Asexual relationship energy and communities

For discussion of general issues pertaining to asexuality.
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paranoidgynandroid
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Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby paranoidgynandroid » Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:53 am

Hi,

If you've not been following the History thread, I'm a so-called pre-AVEN 'early asexual', who was involved in the early shaping of AVEN as a forum community, including writing the original general FAQ, aka the 'big FAQ'.

Since I read that topic and started looking at my past involvement, digging through my email and file archives, and ultimately made the decision that I'd de-lurk and start interacting with the community again, it's been striking me just how much this has felt like hooking up with an old flame to me.

Reading my emails, articles and forum posts from the time, mixed in with everything else I was involved with in that period has made me start to look at my relationship history and how much my involvement in different communities and different types of activism and fandoms has taken a role very similar to my romantic relationships. It's particularly clear that my involvement in communities has always grown the most when I wasn't currently in a one to one partnership.

I realise this is pretty far out, but it does seem like I've flirted with, committed to or made enduring contributions to a whole bunch of different communities in my life, usually with a period of 'new relationship energy' where I've been excited and exhilarated by the ideas a community represented. I have a couple of communities that I have a long term commitment to, that I've stuck by for a decade and who feel like family, and others from which I drifted apart from after the 'NRE' wore off, when I felt they didn't need me any more or I didn't need them, or I fell for someone or something else. I've even had a couple of unhealthy relationships where I flirted with dangerous but exciting ideas, which I ultimately regret even though they were very exciting at the time.

I'm not so much involved in identity politics any more, but even so, I've still got fandom and creativity based communities that I'm involved with, and I've always had the same pattern of coming in with big ideas right away, getting involved, wanting to know everything about the community's ideas and history, having amazing conversations with like minded people, and ulitmately helping to found new exciting off shoots to develop an area I felt was missing or underdeveloped.

I'm sure in the last 8 years of discussion on AVEN and here something like this has come up. Does anyone else consider that communities can form the same kind of bonds for an individual that one to one personal relationships do for them? Or feel that the kinds of energies sexual people put into partnership relationships often get channelled into community interactions? I'd think ideally asexuals who have this sort of community relationship would want to mix this with other types of relationships like friendships, partnership and other types of community and family...

I've also been recently thinking how much I tend to put my romantic energies into my fandoms (mostly when a particularly moving article in Doctor Who Magazine had me in tears). I seem to fall in love with stories just as easily as with people...

But as I said, coming back here to talk about the history of asexuality has sort of seduced me into talking about these sorts of big ideas about where an asexual's relationship energies get directed, but with considerably more adult life experience than the last time I was involved. I also think on some level I feel sort of guilty about leaving you guys, even though you're an almost entirely different set of people than the ones I left when I fell in love back in 2003...

Anyway, I'll be very interested to hear if you guys have any thoughts on this (while also being very aware that there's a potential for involvement here to start to affect commitments I've made to other communities and my poor neglected podcast!).

Thanks,


Nat.

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Dargon
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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby Dargon » Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:17 am

I'll do my best to answer this, but the whole notion of "relationship energies" seems so abstract and, dare I say, nonsensical to me. Perhaps it is the fact that I distinguishing different types of relationships seems arbitrary to me, or perhaps it is my hatred of using the term "energy" for anything other than ability to do work.

I have been involved with a number of online communities in the past, seldom having a time where it was only one forum. I can think of nine off the top of my head, none I was involved with for less than a year. In fact, my lack of involvement with three of them pertains to their shutdown rather than my departure. I have only left one fourm on my own accord, that being AVEN, and that being after three years. I suppose it could be compared to a capitol R Relationship, in the sense that I left because the community changed and we were no longer compatible.

I suppose my activity with these communities could be compared to a typical "relationship." At first, I would rather lurk for a bit, kind of getting to know the forum before becoming active. Then I would be very active, but over time my activity would become less frequent, but still constant.

With regards to real life communities, there have been three organizations I have been part of that have made me feel more loved and included than anything else in my life, save four individuals. I am still a member of one of these groups. The two I "broke off" with, I did so because I moved. I still maintain contact with many people from both of those groups.

The more I think of it, perhaps I am poorly suited to answer this question. I've never been in a capitol R relationship, and all my close friendships that have died have been due either to death or drastic change in the other person, leading to a slow but relatively painless death of the relationship.

I don't even know if all that was remotely related to what you asked, but I tried.

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paranoidgynandroid
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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby paranoidgynandroid » Sun Nov 21, 2010 11:34 am

Dargon wrote:I'll do my best to answer this, but the whole notion of "relationship energies" seems so abstract and, dare I say, nonsensical to me. Perhaps it is the fact that I distinguishing different types of relationships seems arbitrary to me, or perhaps it is my hatred of using the term "energy" for anything other than ability to do work.


Ah sorry, I'm using the language of the polyamoury community without really defining it. In poly circles, people talk about the passionate infatuation people have with new lovers as 'new relationship energy', the period in which everything about the other person feels exciting and compulsive and you want to get to know them and spend all your time with them. This is usually known outside of polyamoury as either 'crushing' when it's not reciprocated or 'the honeymoon period' when it is, and is generally expected to last for roughly a year to eighteen months (it certainly lasted 18 months almost to the day in my two committed long term partnerships, although this may just be coincidence). Because polyamourous people try to maintain multiple long term loving relationships while also recognising the human capacity to fall in love with multiple people, it's seen as normal for NRE to drive you to fall for new people and have much more excitement with them to begin with at the start of the relationship, but that there's also value in long term primary or less 'energetic' relationships. We get different things from new relationships than we do with those that have passed out of their 'honeymoon period'.

