On ace characters in sex scenes

This is actually a cross post from the Fuck Yeah Asexual blog written by my mod Dew, but I found it important and thought it should be shared in a new format.

It started with an anonymous ask that went like this:

“I have been seeing a lot of smut with Asexual characters having sex. I understand that some Asexuals will still have sex but I don’t get why some Ace people want more Asexuals in smut. Isn’t that like wanting Gay people in heterosexual smut? I just don’t understand the defense of non tagged Ace characters in fanfiction.”

Here’s our answer –

While I agree that this content should be tagged appropriately to help people find or avoid it, this is wildly dismissive of the aces you’ve already fully acknowledged exist. Why should you get to see your experiences represented but they can’t? Why must we put forth the expectation of a singular experience of asexuality that denies the lives of so many people in our own community?

More importantly, why should we ever insist on a narrative that contributes directly to our own oppression, that ensures allos and allies and aphobes alike walk away with a tremendous misunderstanding of asexuality that encourages them to hurt us, that they’ve used to hurt us before. Maybe you weren’t there for it–we worked for YEARS to shut it down, to spare future aces–but learn it now: this attitude, this belief, is one of the most violent tools in the aphobe quiver.

You’ve pulled a clever sleight of hand here, equating the very existence of the content with irresponsible (untagged) portrayals, but it also seems very clear that your problem is with the content itself and the real aces who it portrays. You’ll find no support for that here, and we will not cast stones at members of our and your own community on your behalf.

This is a clear case of an intercommunity issue, and someone brought up what they thought the anon no actually they meant…, but message I want to bring you is how we go about asking each other these things really matters.

Dew writes I would have responded VERY differently to this ask if it actually was a simple vent about the disparity in the numbers of stories that feature aces who are vs aren’t sex-favourable, or about the difficulty of finding the content that does exist due to inadequate tagging. Those are very understandable complaints, and I’m sympathetic to them!

That’s not actually what anon did in this ask, though, if you actually look at the words they chose. They specifically lashed out at their own community–not the fictional representation, but the real, living, human aces who create or ask for or enjoy that content. Their complaint *as worded* is not a gripe about the fiction landscape, it is an attack on real people, and one that directly mirrors specifically oppressive movements among aphobes.

Anon didn’t ask for sympathy in their difficulties with finding the kind of stories they want to read. They asked us to join them in leveling vitriol against “aces who want [the content anon doesn’t like]” and against aces who “defend [portrayals of their own lives].” That is absolutely not a conversation we will participate in. Especially given how closely it echoes aphobic arguments that do things like deny any ace the right to consent, put forward rape apologia, exclude aces from relationships of any kind, and homegenize and dehumanize the entire community. Let alone echoing the very schisms that have haunted this community since it’s inception.

We will never, ever, deviate from the line that the full spectrum of ace and aro experiences are to be welcomed and protected on this blog. We’re more than happy to encourage conversations like the one you want to have, about how best to accommodate those experiences and where we might be falling short. But that will not happen at the expense of our own community members.

We can have good faith with each other even after comments like this which can read as harsh. Here’s proof of that as the original anon came back and added the following:

“Hey! I was the Anon about Aces in smut. I’m really sorry if I hurt you in any way. I am trying to learn more about Asexuality after one of my friends came out to me recently and was talking about that subject specifically. I am a pretty young lesbian and am trying to learn more about the entire LGBT+ community. Thank you for responding, I appreciate your time! Again I apologize for any hurt I caused, that was by no means my intention. I hope you have a good day!”

Dew adds, Hey thanks! I really appreciate the follow up on this. I know I came out swinging on that ask, but you–unintentionally–hit on some very tender points in some really specific ways that unfortunately mirrored attitudes that have historically been very dangerous for the ace community.

But I’m really glad to hear that the underlying motive for that was ignorance and not malice–please know that ignorance is not a character flaw; it’s the natural state of humans and easily changed. It sounds like your heart is in the right place and you’re eager to learn more so that you can be a better ally to your friends. That’s awesome, and if you want some more resources on how to approach this topic with a better understanding of ace community history and respect for the diversity of ace experiences.

When someone else brought up that they actually trust aces writing this more than others, Dew went on to say:

There’s definitely a wide range of the quality of depictions of ace characters of all sorts of experiences, and it’s often a lot easier to trust ace-spec writers to be coming from an informed and respectful place.

