spilt attraction model

Spilt Attraction 101 – The Law of Attraction

The spilt attraction model can be confusing. Here’s a trick to make it make sense so you can better understand others. Or maybe yourself!

Let’s start with the basics. SAM stands for the split attraction model. Fairly common in aro and ace communities, but by no means an a-spec exclusive term. Its a model that says sometimes sexual attraction and romantic attraction will be mismatched, or split

The model makes no judgment of what those combinations are. Nor does it favor any combination. People with matching attractions often don’t feel the need to double up on labels. It’s a completely opt-in way to help explain feelings. Or personally ignored in any situation the label wearer decides.

Its historical precedence goes back to the Greeks. Believed to be first used towards sexuality discussions by a gay advocate in the 1800s, and then reused by asexuals in the last twenty years or so. 

There is a long standing tug of where between groups over where aros fit, and has it’s own set of purity politics that follow. This article is not gossip explaining interpersonal community friction, at its core more queer theory specially on how a-spec communities organize.

I think all this tension, and often infighting, is the product of being upset with intersectionality. I personally find asexuality and aromantism’s twin like behavior and shared history a boon. It’s a ven diagram, that as far as I can tell, skews ace. And no other community probably overindexes aces as much as the aromantic one. Which creates a tension of ‘why can’t we have our own things’ as it does equally ‘why aren’t aro aces doing more for aros specifically.’ Mind you, I think the second is unfair. But the point I’m trying to make goes as follows.

I was listening to this philosopher and he said that humans often dissect to understand concepts. Spitting things apart, and apart, until you reach the atom. And then say aha an atom, the smallest thing, from the word which means cannot be spilit! And then, oh dear… we split the atom. Now there’s protons, neutrons, electrons, and then maybe there’s more things in there too, and hey what’s this quark I keep hearing about? And these dissections makes the world more complicated. You see this all the time as a complaint about the a-spec community. Why new words, why spilt attraction model, and so on.

Going back to our example, well maybe you were looking to heal what ails you and now people are talking about things on a cellular level. And don’t get me wrong, that sort of understanding is a net gain for doctors to help you. But the lgbtq communities whose sole goal is “people should be allowed to be who they are without limitation” makes such exact concepts on how to do that more complex. Now that’s as true for a-specs as anyone else.

But I feel like for a-spec people, some want to just pull an proton out without realizing the electromagnetic force that keeps the neutron nearby. And I find it deeply ironic that communities based on the acceptance over the lack of strong attraction, have trouble viewing two separate things, that often times share in lived history, share experiences, and by the changing of language which spilit a previous understanding of asexuality further to help make sure aromanticsm was not forgotten, do have an electromagnetic-like attraction to each other.

And honestly? That spilt and pull towards each other is not unique to asexuality. Maybe it’s telling that Karl Heinrich Ulrich invented the spilt attraction. This division to better see the communities parts, to further explain them in English this has been going on for a century now. While it is important to learn through the dissection of human sexuality, we mustn’t forget its complicated because humans make it so. This means it’s natural state isn’t complicated at all. It just is, like the grass just grows.

Learn more about asexual activism.

Rainbow Community

My Rainbow Community, ‘Tis of Thee

I wish I could quickly explain that rainbow community “spaces” are not geological territories based on land. The idea that queer people will abuse each other over this concept of a club that has no physical barriers is mine numbingly incorrect.

This dream of fully protecting a community from outsiders that would do it harm is a false one. “I want the rainbow community safe from people who have a privilege” is noble, but flawed.

We don’t kick cis people out because there’s trans people in the community. Nor do we kick white people out because there’s people of color in the community. We don’t kick abled people out because they’re disabled people in the community.

And this idea that we can even kick people out, at all, is a false one. Our communities are multiple communities, ranging in physical location, online platforms, and the idea of human categorization itself.

You can keep your interactions with the people you deal with as safe as you believe. Measured by whatever metric you believe in. But it is impossible to wholesale protect the community from all harm because you are not all knowing, all present, or responsible for anyone besides yourself.

Exclusion does not only fail because asexual‘s are inherently targeted by hetronormality. Exclusion fails because we are not one community, but the many. Liberation is not won on a single front. We are, and it is, endless.

You can no more protect the rainbow community and the people with in it from harm than a parent can protect their child from harm.

All you can do is be a loving environment in yourself and teach what you know so your child may protect themselves with or without your presence.

We never should never fool ourselves into thinking this is a country. There’s no authority, we are all equal, and while that makes organization harder at times it’s a constant reminder of all own worth.

Be sure to read more about asexual activism on our blog.

