Category Archives: Creative writing
My contribution to the March Carnival of Aces, about physical health and bodies. Go check out all the contributions.
Explicit language about sex, though I try not to be graphic.
For twenty-five years all the landmarks of developing sexuality and romantic relationships pass me by.
I blame my impopularity, my insecurity, my anxiety, my depression.
I have a few crushes. I think those feelings are attraction.
I look at a man I have known for several years.
In disbelief I feel my lower stomach roil with heat and my groin clench. I flush.
I flee to the hallway and slide down a wall.
That was sexual attraction. Out of nowhere. Already waning.
I realise I have never, ever felt it before.
My mind explodes.
I find the word “asexual” online. I read, ferociously.
I am demisexual, I decide.
I feel highly relieved.
The general practicioner looks at me. “Are you sexually active?”
I tick the box for single on the document, on every document.
I am in Amsterdam during Pride week.
I buy a purple dress and paint flags on my hands.
No one recognises asexuality as a thing. I comfort myself with forum hopping.
Weaving through the crowds I realise the most important thing about Pride is intangible: lack of expectations.
People bring their kids to experience a place and time when anyone’s sexuality and gender can be anything and it is okay.
It is festive, but I am alone and unknown. I leave early.
On the way home I buy a black ring and put it on my right middle finger.
There, I am out.
I take a photo.
I fill out another form. Yes, I’m single, dammit.
For the first time, I want there to be a question about sexuality.
“I’ve been flirting with you for ages!”
“I honestly didn’t notice.”
“Oh my God.” Skype makes his laugh a muffled thing. “Do you like me? I mean, you were not responding, so.”
“…yeah. But. I wasn’t gonna say anything. This is online.”
“You were just gonna pine. Pathetically.”
“Well, yeah. I’m… kinda glad to be having this conversation, though.”
I discover that being in love comes with heightened awareness, especially of my body in the world.
Flirting, once I’m aware, is an addictive adrenaline rush.
I feel tender, vulnerable.
I stop blogging. This is for me.
“Your vagina’s kind of narrow.”
I glare at my doctor. What part of ‘never sexually active’ was unclear?
“You never masturbate?”
I shrug. “Yeah.”
She grimaces. “This may hurt.”
She slides in the I.U.D. Aside from a dull ache, it’s fine.
Five years’ worth of birth control, installed.
Our flirting, our conversations continue.
I am shameless. I grew up in a culture open about sexuality. I see no reason to hold back.
I find my imagination has the greatest influence over my body.
Anticipation can buzz for an entire day beneath skin.
I want touch, I crave it.
The flip side, he lives in another country.
I love the attention, the banter.
I want company. I want another body, close.
The calls become explicit too, sometimes.
I delight in the celebration of body, it is so new.
I am, perhaps for the first time, interested in manly bits.
I love the touch, even imagined, even removed. Giving and taking.
I love the gaze. I love the sounds. I love the play of talk and touch and exploration and affection.
However, as it becomes more… focused, it becomes less interesting.
Reality is less without imagination fully engaged.
The more it is about just the genitals, the less my body and mind are into it.
The popping, crackling full-body fizz as we suggested, flirted, started, settles down into a low, steady buzz in my belly, depressingly familiar from masturbating.
Now, as then, orgasm is simply an end. A sudden stop to pleasant sensation, like stepping in a cold shower.
I have learned not to let that buzz culminate and tip over, but now it does.
“Did you finish?” he asks and I answer in the affirmative.
I do not fake that, but I fake how it makes me feel.
I fear he notices.
We end that call and I curl up wanting to cry.
Orgasms do not work as advertised and I want an afterglow badly.
The foreplay is not supposed to be the highlight, dammit.
When I start counting in months, I feel his physical absence acutely.
The difference with friendship turns out to be the level of preoccupation and the territoriality that comes with it.
He is a missing limb, in my thoughts but never under my hands.
We drift apart. His disinterest grows and I become stiffer the longer I want more than I can have.
I start babysitting, for some money.
Children, I discover, like touch, especially when they can dictate it.
Since touch has always equaled affection in my family, it is very, very easy to love the kids.
I also discover babysitting can stop from one day to the next.
The first time it ends I cry for several days on the couch, I simply think I am sad.
