Week 2 Round-up

Posted January 11, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

Tags:

Weekly Accountability

Hi, everyone! It’s that time again! Weekly updates delivered every Friday!

Completed Projects

  • 23/13 books read

Okay, before anyone flails at that number, I’d like to note that it includes books I didn’t finish and short stories that were released as single ebooks.

  • 17,005/10,000 words

Goal Updates

  • 2/4 discussions of papers in Asexuality and Sexual Normativity

Writing Updates

This Week’s Fiction Wordcount: 7,333

This Week’s Non-Fiction Wordcount: 4,636

DemiPrincess2: Well! I’ve managed to sort out a plot hole I was struggling with, which resulted in simultaneously fixing up two chapters I was unhappy with, so now I just need to rework the next two to match up and we’re all good to continue. Whoot!

Life And Other Such Important Matters

It has taken, like, a month, but I have finally baked biscuits! Again. I’d torn one of my nails rather spectacularly, so I opted to let the tear grow into something I could cut into non-existence. Cat continues to be affectionate. Like continues to be, well, life. And I just really don’t have much to say about it? I am the worst at these updates, I know.

Stand-out Positive Moment

See about the only noteworthy thing that I did this past week. I have chocolate biscuits! Whoohoo! I even got the tray almost done before putting them in the oven and I almost got non-burnt biscuits! Progress! (Also they’re really good biscuits.)

This Week on Patreon

All the Patreon posts from the past week, collected in neat and tidy lists, divided by tier.

Free

$1+

$5+

How about you? What have you been up to lately? Has anything awesome happened?

Divider

Let’s Read! Chapter 1 of Asexuality and Sexual Normativity

Posted January 9, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

Tags:

Hi, everyone! Welcome to the very first official post of Let’s Read Asexual Academia, a series in which I read, react to and critically discuss academic papers about asexuality. You are cordially invited to join in reading about asexuality.

Currently, the let’s read is focused on Asexuality and Sexual Normativity: An Anthology. Published in 2014, this book collects a special edition of the journal Psychology & Sexuality in 2013. (I messed up the dates in the post announcing the let’s read. My apologies for that.) This post will cover some of the introduction, though its main focus is on the first essay in the anthology.

This first post is available to everyone, to give you all an idea of what to expect, but the remaining 9 papers (or chapters) of the book will only be available to patrons. I aim to have a discussion of a paper up once a week, which means we’ll finish this book around mid-March.

Without further ado, let me offer you the essay! (Note: It’s around 3,300 words long.)

A Discussion of “Who reports absence of sexual attraction in Britain? Evidence from national probability surveys” through the Eyes of an Asexual from the Future

One of the things you see a lot of in online discussions of asexuality (and to a lesser extent aromanticism) is a reference to a study conducted by Anthony Bogaert that concluded that about 1% of the population is asexual and, therefore, asexuality is a valid and real sexual orientation that should be acknowledged. That’s… usually also pretty much it for citing and discussing research into asexuality. At best, the assumption exists that people are aware of the study that Bogaert did: what he was looking for, how he came to those conclusions and what that means.

There is, however, more to it than that. Bogaert’s study is from 2004. I didn’t discover asexuality until around 2011 and was still exploring what that all meant for me by the time this book was published in 2013. By that time, almost a decade had passed since Bogaert first published his findings. I had no idea that there was more out there to be found, that Bogaert hadn’t conducted his own survey but analysed data from a much larger study, that other people were doing academic research based on other surveys, that they were all leading to similar conclusions insofar as the survey allowed them to draw those. I didn’t know, because no one ever mentions that these surveys and their findings exist.

I didn’t know that what is now known as the split model attraction to, at the very least, non-academic aromantics and some asexuals wasn’t just a known factor in academic research regarding asexuality, but an important part on the discussions of the limitations of the research done to date.

I didn’t know that research, repeatedly, suggests that asexuality is not, in fact, a sexual disorder that needs treatment and that researchers into asexuality may actively discourage health professionals from deciding it’s an issue. Mostly because a lot of asexual and aromantic people seeking help for something unrelated end up discovering their lack of sexual and/or romantic attraction being blamed for their issues and assumed to be causing them distress.

To date, I know of only three academic books that were published on the matter of asexuality. There are some more popscience publications, but that’s about it. You’re more likely to find individual papers. Asexuality and Sexual Normativity (edited by mark Carrigan, Kristina Gupta and Todd G. Morrison) is one of those books. It’s an anthology that collects a set of papers from a special edition of a psychology journal.

And I’ll admit that everything I’ve experienced and heard about psychology and asexuality made me step into this book wary, expecting to find myself invalidated and discussed in ways that made me tear my hair out. The introduction itself managed to make me not just interested in the chapters on asexuality and HSDD (Hypoactive sexual desire disorder) but excited to read them which isn’t a thing I’d ever say. I was dreading those and what they might say, how they might invalidate core parts of my identity. But the introduction itself already went “These are two different things”, so… I’m hopeful.

