"You just haven't found the right person yet": My asexuality isn't conditional

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"You just haven't found the right person yet": My asexuality isn't conditional

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Saying "you just haven't met the right person yet" as a response to an asexual person who has just shared their asexuality with you is heavily problematic and can be damaging. And yet, it's one of many loaded responses that asexuals may receive on a regular basis that hold deeply problematic assumptions regarding the existence and validity of asexuality. For example, it is a phrase I myself have encountered numerous times after directly sharing my asexuality with someone. Since I have been socialized in a culture that mentally embeds the notion that everyone is sexual and that sexual desire and/or attraction is natural, I have come to understand and expect that the vast majority of non-ace people will possess reactions of disbelief when my existence as an asexual person is made aware to them for the first time.

The inherent assumption in this statement is that my asexuality is a lie or is simply predicated on being unable to "find" a life partner, whether because my body is undesirable sexually or because I have simply been "unlucky." Through placing the cause of my existence as an asexual person on being unable to locate a sexual partner, my asexuality is not only invalidated as simply existing as a condition of this state of being alone, which itself is often perceived as unfortunate or lessor, but also as a lie or "cover-up" for my apparent inability to find a sexual partner, which, in many people's minds, would be some cause of embarrassment. As such, to them, I am only claiming that I am asexual as a means of avoiding embarrassment in being alone or being seen as sexually undesirable, not because I am actually asexual. In other words, I just "haven't found the right person" to be sexual with yet. If I had, I would not be asexual.

In a similar manner, another common reaction that assumes my asexuality as conditional and possesses similar problems is one in which my autism and anti-social behavior, which are both often societally-viewed as undesirable abnormalities, become explanations for my asexuality. In this instance, I only can exist as asexual because I am also autistic and/or anti-social. Thus, my asexuality becomes understood once again as conditional, only existing because of something else. This has been exemplified in many of the reactions I have received after revealing my asexuality, in which my evident shyness or "anti-social" behavior is framed as a producer of my asexual existence. If I just "worked on" being social, by forcing myself to engage in social convention more, and/or fought against my autism, through methods such as counseling, then I would become sexual. Exemplified in both of these commonly occurring cases in my life is the assumption that being asexual is not only "unnatural," but that it is a lessor or inferior way of living in comparison to being sexual. Asexuality is definitely not to be desired, and is either only existing as a "cover-up" or lie to hide from the apparent embarrassment of being without a sexual partner or as a byproduct of being autistic and/or anti-social, both of which are often framed negatively themselves or with a certain level of pity overall.

If only I had found the "right" person. If only I was not autistic. If only I was not anti-social. If only, if only, if only... then I would be sexual. And then, I would be "normal." As stated, these assumptions regarding asexuality have plagued my conversations. Ultimately, this is because if my asexuality is understood as conditional, there is still some potential opportunity for its rectification. When asexuality is unconditional, it becomes more difficult to confront, understand, and accept as legitimate. When asexuality is conditional, I can still be "fixed" and molded into sexual normalcy. Not all hope was yet lost. I just had to keep searching for the right person. I just had to go to counseling and fight my autism. I just had to stop being so shy and anti-social. To them, these were solutions that could very well save me from what they so surely perceived as an impossible and dismal life of asexual existence. I just had to change my outlook, my position, my behavior, my state of being, my mental framework, and/or my existence. For, how could I ever be content without sex?


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Michael Paramo is an asexual Latinx demiguy located in southern California. They are currently a graduate student who has been selected to present their research at national conferences, such as by the International Association for the Study of Popular Music's U.S. branch, the Popular Culture Association, as well as the National Women's Studies Association. They are the founder of The Asexual and the Editor-in-Chief of The Asexual journal. Twitter: @Michael_Paramo

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BoJack Horseman Season 4 features an Asexual "Coming Out" Moment

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BoJack Horseman Season 4 features an Asexual "Coming Out" Moment

On the latest season of BoJack Horseman, released via Netflix on September 8th, 2017, one of the main characters of the show, Todd Chavez explicitly reveals he is asexual, breaking new ground for asexual/ace representation in mainstream media. Although the show has previously hinted at Todd potentially being asexual in Season 3, in which the character stated "I think I might be nothing," causing viewers to essentially assume his asexuality, this important moment in Season 4 takes a far more direct approach. The scene features a discussion between BoJack, central character of the series, and Todd, who has a complicated friendship with BoJack, yet is someone who BoJack ultimately does deeply care about. Their discussion eventually provides a moment for Todd to openly vocalize his asexuality openly to BoJack, stating "I think I'm... asexual" in a rather nervous manner. And although this initially causes some slight confusion in BoJack, Todd quickly corrects BoJack, and is subsequently and quickly affirmed. Even after providing an opportunity for his own invalidation, stating "I'm sure you think that's weird" after revealing his asexuality, BoJack immediately replies in an affirming manner, stating "Are you kidding? That's amazing." And although BoJack does throw in a few playful jokes in light of the situation, sensitive lines are never really crossed in an outright and harmfully invalidating manner. 

Screencap of Todd vocalizing his asexuality in this scene from BoJack Horseman Season 4. (Source)

Screencap of Todd vocalizing his asexuality in this scene from BoJack Horseman Season 4. (Source)

In fact, Todd is given a moment to affirm his asexuality vocally in the presence of others and experience resulting feelings of empowerment in his own identity, exemplified in his statement that "it actually feels nice to finally say it out loud. I am an asexual person. I am asexual." These repetitive lines function as liberating expressions for Todd, and Bojack's presence operates as a source of quick affirmation and support for Todd in this critical "coming out" moment, stating "That's great" in response. When BoJack does make a potentially insensitive joke to Todd about his asexuality near the end of their quick encounter, Todd states that "I'm not really at a place where I want to joke about it" and BoJack quickly replies "Got it, got it totally," respecting Todd's feelings regarding his asexuality. Todd replies by confirming that "But it feels good to talk about it," again revealing his empowerment in vocalizing his asexual identity. Following this important discussion with BoJack, a follow-up scene shows Todd being welcomed into an "Asexual Meet-Up," which he vaguely hinted at attending throughout the episode. As shown in the title image, even more critical in this scene is the prominent placement of a sign centering the words "All Aces Welcome!" as well as featuring the colors of the asexual flag. The scene warmly closes with Todd smiling as he is accepted into the group.    

This moment is an undeniably critical one for asexual/ace representation in media, and one that I would label as resoundingly successful. As any confusion surrounding Todd's asexuality is quickly quelled, non-ace viewers are able to gain a new perspective of asexuality and identity formation that is never displayed in mainstream media, particularly regarding the importance in vocalizing one's own asexuality in the presence of others, which is particularly relevant for asexuality as an emerging identity in the contemporary context that has yet to reach mainstream awareness in a positive manner. This scene in BoJack Horseman handles Todd's asexual "coming out" moment exceedingly well, allowing Todd to express how beneficial the process of openly self-affirming his identity as an asexual person is to him multiple times and receiving immediate continued affirmation and support from BoJack in response. Additionally, the follow-up scene displaying the asexual meet-up is absolutely beautiful and was initially shocking to me as an asexual person to see unfold before my eyes. It felt unreal to see such open and validating representation of asexuality. The usage of the word "aces" in this scene is also critical in regards to understanding and relaying the existence of the ace umbrella to viewers, allowing them to perceive asexuality as not just a single experience, but rather, comprising a multitude of diverse experiences under a shared umbrella term. Overall, even the simple fact that the word "asexual" was repeatedly used and shown in such a positive and affirming manner is massive and essentially breaking new ground for asexual/ace representation in media. It's truly a remarkable and special moment and I strongly urge everyone to watch it.

Image Source: Screencap from BoJack Horseman Season 4


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Michael Paramo is an asexual Latinx demiguy located in southern California. They are currently a graduate student who has been selected to present their research at national conferences, such as by the International Association for the Study of Popular Music's U.S. branch, the Popular Culture Association, as well as the National Women's Studies Association. They are the founder of The Asexual and the Editor-in-Chief of The Asexual journal. Twitter: @Michael_Paramo

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Who is oppressed enough to be "queer enough"?

