Tuesday, September 30, 2014


So I've been fortunate enough to receive primarily good reviews on my book. Even the ones with critical aspects respectfully deconstructed what they'd wished I'd approached more thoroughly or from a different angle, and honestly I would have been disappointed if every review was uniformly glowing. However, while I have yet to receive what I'd consider a "bad review," what I have received a lot of are personal attacks. Hundreds and hundreds of them.

Has to do with my subject matter, ya know.

They're all pretty easy to ignore and only exist on a small scale (relatively); most of them are in the form of comments on articles that I have to deliberately expose myself to if I want to see them. The comments on the New York Times article, the Salon article, and the various Facebook groups that have posted my links are overrun with guffawing, mocking, and occasionally calls for violence upon my person (usually in the form of sexual assault, which will "fix" me). Amongst all of these, I'm also seeing people snottily stating that they don't see why awareness about this is important, because nobody attacks asexuality. Nobody has a problem with it, after all. Except for the people all around you in the comments. People who live their daily lives interacting with asexual people and exposing them to said attitudes.

[Trigger/content warning for some extremely horrible attitudes, including sexual assault language and extreme vulgarity.]

The comments are the usual. I'm clearly too young to have matured into my sexual identity yet. I'm clearly too old to care about sex anymore. I'm a bitter woman who hates men. I'm a lesbian and ashamed of myself. I'm hormonally imbalanced. I have a mental illness. I am doing this for attention. It is incomprehensible why I would say anything because asexuality is just nothing. I am shoving PC agendas into their faces. I am claiming oppression. I am lying about my experience. I am begging for validation from men. I live an empty life. I was selfish to date anyone when I was a teenager if I wasn't willing to give them sex. I'm making people think it's okay to have a relationship that doesn't include sex. I'm out to make money by lying to people. I have no right to talk about this if I'm not a scientist. I should subject myself to scientific experiments, psychological inquiry, medical intervention, and as many interpersonal sexual interactions as I can to try to make myself stop being asexual, but that will only be good enough for a few months, and then I need to try it again. I shouldn't be wasting people's time on Serious Websites like YouTube with my videos that no one cares about, and there are Real Issues whose limelight I am stealing by participating in stories about this topic. I should get married anyway because that's what women are for, and I shouldn't complain about it if my husband wants to have sex because husbands do things they don't want to do all the time, like watching  FEMALES' stupid romance movies and taking out the trash.

They're the same old song, sung by people with no sense of pitch. I'm used to hearing their tone-deaf wails about how my life is paradoxically so important to them that they demand it be interfered with and so irrelevant to them that they don't want to look at it. It's the background noise of my life, so seeing this sort of thing popping up in comments on articles about me and on my YouTube isn't anything new or anything devastating.

But then there are the people who are going out of their way to mock me and harass me, and that is a bit more puzzling. I didn't have to have a book out for this to happen, of course, because it's been happening for years, but now they're linking to my book some of the time they're doing it, and that opens the doors for trolls to have a field day. It's only a matter of time until someone decides it's not enough to make a blog entry about my ridiculousness or call me names on Twitter. I kind of expect some kind of semi-organized attack on my professional life sooner or later. I know these people. They've been trying to silence me for years.

One person has created a Goodreads account specifically to add my book to their list and give it a one-star rating. No review as such--just a silly drive-by kick in the butt. It's probably someone who encountered my material somewhere else and was offended that I was talking about my experience. THIS ONE-STAR RATING WILL TOTALLY SHUT HER UP. Yep.

I got a miniature expedition of YouTube trolls who showed up on my videos yesterday and the day before just to downvote a bunch of my work and laugh at asexual people for being "SJWs" and "fucking weirdos" and "Tumblr kids" and "speshul snowflakes." A couple of them went on tirades, posting multiple comments long after I banned them from the channel (I still get the notifications), sneering about how I'm making an identity out of my psychological problems and am obviously autistic and refusing to admit it and whatnot (which is a nice little slice of both asexual erasure and mental illness/autism shaming). 'Kay.

I had one woman e-mail me repeatedly to tell me that I need to see a psychologist (specifically, a "psychodynamic psychotherapist"), because "it's not normal to not have sexual feelings," and when I told her that actually asexuality is mentioned in the "bible" the psychologists use to diagnose and it is explicitly stated to not be a disorder, she announced that the APA has been infiltrated by "loony leftists" with an agenda (which I guess is what you see if you prefer to see psychiatry as the practice of weaponizing diagnosis instead of acknowledging people's subjective, authentic experience of themselves). She then followed up with more private e-mails about how my life will be "heartache" and how the human capacity for self-delusion is monumental. Good of her to let me know that only she, not I, gets to determine what's pathological. So what's that, again? I need to go see a mental health practitioner to fix me, but if they agree with me that I'm not broken, they're not trustworthy anymore? Nice little Catch-22 there. I found out this woman makes a habit of e-mailing people all over the LGBT spectrum advocating conversion therapy and screaming at people about how "the truth" will be revealed. Nice to know I'm on her list.

I had one person write a blog entry about me scolding me for considering "not having sex" to be "an identity." After she flails for a while about how "failing to develop a part of your personality" can obviously become permanent, it's still NOT AN IDENTITY DAMMIT because what if you DO have sex and then you CHANGE? Then it's not AN IDENTITY now IS IT? Le sigh. Not having sex isn't what makes you asexual, any more than someone only becomes heterosexual through straight sex. Most people who are heterosexual do consider their orientation to be a part of their identity. We're not different. We're not a blank space. We ARE actually talking about a part of our identity, not just something we don't do. Cue all the sneering about how IF I DON'T SURF, DO I *IDENTIFY* AS A *NON-SURFER*?????? Guys, throughout my life people have been telling me how alien and weird and baffling it is to try to imagine someone who doesn't experience sexual attraction. They clearly consider it a major part of themselves. People regularly tell us they can't even get their heads around how it's possible to be asexual, and here we also have people saying there's no identity aspect to it at all, huh? Anyway, she spends the rest of the blog entry declaring that she has "no sympathy" for me and how it's painfully clear I'm lying to myself. Goodie.

