Asexuality & Kink ft. Evie Lupine

Today we’re joined by Evie Lupine for a jam-packed episode where we discuss the intersections of kink and asexuality, her personal journey as a kinky Ace, asexual discrimination, the kink community being more welcoming to Aces than some Pride organizations and SO much more!

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Courtney: Hello, everyone, and welcome back to the podcast. My name is Courtney. I’m here with my spouse, Royce. And together, we are The Ace Couple. And I am delighted to share with you that we have another phenomenal guest on the podcast today. We’ll be talking about a whole bunch of different things, but this is actually a name that perhaps, if you have delved into the kinky side of the Ace community, might be a name that you recognize, so this will no doubt be a very, very enlightening conversation. So please go ahead and introduce yourself to our pod people.

Evie: [laughs] “Our pod people.” Hi pod people. I’m Evie Lupine. I make kink educational content, and I do that mostly on YouTube. I talk about relationships, polyamory, also Asexuality. I’m also Ace; that’s why I’m here. And I love getting to talk about the intersections of Asexuality and kink and how to explore that, and maybe bust some myths about that and just maybe open some doors for people that maybe they didn’t realize could be open.

Courtney: We are all about opening doors around here, and we really like getting into really nuanced pieces and just ways to be Asexual and ways to live your life as a queer person that don’t always get the spotlight.

Evie: Yeah.

Courtney: And I’m sure those who maybe don’t know as much about Asexuality as our general audience might say, like, [skeptical tone] “Kink and Asexuality. How does that go together?” And I think our audience, for the most part, we at least know the basics for sure. But I would love to hear a little bit about your specific experience. What, for you, was it like discovering your own Asexuality, discovering your place in the kink community, and what was the timeline, and how, and when did they sort of overlap or you?

Evie: Yeah, they definitely overlapped a lot. So, when I was in high school, I actually dated somebody who was AroAce, and that was my first introduction to the kink community — or, not the kink community, the Ace community. And I thought for a really long time that I couldn’t be Ace myself because I wasn’t like that particular person. I was like, “Well, but I really like romance, and, like, I’m not grossed out by sex, so I can’t really be like that.” But also, they were the most similar to me of anyone I really dated, and so that left a lot of confusion. And then it wasn’t until I was in college, and at that point — like, I’m sure a lot of other Ace people can relate — I had no natural curiosity about anything regarding sex or masturbation or anything. And I was like, “Oh, people… people do that? Like, that’s… Oh, I thought… okay, I thought this was just something we did because, like, we had to. Okay.” And so I decided to dive into more general mainstream sex ed, because I went to a high school on the East Coast that was very much, like, not full-on full-on like, “Having sex will kill you,” but is of the vein of, like, “The way we do sex ed is to terrify you with pictures of STIs.” And that’s like, mostly what sex ed is.

Courtney: Yes.

Evie: So I had no idea about, like, most of the basic things. And so I dove into sex ed in college and, like, thought, “Maybe if I just learn about it more, and I try it, and I do all this other stuff, like, maybe it will just click and it’ll just happen for me.” And I did that for a while and it didn’t really do anything. And I had this moment when I was at a house party where it was, like, classic non-Greek-affiliated college house party; there was smoking upstairs, there was drinking, beer pong, all of that, there was rap music going. And I remember being there, and even though I was invited by people that owned the house, I was like, “I do not belong here.”

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: “This is not… I do not relate to anyone.” Because I could see the dynamics of, like, there were people who were there to like get drunk and have a good time, and there were people who were there to, like, try and find a hook-up. Totally valid, do hookup culture stuff, like, as long as consent’s there, that’s what I care about. And I was just having this moment of feeling very alien. And I was like, “What’s going on here?” And then, I think I watched Ash Hardell’s, like, “The ABCs of Ace” video series –

Courtney: Mmm.

Evie: – or something very similar to that; like, that era of Ace content online. And I realized that it wasn’t just this one very particular example of Asexuality that I saw. It was like, there’s Demi and Gray-A, all those other labels. And I was like… Because I don’t even think, like, Demi was even around when I was in high school as a label, like, what, that was like, 2015, I think, or something when that came out. But anyways. I discovered the label of Gray Ace and, like, the whole spectrum of, like, sex-repulsed to sex-indifferent to sex-favorable. And I was like, “Oh! This is me. I just didn’t realize there were so many options under the umbrella.”

Evie: And while this was also happening, I also discovered the kink community around this same time. Just like, on this whole exploration of things, I had someone recommend to me what is called, like, a sex-positive space, which is like, kind of code word for – at least where I live – a lot of the nonprofit organizations that run, like, public BDSM dungeons where you can go to a party and learn stuff, and said, “Oh, you should go there, because they have these nights and you can learn stuff.” And I ended up finding one of those centers near me. And I went to a party after talking to some people that I knew from the internet that were going. And like, that all sort of happened right around the same time. And so I think because of that there wasn’t ever a lot of tension between my identity as an Ace person and also being kinky, because they just kind of popped up at the same time. And of course these go together, because they kind of always have been.

Courtney: That’s so interesting that your early sort of foray into sex education sort of sounds reminiscent of my experience in a way, just because – well, Royce and I, we’re both Midwesterners and we had varying levels of sex education as well, but we definitely – I’ve talked before on here, I definitely had the, like, “Here’s a slide show of the worst possible case scenarios for all these STIs, and you don’t want that, do you?” So my sex education was nothing whatsoever to speak. But as an Ace individual who really… I love knowledge, I love learning about a variety of different things. So sex education for me is such an academic interest before anything.

Evie: Yeah.

Courtney: Because I personally have not had the physical inclinations myself. So it’s sort of like, let’s just learn about this from an educational standpoint. What do other people feel that I don’t? [laughs]

Evie: Yeah. For me, I feel like an anthropologist sometimes, or I’m, like, I’m exploring this culture, that’s not mine. And I’m like, “Fascinating. People do this and this? Amazing. I want to know more about why that happens.” And it’s interesting as well, having that outside perspective, because I feel like it helps you be more critical of, like, certain behaviors and understand, like, “Oh, maybe, like, consent’s important, and maybe, like…” ’Cause I run into people a lot – like, because I do kink education, consent is so foundational to that – that kind of go, [mock whining] “Aw, but, like, asking ruins the mood,” and this, that, and the other. And I’m like, “I don’t care about ruining the mood.”

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: “There is no mood.” Like, like just ask. And you know what really ruins the mood? Violating somebody’s boundaries. So why don’t we just ask? So.

Courtney: Yes. Hard agree. You mentioned Demi at one point being something you weren’t particularly aware of. I am really glad that there’s a lot more education coming out. We actually just very recently covered a horrible, horrible article that was attacking Demisexuality and saying, “Oh, Demisexuals are all just afraid of sex and –”

Evie: Ohhh, I think I saw that. Yeah.

Courtney: Did you?

Evie: Yeah.

Courtney: Oh, it was Dreadful. So of course, there are still misconceptions out there. There are always going to be the haters. But the history of Demisexuality – I mean, the word sort of entered the niche Ace communities pretty early, around 2006, but it really –

Evie: Oh! Okay.

Courtney: It didn’t get a lot of mainstream attraction until – I started seeing it pop up maybe around 2011 more often as things were, you know, just getting a little more out there. And I think that’s what’s so important about education across all places of the queer experience. And I’m curious, because I’m very, very familiar with how education has blossomed over the years for Ace content, but what has that sort of looked like for kink education?

Evie: I… it’s very interesting. I may go back to even, like, pre-internet days of kink education. But online specifically, at first, I think the most introduction that people had were folks like Laci Green or the channel Sexplanations, and they did kind of like, intro, like, you know, 2010 era, like, four-minute long YouTube videos of like, “This is what BDSM is.” Like, it’s so snappy, and it’s so quick, and like, you don’t really get a lot of meat in that. It’s just sort of like the overview of the basics of what BDSM is and, like, what the acronym stands for. And that was most of what sort of got any level of success on YouTube. Like, YouTube channels are created and then get abandoned on such a regular basis, I don’t feel confident saying that there was no one really else before that or even since then. It maybe just didn’t get traction and never really got any kind of attention. But –

Courtney: Sure.

Evie: I really think it was, like, for YouTube stuff, me and then two other creators: Morgan Thorne and then Watts The Safeword, Pup Amp, Mr. Kristofer on that channel. I think it was really kind of us three and then another YouTuber who doesn’t make BDSM content anymore. We all started kind of making videos around the same time from different perspectives. It’s funny because, like, almost all of us, the three I just named, were all on the Ace spectrum, because – Mr. Kristofer is not, but Pup Amp is Demi and is a gay man, and then the other person, Morgan Thorne, is, I think Asexual, or I don’t know if they’re Gray or just Asexual or, like, what label they use exactly. But we’re all somewhere on the Ace spectrum. So, like, almost all the kink education on YouTube is, like, actually kind of being created by people on the Ace spectrum, which I think is really interesting. But yeah, we all started kind of making videos simultaneously. It was just like intro stuff about, like, “How do you do this thing? What is this thing?” You know.

Evie: And I don’t really know why we all came up with that kind of around the same time, but I think we must have all noticed that there was – ’cause that was my motivation for it, is I was looking for information about kink on YouTube in the same way that I had for Ace stuff, and there just was not anything. And most of – at least at that time – there were some books, but a lot of it was, like, behind paywalls. You already had to know people to know people. And these days, like, if people want information, they’re not doing, like, deep dive Google searches, unless they’re really invested. If they want a quick answer, they’re going to TikTok or YouTube.

Evie: And so this, I found, was a really good way to reach people that were sort of in that beginning stage of, like, “I don’t even know where to look for stuff. Well, maybe YouTube?” [laughs] And yeah, that was sort of the beginning of kink education on YouTube. That was probably seven… eight years ago, I probably want to say is when that all started to take off.

