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Hi everyone, I'm gray ace!

Asexuality and ace spectrum identities are often misunderstood, especially, so I'm going to use this thread as an AMA space for as long as I have spoons / questions are respectful

If I don't get questions I'll post a story later :)

I copy/pasted from birdsite I don't expect folks to be rude on Masto :blobeyes:

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@yeenbean wait its ace visibility day? Clearly I have not been keeping up with the activist calendar this year

@yeenbean
Thank you for this QA round. :) I just read the Wikipedia article to get a better idea but that didn't help, so I think this would be a good first question: Could you circumscribe the conditions you feel sexually attracted? I have a concept of (a)sexuality (I think) but gray-A is quite blurry to me…

@Millesimus I can do my best, with the caveat that gray a is intentionally ambiguous and also an umbrella term -- all you can really assume from it is that that person experiences some amount of sexual attraction, but conditional in ways allosexual attraction is not

For me, it's a hard question bc how I experience sexual attraction is a bit amorphous. I started IDing as gray bc I experienced a-flux; cycles of attraction/non-attraction that were hard to predict

Cnt'd

@Millesimus intersecting that, I've almost always needed a strong emotional connection to someone to feel attracted to them sexually

What constitutes that kind of connection has changed over time, as well as whether it's necessary. When I was younger, there were exceptions, folks I could be attracted to w/out a connection or even just w/like, if I had a crush on them I could be sexually attracted

Now, that connection seems *necessary* for real life people, and it typically has to be

Cnt'd

@Millesimus a fairly deep connection built overtime for me to feel attraction to a person sexually

But whether or not I feel sexual attraction, and the intensity of it, can still cycle a bit. So if I'm in a period of low attraction, I might not find even my long-term partners sexually attractive despite our deep connection, until the kinda cycle continues

Traditionally those cycles have been fairly hard to predict for me, lasting as short as days or as long as 6 months or longer

@yeenbean
I can see why you identify as gray-A, it seems like (sexual) attraction would just vanish unexpectedly and reappear without further notice. Is that confusing, like, because you suddenly miss a feeling or is it just fine until that "lack" collides with your partners?

Also, I find it interesting that you perceive limitation of sexual attraction to well-known / romantic relationships as an indicator of your gray-asexuality, since it is so in line with mono-romantic ideals; however //ctd

@yeenbean
it totally makes sense that you see it that way and I would agree. It just stroke me as noteworthy.
Anyhow, thank you very much for sharing with me / us / the fediverse! :)

@Millesimus It can be frustrating if I'm feeling low-sexual attraction or sex repulsed if I am kinda wanting to do stuff w/a partner, but it's much more often alarming when I go from low or no sexuality to having a lot of it. AFAIK most of my current partners just think it's cute or exp similar so don't really notice

TBF, the monog culture narrative holds attraction to just one partner to be an unattainable ideal; in theory you're supposed to repress your attraction to others -- cnt'd

@Millesimus in the hopes of either only experiencing attraction to your partner, or at least such that your partner doesn't *know* you have attraction to other people

That act of repression seems to be a big part of expressing love and commitment to your monogamous partner

Folks who aren't in a relationship who are monogamous tho? They feel sexual attraction spontaneously and are generally willing to admit it; it's part of how they actually find romantic partners -- cnt'd

@Millesimus My understanding is some allosexual folks get really upset when they learn their partners are demisexual or demiromantic bc they are *not* doing that labor of repressing -- at least, presumptively.

Demisexuals and romantics can easily have multiple folks they're attracted to, so it's another point where you can't know w/out asking

For me, that connection doesn't have to be romantic, and I do feel it towards folks I'm not partnered to, so it feels distinct enough I don't relate them

@yeenbean Good morning and happy visibility 🙂

What would you say are the biggest misunderstandings, with the general public, with people who are aware of the ace spectrum, etc.?

@zigg Oh I really like this question, though I suspect diff ace folks would answer differently 😅

For the general public, I think the biggest misconception is just even knowing that asexuality exists. It's gotten a lot of attention the past decade or two, but it's still something that I think the average allosexual person, even queer allo folks, haven't heard of

Cnt'd

@zigg for folks who are aware of asexuality, I think the two big misconceptions are around language

Probably the biggest one is the idea that asexuals do not experience sexual desire, or have no libido

While that's true for some ace folks, a large number of ace folks do experience sexual desire -- the difference is it isn't "directed" a person or their body

I think the real misconception there is that for many, sexual desire, sexual attraction, and libido mean the same thing

Cnt'd

@zigg one of my favorite things about the ace community is that we have painstakingly defined each of those terms so it's clear how they're different, allowing us to describe our identities in a lot of detail

Sexual attraction is feeling sexually interested in a person

Sexual desire is desire to have sex

Libido is your body being turned on

You can have any combination of these things and have consensual sexual relationships, & asexuality is simply the lack of sexual attraction

Cnt'd

@zigg the other big misconception I see in folks who are aware of asexuality is that it's an all-or-nothing situation

The idea that folks might have *degrees* of asexuality, just like folks experience degrees of sexual attractiveness, and that there is a full spectrum, or "grayness," to asexuality is something that's missed outright

I feel like this one is really important bc this all or nothing idea prevents a lot of ace folks from understanding themselves, and finding community w/us

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