the invisible ace

For discussion of general issues pertaining to asexuality.
Michael Smoker
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the invisible ace

Postby Michael Smoker » Thu Jan 13, 2011 1:32 pm

It's been about two months since I first read the AVEN FAQ and saw my autobiography written there. Since then, I've come out to some online contacts but to not a single person in my physical life. Some people have commented on my ace ring but haven't asked what it means. In terms of strangers and acquaintances, nobody has commented even on the ring. I guess you could say I'm going full stealth.

The only semi-sexual incident was about a month ago. I discussed it in AVEN chat and got called "uptight." I was standing in line in a store when I saw a woman behind me who seemed exceptionally well dressed--nothing special, just a basic business outfit, but it fit her very, very well. I glanced back at her face and she smiled at me. I noticed she had a name tag on one side of her chest and looked down at it...and her smile got wider, presumably because she thought I was checking out her boobs. I turned away in embarrassment and hope I didn't hurt her feelings.

Other than that, as I said, it's been full stealth. Identifying as ace has helped me emotionally a great deal, because there is an element of peace in my thinking and self-image that there wasn't before, but in terms of interactions with other people it seems to have made no difference whatsoever.

Michael

SlightlyMetaphysical
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Re: the invisible ace

Postby SlightlyMetaphysical » Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:54 pm

Hi Michael. Personally, I think knowing you're asexual can often give someone a lot of confidence and clarity on their own life, and even if you never directly mention it to anyone, that level of confidence in who you are and what you don't want will eventually begin to affect the way you deal with people. In a good way (ie- never getting forced into relationships because you think you're 'broken', being better at negotiating sexuality with partners if you're romantic, being better at negotiating commitment with friends if you're aromantic, etc).
The vocabulary and models of asexuality are mostly for you to use on yourself. Talking about them to other people is optional.

Michael Smoker
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Re: the invisible ace

Postby Michael Smoker » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:09 am

SM, those last two sentences are a really good way to put it. :)

Do other people find themselves in a situation similar to mine, where being ace just never comes up in their everyday life? (I'm guessing that the married members at least have to negotiate intimacy, but if you don't want to talk about it, it's okay.)

Michael

apsaf
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Re: the invisible ace

Postby apsaf » Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:38 pm

I like what SlightlyMetaphysical said and I agree. After discovering asexuality, somehow I feel more confident expressing my opinions. The word asexuality itself doesn't come up, but in my society, marriage and kids are a priority (and I'm aromantic). So, whenever I'm attending a social event or a family gathering, I have to get asked why I'm not married (I'm a 32 year-old female. If I were a guy, it'd be "normal" if I didn't want to get married because men can get married in their fifties but women can't :sarc: ). And, even when I'm not asked about it, I'm always aware of my asexuality in groups because the conversation ALWAYS focuses on love, boyfriends/girlfriends, weddings, sex, attraction, marriage, kids... a l w a y s :sigh:

Michael Smoker
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Re: the invisible ace

Postby Michael Smoker » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:08 pm

Apsaf, that sounds like some pretty dull conversation. Is it possible to find people to talk to who are more interested in discussing Plato, macroeconomics, glissando on the cello, or ANYTHING other than what you've listed? In your situation I'd even settle for discussing the biography of Elvis Presley.

In the culture of my parents (Serbian), it is _expected_ that both men and women have children in our 20s. The Serbian Orthodox Church primate even went on TV to say that marriage is optional as long as young people reproduce outside marriage. My mother really had no business perpetuating the cycle of physical abuse in her family by having children at all, but when she came of age in Serbia in the 1950s the alternative was unthinkable. And, because my parents are stuck in their home country mentality, they see themselves as major failures for not having grandchildren. I've made it clear to them that there will _never_ be grandchildren and they've made peace with it, but it will always be a source of silent friction between us. And asking them to accept asexuality as a normal orientation would be like asking bushmen to fly an airplane, so I haven't even considered it.

All the same, I stand by what I said earlier: asexuality pretty well never comes up in conversation for me except among a small number of online contacts. The most comfortable conversations are with a fellow aromantic ace in the U.S. whom I actually introduced to the concept of asexuality and who said it was an eye-opener for her as much as it was for me.

Michael

apsaf
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Re: the invisible ace

Postby apsaf » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:33 pm

Michael Smoker wrote:Apsaf, that sounds like some pretty dull conversation. Is it possible to find people to talk to who are more interested in discussing Plato, macroeconomics, glissando on the cello, or ANYTHING other than what you've listed? In your situation I'd even settle for discussing the biography of Elvis Presley.

Not in my family, no. I only rarely get to discuss any intellectual conversation that doesn't revolve around procreation in my family. But I don't mind, I have many close friends (online and offline) with whom I get to share my interests. I also joined a feminist group and an LGBT communities here just to get my frustration out. Unfortunately, my schedule doesn't allow me enough time to participate in their meetings and events.

I dread social events (mostly work or family related) because it's ALWAYS boring, meaningless but you have to pretend that the event is unique, exceptional (while it never is) and I always try to avoid them because that's where I'm mostly and painfully reminded that I'm the lone asexual there.

Thank you for sharing a bit of your cultural background. Here (in Lebanon, the Middle East), it's unthinkable not to want to get married. You have to absolutely desire it in order to be considered "normal." Unmarried people here are considered sad unlucky creatures who had missed their chance to live a good life --even if those people had willingly opted not to get married and are obviously happy. Sex out of wedlock is still taboo (although everybody does it, they don't talk about it), but procreation is all people are obsessed about (some even get married for the sole purpose of having children, whether they're in love or not). It's as if humanity is on the brink of extinction!