Anyway, yes I think it's harder to tell if you do this yourself if you haven't also spent time in romantic pairing relationships for periods of your past history. Looking back over ten years with roughly half that time spent in relationships and half not, communities certainly seem to become much more important to me during the periods when I'm 'single' than when I'm partnered. I also seem to have some of the same strong feelings, both positive, negative and regretful about certain communities as I do about relationships I've attempted.

Although also on another level, I think it's common for everyone to find the start of new friendships, new jobs and I'm sure joining active communities more exciting than longer down the line when they've become familiar and predictable. Maybe there's only a special term for this when it's connected to sexuality because sexuality has more cultural importance and more 'rules' and conventions applied to it. Or maybe I'm just strange ;)

Thanks,


Nat.

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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby apsaf » Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:45 pm

As someone who identifies as aromantic, polygamy (before I found out about asexuality and polyamoury) has always made more sense to me than monogamous marriage and relationships (marriage doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever, actually).

As for the excitement and energy put into relationships and communities, personally, that's what I hate the most, the beginning, the awkwardness (what others would call "excitement" I guess), presenting yourself at your best (or pretending to be someone you're not, mostly to a possible love interest)...

I think I feel the same way about communities, online or otherwise. I've only began interacting with people online about 3 or 4 years ago (although I've been using the Internet daily for around 10 years) and it only happened because my favorite actor had an accident and I freaked out, lol. It took me 2 months of lurking to sign up into the community and I hated that feeling of being a "newbie." Once the feeling of being new wore off, I became totally hooked on that fandom. However, ever since then, I've joined 6 communities (I follow many communities and sites, but I only participate in forum discussions in those 6 communities/fandoms) onlines and 2 communities in RL. So far, I'm still passionate about the first 2 just like I've always been but I post less frequently now, kind of like Dargon described it and also because the omnipresence of trolls is sometimes discouraging.

Among those 6 communities, 4 are asexual/aromantic related but I don't know why, the "relationship" never deepened like in the first 2. I'm very grateful they exist, I try to post once in a while and I always learn more about myself and the community in general but it never became a personal relationship.
In the first 2 communities (which are intertwined, and entertainment related), I developed relationships with the regular posters, 2 of them even became RL best friends and the rest, even though we only know each other by username, have become very close, know much about each other, interact on many levels, learn a lot from our diversity and have a lot of mutual respect even though we disagree on many things. I feel I belong there and just have to at least check the sites a few times a day (even if I don't post).

As for the RL communities, my hectic schedule rarely allows me to attend meetings and events, therefore, I still feel like it's a new relationship (although it's been almost a year) and I hate that feeling. I try to stay connected to them online at least, but I don't feel any closeness toward anyone or that I belong there, although I'm very passionate about the issues they deal with.

Looking back at my past passions and crushes in life, I realize that they're few but 99% of them remain the same in adult life. I guess even though I don't believe in marriage, when I commit to something I abide by that commitment for life, lol.

I don't know if I've answered the question either and I'm sorry if my rambling is off-topic. Apositive is the third community I ever joined (the first asexual one, although I had known and lurked on AVEN before). I prefer this place to AVEN but almost always lurk because I don't feel I have much to contribute and everybody else have very insightful ideas and information. Therefore, I feel less knowledgeable to participate but very appreciative to lurk :)

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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby paranoidgynandroid » Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:01 pm

apsaf wrote:As someone who identifies as aromantic, polygamy (before I found out about asexuality and polyamoury) has always made more sense to me than monogamous marriage and relationships (marriage doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever, actually).


It made more sense to me as well, but in practice it didn't work out very well when I tried it. I think you have to be extremely emotionally aware to do it successfully, and I wasn't back in 2003.

apsaf wrote:As for the excitement and energy put into relationships and communities, personally, that's what I hate the most, the beginning, the awkwardness (what others would call "excitement" I guess), presenting yourself at your best (or pretending to be someone you're not, mostly to a possible love interest)...


That makes sense to me. Although personally because I'm not so driven to form partnership relationships, I've tended to only end up with people I've seriously clicked with and had a really strong affinity, so my relationships tended to involve weeks or months of doing everything together in a very exciting way, finding pleasure in how much we had in common or how well we got on. This is possibly why they both fell to bits so badly when the 'honeymoon period' ended. I also think I've tended to be overly codependent and not handled break ups very well. I'm actually thinking a more negotiated partnership with more realistic expectations would be more healthy for me should I ever meet someone I click with in the future.

apsaf wrote:I think I feel the same way about communities, online or otherwise. I've only began interacting with people online about 3 or 4 years ago (although I've been using the Internet daily for around 10 years) and it only happened because my favorite actor had an accident and I freaked out, lol. It took me 2 months of lurking to sign up into the community and I hated that feeling of being a "newbie." Once the feeling of being new wore off, I became totally hooked on that fandom. However, ever since then, I've joined 6 communities (I follow many communities and sites, but I only participate in forum discussions in those 6 communities/fandoms) onlines and 2 communities in RL. So far, I'm still passionate about the first 2 just like I've always been but I post less frequently now, kind of like Dargon described it and also because the omnipresence of trolls is sometimes discouraging.