Courtney: Fascinating. Now, you did mention a name that at least doesn’t immediately ring a bell. But I have heard of Watts The Safeword, and I do think I knew that someone involved with that was also Ace. Because I’ve also kind of noticed that there are a lot of, like, publicly Ace and kinky people. And one thing that just sort of – as someone who’s not involved in the kink community myself – I would say, I have some really deep, even long-running, back to childhood, inclinations toward certain kinky things, but it’s never, for me, been a sexual thing, and it’s been kind of, again, another academic interest, something that I’m curious to see what other people are interested in, and why, and how they get involved. But one thing I’ve noticed: a lot of the Asexual and kink education that’s out there that I’ve been exposed to personally, a lot of it is on the more sex-favorable side, to use the Asexual community term, or potentially sex-neutral. I personally – and please tell me if there’s anything out there – I haven’t seen a lot that seems to be geared towards more sex-averse, more sex-repulsed Aces and kink.

Evie: Hmm.

Courtney: Have you seen much or had conversations?

Evie: I wouldn’t say I’ve seen stuff that’s, like, geared strictly towards only sex-repulsed Asexual individuals. And I think that’s kind of a function of the fact that, like, at least for my content, like, I’m not only speaking to an Ace audience. Like my community is pretty diverse in terms of their attitudes about sex, and I do have people in my community that are sex-averse or sex-repulsed, and that sort of leads to me kind of needing to walk this middle road of, like, being inclusive towards, like, “You don’t have to enjoy sex or want sex or ever include anything sexual in your BDSM,” but also, a lot of people do enjoy it for sexual reasons. And I – for example, I know a lot of dominant women that are also Asexual, and like, the way that they can enjoy sex with a partner, or at least, like, find it acceptable enough to want to engage in it on any level is because they’re dominant and they get to control every single aspect of what that looks like.

Evie: Or even things that, like – I think this is interesting, ’cause I’ve talked in videos about, like, how being part of the BDSM community, like… I don’t know how to phrase this, because I don’t want to come across like I’ve, like, I’ve healed something that was wrong with me, but I used to be much more sex-repulsed, and I, like, didn’t – like, I almost vomited the first time I ever saw a penis in real life.

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: Like, I had to run to the bathroom. [laughs] Like, I was like, “That should have been a signal.” Like, honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t take more stock in that happening. But I was very much sex-repulsed. I didn’t want to be around any of it. But being in the BDSM community and, like, seeing nudity and things in, like, a neutral context, where it wasn’t just about sex, but they were bodies that were just, like, existing and being bodies – and they had all different types of people, all shapes, sizes, everything like that. That was really, like, good for me from, like, just having more positive feelings of my own body, I guess, but then also like not being actively, you know,freaked out at the idea of, like, seeing somebody’s genitals, because I knew that I could, like, at least exist in the same space where they vaguely were, even if they weren’t, like, directly interfacing with me in any way.

Courtney: Right.

Evie: But yeah, I’ve sort of started to, like, walk this line of like being neutral about sex because I have a more diverse audience. And also – and the reason why I brought up that original point was because I wanted to say, like, there’s a lot of things in BDSM that, depending on, like, your degree of aversion to sex or genitals, could fall under that umbrella of, like, kind of sparking your aversion towards something or it could be a neutral thing. There’s a lot of BDSM play that can involve genitals, even for people that are not Asexual and BDSM – it’s not processed in a sexual way, but it does use the genitals as, like, a tool, essentially. Like in the same way that, like, you know, okay, well, you can hit somebody on their back, but like, another place you can hit them is on the breast, and that might be sexual for some people, but it might not be for others. So it’s sort of like a confusing, like, mish-mosh of how you even define what certain things are – like, if certain things on the body or about people are inherently sexual to you or not.

Courtney: Right.

Royce: That’s one thing that I’ve found it’s very difficult to translate in conversations like this, is because the difference between the word “sexual” or “sensual” or – and other terms are, like, outside of sex or BDSM, sometimes trying to delineate sexual versus romantic versus platonic or aesthetic attraction.

Evie: Yeah.

Royce: Like, those can be very personal words, and they don’t always translate directly in conversation without really getting into what you experience or what something feels like to you.

Courtney: Yeah. When I am having conversations with other people, I almost always find myself – at least lately, now that I’ve come to understand this – needing to ask, like, “What is your definition that you’re using?” Because what I’ve noticed is that, when you start talking about things that are sexual or sensual, everybody who talks about it from their own perspective often assumes everybody is on the same page with them –

Evie: Yeah.

Courtney: – and that they also know what that means. And I find that that is very rarely the case. Because everyone has their own personal backstory and their own connotation with certain things. And when you get into things like kinks and fetishes, you know, there are definitely fetishes out there that are very sexual to some people but are completely neutral to to others.

Evie: Yeah, absolutely. Like I… And this is what I struggle with when I try to talk to a broader, like, range of people that are not Ace about, like, the fact that you can be into BDSM and not enjoy it for sex on any level. And like, it’s just about, like, the sensual part of it or the aesthetic part of it, even, for certain aspects of it, where that can mean a lot of different things, but a lot of people have difficulty untangling – especially if they’re not Ace – like, “Okay, how is this different from this thing? How like, what, like, isn’t this just another way of saying this?” Like, it’s a lot of people who just straight-up don’t believe that, like, BDSM isn’t sexual at all, ever, and that like, if you say it’s non-sexual for you, you’re, like, deceiving yourself, or your like broken in some way or you’re… Like, I don’t know. People just say the wildest stuff. But it’s the internet, so everyone’s going to share their opinion, no matter how wild it is, I suppose.

Courtney: Yeah. Well, that’s something that we see a lot with Ace erasure in particular and just sort of society’s broader compulsory sexuality. They think that “Yes, this is inherently sexual and you are just lying to yourself and everyone else. You’re just repressed.” Like, those are the things that I hear time and time again come up. But the situation is just so much more complex and changes on an individual level. Because any of the interests that I have had that get into the realm of kink, I have never had even the slightest hint of it feeling sexual to me or experiencing it in a sexual way. And, like I said earlier, some of them for me, actually, just went back to weird little, I guess you could say awakenings, but it wasn’t a sexual awakening. It was just a, like, “Huh. That’s interesting to me.” Just the weirdest things, like playing one of the very first Mortal Kombat games, and one of the stages in the arena just had, like, women who had, like, ropes around their wrists and were just tied up spectating.

Evie: Ohhh.

Courtney: And there was just a moment to me where I was like, “Oh, that’s interesting.” [laughs]

Evie: Yeah. [laughs]

Courtney: It wasn’t very sexual. But then, even when I started identifying as Asexual, I was in – not kink-specific scenes, but I was in some goth scenes, and there are, in some places, some overlaps between the goth community and the kink community. And I would go to goth clubs where they would have, like, a fetish night, or even some clubs where most nights, they would have sort of a back room or a back corner where, you know, different scenes were playing out. And I found myself sort of up until the point of nudity – like, I could just sit and spectate and watch, you know, someone gets saran-wrapped to a pole [laughs] and things of that nature. And just as a spectator, totally removed from that, I do find it very interesting. I don’t personally experience anything sexual whatsoever to it, but sort of the pattern lead up, it’s like, I’m feeling the same sort of interest as I did when I was, you know, much younger playing Mortal Kombat.

Evie: Yeah. It’s sort of that, like, fascination of like, “Ooh, what’s that over there? It looks so interesting.” And I think it’s funny you bring up the goth community, because I feel like there’s always this, like – there’s this tension in goth scenes sometimes about, like, “Not all goths are kinky,” and like, people making assumptions about, like, because you dress a certain way, that that means you’re sexually loose and available. And of course, you get that – oh my god, you get that all the time on, like – FetLife is the main social media platform for people that are kinky; it’s like kinky Facebook, basically – and you get a lot of people that are like, “Oh yeah, I want a hot kinky goth girl,” and it’s like, “Oh, Lord in heaven, why? Like, just leave me alone.”

Courtney: Oh, yeah.

Evie: Like, it’s funny because, like, none of the kinky goth girls are gonna want you if you just, like, go around being like, “I’m hunting for you because you fulfill this very niche fantasy idea I have about a person I haven’t even met yet.” And yeah, there’s some overlap, but I find, at least where I’ve lived, it’s mostly been relegated to, like, like you said, there’s a back room or there’s a performance or something. And I’ve wanted to do something like have, like, an EBM night or, like, have like a cyber goth night at a BDSM club, ’cause I feel like that would be really fun, because I think the music is like very energetic and I think it would it would vibe with kink stuff well. But yeah it’s… all the different intersections happening at the same time.

Courtney: Yeah. Well, tell me about it. I mean, as someone who has been in goth scenes and is rather well-endowed but also very Asexual and more on the sex-repulsed side of things, like, the number of times people have been like, “Oh, big titty goth girlfriend.” Like, absolutely not.

[Evie grimaces]

Courtney: Absolutely not. Because that’s another thing, too. I’m like, “My breasts are just my breasts. Like, I can’t help it if you perceive them sexually, [laughs] but they aren’t sexual to me.” So if I’m wearing something low-cut, this is just how my body looks, [laughing] and this is just the dress I am wearing today.

Evie: Yeah. Sometimes you don’t want to have, like, sweat all over your body on a hot day and like having a v-neck cut top is the most logical choice. Like, it’s not about [dramatic tone] alluring the opposite sex with your feminine wiles –

Courtney: [laughing] Yes.

Evie: – or, like, whatever the hell like people frame it as being.

Courtney: Oh my gosh. Absolutely. It’s actually – [laughs] it’s also funny that you brought up FetLife. Royce, you were on FetLife, and I was on FetLife, before we met each other –

Evie: Oh!

Courtney: For, like, all of a week, maybe. [laughs] We didn’t last long.

Evie: Mmm, yeah, it’s not repulsed-friendly as a website, I would say.

Royce: We mentioned this in another podcast episode very briefly. I think neither of us had the right picture in mind of what it is. You just called it, like, “kink Facebook.”

Evie: Mhm.

Royce: I came onto FetLife after having been, like, on dating sites for a while.

Evie: Ohh.

Royce: And so I was looking more for, like, a potential one-on-one connection, not a community. And I got in and immediately saw how things were going there. And I think I removed the account, like, two days later, maybe.

Evie: Yeah. I feel like maybe – if we’re going to talk about FetLife – for the audience, before they go run to sign up for an account, maybe I should clarify a few things.

