These academic articles on asexuality are actually really interesting. I knew I decided to do this for a reason.
Here’s part of an abstract of a particularly interesting one. They were comparing data collected from asexuals to the general population.
Social withdrawal was the most elevated…
In 12%? It sounded more like a “a small percent of asexual people…” would be more accurate than just saying “asexual people…”
yeah. Because while it may be a tad more likely in the asexual sample, 12% is still far from being the majority of asexuals - especialy when you consider that rates among the “healthy population” seem to be from 4-9% (at least according to wikipedia; unfortunately I don’t have time atm to confirm that. also not sure what they meant by healthy population, and if it differs from general population; that’s something to look into)
So while the tendency for alexithymia may be a tad higher, most of the asexual population still does not exhibit those traits.
but when it comes to research and academia about asexuality, I definitely am interested, and I’m certainly not the only one.
Have you ever checked out any of these? They’re good resources for following asexual research.
1. Name me a TV series or movie where a main or secondary character is asexual, has come out as asexual, remains asexual and their asexuality is not due to abuse, a medical condition that can be fixed, a “phase”, being too young to be sexual or an alien race/supernatural creature or “waiting for the right person”. They can be of any romantic inclination (including aromantic) or any gender but they MUST have stated they are asexual.
Bonus if they’re also childfree.
2. Name me a TV series or movie where a main or secondary female character is childfree. Not childless(wanting kids but being unable to have them/not having had them yet) but actually childfree (never wanting children and sticking to never giving birth to any or adopting any - childfree people have no children. Peroid.) and not only has stated such but remains true to their childfree beliefs even if they get pregnant (yes that means an ABORTION not AWWW I WANNA BE A MOMMY NOW). Their childfree desire cannot stem from being “tragically sterile”, the last of their race, a supernatural or alien creature, a medical/mental illness or because the love of their life died young.
Bonus if they’re asexual too.
3. Name me a TV series or a movie where asexuality is shown in a positive light and treated as valid; not as something that can be fixed or a choice one embraces because “no one wants them” or a medical or mental illness.
4. Name me a TV series or movie where a woman being childfree is shown in a positive light and treated as valid; not as child-hating, being bitter, a “phase”, being immature, abusive, a “rabid man hating feminist” or the result of a medical/mental illness that needs to be fixed.
5. Name me a TV series or movie where a woman/person with a uterus actually has an abortion because she wanted to and with zero or little regrets afterwards because it was the right choice for her.
Bonus if she’s childfree and is shown sticking to that belief.
Now the reason I was female specific on the CF questions is because there are plenty of examples of CF men and men who don’t really want kids, so much so that Hollywood has made a billion cliche movies about it (and always the guy seems forced into parenthood because his girl is pregnant and happy) so a guy not wanting kids isn’t so much of a big deal. Females are supposed to want children because we supposedly have this clock that makes us want to breed. The other side of that is rarely, if at all, represented.
I’d actually love to see answers to these because I’d love characters I can look at and see myself fairly represented by the media.
For ace TV characters, I suggest checking out Gerald from Shortland Street (who really needs more love in the ace community) - he got an entire arc of character development relating to him coming out as asexual, and while it still plays into some stereotypes, it’s overall much better than anything else we’ve had.
There are clips of all the relevant scenes starting here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgju7QrWszA&lr=1
It’s a soap opera, so there’s of course some drama and ridiculous, but he’s one of the few (only?) realistic depictions of an explicitly asexual character available.
There’s also sort of Penny from Huge, but her asexuality was only mentioned once and never really got a chance to develop because the show got canceled.
Other than that though, representations of ace characters are either based mostly on fan interpretation of non-canonical aces (sherlock, Sheldon from Big Bang Theory, etc), or are pretty terrible (as in House). And even the non-canonical characters who are sometimes interpreted as asexual tend to be sociopaths or completely socially inept.
“Romantic orientations – Aces commonly use hetero-, homo-, bi-, and pan- in front of the word romantic to describe who they experience romantic attraction to.”
screams that a- is not included
YOU INCLUDED “QUEERPLATONIC” BUT YOU DID NOT INCLUDE THE MAIN DEMOGRAPHIC THAT USES IT
screams, hits head against wall
Could you link to whatever article you’re talking about? Because all the info I’ve seen so far of the trevor project asexuality materials have pretty explicitly included mentions of aromanticism - if you’re looking at a secondary source of information, it’s quite likely that this is all a big miscommunication.
EDIT: WAIT I FOUND WHAT YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT (it’s in the lower right of the first page of the trevor project materials)
it’s not a case of exclusion, just of confusing structure - if you look two inches above it, they have the definition of aromanticism clearly included. The confusion is just that it isn’t grouped with other romantic orientations the way it often is.
It’s also an ongoing project, I believe, so if you have a suggestion for an alternate structure then I suggest (politely) messaging trevor project or AAW.
It is true, though, that as a specifically asexuality-focused project, it doesn’t focus primarily on aromanticism - mostly only discussing it when it intersects with asexuality. But to be honest, that’s kind of what I expected, and I think that’s what’s reasonable to expect.
And actually, a good project for someone would perhaps be to contact Trevor Project about perhaps creating similar resources for aromanticism, because although it can overlap with asexuality a lot it really is a seperate issue. (I can’t do it at the moment, but if no one else ever gets around to it I might look into starting something in the future). A good start would be too collect suggestions for materials to provide, similar to the asexuality resources Trevor Project has.
