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Posts tagged "asexual"


Toxoplasma gondii requires the cat digestive system for reproduction, so it hitches a ride in a rat (photo: flickr user cobalt123)

The Parasite That Makes a Rat Love a Cat

The life cycle of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii goes like this: Toxoplasma reproduces inside the intestine of a cat, which sheds the parasite in its feces. Rats then ingest the parasite when they consume food or water contaminated with cat feces. The parasite takes up residence in the rat’s brain and, once the rat gets eaten by a cat, it starts the cycle all over again.

Researchers have known for a few years that a rat infected with Toxoplasma loses its natural response to cat urine and no longer fears the smell. And they know that the parasite settles in the rat’s amygdala, the part of the brain that processes fear and emotions. Now a new study in the journal PLoS ONE adds another bizarre piece to the tale: When male rats infected with Toxoplasma smell cat urine, they have altered activity in the fear part of the brain as well as increased activity in the part of the brain that is responsible for sexual behavior and normally activates after exposure to a female rat.

The double messages of “you smell a cat but he’s not dangerous” and “that cat is a potential mate” lure the rat into the kitty’s deadly territory, just what the parasite needs to reproduce. Scientists still don’t know how the parasite works to alter the brain, though there apparently is a link to production of dopamine, an important neurotransmitter in the systems for decision-making and reward.

okay, I would accept this as a possible example of “queerplatonic”

(via allcreatures)






Rape culture disproportionately affects asexual people

This is such bullshit. You are a vile piece of shit.

Another manifestation of sexual supremacy is the pathologization of lack of desire for sex and of lack of experiencing sexual attraction, seen in the DSM diagnoses of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder and Sexual Arousal Disorder.

Fuck this ableist bullshit. Some people have sexual disorders that they want fixed.

Fuck tumblr asexuals. Homophobic, sexist, ableist, rape apologist, disgusting excuses for human beings.

I guess that settles my questions of how to identify, because I want nothing to do with a subculture that enables and encourages these fucking assholes.

I will always reblog cinnamonwheel’s commentary on internet asexuals. THIS IS WHY WE DON’T WANT YOU IN THE QUEER COMMUNITY, you fuckwads.

Rape culture disproportionately affects asexual people

Rape culture disproportionately affects asexual people

Rape culture disproportionately affects asexual people

You guys I’m so mad I can’t even


fuck you, metapianycist. FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU.

I’m sexual. I’m not an unrapeable whore whose rape was secretly fun like so many goddamn rape apologists have TOLD ME TO MY FACE and I’m SO FUCKING SICK of the narrative that rape and rape culture is only worthy of concern when the people it affects are ~~~pure~~~ and innocent victims who don’t derive pleasure from sex so there’s no ambiguity that it was REALLY rape for them, not like us dirty dirty sluts who like sex and maybe even sometimes do sex work and sjhadkshk

fuck you

fuck you

fuck you forever

That’s it, tumblr, I’m done even trying to talk about asexuality, sexual terminology, etc

I’m sorry, I’ve tried to participate productively, but AS A GODDAMN SURVIVOR of rape and abuse, I can’t deal with this fucking bullshit. For every decent conversation it seems like there’s five people spewing stuff like “well rape culture is just WORSE for asexual people (because they don’t GET OFF ON RAPE like we know you sexysexuals secretly do)” and talking TO RAPE SURVIVORS about how the ways some of us HEAL FROM SEXUAL ASSAULT by exploring and reclaiming our sexualities makes us “sexual supremacists” (who aren’t as negatively affected by rape culture as pure, virtuous asexual folks are).

And you know, I’ve kept my mouth shut on this because my experience is not universal and I know first hand that pathologization sucks and is oppressive, but: as a rape survivor, I have some sexual dysfunction myself. Like, I derive pleasure from sex. I like sex. I have sex with my partner, and people who aren’t my partner. When I am afraid of and have pain during sex, when my anxiety and other general mental health stuff obliterate my ability to have regular, fun, pain-and-freak-out-free sex with people I like and love - it has a negative impact on my life, and I want to be able to address that and rectify it. The whole question of the concept of sexual dysfunction is not an either-or thing. There are some people WHOSE LIVES ARE NEGATIVELY IMPACTED BY SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION. In my case, RAPE AND RAPE CULTURE ARE DIRECT FUCKING CONTRIBUTORS TO THAT.