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: So, FetLife has definitely changed over the last, I would say, half a decade. It’s changed a lot in terms of, like, how people use it and what people use it for. Kind of the baseline’s the same: it’s not a dating app, it’s not a dating website. If you go there expecting to meet someone on the website and talk to them on the website, it’s not going to happen, because the dynamics are very similar to a lot of dating apps, but people aren’t there to date, and so they’re just going to ignore you. Like, if you try to one-on-one message a stranger and it’s, like, anyone on the spectrum of even seeming like a woman, even if you’re not a woman and you post pictures of women on your profile, you are going to get endless contact from people that are like, “Hey baby, what’s up?” Like, it’s really not good for that.

Evie: The way that I tell people to use FetLife and kind of why I frame it as “kinky Facebook” is because it’s a really good place to connect with people you’ve met at events you find on FetLife. Because this is where most – because like Eventbrite and Facebook themselves are not typically very friendly to kink events and they tend to get shadow-banned, and so it’s really the main place that people can advertise, like, “Hey, I’m having a party at my house,” or “We’re having a meetup at this bar and grill,” or “There’s an event going on at this dungeon. Like, here’s where it is. Here’s the time it is.” And it’s really really good for that. And then connecting with people you meet through there. Because a lot of people don’t feel comfortable, like, giving out their cell phone number or their other maybe more public, vanilla social media profiles to people they just met once at a BDSM party, and so it’s good for that.

Evie: But unless you, like – I would say the most successful experience I had on FetLife was because I was still in university, and so I was in a college town, and because of that, almost everyone that I met on FetLife initially were people who went to my school. And like, that is very different than, like, being 32 in Chicago and like trying to meet random people, like, on FetLife you’ve never known before.

Evie: So it’s kinky Facebook, but also, there’s a lot of nudity, a lot of penises, a lot of people doing sexy stuff. And if that’s, like, not your jam, don’t go to the front page.

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: Don’t really interact with posts. I will say, like, the browsing experience – because, for the most part, they make, like, if somebody likes a photo, you get, like, a notification, like, “So-and-so liked this photo,” it’s like a tiny square on your feed of information that, like, activity you get on your home page. And so it’s easy to kind of, like, look past it. And I’m just an expert at this point. I’m like, I see a photo, I’m skimming, I’m looking for articles and things like that. I like it for that, mostly, ’cause people do really, really great introspective, interesting writings about different kind of niche topics, and it’s really the only platform that you can easily post longform written content that’s not, like, a fanfiction website or, like, somebody’s personal Patreon or something like that. So that’s my FetLife spiel.

Courtney: That makes sense. Yeah, because for me, I mean, when I – my very, very brief and failed stint was – I mean it had to be a decade ago at this point, I want to say probably 10 years on the dot. And the area I was into, it wasn’t especially active.

Evie: Yeah.

Courtney: There were some people who seemed to already know each other.

Evie: Mhm.

Courtney: And what prompted me to go on was sort of… I sort of remembered this a bit too when you mentioned that there are some people who, for example – dominating is sort of the venue for being able to engage in and enjoy sex for some folks.

Evie: Mhm.

Courtney: I had no interest in anything sex whatsoever, but at the time, I had a queerplatonic partner who was very sexual, was polyamorous, had just, like, a lot wider experience than I did in a variety of different relationships. And she had sort of noticed that I did have some inclinations towards some kinkier things. I mean we, the two of us, at the time – like, don’t do this, we were very bad. We did not have the proper education at the time, and we were making bad choices. But we would, like, do very, I guess, bad versions of blood play. Like, blood was an interest of mine, very, very lightly. So she knew those things about me, but also knew it was very much not sexual. And so she said, “Well –” And I was lamenting how difficult it is to date as an Asexual who is on the sex-repulsed side of things and didn’t have an interest in doing that with other people. And she sort of had the the opposite thing, where instead of, “Kink could be an avenue for you to enjoy something more actual sex, more potentially genital-related,” she thought, “Well, maybe you could meet someone who is interested in kinky things for which the kink that isn’t necessarily, you know, penetrative sex, for example, could be a sexual experience for them and that could be a way that you could both sort of meet in the middle to explore these different sides of yourself without crossing any ones boundaries,” which I found very interesting at the time. And she recommended FetLife to me. So I was like, “Oh, okay, I’ll do that.” But, yeah, I –

Evie: No.

Courtney: I was also brand-new to the internet. I had not met anyone online at this time, so that was not a good introduction to trying to meet people online –

Evie: Nooo.

Courtney: – for my personal experience. [laughs]

Evie: Yeah, no, no, no. I mean, at that point, like, by the time I joined FetLife, it was like 2015, 2016, like, I’d been all over the internet. Like, I had played MMOs. I had, like, friends and guilds. Like, I was very experienced with, like, Instagram, other forms of social media. So I knew kind of what to expect from strangers online a little bit. But if – like, the first time being on a platform like that, FetLife is certainly, that is –

Courtney: It was a lot. [laughs]

Evie: Maybe not even… That’s like beyond going into the deep end.

Courtney: [laughs] It was a lot. And then Royce, what was it for you that… Was it just general curiosity and trying to figure yourself out that brought you to that point?

Royce: Oh, I think so. I was aware that FetLife existed for quite a while. I didn’t know much about it, but I knew it was there. And just trying to meet people, I thought, “Hey, maybe this is a different avenue.” I’ve had kink inclinations, I guess, forever, which is something I was kind of curious about because I didn’t know – I’ve never tried to look up statistics of how many, you know, young children have, you know, dreams or things like that that are, in hindsight, very clearly, kink-aligned, but I’ve had some that I can remember, going back probably to three or four, like, as long as I’ve had memory, that are very clearly – they’re much more recognizable for what they were, like, now. It was just kind of odd being, you know, four or five and having a dream and being like, “Well, that was kind of weird but also interesting. I don’t really know why that happened,” but it’s also – I wasn’t going around kindergarten being like, “So I had this dream last night. Does anyone else do this?”

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: Yeah! Yeah, mhm.

Royce: But I guess a big part of discovering my sexuality or my place on the Asexual spectrum has been sort of researching and looking into kink things and figuring out where I fit there. After I started dating and started having sex, it was very clear that I wasn’t heteronormative. But at one point I think I was at a point where I was thinking, “Well, I’m either some sort of Asexual or I’m just definitively non-vanilla and I haven’t figured that part out yet.” And I guess maybe it was a mixture of the two. I have trouble separating those aspects because they’ve, you know, they’ve been a part of how I’ve felt about things for as long as I can remember.

Evie: Yeah, I think a lot of people… Like, it’s interesting that you brought up the dream and you were just like, “That was interesting.” Because I feel like that’s a lot of Ace people’s experiences if we have, like, anything close to, like, a fantasy. It’s like, “Oh, that was interesting.” We don’t do anything beyond that. We don’t think about it in, like, a sexual way. Just, “Oh. Hmm. Interesting. Need to research that more. What’s that about?” [laughs]

Courtney: [laughs] Well, I wonder if that’s why so many Aces in the kink community do end up taking sort of an educator role, much like you did and some of the others who you’ve talked about before. Because do you think that your sort of experience with coming into the kink community does differ tremendously from the average allosexual? Or do you think that there’s a lot more in common than someone might expect?

Evie: Do you mean, like, my experience – like, why and how I got into kink? Or like, what I do actively like for kinky stuff and like my experience of it mentally being different than other people?

Courtney: Gosh, I mean we could go into all of it if you have the time and are willing to share. Because –

Evie: Yeah.

Courtney: For me, I think you did share a little bit about how you started to learn about it a bit, but I think a lot with just not even necessarily kink-related stuff, but even just “What is queerness, and what is my attraction, and what’s the difference between sexual and romantic attraction, and is this aesthetic attraction?” I feel like Aces have a tendency to really need to do a lot more introspection than the average person does, because we’re sort of trying to untangle what the different things mean, because there’s such a dissonance between how other people seem to be experiencing something versus the way we do. And I am curious how that fits in with certain aspects of kink.

Evie: I think that definitely happens. I think a lot of Ace people go through that, like, process of, like, “First I thought it was Bi, and then I thought I was Pan, and then I realized I was actually just Ace.”

Courtney: [laughs] Yes.

Evie: And like, that was very much my experience. And like, even now I kind of go – Like, ’cause I also experience romantic attraction, ’cause I’m not AroAce. And so, like, I definitely have that component of like, “Well, I definitely experience romantic attraction to these sorts of people and these sorts of people, but where does that fit in with my general label?” But I’m happy to answer that whole question.

Evie: So from my observation, how people get into the BDSM scene is very varied. There’s a lot of people who they know they’re kinky from, like, almost day one. Like, they’re, like, three years old tying up their Raggedy Ann dolls –

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: – and like, you know, they love being the cop in, like, “Cops and Robbers,” and they just… Like, they have just a natural inclination towards, like, power and control and things like that, where, like, when they become an adult or they look at porn or something, they go, “Oh! I like that. That’s for me.” And they just, they go with it their whole life. And I find that if we’re talking about – like, I can’t speak to every possible identity, but my observation is for cis women that are submissive, a lot of them end up finding it, I think these days, through, like, fan fiction, especially if they kind of have that, like, Tumblr, like, moment of awakening, when they read something and are like, “Oh, this is… hot. I like – I want – can I do this in real life?” And then that sort of sparks an interest that leads to kind of going down more of a pathway. Or they even have, like – For me, like, how I got into it was I had sort of the, “Hmm! That’s interesting,” like, variety of Asexual fantasy that was, like, sort of BDSM-related, and I just didn’t know that people did BDSM in real life. I thought it was like, people think about this, and they talk about it in movies, but it’s, like, fantasy in the same way that, like, sci-fi is a fantasy. Like, it’s just a cool idea to think about, but no one really does it. And then, I was eventually dispelled of that notion.