Then for this week’s discussion I read the first paper in the anthology. That’s Who reports absence of sexual attraction in Britain? Evidence from national probability surveys by Catherine R.H. Aicken, Catherine H. Mercer and Jackie A. Cassell. This paper is, in effect, a collation and summary of the qualitative research that had been done to date, so up to 2013. You shouldn’t go into it expecting an incredibly deep look at the numbers because this is an overview that only really highlights the main findings overall, where the surveys fail and the importance of more research.

Let me just say that, as a dyscalculic not-mathsy-person, I actually really enjoyed reading this paper. If I had to offer a single point of criticism on it, it’s that the paper, like the surveys it analyses, erases the spectrum of asexuality, as evidenced by its opening paragraph. The very first paragraph of the paper gives the reader the definition of asexuality used in it. That definition is “absence of sexual attraction to others”, and the researchers continue with a statement that they “recognise that this definition is contested.” I should note that the discussions about the academic definition of asexuality are somewhat broader than the discussions I’ve seen in asexual communities but both cover roughly the same gist.

Surprisingly, the paper (like the introduction) acknowledges the split attraction model in all but name and makes a distinction between ‘romantic asexuals’, ‘aromantic asexuals’ and ‘sexuals’. (I’ll be using ‘alloromantic’ or ‘allosexual’ to discuss general identity groups unless I’m referring directly to what the paper is saying.) To my knowledge the terminology here is at least somewhat outdated, but it can be explained by the concept that the split attraction model was only starting to be formed and the idea of (a)sexuality as a spectrum wasn’t as well known. The paper itself makes it clear that they’re using asexual/sexual as a binary definition, effectively if potentially unknowningly erasing the experiences of grayasexuals and demisexuals who would, according to the survey data available to the researchers, be found under ‘sexuals’ even if and even though an analysis of anecdotal experiences would make it clear that these are distinct aspects of asexuality. The use of ‘allosexual’ in favour of ‘sexual’ allows discussions of sexuality and sexual attraction to be more nuanced than they were at the time this paper was written.

The use of ‘sexual’ was, to me and my 2018 lens of asexuality and aromantic studies, very jarring and it sent me down a tangential thought of the way language, culture and how we understand the world all come about. A frequent, ah, complaint made against asexuality by ace-exclusionists is that the term ‘asexual’ is simply too new and too modern. No one was asexual before the word was coined, therefore asexuals are special snowflakes[1]. To my surprise and delight, the introduction at least acknowledges the possibility of how the language we use shape our understanding of the world around us[2]. This isn’t a concept that’s new to queer studies. Looks at the past, especially those through a queer lens, are rife with warnings that we cannot simply apply modern labels to people who didn’t have the same concepts or definitions of sexuality that we did. We know that the past didn’t view sexuality quite the same way we do nowadays and we do our best to account for that.

For all that, though, discussions about asexuality seem to be the only discussions where people try to use the absence of a modern understanding of sexuality as a reason to say this modern understanding of sexuality is therefore clearly and categorically something ‘made up’ by people who ‘want to be oppressed’. The reasoning there is something like “Because there was no concept of asexuality the way we understand it today in the past, asexuality isn’t a valid orientation”. But that type of reasoning ignores that we allow most every other queer identity the benefit of the doubt. Despite the pitfalls of assigning modern concepts to historical people, there are no shortcomings of people arguing for the fact that Sappho was a lesbian or that Jeanne d’Arc was transgender; it’s just they didn’t have words. And, listen, I’m not contesting those assertions (for one I’m not a historian; for another the arguments are pretty convincing). I’m just pointing out that the absence of modern definitions of the words we ascribe queer identities is not an issue with recognising these identities as real and valid (and historically present, linguistic issues aside) while it is an issue when it concerns asexuality. I doubt this anthology of papers will offer me a look into that, but boy do I ever want one and I hope someone’s already done or is doing research in that area. Also I would like to note that Western people-whom-we-might-now-describe-as-asexual actually did have a word they could use to describe their experiences. That word is ‘celibate’ and its existence is kind of a bane to a lot of asexual people who just repeatedly have to explain the difference and how the word does not, in fact, apply to them. Fun fact: according to the paper about a third of asexuals has or has had sex and is in a relationship, possibly with children, but then I’m getting ahead of myself.

The paper goes on to say

In the analysis, it was assumed that asexuals would respond ‘something else’, instead of heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual (Poston & Baumle, 2010). However, in order to pick responses that best fit their experience, asexuals may in fact categorise romantic relationships in which they do not necessarily feel sexual attraction, as hetero-, homo-, or bisexual, and not ‘something else’ (Brotto et al., 2010) (Aicken et al., 2013)

which, if I’m honest, annoys me spectacularly. There’s nothing wrong with this assertion, as such. It’s a statement of fact about the way that romantic asexuals may muddle the survey data. The idea here is, of course, that romantic attraction will get mistaken for sexual attraction and that a non-insignificant portion of alloromantic asexuals will answer the question of who they’re sexually attracted to by stating who they’re romantically attracted to. Since the surveys make no distinction between romantic or sexual attraction either, that means there’s a potentially significant portion of asexuals who are getting excluded from these surveys.