#BelieveAces Asexual Label

#BelieveAces – Part One: Hard truths about asexuality

There are some hard truths about asexuality that we get in the Fuck Yeah Asexual ask box. It’s such a high volume. But we do our best to answer them all like a one on one conversation with someone. Occasionally, they there’s a curious statement. And if I’m really lucky, it will rattle a bigger thought forward. Something so big, and in need of a conversation.

Today, I introduce the #BelieveAces mini-series. Its goal is to show the endless amount of ways that people are not believing the community. That’s one of the first truths about asexuality you learn.

We have an FAQ, but there’s a question not on the list that’s just as popular. “People keep using this script when they talk to me. If I say something off book, I’m dismissed.”

It’s enough to fill a bingo card. “Oh, you haven’t met the right one.” “Oh, you’ll want kids someday.” “The abuse you face was caused by something else.” “Maybe you are just lying about what happened in the first place.”

The fact that abuse victims are not believed. Mixes in with the fact that bisexuals and asexuals have the highest rates of abuse. We must also consider the fact that ace communities over-index in having trans people.

There’s a culture of disbelief of our community from outsiders. That’s the hardest truth of asexuality.

The demands placed on asexuals and the wider queer community are so often an arbitrary bar. They demand that sexuality become performative. “Be out how we say. With the words we declare are okay.” Aces are told they must simultaneously have had sex. And abstain in order to know if it’s for them. Abuse, or mental illness, or anything that doesn’t make us a gold star individual is further used to not only undermine personally. But us as an identity. By treating asexuality, and being out, as a spectacle we will lose and have lost, so much to erasure.

People rarely discuss the reasons asexuals have sex. The occasional article about it usually frames the topic as a compromise for an allo partner. But still does not dig down to the why of the behavior. And there’s a ton of whys. I know my mods and I do our best to point out every reason. Including boredom. But widely? It’s a good day if asexuality isn’t treated exclusively as life long virginity.

The seemingly contradictory facets of asexual lives make it hard for aces to see themselves. It isn’t because aces aren’t diverse. It’s caused by disbelief on a large scale. The general social unawareness that asexuality is one thing. But there’s a culture of not pathologizing those who do.

Aces who marry are omitted. Historical figures with any known sexual history are excluded. Those who stayed chaste their whole life are still excused away. Some of this is done in bigotry. Some isn’t. That is why sharing our stories, and sometimes even the complications in facing compulsory sexuality and abuse are so important.

Even recent history is too easily forgotten is another one of those hard truths about asexuality.

Every single ace story has something important to add to the conversation. Each with their own intersections that connect us to others.

The spark of this article was an ask that said: “I think asexuals are more present than others.” On the surface that can find sound like the 1960s line: “If we give up men, we will have more time for the revolution!” But one of the hard truths about asexuality, it’s context had a spin on the idea that put a spotlight on the assumed.

A highly specific and particular ace point of view that unifies every ace. A-spec people aren’t really playing at anything in social situations, at least not the same love games as everyone else.

This isn’t a problem either. An asexual point of view can actually help people be more present in certain moments. The harmful lies of heteronormativity, compulsory sexuality, and amatonormality can be further disproved by our existence at the table already.

Not only does this help asexuals be aware of their choices when navigating through their own lives, a feat more distracting than it is a time-saver, but our collective possibility helps to point out that falsely assumed. Asks people to throw away their social scripts of harm systems, and may allow people to become more fully present in their own choices in the hopes that their life is liberated. That it becomes lived by their own design.

Maybe A stands for more than our identities.

It as easily could be for Anarchy. For that’s the accidental call of any a-spec person. The last of today’s hard truths about asexuality. Live your life without needing any authority besides your own wishes. Find your absolute freedom of self. This is not a truth unique to our community, but the heart of any revolution.

– Roses from a digital typewriter

Start reading Part Two: The Refusal To Accept Labels

Social Justice—what now?

Satire is an interesting beast.

When The Colbert Report was on most people understood that it was all satire. Airing on Comedy Central proved it was a joke.

But these days, it seems like a lot of people get news from these sort of shows, and there’s more than ever.  I remember when The Colbert Report had a running “gag” that he couldn’t see color. I’m not going to get into why color blindness is bad if you don’t know I’d check out MTV’s video on the matter.  The point is, if you aren’t in on the joke, satire can support what you are making fun of.

As movements and societal trends grow the misuse of those successful tactics also grows. Thus more satire is often created. Which cycles back to the problem of satire supporting what you don’t want.

This phenomenon has a name: Poe’s law. Which follows, “without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, parodies of extreme views will be mistaken by some readers as sincere expressions of the parodied views.”