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: And there’s a lot of people who get into it through, like, their own fantasies and fanfiction. And I find that for a lot of cis men and, like, why I think I have the most difficulty relating to, like, sexually-oriented dominant cis men is a lot of them get into it through, like, pornography consumption, and, like, finding something in that that’s part of BDSM they find hot, and then, like, getting into BDSM from there. So not everyone, but, like, that’s my observation, is a lot of people start with sort of the, you know, more mainstream-adjacent BDSM pornography, and then that turning into like, “Well, I’d like to try this in real life with a partner.” And then, eventually it goes from there.

Evie: But then, once you actually get into the BDSM community and you’re going to events or trying something out with partners, I find that the main difference I have with people – it’s actually not really that big, honestly – I think the main thing is that, like, I have to be very firm with people that, like, this is not about sex for me. This isn’t a, like, “Oh, if we get into a relationship,” like, or “If we do this one thing.” It’s like, no, there’s not a magic button or, like, combination of things you can push that’s gonna, like, make the sex happen. It’s just like, this process, for me, is a mental and emotional journey, and it’s not about genitals. And if you want that, like, I’m not going to be the person for you. Like, there’s a million other people in the world. Go find one of them to do this with that’s not me. And I think a lot of other people, even if they don’t process it in a directly sexual way –

Evie: So there’s a term in the BDSM community – it’s a little bit older; this is from, like, I want to say the ’80s or the ’90s – called leather sex. And the term is a reference to the leather community, which is kind of the forefather of the whole BDSM community. There’s a whole history there we can go into. But it’s a way of talking about how BDSM, even if genitals aren’t involved – because this is the surprising thing, I think a lot of people that are Ace and in general maybe wouldn’t intuitively think about – is like, going to a dungeon, you do not typically see people having genital intercourse. You will sometimes see vibrators. You will sometimes see oral sex. But for the most part you don’t see PIV or PIA. Like, that is fairly uncommon. Most people who do that either do it after they go home or, like, behind a curtain area, like a mattress. Like, it’s not, like, a public – Like, public sex can be part of it for some people, but for, like, people who are into BDSM for BDSM’s sake and are not there for just, like, the voyeurism or the exhibitionism of it, the actual act of having genital intercourse is not typically on on the menu directly for a lot of people, even if they do experience it sexually, like mentally. And so, leather sex is a way of thinking about BDSM as, like, being something that is, like, arousing and sexual and, like, motivating in that way without actually touching anyone’s genitals or having genitals involved.

Evie: And I think a lot of people that do BDSM, even if they don’t do it for sex or as part of sex, process it that way. Actually, the video I’m working on for my YouTube channel – it’s probably going to come out in a couple weeks – where I talk about, like, I came up with, like, the seven or the eight different levels of, like, ways of experiencing sex in BDSM, from the range of, like, “Fuzzy handcuffs in the bedroom on, like, you know, on your anniversary,” to, like, “Everything in your relationship sexually arouses you, and like, the whole premise of the relationship that you have built is around, like, this thing being inherently erotic.” So there’s, like, a whole spectrum of ways that people get into it. But I find it’s more, like, the mental processing of it tends to be different, which is subtle and hard to have conversations about.

Evie: But even then, like, people that are not Ace, a lot of times, even for them, they don’t experience BDSM in a sexual way at all. It’s about the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of it, and, like, the sensuality of it, or the aesthetic part of it as well. And I think this is actually a really good tool to use when I try to talk about Asexuality to other people is, like, especially in the kink community, like, “Hey, you know how you like it when Bob flogs you, but you’re not, like, sexually into Bob, and Bob’s not into you that way, it’s just, like, fun, and it feels good? That’s what it’s like for Ace people too.” [laughs] Like, you know, it ends up being a little bit more relatable that way. So I hope that answers your question. It was a really long answer.

Courtney: Yeah. No, that was great. There was… I really like how you pointed out that you do have to have conversations in your own experience where you’re saying, “This is what this is for me. And if that’s not going to work for you, then this isn’t the right arrangement.” Have you personally experienced, you know, having that conversation with anyone who had, like, a real issue with the Asexual side of it for you, or are people that you’ve interacted with pretty cool about that and understanding?

Evie: I think I’ve experienced a range of reactions. I would say that process of knowing to do that was a process of trial and error.

Courtney: Ah.

Evie: Because originally, I would just tell people, like, “No genitals. Like, don’t touch me here, there, wherever. This isn’t going to end in sex.” And people would be like, “Okay.” And I realized that wasn’t detailed enough. It wasn’t good enough for me to just say, “I’m not going to touch your junk, don’t touch mine,” et cetera. I had to be specific about – because people would say, “Oh yeah! I can do that, no problem,” and because they were still mentally processing it as a sex act for them in their heads, they were kind of keeping it away from me, but like, there’s something about – and you maybe experience this in other ways – like, something about the way they were interacting with me and the way they were touching me or looking at me, even if they weren’t doing things that were sexual or on my genitals, it still felt sexual, and that was too much. I was like, “No, no, no, I don’t… No, not for me.” So, I had to kind of drill down into, like, “This is not about sex. If you play sexually, or the primary enjoyment of BDSM for you is about sex, like, we’re not going to be compatible.” And I’ve had people that I think… maybe not the best actors, who will go, “Oh yeah, that’s totally fine,” and it’s because they just want to be able to play with you and they don’t really care about what they have to say to make that happen.

Courtney: [laughs] Yeah.

Evie: Like, I mean, in their head, they’re probably thinking something like, “Girls say that all the time. They just don’t want to be easy. And so I’m sure when I get her in that moment she’s going to blah-blah-blah.” Right? And I’m not saying everyone’s that way, but like, there are certain people that are that way, where sort of their MO is like, do whatever you have to do to get to a “yes.”

Evie: But the most friction I’ve had, both in my vanilla or non-kink life and also in my kink life, has been people that, for a relationship, dating me, are, like, upfront okay with the premise of me being Asexual and, like, not really enjoying sex and not really wanting a lot of it and not doing this, that, and the other for sex reasons. And I find that people are like, “Oh yeah! That’s totally fine. I get that, Like, thanks for telling me. Like, you know, sex isn’t really that important to me,” or whatever. Or like, I’m Poly[amorous], and so a lot of people will be like, “Oh, I’ll have sex with other people.” And then almost always, like, between six months to two years into a relationship, I would say, it starts to cause friction and tension about, like, “But why don’t you want to have sex with me?” And it’s like… podcast listeners, I am making gesticulations about pointing at, like, a thing on a wall, because it was like, “It says on… This was part of, like – I did not – This is not a tricky tricky ‘I’m going to get people to date me and then spring it on them later.’” Like, no, I was very upfront.

Evie: And I think a lot of people… And this is – maybe we’ll get into a conversation about talking about, like, neutrality about sex and how that plays into a larger discussion on the Asexuality spectrum, because I find a lot of people, if I have sex with them at all, then are surprised when I’m still Ace, and like, “Well, why don’t you want to have sex with me?”

Courtney: Mmm.

Evie: Like, “We can have sex, but why don’t you want it?” And it’s like, because that’s not how my fucking brain works!

Courtney: Yeah!

Evie: Like, “I don’t know how to explain it to you. Like, I just, like, I look at you, and I might love you, and I might be romantically into you and be thinking about our next date and cuddling with you when we watch the finale of The Great British Bake-Off. But I’m not thinking about, like, damn, I really like…” And it’s funny, because I try to impersonate it. I’m like, what would that even sound like? “Yeah, I’m really into touching your penis.”

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: Like, I don’t like that. I don’t even know how I would phrase that.

Courtney: That is such an Ace mood, yes. [laughs]

Evie: Mmm, very much the Ace mood. So that’s been my experience, is a lot of people, like, either because we’re dating in a vanilla context or have some kind of kink relationship, that, like, they’re like, “Oh, well, like, but we did this thing. What do you mean you’re still –” Like, they don’t literally say “What do you mean you’re still Ace?” But the essential part of it is, like, they have trouble parsing, “She did this sexual thing for me / with me that time. And so, I thought I was the special exception, right?”

Courtney: Ahhh.

Evie: “Why am I not?” Like, they sort of think it’s… It almost reminds me – not fully, because I don’t want to equate these – but it reminds me almost of those guys that are, like, convinced they can date a lesbian and make her not a lesbian anymore. Like, it’s –

Courtney: “I can fix you. I can change that.”

Evie: “They just haven’t had good penis yet. They just haven’t had whatever.”

Courtney: “You haven’t met the right penis. You haven’t done it with me.”

Evie: Mhm.

Courtney: Like, ugh.

Evie: Exactly. Like I…

Courtney: It’s so pervasive.

Evie: Mhm. It’s everywhere. It’s very sad. It’s just like, no. And that’s part of the advantage I had of being in college and getting to experiment. I didn’t really have sex in college with people, but, like, I got to experiment and see other people doing stuff, and like, I had lots of relationships, and at this point, like, I’ve had lots of opportunities to have sex with lots of different people. And like, I’ve been around the block. I’ve seen and done a lot of stuff. And like, it’s not that there’s, like, one special thing that you need to do to press the button and activate that. Like, it’s just not for me. Like, don’t hold your hope out on that. Like, not going to happen.

Courtney: Yeah. And far too many people, yeah, either don’t really internalize that or they’re still holding onto a hope that something might change at some point. I haven’t had things that were necessarily spoken about in as explicit terms as, like, “But why don’t you want to have sex with me?” But I did have a partner at one time, 12 years ago, a dozen years ago at this point, who we did, unfortunately, I mean, we were younger, we were in some really questionable social circles, so we did just have some people that were really awful, but, you know, he was a bit of a bigger guy. And I experience almost no aesthetic attraction. I experience no sexual attraction. And I always thought everybody was just so vain every time someone was like, “Oh, but you’re so hot. Why are you with him?” Or, like –

Evie: Ohhh, yeah.

Courtney: “You’re so out of his league.” And like, I felt uncomfortable with those, but for as uncomfortable as I was, it had to have been so much worse for him, too. Because, you know, he didn’t have the greatest self-esteem, but I think my Asexuality, a year or so into the relationship, did kind of end up being an issue. Because I was like, “Well, I love spending time with you, and I want to spend more time with you, and I want to foster this relationship, and we have fun together.” But there was sort of an aspect of, like, “But are you attracted to me?”