Some of this could have been addressed by a simple note reminding people of the existence of aromantics. It would, at the very least, have aided in acknowledging that romantic and sexual orientations are not the same thing. While academic research in 2013 evidently didn’t acknowledge the split attraction model by name, it is obviously using that model to discuss findings regarding (a)sexuality. So despite ace-exclusionists being all “Ew, that’s homophobic” about it, this is a model that academic research finds valuable enough to include in its discussions and if their beef with asexual and aromantic studies is “that’s not authentic enough”, here you go: peer-reviewed academic research is using it too and was doing so as early as 2013.

The authors then get into more detail regarding how the surveys were performed, which sent me on a tangent reading survey questions, but let’s start at the beginning. The first (well-known) research into asexuality stems from Anthony F. Bogaert’s Asexuality: Prevalence and associated factors in a national probability sample from 2004, which led to the book Understanding Asexuality, published in 2012.

Bogaert analysed the responses of the Natsal-1, which is where the oft-cited idea that 1% of the population is asexual comes from. It does not, as I’ve seen people claim, come from a survey specifically created to identify asexuality and it does not, as I’ve seen people claim, come from a sample size too small to draw any reasonable conclusions. (In any case, other independent research and further analysis of Natsal surveys largely support the original claim.) Natsal stands for “National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles” and is a survey conducted by NatCen Social Research, the largest independent social research institute in the UK. Natsal-1 refers to the first survey of this type, conducted in 1990-1991. Natsal-2 refers to the second survey of this type, conducted in 2000-2001. At the time this paper was written, Natsal-3 (2010-2011) does not appear to have been available for inclusion in the paper’s analysis.

If you’d like to know more about the Natsal-3, you can go directly to the survey’s website or you can read more about it on the NatCen website. Since the Natsal-3 offers a transcript of its revised questionnaire, I’d like to point out that the question most relevant to this analysis, that of whether someone has experienced sexual attraction, does not appear to be changed. I’d also like to note that while the Natsal-3 is pretty good at repeatedly reminding respondents how the survey interprets certain terms ‘sexual attraction’ is not part of the terms they define. The paper will point out that some asexuals may mistake romantic attraction for sexual attraction or otherwise not know how to interpret ‘sexual attraction’, so if there is to be a fourth Natsal in 2020-2021, I would urge the researchers in charge of that to offer a definition of how they define ‘sexual attraction’ in the interest of gathering more accurate data. (While I’m at it, more awareness that nonbinary people exist would be welcome to.)

At this point, the paper gets into a table of results that I just… genuinely cannot parse effectively on my own. I’m sorry. I plead dyscalculia. What I can parse, though, reveals some interested pieces of data. You’ll have to get the research and tables yourself if you want to verify what I’m about to say, but honestly the book is worth getting for this essay alone and if you’re interested in research regarding asexuality you want this essay.

Among the interesting pieces of data it reveals is that between the Natsal-1 and Natsal-2 the prevalence of ‘people who identify as never experiencing sexual attraction’ has gone down rather than up. It would be incredibly interesting to see how the Natsal-3 compares to them because of the dates of the surveys. Natsal-2 was conducted right in the year that asexuality started to gain some visibility, so you might expect the number of people identifying as ‘not interested in sex’ to go up as awareness increases. Yet Natsal-2’s numbers are down from the first survey and we’ve no idea what Natsal-3 is like in that regard. Did they go up? Did they drop further? Were they roughly the same as Natsal-2? Is asexuality less prevalent than we first assumed? How does the increased understanding of asexuality (and sexuality as a whole) as a spectrum affect these surveys? We don’t know!

What we do know is that these survey numbers are going to be inaccurate representations of asexuality so long as they maintain the binary divide between asexual/sexual that the researchers are using and the paper never really touches on that. I bring this up largely because, as a demisexual, my experiences have an incredibly and not insignificant amount of overlap with those of asexuals. Yet, if I were to participate in a Natsal survey, my experiences would also lump me in the ‘sexual’ category even though a more detailed look at those experiences places me, quite firmly, in the ‘asexual’ category. The survey just isn’t designed to handle the inclusion of certain experiences with sexual desire, leading to miscategorisation and erasure of these experiences. The paper will acknowledge this eventually once in almost a throw-away sentence later on; I just think it needed to be a larger part of their criticism.

Another thing that these surveys uncovered is that “[a]bsence of sexual attraction was more commonly reported among respondents of Indian and Pakistani ethnic origin, who made up 12.2% men and 23.2% of women without sexual attraction (in contrast to 2.7% and 2.8% of those who experienced sexual attraction).” (Aicken et al., 2013) Yes, you’re reading that correctly. Despite the overwhelming whiteness of asexual communities, especially online, according to surveys white people do not, in fact, make up the largest group of people reporting no sexual attraction. This is where my inability to read the tables effectively was really strong because this is something that the paper will say explicitly a bit later, but what it doesn’t do (because it assumes you can read the tables effectively) is give you the numbers or a sense of the size of the difference.