The second time was longer, much worse, and I realise how much more territorial I was over kids than even a romantic partner. Even when I knew they were not mine.
I am preternaturally aware of my womb for several months.
After the third time is bad, so bad, I swear off babysitting.
I fill out another form. I tick single, and no, for sexually active.
A year in my new town, I finally feel comfortable to start touching the people I have come to know.
A hug, a supporting hand.
I do not realise just how much it relaxes me until I am asked what’s made me so cheerful.
I meet my new doctor.
“I am not sexually active, no. I am on the asexual spectrum.”
She gives me a weird look at my wide, wide smile.
Two years seems to be the mark for me to be settled enough to start feeling attracted to people.
A grinning woman, oozing charisma and feminity, makes me weirdly cheerful and want to stare like a creepy stalker.
At the coffeestore, to make it more cliche.
No flush, no buzz, though. No desire to touch.
Oh, oh. Aesthetic attraction, I realise. For a real, live person.
I meet a young woman, single.
She is going to be a foster parent.
It is a revelation. Many ways lead to Rome. I need not take the most common one.
My anxiety hits me over the head again, out of nowhere.
My sex drive remains. I still feel the occasional attraction, mostly aesthetic or romantic, once even the flush of sexual.
I blamed all the wrong things when I was young.
I am demisexual, and it is simply my nature, not a symptom.
I have tried to cover all the feelings that relate to my body and are encompassed by my demisexuality.
This is not a complete account, I have chosen to include the first (or only) time I felt or acted on certain attractions.
I decided to leave out times when that attraction was not directed at a real person but a fictional character, especially since sexuality seems to function very differently in imagined and real scenarios.
I told her I was asexual on the getting-to-know-my-patient form.
(Use language they might know.)
It was a test. She passed.
Reward unlocked: basic trust.
She leans forward, in an overstuffed armchair.
I am twisting my fingers, seated on an overstuffed sofa.
“Do you feel like you’re denying yourself anything because of your sexuality?”
I do not feel any less than whole, but…
Non-default sexuality. Limited options.
(There are paths you cannot walk. Choices have consequences even if you’re free to make them.)
“Yes, I do.”
“What, then? What don’t you let yourself have?”
“I don’t know.”
Sex. Love. Relationship. Loneliness. Family. Future. Life. Community. Connection. Status.
I type in mental keywords until I see what’s labeled ‘denied’.
Relief, which ebbs when I realise most results are coloured with doubt (do I want this) and dread (where do I even start) and trepidation (must research alternatives).
“I figure it’ll just be, y’know, harder for me. Or different. Don’t really know how to fit things in my life that I want.”
“I’m not normal.”
“Don’t put yourself down, now.”
“Actually… I like being who I am, a little weird. What it means for my life, though, not a clue. Which kinda brings us back to the whole no-clue-having about my life in general that brought me here.”
What helped, before, upon discovery of my demisexuality, was others who struggled, or didn’t. Their stories.
…must research alternatives…
Find a Let’s Play for asexuality.
My identity: demisexual.
Widen the search parameters, lieutenant.
What I say in my head: not ‘impossible’ but ‘difficult’.
How much have I denied myself, thinking that?
How much, by leaving things undefined, unexplored, chaos.
By choosing nothing, what did I choose?
Lesson from a therapist: a good one will not just accept, but help.
Questioning sexuality included.
Reward unlocked: active trust.
In writing this, I have had to go back and change every ‘we’ and ‘you’ into ‘I’.
False sense of safety in generalities and impersonal language.
How much have I denied myself?
Must research alternatives.
I stick my tongue out at the advertising, after checking the isle is empty.
I buy chocolates.
Quest part the first: Count Your Blessings.
Reward unlocked: family hugs.
I debate whether to post this. Therapy is personal.
It is exactly the sort of story I’m seeking.
I trawl blogs.
I am not alone.
Still comforting, several years in.
Got Valentine on the brain.
I do not want your naughty bits
I don’t want any sex
I do not want your dirty talk
No beast with the two backs
I do not want your nakedness
I do not want you bare
Unless you wish to sunbathe too
Unless you wish to share
I do not want your fondling
I do not want your touch
Unless you lack attraction too
Want cuddles just as much
I really want your loving, though
I really want your heart
I really want to love you too
I really want to start
I really want to share a life
I really want your mind
I want to know just what you think
Return that trust in kind
I really want to know the joy
I really want to court
To buy the roses down the street
Cook food that you adore
I want your love and no regrets
Society can fuck off
To love you, honestly myself
True love, so help me God
“Doctor, I want the female Viagra thingy, Ah-dee-dee-yee. Can you just get me prescription?”