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Who is oppressed enough to be "queer enough"?

While the power of queerness rests in its potential inclusivity and tremendous fluidity as an expansive term that may function to encapsulate the experiences of people who are not cisgender and/or not heterosexual, there remains much debate regarding who actually "deserves" access to queerness within some queer circles, especially online. These discussions operate through gatekeeping queerness, or the process of denying certain groups access to claiming queerness based on arbitrary distinctions. Gatekeeping functions as a constricting and silencing force to certain groups that may be perceived as on the "fringes" of queerness, such as people under the ace and bisexual umbrellas. Some have defined queerness using these limiting frameworks through a reliance on ideas of perceived oppression with the goal of excluding groups that they perceive to not be as oppressed as those who they would definitively define as queer. In essence, gatekeeping, as an exclusionary practice, seeks to omit groups who they determine to not be "queer enough" to be accepted through using oppression as a qualifier or prerequisite for queerness. This short article seeks to explore exclusionary understandings of queerness through questioning and challenging the utilization of oppression as a qualifier for queerness, especially in respect to people under the ace and bisexual umbrellas, and positing questions that seek to further the discussion of the connections between queerness and oppression. 

"Queer enough" is now a notable phrase in some queer social media circles, often stemming from feelings of self-inferiority or incompleteness regarding one's own queerness, being especially prevalent for asexual/ace and bisexual people, as well as many others who frequently feel excluded from queer spaces. Exemplifying this, at least in regards to ace people, is a 2014 poll in which over ten-thousand asexual/ace people were asked a series of questions on various topics, including many regarding their own identity as well as its relationship to their own understandings of queerness and the LGBTQ+ community overall. In response to a question phrased "Do you feel welcome in the Queer/LGBTQ+ Community?" only 11.5% explicitly said yes, in an unconditional respect, with the majority being unsure, showing feelings of exclusion based on their ace identity. Asexual people are also be subject to sexual violence and "corrective" rape as well as heightened rates of suicide, with a 2014 study of queer people overall showing that 46% of asexual people (included in the study) had attempted suicide. Bisexual people have faced similar feelings of exclusion from queer/LGBTQ+ spaces and their daunting implications. Beth Sherouse, a bisexual woman, described bisexual erasure and its consequences profoundly in a recent article featured in The Huffington Post entitled "Dear Lesbians And Gays — I’m Bisexual And You Treated Me Like Crap: I’m done with you," in which Sherouse powerfully states "you have shown me time and again that you are not here for me or my community" in response to the erasure she has felt as a bisexual woman, particularly in spaces dominated by the presence of lesbian and gay people. Sherouse further highlights the damaging realities of exclusion by emphasizing disparities in health that bisexual people face as well as heightened rates of suicide and experiences of "corrective" rape and sexual assault, stating in regards to the latter, that 61% of bisexual women "will be raped, beaten or stalked by our intimate partners."

Queer Enough (Image Source)

Queer Enough (Image Source)

And yet, despite these dangerous and daunting realities, erasing the realities of asexual/ace and bisexual people through gatekeeping and exclusion frequently rests on flawed assumptions that these groups do not experience oppression comparable to groups that definitively consider themselves queer. Of course, the practice of attempting to compare the oppression of various groups is flawed in itself, as the multiplicity of queer experiences means that everyone is going to endure oppression, marginalization, and other forms of invalidation and/or denial differently. Still, to many who uphold these arbitrary distinctions, is it true that oppression must be present as a qualification prior to the existence of queerness? Well, for those who detest the inclusion of asexuality and/or bisexuality from inclusion, the answer would be yes. And so, to them, oppression has become incredibly central in their considerations of whether someone is to be considered queer or not. Is one only queer if they are also oppressed? Who is oppressed enough to be queer enough? And where does the slippery slope end or begin? And, for that matter, who actually has the power and agency to make these utterly critical determinations? Should they have that power? While some or all of these questions must be explored in-depth in separate or perhaps intersecting manners, their basic presence may or should destabilize or, at least, question the damaging practice of gatekeeping queerness. As long as gatekeeping and exclusion remain prevalent for people under the ace and bisexual umbrellas, among others, the potential power of queerness, resting in its inclusivity and fluidity, will never be realized.


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Michael Paramo is an asexual Latinx demiguy located in southern California. They are currently a graduate student who has been selected to present their research at national conferences, such as by the International Association for the Study of Popular Music's U.S. branch, the Popular Culture Association, as well as the National Women's Studies Association. They are the founder of The Asexual and the Editor-in-Chief of The Asexual journal. Twitter: @Michael_Paramo

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What has The Asexual meant to you in 2017?

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What has The Asexual meant to you in 2017?

As the one year anniversary of The Asexual's inception approaches, this space for ace creators welcomes feedback on the ways in which The Asexual has impacted you this past year. Has reading other ace writers' work featured in The Asexual journal inspired you or moved you in a special way? Has being a part of a community of ace writers/artists and/or readers of The Asexual been important to you? Do you think The Asexual is doing important work or is important in your life to you as an ace person? Fill out the short form below to send this message to The Asexual and to share what this space has meant to you this past year. Your response may be used in a future article or on social media with your permission, so please be sure to provide an email address to receive a potential response. Thank you so much!

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Vol. 1, Issue 3: On the Intersections of "Body" and Asexuality

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Vol. 1, Issue 3: On the Intersections of "Body" and Asexuality

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The Asexual is accepting submissions from asexual/ace writers and artists for the journal's third issue on the intersections of "body" and asexuality. While "body" may appear to refer most directly to the human body, the term can also be interpreted and applied more broadly and abstractly, incorporating other types of bodies and bodily forms. Some potential themes of written and visual work to submit include discussing, analyzing, or questioning how your own asexual/ace body is perceived by yourself and others, how issues of body-image and/or fatness intersect with asexuality, as well as how, in a general sense, asexual/ace bodies are perceived societally. More abstract themes may grapple with asexual bodies in nature, universal ideas of purpose and asexual bodies, as well as conceptions of reproduction and asexuality.

Submissions should be entirely original work and, preferably, previously unpublished, although this can be negotiated. There is no minimum length requirement, but please attempt to keep submissions of written work under fifty lines for poetry and under 3,000 words for prose. If you would like to send in a longer piece, this will likely be acceptable, but please send an email to AsexualJournal@gmail.com prior to submission to confirm. Along with your submission, please send a 50-100 word bio about yourself written in third person. Please send submissions in a Microsoft Word document or in PDF format. If accepted for publication in The Asexual, your piece may be edited with your approval prior to being published online as well as in physical format and be made available for purchase. While the owner retains copyright of work upon publication, they agree to give The Asexual first serial/electronic and print rights, and electronic and print archival rights. If the work is published subsequently, online or in print, credit to The Asexual should also be provided.

Deadline: September 15th, 2017 // Submit to: AsexualJournal@gmail.com

For full guidelines on submissions, visit The Asexual's submissions page.

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Indian Aces: Awareness and "Asexuality 101" in India

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Indian Aces: Awareness and "Asexuality 101" in India

Asexual awareness and activism in India has blossomed recently due to the critical work of an organization known as the Indian Aces, which exists as a collective and support group for asexual people in India. Indian Aces was founded by Dr. Pragati Singh, a medical doctor by qualification that has worked in the fields of maternal, child, and reproductive health. Singh founded Indian Aces in 2014, recently presented at the World Association of Sexual Health, and published work on asexuality in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Singh's work benefits the asexual community overall on multiple fronts, amplifying its existence and validity in everything from formal presentations to facilitating workshops on the subject. The latest demonstration of this work occurred just last month, in which the Indian Aces collective held the 2nd edition of "Asexuality 101" at the HIV/AIDS alliance center in the city of New Delhi, and facilitated a workshop that educated participants on both sexuality and asexuality. Asexuality 101 takes the approach that in order to effectively understand sexuality one must also understand asexuality at an in-depth and meaningful level, stating that the "two form two sides of the same coin." 