The story it was named when Nathan Poe wrote an article and then added a winky face at the end and a commenter replied, “Good thing you included the winky. Otherwise people might think you are serious.” When watching comedy favored news you at least have tone as an indicator of intent. But when you read this article or tweet the writer can’t control what tone your inner voice uses. This becomes a real problem when speaking to an online audience.

It’s not that social justice has run amok and therefore should be tossed out. It isn’t that people have become too politically correct, or too easily offended. It’s that we all learn at different rates and times. My experience of working daily with certain activist groups means I’ll see things that it could take months for you to see, or years for someone who doesn’t spend their life on the internet. And you could learn just as many new and different things in some other circle. This isn’t to fault anyone. Merely point out that we aren’t more divided than ever, we are more interconnected than ever.

“A wise man knows that he knows nothing.” I heard that as a kid, and as I think about the internet and interconnectivity, the age of the quote stands out to me. Socrates first said it in B.C. times. Just consider for a moment how nearing timeless that philosophy was.

If we want progress we have to build on the past. But, each person has to learn from a starting point of zero. So jokes and methodology will get misused or misunderstood. We mustn’t think that a minority group is just now speaking out, when in reality they have been fighting the whole time. Far too often nothing gets done because we are missing the frame of reference. But maybe we don’t have to know everything if we can simply admit we don’t.

Unburied Fables Releases Next Week!

Over the last week, two people commented on the title of Unburied Fables. Said that these stories are often left buried, or on the importance of having representation unearthed. I’m glad that some people have picked up on the meaning below the surface. Because this project has turned into something really personal. Or as personal a project with fifteen different collaborators can be.

I remember first talking about it, I was sitting on the floor upstairs in my underused office. It was after Pulse, which broke my heart in a way that I hadn’t expected. It was after this hard year where every activist I know is just bone tired.

And I thought that we could all use a little good in our life.
And I thought about stories with happy endings.

And I thought about how I wanted to help create them.

I feel like it’s safe to assume that 2016 isn’t going like anyone expected. But my hope was, if I could dig something of the dirt that it wouldn’t all be a waste. It wouldn’t all be pain and waiting for things to get better.

So I made the decision, had some people help me put the very first things together and asked. Just asked, would anyone else be willing to help me for the sake of community and charity. Would anyone else be willing to help me subvert the bury your gays trope and give our effort, if we had nothing else to give, to The Trevor Project.

And people did.

The collection has some of my friends. Like Rachel Sharp who stepped up and saved this project. But it had so many people I didn’t know at the start. Which was its own kind of magic.

I’ve said a couple of times that our communities often fight with each other and how it tears me apart to see it. But the Unburied Fables collection shows that despite all of that, we can create something good for ourselves, and for each other.

Despite the words already written, I’m near speechless that this book now exists. It seems almost unreal that the ebook is available for pre-order right now. It seems almost unreal after a month of the airwaves jammed with pain, hell after ten of them, that on October 25th the paperback will be out. That it will be a tangible thing that you can hold. That in some way or form these stories will last forever now, like yours.

understanding ableism is a piece of cake

Understanding ableism is a piece of cake!

Do you like my sweet clickbait-like title? Surprise, I meant it literally! I’ve noticed that people understand topics better if explained with food, so today let’s talk about how simply saying “just stop worrying” and similar things without any consideration is a form of ableism.

Most recipes go from scratch to complete, but since I’m trying to deconstruct an issue I’d like to work backwards. Consider all platitudes about positive attitude, mind over matter, and yoga as the sprinkles on a cake. Some cake doesn’t even have sprinkles, but to some those sprinkles are life changing. But no matter how many rainbow flecks of candy you pour onto something, if the cake underneath has problems, they aren’t going to help all that much, if at all.

The next level is the frosting. For a lot of cakes, the frosting covers almost every inch. So much of a cake (and person) to others is this outward appearance. This is how you get sayings like “Oh, you don’t look disabled” or “I’d never know you suffer with depression.” You can’t see the cake. Relatedly, you don’t know what type of cake it is by looking at it. One can only assume, sometimes to a harmful degree, what’s inside.

Frosting can also be really helpful to make up for other concerns within the cake. A cane or a wheelchair could be considered the frosting. Sometimes religion or a “positive attitude” can be considered frosting, in that they’re both outwardly perceived and many times fully incorporated throughout the cake. Now I don’t want anyone to assume that you can pray and smile your way to not needing a mobility aid, so consider personal perception the flavor of the frosting more than the frosting itself. For example, if you decorated your cane with flowers, that would be a cheerful flavor. But that cheer will never replace the frosting itself, just like how orange extract alone doesn’t make frosting. In that case, it’s a bit of the outermost level of decoration being incorporated into the whole. Some people need that frosting, some people have it to make their life easier, but with all the different types, it’s up to the person how they want to go about it.