“I generally want to get to know my patients, so let’s… talk first.”
“I’m in a hurry.”
“Please sit down, ma’am. Thank you. Why do you feel you need this drug?”
“Well… to have more sex.”
“What has led up to that?”
“Well, someone I know mentioned in and we got talking… so my husband said we should try it out. There’s no shame in getting a little help, y’know, when you can’t…. get revved up as easily as others.”
“Do you personally desire to have more sex?”
“I – I don’t know… not really, I guess… I mean, I like the activity once in a while but…”
“So you are satisfied with the intimacy as it is now?”
“No. I mean, I’d like more of it. But not orgasms. More… y’know, all the rest of it. Touching each other.”
“You’ve discussed this with your husband?”
“Not really, no. It’s awkward, y’know, talking about sex.”
“More so than having it?”
“Oh hell, yeah. I mean, you stutter and blush and there’s just so many words not coming out of my mouth.”
“Then perhaps… try to learn to talk and see if you can’t fulfill both your desires? It’ll be a lot cheaper and less harmful than chemicals. I can refer you to a good counselor, if necessary.”
“Oh… yes. Right. Yes, of course, thank you. I’m gonna, uh.”
“Have a good day ma’am. Oh, and ma’am?”
“If you’re in need of a mild stimulant, might I suggest a glass of red wine with dinner? It’s actually more effective and has far less side-effects.”
“Oh… right… Thank you. I’ll keep it in mind. Goodbye, doctor.”
“Next, please. Hello, ma’am, please take a seat.”
“Oh, that’s not necessary Doctor, I just need a prescription for that female Viagra I read about in the newspapers.”
“…have a seat, ma’am. Let’s talk about it, first.”
“No, I’m fine, otherwise, really, and I’m on my way to work, so if you could just -”
“We don’t prescribe it ma’am, for some very good reasons, have a seat, let me tell you why, and perhaps we can find a solution to your problem that does work. Alright?”
The newspapers in Holland keep referring to it as female Viagra. Le sigh. I really hope these are prescription drugs, at least, not available over-the-counter.
My thoughts continue to rattle on… Because possibilities! Ideas! Let’s see what we have, shall we?
- Several books published on asexuality, available online and offline
- Many, many articles written over the past decades, on paper, by magazines and newspapers, on people’s websites, in blogs, in events…
- A very active AVEN world watch forum where links and/or posts are published several times a day.
- Video and audio media in goodly amounts, as well as multimedia projects.
- Dedicated archives for media and zines.
- Several people dedicated to writing quality reviews and offering information.
- Media starting to appear in several languages that would be good to offer, and possibly offer translations or sub/dub versions…
- Probably a whole lot more.
Collecting either references or the media themselves in one place might help visibility immensely. So I figure, let’s think about this as a group, shall we? Hypothetically or realistically, what would be desirable to have?
- An online catalogue or database of existing media, with the emphasis on searchability and possibly reviews. Parallel: a library catalogue, for on- and offline media.
- An online archive with copies or reviews (depending) of existing media, with the emphasis on preservation and offering a wide collection of literature to those interested in a variety of topics concerning asexuality. Parallel: World Watch, but then a website.
- An online library with both existing media and new, where people can post, tag and review anything of interest, with an emphasis on offering a long-term place of publication and inclusive archive that worked to preserve as much of the media available on asexuality as possible, in several languages. Parallel: AO3/OTW, but way smaller.
Please tell me what would have your preference and advice you might have.
The third option is my personal preference, but it’d be the most ambitious project.
P.S. please do tell me if something similar is already in the works and I’m trying to reinvent the wheel.
P.P.S. I’m not trying to replace the World Watch forum, I think they’re a great help in signal-boosting newsworthy content, and I don’t believe in competition. I do believe that there’s room for a more flexible platform than a forum that would add to the pool of knowledge. I’m trying to see if that’s actually something other people want too. Keep in mind this’d be a long-term project that would take time to set up and grow, which’d fit in with the general growth of the asexual community, especially internationally.