Photograph from Asexuality 101 showing materials on asexuality distributed during the workshop. (Used with permission from Indian Aces)

Photograph from Asexuality 101 showing materials on asexuality distributed during the workshop. (Used with permission from Indian Aces)

The workshop began with an introductory discussion of Dr. Pragati Singh's 8-component model of sexuality, through open discussion and Q&A. Activities were then subsequently used to teach participants how to practically apply this model to real-life situations as well as to understandings surrounding their own sexuality and identity. Asexuality was then introduced and applied to Singh's model in order to debunk many of the widely disseminated myths and misconceptions of asexuality. Furthermore, the workshop utilized both video and audio sources, including interviews with asexual people, in order to provide participants with an asexual perspective. Additionally, participants were familiarized with important aspects of "asexual culture," which included "common inside jokes, symbols, flags" and more. Asexuality 101 concluded with a round of Q&A and a quick recap of the workshop, as well as an exercise to gauge its success.

With this Asexuality 101 workshop, Singh and the Indian Aces collective are breaking new ground in India through creating this space to amplify the existence and validity of asexuality. Since, according to the Indian Aces, "asexuality is possibly the least heard of in the Indian context," which leads to "a gaping lack of awareness around the subject even within LGBTQIA+ activists and leaders," workshops such as Asexuality 101 exist as important and necessary stepping stones to promoting the mainstream inclusion of asexuality both on a societal level as well as within queer spaces in India. Overall, the work of Indian Aces and Singh is important in creating a visible asexual community in India through "generating awareness and receiving new members" into their collective, who then may proceed to further spur asexual awareness and discourse in spaces that were previously "devoid of representation." Through continuing to organize meetups and workshops such as Asexuality 101, as well as manage their online community platform both on social media and via their new website IndianAces.info, the Indian Aces are continuing to advance the position of asexuality as valid and important within India and on an international level.

Source: "Press Release: Asexuality 101, India's first workshops on the subject sees a full-house of participants"


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Michael Paramo is a queer asexual Latinx demiguy who is both a graduate student and passionate writer. They are currently researching, writing about, and amplifying asexuality, queerness, as well as their intersections both online and offline. They are also the founder of TheAsexual.com and the Editor-in-Chief of The Asexual journal.

Twitter: @Michael_Paramo

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Asexuality is Queer: Most Asexual/Ace People Identify as Queer and LGBTQ+

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Asexuality is Queer: Most Asexual/Ace People Identify as Queer and LGBTQ+

Who has access to queerness, a potentially unifying identity for those who are non-cisgender or non-heterosexual, is often contested, especially when considering the position of the ace community. One does not have to look any further than literal polls that have provided a platform for people to argue whether asexuality should be included within the queer community to unearth the existence of this fervent debate. For example, in a 2012 article in The Huffington Post, readers were given the opportunity to choose whether "groups like asexuals and the polyamorous" should be included under the queer umbrella. This article, listed within the "Queer Voices" section of the site, was essentially positing asexuality as a sort of fringe group that may or may not be entirely queer, using language such as "groups like asexuals..." in the title and later not defining it as "traditionally" queer. The existence of a poll of this nature also demonstrates that asexuality is not perceived as wholly queer, but exists on some arbitrarily defined borderline, floating between those who are understood as "traditionally defined queer people," as the article states, and those who are not queer. 

Screencap of The Huffington Post article debating whether asexuality and polyamory should be included under the queer umbrella (2012). 

Screencap of The Huffington Post article debating whether asexuality and polyamory should be included under the queer umbrella (2012). 

Yet, amidst these problematic polls and debates, many never seem to bother to specifically ask how ace people themselves perceive their own asexuality in relation to the LGBTQ+ community and queerness, simultaneously speaking over them and omitting their critical perspective in this discussion. According to the "The 2014 AVEN Community Census," a survey of the ace community that received over ten thousand responses from ace people, most within the ace community do identify as LGBTQ+ and queer, with 74.6% identifying with the LGBTQ+ community and 57.8% claiming queerness. Thus, a majority of ace people, despite external debate, feel that they belong within the LGBTQ+/queer community. The difference in percentage between LGBTQ+ versus queer may likely be due to the prevalence of gatekeeping regarding queerness, a phenomenon that operates to exclude certain groups from feeling a sense of belonging to the queer identity. This often takes form in the exclusion of the ace people from queer spaces, being made to feel that their asexuality does not make them queer or that it does not exist at all.

Therefore, asserting the queerness of asexuality continues to spur opposition both inside and outside the queer spaces and the community overall, only perpetuated further by polls that put the queerness of asexuality up for debate. All of this affects the manner in which those within the ace community perceive themselves in relation to both the LGBTQ+ community and queerness, as well as where asexuality fits in relation to those entities. This is portrayed in the AVEN community census, with only 11.5% of ace people stating that they feel unconditionally welcome or accepted within the LGBTQ+/queer community, revealing how widespread feelings of not being "queer enough" are resonating with ace people. Additionally, although 74.6% of ace people identify as LGBTQ+, nearly half do so with reservations over this personal identification, with similar results regarding the 57.8% of ace people who identify as queer. However, despite these apparent issues and difficulties in grappling with aversion, a staggering 88% of ace people in this study stated that asexuality should be included under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. Thus, although a significant portion of ace people struggle to personally identify as LGBTQ+ and queer, understandings of asexuality as queer remain evidently independent from self-perceptions and identifications. The results are clear: despite only a small percentage feeling accepted or welcome in the community, most ace people still identify as LGBTQ+ and queer. The overwhelming majority understand asexuality as being a part of this unifying umbrella. It is time that detractors and the opposition to asexuality as queer actually listen to the voices they are actively silencing. Asexuality is queer, whether you think we're not "queer enough" or not.


Michael Paramo is a queer asexual Latinx demiguy who is both a graduate student and passionate writer. They are currently researching, writing about, and amplifying asexuality, queerness, as well as their intersections both online and offline. They are also the founder of TheAsexual.com and the Editor-in-Chief of The Asexual journal.

Twitter: @Michael_Paramo

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Considering Intersectionality and Accessing Asexuality: Sexualization

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Considering Intersectionality and Accessing Asexuality: Sexualization

Asexuality has been emerging into the public consciousness for well over the past decade, with numerous appearances in the media, academic articles and studies, as well as a prevalent social media discourse being conducted on its existence as a valid identity and legitimate state of being. Yet, what is often not as widely discussed is access to claiming the identity of asexuality. Although it is evident that claiming asexuality is often met with an automatic invalidation in a society that still does not recognize its existence, regardless of circumstance, it is absolutely worth considering how certain bodies are inherently sexualized or desexualized on a societal level and how this subsequently intersects with this ability to claim and/or have access to asexuality. Bodies that are inherently sexualized or desexualized under oppressive systems of white supremacy, patriarchy, heteronormativity, cisnormativity, able-bodiedness, anti-fatness, among others, must navigate access to asexuality differently due to how their body is understood on a societal level. 

For the asexual whose body is inherently subject to sexualization on a societal level, their body may be understood as a sexual object simply through existence, and therefore, assertion of their asexual existence may be silenced with quick automaticity. In considering how an asexual's body may function regarding sexualization, intersectionality, that is, the reality of considering the intersections of overlapping social identities, such as gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, disability, age, and many more that an individual may embody, must be applied. Within all of these social identities, certain bodies are subject to objectification and sexualization more than others based on perception and understanding, and thus when applying an intersectional lens, these must all be considered simultaneously when considering access and ability to claim asexuality. How each of these identities may function in the equation of sexualization versus desexualization is a highly complex consideration that requires far more in-depth analysis than this essay will provide, which therefore only serves as a framework or simplistic structure to this idea of claiming asexuality and access regarding sexualization.