Some pickup artists posted my Salon article not once but twice, including my picture:

And then ensuing discussion centered on how ugly and undesirable I am--they declared me a 3.5 on their all-important 10-point scale, discussing how hilarious it is for a woman to pretend she doesn't want sex when really my problem is that my sexual market value has taken a nosedive due to passing age 29--which, if you don't know pickup artist lingo, means that women are only attractive until they hit 30, after which they suddenly expire and fall into despair if they are still single because they've realized they no longer have any sexual power, and they're used to lording their power over poor susceptible men. My asexuality, they opine, is a face-saving gesture as I scramble to be relevant and worth anything at all, though those Smart Men in the pickup artist community know the truth--I am ugly, unsexable, worthless, and unwanted, so I pretend I don't want them first. This is a strange sort of projection, I think. Men who are on a forum to learn tricks for making women sleep with them are bleating about how I can't possibly be getting any sex offers at all, as if their penises are magic wands that can sense when a woman is "expired" and know not to hit on her. It's astounding, the lengths they go to to feel they're superior to women who don't want them in bed.

I received this beautiful message in my e-mail from a guy with a racial slur as his username:

wow, hundreds of fucking videos about your asexuality. Is that your whole life? Your whole life revolves about your untouched vag and how much of a prize it is. No one is seriously messaging you wanting to date. Maybe unless they are that desperate. Half of these so called "letters" have to be your own delusions. No ones cares about you or your dried up snatch. You look like a Woodstock reject. You're not a real author or a spokes person, just someone with no life that found a stupid title to latch onto. Get over yourself and get a real hobby. 

For the record, I don't even have ONE hundred videos, and not all of my videos are about asexuality, but when someone's out to invalidate me and shame me, I guess it doesn't really matter what the actual truth is. I do find this pretty hilarious though, because even though it's clear from my material that I am not interested in having sex and do not have any of my self-worth wrapped up in my ability to achieve sexual success, he's STILL trying to use the only weapon he knows about to demean me. LOL can't get laid, LOL nobody wants you, LOL you're a joke. Calm down, little boy. Not to mention how absurd it is to look at a person's theme channel and claim it's their "whole life" based on that. Dude. I make one new video A MONTH. But I guess if we can assume that the content we happen to personally come in contact with on YouTube is representative of one's whole life, I can conclude that racial-slur-name guy above has nothing at all in his life except sending filthy private messages to people because it makes him feel less insecure. What a life, buddy. It's amazing how much you care about making sure I believe no one cares about me.

And a writer for a political website who apparently specializes in homophobic, racist, and sexist content has profiled asexuality (with my book prominently referred to), listing some of the terms we use in the community but redefining them to sound absurd so they can mock them. Oh honey. Think about that for a second. If you have to rewrite and exaggerate what we say about ourselves before it sounds silly and you feel safe mocking it, what does that really say about you? The "article" goes on to repeatedly squawk about how funny it is that we're CREATING A MOVEMENT that's LITERALLY ABOUT NOT DOING ANYTHING, and the hundreds of comments laugh it up about how we're sad and pathetic and would actually shut up if only someone would plug our mouths with their genitalia. And my book is disgustingly referred to as "the Mein Kampf of the chronically un-aroused," which is especially horrifying considering I'm a woman of Jewish heritage.

So. That's right. This is just the stuff that's gone on in the past couple of weeks, for the record. And yes, while on the surface this is just Waaah, people are saying bad things about me on the Internet, what a lot of people don't understand is these things are NOT just said on the Internet. I've had many of them said to my face. Many asexual people have had worse, and usually the messages are coming from friends, family, and partners. These are not just insults or things that make you feel kinda bad. They are the status quo in society for a lot of people. They are the narratives people have been using forever to isolate asexual people, make them think they're broken, drive them into depression, and shame them into believing they must have unwanted sex to be worth anything or to access happiness, stability, or love. They're the messages that come both explicitly and implicitly from media, society, and individual people around us. They're the attitudes that set sex up as a compulsory activity that we owe to people we love or owe to people who want us, and they're the lessons we're pounding into everyone's heads about sex being necessary, deserved, and unavoidable no matter how we feel about it.

How do I know these master narratives harm people? Because I get those e-mails too.

If there was, as so many assert, "nothing" to talk about here, I wouldn't get publicly mocked and treated like I'm saying something outrageous every time I talk to the media about asexuality. If there was nothing to learn and no reason to learn it, nobody would be coordinating any concerted efforts to stop me from saying it. If it was so irrelevant that it's making all my detractors fall down laughing at the idea that anyone needs to say anything, nobody would be going out of their way to silence me. If, after all, I'm just windbagging it up into the empty air over here, surely they'd be able to simply walk past and avoid listening to my message. I supposedly have no real platform and no life and no social power at all. God help us if a previously invisible group might be able to use some of my messages to connect with others like themselves, learn that they're not broken, and access tools to improve their lives. It would just be awful if we had to click past an article about it once in a while or devote two centimeters of our shelf space to a book about it in our libraries.

