New Theme

Sorry for the little bit of post spam today. I meant to only post the one thing, but I ended up doing a bit more on the blog. And now I’ve changed the theme.

I never was a huge fan of the old theme, to be honest, and apparently WordPress decided it was “retired”, so I checked the list of available themes and Twenty Sixteen was the only half-decent one. It’s accessible, clean, and uncluttered, without garish color contrast or an overly “arty” feeling. I also decided that a light theme might be better, and went with an off-white background, which I find more pleasant than pure white. I know a few people who have issues with light text on dark backgrounds and figure going with 95% of the internet and choosing light is probably a good plan.

The old theme was chosen to get as close as possible without paying to the dark theme I created myself for my personal website, but it wasn’t a very good approximation. This new theme doesn’t look anything like my website, so I can judge it on its own terms, and it’s alright. I feel I could do better myself, but I don’t want to pay for this blog just to manually change a color palette.

If you don’t like the theme, I recommend not looking at it. RSS works great and you can style your reader however you want, because only the barest of formatting is preserved by RSS. Seriously, use RSS, it’s great and people keep talking about how it’s dying even though it works just as well as it always did, which is very.


A little life update

For literal years now, my bio has included the line

I’m an aromantic (nonamorous) demi-bi-sexual polyamorous agender white person from the Pacific Northwest.

And, well, it’s time to change this. I am no longer nonamorous; I have a partner and we are in a queerplatonic partnership. It developed organically over the last 2 years, and when we started calling ourselves partners it was really just realizing that we already had been for a while.

I never really thought about how this now means I am not living a nonamorous lifestyle until just recently, when Coyote mentioned the definition, almost offhandedly, here. Though it was an accurate label at the time I was last blogging, my life has just changed since then, in a way I didn’t specifically seek out but which I am completely happy with.

I once mentioned that I wanted to write a post about the intersection of polyamorous and nonamorous and how despite both ending in -amorous it wasn’t a contradiction, but clearly I won’t be writing that anymore, at least in the form I originally envisioned.

I’m mostly writing this because I just realized that my last post’s footnote is the only time I’ve ever mentioned anywhere in the blogosphere that I have a partner, as far as I can remember, since the start of this relationship. And it’s a significant thing in my life, so I thought it deserved a bigger mention.

Attraction is confusing

So, I have some other posts in the pipeline (believe it or not) but I want to get this out of the way first because otherwise it’ll confuse my following posts. I thought it’d be short, but it actually turned into one of my longest posts all of a sudden.

I don’t understand romantic attraction. Not in the “I’m wtfromantic” sense, though I’ll get back to that, but in the sense that my mental model of the world does not, and never has, included the concept. No non-a-spec people I’ve ever known have ever talked about anything remotely similar to it, except for crushes, but crushes never seemed like something people considered important for initiating a romantic relationship (although they seem to generally conform to people’s romantic orientations). Even the alloromantic aces I know don’t ever actually talk about romantic attraction. The only people who ever talk about it are strangers on the internet, and I’m confused.

In my experience, romantic relationships seem to usually be initiated by what could be called “romantic desire”, which can be linked with sexual or other attraction and often includes feelings of romantic love or limerence. Basically, people date who they ‘like’. But people talk about romantic attraction as if it is something other than this, and I don’t understand.

I’m not saying that anybody is wrong, of course. I just don’t understand, and I can’t decide if my confusion is because I’m the only one who doesn’t understand this, or if in actuality it’s not a very widespread concept at all. Neither option seems likely, and yet, I’ve never seen anyone ever address a confusion quite like mine.

Well, except for some wtf/quoiromantic people talking about their own orientations. I’m not wtfromantic, I’m aromantic. I can say that with confidence. What I can’t say is that I “do not experience romantic attraction”. I don’t know what it is. I’m still, fundamentally, not absolutely convinced it exists as what I would call an attraction. So, sometimes I read what wtfromantic people write and I feel a bit of resonance—this is a confusing concept to me as well. But, in the end, I’m still not wtfromantic.

Part of that is that I have never cared whether I feel romantic attraction or not. My internal definition of romantic orientation has never used that concept. It still doesn’t, despite an apparent community consensus on the definition I quoted earlier.

I identify as aromantic because:

  • I don’t want a romantic relationship.
  • I don’t have crushes.
  • I don’t feel romantic love.
  • I can’t empathize with fictional depictions of romance.
  • I don’t experience romance itself.

None of that has anything to do with attraction. I’m not claiming to be right, or that anyone else is wrong, but I can’t shake this idea that the only reason why that definition gained what level of consensus it has is because people feel that orientations have to correspond to attraction. I never thought that attraction was a fundamental part of what an orientation is, so when I identified with the concept of a romantic orientation (aromantic) I never adopted a model of romantic attraction to support it, because it didn’t need one and the concept of attraction didn’t feel useful to me in this instance.