Among those 6 communities, 4 are asexual/aromantic related but I don't know why, the "relationship" never deepened like in the first 2. I'm very grateful they exist, I try to post once in a while and I always learn more about myself and the community in general but it never became a personal relationship.
In the first 2 communities (which are intertwined, and entertainment related), I developed relationships with the regular posters, 2 of them even became RL best friends and the rest, even though we only know each other by username, have become very close, know much about each other, interact on many levels, learn a lot from our diversity and have a lot of mutual respect even though we disagree on many things. I feel I belong there and just have to at least check the sites a few times a day (even if I don't post).


For me, I think I gain most pleasure and excitement from sharing ideas and building a community or developing a concept, finding other people who are thinking along the same lines as me and bouncing ideas off them, or finding they've independently had the same revelations as me. I ultimately ended up flirting with some of the absolute fringes of identity politics before I took a huge step back and decided to stay well away for the next few years.

I find it much harder to interact socially with online communities relating to identity, once the big questions are answered and consensus is gained, I'm not so great at just chatting. I also get more and more intimidated the larger a community is and the more in jokes and culture it has. Although I've more recently done considerably better with fandom, creativity and fan creativity related communities.

I should probably go back to AVEN and post about these sorts of things, but I currently find the whole thing hugely intimidating, there's too much of it to be able to understand the whole thing and a lot of the language has changed, not to mention all the different sub-groupings... It might be worth it to meet some more local asexuals in person though :)

apsaf wrote:As for the RL communities, my hectic schedule rarely allows me to attend meetings and events, therefore, I still feel like it's a new relationship (although it's been almost a year) and I hate that feeling. I try to stay connected to them online at least, but I don't feel any closeness toward anyone or that I belong there, although I'm very passionate about the issues they deal with.


I have a tendency to have a difficulty of going from being friends with people within an in person community or group and moving that on to being friends with them in person ...and that's when I don't end up running the things!

apsaf wrote:Looking back at my past passions and crushes in life, I realize that they're few but 99% of them remain the same in adult life. I guess even though I don't believe in marriage, when I commit to something I abide by that commitment for life, lol.


Heh, I'm the same with Doctor Who and The Tomorrow People :)

apsaf wrote:I don't know if I've answered the question either and I'm sorry if my rambling is off-topic. Apositive is the third community I ever joined (the first asexual one, although I had known and lurked on AVEN before). I prefer this place to AVEN but almost always lurk because I don't feel I have much to contribute and everybody else have very insightful ideas and information. Therefore, I feel less knowledgeable to participate but very appreciative to lurk :)


Yes, I do seem to be more comfortable with Apositive than how AVEN is these days, Apositive is smaller and much closer to the feel of the early AVEN for me. AVEN seems more like a sprawling social network or a whole culture of it's own (like trying to follow the logic of 4Chan). I think I need to get a bit more serious about lurking there and work out which sub-forums are a good fit for me.

And yes, you've answered the question, or at least you haven't completely poo pooed me :)

So thanks for that!


Nat.

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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby apsaf » Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:43 pm

I also get more and more intimidated the larger a community is and the more in jokes and culture it has. Although I've more recently done considerably better with fandom, creativity and fan creativity related communities.

That's one of the reasons I felt I belonged much more to the Queer as Folk fandom (that's the community I was referring to earlier. Yes, weird a it seems, I'm obsessed with that show and its characters) than in the AVEN community. But I don't mind the idle chatting. It all depends on my mood and the time I have, I guess.

I think I need to get a bit more serious about lurking there and work out which sub-forums are a good fit for me.

Good luck with that! I still haven't been able to check out the whole site. That place is HUGE!

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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby Siggy » Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:36 pm

I saw David Jay make a presentation about nonsexual intimacy, and he talked about this sort of thing. He drew a triangle on the board. The three corners of the triangle represent three different sources of intimacy: partners, self, and community. It's a spectrum, he says.

I think it's a little silly (and I've said this to DJ's face), though it's cool in some ways too. It's silly because, well, it's a triangle and I have no idea where to put myself. I think all three are important, and hard to compare relative importance. It's silly because this is in a presentation about asexual relationships, and I've never seen the asexual community really discuss this. But it's cool, because maybe the community should be discussing this. I feel like AVEN is a bit stuck in this paradigm of emphasizing romantic relationships above all else, which are just like conventional relationships only without sex.

I've also been involved in multiple communities over the years. The first one was an online puzzling community. And then I joined the skeptical and atheist blogospheres. Then I joined meatspace skeptical groups. And much more recently, I joined the asexual and queer communities, both on and offline. All of these communities have been tremendously important in my life.

There's a major difference between my experience of online and offline communities. Online communities have a lot of NRE (I love this term!) as I want to explore a new idea and share my thoughts. But my interest eventually slows down and level off. As for offline communities, they take a while to build momentum, but are a good long-term investment. I get something different out of an offline community. I get friends that I can hang out with.

But I'm not sure how useful it is for me to compare this to partnered relationships. For one thing, I'm really monogamous with partners. Perhaps for you, it's just a matter of applying your understanding of polyamory to community relationships, but for me, at best I can have an outsider's understanding of polyamory.

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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby paranoidgynandroid » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:49 am

Siggy wrote:I saw David Jay make a presentation about nonsexual intimacy, and he talked about this sort of thing. He drew a triangle on the board. The three corners of the triangle represent three different sources of intimacy: partners, self, and community. It's a spectrum, he says.


