Sunday, December 30, 2007

More Research Fun!

Believe it or not, sometimes I check the "Asexuality" page on Wikipedia to see if there's anything new there. This is a very slow day, so I did exactly that. And there's a LOT more information on research now, including more things I've never heard of before. This intrigued me the most:

A 1977 paper entitled Asexual and Autoerotic Women: Two Invisible Groups, by Myra T. Johnson, may be the first explicitely devoted to asexuality in humans. Johnson defines asexuals as those men and women "who, regardless of physical or emotional condition, actual sexual history, and marital status or ideological orientation, seem to prefer not to engage in sexual activity." She contrasts autoerotic women with asexual women: "The asexual woman...has no sexual desires at all [but] the autoerotic woman...recognizes such desires but prefers to satisfy them alone." Johnson's evidence is mostly letters to the editor found in women's magazines written by asexual/autoerotic women. She portrays them as invisible, "oppressed by a consensus that they are nonexistent," and left behind by both the sexual revolution and feminist movement. Society either ignores or denies their existence, or insists they must be ascetic for religious reasons, neurotic, or asexual for political reasons.

Cool, huh? It's in a book called "The Sexually Oppressed", which I'm actually buying off right now. The book's only $6.50 with shipping, which seems like a fairly good deal for an out-of-print volume from 1977. A small price to pay for our edification, don't you think?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Let's Talk About X

You've probably heard of the Kinsey scale. Seven categories, from 0 to 6, describe sexual orientation from exclusively straight to exclusively gay and everything in between. However, you may not know (and neither did I until yesterday) that Mr. Kinsey included an eighth category-- "X"-- for asexual people. You don't hear as much about "X", as say, "3". It wasn't in the movie starring Liam Neeson, and it never got much page time in the Kinsey Reports, but it was there nonetheless. When I discovered "X", quite by chance, I was filled with a strange swell of Sally Field-esque gratitude: "He knew about us! He really knew about us!" And not only that, but Kinsey noticed our existence as early as 1948. Which is a very respectable rebuttal to anyone accusing us of randomly, you know, making all this up.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Questionable Content?

Thanks again to Mary for pointing this out. I always like to see the word "asexual" appear somewhere, although you'll have to wait until the last frame. Apologies for part of the image being cut off-- click on it and magnify to see the whole thing:

If I was offended by this, it would probably make for a much better post. But alas, I am not. You're looking at the web comic Questionable Content. By its very nature as a comic strip, it's not something most people are going to take seriously-- or look at for information on sexuality. Also, it implies that asexuality exists in some form, which is usually the hardest part of our battle. Sure, the strip implies that you can suddenly become asexual, which we all know isn't true. However, it's correct in stating that asexuality implies a lack of sexual desire, and it doesn't seem to be saying that there's anything wrong with being asexual. "I am officially asexual, and being part of that bizarre, pervy lot has scarred me for life"-- now that would offend me. So folks, what do you think; questionable, or not so much?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Boyfriend Test: Don't Knock the Ale

While at my parents' house for the holidays, I found a book on the dining room table called The Boyfriend Test (Wendy L. Walsh, 2001). "Oh, cool!" I thought. "Because I'm not attracted to anyone, how would I ever know who to date? Wouldn't it be great if I could just decide by giving people a test?" I dug into the book eagerly. I even withstood the author's personification of my egg cells (I mean, how can anyone who's ever had a period argue that egg cells are passive?). But when I got to this point, I had to stop, in the name of love:

"If the man is over twenty-five, he should have had at least one long-term relationship under his belt. I define long term as three years or three-year relationship should have happened by the age of twenty-five."-- 201
"There are two ways to avoid human intimacy: to not stay long enough or to stay away all together. Your boyfriend candidate should employ neither of these behaviors."-- 202

