Invalidation

2 Nov

More on this later.

But it is late at night, and I am ragefacing, and this needs to get out.

Here are the ways I have been invalidated recently:

  • Being told my asexuality is a phase
  • Being told I am handling my mental illness incorrectly
  • Being told what the best thing to do to feel better would be
  • Being told that my interests in kink (while also being an abuse survivor) are dangerous
  • Being told that being skinny or proportioned like I am means I have no body image issues or physical problems whatsoever
  • Being treated like an object instead of a person (though this is a very common occurrence, this was from someone I considered a friend)
  • Being told that I’m “lucky” to have had hyperthyroidism (as opposed to hypothyroidism) because it made me lose weight
  • Being told by people I am close to that I don’t have the right to be in control of my own decisions and body because I deal with mental illness on a daily basis
  • Being told by my mother that because I am dating someone who is male that it means I’m “more heterosexual”
  • Having each and every one of my decisions fucking questioned because I deal with mental illness, as though it somehow controls every aspect of my life
  • Being told that my experience of abuse and its aftermath is not “correct”

This is my life, and I experience it the way I experience it.

What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another.  Being told that I’m not experiencing my life The Right Way infuriates me to no end, because there is no Right Way. We’re all alive, and we all have different personalities and experiences.

So I would really appreciate it if people would stop trying to fit me into one little box and say that I have to experience sexuality this way, and my PTSD needs to have been “textbook normal,” and that because I struggle with mental illness I must not be able to take care of myself at all, and that because I’m skinny I must have the perfect life.

Stereotypes.

They are awful.

So stop perpetuating them by invalidating my experiences simply because I might have a different reaction to a situation than you would.

The Sexual Arousal Cycle and Asexuality

25 Oct

Foreword: In this post, I will be writing about both the emotional and biological components of arousal, masturbation and orgasm as they relate to my experiences of asexuality thus far.

The experience of orgasm as something other than magical and amazing isn’t something I’ve seen talked about much, so I figured I’d jot a few things down.

Run away now if you don’t wish to know these things about me.  *waves magic wand*

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I am most likely, according to pretty much any medical professional out there, broken.

Because I do not, in fact, experience orgasm in anywhere near the same way as the rest of the population.  At least so far as I understand it.  And I understand the biological intricacies of orgasm quite well, being a bit of a biology nerd.

It doesn’t bother me in and of itself, mainly because I only occasionally masturbate.  Every once in a while my hormones will go “YOU SHOULD MAKE BABIES NOW” or I’ll read a really hot fic or Something Will Happen that turns me on (as Verbs, Not Nouns put it…well, verbs, not nouns).  I’ve never experienced sexual arousal simply by seeing a person that I like, or smelling their clothes or whatnot.

It’s an interesting process, both biologically and emotionally.  At the beginning I’m all interested in what’s going on, excited even, and the physical sensations are rather awesome.  But there reaches a certain point where it just becomes an itch that needs scratching, and not in an unpleasant way, but not in a pleasant way, either.  And emotionally I lose interest entirely.  Then biologically we reach the point of orgasm, which I know must be happening because certain muscles are clenching and releasing, and the rhythm of blood flow, etc.  But I don’t believe I’ve ever had that “OMG HAPPY YAY THIS IS AWESOME I WANT MORE OF IT YAAAAAAY I’VE NEVER FELT BETTER” feeling that other people seem to experience.

Some people say I must be doing it wrong.  Which, well, no?  Because in a physical sense my body does what’s supposed to happen at the end of the arousal cycle.  And while there is a release of endorphins, there is no magically amazing physical sensation that goes on down there.  And I don’t feel remarkably happy or anything.  I’m just like “Oh.  Well, that’s over with, then.  Kind of wish the beginning part had  lasted longer.”

It’s entirely possible that I’m just wired differently.  I experience certain types of pressure and pain as pleasurable, and I know there are plenty of other people out there who do as well.

So who’s to say that not experiencing the physical sensation of orgasm as pleasant isn’t just as valid?

Oh hey! A positive post!

2 Oct

At least, positive for the first time in quite a while, instead of just whiny, on this blog.

This was kind of originally going to be a “Tips for Aces on Dating Other Aces” post, but that will probably actually happen later.  For now I just want to talk about aces dating aces.

This post has been brought to you, in the deepest night, by cheap wine, Thinky Thoughts, abuse of parentheses, and some actual sober consideration of the topic that occurred a few hours ago.

So I was Officially Single (whatever that means) for a couple of months this summer.  The breakups, or…not!breakups, I suppose.  I don’t know what they were.  Anyway, those romantic relationships changed and are no longer considered to be Dating Situations.  But neither of those changes were caused by anything relating to my sexuality, which is important to note.

I was expecting to be Officially Single for a while.  Mostly because I wasn’t actively searching for a romantic relationship, and I was struggling with the aftermath of a medical scare, and I just figured it wouldn’t be in the cards for me for a bit.

And then Q happened.

We met at a friend’s wedding at the end of July.  He pretty much sat down and went “Are you Antissa?  R said I should meet you.  And you were talking about Tumblr.”