Wow, I went googling to see if I could find DJ saying that, and came across the Asex 101 talk on Daily Motion:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xa24lv ... gaylesbian

At roughly 12.45 into part 3 he starts talking about 'intimate relationships with whole communities', he even talks about 'new relationship energy', and long term commitment with communities. Kind of awesome to see ideas I came to myself already developed and written up and thought through in a lot more detail. It's the same kind of feeling I got in 2002 when I first found the pre-forum AVEN :)

...the video's from 2006 though, so I'm feeling like I'm seriously behind the curve on this stuff now!

Siggy wrote:I think it's a little silly (and I've said this to DJ's face), though it's cool in some ways too. It's silly because, well, it's a triangle and I have no idea where to put myself. I think all three are important, and hard to compare relative importance. It's silly because this is in a presentation about asexual relationships, and I've never seen the asexual community really discuss this. But it's cool, because maybe the community should be discussing this. I feel like AVEN is a bit stuck in this paradigm of emphasizing romantic relationships above all else, which are just like conventional relationships only without sex.


Well it looks like he's taken your criticism on board and it's no longer a triangle but a complex network of different relationships. Your critique's also reminded me of 2002 and the sexuality triangle diagram ;)

I totally think the community should be discussing this yeah, maybe I should get over my intimidation at the size and complexity of AVEN and start posting about this stuff... I was always most interested in ideas about non-sexual intimate relationships not having to follow the rules and conventions of sexual intimate relationships.

Siggy wrote:I've also been involved in multiple communities over the years. The first one was an online puzzling community. And then I joined the skeptical and atheist blogospheres. Then I joined meatspace skeptical groups. And much more recently, I joined the asexual and queer communities, both on and offline. All of these communities have been tremendously important in my life.

There's a major difference between my experience of online and offline communities. Online communities have a lot of NRE (I love this term!) as I want to explore a new idea and share my thoughts. But my interest eventually slows down and level off. As for offline communities, they take a while to build momentum, but are a good long-term investment. I get something different out of an offline community. I get friends that I can hang out with.


Glad you like the idea of NRE applied to communities and exciting shared concepts! :) I think I actually find the early stages of a partnership extremely similar to that, especially thinking about a few relatively recent occasions where I fell for people and became extremely close to them, and felt like we had everything I'd had in my previous explicitly partnered relationships, but chose not to do anything about the feeling because I wasn't over my previous horrible break up yet. In all of those cases, I felt like me and the other person had a huge affinity, shared the same ideas and likes but together we made them into something even more exciting than we could've have done independently. Really that's the same thing I get when I join a new community, but even more concentrated.

I'm terrible at taking that step you talk about of taking friends I make in offline communities out of the regular meet ups and events and into my circle of people I'm friends with outside of a community. I'd love to know how people do that... I think it's partly because I've been told I seem incredibly outgoing and confident so other people assume I'm going to pick up on their non-verbal cues and make the first move...

Siggy wrote:But I'm not sure how useful it is for me to compare this to partnered relationships. For one thing, I'm really monogamous with partners. Perhaps for you, it's just a matter of applying your understanding of polyamory to community relationships, but for me, at best I can have an outsider's understanding of polyamory.


In terms of successful relationships, I am actually monogamous with partners myself. The couple of times I experimented with polyamory it didn't go brilliantly well. I don't think I was emotionally aware enough at the time - I had far too much of a tendency to intellectualise my emotions and feelings and make decisions based on logic and my principles and not on how I actually felt. After four years of living as an individual and finding I enjoy having freedom and autonomy and don't actually need to have a big romantic live sharing (and frankly co-dependent) relationship to be happy. I think I could possibly incorporate some of the good bits of partnership back into my life and maybe even be a little more emotionally mature about it now. Assuming I meet someone I click with.

So effectively asexual monogamy in terms of romantic partners is also the position I'm coming from. But I've also now had 4 years of monogamy and 4 years of living independently, comparing what I do outside of partnerships to express what I express and gain what I gain through partnership. I do have a lot of polyamorous friends though, and one of my main communities heavily overlaps with the poly community, so I naturally tend to think of their model of relationships when I'm thinking about how an asexual person has multiple simultaneous types of intimacy and relationship.

Thanks again for an interesting reply and for helping me find DJ talking about this subject :)


Nat.
Last edited by paranoidgynandroid on Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby paranoidgynandroid » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:00 am

apsaf wrote:
I also get more and more intimidated the larger a community is and the more in jokes and culture it has. Although I've more recently done considerably better with fandom, creativity and fan creativity related communities.

That's one of the reasons I felt I belonged much more to the Queer as Folk fandom (that's the community I was referring to earlier. Yes, weird a it seems, I'm obsessed with that show and its characters) than in the AVEN community. But I don't mind the idle chatting. It all depends on my mood and the time I have, I guess.


I used to be a huge fan of the original UK Queer As Folk actually :) I still get a lot of pleasure from marathoning the entire series every so often.

apsaf wrote:
I think I need to get a bit more serious about lurking there and work out which sub-forums are a good fit for me.

Good luck with that! I still haven't been able to check out the whole site. That place is HUGE!


It's really quite overwhelming and seems to have a complicated culture of jargon and in jokes and even internal politics that just weren't around when I was last involved. (What are 'aces'? Is that just a short form for asexuals?)

I recall the last time I went looking a few years ago I ultimately got scared off by people talking at great length about how much they saw themselves in Dexter - you know the emotionally scared sociopathic ethical serial killer? I left thinking that maybe AVEN wasn't the most healthy place after all. I haven't seen any of that sort of thing this time around though. I suppose there's probably quite a degree of churn so many of the people I'd have read when lurking in 2006/7 are probably long gone now?