Folks, the world today is scary enough without introducing even more terror tactics. And this idea, outlined in the quotes above, terrifies people. All kinds of people; men, women, and otherwise. I still remember a female friend from college telling me in hushed, fearful tones: "I need to have a boyfriend while I'm still in college, or it'll be a red flag!" And this friend was a perfectly lovely person, not a paranoid commitment-phobe. My point is that this idea-- that we somehow have an expiration date for relationships, or an age of no return-- is more widespread than one silly book. What if, say, someone realizes, at age 20 (apparently, a prime dating time), that they aren't the sexual orientation that they always thought they were? (Raises hand.) Or what if your prospective date, until recently, was a monk? I think I'd like to date a former monk. They make good ale, train German Shepherds, wear robes, and if they were already willing to embark on at least one life-long relationship, they must be very passionate people.
Ex-monks and later-life asexuals want to know: Who's making these guidelines? Who says relationship-virgins over 25 are untrustworthy? Is there a book of the bible that I missed? The Boyfriend Test gives anecdotal evidence, but that isn't enough to doom a whole category of people. In many areas of our lives, we won't believe anything without evidence. So why, in the case of relationships, do these strange urban legends hold such sway?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Post #100! (Tell your hoez)

Wow, I made it to my hundredth post! This summer when I started Asexy Beast, 100 seemed like a huge number. And so did 100 readers-- but now, we've had over 2500! At this generally warm and fuzzy time of year, I want to thank you--yes, YOU, sitting in your pajamas and baby seal slippers, eating ice cream for breakfast-- for reading. Your comments always make my day. And if you like Asexy Beast,
Tell a friend, tell a foe, tell a ho.
If you have to, you can even preface the information with "I'm not asexual, but...". We all know that the internet contains magical powers in the way of disseminating information. But of course, our fabled days at the A-Bar will arrive sooner with your help, and your word-of-mouth (or keyboard) is the
best Chrismukkah gift I could receive. And will I bring it for the next 100 posts? You can bet your baby seal slippers I will do my darndest.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Famous Asexual Tomb Raider?

Ms. Mary, ancient historian extraordinaire, sent me this information about Robin Symes. I've never heard of the guy before, but if you're interested in valuable old things from tombs, you probably have:

Anyway, here's the setup. Symes had a longtime partnership (both business and personal) with Christo Michaelides, who died in a freak accident in 1999.
This set my Adar tingling (can one have Adar?):
"It is difficult to say who was more distraught, Christo's close-knit blood relatives, or Symes, his constant companion of more than thirty years. Even today, members of Christo's family have difficulty putting into words what they feel was the exact relationship between their favorite son and Symes. The dealer, for his part, says that 'Christo loved me, for 32 years' but insists that despite living together since 1970, and widely accepted from Gstaad to Los Angeles as a social couple, referred to as 'the Symeses,' theirs was not a homosexual liason but a long-term Platonic friendship." (248.)

A little background: "According to an interview Symes gave, the two men met in the 1960s when Christo visited Symes's shop . . . and offered him some antiquities . . . . Christo had a girlfriend and Symes was married, with two sons. AFter he was divorced, however, Symes lived in Christo's flat for a while and after that they became inseparable."(249.)

This, though, was really what I thought was interesting. Symes actually said, regarding division of the business after Christo's death: "Christo and I were partners, not in the business sense, but in the husband and wife sense. While we were both alive, we shared equally in the assets and profits and debts of the company, but after death they all passed to the survivor, to me." (251.) (Citations from The Medici Conspiracy, Peter Watson and Cecilia Todeschini.)

I said, "Yes Mary, you can have A-dar. Wasn't he probably just gay though?" Mary responded:

His being gay and in denial seems perfectly plausible, but . . . why now? It's pretty obvious everyone already thinks they were/are gay, and it obviously hasn't caused Symes any social angst. Michaelides was from a really close Greek family, though--perhaps he was reluctant to out himself for cultural and familial reasons. But on the other OTHER hand, you'd think Symes would have used that as a weapon in his protracted legal struggles with them . . .

Readers, I'm on the fence with this one. What do you think; is he A?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

You Know You're Asexual When...

I'm at work, listening to the radio.

KCRW: And now, today's top tune-- "Night of a Thousand Kisses"--
Ily: --That sounds TERRIBLE!