Evie: Mmm.

Courtney: “But are you attracted to me?” And it’s like, it’s not because I think you’re not my type. Like, that is not the thing. Like, I could have Brad Pitt next to me and I would feel exactly the same way about him as I do about you. And it’s almost like that was not believed, almost as if I was the one who was just trying to lie to spare his feelings. So there are definitely some hang-ups that I think some people have around Asexuality where if they don’t really, really get it, will start to take it a bit personally at some point.

Evie: Yeah. Like, it’s not like, “Oh, I don’t like you and you’re ugly to me.” And like, “Why don’t you like me? What about this?” And it’s like, “No, it’s not about you not being hot enough to me.”

Courtney: Yes.

Evie: It’s not like there’s like a threshold of hotness where, like, the Asexuality barrier gets broken and that’s not there anymore. Like you said, like, even with Brad Pitt – like, for me, I would feel even less attractive with Brad Pitt next to me because I have no connection to Brad Pitt. Who’s the ff–

Courtney: Like, I don’t even know what Brad Pitt looks like.

Evie: Yeah. [laughs]

Courtney: I just know that that’s one of those sex symbol names that people say sometimes. [laughs]

Evie: Yeah. I’m pretty sure if I tried to draw him, I’d, like, probably accidentally draw, like, one of four other guys in Hollywood.

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: I’m really good at recognizing voices. I am, like… If somebody’s voice-acting in something, I will pick it out, but when it’s, like, a face… Or like, I don’t know, they all kind of have this square jawline, like, kind of dusty blond-brown hair, like, green eyes, maybe? Like, you know. Could not pick him out of a lineup, but.

Courtney: Royce, who’s the one that everyone compares you to? Is that actually Brad Pitt or is that the other one?

Royce: It was the other vampire in “Interview with the Vampire.”

Evie: Ohhh!

Royce: Tom Cruise.

Evie: Yeah.

Courtney: Tom Cruise, yeah. [laughs]

Evie: I can see it. Now that you said – Like, aspects of your facial features I see with that. Yeah, for sure. But it’s also like, who cares? [laughs] Like, you know?

Courtney: Oh yeah. That was the weirdest thing because, like, Royce was getting those comments before that, because especially once the Interview with the Vampire movie came out, like, Royce has the long hair, so people were like, “Oh, I see that now.” And so people would either be like, “Oh, you look like Tom Cruise,” or, “You look like Lestat.” I’m curious to see if that changes now that the TV show is out and we have a whole new cast of actors, but we’ll see. But yeah, then I would still occasionally, from people in my life, when Royce and I got married, be like, “Oh, lucky you. Like, your husband looks just like Tom Cruise.” And I’m like, “I mean, lucky for me, my husband is also Asexual.” [laughs]

Evie: Yeah. It’s like, there are more important things here but like, thanks, I guess? Yeah.

Courtney: I don’t know. I just, I don’t feel that. And that’s why you sort of need to qualify, like, “What’s your definition of this? How do you experience these things?” I’ve even gotten to a place where I almost feel like I need to ask every individual person I’m having a conversation with what your definition of sex positivity is. [laughs]

Evie: I mean, honestly, it’s probably worth it. Because especially, like, depending on where you look online, I’m sure you’re going to get, like, 20 different definitions of what that even means, so.

Courtney: Yes. And it’s such a big movement and so many different things have been brought into it that depending on how you came to sex positivity, you might have a totally different idea of what that means to you than someone else. And I never want to feel like I’m being like, “Sex positivity is bad,” because I don’t think that, but I do know some people who use the words “sex positivity” to mean “You are very open to trying different kinds of sex, and you seek to have, you know, more sexual relationships with a wider variety of people.” And I think that is good and you should be able to do that if that’s what you want. But I don’t see actively pursuing sex or different kinds of sex or more sex as a positive thing. To me, I think that should still be neutral, because Aces kind of get left out of the conversation there if people just sort of treat sex and sex-adjacent things as inherently positive. Because then the unspoken side of that is, like, well, if you don’t have that, that’s kind of a bad thing, maybe you should try.

Evie: Yeah. Yeah, the sort of the classic, like, “You’re missing out on the most beautiful thing humans can experience.” Like that’s… Like, the worst part for me is when I’m in a relationship with somebody who’s not on the Ace spectrum, and they almost, like, they want to have sex with me and they feel bad about not being able to do that. And that’s like a personal thing for them of like, “Am I just not hot enough?” Like, the thing we just talked about. And then also, kind of, almost pitying me for like, not being able to fully experience this wonderful stuff.

Courtney: Ugh.

Evie: Like, I don’t know, like, I just feel like honestly, I feel like a huge burden in my life has been lifted. Like, this whole thing that people seem to destroy their lives around, in terms of, like, “I met a hot guy in Greece and then I moved to Greece to be with him and then he stole my identity and all of my money.” Like, oh God.

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: Like, I’m not saying that would never happen to me, like, ever, under any circumstances. But there’s, like, certain things that I don’t have to, like, organize my life around getting or having that other people seem to be very preoccupied about. And I get to spend more time with my dog and reading books and that sounds, like, way more fun to me.

Courtney: Yes.

Evie: But yeah. I think the sex positivity thing is really interesting because I did… I was gonna say “did a collaboration.” It’s not really what happened. I had a small feature in an F.D Signifier video, if you’re familiar with his channel.

Courtney: We are!

Evie: Okay.

Courtney: And we actually were delighted to see you pop up on that. I believe that was actually after we had connected and started talking. So we had known about some of your content before connecting to do this podcast, because we’ve had some listeners ask us questions about kink-related things before, and we aren’t totally uneducated about kink things but we aren’t a part of the kink community. So we like to have other resources we can refer people to when they want to know more, and finding an Ace kink educator seemed perfect for that. So, we’ve seen a couple of your videos. And then we started talking to you about doing this, and then we just casually watched an F.D Signifier video and saw you pop up there and we were like, “Oh hey!” [laughs]

Evie: Yeah, there I am! No, it was very last minute in terms of, like, “Oh fuck, I should probably include this angle,” which I’m very grateful that he did, but we didn’t get the opportunity to do more of, like, a bigger interview. But I bring it up for the sake of the people listening who maybe haven’t listened to that, which you should, because it’s a really good video, and there was a lot of work put into it. On the sex positivity note, I feel like, I don’t know if it was always intended this way, but at some point especially online, there was a shift that happened where sex positivity turned into, “If you are a sex positive, you will pursue lots of partners and, like, be proudly openly slutty.”

Courtney: Yeah.

Evie: “And if you don’t do that, then you’re not really being sex positive.”

Courtney: Yes.

Evie: “And you probably have some, like, mental hang-ups.” And this is, like, a big thing as well in, like, polyamorous, like, open relationship circles that, like, purport to be about dating and relationships, but tend to, more oftentimes, be about, you know, who you can have sex with and how many people you can have sex with. And like, there’s this constant tension of, like, well, you don’t want to slut-shame people that are into this because they like having lots of sex, but then also, lots of people, like, are into this for the romance part of it, and everyone has to feel equally included, and yada yada. And with sex positivity, it kind of ends up being, like, trying to, in some ways, I think, sometimes be reactively the opposite of, like. “My Christian upbringing told me to be, you know, faithful to one person only and marry a guy and only ever have sex with that one guy. I’m gonna do the total opposite.” And then if you in any way reflect that, whether that be through being Asexual or being celibate for your own choice because you don’t want to have sex because of whatever reason, like, that scene is like, “Oh you’re just upholding patriarchal standards of sexual control over women.”

Courtney: Yeah.

Evie: And it’s like, “No, I just don’t really, like, care that much.”

Courtney: See, that’s my biggest frustration is the folks who do take it that way. And I know full well that people who identify as sex-positive, like, not everybody has that same association, but to say that those people aren’t out there, I think, does a great injustice to a lot of the experiences that some of us do have. Because also, like, just tacked onto the, like, let’s just tack this on to sex positivity, comes, like, conversations about consent. So if you even start to question, like, “Hey, what really is sex positivity, and does this really align with goals for me?” People are like, “Oh, well, that’s not very feminist. And don’t you like consent? Don’t you like sex education? And it’s like, I love consent and sex education, but that’s not how everybody is using that.

Evie: Yeah. Or like, for me, I think the most common argument I have with people about this is enthusiastic consent as, like, a concept. Because as an Ace person, I am capable of giving consent, but also, I might not be super enthusiastic about it. So either you’re saying I am incapable of consenting because I will never be enthusiastic about it – because it sort of started as this premise of, like, ideally, the best way to obtain consent is to make sure your partner is giving you a “Hell yes, I want to be here. I want to do this.” Great, especially counter to the typical framing beforehand, which is like, “You gotta take what you want from women.” And it’s like, oh God, like, maybe we shouldn’t do that. But like, I feel like people have taken that, as is what often happens with internet terms, is, you get sort of this reframing of it as being about, “If you are not enthusiastically consenting, it’s not really consent.” And so I have, over time, proposed various other alternative terms, like “affirmative consent.” Because that means you’re actively, like, present and there and you’re affirmatively saying, “Yes, I want this,” but it’s not about, like, the emotional framework in which you say that. Because it’s like, I could say yes and be like, [not enthusiastically] “Yeah, for sure, let’s do this.” But I’m not gonna, you know, I’m not gonna be like, “Hell yeah, I totally want this,” at the same time.

Courtney: Yeah!

Royce: Yeah. I don’t think I’m ever like that about anything.

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: Yeah! I guess –

Royce: That’s just not the vocabulary I use or the way I carry myself.

Evie: Yeah. I’m a very… I can be very energetic about certain things, almost all of which relate to cute things and spooky things, and almost nothing to do with other people. So I can be very enthusiastic about a cute Pomeranian dressed up like a spider, but I’m not going to be… [laughs] I’m not going to be enthusiastic about, like, getting Sushi for dinner or having sex, or… Like, I can consent to it, but I’m not going to be like, “Yeah, let’s do it!” Like, that’s not my personality at all, so totally relate to that.

