what makes it valid also for educating professionals. Another advantage of Storms model is that it can be reproduced for romantic attraction, making it clear that sexual and romantic orientation are essentially different, though usually aligned. I think it’s positive to introduce the split attraction model as soon as dealing with romantic attraction in order to avoid myths like equating asexuality and aromanticism or, worse, thinking that romantic attraction is universal. With the same square one can explore further, not only romantic orientation, but also platonic or social orientation.

Storms square is not the panacea, as it doesn’t deal with non-binary genders, but it’s a great model for education in many levels.

My thoughts on kissing, holding hands and bed sharing

31 mayo 2017

Esta entrada es una colaboración para el carnaval de blogs, que este mes trata sobre besar, agarrarse de la mano, compartir cama, etc. Escribo en inglés porque es el idioma de este carnaval.

I don’t think that kissing, even French kissing, holding hands or sharing a bed are intrinsically romantic, but toxically considered romantic by our society, making difficult to do them outside a romantic setting. First, I shall exclude cheek kissing because our society has decided that this is the formal greeting when a woman in involved, though I strongly hate these protocol and its gender asymmetry. I think French kissing is considered romantic or sexual, so if it’s not considered romantic it’s because it’s linked with casual sex. The latter would be the only case I would engage in French kissing, and I did engage in it in a context of sensual explorations, but in general I’m not driven into partnered sex, so I’m not driven into French kissing for sexual reasons, and less for romantic reasons.

Regarding hand holding, I shall exclude the case of helping another person, or being helped yourself, where holding hands is functional. When a couple hold hands for romantic reasons they do it in a dysfunctional form, and they insist on being granted room for the pack even in crowded settings where one can hardly get their own room. In extremely crowded settings, it could paradoxically result functional as a way to keep together, but again the way you should fasten your partner’s hand is not romantic, as far as I know. I haven’t tried romantic hand-holding, and I can’t see the point in it. Just showing everybody you are a couple?

Again, I shall exclude bed sharing for a need, which uses to be temporary. Romantic bed-sharing uses to be a standing situation. In this case, if two people share a bed in a continuous basis, it’s assumed they’re a couple more surely than if they held hands or kissed, and it’s also assume that they are more committed and, of course, that they have sex on a regular basis. Among this three romantic gestures, I dislike more bed sharing, especially for lasting hours. I wouldn’t share a bed if there were no need. I can’t understand the couples that, being able to have separate beds, decide to give up this comfort in order to be closer to their partner. One thing is sharing a bed for a sex session, which I understand, and another thing is sharing it for sleeping. And I hate when society dismiss a couple’s love and engagement when they find out that they sleep on separate beds, or even in separate rooms.