platonic attraction

March 2016 Carnival of Aces Roundup

Here is the roundup of posts for this month’s Carnival of Aces, on the topic of gender norms and asexuality! I loved being the host this month, and I have enjoyed reading all of your submissions so much; there has been much squeeing with joy, so thank you all who contributed! Without further ado, here are this month’s submissions, in the order I received them:

Passive vs. Active Femininity: Does Asexuality Affect It? | the notes which do not fit
Sara examines the ways in which her femininity is often the result of passive conformity to female norms rather than an active gender expression, and considers whether her approach to femme-ness is related to her asexuality.

(a)Gender and (a)Sexuality: Chickens and Eggs | darkmetineknight
Maris considers the ways in which kyr dysphoria contributes to kyr sex-repulsion, and vice versa, and the way these things feed back into kyr agender and asexual identity, concluding that they are so deeply related they can’t possibly be pulled apart.

Female Stereotypes and Asexuality | aroacelennie
Lennie writes about how, despite their agender identity, other people often try to frame the aro and ace aspects of their identity through common female archetypes.

When Dudes Talk Gender & Asexuality | The Ace Theist
Coyote unpacks some of the oversimplifications and other problems with the ways some asexual guys talk about the tensions between their gender and their asexuality.

Gender and Asexuality | quizzicalsloth
Amber explores potential explanations for asexual people’s tendency to not feel a strong connection to binary genders, from a personal perspective, and considers how gender plays a role in their experiences of platonic and aesthetic attractions, and relationships.

Do gender roles serve any purpose for asexuals? | It’s An Ace Thing
Dee questions the purposes gender norms serve, and concludes that many gender norms simply don’t serve asexual people.

Genderqueer and demisexual: two sides of the same coin for me | Valprehension
I wrote about the ways in which my genderqueerness and my demisexuality are inextricably tangled up with each other, and fundamental to my overall identity and sense of self.

Sexism at work | A3
The author of A3 relates their experiences of sexism (and heterosexism) in the workplace, as an agender aro ace who is not out about those aspects of their identity, and who is perceived as a woman.

Gender, Or Why I’m Glad I’m Aro/Ace | Grey Is My Favourite Colour
Mara explains why they’re glad to be aro/ace, because of the potential complications of parsing gendered attractions (and sexual/romantic orientations) as a non-binary person.

The Healer Role | Prismatic Entanglements
Elizabeth considers her tendency to take on healer roles in video games, and considers how this role relates to her identity as a cisgender woman, and the ways in which this tendency is reflected (and not) in her asexual activism.

By nature of being asexual, I’m defying gender norms | From Fandom to Family
luvtheheaven unpacks some of the interactions between gender norms, (especially heteronormativity) and asexuality, and how those norms can make it difficult to come to an asexual identity, and even more difficult to get others to understand it.

Gender Norms and Asexuality | Aro Ace Gin
Gin considers the ways in which her asexuality has impacted her relationship to her gender as a cis woman.

Asexual E-Dating Diaries #1 | la pamplemouse
The author of la pamplemouse talks about her early attempts at online dating as an asexual cis woman.

Non-Binary Gender Norms and (A)Sexuality: Yeah, No | Queer As Cat
Vesper talks about why they just don’t see any connection between gender norms and sexuality for them, given that there are no gender norms that apply to their gender (maverique) in the first place, and much more!

On Gender and Asexuality | conasultingamadman
Bonnie explains how embracing her asexuality helped her understand her relationship to both femininity and androgyny, describes her journey toward a panromantic identity, and considers her feelings around others’ perceptions of her as a cis het white girl.

My Gender Aesthetics are All Kinds of Ace | The City of Cuova
S. Knaus unpacks the ways in which their asexuality has freed them up to explore their personal gender aesthetics without regard for whether they are attractive to others, and many other things.

Asexuality and Gender Presentation | [A] Life of Experiences
Jeremy writes about his experience in trying to subtly play with his gender presentation, how his asexual identity helped him find the confidence to do so, and both his struggles and enjoyment in pushing back against being seen as just another straight dude.

Obscure lines: agender and asexual comes together | golden weasel
golden weasel writes about the ways in which their agender-ness and asexuality are inter-related.

What Are You? A Question of Mixed Race, Gender, And Asexuality | Halfthoughts
The author of Halfthoughts explores the relationships and parallels among their Hapa/mixed race, asexual, and non-binary identities.

Gender in Space | Becoming a Person
elainexe explores her general lack of any strong gender identity, and her attempts to understand what gender is, linking some of her observations back to her asexuality.

No | Aros and Aces
Roses considers a wade range of influences – from Purity Culture to Megan Trainor – on their developing identity, and the ways in which coing to an aro ace agender identity has freed them from a lot of the baggage they were handed growing up.

Call for Submissions! March 2016 Carnival of Aces: Gender norms and asexuality

Hello all! I am so excited be your host for this month’s Carnival of Aces!

For those that don’t know, a blogging carnival is an online event where a host blog suggests a theme, and people submit pieces based around that theme.

The Carnival of Aces is a monthly blogging carnival that was started all the way back in 2011, and is currently run by the awesome ace resource The Asexual Agenda. For more information check out the Carnival of Aces Masterpost.

Last month’s Carnival was hosted by It’s an Ace Thing, on the theme of platonic attraction. Check out the post roundup!

For this month, I’ve chosen the theme of gender norms and asexuality. The relationship between gender norms and asexuality is interesting to me because of just how much traditional ideas of gender are directly tied to traditional (i.e. compulsory and hetero) ideas of sexuality.