Thanks for your thoughts :)


Nat.

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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby Dargon » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:31 am

paranoidgynandroid wrote:It's really quite overwhelming and seems to have a complicated culture of jargon and in jokes and even internal politics that just weren't around when I was last involved. (What are 'aces'? Is that just a short form for asexuals?)


I visited shortly ago, started posting again, but stopped because the forum has grown too big for me. When I left in 2007, about an hour a day and you could keep with with all the interesting topics. Now that barely seems to cover a few threads.

As for "ace," it is a shorthand term for "asexual." I do not recall when it was proposed, but it was definitely some time between 2003 and 2007. It has not caught on very well when I left, as many shared my view that the term simultaneously sounded both silly and conceited (an opinion I voiced many times during discussion of the term). I still loathe the term, but it seems to have become the mainstream shorthand.

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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby apsaf » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:58 am

paranoidgynandroid wrote:I used to be a huge fan of the original UK Queer As Folk actually :) I still get a lot of pleasure from marathoning the entire series every so often.

That's amazing! I'm addicted to the US version, mainly because of the character Brian Kinney. I used to think that TV characters have no bearing on people's lives but they do. I used to confuse my disapproval of marriage, conventional relationships, conformity, vapid romantic gestures... with love and I used to say I didn't believe in love. Thanks to that character, I discovered that I do believe in love but only in a non-conventional, non-defined way :)
I'm even participating in a marathon on its IMDb message board right now.

paranoidgynandroid wrote:I recall the last time I went looking a few years ago I ultimately got scared off by people talking at great length about how much they saw themselves in Dexter - you know the emotionally scared sociopathic ethical serial killer? I left thinking that maybe AVEN wasn't the most healthy place after all. I haven't seen any of that sort of thing this time around though. I suppose there's probably quite a degree of churn so many of the people I'd have read when lurking in 2006/7 are probably long gone now?

I'm not much of a TV fan but yes, I have an idea about Dexter. Maybe he had a few positive traits that they could relate to which aren't associated with his urge to kill? Queer as Folk being the only exception so far, my TV viewing was limited to educational shows, Discovery Channel, Disney, cartoons (and I'm 32, yep) since most other shows and movies focus on love and romance. If a show holds my interest (mostly because the love stories are peripheral, like in Lost, Prison Break, procedurals...), I never follow it religiously and never get attached to any characters.

I feel much like Dargon regarding AVEN. I tried to post there and get involved more but I couldn't keep up and I didn't really feel I belonged. There's too much focus on romance and love. I should note that I'm not criticizing that; I think romantic asexuals need such a space because I personally believe that being asexual in an extremely sexual world is harder on them than it is on aromantic asexuals. But as an aromantic, in a Christian Arab society where there's no pressure to have sex but pressure to have relationships and conform to the norm (boyfriend, marriage, kids), I need a space to vent more about aromanticism than asexuality.

Dargon wrote:As for "ace," it is a shorthand term for "asexual." I do not recall when it was proposed, but it was definitely some time between 2003 and 2007. It has not caught on very well when I left, as many shared my view that the term simultaneously sounded both silly and conceited (an opinion I voiced many times during discussion of the term). I still loathe the term, but it seems to have become the mainstream shorthand.

I never thought about the term in that sense and I even used it some of my usernames on other forums. I just took it as an easy shorthand term which can be easily and nicely combined with other words (like "acelet" for an "asexual bracelet" or "aceflag," etc). Now that you provided this background about it, I'm not so sure about it anymore.

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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby Siggy » Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:28 pm

paranoidgynandroid wrote:Well it looks like he's taken your criticism on board and it's no longer a triangle but a complex network of different relationships. Your critique's also reminded me of 2002 and the sexuality triangle diagram ;)

But the 101 talk is from 2006, and the talk I saw was a few months ago. It's more like, a different presentation for a different audience.

I'm not really sure what it is, but something about the model just doesn't resonate with me. I'm not trying to bad-mouth it, though that's what DJ says I'm doing! :lol:

paranoidgynandroid wrote:I'm terrible at taking that step you talk about of taking friends I make in offline communities out of the regular meet ups and events and into my circle of people I'm friends with outside of a community. I'd love to know how people do that... I think it's partly because I've been told I seem incredibly outgoing and confident so other people assume I'm going to pick up on their non-verbal cues and make the first move...

Part of it might be that I sometimes think of meetings themselves as hanging out. Also, I was thinking of college student groups, so it was relatively easy to blend with my social and academic life. But it helps to get involved, to linger after meetings, and to keep an eye out for social activities planned by other members.

Siggy wrote:But I'm not sure how useful it is for me to compare this to partnered relationships. For one thing, I'm really monogamous with partners. Perhaps for you, it's just a matter of applying your understanding of polyamory to community relationships, but for me, at best I can have an outsider's understanding of polyamory.

Let me rephrase this. It sounds like we're applying concepts from polyamory to understand community relationships. But If anything, this helps me understand polyamory using my knowledge of communities, not the other way around!

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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby paranoidgynandroid » Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:43 pm

Dargon wrote:
paranoidgynandroid wrote:It's really quite overwhelming and seems to have a complicated culture of jargon and in jokes and even internal politics that just weren't around when I was last involved. (What are 'aces'? Is that just a short form for asexuals?)


I visited shortly ago, started posting again, but stopped because the forum has grown too big for me. When I left in 2007, about an hour a day and you could keep with with all the interesting topics. Now that barely seems to cover a few threads.