That’s not your experience? GREAT!! I support your right to define your experience and I do think that if you’re just asexual you shouldn’t be saddled with a label about sexual dysfunction, that seems like some obvious bullshit to me. But stop FUCKING erasing my own (already erased) experience just to make room for yours, stop telling me that rape and rape culture are NOT AS BAD for me as they are for you because you’re not sexual like me, stop telling me that the things I experience (like sexual dysfunction) aren’t real things that exist, just stop it stop it fucking STOP.

ugh just when you think they couldn’t be more egregious 

(via saltmarshhag-deactivated2013011)



Bromance narratives, though, show that people are aware of asexual partnerships, even if they don’t quite know what they are, or what word to use to describe them. These relationships go deeper than simple friendship, as viewers and readers and listeners know and are acutely aware. Sadly, the development of a sexual relationship is often framed as the end of a bromance, which sets up an adversarial and unfortunate situation. It also implies that such relationships are transitory waiting periods, that people only experience rich, full lives in sexual partnerships and that the bromance is only a temporary stopgap instead of a relationship in its own right.

I took a deliberate indefinite vacation from asexuality discussions recently, but I am briefly coming back to address this interesting article.

I am going to take the opportunity not to be overblown or sarcastic about this and instead point out some problems I have with it, using quotes where appropriate.

1. My overarching point: bromances are not inherently ‘asexual relationships’. People who are not asexual are, in fact, capable of having deep non-sexual connections with others. In general, this was an attitude that seemed pervasive within the whole piece—that asexual people somehow have a special claim to emotionally intimate relationships. How interested someone is in sex is rarely an indicator of the emotional connections they have with others.


Asexual partners are dismissed as ‘friends’ or ‘buddies’ when their relationship may run much deeper, and be much more complicated.

Who said friendships can’t be deep and complicated?

Such partnerships are also assumed to be inherently subordinate to sexual relationships; if someone is married, for example, but also has an asexual partner, that partner is considered ‘just a friend’ even though the relationship is not like a friendship.

Side note: there’s a strong cultural current demonstrating just the opposite, for men at least. Call it the “bros before hos” argument—but that’s a function of straight men devaluing women. Misogyny actually complicates the whole idea of the bromance significantly, but that’s a topic that women have already done a great job writing about so I will not address it here.

Another side note: there are a lot of people out there who are decidedly not asexual but who are also not interested in having a single “committed” (closed) primary relationship of any kind.

3. This whole paragraph really gets at my objections to the assumptions that are being made here best:

The asexual community is one where the formation of multiple deep connections with people is not necessarily remarkable or extraordinary,

That’s not remarkable or extraordinary for people who aren’t asexual, either. It is quite an irritating generalization that ~sexual~ (urgh) people are somehow less capable of this, or in general that their relationships are less “deep” or varied.

and is in fact recognised as a necessity for some people. It is not always possible to get everything you need from one person, and that’s perfectly reasonable. Individual relationships aren’t greater or lesser, just different. They may fill different social and personal needs and can help people feel more well-rounded, with a deep social network of people who are available at different times and for different things.

I chuckled out loud when I read this, because this part of the paragraph gets very close to perfectly describing a very close friend’s relationship philosophy, and he’s about as sexual as they come. (For the record, it comes close to describing my own sexysexual perspective as well.)


How long will it take for pop culture at large to recognise bromances for what they are, and to start seriously talking about them?

Pop culture critics and writers have already devoted many, many words to bromance already (because culture at large is very interested in male relationships, and, elaborating on that, because the bromance is a recent continuation of an admired and long-lived homosocial streak in Western culture that is enjoying a relative comeback in a time in which emotionally close relationships between men are generally stigmatized). In fact, I am pretty tired of hearing people talk about dudes and their special dude relationships, but that’s just me.

Many fans of the bromance appear blissfully unaware that they’re talking about asexuality, that thing they hate and fear and dismiss with a sneer.

The reason that people have not acknowledged bromance as an asexual phenomenon is simple—this type of relationship is in no way unique to asexuals. To claim bromance, romantic friendship, etc. as an asexual thing is to obliquely imply that non-asexuals are less inclined towards deep, varied, emotionally intimate nonsexual relationships with others: OR that those relationships somehow lose something or become completely different if they gain a sexual element. Both of these implications are insulting and inaccurate.

To reiterate: the bromance is not an “asexual romantic partnership”. Asexuals do not have a monopoly on emotionally intimate nonsexual relationships. A relationship does not become “asexual” simply because it does not involve sex.

And, of course, the lines between “friendship” and “romance” are often so blurred in practice (for anyone!) that they become fairly meaningless.

I might have missed some things: I’ve been writing this post at work, in small and hurried chunks. Anyone else care to weigh in?

wtf, s.e. smith. Granted, I am most familiar with ou’s writing on disability, but this seems unusually illogical.