I would of course caution that this doesn’t fall perfectly across clean lines based on the identity of the writers and I don’t want to dismiss the efforts of allies who also approach the subject respectfully (recall that the broader aspec community does include allo members!) or to discount that aces can also externalize their own possible struggles with internalized aphobia.

However, yes, it can be particularly cruel to dismiss the efforts of ace writers, and there are valuable discussions to be had about the differences in writing ace characters from and internal vs an external perspective, especially considering how plentiful misinformation and erasure are.

When another party suggested that only aces should write aces in sexual situations both Dew and I had to disagree with the blanket statement.

Sorry friendo but Fuck Yeah Asexual also doesn’t stand for stark divisions across identity lines. We can and should talk about what constitutes a respectful portrayal, where the common pitfalls are, and what damage can be done from irresponsible or misinformed understandings of ace experiences without this level of insularity. Not every ace will magically produce a great ace character, and not every allo will magically produce a terrible one.

If only reading works by other aces is a boundary you want to set in your own life, please do so! As I addressed in the previous ask, there are patterns in play that make that an understandable choice.

We won’t, however, support extrapolating that boundary out until it cuts off anyone who isn’t asexual (and this effort nearly always wants to exclude the wrong *kind* of asexual eventually) from being able discuss or write about aces, until we’ve pushed away all our allies, all the questioning folks, all the supportive ones, all the allies-in-the-making who won’t ever learn what their mistakes are because we’ve isolated ourselves from them.

Nothing good or productive comes from broadly applying that kind of black and white approach to entire communities. – Dew

There is absolutely room to talk about the behavior of allosexuals in regard to their fandom treatment of canon ace characters. There’s also absolutely room to talk about some publishers making a fetish-like “Demisexual For You” trope. Which is a perversion of the biphobic “Gay for You” trope.

But honestly the media we’ve gotten from a main stream source has been from allosexuals inspired by aces, ace works, and ace activism. It’s more of a conversational story feedback loop. That’s the nature of all media.

If you wish you view the asks in their original context you can via that day’s archive. https://fuckyeahasexual.tumblr.com/day/2020/11/20

Trans Awareness Week Book Recs!

My mom actually reminded me of this week, which is quite wholesome.  Since GLADD is celebrating trans awareness as well as TDOR this year, I wanted to do one of my fav things — and talk about books. This post is about my fav trans books so if you are in the mood for a new read I hope this helps. 🙂 

All Time Favorite: 

Dreadnought (and it’s sequel) has not only the own voices quality when it comes to trans representation being included, but the plot is too intertwined with the experiences of being trans and being a part — or pushed — out of a community. 

Runner Up:

If I Was Your Girl is the winner of a Stonewall Book Award and several others. This contemporary book has a lot of heart, and while I don’t remember it’s plot as in detail as the last I remember feeling like it was a gift in a way. Insight to a very ‘less complicated” (as I believe the author says in the back) trans experience I do not share. This book probably has the only acknowledgments that I remember that are incredibly important to include because they take that “less complicated” narrative and reminds us that non-fictional people are so complicated and diverse.  

Mixed Format Honorable Mentions: 

Did you know in Watch Dogs Legion you can just find trans aces walking around doing their things, until you ask them to fight against a police state? Watch Dogs Legion’s representation is at one level so throw away text based and at another an innovative clever choose your own adventure hero experience. I just get this little spark of joy when I see a random character and the bio is like ‘Had Gender Affirming Operation’, “Looked for Trans Friendly Therapy” or “Purchased a They/Them Pin”. It’s not Ubisoft’s first trans character but the random endless amount of trans playable non-playable characters in WD:L reminds me how just anyone can be trans and that’s beautiful to me. 

There’s Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver and my books that both always seem to include ace and transgender characters if not trans ace character within them. There’s Unburied Fables which is a-spec focused charity anthology with several fairytale retelling that are about trans characters. And I wish more of Anne Chivon’s poetry was in print so I could show you really kick ass nonbinary poems.


That fact that big and small trans awareness efforts are being done across the media landscape (including emoji now) makes me so hopeful that people will hopefully someday soon stop pretending that there’s not enough of us to matter.

Did you know the creator of the transgender flag Monica Helms also wrote novels? I haven’t read any of them, I just think that’s so cool and fantastic. I think I haven’t read them because nothing will top the listed reasoning for making the trans flag’s stripes mirrored so that no matter how you fly it the flag is still right symbolizing that there is no one way to be trans. Sorry for the longer post than planned but say can I say — Trans is beautiful. 