Sexual folks: would you actually enjoy that? Or not? Wouldn't your lips start getting chapped after, say, the 6 or 700s? So not romantic.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Meetup Madness!

It's the time of year for eating and buying too much, but there is never such a thing as too many AVEN meetups. Due to unbridgeable scheduling conflicts, I actually held two meetups this week-- one yesterday and one today. And because there were two, I felt like I would be within my rights to have them in my own neighborhood. And to that, BOOYAH.
We went to Crepevine on Wednesday, and had a cozy group of 4 people. I even received an official SF Meetups trivia game. Tonight, we went to You See Sushi (not to be confused with We Be Sushi), and even though there were only two of us, I was glad to get the chance to have a one-on-one conversation. Add the numbers together, and you get six attendees (so I'm counting two people as four; this is community-building, not mathematics). We hold steady.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Shut up and don't kiss me

I found this on PostSecret, again:

I'm not as into PostSecret as I used to seems like the secrets have gotten more mean-spirited lately, if such a thing is possible. However, sometimes I still find secrets that really give me pause. This secret is timely for me, because I was thinking about the whole "first kiss" rite of passage a few days ago. I'm not sure what to say about it except that, like standardized tests and the Iraq war (did I say that? Yes I did), it inflicts needless pain on the children.
There are myriad people right now, approximately ages 11 and up, who are feeling like "freakazoids" or perhaps "zoidafreaks" because they haven't been kissed. Before I found AVEN, I felt like a freak, too. I didn't "get kissed" until I was 19, and I haven't been kissed for the last three years. My first kiss wasn't a good experience, but I didn't even care, because I was so relieved to get it over with. Now, how healthy is that? And how many sexual people do you think felt the same way at some point during their teenage years? I'm going to go with "tons". This is why the asexual revolution is important for all of us, Ace or not. We would like to get rid of this "first kiss" pressure, and we'd like your support on the matter.
I think the first step towards this new world order is to be able to talk about your kissing history without feeling judged. That's what's so cool about AVEN-- you can announce "I've never been kissed" and have 20 other people agree with you. When someone tells you they've only kissed one, 3, or 57 people, and you go "oh REALLY?", that's not helping. "Being kissed" (and notice how it's always mentioned in a passive sense, as if it's some kind of burning bush that just appears out of nowhere) will not change your life. It's just saliva. So can we be a little casual about it, please?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

People get ridiculous

Figleaf has helped me prove that once people put the word "asexual" in a sentence, they get ridiculous. It's as if once that word works its way into people's minds, they abandon all reason. So far, I have not been able to use this power in my favor. And since it's not getting me any free drinks, we might as well send it to the cultural landfill. Here's my example of asexual mindfreakery for the day. The quote comes from an article called "Asexual men and the creeps who live on campus" by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, best known for his role on the TLC show "Shalom in the Home". The article, about the Duke student rape scandal, says in part:

The male overexposure to women has even led to the death of the heterosexual man as we know him. If the definition of a heterosexual man is a male who is attracted to women, then most men today are barely heterosexual. Think about it. Nearly all the men I know are only attracted to about one in 10 women, that is, the 10 percent of women they consider "hot." The other 90 percent leave them cold. Doesn't that mean that they are 90 percent asexual? And I'm not trying to be funny. If a man is not attracted to a woman, then he is not heterosexual. Period. And if he only attracted to a small fraction of the women he meets, then he is fractionally heterosexual.

How has the venerable rabbi managed to equate asexuals with rapists? How does that make any sense? See what I mean-- ridiculous. As if rape had anything to do with what percentage of people you're attracted to. And as if jerky guys who are only attracted to "HAWT" women are some sort of new sexual orientation. I guess I of all people shouldn't knock new sexual orientations. But seriously, folks. Really now.
*tips over dump truck, watches for seagulls*

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Unknown Pleasures?

[Photo: Food coloring with a side of ice cream. 15-some-odd years later, and I still think it looks delicious. Read on and you'll get the point...]

