Lead Editor: Michael Paramo
Editorial Board: Ai Baba, Geoffrey Colaizzi, Evelyn Elgie. Katie Halinski, Joe Jukes, Sydney Khoo
Layout Editor: Michael Paramo
On Asexuality and Sex
As ace people, how do we comprehend the role of sex in our lives? Are sex and the asexual figure expected to abstain from engagement? If we hold desire, are we expected to suppress it? What are the intersections of asexuality and sex? “Asexual” as an identity does not represent a singular sexual reality or state of sexual being. In the ace community, we are neither entirely with or without sexual desire; with or without engagement in sexual activity; with or without sexual drive. Although there are stereotypes of the asexual figure as being wholly non-sexual, repulsed by sex or anything remotely related to sex, and without any trace of attraction towards others, the ace community remains quite diverse in its complex relationship with sexuality and attraction.
As ace people and non-ace people alike, we all must navigate life with a sexual expectation attached to our bodies. It becomes internalized, reinforced, and replicated through the major veins of society: in the classroom, the doctor’s office, by our parent(s) and/or guardian(s), and further institutions. Sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, ableism, and other oppressive forces condition us to manage our (a)sexuality with constant consideration to our existences at the intersections of social identity. As ace people, this sexual expectation, though applied differently, constrains us to sexual considerations. As we realize our difference we may begin to believe ourselves to be broken due to our internalization of the social narrative that sex is normative.
Our asexual identities therefore remain positioned within a power grid of sex, in which the validity of our aceness is continually measured in relation to the sexual. Deriving bodily pleasure from sexual acts may place our asexuality under question, especially as inter- and intra-communal gatekeeping remain pervasive in a manner that underscores how ace people who engage in sexual activity navigate and validate their own identity. With the release of sexual pleasure may come an onslaught of guilt, as if we have “betrayed” an identity that is to be a-sexual – without sexual feelings or desires – and crossed silently in the night into a “normative” sexual realm. Would it then be correct to assert that with a sexual expectation there also exists an “asexual expectation” – a belief that if one is to claim asexuality they must live up to an existence without sex?
For our Sex issue, The Asexual has invited writers and artists under the ace umbrella to explore the intersections of the sexual and asexual. Many of the forthcoming pieces grapple with sex through personal narratives, defiant artistic statements, and academic approaches to asexuality. In doing so, this issue incorporates related themes of attraction, desire, gender, kink, and more. Examining sex through an asexual perspective not only addresses widespread misconceptions of asexuality as entirely nonsexual, but also propels us to consider asexuality apart and beyond the sexual realm.
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About the Editors
Vol. 2, Issue 1
Michael Paramo is a gay aromantic asexual Latinx grad student studying (a)sexuality, gender, attraction, and intimacy. On the gender spectrum, they gravitate nearest to agender followed by male and prefer they/them pronouns but accept he/him. They created The Asexual journal after witnessing an absence of ace-centered discourse on queer-focused and general media platforms. They presently manage the journal and website. They are currently finishing an MA program in American Studies and will be submitting their PhD applications in Fall 2018.
Ai Baba is an aroace agender PhD candidate studying race, gender, and a/sexuality in modern Japanese history. Besides working on her dissertation, Ai is currently volunteering with the Asexual Census Survey Team, and also founded "ace to ace" (http://ace2ace121.wordpress.com ) to connect aces in Japan. Twitter: @not_alibaba.
Geoffrey Colaizzi is an androromantic demisexual agender person located in northern Virginia. They are an undergraduate student at George Mason University, and has presented their research on asexual relationality at the National Women's Studies Association in 2015 and 2017. While going to school part-time, they also work as a full-time HR intern and a part-time HR assistant. Over the past six years, Geoffrey has also been an activist in their spare time working to expand ace/aro awareness and inclusivity in local queer communities and spaces. Twitter: @inqueertime.
Evelyn Elgie is a queer ace poet, artist, and academic. Her work deals with mental illness, asexuality, deconstruction and landscape, and in particular a radical re-imagining of our cultural understanding of sex and romance. She holds a BA in Contemporary Studies and Creative Writing from the University of King’s College, and her poetry has appeared in Open Heart Forgery, Glass Mountain, and Hinge: Journal of the Contemporary. She is about to begin her master’s degree at the Social Justice Institute at the University of British Columbia.
Katie Halinski is a non-binary grey-asexual from London. They are currently doing a PhD in Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic at the University of Cambridge, where they are researching human-bird interactions and bird symbolism in Old Norse culture. In their spare time, they enjoy playing bass guitar and watching films (the stranger the better). They can be found on Twitter as @Liminalitea, where they mostly post about kaiju, cats, the stranger parts of medieval culture, and mental health.
Joe Jukes is currently studying for an MA in Sexual Dissidence at the University of Sussex, UK. Their primary research interests concern theory, including Queer- and Gender Theory, Critical Theory as well as Cultural Geography and Rural Studies. They have published in The Asexual before, in the Body Issue, and are hoping to pursue a PhD working towards the creation of “Asexual Theory.” Their Twitter can be found here: https://twitter.com/JoeeJayyy.
sydney khoo is a non-binary and queer writer, born in new south wales, australia to malaysian-chinese parents. though typically located crying in starbucks or tweeting in mcdonalds, they can occasionally be found posting creative essays and short stories online. follow them on twitter @sydneykerosene.
All works in The Asexual are created by writers, artists, and creators who identify under the ace umbrella. Owner retains copyright of work upon publication, but agrees to give The Asexual first serial/electronic rights and print rights as well as electronic and print 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 visit TheAsexual.com. Cover photography by Michael Paramo.