I think the most baffling thing for me is why so many people dump their attention all over me as a way of telling me I don't deserve any attention. I very much doubt that after all these years I'm going to get That One Message that truly convinces me that my life and my cause is a lie because some tender little troll on the Internet can't imagine asexuality is legitimate. It's okay, guys. I understand that it's easier to call someone else confused than to admit you don't understand them and can't accept people who are different from you. But while you squeeze out your little judgment turds all over the lawn and bark at cars because you don't know what they're for, I'm going to educate the people who will listen and help the people who have been hurt.

And if the price of doing that is that sometimes people will create accounts on websites for the express purpose of crapping on my book, so be it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

30-Week Writing Survey: Week 26: Character Drawings



Today's question: Do you draw your characters? Do others draw them? Share a drawing/some drawings of your characters, created by yourself or others!


Yeah. Yeah, I draw my characters. Obviously I draw a webcomic so there are characters I draw there, and I love doodling my fictional folks either for fun or to help me figure out what they even look like.

My drawings are generally pretty cartoony, even when they lean toward realistic proportions. I like drawing in black and white kinda for effect, but then I also like experimenting with color.

Here are a few drawings from Bad Fairy:

Here's protagonist Delia, having recently entered magick school, experimenting with her first wand:

Here's a ridiculous group drawing I did of all the fairy students and teachers from Delia's class, so I could figure out what they all looked like:

A cute one of Delia being exasperated with her study partners Fiona and Drake because they seemed to be studying each other more than the material (she's leaning on the table, so she looks even smaller than usual):

Now here are a few drawings from Finding Mulligan:

Black and white drawing of Dia and Mulligan from dreamland:

The same couple in color:

Here's one from Stupid Questions:

Nick and Summer texting each other and being silly.

Here are some from webcomic Negative One:

Meri Lin, mom of the world's weirdest baby
Adele, a prophet chick from another dimension

Weaver & Dax, weird pals also from another dimension
"Photo" of baby Ivy
Here's something from a short story called "On the Inside":

Girls playing house!
 I kind of draw characters a lot so I could keep posting them all day, but . . . I'll stop. ;)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Personal Digest Saturday: September 20 – September 26

Life news this week: 
  • Well, big news is MY BOOK IS SELLING WELL ENOUGH THAT MY PUBLISHER DECIDED IT NEEDS A PAPERBACK. So, next year, Fall 2015, my book is going to come out in paperback and get marketed to retail stores. Just like I wanted. YAHOO, it happened!

  • It has been a week of mainstream press. It started with Saturday's appearance on the Australian television news show Sunrise. They had me sent to a Tampa television station to get piped in on their breakfast program on the other side of the world. These guys had a nice green room. :) Very respectful interview, and one of the hosts even cleared a sensitive question with me before asking it on the air!

  • On Monday I got a phone call from one of the interviewers on a Sexperts podcast which is associated with Playboy. The lady was calling to kind of pre-interview me and judged me as appropriate for her show. She assured me it's kind of a niche show and that her listeners would find the topic fascinating and she wants to do the interview live in late October. This should go ahead.

  • On Tuesday I got interviewed on BBC World Service podcast. They kinda woke me up because they called early. I had to think on my feet and I think I did pretty well, but it was a really short and sort of brusque interview. And then just an hour after that I had a second interview for Speaking of Sex, which was a warm and sensitive interview that I think is going to come out beautifully in its final version. The interviewer, Chris, also wants to write a companion piece about my book and said they'd read the whole thing and loved it. The BBC one has aired already (I'm at 22:40), and the other one will air in mid-October so I'll link it then.

  • On Wednesday I showed up in the New York Times. The article was about asexuality in general, but it was sort of guided by my quotes in the Salon article and lifted from my actual book. I told my publisher about the new media alert and she said she'd been the one to provide them with a copy of it, but she'd thought it was unlikely they'd actually review it or mention it and was thrilled that they had.

  • I have several pending requests for more interviews; I'll be doing the Sexperts one, and another print Q&A that will appear in Marie Claire in the UK, and another branch of the BBC podcast network wants to interview me. And I'm still hoping to hear from JVClub because Janet Varney is cool, but we'll see if she feels like contacting me. :)

  • I decided I want to try to clean up my science fiction romance novel and show it to my agent. We shall see what happens.

  • I ate at Applebee's with Jeaux this week. At my place we didn't do much but watch some funny videos about Avatar and talk about how crappy Internet sexists are.

  • I was randomly ill for the last half of the week (after Wednesday). On Thursday morning I thought I was going to toss my cookies but just remained kind of uncomfortable for the next couple days and I really don't have any appetite.

  • I did work on my mentee's and alternate's books this week as well, and it's going so well! I'm so impressed with both of them.
Places featured:
  • BBC World Service: My audio-only interview on the BBC. This is the entire segment so you'll need to skip to 22:40 to hear my part. This was also discussed (with lots of horrible, mocking, invalidating comments) on their Facebook thread.
  • Other Facebook pages shared my Salon story, such as Equality California and Autism Women's Network. Most of the comments, again, are angry, mocking, dismissive, snotty, and "WHY DOES THIS NEED ATTENTION?????? THERE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS!!!!!!!!!" You know.
  • I was mentioned in Vue Weekly, but it wasn't an interview; they more or less just summed up some stuff I said elsewhere and recommended my book.
  • Asexuality, and my materials, ended up in a discussion in West-Info, but there are a lot of problems with the article:

    1. Asexuality isn't something "Americans" are doing as implied.
    2. The "call to arms," as they call it, did not "come from" me in any way.
    3. We don't hyphenate "a-romantic," though I know why some people want to.
    4. It attributes to me a quote of "That's how we're born," which is not something I have ever said or would say because I do not like "born this way" as an explanation for a variety of reasons.
    5. It claims the NYT "interviewed" me and they did not. NYT made it clear they were borrowing quotations from Salon and other places.
    6. They call it "the fourth gender." Gender?!?
    7. They define sex-positive as the notion that two asexual people can have sex with each other. Nope.