I certainly have a completist tendency that makes me think twice before joining somewhere quite so unmanageable... I've also found that when I've tried to lurk and just pick interesting threads from the recent topics it's ended up eating hours of my time without me even posting!

I do think it's pretty awesome that a community I had some part in shaping, that used to be a handful of people, is now such a sprawling international phenomenon though :)

Dargon wrote:As for "ace," it is a shorthand term for "asexual." I do not recall when it was proposed, but it was definitely some time between 2003 and 2007. It has not caught on very well when I left, as many shared my view that the term simultaneously sounded both silly and conceited (an opinion I voiced many times during discussion of the term). I still loathe the term, but it seems to have become the mainstream shorthand.


I'm sure it's mostly harmless, but it does have a little of the old asexual superiority feel to it... It makes me think of first world war 'air aces' or Red Dwarf's Ace Rimmer, or Doctor Who's streetwise companion Ace... Also I don't think it's obvious that it's supposed to be short for asexual, or at least it confused me enough that I had to ask here.

I'm also amused there's so much reference to cake around - I'm part of the UK bisexual community (they're very asexual friendly) and cake is a huge part of the culture there, arising from the idea that bisexuals 'have their cake and eat it', the community awards are even called the Cake Awards, with cake shaped trophies! Is there any similar logic to the asexual cake? Or do (AVEN culture) asexuals just like cake? :)

Thanks for the insights,


Nat.

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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby Dargon » Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:23 pm

paranoidgynandroid wrote:
Dargon wrote:As for "ace," it is a shorthand term for "asexual." I do not recall when it was proposed, but it was definitely some time between 2003 and 2007. It has not caught on very well when I left, as many shared my view that the term simultaneously sounded both silly and conceited (an opinion I voiced many times during discussion of the term). I still loathe the term, but it seems to have become the mainstream shorthand.


I'm sure it's mostly harmless, but it does have a little of the old asexual superiority feel to it... It makes me think of first world war 'air aces' or Red Dwarf's Ace Rimmer, or Doctor Who's streetwise companion Ace... Also I don't think it's obvious that it's supposed to be short for asexual, or at least it confused me enough that I had to ask here.

I'm also amused there's so much reference to cake around - I'm part of the UK bisexual community (they're very asexual friendly) and cake is a huge part of the culture there, arising from the idea that bisexuals 'have their cake and eat it', the community awards are even called the Cake Awards, with cake shaped trophies! Is there any similar logic to the asexual cake? Or do (AVEN culture) asexuals just like cake? :)


With regards to ace, the conceitedness comes from the applications, such as an ace pilot. Ace, outside of asexuality, is a term used to show perfection.

Much of the reason for wanting a term such as "ace" was due to "asexual" sounding so medical. Homosexuals use the word "gay," heterosexuals use the word "straight," and AVEN wanted a pet word too. "A" was opposed largely due to its common use in English, as well as it's similar sound to "gay." Ace seemed popular due to it being the starting syllable in "asexual," as well as for the existing positive connotations of the word. And with the battle being between "A" and "Ace" with virtually no other competitors, "Ace" has slowly seemed to sink in over the years. I still say it's positive to the point of sounding conceited, but what is done is done.


With regards to cake, I have heard things on the origins, but as best as I can tell, and as best as I can recall, it is largely due to an amusing emoticon on the forum becoming a bit on an injoke. Even when I showed up, cake was offered to newbies in the welcome posts. It has no connotations to "having one's cake and eating it too."

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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby ily » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:43 pm

Interesting post...I'll admit, I don't mind the term "ace". At least in the US, it's not a word that has common usage, unless you're going to an Ace Hardware store or playing cards. The only time I ever hear it used by non-asexuals is by indiepop fans from the UK, but maybe that's just me.

I find that I'm more likely to get NRE about certain aspects of a relationship, like an event or specific conversation, than the relationship itself. I would say the same is true with communities. Also with communities, it's a lot easier for me to get involved if I'm either in on the ground level or have some kind of active role. Otherwise I feel at a loss with how to incorporate myself into the group. (Typical Virgo, always trying to make myself useful...hee, hee :roll:.) Anyway, I'll be thinking more about this...

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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby paranoidgynandroid » Tue Nov 23, 2010 6:50 am

apsaf wrote:
paranoidgynandroid wrote:I used to be a huge fan of the original UK Queer As Folk actually :) I still get a lot of pleasure from marathoning the entire series every so often.

That's amazing! I'm addicted to the US version, mainly because of the character Brian Kinney. I used to think that TV characters have no bearing on people's lives but they do. I used to confuse my disapproval of marriage, conventional relationships, conformity, vapid romantic gestures... with love and I used to say I didn't believe in love. Thanks to that character, I discovered that I do believe in love but only in a non-conventional, non-defined way :)
I'm even participating in a marathon on its IMDb message board right now.


I have a whole bunch of TV shows and books that are seriously important parts of my life and have a strong emotional bond to. Heck, I'm ritually watching 1963 Doctor Who today because it's the 47th anniversary of the first episode!

apsaf wrote:
paranoidgynandroid wrote:I recall the last time I went looking a few years ago I ultimately got scared off by people talking at great length about how much they saw themselves in Dexter - you know the emotionally scared sociopathic ethical serial killer? I left thinking that maybe AVEN wasn't the most healthy place after all. I haven't seen any of that sort of thing this time around though. I suppose there's probably quite a degree of churn so many of the people I'd have read when lurking in 2006/7 are probably long gone now?