Anyway, I have nothing to add, but do want to ditto how fucking tired I am of hearing about super special dude friendships, especially given how much media is dedicated to them, and how they also tend to feature denigration of women as anything other than sexual partners. Bromances are popular in part because they uphold misogynistic notions about how women are unsuitable as intellectual or emotional equals. How many movies/books/songs etc have you seen or read or heard that consist of close male friends who are torn apart when one or both of them fall prey to the destructive sexual temptation of a woman? This trope ain’t cute, and the solution is not to remove all sexual desire from the participants in hopes that, by keeping icky girls away, their man-happiness will remain untroubled.




If you never look at another person and think “I want to have sex with you” or experience genital arousal in response to another person’s appearance, you’re most likely asexual.

It took me years to realize that there’s a difference between an involuntary “I want to have sex with you” response, and a logical “I think I would enjoy sex with you, therefore it’s something I may pursue in the future” decision.

did you know (TM)

1. many “sexuals” are likely asexual!

2. the sexuality of “sexuals” is governed primarily by their primitive lizard brains!

3. no asexuals are ever prescriptive about who should identify as asexual!

4. but really this distinction is complete bullshit

I hope by “years” they mean “the period from 5th grade to 9th grade” because oh my baby Jesus I thought we had gone over this

(via dignified-and-old)


There are so many posts out there that are like “Don’t worry, you can still be asexual even if __________!” (having sex, watching porn, getting turned on while making out with someone, what have you)

1. but why are these people so attached to being asexual in the first place? why is that label such an important one to cling onto?  (This goes double for ‘demisexual’, btw.)

why is the prospect that they could be ~~oh noes sexual such a scary one, one that must be defended against at all costs

like, it’s not the end of the world if you’re a ~sexual being who feels ~sexual attraction sometimes

maybe that is a thing that should be unpacked, hmmm?

2. Here is what this phenomenon reminds me of: “Yeah, I sucked his dick a little…but it wasn’t GAY or anything! Right? NO HOMO U GUISE”

The implication being: if we didn’t live in a homophobic society, people wouldn’t be so adamant about defending their heterosexuality.

3. Too bad Internet Asexuals have such a shitty track record when it comes to analyzing the cultural context that their movement exists in, otherwise they might have something to say about how asexuality can serve as an umbrella that people can take cover under to avoid having to confront internalized homophobia or sex-negativity. Seriously, the AVEN crowd does not address that at all. “Not attracted to women but repulsed by the idea of sex with anyone else? Totally uninterested in the way mainstream society portrays sex and sexuality? Think vaginas are disgusting? Congratulations, you’re probably asexual! Have some cake!” NOOOO, THE LACK OF ANALYSIS, IT KILLS ME

4. Let’s just end with this: there is nothing wrong with not feeling sexual attraction or desire. However, there is plenty of potential for problematicity (alliteration!) in the way one chooses to frame that lack of desire.

5. P.S. if you are one of those people who’s like “i enjoy sex and/or porn but i’m turned on by the ACTS and not the PEOPLE because i’m asexual”: you’re not asexual by any reasonable definition, you just have a severe problem with objectification, sry2say



In which I expand on my asexuality after some interesting observations.

I mentioned that I got turned on by a kiss the other night and how confusing this was to me. I’m assuming myself to be asexual and here I am getting turned on, how could that be, right? I was so confused. He was making me feel things I didn’t think I could feel. Well after some more fooling around I noticed something interesting: it’s not the physicality of the act that turned me on, rather, it was the emotion I felt from it.

Rather than being turned on by the kiss itself, as in feeling his lips upon mine, it was the emotion I felt from him that prompted a reaction from me. The way he would become more passionate, the intimate look he would give me, or even just the tone of his voice when he told me how happy he was…those are the things that turned me on. When I feel the amount of emotion radiating off of him, it makes me feel good.

So that’s just an observation I made when he slept over—and I mean this in the most innocent meaning of the word—in my dorm last night. It wasn’t the smartest decision I’ve made, not in the the least, considering we both had class in the morning. Also, we didn’t get much sleep at all. He ended up missing his two classes and I ended up skipping composition again. But I think it was well worth it. Although I will not be doing that again unless there are no classes the next day.



Are you serious?

“Rather than being turned on by the kiss itself, as in feeling his lips upon mine, it was the emotion I felt from him that prompted a reaction from me.”


the more I read from these people, the more I am convinced that they’re actually marooned space aliens attempting a resentful integration into human society

(via saltmarshhag-deactivated2013011)


Straight privilege is not about how much sex you have.

Straight privilege is not about the amount of sexual attraction you experience.

Straight privilege is not about how kinky you are.