  • I was on the Asexual Agenda's linkspam again with a reference to my Australian TV appearance and the NYT article.
  • A jerk wrote on her blog about how I'm obviously just lying to myself and asexuality isn't an "identity" because it just means you don't have sex, which is NOT something you're allowed to define your identity by. I'm not linking that, though. Just thought it was funny.

  • Awsome Book: Five-star Amazon review by Richard W. Cooper "rick." Also added a different review on Goodreads: Richard Cooper's five-star Goodreads review.

  • Sara's five-star Goodreads review.

Reading progress:

  • I didn't finish any books this week--pretty busy!--but I'm still currently reading The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson.

New singing performances:

Here I'm singing Alanis Morissette's "That I Would Be Good." It sort of explains a message I need to tell myself lately--that I'm still all right even if I don't accomplish everything or even if I fail sometimes.

New drawings:

Webcomic Negative One Issue 0489: "Adult Influence."

New videos:

Here's Letters to an Asexual #21, in which a man explains to me that he will marry me and fix my asexuality. He also explains condescendingly that he knows I'm so lonely that I cry myself to sleep all the time but am doing this "asexuality thing" for attention and desperation to be relevant, when really we all know that the only thing that would truly satisfy me, as a female, is becoming someone's wife. 'Kay. 

And here is the embed of the news show I was on in Australia, if it works for you.

New photos:

I'm in the green room before going on TV.
Me demonstrating how to decide if a new purse is right
for you: as long as it has room for a trade paperback!

Social media counts:
YouTube subscribers: 3,855 for swankivy (27 new this week), 382 for JulieSondra (2 new). Twitter followers: 553 for swankivy (6 new), 734 for JulieSondra (7 new). Facebook: 271 friends (2 new--KWBF friends) and 142 followers (4 new) for swankivy, 450 likes for JulieSondra (19 new), 48 likes for Negative One (no change), 84 likes for So You Write (1 new). Tumblr followers: 1,567 (33 new).

Thursday, September 25, 2014

To NA or not to NA?

I have a question and possibly a request for you savvy readers out there.

I have written what I believed to be a science fiction romance. I am now wondering whether it is New Adult--or really, whether it would sell well as New Adult if I tried to spin it that way.

From what I hear, New Adult is primarily categorized that way because of two things: its characters' ages, and the themes it covers. The ages are early adulthood. The themes are finding one's feet in the adult world, perhaps tackling college/first job/serious relationships--and sometimes there are some identity-related speed bumps. However, the New Adult that's selling is overwhelmingly (though not exclusively) romance-oriented, and the truth is that speculative fiction has been featuring characters of New Adult ages for a long time without calling it New Adult. It might just come down to tone. Help!

I'm really thinking about cleaning up this manuscript and showing it to my agent. Before I do that, I might like some advice and possibly even a couple of new beta readers for it. It's already in good shape (I think), but if anyone who reads a decent amount of New Adult wants to read it and help me figure this out--especially if you read New Adult romantic stories that aren't necessarily romance-tropey--I'd love to hear from you.

Reasons I think it might be New Adult/Science Fiction Romance rather than just Adult/Science Fiction Romance:
  • There's a lot of identity stuff in it--maybe too much for traditional "adult" readers to enjoy.
  • The characters do a lot of typical young adult stuff--there's some fairly immature behavior.
  • The characters are all Internet-savvy--there's a fair amount of texting, using video chat, forum discussion, Internet culture.
  • The stakes are pretty low. I don't think this is the case with all New Adult books, but sometimes New Adult as a category seems more tolerant of the main thing being when, how, and whether the characters get together.
  • The voice just doesn't feel altogether "Adult" to me. But it's definitely not YA, so it could kinda go either way.
Reasons it could just be Adult Science Fiction Romance:
  • New Adult does skew heavily toward expectations of a female POV. This is male POV. My romantic lead is the dude.
  • Though both romantic characters are in some kind of transition, it doesn't necessarily feel like a "kid-to-adult" transition. The protagonist is a college grad who's been in his job for several years, and this is not his first serious relationship. The love interest is younger--only twenty-one--and didn't go to school, and from her POV it might be more of a NA story, but it's not from her POV.
  • I just don't know the audience for NA as well as I know the audience for Adult SF, so I probably have written it skewed toward the familiar.
  • It's maybe on the long side for NA but pretty standard for Adult SF, not so much Romance. (Oh, what, you're surprised something I wrote was long?)
So, if you're interested in beta-reading it or asking me some questions to help me figure this out, comment here or contact me in one of the ways available through the "contact" button at the top of my blog.

Here's a bit about the story so you can decide if you want to meet these guys.

Word Count: 100K

Camera guy Nick Harris lives in a rational world--or so he thought. He’s no longer sure what’s real when the enigmatic Summer Astley appears on his news show displaying genuine telekinetic powers . . . and a charming smile. As mutual attraction brings them together, Summer reluctantly trusts Nick with her secret doubts and heartbreaking loneliness, leaving him puzzling over how to pursue a down-to-earth romance with a girl who can fly.

Little doodle of the couple! ;)
But Summer isn’t the only one with unusual abilities. Nick’s got a knack for understanding other people--sometimes to the point that he accurately guesses their thoughts. Summer, eager to connect with someone like herself, presses Nick to accept that his “good people skills” are far from ordinary, but Nick isn’t buying it. And he certainly doesn’t want it to be true. After all, being too perceptive creeps girls out and gets guys dumped.