I'm not much of a TV fan but yes, I have an idea about Dexter. Maybe he had a few positive traits that they could relate to which aren't associated with his urge to kill? Queer as Folk being the only exception so far, my TV viewing was limited to educational shows, Discovery Channel, Disney, cartoons (and I'm 32, yep) since most other shows and movies focus on love and romance. If a show holds my interest (mostly because the love stories are peripheral, like in Lost, Prison Break, procedurals...), I never follow it religiously and never get attached to any characters.


Don't get me wrong, I related to a lot of what Dexter went through emotionally in season 1 myself, but if anything that made me feel negative about myself because he was so obviously damaged and it was so obviously portrayed as the result of extreme childhood trauma that had completely destroyed his ability to function as a healthy human being. It's really not a good thing to be identifying with Dexter and the way he thinks, and I genuinely saw people recommending Dexter as a positive asexual character on TV, and didn't see anyone critiquing that at the time.

apsaf wrote:I feel much like Dargon regarding AVEN. I tried to post there and get involved more but I couldn't keep up and I didn't really feel I belonged. There's too much focus on romance and love. I should note that I'm not criticizing that; I think romantic asexuals need such a space because I personally believe that being asexual in an extremely sexual world is harder on them than it is on aromantic asexuals. But as an aromantic, in a Christian Arab society where there's no pressure to have sex but pressure to have relationships and conform to the norm (boyfriend, marriage, kids), I need a space to vent more about aromanticism than asexuality.


It's funny that it's turned out that way, as I think it was roughly equally aromantic and romantic people to begin with. Possibly with more people who didn't have relationships than did, given the sort of circumstances that would lead you to essentially come up with the idea of 'asexuality' as a label enough to type it into a search engine. I'm surprised that a community that huge doesn't have sub-forums for every different variety of asexuality going. It's a bit disappointing to think that one type of asexual experience is dominating throughout the community.

apsaf wrote:
Dargon wrote:As for "ace," it is a shorthand term for "asexual." I do not recall when it was proposed, but it was definitely some time between 2003 and 2007. It has not caught on very well when I left, as many shared my view that the term simultaneously sounded both silly and conceited (an opinion I voiced many times during discussion of the term). I still loathe the term, but it seems to have become the mainstream shorthand.

I never thought about the term in that sense and I even used it some of my usernames on other forums. I just took it as an easy shorthand term which can be easily and nicely combined with other words (like "acelet" for an "asexual bracelet" or "aceflag," etc). Now that you provided this background about it, I'm not so sure about it anymore.


I think it varies culturally. When I was growing up, 'ace' was something you'd say as a synonym for 'brilliant', 'fantastic', 'awesome' or 'amazing'. And in the same regard, 'fag' was a cigarette and 'faggot' was a type of meatball and no one had even the smallest idea they were related to being gay. The insults for gay men in the UK were 'queer' and 'poof'.

It does sound like in the US 'ace' is still used to mean perfect at something, even if it wasn't ever used as an exclamation of delight.


Nat.

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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby paranoidgynandroid » Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:48 pm

Siggy wrote:
paranoidgynandroid wrote:Well it looks like he's taken your criticism on board and it's no longer a triangle but a complex network of different relationships. Your critique's also reminded me of 2002 and the sexuality triangle diagram ;)

But the 101 talk is from 2006, and the talk I saw was a few months ago. It's more like, a different presentation for a different audience.

I'm not really sure what it is, but something about the model just doesn't resonate with me. I'm not trying to bad-mouth it, though that's what DJ says I'm doing! :lol:


Well I haven't seen that presentation, only heard it from you second hand, but I think I might be allergic to scales and efforts to place identity on a continuum... I mean, you can get the things you get from close friendship from your partner, or you can get emotional closeness (and sometimes even sex) from your friends, and your friendship groups or family could also function like your community... You can't place an asexual person within a triangle and say that's where their intimacy lies, especially when you could equally do the same thing to a sexual person who would consider only partnership to be that kind of intimacy...

Now a complex ever-changing network of intimacy makes a lot more sense to me ...but doesn't look as neat I suppose :)

Siggy wrote:
paranoidgynandroid wrote:I'm terrible at taking that step you talk about of taking friends I make in offline communities out of the regular meet ups and events and into my circle of people I'm friends with outside of a community. I'd love to know how people do that... I think it's partly because I've been told I seem incredibly outgoing and confident so other people assume I'm going to pick up on their non-verbal cues and make the first move...

Part of it might be that I sometimes think of meetings themselves as hanging out. Also, I was thinking of college student groups, so it was relatively easy to blend with my social and academic life. But it helps to get involved, to linger after meetings, and to keep an eye out for social activities planned by other members.


Oh yes, I treat the meetings themselves as hanging out - it's just if I have a bad time and don't feel up to going to the meetings, suddenly I realise I've not really properly made friends with any of them enough that they're part of my life outside the meetings.

I think being a militant Facebook refusenik probably doesn't help me with the planned social activities thing either!

...and every time I get more involved I end up running the thing, and then I don't even enjoy the meetings as hanging out :/

Siggy wrote:
paranoidgynandroid wrote:But I'm not sure how useful it is for me to compare this to partnered relationships. For one thing, I'm really monogamous with partners. Perhaps for you, it's just a matter of applying your understanding of polyamory to community relationships, but for me, at best I can have an outsider's understanding of polyamory.