Courtney: Yeah, and that enthusiastic consent, too, because that unfortunately has been used by very conservative people to, I guess, prove, they think, that Asexuals are groomers. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the whole GirlGuiding fiasco from a year ago.

Evie: Mmm, no, I’m not familiar with that.

Courtney: Yeah. So last year during Ace Week 2021, GirlGuiding, in the UK – which is, you know, their Girl Scouts –

Evie: Oh, okay, yeah, yeah.

Courtney: – just made a very innocent Twitter post, just like, “Hey, happy Ace Week, we support the Aces in our organization,” just, like, light positivity and acknowledgement of the week.

Evie: Mhm.

Courtney: And then we got slammed with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hate comments. There was not a single positive one.

Evie: Oh God.

Courtney: And that prompted the Safe Schools Alliance UK to publish on their website an entire article about how Asexuals are groomers and should not work with kids. And they were –

Evie: How – wait, what is the justification for that take?

Courtney: Oh, there were a lot of them. I will send you a link after this –

Evie: Okay.

Courtney: – so you can see the horror yourself.

Evie: Alright.

Courtney: I think we also talked about it on our podcast about a year ago exactly, when this happened, too, but oh my goodness.

Evie: Oh God.

Royce: Was that the episode that was sort of recapping Ace Week for that year?

Courtney: Yeah, we just did, like, Ace Week: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. [laughs]

Evie: And there was ugly, apparently. They got ugly.

Courtney: There was ugly. But yeah, so Safe Schools Alliance, they… Because the thing is, too – and here’s something we have talked a lot about on the podcast, because people do often say Asexuality is the “invisible orientation,” and in many ways it is, but there actually are very conservative, usually religious, right-wing organizations who are actually listening to us pretty intently, and they are spinning things in a very wrong way because they’re taking for granted that the people who would theoretically be our allies, if they knew the proper information, probably haven’t gotten it yet. So they’re trying to beat everyone to the punch and one of them was like, “Oh, just because someone is Asexual doesn’t mean that they don’t have sex. You talk to any Ace and they’ll say that Aces can have sex. And that’s how they use this to groom children. Because they’ll come to a teenager – ”

Evie: Ohhh.

Courtney: “– and they’ll say, like, ‘Oh, just because you don’t have sexual attractions to me doesn’t mean we can’t have sex, because maybe you’re just Asexual.’ And they’ll use that to –” And it’s, like, just the most warped logic you could possibly imagine, and I hate it so much because it’s just so blatantly untrue, and this could really affect the livelihoods of actual Ace people. I mean, I taught children for 15 years or so, and I love working with kids. And to have someone say, like, just because I’m Asexual, I’m a groomer. But the thing is, issues like that don’t get spotlighted in the same way hatred and bigotry towards, you know, homosexuality does, towards trans individuals. Like, there is more of a media pushback on things like that. When people say, you know, “Gays are groomers,” there will at least be some organizations that are trying to combat that. But the issues with the Aces tends to fly under the radar, because people say like, “Oh, well, Aces aren’t actually discriminated against. They don’t actually face things, you know, the way gay people do.” It’s like, we… it’s actually incredibly similar. Very, very similar if you are listening.

Courtney: So one thing we always try to do is, like, let’s not just see someone saying these things and just shrug it off as like, “Oh, they’re just a bigot, they don’t know what they’re talking about,” and ignore them. Because quietly, they actually are, you know, gaining ground politically in many cases, because those things don’t leave their bigoted circles and people don’t make a fuss about it. So, that was a big issue.

Courtney: And so the conversations about any Aces who may – either situationally or occasionally, or even just for the Aces who are on the the more favorable side of things and do enjoy having sex, I felt like there’s a lot lacking in the general education about how to navigate certain sexual relationships like that as an Ace person. Because a lot of it gets boiled down to, like, “Well, if you can’t give your partner sex, just open the relationship and do an open relationship.” And we’re very in favor of people whom that relationship structure works for them. But sort of along the lines of like, “Well, if you aren’t enthusiastic and actively trying to have a lot more sex, then that’s almost seen in some sex-positive cases as a bit of a moral failing because, well, that’s pretty conservative, and if you’re a woman, well, that’s not very feminist,” you’ll sort of see the same thing with monogamy sometimes. Because they’ll be like, “Well, if you are really sex-positive, then why don’t you allow the option for either you or your partner or both to have multiple partners?”

Courtney: And I think I’ve kind of started conceptualizing the spectrum of monogamy to polyamory or any variations upon open relationships almost also to be a part of one’s orientation. I think some people are a little more, you know, likely to want to go one way or another. And I’ve even wondered the same thing about kink. Are some people just – is kink part of an orientation for people? I’d be curious to hear what your opinion is on that.

Evie: It’s interesting, because I’ve asked people this before. I actually did an Instagram takeover for the “Doing It!” podcast, and I asked people if they considered, like, non-monogamy or polyamory to be more of an orientation thing or, like, a relationship style, and like 90% of people are like, “It’s a relationship style.” I think people are very – understandably, in a way – defensive over, like, in the same way, most communities are about their things, their precious things, they don’t want to be tainted or diluted in any way. They’re like, “Oh, we can’t call these other things an orientation because then that lessens the meaning of like, you know, my gender identity or my sexual orientation as being what they are. And if we lump all these other things in here, like, suddenly we’re going to have the cis-hets at Pride.”

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: And like, that’s what it always goes to, is like, “We cannot allow the cis-hets to be at Pride.” Like, that’s, like, the ultimate fear. It really is. At least on Twitter, that seems to be the point people go to, is like, “What’s going to happen next? We’re going to have polyamorous heterosexual…” It’s like, but almost everyone I know that does polyamory is queer, so like, whatever.

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: But yeah, I think if… I always try to keep in mind that the labels we use to describe orientation – be that LGBTQ+ or whatever else – is our best guess in the English language to try and describe a really complicated set of human experiences. And I think there’s room to be more expansive with the way we talk about things. Not just like, “We gotta add an extra letter onto the alphabet soup? What do you mean?” Like, people get all upset that there’s going to be a P for polyamory before there’s going to be a P for Pansexual, and it’s like, no. Nobody’s asking for that – at least not seriously, I don’t think.

Evie: I think there should be some room to conceptualize, like, the diversity of human interest and experiences. And I definitely know people where, like, they are not happy being monogamous. They are very naturally polyamorous and open and they don’t conform to, like, the social expected, pair-bonding, romantic– And especially even for people on the Ace spectrum, right? And Aro people, right? The, like, queerplatonic relationships as a way of thinking about non-monogamy, and, like, that’s totally on the list as well.

Evie: And when it comes to kink, I also think that can definitely be considered on some sort of larger spectrum of, like, how humans interact with the world and what they prioritize in their interactions. Because I know a lot of people where the kink comes before anything else. Like, it’s not really that their kink is their sexual attraction, necessarily, but they care more about that than they do, like, “Am I Bi? Am I Pan? Am I straight? Am I whatever?” Like, they’re just like, “I don’t really care about any of that. Like, I like playing with people and doing this activity with people that I energetically vibe with more so than worrying about what gender I’m attracted to.” So, I think there has to be some kind of way, eventually, at some point, to sort of incorporate a way of thinking about these.

Evie: And people hate thinking about the fact that like, like – same with Ace people – like, you know, “Are they even marginalized?” Like, they’ll do the same thing for Poly[amory], the same thing with kink. And like, from my experience in the dying days of Twitter, the current punching bag is, like, polyamorous people, because how dare they want anything from society in terms of acceptance. Like, [laughing] unbelievable that they would.

Courtney: Mmm.

Evie: Like, how dare they just let people know that they exist. Which I feel like is oftentimes what happens to Ace people as well. It’s just like, we say something about ourselves or our community; people go, “Oh my God. Like, you’re not even that oppressed. Like, what are you complaining about?” And it’s like, I feel like unless… like, it’s really sad, because I feel like the only thing that’s going to – and this is morbid, but I feel like the only thing that’s really going to change to make people, like, in a larger scale consider Ace people to be, like, valid as a marginalized orientation is going to be, like, somebody getting killed, like publicly, like an incel or somebody writing a manifesto.

Courtney: Someone did.

Evie: Oh yeah? But that has to get like mainstream news coverage, right? Like, it has to be important enough for people to pay attention about it.

Courtney: Ohh, do I want to say the name? So, a few years ago, there was a teenage girl. She was 17. She was Asexual. She had come out as Asexual online.

Royce: I would say, probably don’t say the name, because as of a few years ago –

Courtney: I’m not going to say the name.

Royce: – it was still very searchable.

Courtney: There’s a Wikipedia page for this murder. Like, there were photos of a nearly decapitated body that went viral.

Evie: Oh my God!

Courtney: And this happened just like literally three days after she was featured on the “This is what Asexuality looks like” Instagram account.

Evie: Ohhhh.

Courtney: And she had posted on social media about being Asexual. And so, a lot of us were just getting to know her because she had just come out and she was using these big hashtags that the community was using to find each other at the time. And then her murder was very, very public. Like, I saw the body, and it was, it was a horrible, horrible, devastating thing. So, those of us in the community that were aware of her were mourning. And the “This is what Asexual looks like” Instagram account just did like a, “Hey, we’re going to go silent for a while to honor her memory,” kind of a thing, which was very, very rightfully so. But her parents didn’t think she was Asexual. And that’s why I don’t want to say the name, because, of course, the parents are going to grieve regardless, but – and I don’t want to add to that trauma for any surviving family members.

Courtney: But it was very disappointing to see that we did get attacked, and in some pretty large news articles, too. The Rolling Stone even said that, you know, “Asexuals are trying to push their agenda. They’re trying to say – like, they’re trying to use this poor girl’s murder to push their Asexual agenda.” It’s like, we were literally just mourning a brand new community member who came out to us in our community with our hashtags, showed her face, and then was very quickly murdered, very publicly, by an incel. Of course we’re going to grieve and we’re going to mourn and we’re going to feel for that. But it wasn’t reported as a hate crime. People either don’t mention her Asexuality or they completely erase it all together. Like I said, there is a Wikipedia page about the murder – doesn’t mention Asexuality. But we were there. Like, this is our community.