When considering intersectionality in relation to claiming asexuality with the specific focus on sexualization versus desexualization of bodies, it is asexuals who are determined to have a greater "sexual worth" that must directly counter forced sexualization of their bodies and the forces of oppression that uphold these realities placed upon them. In a society where sex is seen as a prize that provides value to some as a result of their perceived desirability, while simultaneously making others out to be failures or undesirables due to their perceived "sexless" state of existence, sexualized asexuals are deemed to be too inherently sexual to be asexual, directly conflicting with their ability to claim and have access to the identity of asexuality on a societal level. For example, women of color are subject to a heightened degree of sexualization in comparison to white women, bodies that are societally perceived as thin and/or understood as attractive are sexualized over bodies societally perceived as fat and/or unattractive, younger people are more sexualized than older people, etc. It is of absolute necessity to consider how an individual intersects with all of these scales of sexualization regarding social identity in order to extrapolate how they must navigate access to asexuality.

Bodies that are perceived as sexually inferior, "foreign," "monstrous," "grotesque," "disgusting," and/or "useless," are desexualized or perceived as if they are already existing in a state of being that does not include sex, which, in the societally flawed understanding, may be considered as asexual. Thus, since a desexualized body, under systems of oppression, may be understood as sexually "worthless," claiming asexuality may not directly conflict with domineering forces placed upon the bodies of sexualized asexuals in the same manner. As I have previously written in my personal essay "On being Fat, Queer, and Asexual," bodies of fat asexuals are already subjected to being understood as worthless sexually, and thus claiming or asserting one's asexuality in the presence of those who reinforce societal narratives will only result in a further state of worthlessness being placed upon individuals. Other examples include the desexualization of older people and those with disabilities, who may both be inherently perceived as nonsexual or "asexual" in the societal perception. However, it is critical to emphasize that while access to asexuality may be met with less resistance in comparison to the sexualized asexual, the desexualized asexual also remains invalidated, trapped in a compounded state of uselessness due to one or many overlapping desexualized social identities they may embody. 

While this essay has reduced the sheer complexity of social identity embodied in the individual considerably for the sake of clarity and brevity, the central point remains: in either state of existence, whether sexualized or desexualized, the asexual person is not provided opportunity for validation or empowerment. When considering intersectionality, while the sexualized asexual must counter opposing forces of sexualization and objectification forced upon them due to their embodiment of overlapping social identities that has given them "sexual worth" under societal hegemonic gazes, the desexualized asexual must navigate being understood as "sexually worthless," left to deconstruct the notion that they should even be validated or invalidated based on societal measurements of sexual worth that have deemed them as worthless based on their embodiment of overlapping social identities. In conclusion, on this topic of having access to the identity of asexuality, this discussion must also be expanded beyond simply a focus on sexualized and desexualized bodies, yet still center the importance of intersectionality. Other important topics relating to access of asexuality should also consider class (especially regarding how asexuality mainly exists as an internet-based identity), electronic culture, and transnational differences, and I do intend to further develop these, in addition to the topic of this essay, in the future.


Michael Paramo is a queer asexual Latinx demiguy who is both a graduate student and passionate writer. They are currently researching, writing about, and amplifying asexuality, queerness, as well as their intersections both online and offline. They are also the founder of TheAsexual.com and the Editor-in-Chief of The Asexual journal.

Twitter: @Michael_Paramo

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A Gay Asexual: Trials of Validation

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A Gay Asexual: Trials of Validation

Men. Images of their bodies flourished within the confines of my mind. In my early adolescence, I soon came to feel an inner closeness to being gay and what I thought that may have meant. I certainly knew what it meant to my peers in high school, for they made that apparent repetitively and overtly. I was simply the "faggot" that they called me, as their twisted bodies moved, gazed upon my downward face, preying on an unstable consciousness, their words tying knots and tugging tight at a thread that looped around my neck. Not seeking to unearth any actual "truth" of course, only to demean, unleash feelings of inferiority upon me through allegations concerning if I really desired to "suck a guy's dick" or "take it up the ass," actions which, for what they perceived to be a man, were beyond acceptability. And, the unfortunate truth of the matter is, they were successful in their endeavors. I did feel inferior, always lessor, never deserving of even the slightest of whispers, received or given. Within this environment of sad forced repetition, any opportunity for validating my gayness morphed from improbability to impossibility under every passing night.  

Etching it in, whirling in continuous motion. My brain was on an assembly line, screwing down, twisting out, crafting a self-conception that my gay identity really did mean that I was inferior. Yet, even in this moment in time, I was conscious of the fact that I never did experience any sexual desire on the basis of sexual attraction to men, or anyone, for that matter. While my eyes moved like magnets over the ridges in their backs, the rolling bumps in their arms, the delicate expressions of their faces, it was never anything more. More of what? I now ask myself. More is as how society would put it, at least, sex is always more. Why not less? I never thought of sex, only when it became thrust upon my brain through regular insults or invasive questioning. A deliberation of existence ensued. And yet, while this poor foundation in my adolescence served to collapse any opportunity to see myself as someone who deserved to exist, the process of acquiring self-validation did not cease upon exiting adolescence and the tumultuous spaces of public high school, but simply transformed from a struggle to accept my gayness to a struggle to accept my asexuality.

As I moved onward, I found solace in minor freedoms to explore my gay identity and came to accept my gayness. And yet, I struggled to find acceptance among gay men due to my "sexless" state of being. Asexuality had come into my life as a young university student, and it was a label that scooped me up as I was lost in my lack of sexual attraction, and I quickly formed a closeness to its presence thereafter. Still, it was always this that ultimately made forming connections to gay men difficult. It spun me off into places of invalidation again and again. To some gay men, I was just afraid to "come out of the closet" fully. My hand was out of the door, and I just needed someone to tug at my wrist, rip me out from the shadows of uncertainty and free me from my own fear. To some gay men, I needed a liberator, someone who could show me what it really "meant to be gay," through sexual contact between a man and a man. To some gay men, I was engaging in respectability through not engaging in this liberating force of ultimate queer power through sex. It was simply conniving up and down my insides, consuming my inner desires with the greatest fury, swirling down, reaching to the sweat on my back, pounding my heart like a drum, and yet, my fear of unleashing it held me back.

These justifications for invalidating my existence as a gay asexual proved to recurring. If my first trial was to accept my gayness, my second would be to validate my gay asexuality in spaces dominated by gay men. Yet, with ongoing invalidation, I soon separated myself from these spaces. I grew weary of judgement and sought to exclude myself from spaces that I once thought myself to belong, which manifested in the form of specifications, reducing my existence to a limited label of "homoromantic asexual," as one who experiences romantic, yet not sexual, attraction to the same gender. While this allowed me to further solidify my space within a minor faction of the asexual community, it simultaneously created daunting barriers that I struggled to overcome. At the same time, as I came to learn more about attraction and the varying types that existed, along with learning and growing in my own understanding of my attraction to men, my eyes grew wider, eventually seeking refuge in queerness. For, to me, to be queer stretched the boundaries, even if gatekeepers sought to exclude asexuals, queerness created a space where I could find my corner of self-validation after so many years of twirling in the slush of internalized inferiority. Queerness was my manner of escape, a key out of the catacombs, a conclusion to this journey of self-validation as someone who once knew themselves as a gay asexual.


Michael Paramo is a queer asexual Latinx demiguy who is both a graduate student and passionate writer. They are currently researching, writing about, and amplifying asexuality, queerness, as well as their intersections both online and offline. They are also the founder of TheAsexual.com and the Editor-in-Chief of The Asexual journal.

Twitter: @Michael_Paramo

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A Broken Machine: Coming of Age in my Asexual Body

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A Broken Machine: Coming of Age in my Asexual Body

I was once certain that faulty wiring weaved through my insides like bloodless veins and up into my brain. Determining that the primary malfunction likely lied somewhere within a faulty motherboard, I understood my asexual body as possessing a hidden defect that had the consequence of leaving me void of sexual attraction as well as the inherent desire to engage in an activity viewed as a necessity: sex. As the sexual behaviors of my peers developed, fueled by their own sexual attraction, I conceived of my own body as broken – a vessel of lost potential – stripped of engaging in an apparently desirable action, or, at least, that is what I was told. My opportunity to validate my own experience was smothered by the societally embedded understanding of the human as an inherently sexual creature. While mechanically my body could operate to some flawed, yet conceived, standard of human normativity, with its levers and springs functioning to make the actual action possible, sexual attraction on the basis of desire for sex was nonexistent.