Straight privilege is not about how you don’t identify with other hetero people.

Straight privilege is not about if you have more than one partner at once.

Straight privilege is not about the amount of romantic attraction you experience.

Straight privilege is not even about whether or not you identify as straight.

Straight privilege is not about how you, like, totally aren’t homophobic.

Straight privilege is not about that one time you stood up for your gay friend.

Straight privilege is not about you having that gay friend.

Straight privilege is about the privileges afforded to people who are not attracted to members of their own gender.


(via partysoft)




Attempted Danger: “Sexual” and “Asexual” (TW: slut-shaming, rape culture))



I don’t understand why some sexual people have a problem with being called sexual. I really don’t. And it’s not all of them that take offense to it either. Asexuals don’t use the word as a way to insult or demean people who experience sexual attraction; we use it because what the hell else are we…

1. It’s anti-queer. Because as people living under a cis-supremacist, heterocentric patriarchy, any of us whose sexual orientations are seen as deviating from the norm are ALSO seen as then being defined solely by those sexual orientations, which are then used to mark us as “perverts”, etc, due to our assumed “hypersexuality”. See also: the anti-queer rhetoric that queers are all sex fiends who spread AIDS; transphobic rhetoric about the “danger” of trans* folks using the bathrooms that are appropriate for them. Calling all queer AND straight folks who have sex “sexuals” manages to simultaneously render invisible AND reinforce that history (by erasing our actual orientations, while reducing our marginalized identities to a label that defines us only in terms of pure sex, which is exactly how homophobes have talked about queerness for, oh, the entire course of history).

2. It’s slut-shaming and rape culture. I know this is a heavy charge. But it’s true. Calling people “sexuals” reduces them to an assumed willingness to have sex. Rape culture is all about doing exactly that. Like, if I had a nickel for every time I’d heard someone explain that a rape survivor couldn’t have been raped because they were “sexual” before and/or after their rape, I wouldn’t need student loans. Under rape culture, men can’t be raped because they “always want it”; women can’t be raped because they SECRETLY “always want it”. Simply expressing any sexual desire at all means you “always want it”; rape is never seen as serious because we are defined as always being “sexual”, regardless of the fact that having sexual desire doesn’t mean you always feel sexual/want sex all the time. Which brings me to:

3. It’s inaccurate. Sexuality - just like asexuality - is not a monolith. There are asexuals who have sex; similarly, there are also people who don’t identify as asexual, and who experience sexual desire, who don’t have sex and don’t always feel sexual. Calling us all “sexuals” is not only dehumanizing, slut shaming, rape apologizing, anti-queer rhetoric, it’s not even actually reflective of the reality of many of our situations. I have sexual desire, but I’m not sexual all the time. Go figure! Sexual desire is not necessarily a constant; it’s often fluid and changing. I mean, ultimately this point is less of a concern for me that the first two points, because inaccuracy in and of itself does not encourage violence, the way rape culture, slut shaming, homophobia and transphobia do; but when you combine this particular inaccuracy with the rape culture-spewing, slut shaming, homophobic and transphobic society we live in, well, you get a big, red, flashing “DANGER WARNING” from me. 

4. It’s disempowering and disrespectful. When it comes to queer identities like homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, etc, self-determination is important. We come to these labels often through great personal struggle; through experiencing violence, through losing family members, through internalized hatred and fear. When we claim these labels publicly, we do so at great personal risk. In short, you should respect other peoples’ identities. Calling us all “sexuals” erases the sexual identities we have struggled so hard to own, and that is a shitty thing to do, regardless of why you’re doing it.

In short, I don’t CARE if it takes longer for you to type out peoples’ actual sexual orientations instead of just lumping us all together into the humiliating, hurtful, dangerous category of “sexuals”. You should do that, not because we’re all a bunch of nitpicky jerks who just want to feel special, but because to call us all “sexuals” is to perpetuate dangerously violent rhetoric, while actively disrespecting peoples’ identities. That is some straight-up damaging “no your intent really doesn’t matter here” shit. 

(I’m probably missing things; I didn’t touch on the subject of asexual folks who also identify as bisexual, pansexual, etc, mostly because I feel pretty ignorant on the subject and didn’t want to disrespect anyone’s identity. So, I’m sorry if that made anyone feel erased. I’d love to read a response to this from someone who identifies that way.)


thanks for verbalizing what I couldn’t before

(via will-graham-i-am)





Sorry, but I don’t know what a triangle is. Unless you mean three lines between three points with angles always measuring to 180 degrees. The fact someone made a triangle to represent the whole of sexuality, including the gray-scale way back in 2002 … well, damn. I’m sorry it was used in reference to sexuality when someone a shit load of time before us had done so.