This next part isn’t an ingredient, but I think an important factor is how the cake is baked. What tools were around to help you? Some people are born into a full kitchen, others work with what they have. So if you tell someone to use a tool that they don’t have, to them, it’s useless advice. You have to consider that maybe not everyone has a raspberry-colored kitchen aid stand mixer.

Also, the experience of the actual baking plays a part. Some situations are traumatic and might burn the people who had to deal with them. Maybe the environment that person was in made them “grow up too fast” and once the cake is made you can’t go back and change those lived experiences. There is no “just get over it” when it comes to things like PTSD, and suggesting they should is ignoring the importance of their lived experiences. It’s asking them to re-bake a cake.

And at the most basic level, the type of cake you have will come down to ingredients and their amounts relative to each other. Think of these as factors beyond your control, and never could have been situationally in your control. Basically, the ingredients are your genetics. Now, if you compare several cake recipes, you will see that many have similar elements, but they combine in ways that make vastly different things.

In one of the first recipes I looked up it reminded you that measurements matter. Which is the best example I can explain for neurodivergent issues. Some people are born with no eggs, less flour, or simply not the right ratio to each other. If you try to tell someone ‘hey, just don’t worry’ when their issue is they need eggs, it’s useless advice. That is not the solution they need. While some people can find solace in that, many simply can’t. And even if it was your fix for the same issue, it might not be theirs.

I used to have really bad anxiety, to the point where I was anxious 24/7 and barely could remember a moment where I didn’t feel like the other shoe was going to drop. Sometimes people would tell me to just stop being anxious, just do the thing even if it makes you more anxious, and they completely didn’t understand how much worse they were accidently making it, or that is was fundamentally impossible. There was a disconnect of people telling me to just add more sprinkles when I really needed a cup of flour.

So before you give advice that has worked for you, ask what they need. If they don’t know, that’s when you can share the recipe your mother swears by.

Dragon Age, Glowing Hands, and Disabilities

There is a new genre called empathy games. These games have the goal of making you empathize with the main character to show a point. Generally that you aren’t the one in power, but to some small degree I believe all games are empathy games.

I think a lot about representation in fiction, and lately about the representation of disabilities, everything from ‘my knee gives me a lot of trouble’ to those who rock a wheelchair. (I’ve been thinking a lot of legs specifically because mine have been hurting a lot. But, stay tuned maybe I’ll talk about a abdominal pain like I’m a Super Bowl ad.)

I’ve been fairly impressed when it comes to TV characters who have leg troubles. On TV now, there’s Raven from The 100 and Felicity from Arrow. As fantastic as they both are I started to wonder if there was a medium that could showcase the constant struggles better. And after a really tough and unusual boss battle I realized video games are perfect for this narrative.

No other medium makes you face the struggle. Books, TV, and movies are setup so we are empathizing with someone else. But with video games you are living it. Also little needs to be done to make these Triple A titles show disabled characters of all ranges.

Yesterday’s game of choice was Dragon Age: Inquisition so I’ll loosely use it to explain what I mean then you can apply it to your own beloved game.

This whole train of thought started because Dragon Age doesn’t have cure anymore. I’m usually the type of player who likes having a full health bar in order to kick ass, but now that’s practically impossible. After playing for a while I noticed how I played was different. I didn’t get nervous if it wasn’t full, I’d even take fall damage to save me some time. I started to live with that fact that health isn’t going to be perfect. And as someone who now has a chronic illness riding shotgun that’s a pretty good metaphor. You have to live with your “health bar” not being at 100% most of the time. In video games saving the world with very little health left is almost common place.

The game now has barrier instead of heal. Barrier gives you an extra bar that lasts a certain time and protects your real HP. Now it isn’t an exact comparison but imagine this was your self care. Even if you’re a squishy mage or have low health it doesn’t matter as long as you protect yourself in other ways.

Health is less important than it’s ever been before in other Dragon Age games. Your character is undeniably disabled, but no doubts arise because of this from the other characters. You are still their leader.

In Dragon Age you are given a party of four. In the real world asking for help can be tricky, but the game encourages you to have the help of others. You could play solo, but parties are actively rewarded.

And in video games in general, starting all the way back with Doom, you learn to keep fighting even with a busted up and bleeding face. If you or the NPCs get knocked out they get up for the next battle. All really important life lessons.