It turns out that he had been struggling with figuring out his sexuality for a while, and while R and I were dating she suggested he talk to me (and she completely forgot to introduce us, which I find hilarious).  We’d also seen each other in passing at a convention for three years prior, just never introduced ourselves.

Which is also kind of hilarious.

Actually, most of our relationship is fully of The Silly.

Anyway.  Backtracking now.  We met at the wedding, and pretty much hit it off right away, bonding over meeting other geeky aces(!), Doctor Who, and social justice issues.

So we’ve been dating about two months now, and it’s been awesome.  He lives 5 hours away, which sucks, but we talk on GChat all the time and watch shows together and try to plan trips whenever it’s financially feasible.  It also helps that we both basically live in fandom, so we’re used to having close relationships with people we rarely (if ever) get to see in meatspace.

And this all just took me completely by surprise, because I was not looking.  At all.  And then suddenly romance?  Life is weird like that, I suppose.

We’re in a primarily monogamous relationship right now, with exceptions for the lingerie parties, and it’s working out quite well!  Lots and lots and lots of communication about everything, including (but not limited to) physical boundaries, emotional attachment, triggers, pet peeves, and if anything needs to be altered in the relationship.

There are also cuddles. Millions of cuddles.

Okay, so this post has been mostly me rambling about my new boyfriend.

But my main point is this: I never thought I would ever, ever find another asexual that I would be romantically compatible with (the fact that we’re close to the same place on the asexuality spectrum helps a lot too, and we’re both very tactile).

The statistics were just not in my favor, with approximately only 1% of the human population identifying as asexual.

But sometimes you get lucky.  Sometimes you get very, very lucky, and I feel so privileged to have Q in my life.

For the first time I am in a romantic relationship where I don’t feel guilty for not wanting sex, because he doesn’t want it either, and we basically get to cuddle our faces off and geek out and Be Awesome without any of that sexual tension stuff being a factor.

It’s really quite wonderful.

Agh.

17 Jul

I have a birthday party coming up on Friday.

I’m most likely going to have to turn someone down for a date/relationship, which I’m really, really not looking forward to.

That imbalance between seeing someone as a platonic friend when they see you romantically is so awkward, no matter what side you’re on.

(I don’t think he’ll pull the “but I was there for you when you were depressed!” card, because he’s a decent guy, but aaaaagh.)

I’m going to have to do my best to not let that ruin the party.

Snake Eyes

16 Jul

And then there are the days where I just really…really hate the hand I’ve been dealt.

I hate that things automatically become complicated once I reveal my sexuality.

I hate that monogamy really never seems like it’ll ever be a viable option (even though I am poly; I’d still like it to be an option).

I hate that I’m not wired like 99% of the rest of the population.

I hate that I feel like I’m always seen as “lesser than,” that a relationship with me would somehow be less “complete” or “not enough” because sex is not now an option, and may never be.  Every relationship I’ve been in, I’ve felt like the…not second-place prize, exactly.  Like they’re just waiting for something better to come along, or I’m just a place-card.

I hate that if I’m flirting with someone, I constantly have to worry about the 101 Talk, or negotiations, constantly negotiating everything because I’ll never want the same things as other people and it just…it really hurts, sometimes.

No matter how much I tell myself these feelings will pass, they always remain, like a little dark shadow, in the far reaches of my mind.

This has been a post.

Late-Night Randomness

12 Jul

I really should have bitten one of those vampires at the convention when I had the chance.

Asexual frustrations, anyone?

Trauma, Threats, and Taking Back Control

11 Jul

TW: Discussion of rape, rape culture, abuse, manipulation, and harassment.

This whole Daniel Tosh thing (as well as just the time of year) has dredged up a lot of shit, so you get to hear me talk about it.  I can’t stay silent about it.  Because by not talking about it, he has control over the situation.  He doesn’t get to have that.

I should probably note that Ragey Post is Full of Rage, so if you don’t like rants, come back in a couple weeks.

As always, I can’t guarantee how coherent any of this will be.  I’ll try to put it in some sort of order.

tl;dr at the bottom.

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Trivializing rape is not, and never will be, okay.  It’s even worse when you make it personal.  Even if the woman was heckling you, you don’t get to make a “joke” toward her that could very easily be construed as a threat.  If what Tosh did to that woman had happened to me, I would have gone straight to the police.  Because if you’re joking about something that is that sensitive of a topic and threatens the well-being of so many people every day, you cannot expect me to feel safe around you.

If you make a personal rape joke toward me, expect me to react as though you have threatened me.  Because rape jokes are threatening.

Trivializing rape is not new.  When I realized, at age 20, that one of my close friends was a serial rapist, I was told by the school I’d get into legal trouble if I tried to warn people about him.  I was ridiculed by my peers, who said that you couldn’t possibly be friends with someone like that and not know.  That the victims were probably all lying (all seven of them?  Really?).  They said that someone who seemed so nice couldn’t do something so horrible.  They fucking made jokes about it.