I’ve already touched on the paper’s finding that asexuals can and do get into relationships and may have kids. The analysis doesn’t really go into how or why asexuals choose to this, but they do acknowledge that there are a variety of reasons and not all of them will be captures by a survey like this. In fact, when it comes to having children, “[o]ne in three men and one in five women with an absence of sexual attraction had children, in contrast to almost half of men and almost two-thirds of women with sexual attraction”.

I bring this up largely because these findings so directly contradict the stereotype of (aromantic) asexuals as robotic or dead or emotionless or, basically, in any way divorced from society. Research, actual academic research, indicates that these stereotypes are nonsense. Okay, fine, research suggests that the majority of asexuals lives their life not according to the social ideal, but my point is that this majority is a lot smaller than the stereotype would have you believe. (And even then it’s still a stereotype that isn’t really bourne out by the surveys, as we’ll see in a little bit.)

Lastly, the research indicates that “more than half of women without sexual attraction agreed or agreed strongly to the statement [that sex is the most important part of any marriage or relationship]”. The survey takes a while to point out that there appears to be no link between this number and sexual coercion, which I think is a bit of an oversight, to put it mildly. Part of that stems from having seen the ways ace-exclusionists deal with the very concept of asexuality and coercion. (It’s basically “You weren’t coerced. Okay, maybe you were, but it wasn’t because you’re asexual. No, not even if the person doing the coercing explicitly says so. It can’t have been because you’re asexual because asexuals can’t be coerced.”) It’s extremely dismissive of people’s experiences, for a start. But, more than that, the paper makes no reference to the way that society exerts pressure on individuals or how deeply entrenched rape culture is in (Western) society and it doesn’t allow the possibility that people are saying they weren’t coerced because certain methods of coercion are so prevalent in society that they don’t register that way. Better sex education, as the paper points out, would go a very long way, especially considering the fact that a lot of this societal-level coercion gets dismissed or assumed as normal and that any change to the status quo means the people challenging it are obsessed with sexuality. Which is how we get bigots telling queer people that their very existence is X-rated (yes, asexuals, even the sex-repulsed and sex-negative ones, get that too) and that including queer characters in children’s media is ‘sexualising children’. (It’s not.) The paper, though, doesn’t really acknowledge that which is one of the larger failings because it’s an area that absolutely requires more research and societal awareness, especially if we want queer (of any letter in the acronym) kids to grow up safe and happy.

After that the paper goes onto discuss some of the (potential) ramifications of research on asexuality and on asexuality research, which it would have been nice to see expanded a little bit. Aicken et al. discuss, very briefly, the way asexuality is ignored in certain areas such as law, but it spends most of its time discussing the relationship between asexuality and disorders. While it doesn’t go into detail, the paper explicitly states that asexuality was medicalised, possibly due to the its relation to disability[3], as well as noting that all the surveys to date agree that asexuality is not inherently problematic for people reporting no sexual attraction. In fact, the surveys all agree that most asexuals seem satisfied with their sex life, although some would like to have more sex. The paper further states that asexuals whose partner is pushing them to get help for their lack of sexual attraction be referred to relationship counselling rather than, say, a sexual health specialist or otherwise seeks help ‘fixing’ their sexual attraction. The paper ends by explicitly telling health professionals not to assume that a lack of sexual attraction is “problematic for the individuals who experience it” because research indicates that this assumption is wrong, and that, likewise, health professionals should not assume that someone who does not experience sexual attraction is not sexually active or incapable of pursuing romantic relationships. It would have been nice to see another note about aromanticism, because it’s very erasive of aromanticism at this point, but honestly this level of detail and nuance is miles above what I was expecting from research before 2016.

 

References

Aicken, Catherine R.H., Catherine H. Mercer and Jackie A. Cassell. “Who reports absence of sexual attraction in Britain? Evidence from national probability surveys.” Carrigan, Mark, Kristina Gupta and Todd G. Morrison. Asexuality and Sexual Normativity: An Anthology. Routledge, 2014. Ebook.

Bogaert, A.F. “Asexuality: Prevalence and associated factors in a national probability sample.” Journal of Sex Research 41 (2004): 279–287.

Deutscher, Guy. Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages. 2010. Ebook.

National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles. 2015. Website. 3 January 2019. <http://www.natsal.ac.uk/natsal-3.aspx>.

 

[1] Another common tactic to discredit the word is to bring up negative associations with the person who coined it. They say “The person who coined ‘asexual’ is a homophobe, therefore the entire concept is homophobic and invalid”. Apparently, according to them, only the most pure and virtuous and totally unproblematic people are allowed to coin words. Or something.

[2] If you find it interesting too, Guy Deutscher’s Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages is a pretty nice introduction to the concept of how language and culture shape one another.