Aspects of my body, such as my perceived lack of body and facial hair at the time, became signifiers attributed to a hormonal imbalance in my asexual body and discouraged me from ever removing my shirt or wearing clothing that would expose my body.

Aspects of my body, such as my perceived lack of body and facial hair at the time, became signifiers attributed to a hormonal imbalance in my asexual body and discouraged me from ever removing my shirt or wearing clothing that would expose my body.

My asexual body was under recall in a sexual society, requiring a correction or perhaps some replacement parts to properly fulfill what my body was designed to perform. Like misassembled machines, society has long conceived of asexual bodies like mine as inherently flawed through medicalization. During this time in my life, this was reinforced through the existence of a dysfunction known as Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder, which reinforced my status as a body in need of repair. HSDD remains classified by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a sexual disorder that pathologizes those who do not experience or have very low desire for sexual activities, going through several iterations since its introduction to the manual several decades ago.

Under the dictation of HSDD, my body was inherently problematized, suggesting to others around me that I be rewired through methods of hormonal injection, corrective counseling, or prescription medication. Visual aspects of myself, such as my perceived lack of body hair, quickly became signifiers attributed to a hormonal imbalance within my asexual body and heavily discouraged me from ever removing my shirt or wearing clothing that would expose this part of my body. Internal prodding also ensued, involving a questioning of my masturbation habits to discover if I was functioning as, who they perceived to be a young man, should. A self-regulating machine-like existence manifested as a result, as I continued to close myself to others both physically and mentally. And so, if they couldn’t retrieve the answers from me, on account of my acute shyness and deep insecurities, perhaps a professional could. 

Since HSDD succeeded in labeling my asexual body as dysfunctional, every voice came to agree, sending me spiraling further downwards toward medicalization as well as continuing to send deep cracks through my own understanding of self. The inevitable shattering consumed me one day when a trusted close friend of a family member and medical professional, who was aware of my apparently dysfunctional state of being, told this family member to ask me whether I possessed any hair under my arms and if I had ever masturbated, which they did in the presence of others. As a deeply insecure fat queer adolescent, who was already self-conscious of their body-image, this was an immense level intrusion. As the prodding continued in the subsequent days, months, and years, crumbling into myself and disappearing into oblivion sometimes seemed like a viable alternative to existence. Yet their opportunity never truly came to open the hatch and expose, what they thought to be, any perceived mechanical malfunction within. As I gradually became committed to understanding and calling myself "asexual" and teaching those unaware and uneducated of the identity about its existence amidst humanity, their questions turned to whispers, and their whispers turned to thoughts.

Still, as a consequence, I have yet to completely feel the presence of their piercing eyes lift from my body, long after they have surely forgotten. I remain trapped by an ongoing robotic self-regulation of my body's own inherent visuality, on the basis of some ridiculous form of fear, as if they are still searching for answers, patiently preying, waiting quietly to see if I really do look and act how a sexual "man" should. Even in my young adulthood, a regular questioning of my body as an asexual who is perceived as a man, still regularly occurs. Have I met their qualifications on facial hair? Is my body hair up to standard? Am I meeting the "normal" rate of masturbation? If my body is understood as broken, do I, at least, appear functional? Can I appear functional?

And so, to an extent, I am still running, like a cog on the turning wheel spinning away in a chaotic flurry. Onward.


Michael Paramo is a queer asexual Latinx demiguy who is both a graduate student and passionate writer. They are currently researching, writing about, and amplifying asexuality, queerness, as well as their intersections both online and offline. They are also the founder of TheAsexual.com and the Editor-in-Chief of The Asexual journal.

Twitter: @Michael_Paramo

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On being Fat, Queer, and Asexual

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On being Fat, Queer, and Asexual

"Well, no one would want to have sex with you anyway" still rings down the corridors of my inner ears whenever I have anxiety regarding my body-image as a fat queer asexual today. While I actually possessed no conception of what their voice sounded like, to me, that was not relevant. When I saw the words on my computer screen, a voice instantaneously manifested in my head, reading them aloud to me with a terrifying automaticity. The voice was of a piercing tone that was all too familiar, one that had mocked me not too many years ago, viciously mimicking those who once referred to me as a "fucking fat-ass" or "fat faggot" to my sunken adolescent face in the days that I longed to forget.

A photograph of myself from 2017, still overcoming body-image issues. I often use selfies as a means of self-care, forcing myself to look into the camera and see my body, to see that physical self-reflection that I once hated with a passion not too many years ago..

A photograph of myself from 2017, still overcoming body-image issues. I often use selfies as a means of self-care, forcing myself to look into the camera and see my body, to see that physical self-reflection that I once hated with a passion not too many years ago..

Although, in my slightly older age, I thought I had learned to deflect hateful messages, particularly online, this one was starkly different for this reason. It tore through the barrier I had built, reached through the fragile skin and clutched my soul, depleting its vitality rapidly. It was as if these words shackled themselves to my wrists and ripped me through time, taking me back to these horrible moments of my adolescence. I was consumed by feelings of defenselessness and powerlessness, forces that dominated my adolescent life as a fat queer asexual who often failed to properly navigate the social spaces forced upon me by public schooling. Yet, in retrospect, as I ponder about the incident and its disturbing aftermath, I have to ask myself the simple question: Why? What allowed these words to crumble my self-confidence with such ease and send me spiraling me into depression? Why had an insult regarding my body and its sexual desirability, an act of which I did not care to engage in as an asexual, cause me to surrender my happiness? 

And so, upon considering its effects on my consciousness, my reaction to these words ultimately told me something else: I was still invested in this idea that being desired sexually was something that provided me and others with some form of worth, even as an asexual person. As someone who did not desire sex, sexual desirability was still societally embedded within me. Unlearning its deep entrenchment in my mind was an arduous process, and revealed my problematic conception of my own asexual body, as I was absorbed by how it looked to others rather than how it looked to myself. Even as an fat queer asexual who hated my own body, I hated even more how others were forced to look at it every time I went anywhere publicly, as I was already made known how disgusting my fatness and queerness made my body to those around me in the public school environment. I scarcely left the house in which I lived, and still struggle with this today, as much of my anxiety continues to stem from body-image. Ultimately though, it was my fatness that had the strongest effect in intensely demonizing my body to myself, but more importantly, or so I thought at the time, to others. This proved to be the most true within queer masculine spaces, of which my utter naivety fooled me into thinking that I should ever desire to be a part of as someone who was attracted to men, but not in a sexual manner.

Another photograph of myself from 2017.

Another photograph of myself from 2017.

Another troubling experience in an online space dominated by queer men exemplified my ignorance, in which displaying the words "asexual" as a description of myself in a bio proved to be a ridiculous error, as the essential function of this space overrode my better judgement to disengage from communication entirely. "Yeah, I can see why you're asexual." I should have expected it honestly, and I still continue to blame its etching into my brain on myself. My fatness, as apparently evident in the unfortunate selfie I provided as an avatar, was already more quietly dissected as disgusting and when compounded with my asexuality, this removed me beyond the realm of uselessness and somewhere closer to a psychological place of laughable worthlessness to them. As they told me my fatness was disgusting and made my body useless, I believed them, internalizing a hatred of my own fatness and how it made others feel about my body. Telling them that I was asexual only invited them to ensure that I was aware of my own body's worthless state of being. They wanted to make certain that, not only did they hold the power as those who possessed bodies not marked by fatness, but also that my asexuality, which implicitly possesses the ability of automatically closing my body off to them sexually, did not make them feel any measure of powerlessness.