Also, with regards to your other post - to clarify, the Trevor Project inclusion of asexuality was not an AVEN initiative, although it was discussed and promoted there after the fact. It was actually a part of Asexual Awareness Week, which is another awesome ace-activism group, and I think a good sign of the asexual community expanding beyond just AVEN (as a side note, I still think AVEN serves an important role, and most of the supposed “aromantic hate” is exaggerated/imagined and I think a case of having blinders on, and what problems there are are fairly widespread in the ace community, not just AVEN - but that’s another rant)
I think in some ways this does bring up the point that there really isn’t much in the way of aromantic activism yet. There are a few communities - aroplane and the (now defunct?) Coalition for Aromantic Visibility, and a couple tumblrs, but none of them are really activist.
There has been some activism through asexual groups (pretty much all good asexual info includes briefs on a/romantic orientations and basic definitions of aromanticism), but only usually apply to aromanticism as it relates to asexuality, and doesn’t necessarily apply to allosexual aromantics. And while it’s still a start, I think expecting asexual communities to do all the work or promoting aromanticism is unrealistic and not a good long-term solution - it’s like expecting gay organizations to do all the visibility of trans* issues: although there may be a fair amount of overlap, and the two are often linked by society, the issues are different. And the fact is, aromantics are a minority of asexuals, and asexual materials will focus first and foremost on asexuality, with aromanticism (as well as particular experiences of other romantic orientations) being a secondary focus.
Aromantic specific materials, on the other hand, would be able to focus specifically on aromanticism, and explain matters in much greater detail. They would also be able to discuss aromanticism in a way that is decouple from asexuality, which is I think an important development.
And just to start sounding out this idea: would anyone else be interested in starting some sort of group - or at least a network of contacts - for discussion of aromantic activism and education projects?
Since even though the term really resonates with me and my experiences throughout my life, I have a romantic partner. And sometimes I feel like that just destroys any claim I may have to the identity.
But see the thing is, my aromanticism is the lack of romantic attraction, the desire to seek somebody/some specific person out and become their partner. I’ve never really had a crush.My partner and I likely would have never become romantic if she didn’t initiate it. And, like, I certainly wasn’t feeling lonely or needing to meet someone before I met her — it just sort of happened???
(Actually, near the beginning, I thought that our relationship would be queerplatonic, not romantic.)
I see all sorts of discussion about why behavior is not identity with regards to asexual identities (and, I mean, I’m an asexual who has sex! So there’s that), but I haven’t quite been able to extend the same discourse to aromantic folk. I mean, I do feel like I get a few pluses for having a partner, especially with regards to my family, but does that mean I should stop calling myself aromantic?
Intellectually, I say no, but then every so often I wonder if I’m, like, delegitimizing aromanticism as an identity, or whether I’m holding onto a label that was good for me in the past but now doesn’t apply, or whatever.
(I guess I could be gray-romantic?
I’m liking the sound of that more and more.)
Honestly, I don’t see having a romantic relationship as a reason to “have to” stop identifying as aromantic, any more than having a sexual relationship is a reason to have to stop identifying as asexual.
And similarly, an aromantic might want a romantic relationship for the same reason an asexual might want a sexual relationship - such relationships come with other benefits such as companionship, stability (sometimes), a priority that rarely comes with friendships, etc….it may also be much easier to find a romantic relationship than to find, say, a queerplatonic one.
And being aromantic doesn’t mean having any kind of aversion to romantic behaviors. It just means you don’t have that inherent attraction to certain individuals. But romantic behavior can still be enjoyable without attraction, even as sexual acts can be enjoyed without attraction.
For example, I can definitely say that I am not romantic: I’ve never had any sort of crush, or romantic attraction, or anything similar. But even still, I like the idea of romance. And in a suitable situation, I wouldn’t mind being in a romantic relationship with someone - I suspect I might even rather like one. I don’t think the experience would be the same as for someone who was romantic, but I think I’d still enjoy it. There are a lot of factors that currently mean I’m unlikely to be in one for now, but in the future I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. Finding a stable asexual relationship is hard enough - think how hard finding a serious, long-term queerplatonic would be. And as someone who would probably like some sort of long term, serious relationship eventually, then practically speaking there is a good chance that such a relationship may be romantic. And even relationships that are not initially romantic may become something like that over time.
And the fear of “delegitimizing” the identity by using it is, I think, a common pressure on people - but it’s not one that one should need to bow to, and something that I think needs to be talked about more. It’s the same as the idea of the “unassailable asexual” - the idea that having “flaws” like being sex-averse or not neurotypical or whatever makes you “not really” asexual/aromantic/whatever, or the pressure to not speak about one’s identity when one does fall under certain negative stereotypes. And this is unhealthy because really, there is no such thing as the “unassailable asexual” (or unassailable aromantic) - it’s impossible to fulfill all the expectations and demands that others will have, so no one will ever reach that “unassailable” ideal. And putting pressure on individuals to constantly stand as representatives for their entire orientation is incredibly stressful and limiting.
I think the same thing happens to aromantics as well, although there hasn’t been a lot of discussion about it yet. (this is true for a lot of topics relating to aromanticism - it’s often just lumped under asexuality, so I think the experiences and problems that come form aromanticism of itself hasn’t been getting the attention or discussion that they probably need).
But in the end, I don’t think having a romantic partner is any reason to stop identifying as aromantic, if that’s what you think best fits you. (Although, I do rather like the term wtfromantic anyway, considering how confusing and often rather arbitrary the line between “romantic” and “aromantic” sometimes seems)