There's a little debate going on right now on AVEN about whether or not we should have a personals forum. I completely agree with those who say that we need to keep AVEN about visibility and education. I don't know how many people are actively involved in these activities, but I know the number is low. Spread us out all across the world, and it gets even lower. I'd think that people would be chomping at the bit to get a piece of the new sexual revolution. But, as you can tell by my frequent SF meetup dilemmas, this is not the case. Maybe in people's secret hearts, they don't want to educate people about something that they feel has caused them to be alone. I don't know if personals will work, but let's pacify these people. Let's make them happy, because lord knows, we need it.

That's my official stance. But my personal stance (no pun intended, I hate puns) is not as clear-cut. In fact, my ideas on "romance" and "relationships" have never been clear-cut. As long as I can remember, I have visualized getting married. But whether this is what I really want, or simply a consequence of watching too many movies, I can't say. Being in a "romantic relationship", whatever that means, is something I've always wanted to do as well. I don't know if I have any romantic drive. It may just be something on my life's to-do list, somewhere between raising a giant tortoise and seeing the Grand Canyon.

Maybe by having personals on AVEN, we're contributing to the system that we're trying to dismantle. But I think one of the reasons why asexuals can seem so lonely is because people are constantly shoving unrealistic expectations of romance down our throats. Like those chili cheese fries or tie-dye ice cream that your parents never let you eat, romance has a similar appeal to me. It seems great because I've never tried it; I don't think about the stomach ache that ensues. What person with a zest for life does?

Even though Voltaire seems like a tool, I have to agree with at least one thing he said: "Try it once and you're a philosopher. Try it twice and you're an alcoholic." Although I might not go that far (if two tries gets you on the floor, don't drink), like any philosopher, I want to try everything. You know, if only for research purposes. But I don't want to do anything stupid, and I don't want to be one of "those people" who would rather have any relationship than be by themselves; that's not me at all. I want to experience what the 99% is able to. I also want to be myself. This, my dear friends, is the problem.

Even if we had AVEN personals, what would the success rate be? Everyone knows the stories of the happy couples that have met on AVEN; we all know them because there are so few of them. I don't want to date like sexual people do. But I don't know how asexual people date. No one does; It's like the giant deep-sea squid of love. And that metaphor might be more apt than you think, because whenever I think about "relationships", I kind of feel like this:
All I know is that the rules, if there are any, are ours for the writing. Do a clicky on the little link below. The comments section is all yours.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Silly Model

Rosie is attempting to devour displaying the new "Asexuals do it on AVEN" wristband. I know, wristbands are cheezy. But, asexy wristbands? Totally not cheezy. If I could do so without a) going broke or b) having a huge repository of wristbands in my living room, I would make them in bulk and attempt to sell them to you at a discount. But for the time being, we're just going to have to get coordinated one-offs. I got mine from Wristbands Now, which can make individual wristbands to your specifications. Here's a close-up:

As you can tell, the text is very hard to see. The color I chose was "purple swirl", which looks a lot like funkadelic AVEN purple on the website. However, as you can also tell, it's actually more white than purple. Oh well. One of these babies will set you back $7.50 (including shipping), which seems exorbitant for a wristband. But I was able to convince myself that it was actually very affordable, considering it's a custom-made item. That's shopping online for you.
Anyway, a few people from AVEN are ordering these. As you can probably guess, we all live in different cities, so a wristbands-unite photo doesn't seem likely. But if you're in San Francisco and see someone wearing the wristband pictured above, it's probably me. Say hi; I'm friendlier than I look.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I Wanna Be-e-e Hu-u-uman To-o-o

Taken from Feministing, with respect:
(Emphasis is mine.)

Check out Violet Blue's interview with Staci Haines, author of Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma.

She asks the hard questions.

VB: Why is rediscovering sexual pleasure important for survivors?

SH: Sex is a normal and healthy part of being human. Having good sex — where you feel pleasure, intimacy, intensity and longing — is one of the most powerful experiences anyone can have. Not having that can be as detrimental as sex can be powerful. Oftentimes, people who have been abused avoid sex so it doesn't bring up feelings about the abuse. To heal, they have to go toward, and eventually through whatever triggers memories of the abuse — that's where freedom is.