As a result of my own internalized hatred of fatness, I yearned for many months to become what society conceived of as "attractive" in order to make them feel the same deep powerlessness that both of these incidents made me feel. I desired to attempt to use my asexual body, which I had already mostly accepted at this point in my life, as some sort of weapon against them, making them desire a body that they could not sexually have. But I soon realized how this once again only led me nowhere, as it served to prove my continued investment in the sexual desirability of my body, rather than center my self-perceptions regarding the beauty of my own body. I had to be able to look into that mirror and see a reflection of a body that I had for so long been taught to understand as grotesque and worthless due to its simultaneous embodiment of queerness, fatness, and asexuality, and love what I saw. And today I am still in that process of self-love, using mirrors and selfies as helpful tools of self-care to force me to look at myself. They force me to look at my fat, queer, asexual body and smile with what I conceive to be some form of truly pure contentment, because I actually love what I see, regardless of what I had been told, not for anyone else, but for myself. For my body is mine, after all. 


Michael Paramo is a queer asexual Latinx demiguy who is both a graduate student and passionate writer. They are currently researching, writing about, and amplifying asexuality, queerness, as well as their intersections both online and offline. They are also the founder of TheAsexual.com and the Editor-in-Chief of The Asexual journal.

Twitter: @Michael_Paramo

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Michael Paramo "We Are But Broken Machines"

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Michael Paramo "We Are But Broken Machines"

there is power in my asexuality
and yet, power transforms so often into pity

within your vicious eyes looking upon me
some broken anomaly

flickering switches, oscillating off and on
there must be some faulty wiring concealed within

and so, you connived and prodded me
opening my insides with your tools of the mind and body

and yet, to your astonishment you discovered
my levers, pulleys, and belts operated to your flawed standard

and yet, still, I did not function as you or he intended
send my damaged body back, a new motherboard was needed

but they could not fix an incorrectly assembled machine
my mind came under recall, HSDD was the director

but there was no powering down this body defective
for my perception changed, and no repair was needed

and still they could attempt, twisting the screw deep within
pushing until a spring is sprung, ejection

you can spin the head and pull it back
like empty vessels, filled and put on a track

and yet, I am still mine
under these polystyrene sheets

no pulsations in deplete
not bound to the broken

or hung in my sleep
your controllers are obsolete


Michael Paramo is a 24-year-old queer asexual Latinx in California. Their academic work has been accepted for presentation by the National Women's Studies Association, the American Culture Association / Popular Culture Association, as well as the U.S. branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music. Their research interests concern queerness and asexuality as well as their many intersections.


 

All works published are original work by the authors. Owner retains copyright of work upon publication, but agrees to give The Asexual first serial/electronic rights, and electronic archival rights. Owner also agrees that if the work is published subsequently, either online or in print, credit to The Asexual is provided. For more information on submissions visit: TheAsexual.com

Photography by Michael Paramo.

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Joanny Leyva "Sexual Fixation for the Sexually Repulsed"

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Joanny Leyva "Sexual Fixation for the Sexually Repulsed"

I can’t remember exactly when I found out what sex is.

I can remember being in third grade and already knowing the shame of speaking of ‘eso’ around any adult and the embarrassment from mentioning it around my peers. Even looking up the word in the dictionary made me feel guilty, as if text itself would leave a visible mark that allowed everyone to know I was too curious for my own good.

What I can remember is the quick developing obsession with anything that involved two beings doing ‘eso’. I’d casually browse through anatomy books and linger on the reproductive system. I’d stay up late and pretend to be asleep so I could watch soft-core porn on cable TV. When sex scenes came on in novelas, I’d feign innocence and disinterest in what my mother would tell me to look away from. Even animal documentaries could pique my interest.

With gained access to the internet (and delete history), my need for knowledge finally began to be quenched. By the time I was eleven I knew more about sex, outside of practice, than what the typical American does by graduation.

Throughout this journey of discovery, I never really stopped to consider my own position in the greater scheme of sex. My imagination was limited to picturing myself as an observer—never a participant. There was no one around that I could talk to about anything regarding sex without receiving a textbook regurgitation or regaño, so I simply made up my mind that I’d eventually grow into wanting to have it myself and develop the capacity to participate.

Years later, I’m still trying to figure out my relationship with sex. I’m fortunate enough to have a handful of people that I know understand and support me boundlessly, but I know it’s not the same for everyone. I’m aware of how difficult it can be to find validation as being “just asexual.” As someone who is also panromantic it’s been less difficult for me to participate in the queer community, but I still find myself having to leave out asexual from my identity in order to feel more welcomed. I don’t mind talking about sex or my few sexual experiences, but I hate it being the center of so many conversations. It’s always been a fascinating phenomenon for me, and I’ll always want to learn more, but I refuse to let it continue restraining my development.


Joanny Leyva is a grey ace Xicana from Southern California. She currently is an Ethnic Studies scholar in the Bay Area and hopes to pursue work in public policy. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, gardening, and going on existential rants.

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Maribel C. Pagan "The Thoughts That Cross My Mind When I Incorrectly Call Myself ‘Bisexual’"

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Maribel C. Pagan "The Thoughts That Cross My Mind When I Incorrectly Call Myself ‘Bisexual’"

I embrace a view
That does not belong.

I belong to a group, forever
considered to be unreal, forever
considered to be misidentifying
individuals, who are too
confused to know themselves.

I chose a name
that was not my own,
that determined who I was,
that said I couldn’t be other-than.

I am other-than. I am not
the name I have chosen, because
who I am is more complicated
than a name claiming to be me,
claiming to represent me.

I am not who you think I am, perhaps
because I have been calling myself
something different, something far
different from who I am.

Surely you understand.
I think everyone understands how it
feels to be considered something
you’re truly not, even when
some of us accept this false name.

Well, no more conforming
to society’s rules, established by
an eagle god who asks for less diversity.
I struggle in a nation that is
demanding less from me yet
wants more than I can offer.

Fuck that.

I am who I am.
I will do what I can.

Nothing can change that.
Not even the name
I falsely call myself.


Maribel C. Pagan has appeared or is forthcoming in the first issue of Zaum, the first issue of The Asexual, Persephone’s Daughters, Every Day Fiction, and others. She has received the Junior Reading Giants Award, has made the President's List in Mohawk Valley Community College, and has received a number of other awards and scholarships. Additionally, she is the host of The Maddie Show on WLMU Radio, a Prose Reader for Apprehension Magazine, and a singer and musician for The Angelic Family Choir. Visit Maribel at http://therollinghills.wordpress.com/.

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Kylie Wood "A Journey"

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Kylie Wood "A Journey"

“I haven’t seen you in ages!” an aunt exclaims, even though I saw her not even a month prior at a barbecue.

Another praises me: “You’ve grown into such a beautiful young woman… you look just like your mother.”

“How long until you bring a boy over?”

My grandmother asks the same question every time I visit her house.

This is what any gathering of my family is to me, even if visits are close together, the fact that I have never brought a boyfriend to these types of functions sends unease through those related to me. They may not be as out in the open about their suspicions like my mother, who makes homophobic comments at the dinner table and places bets on my sexuality, but I know they whisper about me. I know they talk about me over the phone, muttering things about sin and going to Hell. I pretend not to hear, for their sake and mine, because being silent is easier than trying to explain my lack of interest in anything, romantic or sexual, to people who believe things that I’m not willing to put into words.

There’s no easy way to explain the frustration I felt in elementary school when my parents would tease me about my best friend, a boy, who I did everything with. We saved seats on the bus, pushed each other on the swing set, and even wrote letters because we didn’t have cell phones. Every time I spoke of him at home, a mention of his name brought verse after verse of the K-I-S-S-I-N-G song upon me. I’d get angry at their accusations because they never believed my assertions of us just being friends. They never listened, waving me off with a laugh and an offhand comment about how my defensiveness equaled embarrassment at being attracted to someone. I didn’t understand dating back then because to me everyone was just a possible friend. I thought people who dated were weird because all they did was break up after a day or two and then hate each other. I never had a crush in elementary school.