Art Over Chaos Publishing Signs Cora Ruskin

11/10/2020 – Art Over Chaos publishing has acquired Cora Ruskin’s aro ace #OwnVoices YA debut, Other People’s Butterflies. In this mixture of Harriet the Spy, and Gossip Girl, Gwen Foster is mystified by all the relationship drama of her classmates, so after falling out with her best friends she is inspired by her favorite spy novel and develops an unethical hobby of collecting gossip about her classmates in an effort to understand them better – but when an unknown social media account is spilling all the secrets Gwen is collecting, she must make the transition from amateur spy to amateur detective to stop whoever it is.

Cora Ruskin is a part-time MSc student of Science Communication and works for a charity that helps victims of crime. Writing gets squeezed in between the two. She has a novella published in The Fantasist and a poetry chapbook published by Dancing Girl Press. She lives in Bristol, England, with five housemates and a very messy kitchen.  

Publication for Other People’s Butterflies is slated for 2021.  
Follow Cora Ruskin on Twitter.

Suicide By Ghost Is Free For The First Time!

🍁 If you signed up for GreatAce.Club you can find this book in your in box right now! If you haven’t, you can still download the ebook for free today only!

★★★★★ Found Family Warmth

Content / Spoiler Warning: There is no suicide in the book, but there is frank discussion of trans / homophobia and by the end the novella left me with feelings of optimism, and hope. (Full Review)

About The Book: Spiritually divorced from the church, former exorcist Ryan Macy is finding his own path as a ghost hunter. Traveling with only what can fit in his trusty truck, he road trips around America trying to prove the paranormal.

When he’s called to a church to investigate a demon possession, what he finds is unexpected and, perhaps, just as divinely in need: A seventeen-year-old kid named Andrew. Ryan is certain something evil lives within the house: home-grown hate. Kicked out for being gay, Andrew hitches a ride and joins the ghost hunting team. But something is following them…

Free On Amazon Today Only!

Happy Release Day To Pharos!

Hackers, faeries, screaming rockabilly neighbors.

Rachel Sharp first seamlessly merged our world with one of fae in the first book Phaethon, and Pharos is a brilliant addition to the series. 

Here’s our full review of the second:
The amount of heart this sequel holds is as magical as the mythical creatures it features. This time around we are presented with more of the book’s timeless, yet now changing, world. A story filled with situations that may be dire at first glance, but reveal hope with the aid of new friends and old fae. 

By the end, you’ll want to believe in fairies too. Pharos is everything a sequel should be, making the Phaethon Series even more of a must read event.

How V for Vendetta sells the lie of white innocence, and how it destroys it.

I used to have friends who would watch V for Vendetta religiously. The movie would be queued in the evening so lines of “It’s November 4th” “…Not anymore.” would hit exactly as the real day turned over to be the 5th.

It’s important to remember this movie originally came out in 2006. I was 16 at the time. Assumed myself to be nothing besides American. Had no understanding of queerness, or cultural heritage, nothing besides “I’m live in America, so I’m defined by being American.” This is something that is literally sold to citizens sometimes directly via flags for your pickup truck, or indirectly via cultural assimilation. At the time of the movie’s release, most media criticism of was having a terrorist as a hero. 2001’s 9/11 was still more on people’s minds than fascism from within your own country.

In the movie, we see an assumed white women played by Natalie Portman face abuse several times throughout the movie. But the story to a lesser degree also follows an equally white coded young British girl. And it’s her death that really sparks the people turning against their fascist government. Everything that V does is up for public debate. Evey’s suffering is largely unnoticed. Deitrich, the closeted gay TV show host is only, for a while at least, protected by money, fame, and the performative nature of his job. But that white child specially targeted stood out as a line too far. Her death isn’t excused, it’s truth isn’t confused in media coverage in contrast to the kid’s hurt by St Mary’s virus.

This plot point I always found interesting because it’s an uniquely white idea that the death of ‘innocent’ young white life becomes the line drawn in the sand to stop “the bad things”. That once young girls are targeted well that’s game over for “bad guys”. And there’s a reason why I put ‘innocent’ in quotes, because we cannot deny the fact that white women, and girls in particular, are treated more angelic than little black boys who are demonized. And it’s a lie that is still sold to white Americans who need to protect their “innocent daughters from outsiders”. This has been Trump’s political platform since 2015, and continues to be.

It would be easy to from a strict causality point of view summarize V for Vendetta’s plot in a way that reaffirms this lie. That once that young girl was killed all the white people in the neighborhood step up and fight against their police state. But, the movie also spends every other moment destroying that idea.