As a strained long-distance relationship develops between them, Summer and Nick battle shared challenges and personal demons. Summer struggles to balance her supergirl public image with her love life, unintentionally pushing Nick away in the wake of a recent loss. And Nick is starting to think he can't handle the occupational hazards of dating a super-powered celebrity, especially since the distance between them is maddening--he's never tried to conduct a romance from across state lines without the subtle cues he's used to. With their unsteady partnership always on the verge of toppling, Nick is ready to pick a direction for the fall. After all, no girl has ever swept him off his feet quite so literally.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Asexual Bingo on Salon

I meant to write about this last week but I just ran out of time. As always!

So I was interviewed in Salon last week. The article is called "You're about as sexually attractive to me as a turtle: Coming out as asexual in a hypersexual culture."

The interview was great! Tracy Clark-Flory, the author of the article, has covered asexuality before, and I was mentioned by her in a previous Salon article when she covered the documentary I was in (entitled (A)sexual). We ended up being unable to schedule a phone chat and her editor wanted a piece about my book immediately for some reason, so she sent me the questions by e-mail and had me answer them. She liked my answers enough that she ended up just posting it as a Q&A instead of rephrasing most of what I'd said, and printed almost everything I sent, with a few cuts.

I was so pleased to get to cover asexual political causes, because no one ever asks that, and though most of the other questions were pretty typical (ya know, my personal history of identity and dating, the masturbation question), it was nice to see a deeper peek; Tracy asked me about what others can learn from asexual people and how we feel about living in this culture.

So I was of course disappointed that the comments were a cesspool.

I know, I know, people are always instructing me to not read the comments. For the most part, if your main concern is avoiding frustration (and saving your blood pressure), you should of course avoid the comments (unless you're reading The Toast). But I believe reading the comments can help me understand the underlying beliefs people aren't willing to state to my face, and that enables me to be a better activist.

But honestly, even though there were some asexual people and non-asexual people who were clued up in the comments, they were overwhelmingly invalidating, mocking, dismissing, and misrepresenting, which was really sad. The first time I was interviewed in Salon was in 2005--almost ten years ago now. The comments were almost identical. Except for the fact that more educated people were arguing with them, I really felt like we had kind of made no progress based on this, and that was a kick in the face.

I really wish it didn't sound like advertising for me to say JUST READ THE BOOK, JACKASS, but really. Read the book, jackass.

So now, for your entertainment, I am going to play Asexual Bingo with you as an illustration of what kinds of invalidation and mocking I'm dealing with!

Here is the example of an Asexual Bingo card I use in my book.

Beautiful, huh?

So let's play Asexual Bingo with these losers.

1. It's fairly obvious that this is a medical condition.  Not something that needs to be "cured," but obviously an abnormality.  Like being born with 4 fingers on one hand. [Oh yeah! Fairly obvious! Thanks, Dr. Tool. Psst--actual doctors who study sexuality have good evidence that it isn't a medical condition, and people who actually have medical conditions that affect their sex drive have other symptoms as well. Real medical people know this.]

2. Well, [sex is] behind air, food, and shelter, but as far as survival of the species I'd say it's pretty damn important. [Somehow people who squawk about the importance of sex on every article about asexuality seem unaware that a) asexuality doesn't preclude procreation; and b) tons of non-asexual people are childless. Census of 2012 in the USA found that 41% of women age 15 to 50 had never had ANY children. You can thank birth control for that, not asexuality.]

3. Is there a doctor in the house? This article does not address what causes asexuality. Can anybody say? Is it hormone levels? Another Salon article that bites the dust when it comes to journalism. [Honey, the article was about asexual experience, and you too can use Google to look up the medical side if you're interested. Somebody linked this person to the huge list of articles on asexuality research.]

4. I saw a documentary about asexuality and one thing that struck me was that some of the people profiled not only didn't experience sexual attraction, but apparently didn't feel the need or longing that most of us do for close companionship with another, i.e. romantic love. One woman in particular didn't care for anything in the way of physical contact with another human being. I don't love my children romantically, but there is a physical component to my love for them and theirs for me. It makes me wonder if an asexual's lack of sexual attraction sometimes goes hand in hand with an inability to experience 'love' the way most people do. [I was in that documentary and this person seems to be talking about me. And misrepresenting me; surprise. I said I didn't like cuddling, not that I can't stand to be touched. And bravo for you never questioning that different people who all want sex "truly" love the people they have sex with, but immediately questioning asexual people's love if it doesn't make them want sex.]

5. many "asexual" people are LGB, and I suspect many of them have wrongly convinced themselves that they have no attraction toward other specific people  as a way of coping with LGB feelings they aren't comfortable with.  I'm NOT in favor of consigning those people to a life without sex by publishing articles like this that just say "asexuality is normal". [Another intolerant person who thinks asexuality can only be explained by internalized homophobia, claiming that asexual awareness is actually destroying people's potential for "normal" sex lives. Thumbs up, you.]

6. Oh dear lord, what is it about millenials and their obsession with labelling themselves?  This is yet another version of special snowflake-itis. As for "asexual" being an orientation--i.e. the need to stick a label on one's self--libidos fluctuate in *everyone*.  This isn't news.  It's also pretty clear that the writer has some other issues going on--she seems very shut down emotionally.  Maybe she has no libido, but that's not the only thing going on with someone whose attempts at intimate relations seems to have ended in high school. [Yay, another person who thinks we mean "not having sex because we're not horny" when we say "asexual." Yes, we know the word "abstinence," and yes, this is different. And sure, I "seem shut down emotionally." If the only emotions that count to you in a cursory article are romantic attractions, I guess that's how you're going to spin this. And I can see how closely you read the article, baby, since you assumed I'm a millennial because you love rolling your eyes at young people and using their youth against them to dismiss them. Even if that WAS a good reason to dismiss someone's asexuality (which it's not), I'm Generation X, sonny. And since asexuality isn't "low libido" anyway, I think we need to chalk this one up to willful ignorance.]