[3] And we can see this in the backlash disabled asexuals may face when trying to discuss their experiences as asexuals given the way disability has been desexualised and the way disabled people have fought hard to reclaim a sexual identity in recent years. Whether there is overlap between the ways in which allosexual disabled people lash out against asexual disabled people speaking about their experiences and the ways in which allosexual queer people lash out against asexuals is out of scope of the article and my discussion of it, but I feel it may be something worth exploring.

Become a Patron on Patreon!

This post is also available on Patreon and is sponsored by generous patrons. Thank you so much for your support! It means the world to me! <3 I love you all!

If you’ve enjoyed this post and would like to support me in creating more free content, please consider subscribing or spreading the word to others. Visit my Patreon page to discover how to get early access to posts as well as various Patron-exclusive posts and goodies!

Divider

Asexuality vs Diagnostic Criteria

Posted January 7, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

Tags:

Hi, everyone! Welcome to the new year! I hope it’s off to a great start for you and yours. Today, I’m introducing a new feature (ish). Or at least an attempt at one: weekly, short personal essays about, well, whatever people would like me to talk about or a random topic I came up with on my own. Comments currently remain disabled on the blog, yes, but you can hop on over to Patreon for now.

These weekly posts are immediately available to everyone and hover somewhere below 2,500 words. I try to keep them under 2,000 words, but sometimes you end up with more anyway. This one is 2,100 words! The next one will have a shiny new standardised intro and such loveliness.

This week’s rambly essay is called “Asexuality vs Diagnostic Criteria”. Also known as “But what the heck do the DSM and ICD actually say about asexuality?” Because the answer to that is slightly complicated and the question comes up… more often than you’d think.

Read More

Divider

Week 1 Round-up

Posted January 4, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Goals, News / 0 Comments

Tags:

Weekly Accountability

Hi, everyone! It’s that time again! Weekly updates delivered every Friday! This is the first week of the new year, so everything is all messy as I start to notice all the things I wanted or needed to do before January began and… get to play catch-up. To give you an idea of how well my brain is functioning right now, I almost forgot to write this up at all. I have absolutely no goals set up for January. So, um, I guess I’d better get on that.

Completed Projects

  • 9/9 episodes of The Dragon Prince watched

Goal Updates

  • 1/4 discussions of papers in Asexuality and Sexual Normativity
  • 5,036/10,000 words
  • 1/13 books read

Writing Updates

This Week’s Fiction Wordcount: 106 words

This Week’s Non-Fiction Wordcount: 4,930 words

DemiPrincess2: Noooope. I have hit the stumbling block of “Must revise these last chapters” and they require Research. (Look, I could keep writing, but chances are I’ll have to toss 90% of what I’ve written if I do.)

Cursed: Hello, incredibly angry protagonist. I have a prologue-y thing now. WHOOHOO! And then my days got eaten by nonfiction.

Life And Other Such Important Matters

Nope. I’ve got no updates. Nothing. Sorry! Life continues as it has. We’re not big on holidays as a family. I‘m not big on holidays as a person. Believe it or not, but I’m actually really curmudgeony. Okay, maybe I’m not, but the vast majority of my family consists of extraverts who just expect introverts to Suck It Up because who on Earth needs to recharge in the middle of a ParTAY?

They’re nicer people than that makes it sound, I promise. They just aren’t very good at accommodating introverts and I’m terrible at being the only person in the group who needs such.

Stand-out Positive Moment

Hello, verse novel! I was worried about this one because I had only the vaguest of ideas and then I woke up, January 2nd, because angry ranty protagonist narrator. I’ve no idea where exactly this is going other than “Fairytale mash-up? Fairytale mash-up!” The way this will mess up the Fairytale Verses logo is a problem for future!me.

This Week on Patreon

All the Patreon posts from the past week, collected in one neat and tidy list. Posts with an asterisk (*) are Patron-only. Anything else is public and was likely also posted here, but I’m including them for completeness’ sake.

How about you? What have you been up to lately? Has anything awesome happened?

Become a Patron on Patreon!

This post is also available on Patreon and is sponsored by generous patrons. Thank you so much for your support! It means the world to me! <3 I love you all!

If you’ve enjoyed this post and would like to support me in creating more free content, please consider subscribing or spreading the word to others. Visit my Patreon page to discover how to get early access to posts as well as various Patron-exclusive posts and goodies!

Divider

Let’s Read Academic Asexual Literature

Posted January 2, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, News, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

Tags:

After some deliberation, I opted to write and post this today as to give people a decent length of advance notice in case anyone wanted to join in.

As many of you know, I have a strong and vested interest in asexual and aromantic literature, whether that’s fiction with ace and/or aro characters or literature about asexuality and aromanticism.

One of the main aspects of my studies is, currently, simply looking at what individual authors have done with asexual representation and what, if any, patterns in representation that we can find in them. (The latter resulted in an 8,500 word essay examining tropes.) Asexual and aromantic studies are, to my knowledge, incredibly new, so I’m going slowly, making sure that I, well, study the trees before I really start looking at the forest. (It’d be remiss of me not to point out that asexual and aromantic studies are a subset of queer studies as a whole. They are.)