I simply am unable to watch the movie like I once could in 2006. Now when I think of it, if I had to pick which one life that changed the course that ended that fascist state I’d think of Valerie’s life. It’s her hope, even in death, that keeps both the main characters going. “It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years I had roses, and apologized to no one.”

But her death is not the tipping point. As mentioned in one speech, it’s the causality of all events, everyone’s collectively suffering and hope that makes people finally topple the police state.

Detective Finch: I suddenly had this feeling that everything was connected. It’s like I could see the whole thing, one long chain of events that stretched all the way back before Larkhill. I felt like I could see everything that happened, and everything that is going to happen. It was like a perfect pattern, laid out in front of me. And I realised we’re all part of it, and all trapped by it.

That is what history is. And it is the moment we live today too. Each of us a domino of action or inaction that will fall one way or another sending ripples out into the world. There’s not a single piece that stands truly protected, nor alone.

“I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the worlds turns, and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you, I love you. With all my heart, I love you. – Valerie.”

It is in solidarity and love of other that change is found. Not innocence. A movie like V for Vendetta with its heroes who aren’t innocent is that makes for the foil for this message. “Who was he?” “He was Edmond Dantes. And he was my father, and my mother, my brother, my friend. He was you, and me. He was all of us.”

The One Instagram Trick That Works! (and other things I learned)

Three weeks ago, I wrote about how I got an Instagram account that had existing followers and what I learned in that process. Sad to report it’s now down even more followers, but hey, I love learning stuff.

Today I want to talk about an Instagram trick that works! Forming a pod! No, not like dolphins. Well, maybe actually. An Instagram pod is a group of people who are in an chat together and you send a message to the group when you post something new and they like and comment on the post.

Not only do I actually like being friendly with strangers. It feels like what social media is should to be. Social. Artists supporting artists is among my favorite internet related feelings. But I have noticed an metric uptick in likes and otherwise engagement since joining one.

Each group normally has a niche. Fitness people hang with fitness people. Artists with artists. I’m sure there’s an analytical rational there too, but honestly, you just want to join a pod where people post things you wantta see.

I found my pod via reddit, but if you want to skip the looking and just join mine DM me @fyeahasexual.

Everything else I tried to boost your posts seems to reference old versions, or very very inconsistent. The idea to stick with tags that have a Goldilocks effect of not ‘too big not to small’, and tagging related businesses seems like a winner, but Instagram in 2020 favors likes and comments. Making pods, not only useful, but in my opinion just the best way to use Instagram. It helps me casually compliment the art of strangers as well which seems like a net good in the world.

Here’s some other things I learned about Instagram and it’s algorithm. Checking the tags of stuff you like, or the tagged photos from a company (copic, for example) is a great way to find people who post similar things as you. Follow them, instead of the tag.

By having a second account I am now able to follow strangers far more easily because I don’t have to worry about not seeing my personal friends. This is absolutely the problem I had with twitter. No matter how I tried to combat that with lists, no matter how many accounts I had, my “friends” would get lost and random “industry” or “community” tweets would get doubled. Instagram, for the most part, manages this juggle slightly better.

Also my ads tend to be slightly higher quality but I’m not sure why since I don’t see an option to target an account based on followers.

At the time of this posting, I’m close to losing the magical 10k number. But I’ve found a new way to use Instagram that I really challenges me to do things I love. Look at my drafts, I’m so excited to post them because it’s something I’m really proud of.

Whatever lessons you find in my recently Instagram blog posts, I hope you also find the new joy I have. (But so it would be pretty cool if you could help me keep swipe up by following lmao)

August’s Great Ace Club’s Book

It is a mystery! No, really. This month is a detective story, from not one, but two featured authors. Please welcome Katey Hawthorne and Jenna Rose. They are authors of Kanaan and Tilney Investigations. The third book in the series will be released Aug 28th, and to celebrate we are working together to give you the first ebook in the series!

About The Case of the Arms Dealers

John Tilney—praeternatural pyrokinetic and mystery author—has noticed the bottom dropping out of the market for his usual gothic fare, so he goes to Lowell Kanaan, PI, for a crash course in noir. Lowell, a cranky wolf-shifter detective, isn’t sure why he agrees to let John shadow him, though it might have something to do with John’s weirdly endearing honesty…and pretty lips. John thinks he’s found the perfect detective novel hero in Lowell, but it isn’t long before he realizes he doesn’t want Lowell for his book, but for himself.