Middle school was strange. Sixth grade was me trying to be friends with people who didn’t care about me. It was me wearing clothes I didn’t like, making snack runs during basketball games, and traveling to the bathroom in packs. I never dated then either and came to resent the vicious cycle that came with it. The cooing of preteens, the sloppy kisses and fumbling hands, the constant texting, nonstop chatter about how so-and-so is just perfect, the questions that came with me never having a boyfriend, the crying and the yelling when relationships crumbled to hate. It always ended with me listening to how other girls wished they were like me, a complete 360 from when they were in a relationship. I got so tired of it that by the seventh grade I just stopped hanging out with them. I was reunited with my childhood friend that year after being separated from him for a long time after switching schools and suddenly everyone talked about us. They, much like my parents before, whispered about how we shared earbuds, always partnered up, and sat next to each other. It was another year of deflecting rumors and questions and other people asking me out. I always felt bad about declining them because I never really gave clear answers when they asked me why. I couldn’t just tell them that I didn’t know, that I just didn’t feel that way towards anyone.

Eight and ninth grades were a blur. More me rejecting various boys in my class, more rumors about me except now everyone thought that I was a lesbian. More pressure from family to bring home a boyfriend.

Sophomore year I caved in. I just wanted people to leave me alone so when a boy who I’d turned down in middle school tried again, this time I said yes. He was kind and enjoyed the same movies and music I did so if I were to be romantically involved with anyone I thought it would be with someone like him. It was alright for the most part, he was sweet, holding doors and calling me cutie. We held hands while we walked to class and leaned our heads on each other’s shoulders on the bus. Everything was okay until a month passed and he told me he loved me. It was abrupt and in my surprise and confusion I stuttered out the same. I went home that day puzzled and a bit alarmed. I didn’t know what that kind of love was. I valued him as a person and appreciated his feelings but did I want to spend the rest of my life with him? I pondered over that thought for four whole months. I hated saying that I loved him back and kissing him on the cheek after. I hated the way he looked at me with adoration. I hated me. So, one day at the door to my pre-calculus class during my first semester of junior year, I broke up with him. I asked if we could just be friends but I never got an answer… or a chance to explain anything. He sort of froze up and didn’t say anything for a moment before walking off. He never talked to me again and avoided me by having a friend drive him home so he didn’t have to ride the bus. I never got to tell him that he deserved someone who could love him back. Someone who could look at him the way he looked at me. Instead, I got told rumors passed around after we separated that I was heartless. I didn’t deny it because I kind of was. I used that poor boy to quell the accusations of both my family and my peers but only made them worse in the end.

How could I possibly let someone so good-looking and intelligent go?

Everyone had their opinions solidified, and I don’t even need to explain what those were.

The second semester of my junior year I finally figured it out, or at least part of it, because who really knows every single thing about themselves? I learned about the aromantic and asexual spectrums and things started to make sense. I talked to people like me on forums and on Twitter, people who shared stories and insight, and helped me realize who I am. I found the courage to tell my friends and add it to my profiles on social media. Everyone who knows supports me, but not everyone knows. My family is still uninformed, still grasping onto their false ideas and whispered conversations, but I know who I am.

I am Kylie, senior in high school who worships pizza, ramen noodles, and slushies. I am Kylie, a girl who loves writing and coding. I am Kylie, a future computer animation major. I am Kylie, a proud AroAce.


Kylie Wood is a senior at Grant County High School who enjoys reading comics, fangirling over Gotham, and writing the occasional fanfiction. She consumes more pizza than she should, spends a copious amount of time playing The Sims 3, and has a bad habit of procrastinating. What free time she has is dedicated to her school’s marching band, where she performs in its color guard and gets wicked-bad tan lines. She hopes to be accepted into Full Sail University, major in Computer Animation, and thinks it would be super rad to work on a Marvel film.

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Moira Armstrong "I Am Queer..."

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Moira Armstrong "I Am Queer..."

And not just queer as in a sexual orientation or gender identity that falls outside the heterosexual mainstream or gender binary,

Not even simply queer as in strange or odd from a conventional standpoint-

I mean queer as in of a questionable nature or character.

Queer as in

                    Out of the Big Three of sexuality,

                    I never felt that any one fit me, but like

                    an uncomfortable label there was this feeling

                    scratching at me: I didn’t have a label.

                    I could never figure out

                    who I was attracted to (or if there was a

                    who to figure out at all) and while

                    everyone else had done it for themselves,

                    they couldn’t help me.

                    Knowing everybody had found, understood, and

                    prized this piece of themselves that interlocked

                    perfectly with their lives, and as many terms I’d

                    experimented with like paint samples, there was

                    always a shade of doubt so that no color matched me

                    perfectly.

I mean queer as in bad, worthless, or counterfeit.

Queer as in

                    I found myself in an obscure,

                    whispered term that was perfect

                    in resources and in my life, but not

                    in the sex-saturated world or the sex-saturated community.

                    I found myself hoping more than anything that I

                    would not only meet a girl but

                    meet one who didn’t just want a hookup,

                    finding nothing but disappointment in the world

                    I’d anticipated joining for so long, and eventually

                    making up excuses for skipping pride events.

                    I found myself shimmying into place

                    to belong, and feeling somewhat jammed in

                    but slowly adjusting to the pressure.

                    No matter how familiar, though,

                    pressure always remains uncomfortable. 

I mean queer as in not physically feeling right or well.

Queer as in

                    Have you seen the commercials with scantily clad women

                    And shirtless men used to move product because everybody

                    Will buy spontaneously based on elevated levels of hormones?

                    Or the one where the man treats his salad like he can have sex with it?

                    Have you seen the groups of teenage boys and girls

                    discussing their significant others and sexual exploits

                    (with their significant others or not) and giggling

                    as though it means absolutely nothing?

                    Have you ever seen someone looking determinedly away

                    While those commercials play? Seen anyone blush

                    When everyone chatters? Me.

                    I’ll never quite understand why the jokes are funny,

                    Why the acts are appealing, and I’ve heard people

                    Whisper behind my back that I’m awkward or abnormal.

                    No, I want to say,

                    Asexual.


Moira Armstrong is a junior at Howland High School, where she enjoys stressing over honors classes and extracurriculars. Her favorite is the speech and debate team, where she competes in original oratory and serves as president. In her very limited free time, she likes to color, volunteer, and, of course, write. Her work has also been published in two Creative Communications Poetry Collections, Blue Marble Review, and The Asexual Journal, and is forthcoming in After the Pause.

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Tara Wills "The eyes are NOT a window to the soul: I’m not broken, I am asexual"

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Tara Wills "The eyes are NOT a window to the soul: I’m not broken, I am asexual"

I came out as asexual in a very unofficial way, which was the best thing to do. No letter, no long Facebook update confession, no exclusive "we need to talk" with relatives or friends. I simply started throwing it into dating conversations whenever it was appropriate to do so. I am today a very out and proud asexual, still questioning my romantic orientation at the moment as I think I'm heteroromantic, yet it seems like I don't get to that level with anyone I have met so far, am I aromantic as well? Life will tell if I'm really hetero, demi, or grey romantic, but sex-repulsed asexual has been there since way before I knew a whole community of asexuals existed out there somewhere.

I feel this story needs to be told because the feeling of relief and liberation the community has given to me is something I did not expect in life, I had already given up on this hypersexualised ableist humanity and I had a lifelong history of suicidal thoughts and 2 attempts before I reached this state of unapologetic pride I lost as a kid. I'm free from the "borrowed confusion" the straight and fully able humans gave to me. How did that happen?

I was born with a congenital visual impairment, my mom got ill while pregnant and it affected my eyes. It’s not genetic, it’s not progressive, it simply messed up with me before I got out of a womb. Since I learned to read, which was quite early for kids in that country, thanks to the stubbornness of my biological mom to make me learn beforehand in order to survive a regular children school as the only school for children with special needs. In that place was all mixed disabilities and it wasn’t really helping those kids to develop their knowledge. This was the first struggle I handled. I was fascinated by books and I was much more into those astronomy and dinosaur books for kids when I started to notice the coupling thing at school yards. Over there it starts early, kids as young as 6-7 are already into crushes and kisses. This memory was my first proof of asexuality. I remember running away from a kid chasing me for kisses and I shouted loud and clear at him how disgusting it was "How old do you think we are, 30?! We're in primary, we don't even have hormones and you are kissing around? How gross!"