7. The attempt to play to the puritan/new Taliban element that view all sex as bad shouldn't be encouraged. / How does one "come of age" if one is "asexual?" Does a eunuch attend a debutante ball and come out changed? Is this not just another false flag for abstinence education? [That's right baby, by talking about what I personally experience, I am trying to take The Sex away from you and shame you. Wowwwwww.]

8.The "magic" of therapy happens when a psychiatrist or therapist really does understand someone's life better than the person themselves understands it- the term for that is "a breakthrough." It's up to you to decide if you want to plaster this wall with bumper stickers or do the hard work of therapy. I would rather read a psychological study of this condition than find out a bunch of people have gotten together online to form a support group and they invented their own lingo and slang for it. [Then go read that because they exist and the sex researchers who did so seem to have concluded that asexuality isn't a disorder. But why would you need to go actually read what the research says when you already intrinsically know that people who aren't like you need psychological intervention to fix them?]

9. Did anything happen to this person that may have caused her to be an asexual? [And of course he rambled on after this about how he's asking in a scientific sense, but never phrases anything about heterosexuality as though hormones and societal expectations have groomed them to be straight. Nobody ever wonders whether a person was harassed and abused into identifying as straight. They always assume it's genuine. But not us!]

10. Since Ms. Decker is still young, her lack of sexual feelings may yet change. [Of course, of course. I guess it means nothing that as I'm inching toward forty people are already telling me I'm also too old to want sex? I'm assuming this person took one look at the photo and judged me early twenties--that's the usual assumption--but yeah, most people don't tell mid-thirties women that they're too young to know what they want sexually.]

11. Years from now, might she say, "I just hadn't met the right man/woman"? [Too bad if I die a happy asexual centenarian, people will still be grinningly assigning me pity for never having found the one. The one is out there, you know. THEY all know it was just a matter of me not meeting them. Not anything about my sexual orientation not including that kind of attraction or anything.]

12. Well, humans are by and large 'sexual'. Everyone seeks to maximize pleasure, unless they adopt a philosophy or spirituality of denialism, so a human being inherently nonsexual immediately suggests to me that there is an underlying medical or hormone difference between them and other humans. I would never discriminate against someone for being nonsexual, but honestly it is going to never not be weird to me. It's definitely not a normal thing. [Then feel weird about us. People like you have certainly almost never caught flak for going out of your way to make sure we know we aren't normal. That's very important. And considering I would have to fight my own nature to MAKE myself have sex, seeing it framed here as "denialism" in the name of refusing myself pleasure is hilarious.]

13. judging by her looks I think it's best for her self-confidence that she's asexual as she probably wouldn't be getting much anyway.. [And yes, the article was posted underneath this picture. I just love the old "this is just to save face because no one would bang you anyway," as if there actually is an objective line of who's just plain too ugly to get sex. No honey. But tell yourself that it's about us not being able to get any offers if that's what you have to do to sleep at night.]

14. I'm thinking she's never had a good r%%t / She obviously has never experienced really great sex before!! [Amazing how often this gets said even to people who have had sex and liked it all right but still identify as asexual. Wonder if this guy just hasn't had good sex from a man and that's the only thing stopping him from being gay?]

15. Sorry but your loss woman you don't know what your missing [Just annoying. You by definition don't know what you're missing by not being like me, so can we agree that we're both allowed to be happy with our lives? Especially since the times I was harassed and cajoled into necking with people I wasn't attracted to, I thought it was disgusting, so let's just also agree that I wouldn't feel the same about it that you keep promising me I would?]

There. Took me fifteen ignorant comments to get to Bingo, but there it is.

There's one I didn't talk about here where a woman commented dozens of times rambling about how misleading, cruel, and dishonest it is for asexual people to date when EVERYONE KNOWS all romantic relationships BY DEFINITION and BY FAIR EXPECTATION are supposed to lead to sex. A few people explained to her that yeah, asexual and non-asexual people sometimes date each other, and most of the time an asexual person (if they have the tools and knowledge to do so) will disclose their orientation so they can figure out how to compromise, but this woman just wasn't having it. No, no, no, asexual people are being TRICKSY and DISINGENUOUS through the act of ever dating a person, because dating is automatically, undeniably, without exception coded as sexual, and everyone agrees on this. She claimed she had never, EVER dated someone she was not hoping to sleep with eventually--even in middle school, she said--and that there simply is no way for these relationships to work out. Furthermore, it is entirely the fault of the asexual people who want to "force" these relationships. In her mind, we are claiming DISCRIMINATION at people refusing to date us because of our orientation. Discrimination.

I don't know if you got the memo but there is not a single piece of legislation or social shackles that require ANY person to be forced into dating another person for any reason.

She claimed that asexual people are "being passive-aggressive at best" when we date, because even if we disclose at the beginning of the relationship, the people we date are still going to want sex from us and yes, even if we said we did not plan to deliver it, they are still 100% perfectly in the right for expecting that to change. It is owed. It is simply part of what dating IS. Even if the people in the actual relationship have no such beliefs or definitions.

She then linked to Dan Savage's scolding letter to a "minimally sexual" advice seeker, telling him he had a responsibility to get the hell out of the dating pool and only date other people with no/low sex drive because of all the misery he's causing and disappointments he's racking up. "Why would you even contemplate inflicting yourself on normal people?" he said. And the woman posted this as backup for her position. It's gross. (The asexual community and Dan Savage have had words over this letter, by the way. He's sort of partially repented for it since.)

