The theme for this month’s Carnival of Aces was Touch, Sensuality, and Non-Sexual Physical Intimacy
A big thank you to everyone who submitted, and another big thank you to all of the readers!
In order of submission:
My closest relationships include some touch, but not much. Sometimes my friends and I will poke each other as a joke, or hug each other, but hugging is pretty rare for us. I actually would like to have more nonsexual touch in my platonic relationships.
When I’m fairly sure this is non-sexual touching, I enjoy being physically in contact with him. And I hug my children and ruffle their hair. Apart from that, I would be very glad if people could actually accept that no, I don’t want a massage, no, I don’t want a hug, in fact a hug will just distress me more, and can we please go back to handshaking for the whole formal hello and goodbye thing?
For asexuals in particular, the fact that society’s default position is that everyone is sexual seems to lead to a focus on cuddling, hugging, sensual touch as almost a substitute or a surrogate for sex, a way of justifying our relationships to the outside world, a way of saying hey, look, we’re in a proper relationship just like normal people.
Cinderace wrote about nonsexual touch and relationships:
The other so-called love languages are words, which can be hard to come up with and easy to doubt; time (spent with someone), which obviously takes time; gifts, which take money and thought; and acts of service, which take time and energy. But touch is simple—holding someone’s hand when they’re sad costs you nothing (unless you’re touch-averse) and takes no forethought or preparation. It’s a quick and easy way to show you care about someone.
Ace in Lace discusses touch aversion and asexuality:
Asexuals already deal with the stereotype that they are not asexual, but rather are simply too traumatized to enjoy sex. Inability to enjoy or endure being touched is a trait that many people associate with trauma from sexual or physical abuse. Being asexual and unable to enjoy being platonically touched at all may work as a double strike against dissuading someone that that particular theory is incorrect in their case.
luvtheheaven wrote about (not) feeling sensual attraction:
I walk through clothing stores and see a fleece jacket or something else that’s a cool texture, and yes, sometimes I want to touch, I want to revel in how soft these pajamas would be and oh I wish I had the money to buy them because they’re so amazing to touch. But… toward a PERSON? Wanting to reach out and touch them just to feel what they feel like? No… I’ve never felt such a thing. I’m fairly sure of it.
Stormy O’Brink wrote about touch, asexuality, and queer space:
One man in the group told me that aces in Chicago have cuddle parties so people can embrace touch without the threat of it turning into sex. Others told me stories of relationships in which all touch was subjected to affirmative consent. I felt euphoria when I heard these stories- it meant there was hope for my life. I wanted a place where I didn’t have to worry about the hypersexualized and unwanted touching I’d grown so used to.
epocryphal wrote “Carnival of Aces: Touch: Paper and Conditions and Complications”:
What follows are musings on stone/paper/paper maché, autism and touch overload, dissociation and OCD and distress, (grey) consent and being in touch with self, kink and sensuality and sexuality and borders, repression and compulsion, all with a garnish of theatricality and catharsis.
A lot of nonsexual affection, including sensual intimacy, is assumed to be “reserved” for exclusive romantic-sexual relationships, which ties into the assumption that there must be sexual intent behind it. In a relationship, it is devalued by being erased, and is erased by assuming to be sexual. When acknowledged, it’s still devalued as being lesser than sexual intimacy. It may be seen as merely something that must lead to sexual intimacy. With devaluation comes being taken for granted.
Pegasus wrote about non-sexual BDSM:
It might be ouchy, thuddy, stingy of impact play. The heat from dripping wax, or the cold of an ice cube. Or tickly, scratchy, soft sensation play. The coarseness of hemp rope. It might be feeling scared, safe, trapped, free, in control, vulnerable, powerful, comforted. Or the shared experience with a friend or partner, creating a beautiful play scene together. Being a canvass for another’s creativity.
Another time, a friend, J, threatened to tickle me – or poke me. I can’t remember. What I do know, is that a third friend, N, shook her head and said “I wouldn’t do that. Last time I tried to poke Mark, I woke up in the hospital, 2 weeks later, and with no memory.” It was a joke, but J tried to call it a bluff, and seconds later I was across the hallway and completely out of reach.
Finally, the January 2015 Carnival of Aces “Nonbinary People and Asexuality” is already running! Here is the call for submissions.