Let me rephrase this. It sounds like we're applying concepts from polyamory to understand community relationships. But If anything, this helps me understand polyamory using my knowledge of communities, not the other way around!


:lol: OK I got you! Hope it's helping you understand poly! ;)

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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby paranoidgynandroid » Tue Nov 23, 2010 3:59 pm

Dargon wrote:With regards to ace, the conceitedness comes from the applications, such as an ace pilot. Ace, outside of asexuality, is a term used to show perfection.

Much of the reason for wanting a term such as "ace" was due to "asexual" sounding so medical. Homosexuals use the word "gay," heterosexuals use the word "straight," and AVEN wanted a pet word too. "A" was opposed largely due to its common use in English, as well as it's similar sound to "gay." Ace seemed popular due to it being the starting syllable in "asexual," as well as for the existing positive connotations of the word. And with the battle being between "A" and "Ace" with virtually no other competitors, "Ace" has slowly seemed to sink in over the years. I still say it's positive to the point of sounding conceited, but what is done is done.


Fair enough... to me it's almost embarrassing given the connotations of it being the sort of exclamation of brilliance that a really immature kid would be shouting. But I'm sure I'll get used to it, although I doubt I'll use it myself. I can't really imaging saying 'I'm ace' without dying of embarrassment immediately afterwards ;) (Or expecting someone to quote Red Dwarf - 'Your nickname was never Ace, maybe Ace-hole').

Dargon wrote:With regards to cake, I have heard things on the origins, but as best as I can tell, and as best as I can recall, it is largely due to an amusing emoticon on the forum becoming a bit on an injoke. Even when I showed up, cake was offered to newbies in the welcome posts. It has no connotations to "having one's cake and eating it too."


Oh, so just like the Llamas on deviantART. One of many emoticons that got so popular that it became a kind of mascot.

Thanks for the info :)


Nat.

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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby SlightlyMetaphysical » Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:30 pm

I used to dislike ace for all the reasons mentioned. I thought it was frivilous and superior. Then I realised that casual, semi-serious words (like squish, and asexy), words that people can use while laughing at themselves for using them, but which still have a genuine function, are the words that are going to spread and adapt. Anyone with even the slightest amount of natural irony can pull off "Asexuals are cool," without looking like they're genuinely trying to be superior. I see it as more about pride and happiness in who you are, reinforcing both that asexuals are perfectly capable of said pride, and also capable of humor.

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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby paranoidgynandroid » Sun Nov 28, 2010 4:02 am

ily wrote:Interesting post...I'll admit, I don't mind the term "ace". At least in the US, it's not a word that has common usage, unless you're going to an Ace Hardware store or playing cards. The only time I ever hear it used by non-asexuals is by indiepop fans from the UK, but maybe that's just me.


Someone said it to me in conversation yesterday actually saying a particular UK holiday resort 'is ace!'.

As a Brit who hears it often, I'd say its tone is slightly juvenile and a no longer cool, sort of like saying something is 'mega' or 'well wicked', but it is still commonly used as a kind of expression of childish joy that something is unbelievably, unironically brilliant.

I'm sure with time I'll get desensitised to this meaning from hearing it used repeatedly, but I hope I never forget the first impression it gives British people when hearing it used.

ily wrote:I find that I'm more likely to get NRE about certain aspects of a relationship, like an event or specific conversation, than the relationship itself. I would say the same is true with communities. Also with communities, it's a lot easier for me to get involved if I'm either in on the ground level or have some kind of active role. Otherwise I feel at a loss with how to incorporate myself into the group. (Typical Virgo, always trying to make myself useful...hee, hee :roll:.) Anyway, I'll be thinking more about this...


Certainly, getting involved and achieving things within the community is where the excitement lies for me as well. I suppose I partly equate NRE with the feeling of crushing on someone who crushes back on you, so you're a mutual obsession, so I think I mean community NRE as becoming obsessed and excited by the activist possibilities of a community, and finding others in the community who are equally excited by the possibilities.

Thanks,


Nat.

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Re: Asexual relationship energy and communities

Postby paranoidgynandroid » Sun Nov 28, 2010 4:25 am

SlightlyMetaphysical wrote:I used to dislike ace for all the reasons mentioned. I thought it was frivilous and superior. Then I realised that casual, semi-serious words (like squish, and asexy), words that people can use while laughing at themselves for using them, but which still have a genuine function, are the words that are going to spread and adapt. Anyone with even the slightest amount of natural irony can pull off "Asexuals are cool," without looking like they're genuinely trying to be superior. I see it as more about pride and happiness in who you are, reinforcing both that asexuals are perfectly capable of said pride, and also capable of humor.


Ah don't get me wrong, I absolutely *love* 'asexy'! The first time I heard that I thought it was a perfectly formed, clearly non-serious label that's nonetheless thought provoking to sexual people. It's fun and funny, it's clearly slightly tongue-in-cheek but it also says so much about how asexuals differ from sexual people, while showing we're not miserable.

I haven't seen any examples of people using 'ace' in an ironic way though, it's just used straight faced in a similar context to how you'd use 'gay' or 'bi'. I was thinking about how perhaps I wouldn't dislike it so much if it was spelt 'ase', but then I heard it being read out in the context of serious feedback to a podcast and found myself cringing even more. It's even worse said out loud.

Like I said, I'm sure I'll get used to it within the community, but I think it's going to continue to give a terrible first impression to other people with the same sort of cultural background as me.

Thanks,


Nat.