I didn’t know the nazis used triangles to mark different prisoners until you people told me. They didn’t cover that in school. Before that, it was just a fucking triangle.

This whole triangle = appropriation shit is grasping at straws. Appropriation means an intent to take on, and ours is just a triangle. I don’t want to be gay, I don’t want to be like gay people, I want to be me, and that’s asexual, that’s it, that’s all. I don’t want to appropriate any shit from any sexuality, or any group of people - I want to be asexual.

There are valid criticisms of the ace community, like asexual elitism, and anti-sex attitudes. But a bleeding triangle that I’m guessing most people didn’t make the connection from gay prisoners in the Nazi camps to asexuals is not one of them.

Next, we’re not going to be allowed to use purple because they had purple triangles, too, though it does escape me the denomination that was used for. Symbols are symbols are symbols, and just because the Nazis used the swastika doesn’t mean anyone else who uses the swatiska as their symbolism is a Nazi, or trying to be a Nazi. Same or similar symbols are used across cultures, and it’s not appropriation. Stop grasping at straws.

The swastika was appropriated BY the Nazis from Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism. Comparing the triangle to the swastika does NOT work, as the triangle badge system was invented by the nazis to identify IN THE CAMPS the groups they were murdering- and subsequently RECLAIMED by some of these groups, notably the pink triangle with gay men.

The pink triangle has been reclaimed as a symbol of gay pride and in holocaust REMEMBERANCE. The black triangle has been reclaimed by some in the disability rights movement, lesbians and feminists for similar reasons, as it was mainly used to designate mentally ill and disabled people, as well as ‘undesirables’ such as lesbians and prostitutes. I find it EXTREMELY hard to believe that the triangle was used by AVEN in a pure coincidence considering the history and visibilty of the triangle symbol and the LGBT rights movement. The fact that you ‘didn’t know’ and it was before your time does not make it not appropriation, nor does it make it acceptable.

I most definitely make the connection between the triangle and the holocaust, when I see it:  as do many people who have learned about the horrors of the holocaust. Particularly if they are from one of the groups that were being purged.

ETA: If you’re going to argue with queer people about our symbols and our history, learning about our history, including queers in the holocaust might be a good jumping off point. Also, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SCHOOLS DON’T TALK ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST.

is this real life

holy fucking shit

I think it’s a mistake to blame this all on the education system, as much as I like to blame the education system for things.  I think it makes more sense to blame it on individual people’s flaws, as well as the particular kind of echo chamber and anti-educating-yourself ideology that you see on the internet sometimes.  Specifically (and bluntly) I think it’s that internet ”aces” tend to be teenage shut-ins: their ideas are dreamed up and passed around by people who don’t interact enough with other people IRL and who are too young to have enough life experience to base ideas on. 

I bet none of us learned about the pink triangle during school. I bet very, very few of us had teachers that explicitly taught us about gay liberation, the oppression of glbt people and the history of gay liberation symbolism.  It’s different for every person but, here’s how I learned about these things:  from books (from libraries and used bookstore jobs), from zines, from friends who passed around other books and zines, from various gatherings like Southern Girls, Camp Trans or just random punk shows or random film screenings.  And from internet message boards too. I’m not hating on the internet.

I was able to learn the roots of things, not just their most watered-down applications (ex.:  The White Privilege Checklist). I was able to learn about the history of movements and feel empowered by being connected to that history, ( to absurd, self-aggrandizing extreme, like my punk-ass was somehow the decedent of the Spanish Anti-Fascist Brigades or the Wobbles).

The “asexual movement” seems like an extreme example of what happens when young people become interested in liberation movements, but, for some reason, don’t bother to learn about the context or the history or to talk to people who aren’t other teenagers about them.  Instead the liberation rhetoric turns into this way to assert this adolescent narcissism, where every minuscule difference between myself and other people is an axis of oppression.  

And like other people have said, it’s not just annoying, it’s a big fucking problem, because it’s hurting queer kids.

Now instead of having a support network for discovering what queer people have experienced before them; all the ways we have internalized homophobia affecting our identities and our desires; they are getting hit with this subculture that enables their internalized homophobia in the most disgusting way.  ”No, no, you don’t like men but find the idea of sex with a woman horrifying? That means you are asexual! It is okay to feel that way forever”, “You love your best friend but in a platonic way? That’s great! You’re not repressing anything”.  What scary messages for young queer people to be getting!  Especially if they are going along with a message that any queer person who reaches out to them is a “sexual” and an oppressor. 

(via galesofnovember)