Yesterday, I had three mages and a rogue face a boss that had 39 times more health than my whole party combined. It was horrid planning on my part, but the party made me happy and now we were stuck. I had to shake things up and literally bring the fire. By taking my time and breaking the problem into smaller bits I was able to win.

So even if your real life “health bar” isn’t what others have, you just need to plan and take your time in order to knock down really any beast in the world. In Dragon Age Inquisition that sometimes means the boss and sometimes means the day because your glowing hand is acting up. I’d love to see games actually incorporate their graphic interfaces to show disabilities in a real way because no other platform can show it like they can.

Love and Sex in Literature

A guest post by amazing Cait Spivey

I learned sexual desire from books and film.

At least, what it looked like. What it sounded like. How it is discussed. With that accumulated evidence, I got very good at acting out “desire,” even though it was at best boring and at worst, deeply uncomfortable.

When I came out, there was a lot of, “But you seemed interested in sex before!” As always, it’s difficult to explain, to those who don’t feel displaced by it, the pressure of constant messaging that seems to declare this is how normal people are, you are messed up, something is wrong with you. I learned and demonstrated sexual desire because I thought I had to, because it was expected, because it was bad enough that I kept falling in love with girls but at least I knew what that was.

I learned desire from books; I never learned that desire isn’t mandatory.

This is something I want to rectify in my books. In From Under the Mountain, it must be said, there’s not explicit representation—I was limited by both the setting (in which our modern terminology feels jarring) and by the pace and focus of the story. Only Eva and Guerline have time for a romantic relationship, and not much of it at that. But you can take me at my word when I say that canonically, Theodor Warren is panromantic asexual, and Aradia Kavanagh is aromantic asexual, and Guerline herself is a demisexual lesbian (something that gets explored more in the sequel).

[As an aside: last week, I tweeted a bit about how I love writing large casts, and I encourage readers to explore for themselves and fill in things I don’t put on the page. Some secondary and tertiary characters have canon attached to them that I may never get to share—for many, I haven’t had a chance yet to fully explore their lives. So many stories live in this world, and if you know them, by all means tell them.]

In most of the media I’ve consumed, sex scenes just seem like set dressing. Perhaps this is the point where my ability to empathize with allosexual people ends, but I’ve never seen a sex scene that feels powerful or necessary to the story, because sweaty bodies getting fluids on each other isn’t meaningful to me. It seems to me that what’s meaningful is all the emotions leading up to and following that—affection, vulnerability, passion—and one doesn’t need to bump uglies to get the most out of that cocktail. And even if that’s something one wants in real life, it’s not going to aid the storytelling (unless, as in certain genres, that’s the kind of story being told).

“But Cait,” you say, “You included a sex scene in From Under the Mountain!” Yes I did. But I’m the first to say it’s not necessary. I wrote it in because there was some hang time in the narrative, and I wanted to give Eva and Guerline their moment. And, as an asexual woman married to a sexual spouse, it was more than a little vicarious—what must it feel like from the other side? Surely it’s transcendent—surely it’s not just a sometimes pleasant sensation, akin to curling up in front of a fireplace? I’ll have to rely on others to confirm the level of my success.

It’s honestly funny to me how resistant some can be to writing asexual characters or, in fandom, theorizing that a character could be asexual. I get that desire must be powerful to those who experience it; I can understand that many view sex as some kind of Important Rite without which love is just really intense friendship, or something. I mean, they’re wrong about that last part, but I understand how they came to that conclusion.

But in these stories, the sex isn’t what makes us love these characters—right? It’s the characters themselves, and the relationships between characters that draw us in. Romantic relationships, friendships, family bonds. Sexual desire, contrary to popular belief, is not inherent to romantic love, and romantic love is not the only compelling kind of relationship.

There are many, many books, films, shows, out there that present love without sex, but the sex is always assumed—by fans, by creators, by a society that presupposes the universal importance of desire. My question is, why? Kisses, sex, they’re actions that, like all our actions, have only as much weight as our emotions give them. I’m as happy as anyone when my favorite ship finally kisses for the first time, but the kiss isn’t the only thing that can make me happy. I want Dean to kiss Cas because I know Dean is a sexual person, but I felt the same giddy rush when he said I need you.

I struggled to find a way to end this post, because one should at least try to put forth a solution when bringing up a problem. The problem is that the heavy focus on sexual desire in relationships erases a lot of people. It makes us doubt ourselves, it makes us submit ourselves to what is expected, it threatens us with these expectations.

How, then, to solve this?

I’ve decided to start a new feature on my blog called A+ Ships, to highlight ace characters and their relationships, gush over the connections and the moments that fuel them. With any luck, this will give us a space to celebrate our identities, and spread the word about how awesome we are.