I’m Aqua, Aquamarine, or Aqua-ace. I majored in psychology, and I also like musing about philosophy and pop culture, and often incorporate some of those musings in my posts as well!
I’ve taken to blogging, and joined the fray in the asexual blogosphere in part to write about my experiences. During the summer of 2014, there were discussions on The Asexual Agenda that encouraged me to start my own blog.
Because of my history, and that I’m not originally from the asexual community, I see myself as more of a mercenary serving it, as I explained in “Mercenary from unknown lands”: The first part is about the situation of the “celibate” community in English. In the second part, I explain that I’m specifically from the (self-identified) antisexual community (which might or might not be part of the celibate community… it’s complicated), what that entails, and what was intended.
It was in that two-part series (especially the second part) that I was able to get my thoughts together that I wanted to write about the most, but anxiety kept holding me back. It explains a lot, including: I had been identifying as antisexual longer than asexual, celibate or sex-repulsed, the fortress imagery on my blog, and one of my other sites, why I think the emphasis on non-religious reasons for not wanting or having sex matters, that I consider my rejection of sex to be a deliberate decision (and not contingent on my asexuality), and that I believe that I would’ve come to the same conclusions, and still reject sex if I weren’t asexual.
It’s also why I’ve been driven to create sites on “voluntary celibacy”; I created Outside of Sexuality, and FORTRESS: For Those Resisting Sexual Society, to further reach out to other people who don’t want sex, but must cope in a hypersexualized world. (this post explains why there are two sites instead of one)
I’m also on AVEN’s Project Team, as the Resources and Survey Director. During my term on the PT, I want to contribute as much as I can, and was eager to run for this role, but how can I reconcile this? As elaborated on FORTRESS, I adhere to an ideology that is on the defensive, I seek to defend those who don’t want sex, and defend their right to say no, to fight against societal pressure and self-doubt someone may feel, because they didn’t know that not having sex is an option. Someone shouldn’t have to justify “opting out” of sex.
I also write about bridging the gaps in understanding. I believe there are some things the celibate community as a whole could learn from the asexual community, and some things the asexual community could learn from the celibate community. Also, if there’s anyone else in my kind of situation, I hope those writings will help them, and that they won’t have to go through the struggles of trying to be understood that I did.
I also write a lot of commentary about the asexual community, including the progress that’s been made, and the challenges and issues that still lie ahead. I’m fascinated by the subject of history in general, but I find the online asexual community’s history fascinating, being a community that has changed so much over just the past few years. At that pace, chronicling those changes is important, or they’ll quickly get lost.
For my sexual-romantic identity, I identify (or did identify) as either antisexual or voluntarily celibate first, (I mean the rejection of sex and don’t endorse elitism, but I’ve been reluctant to use a label for this since I got elected to the PT), asexual second, and gray-romantic third. To be more specific, my romantic identity would be quoiromantic, because I don’t distinguish between romantic and platonic feelings. I’m uncertain if I experience romantic attraction or not, but if I do, then I don’t want to act on it. I’ve identified as romance-repulsed, because what I’ve understood as conventional romance repulses me; I don’t see a difference between it and codependency, and I’ve been through a codependent relationship.
There’s nothing straightforward about this, so here are some pre-emptive questions and answers:
Why didn’t you find the asexual community right away?
I realized I was asexual circa 2008, didn’t feel a need to seek out the asexual community, nor come out to anyone at first. I never did until 2010, when I came out to some friends, who turned out to be pro-sex extremists. They kept denying my asexuality, and made me feel like I have no right to identify with it, nor seek out the asexual community. It wasn’t until the second half of 2012 that I found it, and began the process of reclaiming my asexual identity from them.
Why did their identity policing get to you?
I know now from the concept of the “Unassailable Asexual”, that an asexual person’s identity is assailable, no matter what. I didn’t know that then, and I really thought they had the power over my identity.
How come you still identified as antisexual or celibate then, because your pro-sex extremist friends obviously being against it as well?
I couldn’t prove I was asexual to them, but I could prove I was antisexual (or celibate, whatever) by continuing to fight tooth-and-nail against their efforts to make me cave into sex. That made the difference. They already took away my asexual identity, so I was going to be damned if they took that away from me too.
What was it that brought you to the asexual community, much later?
I felt a strong need to reclaim the asexual part of my identity. After a lot of doubt and denial, there had come a point by early 2012, that I felt “broken” again, and realized that identifying as antisexual or celibate, as useful as I found them to be for some of my experiences, was never meant to be replacement for identifying as asexual.
It was still later in the year that I found the asexual community, and I was still afraid to get involved at first, because what if my friends were right about me? What if I’d be feeding my own lies? I saw asexuality-related posts on my tumblr dashboard, and although it was difficult at first, I took the plunge reading them, and the blogs they were from. I realized that I could relate to so much of what I was reading.
You’re on AVEN’s Project Team too? Isn’t there any conflict of interest?
I don’t know, but I feel like there is, and I feel like there’s more pressure on me to use AVEN’s standards and terminology for my experiences and identity, even though it doesn’t suit me. How can I be trusted? As I said, it’s the rejection of sex that I identify with first, and AVEN doesn’t have an easy term for it. They don’t recognize that concept, and I’d feel broken if I entirely used their standards.
Or is the conflict of interest over being involved in both AVEN and the asexual blogosphere? I noticed that few of the asexual bloggers who follow, or are associated with The Asexual Agenda, are AVEN members. I don’t want to shut my self off from AVEN just because I took up blogging. I think both serve different niches, and I don’t see one as a replacement for the other.
Why don’t you just say you’re (voluntarily) celibate, because you use that term a lot in reference to choosing to not have sex?
Sometimes I do. By the standards of the Involuntary Celibate community, I am voluntarily celibate. To them, the only distinction that matters is whether someone’s “celibacy” is voluntary or not. It sounds contradictory, but I find the voluntarily celibate label useful as an umbrella term for anyone who is choosing to not have sex, regardless of what label they use for themselves, or how they define “celibacy”. I’m not one for simply identifying with umbrella terms though. Some people are fine with using umbrella terms for themselves, but I prefer something more precise if possible.