What’s this? Me writing an honest-to-goodness post on my blog for the first time in literal years? I really don’t blog much, and I’m not about to start, but this didn’t feel suitable for a long-winded Twitter thread, so here I am!
With International Asexuality Day here and Bloody Spade’s release date fast approaching, I wanted to take a few moments to talk about one of the book’s two main characters: Ellen Amelia Jane, my sex-favorable gray-ace ball of sunshine.
If the term “sex-favorable” just dinged a little bell in your head, you’re not alone.
The asexual spectrum is vast, full of nuance, and unfortunately quite heavily shrouded in misconception both from inside and outside the community. One common misconception is that being asexual means a person has no sexual desire—which is true and valid for some folks, but sexual desire has its own spectrum within the asexual community too!
Let’s break it down.
- You have sex-repulsed aces, who want nothing to do with sex, typically because they find it gross or simply unappealing.
- Then there are sex-indifferent/sex-neutral aces, who have no strong feelings either way and may engage in sexual activities for purposes such as reproduction or to give pleasure to their partner(s).
- And finally, we have the lesser-known sex-favorable aces (sometimes called “sex-positive,” but to me that carries a different non-personal meaning that relates more to views on sexual freedoms and whatnot, so it can be a bit confusing). Being sex-favorable means that although you only rarely experience sexual attraction or don’t experience it at all, you can still enjoy sex and may even seek it out for various reasons.
No matter where you fall on the asexuality spectrum, any one of these sexual preferences can apply to you. At the end of the day, what asexuality—and any sexuality, really—comes down to is attraction, not desire. Sexual attraction isn’t necessary to have a libido. Asexual people can still get horny. Some of us masturbate, some of us don’t. IT’S FINE.
I struggled for a long time to figure out exactly where I fell on the spectrum because some definitions fit and others didn’t. Ultimately, based on the fact that I experience little to no sexual attraction (only experiencing it mildly under very specific circumstances), I settled on gray-asexual. But everywhere I went, it felt like people were telling me “you don’t belong” because I was still open to the idea of sex.
Then, last year or the year before (time is an illusion), I discovered the term “sex-favorable” and it was like the last puzzle piece finally clicked into place. There was a place for me in the community after all!
And my girl Ellen falls into the same category. This character has been with me for eleven years—since I was fifteen—and she’s grown and changed with me a lot in that time. Exploring parts of yourself through the lens of storytelling really helps to give a new perspective, and in writing Ellen, I was able to learn loads about myself and untangle some of the complicated feelings I’ve had with regards to our shared sex-favorable gray-sexuality (and mutual dislike for open-mouthed kissing/make-outs).
Although the Cardplay Duology doesn’t have a heavy focus on this aspect and it’s not something we delve deep into on the page (lightly touched on in BS, explored further in the sequel), it’s still an integral part of Ellen’s character. She faces a lot of the same difficulties I’ve had, particularly when it comes to identifying our feelings, and I really hope others will be able to see themselves in her and know that there is a place for them in this community. That there are others like them, and it’s totally okay!
On a related note: it’s also been comforting to me personally for Ellen to have an eventual partner like Iori (look, if you follow me literally anywhere online, you’ll know they end up together. I don’t consider this a spoiler). He stumbles occasionally in navigating her asexuality, which is only natural since he’s allosexual, but he’s very considerate of her needs and lets her set the boundaries. And, y’know, maybe there’s a takeaway or two in there for allosexual people who have or may end up with asexual partners.
Anyway, that’s it from me.
Happy International Asexuality Day to my fellow aces! You’re all wonderful and valid, even if you’re still figuring yourself out, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. ❤
UPDATE (25/10/2021): Obligatory book plug! If you want to read about my gray-ace girl, Bloody Spade is officially OUT and you can purchase your copy here! Alternatively, please consider supporting your indie bookstore by ordering a copy there, or requesting the book at your local library.