Anyway, one thing that I really want to do – partially inspired by the reception tweeting my initial reactions to Asexualities and partially by fellow Patron creator Sandstone‘s literary work – is share more of that reading with you all.

Which means that I’ve found something to fill up my Wednesday posting slot! At least for a good chunk of the year: I’ll be reading and discussing or commenting on nonfiction relating to asexuality and/or aromanticism. Mostly the former, admittedly. This means I’ll be rereading or revisiting nonfiction I’ve read too.

As with the livereacts I’ve been doing last year, the first post for each book will be publicly available to everyone and the later chapter will be available to Patrons only. I’ll also be commenting on the articles and books as I go on Discord, so Patrons of $5+ can join in with the discussion of specific points or not as they please. That said, due to my erratic scheduling in offline life, they will not be regular or announced with much warning. I’d like to think the fact that they’re books and cover nonfiction topics makes them more accessible than the livereacts were.

What does that mean in concrete terms? Well, the very first book I want to read for this is Asexuality and Sexual Normativity: An Anthology edited by Mark Carrigan, Kristina Gupta and Todd G. Morrison. This anthology was originally published as a special edition of Psychology and Sexuality. The book was published by Routledge in 2013. The special edition comes from 2011.

That means the articles in this anthology are already somewhat older compared to our understanding of asexuality and aromanticism today. Which I’ll cover in more detail in the discussion of the introduction because I have things to say. Unless I forgot them in which case I had things to say. I’ll be reading through and commenting on one article per week on, as mentioned, Wednesdays.

If you’re wondering why I’m not starting with Anthony Bogaert’s Understanding Asexuality, that’s partially because I don’t have a copy and largely because I’m honestly more interested in what people did after that book was published, but I do want to read and discuss it at some point.

I mean, at present it’s one of three academically published books about asexuality. Oh, don’t get me wrong! There are more nonfiction books about asexuality – The Invisible Orientation by Julie Sondra Decker springs to mind as an excellent introductory resource – but they’re more popscience than academic.

After reading Asexuality and Sexual Normativity, I’m not sure. I just know I want to start with that one because it’ll allow me to build a stronger nonfiction list of works cited when working on my own essays.

To that effect, I’d like to share some papers and titles I’ve got access to that may be of interest. If it’s marked with an asterisk I’ve read it before. (Note: This is not all that’s out there. This is what I have access to right now.)

Books

  • Asexuality and Sexual Normativity
  • Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives
  • The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality *
  • All About Demisexuality *
  • Demisexuality and the Asexuality Spectrum *

Papers

Aaaand that’s it so far, but that should easily keep my occupied for… at least half a year? I mean the first book I’m reading is going to take me three months to get through at this pace. That said, please please if you have suggestions for things I could read, throw them at me because I keep getting lost in rather a lot of articles about asexual reproduction in biology which is, um, not what I’m looking for. (Yes, even when I narrow it down to literary articles.) And I’d rather know an article exists (and can’t afford it) than not know it exists at all.

Anyway, that’s the current plan! Starting next week, January 9th 2019, Wednesdays are Talk About Asexuality And Aromanticism In Nonfiction Days until I run out of material to talk about.

Come join me. It’ll be fun. 😀

Divider

Plans for 2019

Posted January 1, 2019 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Goals / 0 Comments

Tags:

As it’s the new year, let’s take a look at all the things I’m expecting to do and accomplish! It’s only the first, so I have no idea what 2019 has in store for anyone yet, so here is my ridiculously optimistic look at what I’m hoping this year will bring and what I’ll be working towards.

Fiction

  • DemiPrincess 2 & 3: Completed drafts (ideally all the way to publication, but we’ll see)
  • RibbonDancer: Final revision and then hopefully a sale
  • 12 stories/vignettes/poems for 2020 patrons
  • Another verse novel in Fairytale Verses
  • Short vignettes about established characters (throw ideas at me! I love ideas!)
  • Whatever else my brain throws at me

Nonfiction

  • 52 short, personal essays about writing and related or anything else people have questions about specifically
  • Publishing that State of Ace Rep in Tradpub SFF I’ve been talking about in 2018 (eeeeee!)
  • Analysis of the ace rep in Chameleon Moon
  • Anything else that comes up? I’m keeping it fairly light
  • Discussions of some of the academic papers I found about asexuality in media

Audio/Video

  • Dependent on the EU not being ridiculous about copyright laws: More Let’s Plays! I have fun with those (and they take up less time than you think)
  • More Lynn Reads. Ideally I’d like to get one short story read per month.
  • More Lynn Reacts! Just… not in this format because this format isn’t working for anyone.

The videos are kind of on hold until I get my reading list sorted out. Then I can set up a series of ‘lecture’ videos about ace rep in SFF fiction and pretend I’m teaching a lecture-heavy course on it!

I think that about covers it? What about you? Do you have any specific 2019-related plans?