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KAGU143
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Re: the invisible ace

Postby KAGU143 » Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:53 pm

It's weird, but I think that I am probably pretty close to being an invisible ace even though I am more or less "out" to everybody around me. (Including an unknown number who might have seen me on TV!) It has taken a few years, but I think that I have experienced much of what Slightly Metaphysical mentioned.
My inner landscape has changed and I am a lot more self-confident than I used to be. I am centered now, instead of broken. I don't know exactly how I am projecting this change but it seems that other people are able to pick up on it; the result is that they are willing to believe me when I say that I am asexual, and - more importantly - they believe me when I say that I am very happy being this way.

If it weren't for my daily involvement with AVEN and Apositive I doubt if I would even think of asexuality, except on rare occasions.
If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

Jicragg
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Re: the invisible ace

Postby Jicragg » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:36 am

My own visible asexuals are people I've met over AVEN or via the meetups. It doesn't particularly change my daily routine... just that some people on my mobile contact list are asexual.

Currently romance isn't a big thing to me since I'm not interested in anybody so it doesn't affect me so much.

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debiguity
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Re: the invisible ace

Postby debiguity » Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:33 pm

SlightlyMetaphysical wrote:Hi Michael. Personally, I think knowing you're asexual can often give someone a lot of confidence and clarity on their own life, and even if you never directly mention it to anyone, that level of confidence in who you are and what you don't want will eventually begin to affect the way you deal with people. In a good way (ie- never getting forced into relationships because you think you're 'broken', being better at negotiating sexuality with partners if you're romantic, being better at negotiating commitment with friends if you're aromantic, etc).

I've definitely found this to be true, even though I've long thought and expressed it as "being happy single". Obviously that was before I knew there was such a thing as asexual. I guess I just found a way to put it to words in a way people would understand. Actually, the part that was jarring for me when I learned about asexuality was realizing that other people didn't actually understand what it was to be happy single, to be perfectly content to go years and years without any hint of a relationship. But at the same time, it helped me quite a bit, because I could finally see that my friends (many of whom also had been single the majority of the time I've known them) did have that drive to have sex, to be in relationships, and that there was this fundamental difference between us. Previously I accepted but didn't really understand why they'd seek out relationships after years of being single!

And I feel more relaxed about it all, like there was always a question in my mind, or that I was expecting to change at some point, and now...well, now I know.

KAGU143 wrote:If it weren't for my daily involvement with AVEN and Apositive I doubt if I would even think of asexuality, except on rare occasions.


I was riding my bike home from work today, and I was thinking about this! That I hadn't spent any time here in months (more months than I thought, actually), and that in the normal course of things, I just don't think about asexuality or sexuality or relationships.

I guess I'm a lucky one, in that people don't seem to expect me to be in a relationship. My parents have long accepted that grandcats are as close as they'll get to grandkids. This goes back to when I was in my late teens, early 20s, long before I had a clue about asexuality. I knew I didn't want kids, and I suspected my brother was the same way. I told my parents they'd have to adopt if they wanted grandkids! They never bug me about it. Or my brother, who tends to be single also, though I don't think he's asexual. We're not close, so it's not something we'd ever talk about. Though it is interesting. My three cousins on my dad's side of the family also are single most of the time (though not as much of the time as me) and none of us are married (one cousin was married for 6 months a decade and a half ago, but that's it for all of us) and none have kids! Odd, really!

Anyway, I'm not out to anyone, at least not with the term "asexual". Wait, that's not true, I told a couple friends this past summer...not people I'm super close to, and not people who live locally. I'm not sure why I told them, but it fit in the conversation, and they took it in stride (as expected). It doesn't seem necessary to talk about, I guess, and even more - it's not a topic I typically talk about in relation to myself, so it seems odd to bring it up at all.

I've been tempted, but then I stop myself. I think because I don't actually want to have conversations about it with non-asexuals right now. I don't know why.

Michael Smoker
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Re: the invisible ace

Postby Michael Smoker » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:17 pm

debiguity,

Has there been any talk about perpetuating the family name? My brother and all the cousins on my side of the family are also single and childless, so it's very likely that our family will die out within the next few decades. The older folk have accepted it and my generation has never been particularly bothered by it. As little as 100 years ago, however, it would have been a major issue (no pun intended). Society has come a long way in accepting those who choose not to reproduce for various reasons.

Michael

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debiguity
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Re: the invisible ace

Postby debiguity » Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:46 pm

Nope, nothing like that. I'd laugh so hard if someone brought that up, it would just seem so archaic! You are right, society has definitely come a long way regarding reproduction and these old ideas like worrying about the family name.

I'm not close to most of my family outside of my parents, so for all I know my cousins have gotten that kind of pressure. My parents themselves understand, I think - when they first got married they tried to have kids, and it wasn't happening, and then they started thinking about it, and apparently were pretty well turned off the idea of having kids by the behavior of my dad's cousin's kids...of course that's when my mom got pregnant with my brother! And I know they were happy to have us, their aversion to having kids wasn't strong the way mine is, but I think it was enough that they can understand and accept that there are those of us (many, it seems!) who have no interest in raising kids, and therefore won't have any.

I'm sure they'd love it if one of us DID have kids, but they certainly don't expect it or bug us about it. And I don't think they want grandkids in the sense of a family name, they'd just love to have grankids to spoil.