I know that this is targeted towards abuse survivors. I am not one, so perhaps I don't have the right to comment. If not...that's unfortunate. Because I'm tired of being told what is and isn't integral to "being human". Saying that sex is part of being human sounds all nice and warm and healthy and progressive-- unless you're asexual. Then it just sounds creepy. Because throughout the ages, there have been quite a varied list of requirements to being human. Among them, being white, male, part of a religious majority, able-bodied, heterosexual, and so on and so forth. Some people are apparently adding "sexual" to this list, and it would scare me to think that A-s are on their way to becoming objects, like the long line of dehumanized humans that have come and gone again and again.
I'm sure that evoking this dismal alterna-future wasn't Staci Haines' intention. I'm sure she is actually a nice, warm, healthy and progressive person, and I'm sure that for many survivors of abuse, these are important things to hear. But all language has power, and language that seems innocuous to some can be dangerous for others.
Let's not forget that at least 1% of abuse survivors were asexual to begin with. While I know that
Healing Sex isn't marketed towards that tiny minority, I'd like to think they at least get a footnote somewhere. I don't want to think that these women would be getting advice that isn't good for them, just because they are such a small group.
And that's all I have to say about that...for now, of course. In the meantime, everybody check out Feministing-- it's bang-on. Also, this post just makes me think of that song in
The Jungle Book movie where the animals are singing about how they want to be human--you-u-u! I wanna be like you-u-u! I wanna talk like you, walk like you, lalalala dodododo etc. Unfortunately for me, my cats don't have those doubts.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Dying Alone, Redux

Maybe what I'm about to say makes me a huge hypocrite. But isn't that what being honest with yourself is all about-- admitting your dishonesties as well? In this literature, I wrote that A-s wouldn't necessarily die alone. And when talking about all A-s, I'm going to stand by that, because I can't speak for anyone other than myself. If you asked me in person, I would also stand by that, because let's face it-- it's what I have to say. I'll say almost anything to convince you that this is my orientation and not a disorder. But "dying alone" is like the Loch Ness Monster. Everyone's heard about it, but how many of us really know what it is? That's what I'd like to talk about today.
Now, the more logical part of me thinks that "dying alone" is just a paranoia. That, like large spiders crawling over your face in the dark, it's a frightening possibility that really happens to very few of us. Some of my phobias include cults and falling into a porta-potty. Will I ever join a cult or fall into a porta-potty? Probably not, but whenever I use a porta-potty, or hear anyone talk about a certain fruity powdered beverage, I freak out a little.
"Dying alone" might be the same; just an apocryphal legend that, like so many other things, is designed to scare young people into marrying. Sometimes I have bad days and I feel, in some primal part of me, that "dying alone" is real and will happen. By being in the 1% club, I've already beaten the odds in a major way, and maybe, I think, it's just not possible to beat them again. But if I see "dying alone" as just a phobia and not an eventuality, I feel better. Hell, it's not even a cool phobia. Unlike my other phobias, which are truly terrifying things that I would be honored to be afraid of, "dying alone" seems impotent in comparison.

I'll leave you with a last example: I used to be really scared of dogs. So I decided to volunteer at an animal shelter and walk the dogs, mainly huge pit bulls, Rottweilers, or mixes of the two. In the beginning, I think everyone's a little scared of the pit bulls. But you find that most of them are actually very loving, gentle animals when they're not trained to disembowel people. So don't avoid the dogs (unless they're foaming at the mouth), and if you're scared of "dying alone", don't try to put it out of your mind. When we do that, I think it just gets even more embedded in our psyche. Let's bring it out into the light. Let's talk about this, because when we do, we diminish its power. Or, just ask someone: "I don't want to die alone. Will you die with me?" to see what a bizarre concept it truly is.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

An Observation

"Talking dirty for a hobby, that's alright.
For another glass of wine,
I'll think of England this time."
--Belle and Sebastian, "The Boy Done Wrong Again"

You know when you're listening to an album that you've heard 100 times? But this one time, some lyrics really jump out at you. You can't even remember hearing them before, but suddenly they're right up front, and you can't believe you never noticed them before. That just happened to me with these B&S lyrics.
Okay. I haven't listened to "If You're Feeling Sinister" 100 times. That would be embarrassing.