The only sense in which I do have any mental model of “romantic attraction” is in my understanding of crushes. I’ve never had a crush, but it’s certainly hard to get away from the idea, so I’ve picked up on some details. Crushes seem, for most people at least, to be a whole mess of feelings, including limerence and some form of attraction, commonly towards someone whom the subject does not know particularly well and with whom they do not have much consistent interaction. Certainly there is an attraction in there, but is it actually what people are talking about when they refer to romantic attraction? That doesn’t quite seem to line up for me. People don’t talk about it like that.

I guess what I’m most confused about is, what is romantic attraction an attraction to?

Sexual attraction is an attraction to bodies, at least most of the time.* Crushes seem like an attraction to an internal conception of a person, which is my explanation for why they mostly occur toward people whom the subject doesn’t know well. Aesthetic attraction is an attraction to appearances (and not necessarily of people—most objects of aesthetic attraction as I experience it are inanimate (e.g. art or vistas), or cats. It’s probably something in the way they carry themselves.). Alterous/emotional/platonic attraction (these may or may not all be exactly the same, but they’re similar in this functional model) is an attraction to personalities, as I understand. But, what is romantic attraction to?

This model has adequately accounted for almost every type of attraction I’ve ever heard anyone talk about, except glaringly for romantic attraction. (And sensual attraction, but in that case I think it’s just that I don’t know much about it in the first place. Nothing I know of it is inconsistent with this model, at least.) But, as I said before, almost nobody except strangers on the internet ever talks about romantic attraction. So it wasn’t a big deal. Doesn’t stop it from being confusing, though. Again, I’m not saying my model is better than yours, I’m just saying that my model seems to be working just fine for my purposes.†

It’s also not a rock-solid classification scheme, and different types of attraction can be to the same things. It’s not a one-to-one or a one-to-many mapping, it’s a many-to-many mapping. The only thing which I can’t map is romantic attraction. People tell me that it should be in the domain, and yet there is nothing that it maps to in the codomain that I can see. Is it a case of my model breaking down fundamentally, or is it a case of people not explaining this particular aspect?

Maybe romantic attraction is differentiated primarily by how it feels—but, feelings are notoriously difficult to communicate, and I find it hard to believe that everyone would be able to agree on which of two attractions which are functionally similar to label as romantic. If it were that, then I’d hear about people talking about how they experience romantic attraction-like feelings in multiple distinct ways, but I don’t see much of that, at least in comparison to the discussion of these other concepts, so I don’t feel like that’s it either.

Edited to add: I omitted a rather glaring detail from this treatment, because I forgot about it while I was writing. Of course, there’s another functional model of attraction, by which romantic attraction could be distinguished. It might be that what makes attraction romantic is in that it instills a desire to act in a romantic way. In fact, this is a common definition. But, I don’t know that it resolves all that much, because people hardly agree on what romantic means in relation to activities either. And in any case, I’m still unsure about the attraction part of this, as opposed to simple desire.

In summary, I don’t understand anything about romantic attraction, and this lack of understanding makes me worry that I’ve misunderstood something fundamental about what attraction is at all.

Edited to add: There are a couple of posts which I should really include links to, and rather than actually rewrite anything to naturally include links, I’m just going to put them here. It’s slightly better than a comment. is highly relevant, and in fact this post is partially a response to the ideas Elizabeth was discussing. is also relevant, as it questions the consensus definition on romantic orientation I quoted above.

* Sometimes people say that demisexuality is attraction to personalities, but that’s not how it works for me. It might work that way for some people, but I usually hear that description from non-demi people, so it kind of looks like a misconception. For me, it’s still an attraction to bodies; it’s just that that attraction can only really develop secondarily to something else. (What exactly that something else is is not entirely clear-cut.) I like to look at my partner’s body, and what goes through my head isn’t “I am attracted to the person whose body this is”, it’s “wow they’re sexy”. It’s just, they’re one of very few people who are sexy, and all of them only became sexy after I got to know them.

† I should get back to it in another post, and elaborate on my thoughts, since I’ve not seen anyone else in the ace blogosphere really codify a model like it. But it seems to be more or less similar to the implicit models the allo people I know use.

A Carnival of Aces: October 2016 Round-up of Submissions: Joining the Asexual Community

As you likely know, I hosted the Carnival of Aces for October 2016, on Joining the Asexual Community. If you’d like to know more, you can read the Call for Submissions. Late pieces will still be accepted for a reasonable amount of time, in case you’d like to submit them.

This month, eleven pieces were submitted, ten of which having been written for the carnival specifically, and I really enjoyed reading all of them. In order of submission, they are:

(Those without unique titles having been given short summaries. Also, please tell me if I missed yours! Contact details are still in the Call.)

Unfortunately, I did not get around to writing my own piece for the Carnival because I ended up with generally less free time this month than I had expected to have, and I never quite had enough steam to finish a piece.