There’s a bunch of ways you could go with this theme, and here are some possible ideas to get your writerly thoughts going, grouped into two rough categories:

  1. Personal experiences of gender and asexuality
    How has your asexuality (or demi or gray-sexuality) affected your feelings about your gender? Has your gender presentation ever caused problems for you related to your asexuality (e.g. unwanted attention or expectations of your behaviour)? Alternatively, does your gender identity have any impact on your feelings about your asexuality? Does your understanding of your gender inform your understanding of your asexuality, or vice versa?
  2. Attraction(s), gender, and asexuality

    • For anyone in the community: does gender play a role in your experience of platonic and/or aesthetic attraction? How do gender norms impact your platonic relationships? Tell me about how that works!
    • For romantic aces (and demis and gray-as): does gender play a role in your experience of romantic attraction? How, and why (or why not)? How do gender norms play out in your romantic relationships?
    • For demis and gray-as who have experienced sexual attraction: does gender play a role for you in that? Where does gender come into play for attraction based on an emotional connection rather than physical traits?

Or maybe the topic of gender norms and asexuality has inspired you to think about something completely different and you want to write about that! I am excited to see what all of you have to say about this topic.

Posts can be submitted to me in various ways:
email: valprehension@gmail.com
twitter: @valprehension
Or you can can post a link in the comments here if you want!

If you want to submit anonymously (or if you want to submit with credit but don’t want to host the post on your own blog/tumblr/whatever), send me an email, and I can put your post up here as a guest post!

My strongest experiences of platonic attraction: February 2016 Carnival of Aces submission (part 2)

This post is my second submission for this month’s Carnival of Aces. In my first post I established platonic attraction is a thing I experience, and now I’m going to try to talk about what it feels like for me, and what sorts of things cause me to feel platonically attracted to other people.

In general, my most distinct experiences of platonic attraction (i.e. that desire to be close to someone in that very special just-friends kind of a way) have come up around people that I sometimes describe as alternative versions of myself. These have been people whose brains seem to have really similar ways of taking in and processing the world, and who I think of as having some sort of fundamental, in-born personality characteristics that are very similar to my own, in a way I find hard to articulate. The differences between our lives are largely ones of differing circumstances of birth, and a cascading difference in resultant opportunities, perception of the options available, and ultimately, life choices. Often times these differences are extreme, but I can usually point to the circumstances and/or the developmental differences that caused our basic life narratives to diverge in the first place.

When I meet someone whose brain-patterns mesh with my own in this way, I feel an immediate affinity for and fascination with them. I want them to like me, and I want them to feel the same weird pull toward me that I feel toward them. I enjoy their company and find them easy to be with, usually.

It’s a weirdly singular experience, and this is why it’s the most clear conception I have of platonic attraction; it mirrors the incomprehensibly instinctive responses of other forms of attraction I experience spontaneously (i.e. romantic and aesthetic), as distinct from, for instance, actual affection, which generally develops within the context of an ongoing relationship.

As I explained in my first post about platonic attraction, my experience of these feelings doesn’t automatically mean that I will be friends with the person I am platonically attracted to – I once worked with a total bizarro world version of myself whose politics were diametrically opposed to my own. We were never going to be friends, though we did value each other as coworkers, and were able to cooperate easily and effectively, because we implicitly understood each others’ workflow and needs.

I know what I’m describing here isn’t necessarily what’s typically meant by the term platonic attraction, though it is certainly a subset of it. I’m curious whether anyone else has a similar sense of intuitive connection to others.

Platonic attraction vs. actual friendship: February 2016 Carnival of Aces submission (part 1!)

I’ve been struggling to put together a coherent post for this month’s Carnival of Aces on platonic attraction, but thankfully I realized that the source of my struggle would make for an interesting post in itself.

I find it very hard to define platonic attraction in a way that is coherent with my experience of life, attraction generally, and friendships particularly. The best I can do is to say that it is something like a distinct feeling that me and another person would make good friends (i.e. that I desire a friendship with them).

The thing that messes with this definition for me is the difference between instances of me having that feeling about people, and who I actually wind up befriending. Many of people I feel this way about are people I just never become close to, and a fairly significant proportion of my friendships didn’t start out with any strong attraction driving them, (or at least not on my side, I guess.)

But the thing is, this actually makes sense and is fine, for some deeply interrelated reasons.

Friendships, or strong ones anyway in my experience, are based on a history of established trust and compassion and supportiveness, all things that come into play long after the initial attraction stage. The establishment of these things has little to no reason to be related to whether or not I initially felt platonically attracted to a person, and so there isn’t necessarily a high correlation between the two, beyond the fact that I will have been more likely to invest energy into the early stages of potential friendship with those to whom I already felt a platonic attraction.

And this makes even more sense when you consider how platonic attraction, in this sense, compares to literally every other kind of attraction I can think of. Being romantically attracted to someone doesn’t mean you will have a romantic relationship with them, and it definitely doesn’t mean it’s inherently a good idea to do so. This probably goes even moreso for the allo version of sexual attraction. And while aesthetic attraction is the one that I have experienced most clearly and consistently throughout my life, not all instances of aesthetic attraction are equal for me, and I don’t necessarily pursue more exposure to every (for instance) actor I find aesthetically pleasing.

Attraction is inherently weird and fuzzy, I think. Because it isn’t the be-all and end-all of how any actual relationship comes to be, it is easy to discredit or ignore or doubt that the feelings existed in the first place. But platonic attraction is definitely a real thing for me. And I’m going to be talking a bunch more about what it feels like, and what seems to cause it for me, in my next post, so stay tuned!