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Old 11-02-2021, 06:40 PM   #1
SprinkL3
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Ooo Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) & The Spectrum of Asexuality

There's a really awesome and INCLUSIVE website that describes asexuality specifically for ACE survivors.

Quote:
Asexuality exists on a spectrum the way that other sexualities do. Many aces identify somewhere in the gray area, which is referred to as the ace spectrum. Gray-asexuals may feel sexual attraction under very rare and specific circumstances, or they may feel sexual attraction but never have a desire to act on it. An example of a gray-asexual would be someone who recalls feeling attracted to a friend at one time, but they generally do not experience sexual attraction.
Being asexual does NOT mean that all asexuals will fit into a nicely defined "no attraction" definition. Instead, it is an INCLUSIVE category, just like the LGBTQ+ community is (in theory) an inclusive group, where anyone can define their own sexuality in their own terms. Asexuality should not be excluded, nor should its definition be so rigid so as to exclude many ACE survivors from this list.

Here's another subset of asexuality, which the site explains:

Quote:
A subset of gray-asexuality is demisexuality, which occurs when a person only feels sexual attraction after forming a very strong, emotional bond. The bond they need for sexual attraction may take several years to form. In many cases, the demisexual person can be dating someone for a long time and never feel sexually attracted to them. When explaining demisexuality to sexual people, they often mistake it for a choice instead of an innate orientation. Demisexuality is not a choice; it is simply a lack of primary sexual attraction.
Demisexuality is something that I experience on certain levels, which is why I self-define as an asexual pansexual (I can be attracted to anyone) as well as an asexual sapiosexual (I can be attracted to a person's intelligence, especially in conversation). I need not have physical sex in order to be attracted, nor do I need to be physically attracted to someone in order to be attracted to a person's non-physical features.

My asexuality is more fluid and less rigid than definitions can explain, which is in large part due to my dissociative disorder. Nevertheless, this is who I am, and my trauma should not exclude me from this category or my self-expression. Inclusivity should be for all and loosely defined, not so rigid as to use it for some (conventional) persons but not for others.

So why is self-expressing as asexual challenging for ACE survivors (including, but not limited to, child trauma survivors)? Here's some explanations from the website:

Quote:
Surviving a sexual trauma is hard enough, but being ace can add another layer of complications. Ace survivors face different issues than other survivors. For example, some ace survivors have their sexual orientation called into question because of the violence theyíve endured. Many survivor related resources focus on sexual healing in a way ace survivors find alienating. Ace-centered resources can help ace survivors navigate the intersections of their trauma and their identity without alienating them.
I know that I've been excluded from some LGBTQ+ groups for not fitting into their cookie-cutter and privileged definitions of what it means to be asexual as a survivor of ACE. Only few groups are now redefining the true meaning of "inclusivity," which includes people like me who do, in fact, belong to this particular group.

There are many helpful resources at this website, which I'm sharing now.

I found this website through a google search recently, after having to deal with some negative backlash and microaggressions. Microaggressions are hard enough for those without traumatic backgrounds, but they are even more so challenging for those who have experienced past and current traumas. Microaggressions can be experienced by those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, too.

I'm wondering if there is anyone else who is like me - a self-expressing asexual and ACE survivor (both in the "ace" definition described within the above link, as well as the ACE definition described from Kaiser's original ACE studies on adverse childhood experiences). You could say that being an ace is an ACE - a double entendre, if you will.

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Old 11-03-2021, 02:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) & The Spectrum of Asexuality

That is very interesting. I didn't know. I will have to do some reading now. Thanks!
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Old 11-03-2021, 03:28 PM   #3
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Default Re: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) & The Spectrum of Asexuality

I think itís refreshing that you have a ďthis is who I amĒ approach and ask that others respect that, rather than trying to be rigid about putting yourself in a box. Human sexuality/romantic attraction and relationships in general are complex, trauma or no, even though some people might try and convince us otherwise.
For what itís worth, while Iím not an ACE (but am a trauma survivor) I have still suffered micro aggressions because I have a low sex drive, and Iím very rarely seen hanging out with people who arenít other women - I am straight, just not that interested! I think the micro aggressions come from others feeling like theyíre entitled to other peopleís bodies in case they want sex - the base message I hear (and Iím not sure if you feel similarly?) is while Iím not obsessed with getting laid, if they want it I should be Ďavailableí regardless of my own feelings. It confuses and offends them that Iíd rather not participate.
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Old 11-03-2021, 04:12 PM   #4
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Heart Re: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) & The Spectrum of Asexuality

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Originally Posted by Yaowen View Post
That is very interesting. I didn't know. I will have to do some reading now. Thanks!
Technically, I didn't know either. And initially, I thought the article meant ACE = adverse childhood experiences. I just realized now that "ace" (lowercase) stands for the spectrum of asexuality. I'm still learning about this.

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Old 11-03-2021, 04:38 PM   #5
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Heart Re: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) & The Spectrum of Asexuality

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoxanneToto View Post
I think itís refreshing that you have a ďthis is who I amĒ approach and ask that others respect that, rather than trying to be rigid about putting yourself in a box. Human sexuality/romantic attraction and relationships in general are complex, trauma or no, even though some people might try and convince us otherwise.
For what itís worth, while Iím not an ACE (but am a trauma survivor) I have still suffered micro aggressions because I have a low sex drive, and Iím very rarely seen hanging out with people who arenít other women - I am straight, just not that interested! I think the micro aggressions come from others feeling like theyíre entitled to other peopleís bodies in case they want sex - the base message I hear (and Iím not sure if you feel similarly?) is while Iím not obsessed with getting laid, if they want it I should be Ďavailableí regardless of my own feelings. It confuses and offends them that Iíd rather not participate.
Thank you soooooo much, Roxanne Toto! I relate to EVERYTHING you just said! I'm a child sexual abuse survivor and a military sexual trauma (MST) survivor. My body was not my own, ever since I could recall bits and pieces of trauma spanning from when I was still in diapers at the age of 3. I won't go into any further details here, as then I would probably need a trigger warning. But I will say that I agree with your statement, "...while Iím not obsessed with getting laid, if they want it I should be Ďavailableí regardless of my own feelings. It confuses and offends them that Iíd rather not participate."