It has been my pleasure to host the last Carnival of Aces, but now I must pass on the torch to fellow blogger Dee, at It’s An Ace Thing. The subject is “Relationship Anarchy“. I’m pretty excited about it, myself. While I’m at it, last month’s was on “Asperger’s and Asexuality” hosted by Robin Enby.

Side note: In case any of the above Tumblrs change URL, they have all been reblogged to my own Tumblr with the tag #CoA1016.

A Carnival of Aces: October 2016 Call for Submissions: Joining the Asexual Community

The Carnival of Aces is a monthly event wherein ace bloggers (and all types of authors and artists besides) are invited to talk about a particular asexual-community-related subject, with all posts thus submitted being collated at the end for ease of perusal.
For more information, please refer to the Masterpost.

Last month’s Carnival was hosted by Robin Enby, on Asperger’s and Asexuality. Go check it out!

I am most excited to announce that the October 2016 Carnival of Aces will be hosted here on Yapbnweca, by none other than myself! This is my first time hosting, so let’s hope I don’t do this wrong. The subject for this month is Joining the Asexual Community, which I was somewhat surprised to learn has never come up before in a Carnival.

By that, I mean the events leading up to and immediately following joining (in any sense of the word) ‘the’ asexual community. The focus is on personal “ace origin stories”, but you are invited to take a more general or abstract approach if you wish. Carnivals of Aces are traditionally of wide breadth, so as to capture the most interesting ideas people have, and this is meant not to be an exception.

(The theme for August was Naming It (Hosted by Valprehension), which unfortunately had some overlap in interpretation with this theme, but I think plenty has been left to say for this carnival.)

Possible subjects include, but are not limited to:

  • How did you first learn the meaning of the word “asexual” (or “aromantic” or any other relevant label)? When and why did you first apply that label to yourself? How long did it take?
  • Did you immediately jump into the community or did you privately identify for some time first? Perhaps you joined as an allo ally and later re-identified?
  • Did you first join a local community or an internet one? How do they compare?
  • How did you identify before joining the asexual community? What identities have you taken on since joining? Would you have been exposed to them without already being in the asexual community?
  • What do you wish was different about your joining of the asexual community? What do you wish will be different for aces joining the community in the future?
  • Was the asexual community a welcoming place from the beginning, or did you have to make a space for yourself to be comfortable?
  • October has Asexual Awareness Week, a week specifically set aside every year for aces to try to reach out to others, with goals including addressing asexual invisibility and introducing as-yet-unidentified aces to our vocabulary. How do you feel about it?
  • You may have noticed that I quoted the “the” in “‘the’ asexual community” above. That is because there isn’t really just one community. However, the asexual community is much more centralized than most other queer/LBGTQ+/GSM communities. How has this centralization affected your engagement with it, particularly when you first found it? Do you appreciate the unity and culture, or do you wish it were less monolithic?

And, of course, many others I haven’t thought of. In short, the prompt may be read as:

  • How did you get here?

Pieces may be submitted through commenting on this post, asking my Tumblr, or by emailing me at []. I can post (anonymous or otherwise) guest submissions on my blog, just send me an email.

Edit 10/05/016: I cannot recommend Tumblr asks for submissions because any ask that is determined to be spam (from what I’ve heard, this can happen based on simply including URLs) is silently deleted. Therefore, I recommend emailing or commenting.

The roundup post will go up sometime on or shortly after November 1st, however, submissions will be accepted late for as long as I may receive them.

Exit 22A

So, I’m starting therapy soon, so that’ll be Exciting. Hopefully it doesn’t take too long to get a therapist that’s competent with the various things I would need them to be competent with (the usual; demisexuality/a-spec, bisexuality, autism, etc). I’ve heard bad things from some people about therapists’ handling of those points before, but I’m trying to remain hopeful. The relevant diagnosis is “Anxiety Disorder”, which amazingly only required me to talk to a nurse for 30 minutes over the phone and say that I think I have anxiety (plus explain some of my reasoning and answer a bunch of questions). It’s almost as if the mental health care system trusts in the validity of self-diagnosis! Wouldn’t that be incredible?</sarcasm>

(Oh, and maybe they can also help me with my blood-injury phobia. I suspect that it’ll be highly unpleasant short-term before it gets worthwhile long-term, though.)

Also, I’ve been dealing with fairly bad insomnia lately, and worsened anxiety for no apparent reason, and a general inability to focus on blogging. So that’s why the 30dGQC petered off. (Additionally, the writing of some of the remaining posts, including most of the ones I had already started drafts for, was causing a worsening of the very state of affairs that they were describing. So those ones are going to be further delayed.) I hope to return to that and finish it Soon™.

So apparently WordPress supports out-of-the-box an automatic share-to-tumblr (also other social media I don’t care about) feature, and nobody told me? So there is now a Tumblr specifically dedicated to this blog, so if you don’t care about my memes and such you can follow it instead of my primary one.