But this post is not about Daniel Tosh.  This post is about control, the people who try to take it away, and what happens when you finally get it back.

When I was 21, I discovered first-hand that there are people out there who can and will take advantage of people who are suffering.  I had the control over my life weakened by my depression, then ripped away altogether by someone who manipulated, abused, and raped me.  Then proceeded to stalk me, drawing out the abuse further.  Because of the mental state I was in, I was absolutely terrified of regaining any control over my life.  I felt like I was so depressed because of something I had or hadn’t done, and that I obviously wasn’t qualified to make my own life decisions.  So I clung to my boyfriend.  I let him make all the decisions.  I said “no” (many times, god, so many times), but then gave in when he started whining or repeated the request multiple times.  I was terrified of doing something to push him away, because I didn’t trust myself to be able to survive without him.  Which was completely irrational, but I’ve talked about brains and rational thinking before, I believe.

While the relationship only lasted three months, I spent the next two years trying to learn to feel safe again.  Trying to learn to have control over my own life, and my feelings, and my safety as much as possible.  I documented every little thing he sent to me and took it to a legal advocate (who is still in my contacts list in my phone, just in case).  I didn’t press charges for harassment, or rape, even though I could have, because the justice system is just one more thing I don’t have any control over, and I’ve seen how rape cases go.  I didn’t want to relive that again.  And I know how a jury of my peers would react to coercive rape (as opposed to violent rape).  So I swore to myself that the next time he contacted me, I would go straight to the police.

I didn’t.

Because I convinced myself I didn’t have enough evidence that things would stand up in court.  I convinced myself that even if I did and I got a restraining order, he would still have the upper hand.  Those things only last a finite amount of time.  And based on his previous behaviors, antagonizing him was the last thing I wanted to do.  I convinced myself he would come after me, and perhaps even become violent toward me.  I thought that keeping quiet was the safer route.

So I didn’t file.

And proceeded to spend the next age and a half with the fear that he would contact me again, or worse, find out where I lived.

It’s been about six months since I’ve begun to feel safe in my city again.  I live on the second story of a building, but I don’t feel like I have to lock my windows every night anymore.  I keep my therapist updated on what’s going on in my brain related to my trauma and trust issues.  I’ve been slowly, oh so slowly, learning to trust again.  And learning how to keep everything from falling apart if that trust gets broken a bit.

Most importantly, I’ve been giving myself permission to have control over as much of my life as possible.  Which means exerting control over who I spend time with, what safety measures I take to protect myself, reacting appropriately when a boundary has been crossed, making sure I keep my brain as not!crazy as possible, and choosing to do the things that make me feel happy and safe.

If I get the feeling that someone is not safe to be around, I stay away from them.  My instincts in this area have rarely been wrong.  If I absolutely have to be around someone I perceive as a potential threat, I make sure I’m around people I trust to protect me.  Luckily I have several of the latter in my life.

I have been extremely cautious about who I trust to come into contact with my body, in any capacity.  I have also been making great strides in being more vocal about what is and is not okay.  I spent a long time after my ex figuring out what my new boundaries were, both sexual and non-sexual.  Some things were triggering, while some were just things I wasn’t interested in.  Those boundaries are flexible, but I am the only one who gets to decide whether they should change or not.  I have spent an incredible amount of time thinking about what is right for me, and making sure that I can express those things to any potential partners.

So when someone I wasn’t even friends with decided to tell me that I should stop participating in kinky activities because he thought it could be detrimental to my mental health, I lashed out.  Because even if he was legitimately trying to help, his assumption that he knew better than I do what to do with my body was horribly offensive.  And the implication that he had any amount of control over what I could do with my life was threatening to me.  The fact that he continued to push the subject long after I said it was none of his business just reinforced that feeling of my safety being violated.  I had spent months figuring out what could potentially trigger me and what wouldn’t, with the help of a couple of friends, and all of the relevant people in my life knew about that progression and what the risks involved were.  And what to do if I did get triggered (I never have been, so far).  Even my therapist knew all about it, and she thought it was a very healthy thing to do.  Her view was that if it helped me learn more about myself in a safe way, great; if I enjoyed the experiences, even better.  And she agreed that while I do much subbing at this time, that could easily change over the next few months/years/whathaveyou.  I’ll probably always take more joy from domming, but then again that offers me a much greater sense of control over my environment, and control is something I feel I must cherish while I can, because it can be taken away.

But I take back control of my life every time I choose to lash out at someone when they threaten me (intentionally or not), when I form my own boundaries and discuss them openly with other people, when I choose to take my pills on time, when I choose to do with my body what I feel is right for the time and place and person I’m with.

I take back control of my life every time I refuse to stay silent about what happened to me.

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Teal Deer (tl;dr):

I had control over my life ripped away from me a few years ago.  I’ve gotten it back.  I’m luckier than most, in a lot of ways.

But any time someone tries to assert authority over my life, either by trying to “help,” or by making me feel unsafe (I’m looking at you, Tosh), I will perceive that as a threat, and react accordingly.

Nobody gets to have control over my life but me.