(Maybe 90.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I'm still not really sure what we should be doing at meetups.
People like to eat, so I've been having them at restaurants. Food also provides people with something to do, and something to look at if you're tired of looking at the other people. However, I'm uncomfortable with "making" people go out to eat, when that may not be in their budgets. Also, restaurants can seem kind of formal, even if they're casual places. Ideally, I'd like to meet at the 3DB cafe in the LGBT Center, but it's only open until 8:30 (our meetups have been starting at 7, and you would think that an hour and a half would be plenty, but if people are coming from other towns, I feel like they want to "get their money's worth" and stay for a long time), a lot of other groups already meet there, and I run into the problem of what "activity" we would do.
While eating constitutes an "activity" in my mind, drinking coffee somehow does not. I also feel that to attract more people, we'd have to do something "cooler" and more exciting than just hanging out in a coffee shop. But what would that entail-- going bungee jumping, getting tattoos, and then heading over to Fisherman's Wharf to wrestle the sea lions? What if I am my meetups ideas, and what if my meetup ideas aren't good enough?
Maybe I should just do what I want, and end this constant attempt to take everyone's schedules, locations, and social mores into account. But then I face another fear: that no one shows.
If only the Canvas Cafe were still open... *cries inside, with what little is left of her post-Canvas heart, then pulls self together*
I really need to get these meetups into a consistent place and time, so that I can free up this mental disk space for other matters. We already have a consistent time, and I think a place naturally follows. Or does it?
Now, if you have any ideas even remotely related to this matter, please please share, and help me help the A-Team (Wow, I feel like one of those commercials that play on TV around five or six in the evening-- "Do YOU have an idea? Are YOU an inventor?"). And, don't forget that confused orangutan!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Gay Bar, Gay Bar!

Got the Sunday Afternoon Blues? Morose about returning to work or school? Depressed about another long week wherever you're being institutionalized? Well, consider this your antidote:

"Gay Bar" by Electric Six
I wanna take you to a gay bar,
I wanna take you to a gay bar,
I wanna take you to a gay bar,
gay bar, gay bar.

Let's start a war, start a nuclear war,
At the gay bar, gay bar, gay bar.

Now tell me, do ya, a do ya have any money?
I wanna spend all your money,
at the gay bar, gay bar, gay bar.

I've got something to put in you,
I've got something to put in you,
I've got something to put in you,
At the gay bar, gay bar, gay bar.

You're a superstar at the gay bar.
Yeah you're a superstar at the gay bar.
You're a superstar at the gay bar

You can hear the song at this Myspace page. Although it kind of doesn't sound like the real song. Hmm. Anyway, you've probably noticed a trend, which is that I tend to ascribe a genius to simplicity that it may or may not actually deserve. To quote a cookbook I read once, "simple and easy are not the same thing". Indeed, but I love the song for more reasons than its sweet simplicity. First of all, I wish I had the brio to tell random people that I am taking them to a gay bar, gay bar, whether they like it or not, and there is nothing they can do about it.
Second, when I was in college (don't worry, this is a very innocent story), someone would play "Gay Bar" at every Theatre party. As a freshman, those parties seemed very exciting and exotic. By the time I was a Senior, I didn't like being a Theatre major, all the "Gay Bar" fans had graduated, and the parties seemed terribly lame. But, there was once a time when I wasn't completely bitter about higher education. And somewhere during that time, someone was playing "Gay Bar".
And third, when I really get into this song-- at the minimum, shaking my head around a little bit, if not all-out dancing-- suddenly my dream of the infamous A-Bar is only two letters away. Can you, can you feel it?