Regular Meetups

Until recently, the group has gone by the name Asexy Utah Spooners, both on aven and on facebook. The name sprang from the desire to gorge on hipster frozen yogurt at the local business Spoon Me and was to be the regular location for the meetups. However, Spoon Me is no longer in business and this has caused a bit of confusion among some members as to the status of our activities in general.

Our meetups are held the first Saturday of every month at the local Coffee Break in Salt Lake City. The exact location can be found here.

Meetings start at 5:30 and last until about 7:00pm. Generally, we start by socializing, getting to know everyone, and shooting the breeze. Then we talk about topics relating to asexuality and lgbtq stuff in general. All in all it’s a light atmosphere intended to provide a safe space to speak openly about asexuality and the joys/complications of being different. We know how important it is to provide this space considering how invisible the orientation is and how alone many people feel because of it.

If you are wanting to attend but are nervous about meeting new people, feel free to email us at asexualityutah@gmail.com. We can arrange for a short skype or tinychat conversation so you know someone prior to attending the meetup. We have had new people every month steadily for the past year. We’re excited to meet anyone who wants to come, allies included. So feel free to attend! We look forward to meeting you.

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February’s Meeting

Hey everyone, last meetup was really great! Thanks to everyone who came. This next month, we’re going to meet up at Coffee Break in SLC.

It’s 2 blocks west of the red line Trax stop. It’s a little tricky to spot, but it is next to an arby’s which helps. If you are driving, there is parking around back. What that means is you’ll need to approach the place going east, past the arbys, past coffee break, then down the tiny street immediately to the right.

The specific address is 430 East 400 South, Salt Lake City, UT. The day and time is February 4, @ 5:30pm till approximately 7:00pm. Feel free to show up late/leave early, we don’t care. As always, feel free to wear purple.

If you’re new, just head to the back of the coffee shop and look for purple people. 🙂 We mingle/hang out for awhile then have a pointed discussion about the month’s topic.

Here’s a map. http://tinyurl.com/7aa7kly (result A)

As reminder, it’s near the Trolley stop on trax, but is 2 blocks WEST of the trax red line stop. So, get off the red trax line at trolley, get on the south side of the road, and walk west a couple blocks till you see an arbys and you’re there.

See you guys there. 😀

December’s meetup

There has been some miscommunication and difficulties sorting out the last couple of month’s meetings, but we just wanted to let everyone know that Asexuality will still be having meetups. We’re trying to get through the holidays and still have our meetings but it is proving very hard with conflicting schedules and everyone being out of town.
Here is a message from Becky, the organizer of our meetings:
Hey guys, I’m sorry about the lack of communication this month. This batch of finals in school has really had my mind distracted. With that in mind, I don’t think I’ll be able to effectively organize the group this month for a meetup. By the time my brain returns to my skull it will be christmas and people will be busy. If someone has the gumption to throw a meetup together, go for it; i’ll make it if i can. Otherwise, I think it might be best to postpone the next meetup till January. Sorry again about confusion times!
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Graysexual Tension

Submitted by Adair (09/03/11)

Last night’s meeting got me thinking about my own sexual identity again. I don’t quite fit in anywhere, which is okay with me–it means I have to listen to people rather than labels. But I thought I’d write a post about why I identify with the asexual community even though I do sometimes experience sexual attraction.

Most prominently, I’m not a typical sexual, either. I would call myself an atypical sexual or a graysexual, depending on when you ask me.

It’s important to realize that there are other possible definitions for “asexual” than “not experiencing sexual attraction.” Nonlibidoism is one; you could further restrict the definition to exclude romantic asexuals by reasoning that sexual orientation is usually defined to include components like emotional or spiritual attraction. This very strict definition is what many people might think when they hear the word “asexual” before being educated about the community.

On the other hand, you could go with a much broader definition along the lines of “Many people identify as asexual because they do not experience or identify with some component of sexuality or sexuality in general.” The definition’s agnostic about whether people identify as asexual for other reasons, and doesn’t specify which component of sexuality–libido, attraction, desire to act on attraction, enjoyment of sex, behavior, or other–an asexual lacks. I included “or identify with” because someone might experience, say, a sexual response to certain stimuli but have no reaction beyond noticing that feeling–it doesn’t have to motivate them to change their behavior, wants, or identity.

I’m not saying that there’s something wrong with the AVEN definition of asexuality. Clearly it’s helped a lot of people. But don’t forget that it privileges some experiences over others by placing prime importance on one aspect of sexuality. If someone doesn’t experience that as an important or the most important part of their (a)sexuality, they might feel very conflicted about the label.

In addition to excluding people (most explicitly celibates) from the label, the sexual-attraction definition also includes people who would consider themselves sexual. For instance, some people are turned on by the emotional and situational dynamics of a BDSM scene but not by the other people involved. Others relate to sexuality through a solo sex life, or enjoy partnered sex despite not feeling sexual attraction. Some such people identify as asexual, but others might not. AVEN emphasizes self-identification, but that leaves the problem of having a concept that draws a red circle around one component of sexuality and asks, “Yes or no?” It’s further confusing that a lot of people (me included!) aren’t exactly sure what sexual attraction is.