As they become entangled in a supernatural whodunnit involving the Zombie Mafia, black market body parts, and shady insurance deals, their partnership grows closer—and hotter. But when it comes down to the wire, Lowell’s wolfish protective side threatens to drive John around the bend, or at least out of the office. Good thing John’s as much sunshine as he is fire; hopefully it’s enough to help them catch a murderer before they end up in literal pieces, too.

John Tilney is a biromantic ace, just like one of the authors! 😀

Be sure to sign up at for our email listing at GreatAce.Club before release day to get it!

Aren’t You GLAAD? – The History of “A is for-” & #GiveItBack

I was recently reminded that if want the history of disabled friendly online activism remembered I actually gotta recap it. So this is about the blog’s 2015′s #GiveItBack campaign and how cool @glaad was about it, and how they continue to really show the fuck up lol 

The earliest post I can find is from 2003, and it shows that debating if we (as aces) wanted to add an A letter to the English speaking alphabet soup that is was and is the acronym has been a thing for at least then if not before. There’s always been thoughtless reasons and thoughtful reasons why A could be ally or an endless amount of things. 

But our story really starts in 2015, with GLAAD’s #GotYourBack campaign. GLAAD as a nonprofit is huge, and really a media watchdogs for the community at large. They will praise good representation of LGBTQ characters and call out harmful stereotypes or even the lack of diversity itself. 

#GotYourBack was an ally focused events for people should visibility show up for the community. As you can see in this screencap below it is focus was #GotYourBack but also [A] if for Ally.

And for much of the non-AVEN ace community that praising felt like non-queer allies were being centered at the cost of our communities.This was on the heels of years of feeling excluded from the community at large. While that wasn’t GLAAD’s intent, it was a sign that the asexual community was not on their radar. Awareness and fighting invisibility was key issue to the community at that time, despite where your personal ace group was.

#GiveItBack was the hashtag coined by FuckYeahAsexual to ask GLAAD to change their phrasing so we could be included. So that allyship was not praised at a cost to us. When I started it was A for Asexual and very quickly it was debated that even we could do better than that. Why not share the A with any queer identity that inherently faced a negative? Within the first day of reaching out to GLAAD, A then stood for Asexual, Aromantic, and Agender. While aces and aros didn’t feel included at all, tons of agender people also didn’t feel seen in ‘big tent’ organizations, and we a-specs said ‘we get that, you can be heard with us.’ 

GLAAD agreed within 3 days. Which is really such an impressive feat for a group that large. (AVEN disagreed. And made its first public statement in 3 months a belittling the work of non-AVEN activism, and was a message that stayed of AVEN’s front page for at least another year. Despite their founder praising FuckYeahAsexual’s lead activism.)

“Acceptance of LGBT people, not just among non-LGBT folks, but also members of our own community. And this includes increasing acceptance of and being good allies to the Asexual, Agender, and Aromantic community.

“Let us say without equivocation, the ‘A’ in LGBTQIA represents millions of Asexual, Agender, and Aromantic people who are far too often left out of the conversation about acceptance.

“Part of being a good ally is learning how and when to do better for those people you support. For us, that means making sure the Asexual, Agender, and Aromantic community knows we’re #GotYourBack.” 

This is the best apology I’ve even seen in my life. May ever see. It not only says sorry, it says it is their duty to constantly do better based on community sentiment. It also absolutely follows the meaning of their #GotYourBack campaign. 

Not only in that, but in next few days did GLAAD further change the campaigns branding to no longer center A is for Ally.

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This is absolutely how you do it. The respect communities cheered for this really first huge endorsement of “Yeah, you’re us, we see you. #GotYourBack”

And the following year in 2016, #GiveItBack was used against to call out American Apparel’s ally focused rainbow capitalism. Further raising awareness for asexuals, aromantics and agender people. It trended as an article on Buzzfeed, Yahoo News wrote about what the A was supposed to mean and so on. 

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And American’s Apparel also used both hashtags from the GLAAD precedent in their apology. Not as good as GLAAD’s declaration of acceptance but again it’s a clothing company. 

And not only did GLAAD help set the standard by listening to use “tumblr aces” it also continued to include more queer diversity in other projects they did. Like in these 2016 #SpiritDay posts.

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And in 2020, I learned that because of the 2015’s #GiveItBack campaign, GLAAD reached out to ace communities to include such a-spec heavy arcs in Bojack Horseman from 2016-2020.

Like GLAAD originally said, your voice matters. Use it. You just might accidentally sent a new standard for how people treat you, and your whole community, with respect.