I feel that part of my adolescent abuses comprised me having to be "okay" with sexuality, in particular, heterosexuality. I felt confused. Ever since I was young, I really didn't develop much desire for sexual intimacy. I felt like it was a painful obligation that women endured, after having witnessed my own mother get harmed by my dad many times. I learned later that all of this was wrong, and forms of both trauma and criminal victimization (only, without it being substantiated in a court of law or even by law enforcement). There were no protections for me, and my voice was never heard - in terms of any "no" I could have said (it was prohibited to go against authority, especially male authority) and in terms of me wanting comfort for my pain. My body responded very differently than the average norm. I literally failed sex education in Jr. High because their norms didn't match up with my reality, and I could never answer the questions correctly. My being "attracted" to others meant "bosom buddies" or the kind of closeness that friendships have. If I wanted or desired a "romantic relationship" some day, I thought more about the intellectual stimulation than I did the physical. I also thought more about protection and true partnership than I did about "getting laid."

I've experimented over the years, and I've cried during my attempts to have sex in different relationships - a few with some men and once with a woman. I felt triggered, grossed out, sad, scared, and just not attracted that way. In fact, the mere act of sex with all of my exes had killed whatever intellectual attraction I had with them initially. My ex-boyfriend remains confused because an alternate personality took over after I had cried during sex, and the alter then finished it off. We broke it off with the ex and we remained friends. The ex was also bisexual and polygamous, so that was also too risky. We appreciated his candor, but we asked him to appreciate our need to remain asexual. He understood. He's one of the few exes we trust.

The female we had experimented at one point had some serious issues. She blamed us for her phone bill being high, she stalked us via phone and in real life, and she got vindictive when we broke it off with her. There was a lot going on with me at that time, and I was also homeless. I was initially attracted to her intellect, too, just like I was to a best friend when I was 13 years old, but that attraction didn't include sex to me. Sure, I'd have strange feelings in my body, but sex itself repulsed me. I think if there were no male or female organs involved, and no sex in the conventional way, then perhaps I might be "intimate." But I'd rather be intellectually stimulated than physically. It's strange. That's the sapiosexual in me. And my being attracted to anyone - including a transgender person's intellect at some point, meant that I was also pansexual (not bisexual). And the "sexual" part in those terms also sickened me, because it didn't meant that I wanted physical sex based on unconventional attraction. My attraction itself is purely asexual, because the intent and desire don't include physical sex.

I think hand-holding or hugging are okay, but kissing depends - sometimes I'm grossed out by it or just not responsive, other times it's nice and sweet.

In bed, however, I tend to sometimes have violent nightmares, so I prefer to sleep alone. I also felt smothered whenever I tried to cuddle. It just didn't work for me.

That expressed, even though I don't know if I was "born" with this, or if all of this stems from my childhood maltreatment. But what I do know is that (a) advances in science have also shown that what the birthmother does affects the child before birth - prenatal, so that could influence our behaviors when we were born, and (b) it shouldn't matter if our sexuality stems from so-called birth (or natural means) versus disability (such as being a forced eunuch) versus childhood trauma-turned-disability (such as being a victim of sexual abuse). If our sexuality is what we make out of it, and how we personally self-identify, and how we have the freedom to choose yes or no to sex (without it being harassed, coerced, and rape), then we should be accepted into groups.

This division between "I'm a natural born" versus "you're just disability-changed" or "you're just celibate instead of asexual, like religious people" is ignorant of the needs for inclusivity, freedom, self-expression, and personal choice - all of which the so-called "natural born" LGBTQ+ community fight for to begin with - inclusivity, freedom, self-expression, and personal choice. So, regardless of the genesis of our sexuality, we should be included and supported in such groups.

Conversely, segregating "natural borns" from "unnatural borns" is tantamount to how multiracial persons are segregated from "pure bloods" (those without so-called mixed races in their heritage), or how skin color separates white-passing/white-adjacent non-whites from persons of color (also now known as the controversial BIPOC community, where Black is set apart from Indigenous, and both Black and Indigenous are set apart from POC - person of color, which may or may not include Asians, Jewish persons, Arabs, Afghans, etc.). It's all divisive. It does nothing to work toward inclusivity.

I could go on and on, but we're either inclusive or we're not. We either have full inclusivity, or we're only inclusive with strings attached, which is like saying we're only "part-racist" or "part-prejudiced." Whatever we call it, the behavior and motives for segregating remain, which harms those who get excluded.

I just want to be included and accepted and belonged - which is a basic human need for mere survival, if not also self-actualization and transcendence, according to Maslow.
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Old 11-03-2021, 05:13 PM   #6
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Default Re: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) & The Spectrum of Asexuality

You raise some really interesting points - re. inclusivity I find it sad and sort of mind boggling that people within certain groups reject others based on why they identify as XYZ (that goes for pretty much everything), while saying they want to be included. Can you have inclusivity while being exclusive? Only if you consciously want to make your group into an island of sorts, I guess. Asexuality arising from medication, trauma or birth will likely have similar impacts, or at least one might reasonably assume.
I am sorry about what happened to your mum, nobody should be put through that.
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