Divider

A Look Back at 2018

Posted December 31, 2018 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

Tags:

Once again, thank you to everyone who’s supported me throughout the year, especially my generous and lovely patrons! This will be the last post for 2018 from me. I hope your year is ending on a high note and that 2019 will be off to a delightful start for you all! <3

Well, 2018. You were… quite a year, weren’t you? Like always, I’m not sure how we got from January to December so fast and yet here we are again. So I guess it’s time to start looking back at the year, to see what I’ve accomplished and done.

Yearly Happenings

Well, 2018. You were… quite a year, weren’t you? Like always, I’m not sure how we got from January to December so fast and yet here we are again. So I guess it’s time to start looking back at the year, to see what I’ve accomplished and done.

I… don’t have much to say about the year itself, to be honest. The biggest things I’ve done are that I’ve sold an essay and officially opened for editing and author services.

One ting I definitely want to look at very critically is this yearly round-up post. Did I catch everything you wanted to know? If not, what did I miss? I am hoooooooooopeleeeeeeeess. :/ (That said, I should probably warn you that I already have trouble tracking very broad and general statistics, so something like “a detailed breakdown of your reading this year!” is… not likely to happen.

But also wow I did quite a lot of things. That’s… so much more than I expected. O_O You’d think that with all the stuff I did is why I didn’t quite manage what I’d hoped with DemiPrincess2, but it actually isn’t. I did a bunch of things – and this isn’t everything, just the things I’ve completed – that I did to wind down or because my mental health was just that low. :/ Blargh. But hey! I finished effectively 1 novel, 2 novellas, 8 essays (some of them quite long and technically it’s more like 14 if you count unposted ones and ones I had to rewrite from scratch), and one short story! I’ve got another short story and a short poem in edits too.

Also I did a ton of other stuff. I’m re-evaluating the other stuff in part because the way I handled them this year – especially the livereacts – isn’t actually working for me. If it’s not working for me, it’s a sure sign it’s not working for anyone else either. I wound up doing far less with some things than anticipated too. I only recorded a few of the short stories that I’d wanted to record. Although that’s partially because my mic developed issues that took me forever to figure out. (Basically, don’t put electronics next to your mic.)

And, um, yes. That is… basically been it. I think? Did I miss anything? Tell me I didn’t miss anything!

Publications

  • Among the Glimmering Flowers
  • The Ice Princess’s Fair Illusion

Patreon Story Perks:

Patreon Essays:

Completed Stories

  • RibbonDancer
  • The Sea Horse of Moezerdam

Completed Livereacts

Doctor Who:

Regal Academy:

Lost Song:

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:

Anne with an E:

My Only Love Song:

Steven Universe:

Record of Lodoss War OVA:

Princess Tutu:

Assorted non-TV-shows

Yearly Wordcount

Fiction: 207,281 words

Nonfiction: 76,517 words

When I started the year, I had one goal. Well, no. I had many, but when it comes to my total wordcount, I had just one. Well, technically it was two, but I’ll get to that. The one goal I had this year was to cut down on the amount of nonfiction writing I was doing and try to shift to writing more fiction. I know I can get a decent wordcount in a year. I just… kind of wanted the majority of that word count to be fiction.

And oh look I succeeded fantastically. My secondary goal, however, is one I failed to make because I’m not even going to try and write that many words in a day. (I mean, I could. I’ve done it in the past, but I’m not too fussed.) My secondary goal was to write 300,000 words in both fiction and nonfiction. I’m a little over 15,000 words short. And that’s okay because the main goal was to write fiction and whoot I did that! I’m really proud of myself. Is it where I want to be? Hell no, but it’s nearer to where I want to be than last year, so let’s see if I can keep up the momentum!

Odds and Ends

How about you? What’s your year contained? Good things, I hope.

Divider

December 2018 Round-up

Posted December 30, 2018 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

Tags:

Goals

No posts found.

News

Patreon

Posts marked with an * are publicly available at this time.

Culture Consumption

No posts found.

Misc Posts

Divider

This Week on Patreon (Week 50? Ish?)

Posted December 21, 2018 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

Tags:

My Patreon tends to be a fairly quiet place, but I wanted to share links to the posts that go up every week. In this case, I’m counting weeks from Saturday to Friday so anyone who wants to explore things during the weekend can do so.

Most of the posts are locked to patrons, though you’ll find at least one public post each month. Enjoy!

Public Posts

All-Patron Posts

Divider

My Favourite Reads of 2018

Posted December 17, 2018 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

Tags:

I know there’s still some time left before 2018 ends, but it’s definitely time to start making the lists and anything that I read that I want to add to the list after compiling it is going to be just mindblowingly awesome. (Very likely. I have some amazing books on my TBR pile that I’m hoping to get to before the year ends.)

In no particular order, let’s go take a look at the books I’ve enjoyed most this year! (Well, up to today anyway.) As usual, though, I’m restricting myself to 10 books.

1. Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault

I GET TO TALK ABOUT THIS THIS YEAR. I loved this so much. It’s such a fun enemies-to-significant-others story. It’s got everything you’ve come to love from a Claudie Arseneault story: a diverse cast in all ways, a lush and delightful (city) setting, great queer rep (especially ace and aro), solarpunk aesthetic and ideals, family (blood or chosen) looking out for one another, and fantastic relationships all around!