Courtney: So that’s part of the biggest frustration for me anytime people say Aces aren’t really oppressed. It’s really just, you are not listening to us when we say that we are. There have been murders. There have been hate crimes. They don’t get reported as hate crimes. In the US, there’s only one state that actually mentions Asexuality as a protected orientation under anti-discrimination laws, and that’s New York. So as much as some of the legislation is very vague, like, regardless of sexual orientation, it’s like, well, does the state actually recognize Asexuality as an orientation? Because with things like HSDD still being in the DSM, there’s a plausible argument for people to say, like, “Well, it could just be a medical condition. It could just be a mental disorder.”

Evie: Everyone gets that, right? The, like, “Have you had your home hormones checked? Have you had this?” I’m like, “Yes, I have. Many Times. It’s none of your fucking busines what the results are.” But that… Like, and it’s funny because there’s also like those studies that show that, like, Ace people and people that have like HSDD and like have like clinical distress from, like, hyposexual desire disorder, I think that’s what it’s called –

Courtney: Yeah.

Evie: – Like, they actually looked – the way we think about sex and desire and everything is very different between those two groups. Because it turns out that, like, most Ace people, outside of social pressure, are not really distressed about lack of sexual attraction or, you know, lack of having a certain type of fantasy life or whatever. But yeah, that’s just so… like, it just really goes to show, like, how what you said earlier about, like, it being almost an invisible orientation is so true. Because, yeah, if you deny that the orientation exists, you deny that the person has that orientation, and you don’t report on it, it’s magically not a hate crime and I guess Ace people aren’t really oppressed. Conveniently, you get to make that point even though it’s not actually true. Like, I didn’t even know about that. It was just horrible.

Evie: And you know, there… Do you want to talk about the recent YouTuber situation where somebody did, like, a little podcast format where they talked about Asexuality at all, or…?

Courtney: Oh, we did do a Twitter post about that. Yeah, let’s get into it. Because for the most part… So, before we get into it, I do want to acknowledge that we don’t have an issue with most of the video. I love when Aces can sit down and talk about their own experiences. And when it is from my own experience, like, every experience is correct, whether it’s sex-favorable, -neutral, kinky, not kinky, monogamous, polyamorous, like, all of these are beautiful things to celebrate within the community.

Courtney: There was a video posted by James Somerton, who is someone we have donated quite a lot of money to to set up the… He founded Telos Pictures, a movie media production company, and at the time that was announced, it was meant to be a very, like, just queer movies. Like, let’s get more queer representation out there. And we’ve liked some of his YouTube videos talking about different types of representation, and we often agree with things he says, so we thought, “Well, yes if someone’s going to actively try to get more representation out there, someone who we trust, based on their videos, we definitely want to donate to that.” So we’d actually emailed him at the time asking if there was going to be Asexual representation on the table at all. Because, of course, Aces have been burned before. Like, queer representation doesn’t always necessarily include us. But he said, “Yes, absolutely.” He said, “We’re going to have Aces on the writing team, even.” And I was like, “Done, take our money. Absolutely.” Because we want more representation. And we do that a lot. Anytime someone’s like, “Here’s a project I’m trying to fundraise for Ace stuff,” it’s like, let’s get more of that out in the world!

Evie: [laughs] Yeah.

Courtney: We’ll give you the money if we have it. So, yeah. The recent video. It was just like a few minutes and we were watching it and we were like, “Oh no.” Just because…

Evie: Yeah, I’m sure we had the same reaction at the same time. Because I started watching it, like, literally 10 minutes after it went live. Like, I was like, “Oh boy! I’m so excited! This is so awesome! I love James! Let’s see what he has to say.” And I went, “Oh, I gotta switch to my other account. I gotta leave a comment.” Like…

Courtney: Oh, so you actually commented on that video, then.

Evie: Yeah, I don’t think… like, I’ve looked for my own comment before, and as far as I can tell, James does not really interact too much with YouTube comments, so I don’t know if you saw it or not, but I did leave a comment – that a lot of people responded to and it got a fair amount of engagement – of like, “Hey, I just want to gently push back on the notion that Ace people don’t experience conversion therapy. Here’s some points about why that’s not really true. It doesn’t really look the same as, like, gay conversion therapy does, but there’s definitely preceding elements to that that are coalescing and threatening to become more of a concrete, ‘this is how we fix the Ace people.’”

Courtney: Yes, yes, Absolutely. Because yeah, the two comments that we took issue with – and I was so glad that after these comments were out of the way – because we were still pressing on, we were watching the whole thing, and we did watch the whole thing before we tweeted about it, but we did think that there was some information that was just very incorrect and should have been set straight. But the co-host of that podcast, Nick, is Ace, and they did specify at one point, like, “I am Asexual, and here’s my experience in it,” but that wasn’t stated for like, I don’t know, 10 minutes into the video or something, so for –

Evie: Yeah! It took while where I was like, “Wait I think he’s talking about ‘we,’ not just like ‘these people over here.’” Okay.

Courtney: Yeah. Because the first couple comments that just sent off our alarm bells was, “Aces don’t face discrimination in the same way Gay people do,” which, there’s a very big debate to be made there, and also that Aces don’t experience conversion therapy, which, because we have seen the studies from Stonewall that say that Aces face conversion therapy at 10%, as opposed to 7% for the entire queer community. So we are actually more likely to experience conversion therapy than then the Gay community. And I think we are only beaten by Trans conversion therapy at 13%, which makes a lot of sense, especially in the UK with their little TERF problem, you know? [laughs]

Evie: Yeah. TERF island. Always gotta be doing the worst.

Courtney: Yeah.

Evie: Yeah. That was… I think, you know, something to be said for, like, making sure you state up front, like, “Hey, this thing we’re –” and maybe it just seems obvious when you’re in the moment, you’re talking to a friend, and it’s like, “Yeah, I know that he’s Ace,” and, like, you don’t think to even really make it a prominent thing before you start talking about it. But I think even members of our community, especially if you are more used to, like, being in Gay men’s spaces, you’re seeing that perspective maybe more than the Ace perspective, and you might not fully realize, like, what the extent of reality is, because it’s so erased and not talked about, that, like, yeah, if you don’t ever see the houses on fire, you don’t ever realize that there’s houses on fire. And you know, you got to have somebody point it out to you for you to realize, “Hey, actually, there’s a lot of houses on fire.” It’s not that homes never catch on fire.

Royce: And there is something to be said for the difference in personal experience.

Evie: Yes.

Royce: Men are often less likely to need to tell their doctor that they’re Asexual in the first place.

Evie: Mhm.

Royce: You don’t have to deal with the potential of getting pregnancy tests or things like that.

Courtney: Yeah, I have faced quite a lot of medical issues. And I do know, too – and I think most Aces who were at least on social media around the time that… oh, I can’t think of the exact drug name, but it was being peddled as like “female Viagra” at one point.

Evie: Yeah. I left that in my comment and was like, “Oh, remember this?”

Courtney: Oh gosh! I joined some Asexual Facebook groups when I joined Facebook, and I was like, immediately after I clicked away from that group, within minutes of joining it, it was like, “Here is libido medication for women!” just targeted ad at me every single day, and it’s like, [sighs].

Courtney: And so yeah, it’s kind of also, you know, what is conversion therapy? And I do think that even Gay men who have not experienced conversion therapy firsthand themselves, sometimes – and I’m not saying that this is specifically James or Nick I’m just talking broadly speaking – a lot of people don’t tend to really even know what conversion therapy looks like or what the full scope of it can be. Because I think – well, especially, especially straight people just think of it as, like, the Christian camps you get sent to.

Evie: Yup.

Courtney: Which is very much an issue. Do not get me wrong. But there is also medical conversion therapy. And there are things like corrective sexual assault that do get statistically lumped in with types of conversion therapy as well. So there are a lot of different forms conversion therapy can take. And depending on what the orientation is and what form it’s taking, it might not get as much widespread discussion as some of the other ones. So, yeah, that was all. And we’re really, really hopeful that there will be more discussions of Asexuality in the future and especially an account like that. I mean, James’s following is huge. We just… we get so many people saying, like, “Well, Aces don’t face conversion therapy, so they’re not oppressed.” And it’s like, uh, I don’t want anything to reinforce that, because we have seen the studies.

Courtney: And, and sort of, sort of even the notion about just Christianity – because people will say, like, “Oh, well, they’re all puritanical and anti-sex,” but we did a very, very long in-depth four-part series back in August about the discrimination that we do get from the religious right wing of this country, in the US specifically we were talking about, but it’s there. It’s a lot more similar to other forms of homophobia, queerphobia, transphobia than a lot of people give it credit for.

Evie: Yeah. Well, and also at the same time – like, let’s just say, for the sake of having an argument, that Ace people don’t experience conversion therapy. That does not make Ace people less queer, and it’s not like – queerness is not dictated by, like, people oppressing you or, like, trying to physically harm you. That’s, like, a very – to me, at least, that’s kind of a downer way of conceptualizing that the queer community is like, “Oh, we’re queer because mainstream society wants to cause us harm and get rid of us.” And like, well, that’s not what this is about – I hope, anyways. But at the same time, like, again, there’s that ignorance of knowing if it even actually happens or not. And certainly there’s a lot of people that, you know, get talked into it by a dissatisfied partner, or they have doctors who medicalize their, like, reasonable experience of their orientation and just decide that, like, “Well, you need to be fixed, so we’re going to give you this stuff. We’re going to get rid of the problem you have of not being sexually attracted to anyone,” because that’s, for some reason, a very big problem to a lot of people. But yeah, it’s not a competition to see who the most oppressed is, and only the most oppressed are allowed to be in the club, because that is ridiculous.

Courtney: Oh yeah, absolutely. Because for as flawed as that logic is in general, just as a concept, it’s wrong. It also doesn’t really address the facts that there are certain, you know, discriminations and persecutions that just get ignored. They just get ignored. I saw someone make an argument the other day that, “Well, Aces don’t face marriage discrimination like gay people do.” And that –whew! – that was really weird to hear, because currently – at least in the US, I don’t know where that person is – Asexual or platonic or queerplatonic marriages have fewer legal protections than gay marriage. And that was a big part of our series going into the, like, religious and political discrimination. Because we are married. We’ve been married eight and a half years now. We were literally searching for states that we could legally get married in that don’t have consummation laws on the books. And of course, this was before Obergefell versus Hodges anyway. So you know, a gay couple in our position would have been doing the same thing, like, “Well, what state can I legally get married in?” So yeah, we decided to get married in Kansas because it was perfectly a-okay here.