Gray-asexual and related terms have become safe harbors for all the people who might be covered by a broader definition of asexual, as well as those who experience low-intensity or infrequent “sexuality” (or just aren’t entirely sure whether or not something they’ve experienced is sexual attraction).

Personally, I experience sexual attraction infrequently relative to your average sexual, typically to a few people a couple of times a year. And most of those attractions are ambiguous, not clearly sexual, low-intensity, and fleeting. I’ve had one relationship driven in significant part by my sexual desire for the other person, and that definitely surprised me. I feel awkward and “too sexual” compared to gray-As who had a fleeting attraction once fifteen years ago, but my more rational side thinks my level of sexual attraction does qualify as “gray”.

But sexual attraction isn’t the whole story of my gray tendencies. I also experience low-to-nonexistent levels of other components of sexuality–arousal, desire to have sexual partners, and especially sexual pleasure. Many of the same sexual narratives that tick off my asexual-activist side by asserting that everyone wants sex further frustrate and invalidate me by talking up the intense pleasure of sex. I’d describe my solo and good partnered sexual experiences as neutral when it comes to pleasure–a lot like brushing my teeth. I’ve had one orgasm more intense than feeling pressure one moment and disinterest the next, and my closest comparison to that experience is the time I got hit by a (thankfully slow-moving!) pick-up truck. I held on through the pain that threw every other thought from my mind except desperate anticipation of its end.

Beyond the qualities of my own sexual feelings, I’m attached to the asexual community for its disruption of certain norms, ideals, and ideologies that can grab hold of people’s heads when asexuals are invisible.

The concept of romantic as distinct from sexual gives words to a lot of people, both asexual and sexual, to understand and describe something important about themselves. Someone can be any combination of sexual and romantic orientation, or can have relationships that are sexual, romantic, both, or neither. For me, this means that I can better distinguish between desires for emotional, social, intellectual, or physical contact and sexual desire, and figure out what I really want (or what range of things I might come to want) when I have a strong impulse to associate with someone. This knowledge, and growing up, also allowed me to realize that I used to want that strong urge for connection as the basis for a “real” friendship–when in reality many strong, important friendships don’t start with a squish.

Asexuality also disavows the notion that everyone needs sexual relationships–and that sexual relationships should be the most important in someone’s life (bar parenting, which is very different than chosen relationships between adults). Close friendships, romantic or not, are very important to me. I’m often willing to engage in occasional sexual or sexual-ish behavior with a close friend, but having a commitment to fulfill someone else’s sexual needs over the course of a relationships sounds like a nightmare to me. Yet mainstream culture presents that type of monogamous, sexual, romantic, ideally economically-interdependent relationship as the only way to structure one’s adult life. The asexual community and other queer groups made it clear to me that I can pick and choose what sort of relationships I want.

And because I don’t need to seek out a type of relationship I don’t want, I don’t have to make decisions about my appearance and behavior calculated to increase my chances of finding a mate. I’m freed from a lot of norms about gender and what’s attractive that felt so much like a prison when I was a teenager.

I identify, first and foremost, with the complexity of human sexuality and the rough edges of definitions. What I am remains in the rough areas between concepts, but asexuality validates some of the most important things I want from life, and expresses many things I feel toward sexuals and portrayals of sexuality.

Just as importantly, I support full asexuals in the fight to increase visibility and understanding of their experiences even where they differ from mine–because among people who don’t know much about asexuality, and for kids growing up asexual without a word, being ace is very much one of those rough edges, and I know how that can hurt.

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The Second Meetup

Time
Friday, October 7 · 5:30pm – 7:00pm

Location
Spoon Me

532 East 400 South
Salt Lake City, UT

For Asexy Utah Spooners

More Info
As a followup to our first spoonerific success, at our second meetup we will explore a second helping of hipster ice cream, some time to socialize and hang out, followed by a directed discussion of…

*drum roll please*

Coming out! Other than stories of our own experiences, we can share our thoughts on when to come out, how to come out, and what to possibly expect after the fact. If you want to go deeper, feel free.

As always, bring friends or anyone who will be interested. Ace + allies! The only real rule is, don’t be a douche.

Also, don’t feel bad about showing up late/leaving early. The more people there the better.

See you guys there!

Our first meeting!

Today we had the very first Asexual Utah meeting at SLC’s yogurt venue, “Spoon Me”. The showup was fantastic, five of us were able to attend and we hope to see many more of you! Currently we are in the planning stages of our meetings and are open to any and all suggestions that people may have. If you were unable to attend because of the location or the hours, we’d love to hear some alternative suggestions to make these meetings more accessible for you. We discussed ideas for a movie night and want to know what sort of movies anyone would be interested in watching. Feel free to comment below or contact us at asexualityutah@gmail.com

Our meetup was fun and we hope to see you all again October 1st 2011! A facebook event page will be created with all of the details of our next meetup when all of the wrinkles are ironed out!

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