My favorite comment in response to her was this:

Reading this letter from 2011, it's clear to me that there is an epidemic of innocent normo-sexuals being targeted and persecuted by asexual date terrorists.

I love sarcasm.

Here are some other "favorite" ignorant comments that weren't on the Bingo card:

This is intellectually and emotional dishonesty.  The whole thing is about control.  If one person's idea is basically "No, and it's non-negotiable," compromise is impossible. I've lived with control freaks and believe me, I know it when I see it. [Oh, so the only REAL compromise is for ONE person in the relationship--always the asexual one--to give up their needs. Remember, only one person in the relationship has needs that matter: the non-asexual person. Who is never an adult capable of deciding whether they'd like to give up sex or have an alternate arrangement for the sake of the relationship. Nope! Only asexual people have to give in! We get filthy glee from denying people sex, too!]

Sometimes I wonder if some sort of natural phenomenon occurs when the resources are drying up for the mammals to self correct their breeding. Perhaps with our 7 billion and counting numbers, that built into our systems, somehow people who do not want to reproduce are being multiplied at higher rates. [This isn't as bad as some, but the "it's an evolutionary response to overpopulation!" nonsense really makes me roll my eyes. There have always been asexual people. You can observe uninterested individual mammals in sexual species that aren't overpopulated too. The actual science suggests it's just a variant.]

Why I don't get is why DEFINE yourself by something like this? it seems narcissistic, to let what doesn't interest you define you. First decide if your Straight or Gay, then all you need to do is tell your significant other sex isn't important to you.If it's the same with the other person at most you will have to go with it at most a few times a year, big deal. [Aw, how cute, we're narcissistic for wanting language to describe an experience everyone has been telling us is impossible to have, and even when we do try to talk about it, people like you still talk about it like it's a synonym for celibacy. Now that we have words for it and are able to find each other and rest assured that we're not alone in the whole world, oh god we just want ATTENTION. Totally not relevant in ANY situation at all except telling the relationship partners that we don't want to do them--especially since others in this conversation are saying those relationships shouldn't happen. Guess what's historically happened when we weren't able to talk about this? We got pressured into living with compulsory sexuality in our lives and having to suffer it in a way you don't understand if you really think it's no big deal. It's "no big deal" to us the same way it's just no big deal for most straight people to have no problem at all having sex with someone of their own gender.]

The worst part is she doesn't complain, sex hurts or something like that, she doesn't just desire to do it, I say grow up lady and welcome to the club. [That's right, I have to have a reason BESIDES my own feelings--like actual physical pain--before I have any excuse to not give sex to men. Biting down my own desires and putting up with sex I don't want is called "growing up," because that's what an adult woman has to learn: she has no agency in the world, and there is no room for her own desires to figure into the life she lives. Being respected as a mature person is all about being what YOU want us to be.]

I can accept your indifference to sexual experiences, trust me If i can go with my girlfriend to Bingo and Shopping(endless) you can spread your legs and fake it. [Yeah man, it's something I should just be expected to do in a relationship, because sex is totally like not really wanting to go to Bingo. Not to mention I have found a ton of non-asexual people who find it off-putting to imagine an asexual person just letting themselves get nailed if they're not interested. Knowing the sex you're getting is considered an obligation, oddly enough, is often a turn-off. You know what, no. Get out of here with your rape culture/compulsory sexuality b.s.]

This is abnormal, FLAT OUT, Sounds like she has some sort of Autism or a Mental Disorder to me. [Looks like Dr. Tool is back. Not only is he shaming autism and mental disorders, but he's pretending--laughably--that he knows what medical science says about this. Nope.]

how selfish can you be? I spend roughly 75% of my waking life doing things I'd rather not do. Some I have to, like work. Others things i do in ALL my relationships because it makes others happy,even if I felt ZERO sexual desire, I would try to please my significant other, Why do you think you get a pass? [More violently phrased HOW DARE YOU NOT GIVE SEX, WOMAN???? nonsense. I'm sorry you think that's what I'm for and that I'm "selfish" if I believe my wants and needs are as important as yours. Guess what? Some people who have ZERO sexual desire do indeed have sex if they want to for other reasons. But you don't get to tell me sex is EVER something I owe to any person. I "think I get a pass" because I do, in fact, get to decide what my dealbreakers are. Not that any of this is relevant because I'm not having relationships, but these people all really seemed to think I was.]

It's an issue because if lack of a sex drive is a disease or an abnormality, then people shouldn't be promoting the idea that "it's just normal".  It's not "just normal" in that case. It's something for which people should be offered treatment -- and, perhaps, people who choose not to treat it should be treated like people who choose not to be treated for depression or diabetes. No one forces anyone to treat any abnormality, but don't applaud people who willingly choose not to. [There sure are a lot of people with imaginary medical degrees here! Yes, there are medical disorders that, in part, include lack of sex drive or loss of sexual interest. Asexuality is not that. Period. It has been determined to not be a medical or psychological disorder in and of itself. But you'll keep bleating into the corner that sex is necessary for a healthy life until the cows come home instead of actually reading any medical or psychological literature on this subject--even if I were to link it as several people commenting did--so there's not much I can do for people who refuse to learn while blathering about our supposed disease.]

Please don't start presenting people who are asexual as though it's analogous to being transgender, gay or even on the spectrum of those who identify as fetishists. It is not a sexual 'orientation.' There are medical and psychological reasons for such a condition. [Yeah, 'cause homosexuality and transsexuality totally are never and were never assumed illegitimate, and LGBT people were never and are never erased or shamed or othered or denied or assigned medical conditions just like you're doing to us now. There's no analogous situation AT ALL. Geeeee. Why won't we just wake up and realize they're all legitimate orientations and ours alone is a disorder?]

