Featured and Quoted: Washington Post

The Washington Post had a lovely people-centered piece about asexuality this week, and I was one of the folks they spoke to for the feature. I only have a short quote and a book plug, but it’s a very nice humanizing piece about asexual people discovering identity.

Please read it here:

Asexuals seek to raise awareness of the ‘invisible orientation’

Interview: Marie Claire UK

Marie Claire UK did an interview with me and a few other asexual people for its December 2014 issue. You can choose your platform and download it for a small fee here (make sure to get December 2014).

theasexualsBecause it is a for-sale magazine and there is no online companion, I can’t show you the whole thing, but here is my quote:

marieclaireukI was interviewed through e-mail, so I was surprised that several of my quotes didn’t get what I said correct.

Their version:

Describing herself as aromantic, Julie was 15 when she realized she was asexual. ‘There was no asexual community at the time, but I knew sex was interesting to everyone but me. When AVEN was established, I began using the term asexual instead to connect myself to a community.’

This quote implies that I used to call myself “aromantic” BUT HAVE NOW “switched” to using “asexual” because of AVEN. That’s incredibly misleading because I use both terms NOW and did not claim to use “aromantic” as a teen. Asexuality and aromanticism are not necessarily related. When I described using the word  “asexual” instead, was describing my switch from the word “nonsexual,” which I always used before there was a community that preferred “asexual.”

Here is my original statement:

I identify as an asexual aromantic woman—”aromantic” meaning I also don’t feel romantic attraction. Romantic orientation is separate from sexual orientation for a great many asexual people, and some do want romantic relationships even if sexual attraction doesn’t develop for them.

This is the only place I mention “aromantic” in my set of answers, so how it got conflated for the term I switched to “instead” is beyond me.

My original response, on using “nonsexual” as a term:

I was about fifteen years old when I started calling myself “nonsexual.” There was no asexual community at the time, but I knew sex was very interesting to everyone but me, and it seemed like enough of a difference to have to call it something. When the Asexual Visibility and Education Network was established by David Jay in the early 2000s, I began using the term “asexual” instead to connect myself to the community and visibility efforts.

So you see how that really was not unclear. I don’t know how it became so in the article.

Also, they tweaked my words at one point. The interviewer asked me about dating and dating sites for asexual people. I discussed mixed-orientation dating a bit after explaining why it’s rare for asexual people to be able to date other asexual people. I wrote this:

There are resources for these mixed-orientation relationships, but every partnership is different. Even in non-asexual couples, there’s usually a difference of desire and opinion on how often and in what ways to have sex, so asexual people aren’t honestly that different, and some may be okay with having sex even if they don’t have the usual accompanying sexual attraction. Some relationships that include an asexual person have special arrangements in which they emphasize other forms of intimacy, or they may have a non-monogamous relationship, like an open marriage or a polyamorous group situation.

That was rewritten to this in the magazine:

As Julie explains, ‘Every partnership is different. Even among sexual couples, there’s usually a difference of desire, and some asexuals can be OK with having sex, even if they don’t desire to. Other relationships that include an asexual person have special arrangements in which there are other forms of intimacy, or they may choose to have a non-monogamous relationship.’

I don’t think this is necessarily a poor choice for simplifying, shortening, and summing up my response (though it lacks some nuance), but for the record, I didn’t call any couples “sexual couples.”

This is not incredibly egregious, considering how wrong many journalists have gotten it over the years, but it does really irk me that “aromantic” is represented as something I used to call myself before I found the word “asexual.” Many aromantic people are very much NOT fans of having our romantic and sexual orientations conflated. I was also assigned words I never said a couple times wherein I referred to asexual people as “asexuals,” and while I don’t object to this language, I prefer not to use it as a noun form, though I do use “aces.”

Still, I appreciated that in a popular, mainstream magazine, the article didn’t drag in some “sexpert” for “balance” to ramble about how we’re probably just refusing to face our sicknesses and trying to make an orientation out of our fear.

Note: There are also some statements in the article that could be taken as sex-shaming or promiscuity-shaming.

 

Interview: Sexperts

I was interviewed about asexuality on Dr. Limor Blockman’s podcast Sexperts—which is a Playboy-affiliated podcast just so you know.

This is the direct link to the download of my interview.

My interview starts after a commercial at about 41:00—forty-one minutes in. I stress that anyone who for any reason does not want to listen to very explicit content should please make an effort to skip right to my interview, because the person who is interviewed right before me is discussing some kink situations (including BDSM, sadism specifically), and there’s a lot of sexually explicit detail. (If that’s your thing, listen to that too! 😉 )

If you’d rather listen in the browser and/or not download the content, I think you can get it here:

Sexperts Episode 32: Different Strokes

The interview with me is brief, but the interviewer knows how to ask open questions and didn’t confront me with any ignorance (though there were a couple phrases about “choice” that I think were not the best choice of words).

Interview: Pleasure Mechanics

Today I joined Chris of Pleasure Mechanics in discussing asexuality and my new book on the Speaking of Sex podcast. This was a really lovely interview; for once we got to discuss some pretty nuanced aspects of the orientation, some discussion beyond the basics, and a fair amount of practical application—what asexual people are learning from queer communities, and what everyone can learn from us.

Check out the interview here; it’s about 30 minutes long.

Featured and Quoted: The New York Times

In Op-Talk, a feature of NYT Opinion, an article about asexuality heavily featuring quotes from me and my book has appeared!

Why Asexuals Don’t Want to Be Invisible Anymore

It’s a lovely little piece without the usual naysaying that so many journalists feel is necessary for “balance,” and there are several other asexual voices mixed in so it isn’t entirely a piece about me or my book. I’m quite pleased with it. Please read!

Interview: Salon, “You’re about as sexually attractive to me as a turtle”

An interview with me in Salon was posted today in Q&A format. It was an excellent chance to discuss some of the political aims of the asexual community (which we almost never get to talk about!), as well as my own experience discovering asexuality for myself and the best and worst things about it.

Read the article in Salon now!

For me, the worst thing about being asexual is other people trying to fix me all the time. They develop this completely inappropriate obsession with my sexual and romantic life, which can manifest as anything from aggressively propositioning me for sex to searching for what’s “really” wrong with me through invasive questions. Some of them maintain that these attempted interventions are about my health and happiness, apparently unaware that they’re compromising both by refusing to respect my identity.

Unfortunately the comments are full of invalidation, as they generally always are on articles about asexuality published in mainstream media. This one has everything from “this isn’t SCIENTIFIC” to “asexual people are heartless and cruel if they date anyone but other asexual people,” ignoring that actually people can agree to date on any grounds they like and nobody’s the arbiter of what amounts of sex must be promised before dating is fair.

I’ve also been assigned mental illness and misanthrope status, and it’s only been up for a couple hours as I post this! Doing great.

I think there’s a book some girl wrote that these people might benefit from reading. Don’t remember, though . . . what was it called?