Teachers freaked out, kids freaked out, and my back then unapologetic self thought "they are playing soap opera, it's so silly, and disgusting". Mind you that a 6-7-year-old GIRL who knows about hormones before puberty in that country is an equivalent to an extra-terrestrial contacting Earth for the first time. This quirky behaviour of "I rather read books, or try to read struggling with a magnifier than kissing" has given me a whole school history of daily abuse. I will not go into detail, as I have already talked enough about this abusive hypersexualised ableist country which is the most sexualised society I'm aware of til today.

Fast forward to when I moved to Hungary. Still a virgin, not wanting anything with anyone and dismissing my biological mother's silly jokes about not bringing her a "lil Hungarian" before I finished my university studies (again, gross).

A year went by, nothing. The new country felt more like home than any other place I lived in before. I was found attractive by some guys, for all the wrong reasons (exotic girl!) yet to me they looked like any other guy. The price of being biracial, you look like a souvenir to everyone yet to you people are just people. I thought for a while this might be the cause of my repulsion. No. I still did not find anyone attractive. Aesthetically pleasing yes, a few, but never wanting more.

Time went by and I made a few close friends in town, mostly older than me and straight. They try to help, thinking "she has not met the right one yet,” overlapping the fact that I can't play the Romeo and Juliet flirt game from the opposite side of the road with any "attractive guy" that walks nearby. For years I thought this was my case and I kept the straight label while crying along Dido's "White flag" music video, thinking "the right one could have already passed me by a thousand times and I didn't see him.” I read this and I laugh of my days of borrowed confusion. A friend in our random conversations once suggested to try online dating. I understood it as a well-intended attempt to help me connect with someone. And so, I did. Opened up a few dating profiles, avoiding Tinder of course, how can I use an exclusively visual app after all? I went for those where people can write their info, and I put effort into mine, as honest as I always was about everything, except still keeping the straight orientation for my lack of knowledge that my jokes about being asexual were actually very likely to be true. I met some guys online. The usual "hi" messages, the meaningless touristy hook-uppers, the "how can you read if you're blind?" conversation starters, the "yo sexy lady" starters... patience, I told myself.

Until one day, an engineer student messaged me with a longer starter. I thought well, he seems honest, let's reply. We messaged back and forth before we went on a first date. My friend who suggested me to do this online dating thing came along with her husband so I had the safety of eye witnesses in case of whatever. It went alright I guess, but the "love" went more on his side. He was so touchy, all the time, everywhere, in public. I still felt it gross, and my gut feeling was causing me a headache for keep trying that nonsense. Needless to say, he was already showing slight obsessive/possessive signs, which after a short trip to Helsinki, I noticed clearly and decided to break up that mess.

I still kept the dating profile for a few weeks, but I only got more of the same "hi" "sexy lady" "how can you read this?" I stopped.

After almost a year of that dating safari I found AVEN thanks to some asexual activists on YouTube and a lesbian friend of mine who shared a post about asexuality.

It’s not my crappy vision, it is not being biracial, it is not that I haven't found the one yet, I have a very clear and detailed idea of the partner I am looking for, and he's not the usual straight girl standard. It feels like I already know him, his skills and his imperfections, I am a writer in the closet... it’s somewhat like I built up a character that I would love to meet in the real world, with all his good and his crap and I still don't want sex with him. Talking about fan crushes, I've never understood, and I tested myself with my crappy vision to see if I could find a famous actor/athlete/musician/etc., attractive. In fact, all that amount of muscle and Photoshop scares the hell out of me. My "fictional book character" is nothing like that and probably not human, I said to myself.

Once I met the online asexual communities, I saw the light (how cheesy), I noticed the humongous difference between messaging style and I even met a few who are into similar hobbies or interests. The ice has started to melt. I am not broken, my eyes might be, not the rest of me. I'm not ugly, neither a souvenir. I am not picky, I take care of myself as I'm very aware of the vulnerable position I am in, it is the wisest thing to do and it is quite healthy to know what you want. I carry all my "unwanted" labels and I'm a professional weirdo.

I'm unapologetic once again, I recovered what I once lost and I am a proud biracial, legally blind, sex-repulsed asexual, child free by choice, non-religious citizen of the world woman. If I could survive, I know we all can. We exist and we are human.

This is my attempt of retribution for the community which has saved me from my own ice shield, which I got courtesy of an over-normative, square-minded society.

I hope this helps whoever reads this, if anyone at all.

Thank you for existing.


Tara Wills is a 26-year-old psychology student at ELTE University in Budapest, Hungary. She has produced her own EP album in 2012 and is currently taking a break from music while studying, working part time as a pet sitter / dog walker, and running a photography project called “The Blind Photographer – Budapest.” She is a proud Sex-repulsed asexual, biracial, legally blind, non-religious, citizen of the world woman currently searching for ways to take part in asexuality activism.

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Mehreen Qaisar "Valid Orientation"

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Mehreen Qaisar "Valid Orientation"

My body, my right

Does it sound right???

No, I don’t need approval no longer

Because I have started believing in myself

This journey started a long ago

How can I let it forgo

Now destiny has unfolded

Made me boldest

In hyper-sexualized society where everyone wants more…

I tell you I am neither spinster nor whore

I am just, me & myself

Not an elf

I might not fit in your narrative

That doesn’t make me less creative & inactive

Don’t tell me my Asexuality needs to be ‘overcome’

Because I have embraced it wholesome

I am not going to shun

It’s not a pun

I will fight to bring a revolution

Till acceptance of it as a valid orientation.


Mehreen Qaisar is a young Pakistani Feminist & Researcher in the government organization; her area of interest is Gender & Human Rights. She is a Body Positive Ace born with Asperger’s Syndrome; she has disdain for any feminist & human rights movement which is not inclusive. Can be reached at Twitter @Mehreen_Qaisar

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Tori Roozekrans "A Bloody Mess"

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Tori Roozekrans "A Bloody Mess"

Rip out
this fertile womb
that shreds itself apart
month after month with no children
pending. 

Little
ones are not on
the docket of my life.
No woman or man will change this
disgust. 

Why should
I suffer through
this mess of womanhood
year after year with no trial
nearing?

Pressure
is flooded on
to me with title wave
expectations, but I’m filled with
dust. 

Desert
and blood are all
that’s going to pour out
of me and that’s fine, I am
content.

It was
evolution
that formed me against my
consent, so now I’m making my
own choice.

Is it
a murdered crop
if the weeds were never
seeded and the earth was never
watered?

Do not
try to shame me.
You have no say in the
use of my garden’s potential
harvest.

Even
if I still have
to settle for dealing
with sand and debris, I am
complete. 


Tori Roozekrans is an aromantic asexual poet who is trying to focus on writing poems about asexuality whenever she can escape the combined clutches of college, work, and her cat. More than anything she wants to share her work with her fellow aces in an attempt to inspire others to catch the creative bug and bring the community closer together.

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Tori Roozekrans "Sex"

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Tori Roozekrans "Sex"

a red plastic bowl
of oatmeal

counting minutes in the
post office line.

a loose thread
on my sweatshirt
I should stop pulling at.

the beige waiting
room, sniffling children,
magazines.

scrubbing dishes
cemented in the kitchen
sink.

my car
trapped in the que
dragging along
the painted tarmac.

folding the fresh
load of laundry.

memorizing
geography
for next week’s test. 

the itch of an
old wool blanket. 

an empty
crystal vase
on the coffee table.

sweeping pine needles off
the driveway. 

watching rain water
evaporate
off the grass.

room temperature water
in a blue glass.


Tori Roozekrans is an aromantic asexual poet who is trying to focus on writing poems about asexuality whenever she can escape the combined clutches of college, work, and her cat. More than anything she wants to share her work with her fellow aces in an attempt to inspire others to catch the creative bug and bring the community closer together.

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