(Crossposted to my wordpress and tumblr blogs and the AVEN Visibility forum. Please respond on your preferred platform.)
I have decided that I love you. After mapping out the entire shape of your being in the years that we have known each other, I love you. The greatest flaws you have made and deepest needs I cannot help with and darkest nights that I felt as much as you. I love you.
The initial flame has died, not even sexual, but this curious admiration and the pull to be near you, always, hear what you say, every word. I choose to build on that, every day. I choose to love you again, longer, more, other, every moment.
The shape of us together has become a creature almost independent of us, the intangible member of our trinity. The length of our time together and the richness of our memories and the diversity of ways in which we constructed, deconstructed, destroyed and mended what we share and who we are. I love you.
Oh, the soul of you is beautiful. Joy, discerning the shape of your mind entire. I have tasted every flavour of your spirit. To know them all and be two whole creatures independent in one unit so intimate. I love you.
The synchronicity of us has grown. What you pick up in the store is what I need a day later and a vacation I bookmark is the escape you wish for after a busy day. I love you.
It is an act I perform every day. A choice I make every day. A habit I maintain carefully. Investment and gift and necessity. I love you, because it is logical.
ASEXUAL DATING SERVICE AD
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SURFER DUDE and CHEEKY BRUNETTE walk along the waterline hand in hand, talking unheard. They pause to point towards the horizon. CHEEKY BRUNETTE laughs at a remark of SURFER DUDE and sticks her tongue out.
EPIC VOICE (V/O)
Is your ideal date walking along the beach all day and night, talking? Not even stopping for a kiss?
2. INT. LIVING ROOM. NIGHT
BLONDE HIPPIE GIRL spoons BIKER CHICK on a couch, both asleep.
GENTLE VOICE (V/O)
Do you wish you could just cuddle up to her all night long?
3. EXT. UNIVERSITY LIBRARY ENTRANCE. DAY.
HIPSTER STUDENT greets PREPPY STUDENT and points at the stack of books in PREPPY STUDENT’s hands. PREPPY STUDENT nods eagerly and hands over the books, bending over to shoulder a bulging backpack. HIPSTER STUDENT crams the books under one arm and takes PREPPY STUDENT’s arm with a free hand. They walk down the stairs together.
EPIC VOICE (V/O)
Do you dream of the day you can court him like a modern knight?
Fade to logo.
GENTLE VOICE (V/O)
Check out this all-new dating service, specially designed for all you folks who DON’T want your relationship to be all about sex.
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Website address appears beneath the logo, which flares from left to right before fading to black.
Liberties were taken with the script format.
When I open my eyes I am on the sofa, still dressed and you in a chair, crick in your neck. I fail to rub the sleep out of my face and the pain out of my lower back while you blink and take in the ceiling.
“Omelet?” I ask.
“Tomatoes and peas, please.” Your shoulders crack and sleepy warmth pins my hip and arm to the counter.
I smile. The more veg your food is, the lighter your heart. I hip-check you out of my way and make us breakfast while you shower.
“My turn for dinner?” you ask, halfway through the omelet.
I nod. “Jenny’s coming as well.” When you grumble I shoot a pea at you nose and you flick drops of lukewarm tea at me.
When you put down your fork I snatch clothes from my room before you can hog it again to play with your hair. “Oy!” you say from yours and I laugh at you.
A courtyard and tiny houses built before Columbus sailed or Constantinople fell.
I close my eyes and open my mind. There you sit, sunning yourself after you’ve done your laundry. When your friend comes back from mending clothes at the girls’ orphanage you might have a beer on the porch.
I’ve peeked into your house before, offended, centuries late, that you had to give up what sexual freedom you had in order to gain the freedom of movement this life offered.
You believed in God, but most, you wished for the city, for freedom. So here you came to live amongst other women, each your own house. Your own bed to rise from at dawn, your own meals to cook.
This second visit, I wonder.
Did you feel not quite right amongst friends? Did you wonder about what they whispered behind hands? Given more choices, which would you have made?
When you saw your friends’ courting and their swollen bellies, did you wish for it?
I reconsider… perhaps the celibacy was in itself part of your freedom, rather than a price payed.
In the late Middle Ages, some women lived in an begijnhof or beguinage.