Did I mention it’s got witches and superpowers and secrets and that this is a delightfully bilingual book? And that it’s just gorgeous in its descriptions and the action is just fantastic and, wow, I just. What are words. I adored this book last year and I was so happy to reread it this year. 😀

2. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

This book blew me away when I read it. It’s raw and powerful, packing a really hard punch. Again, what are words? I just. I couldn’t put this book down. Zélie’s quest is just so emotional and engaging. Adeyemi deals with aspects of fantasy narratives that most other books just glance past or glean over without too much thing.

And it’s just… I loved these characters and the way they struggled to communicate with one another given how large a bridge there is between their positions in life. Just. MARGLEASDSN. Read it.

CN: Assume that, if it’s something commonly warned for, it’s included in this book.

3. Dreamstorm by M.C.A. Hogarth

The conclusion (not counting the epilogue novella) of The Dreamhealers Saga! And wow did it not disappoint. I was swept away by the first time I read it. And then I read it again to write an essay about the series as a whole and it was still wonderful and delightful. It’s got a fantastic mix between calm, domestic scenes and THINGS GOING HORRIBLY WRONG. Also there is possibly too little baking to feel like a ‘proper’ Vasiht’h book, but there is also baking and delightfulness and just… It is a book that make me intensely happy this year.

4. Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Aaaaaaaaah! I was so excited about this book last year, especially when I heard about what some of the changes from SwoonReads were, and just. Woooooooow. I loved this so much. I adored Alice. She’s such a delightful geek. And looooook. Like. I know plenty of books that do this, but still. Loooooook. Aces getting happy endings! And not being, like, dead by the end of it. I wish thiiiiiis had been my very first ever ace book. That would’ve been so, so, so nice. <3

CN: Acephobia/acemisia.

5. Storm Wings by Becca Lusher

Book 4 of Wingborn. So definitely read the others first. We continue the adventures of Mhysra and her friends. The slow-burn romance fiiiiiiiiiiiiiinally goes somewhere and wow was that good. Also contains one Stirla shopping with a tomboy princess. That scene is every bit as good as it sounds and, honestly, this book deserves to be on this list of my favourite books for this year just for that chapter.

And then the dragons showed up and we finally learn what’s going on with Mouse and some of what’s happening with the Overworld and just aaaaah my heart. (Also Becca put in Moar Bumble just for me and how could you not love that massive, winged pup?)

6. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

AAAAAAAAAAAH! THIS IS SO GOOOOOOOOOOOOD. And, okay, it is superdark and I don’t recommend reading it on your own or in places where you cannot be emotionally compromised because this will gut you with feels. And also darkness but they’re part of the feels and I just. WHAT ARE WORDS. This is easily THE BEST book I’ve read, like, ever. It is that good. I loved it and I’m am in awe of it and just. Go read it. Unless the warnings are things you cannot read, then don’t, of course. Be safe. But otherwise this is SO GOOD and wooooooow.

CN: Assume that, if it’s something commonly warned for, it’s included in this book. I am not kidding all the warnings apply. There are, like, zero exceptions to this. If you need a warning for anything, tread with caution.

7. Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan

Last book in The Memoirs of Lady Trent. This is my fave of the lot, but I don’t recommend reading it without first reading the others. They’ll make much more sense. Or you could start with this one and play Spot The Foreshadowing with the rest, I suppose. But this has sooooo much languages and linguistics and fun stuff!

Also dragons. Lots of dragons. And adventures and alt!Victorian ladies going on adventures FOR SCIENCE! And it’s just great.

8. Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis

Speaking of alt!Victorian ladies doing things FOR SCIENCE… Okay, so that’s not technically what Cassandra is doing in this book, but she’s definitely a sciency-magic lady who is very frustrated by the fact that she can no longer do science-magic after spending, like, all her life, getting to be accepted and allowed to do it.

And then she gets herself trapped in a bargain with one of the fae. THIS GOES ABOUT AS WELL AS YOU’D EXPECT and then there’s her former fiancé who’s determined to not-ruin their relationship. (To be fair, Cassandra needed to be whacked with a pillow and literally everyone but Cassandra knows it and there’s sibling teasing and shenanigans afoot.)

And this is just a ton of fun.

9. Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones

Loooooooook at this. Looooooook at it. It’s so lush and gorgeous and wonderful. I do kind of prefer the first book, but that’s partially because the first book is a little more straight-forward in its narrative. This one is all twisty and turny and relies far more on magical realism and unreliable narrators both and requires much more careful reading. Also it has a larger cast and delves into lots of questions about mental health and just. Wow, this was such a beautiful book to read.

10. Moon-bright Tides by RoAnna Sylver

CUTEST F/F ROMANCE. Technically this is a short story, so it’s also a short read. It has so much in it, though. A neurodivergent witch, a mermaid, a fantastic setting that garners lots of questions (but enough answers to make the story work and the reader want moar) and just. MARGLEFLUDDLE. WORDS.

Divider