Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Over the past several months I've had a running series of posts on issues facing the asexual community in general and on asexual relationships in particular. I'm going to take a hint from Pretzelboy and have a post summing up the series so that it's easily readable. It all started out with:
What Asexual People Want- A quick overview of the issues facing the asexual community, which I break down into Support, Visibility, Institutionalization (I know, unfortunate word) and Relationships. I posit that asexual people have a relationship problem, and go into more depth in...
The Asexual Problem Part 1: Numbers- A discussion of the (temporarily) shitty outlook for asexual people that want to form romantic relationships with one another. Until we can get a good system in place to hook up asexy singles, a lot of people are going to have a problem finding the kind of intimacy that they want. But it ain't all that bleak, because...
The Asexual Problem Part 2: Language- Asexual people don't necessarily have a problem finding relationships, we just have a problem talking about them. Most of us have very, very poor language for talking about nonsexual intimacy. If we improve that language we can pretty much do it however we want whenever we want with whoever we want. (Yeehaw!)
The Magic Words Part 1: Focus on Relationships- To jumpstart the whole language discussion, I start talking about the language that I use personally. First rule: stop thinking in terms of "friends" and "partners," the binary sucks. Instead, just think in terms of "relationships" and explore the reasons why each relationship is unique. This has the added benefit of conceptually separating a relationship from the person with which you have that relationship (since relationships can often take on a mind of their own.)
The Magic Words Part 2: The Three T's- So if there are no friends or lovers, just "relationships" then how do you distinguish them? I talk about my personal system, which looks at Time, Touch, and Trust (which I used to call "Talk", but whatevs.)
The Magic Words Part 3: Using the Three T's- I flesh out the Three T's some more. They're not only a way to describe where a relationship is at, they're a way to think about growing it. I argue that spending time with someone leads to emotion (touch), expressing emotion leads to discussions about expectations which build trust, and trust makes people spend more time together. I think this cycle is the coolest shit ever.
The Magic Words Part 4: The Big Picture- Ok I lied, I actually think community is the coolest shit ever. After all, I'm not in just one relationship, I'm in a whole community of them. I talk about what it's like to actively build that community, what it feels like to depend on a community for my emotional needs, and how that community provides the kind of deep trust normally found in partnered relationships.