You need to find another word for platonic liaisons with the opposite sex; dating implies a physical relationship and intimacy is difficult for most humans without some kind of physical interaction. [Yeah actually "dating" works just fine for us thanks, because IT IS DATING. And thanks for calling it "the opposite sex," since all dating is cross-gender and there are totally only two. Also it stops being dating or marriage if the relationship is long distance, because it's the physical act of touching that makes a relationship intimate. Asexual people explode if you touch them. There's definitely never a physical relationship of any kind. And I forgot you're the one who listed out all the conditions that must be met before someone's romantic relationship that's indistinguishable from everyone else's actually counts as romantic. Wow and we're the label-obsessed ones?]

I'm struggling to understand what discrimination against asexuals would look like. I'm a single guy in my late twenties...to my employers, the court system, my landlord, etc., I may as well be asexual. [This is after I described in the article exactly what it looks like. I've also talked about it at length and did a lecture about it at Princeton. I seriously get super tired of straight dudes claiming they're going to be mistaken for asexual because they're single. That's not how it works.]

Believe it or not, no one cares if you *don't* have sex with someone-- the only person who cares is the person you're partnered with if that person expects a sexual relationship. And that is what we end up hearing from many asexuals-- that sexual people should learn to accept and understand having a relationship with an asexual. If asexuals all just dated each other,  no one would care. [a) "Just date EACH OTHER!!!!!!" is way easier said than done. b) We're not making any blanket recommendations for what non-asexual people have to do in their relationships. We're saying quit assuming that it's just natural for us to do all the compromising, because the entire world is behind you and has been teaching you AND US that you deserve sex, so how about instead of exploiting that, you pretend for a second that the feelings of the asexual partner in a hypothetical relationship are equally important in how you negotiate the sexual compromises. Ugh I'm so sick of these people acting like we have any social power to force them to date us.]

The fact that this person is claiming an asexual identity but engaging in a social activity that is primarily about sexual attraction, and is also not big among sexually active young people is baffling. Asexuals seem to regard the fact that they are "ruled out" as potential romantic partners because of their "orientation" as an unfair prejudice or something out of ignorance. It's not. People can define the parameters of their relationships however they want. Ruling out asexuals as a romantic partner isn't an act of prejudice-- it is a matter of basic compatibility and expectations. [Oh look, you redefined dating there, baby. Is it possible to enjoy the non-sexual parts of a date or a relationship? Yep. Is it possible for an asexual person to want those things in their lives despite not wanting sex? OOPS NO NO NO NO NO THERE IS NO LEGITIMATE WAY FOR AN ASEXUAL PERSON TO ACCESS THOSE THINGS WITHOUT SEX NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO WE ALL KNOW SEX SEX SEX SEX IS THE IMPORTANT THINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG. Talk about baffling. This is a really. easy. concept. Dating. Is. Not. Inherently. Sexual. If you insist it is, frigging speak for yourself. People involved in it who aren't interested in or are okay without sex are allowed to do it how they want. Oh, and guess what? No, we don't think it's unreasonable at all for people to consider sex one of their must-haves in a relationship. They should disclose that to us just as early as we disclose our position on sex to them. (The idea that only the asexual person has a "dirty" secret here is really gross.) We haven't said ruling us out as romantic partners is a frigging act of prejudice. But considering in our experience we often do disclose and people simply decide we'll change or don't mean it, this is not doing us a lot of good.]

How much of what Ms. Decker claims is scientific? Granted she can speak from her own experience, but that doesn't make it scientific. [Good thing you're not reading a "scientific" article. It just really rustles my jimmies when people think they're being ~scientific~ by talking this way about something that is BY DEFINITION A SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE. We have nothing to prove. Asexual = lack of sexual attraction. That's what we're feeling. We named it. There's some science attached to studying us, and some scientific categorizations of our numbers and reported experiences, and some examination of and consideration of whether what we're reporting is maladaptive or pathological (nope!), but the ridiculous snorting and whining over THIS ISN'T SCIENCE is, like, incredibly inappropriate. Are you going to complain that something's not science the next time someone makes a list of their ten favorite albums?]

There's no such thing as a romantic asexual and no such word as 'aromantic'. There is a word that describes you: Misanthrope [I found a word for dismissive self-satisfied jackasses like you, too: Asshole. Gee, I love when people announce that things aren't real because they've never felt them or they're not in the dictionary. Wow.] 

Another non-issue that journalists attempt to make a story out of. [Another smarmy comment by a person who could happily not read an article if they didn't feel it was relevant to them. Considering the hundreds of comments left on this article by people who told me I have a disorder or am damaged or just want attention or need to be sexed into thinking differently, I venture to say there is some education to be had here. Too bad you're too busy folding your arms and bleating about its irrelevance to you to actually see that.]

I'm glad this new class of sexual orientation is coming out. That way they can be upfront and honest with potential partners who are sexual. It will save alot of future relationships from confusion and resentment. [Why am I not surprised that this comment blames asexual people for supposed dishonesty that caused the resentment? I imagine that if I waxed even more loquacious on the subject of asexual people's confusion and resentment at being bludgeoned by society and individual partners into accepting sex they desperately wanted to avoid, you'd just accuse me of being a drama queen. But sure. It's sexually frustrated partners who need to be coddled here--they're the ones being lied to and abused by people who newly feel the freedom to claim their part of the sexual agency in the relationship. It wouldn't take but a few minutes on the AVEN forums to find people whose relationships have included sex they were beyond desperate to refuse that they felt forced to submit to anyway. You want to talk about resentment? Yeah. Let's.]