Courtney: But back in July, there was a letter written to Mitch McConnell by 83 – signed by 83 religious organizations that were condemning the Respect For Marriage Act, which thankfully, that just got voted on, it did pass. So that’s our happy update. Our negative update is: we told you Mitch McConnell voted no – we told you back in July that that was going to happen – along with some other Republicans. But they were specifically condemning the Act, and they mentioned platonic marriages. Because they said, “Oh, well, platonic marriage is going to be a startling expansion of what marriage means,” and of course they were lumping it in with, like, “Oh, what’s next platonic marriage, and also marriage amongst family members?” So it’s like, yeah, platonic marriages, totally exactly the same thing as incest. Yep.

Evie: Mhm.

Royce: Wasn’t it at one point called “the bottom of the slippery slope”?

Courtney: Yes. Yeah.

Evie: Oh my god.

Courtney: We pulled an article that called it –

Evie: Nothing is worse than marrying your friends. Everyone knows that the only way you should have marriage is when you hate your spouse, according to straight Twitter.

Courtney: Yeah! Absolutely. It’s wild, because we have found so many articles condemning platonic marriage, queerplatonic marriage, Asexual marriage, Asexual people in general, but they just don’t get the noise. People don’t see it and they don’t – they don’t care and they don’t amplify it, they don’t condemn it. So these things just sort of fly under the radar for years, until platonic marriage is getting condemned as a reason why we shouldn’t have the Respect for Marriage Act.

Courtney: But they’re actually two – like, legally speaking – legal, I guess, mindsets in this country right now. I mean, especially with the Supreme Court the way it is, like, a conservative versus a liberal Justice. They have very different ideas of how they read the law. That actually is happening right now with, you know, use whatever word you want – queerplatonic, Asexual, platonic marriage – there are conservative judges who do not think that that is currently, nor should it be, a legal form of marriage. And we’ve seen them document why and how they think that sex is inherent to marriage and that it is one in the same. You cannot separate them. You can't have a marriage without sex and it’s –

Evie: Sounds like a good way to overturn spousal rape laws as well.

Courtney: Exactly!

Evie: ’Cause that’s a thing that needs to be done – I say sarcastically and in a horrified manner.

Courtney: Yeah, exactly. So there are so many other issues. Like, yes, when I do talk about… like, these are Asexual issues and these are issues we’re facing right now that aren’t getting the attention. It’s like, it’s not just about us either. Like, there are so many other people that this can affect and go wrong for if these positions are allowed to progress any more. And that’s why we need to be listening to what they’re saying, and actually take their word for it, and take this as a serious, you know, political attack, in many cases, so.

Evie: Yeah, there’s a lot of people that were making noise about, like, “Marriage between a man and a woman is about reproduction,” so I don’t know if they’re necessarily going off of that or if it’s just, they’re sort of all coalescing around the same idea, but certainly, there is a lot of groundswell amongst members of the far right and, you know, people and Republicans in this country that are all thinking along the same lines as, like, “Well, marriage is about having sex and having children,” which is like a whole other can of worms of, like, you know, okay, what about people who can’t have children or can’t afford it or whatever? Like, and at the same time. I also know Ace people that have kids and, like, you know. So it’s just such a mess. And, like, yeah, I just don’t think things really get the attention they deserve for the legal discrimination aspect of it. It gets like, “Oh, what’s the big deal?” Like, as far as I’m concerned, I very much have the mentality of, like, “If they come for one of us, they’re coming for all of us.”

Courtney: Yeah.

Evie: Like, whether that be Trans issues, Gay issues, Asexual issues. Like, they all overlap so much.

Courtney: They do.

Evie: You know, to bring it back to kink a little bit. Like, there’s a lot of overlap in the assaults against Trans rights and kink and conflating it and sort of the, like, “Being trans is kinky, and kids being around anything vaguely kinky is the worst thing humanly possible, and it’s grooming,” and yada yada yada, and very much connecting these ideas. And I think it gets to a point where, like, not only are they attacking Trans people, which is horrible and awful, but then also that gets tied to kink for any person of any kind of matter, or orientation, no matter if you’re married or not, it’s considered abhorred and deviant and must be regulated out of existence.

Evie: And BDSM, as it is, has a very tenuous legal standing in the US depending on what state you’re in. And there are a lot of people who go through divorce court and have their private interests in BDSM dragged through the courts as a reason for why they shouldn’t have children.

Courtney: Ugh.

Evie: Because having a private interest in BDSM means that you can’t… Like, there’s so many things that they go, “This means you can’t be trusted around children. If you’re polyamorous, if you’re kinky, if you’re Asexual, if you’re Tans, if you’re Gay, if you’re anything other than a straight man who owns, like – is a pastor and owns a church, it’s the only reason – the only people who are safe to be around kids.” And it’s like, I’m getting a sense that restricting the safe people for kids is a really, like, a tool for controlling children to make sure they can’t, you know, leave the narrow lives they are allowed to live in those spaces and actually be around safe people who could maybe tell them how to…

Evie: And it’s sad. ’Cause there’s a lot of kids that get kind of… There was a story on Twitter of somebody that… Maybe it was on Reddit first, originally. There was somebody who – their kid ended up basically being convinced by an adult stranger, who knew them online, that, like, their friend, who was another teenager, who was like, 15 or something, was the groomer because they were drawing anime art. And like…

Courtney: Ugh.

Evie: Oh my God, just like the extent these people will go to to call everyone else but themselves a groomer is… I don’t know why that’s become the hot new thing of the 2020s, but that’s what we’re doing with this decade, I suppose.

Courtney: Yeah. Well, and I find that behind every discrimination, no matter what sort of measured argument you can put towards it, there’s always another, lesser-discussed community that you can use to throw under the bus to progress the bigoted agenda. So like, Trans issues, for example, like, they are definitively Trans issues, like, we need to respect people’s fucking gender.

Evie: Mhm.

Courtney: But, you know, people will say, like, “Well, you know, Trans rights, or fighting for Trans rights,” – people try to skirt it in all of these wild ways. Like, “Oh, well, this person isn’t Trans. You know, dressing as a woman is just their kink.” It’s like, okay, well, now you’re implying there's something inherently wrong with kink, because your first argument, that we shouldn’t respect this person’s gender, didn’t work, so, you moved down the line to try to progress the same bigoted agenda. Asexuality we’ve also seen get brought up in the name of fighting against Trans issues, which is just so repulsive on every level. Because, of course, there are also Ace Trans folks. But there was a Texas Congressional candidate – thank goodness, he didn’t actually get elected, but he had a Trans child and lost custody of them. And he was basically running on, like, anti-Trans issues almost exclusively. But his logic for why it’s wrong to, you know, give Trans children the medical care they need all came down to compulsory sexuality. He was like, “Oh, my child is never going to have a normal, healthy, functioning sex life with with a spouse.” And it’s like, that’s your issue? [laughs] Like, that’s your issue? Like, it sounds like you’d still be upset if that child was Ace, because you are looking at all of this from a point of sex and procreation. And that’s a lot of the conservative mindset. So to say that Christians actually like Ace people because they’re more pure is very, very incorrect. [laughs]

Evie: No, they do not. Yeah, not in my personal experience. They either assume we’re secretly in the closet as Gay or Lesbian and we just, you know, we need to be fixed in that direction, or they’re like, “Why aren’t you doing your Godly, wifely duties of reproducing for your husband you don’t have yet, but you definitely have?”

Courtney: [laughing] Yeah.

Evie: And it’s like, I don’t exist as, like, a birth vessel. I don’t, like… [laughing] that’s not… Ahh, yeah, no, they are not a fan of… And there’s been some talk about this on Twitter recently, which has been nice, as people are more recognizing, I think, that, like, “No, they’re not our friends either. They don’t support us.” They don’t like us because we represent yet another different variation on how to exist on a human being that’s not their very narrow way of being a human, and they are going to do what they need to do to quash that with whatever justification necessary.

Courtney: Yeah. No. Absolutely. Because we also… When we did our series deep, deep, deep dive into the religious-political discrimination in this country, we did have some Christians crawling out of the woodwork to yell at us. And, like, the things they were saying to us. Like, we got called “insults to humanity and nature,” and I love that. I put it in our Twitter bio for a while. I was like, “Yes. Asexual podcast hosted by insults to humanity and nature, Courtney and Royce.” Like, that part was funny. But we had people being like, “We don’t hate Asexuals. We just think that your life is twisted and backwards, and that you’re insults to humanity and nature.” And, yeah, sounds a lot like hate to me.

Courtney: But it’s also just sort of the… I guess it kind of goes both ways, too, because people will use other, also marginalized but less-discussed and less-fought-for communities to push their bigotry in one way or another. People also kind of need to use other accepted communities to sort of latch onto in order to try to fight for more rights. And, I mean, do what you gotta do in the moment, but sometimes that does lead to some additional issues, because Obergefell versus Hodges, like, you know, same-sex marriage, law of the land now, and all that. But the way that that got passed was because it was argued in court that a same-sex marriage is still going to function the same way an opposite-sex marriage – which has the implication of sex and even children. Because they, it was even argued in court, you know, a same-sex couples should be able to adopt a child to function like a straight couple, essentially, which is just not how the any of that works. But that’s actually put some roadblocks in place towards protections for Asexual, queerplatonic marriages and whatnot but also for any polyamorous marriage rights. Because if it’s, “This has to function as a couple, as two people,” that set a precedence that’s going to make it even harder for these other, lesser-discussed communities in the political landscape.

Evie: Yeah. Yeah. I think especially with the polyamorous aspect of it, there’s a lot of, like, issues that are kind of like, on the one hand, like you said, like, do what you got to do, and I’m glad that we ended up, you know, arguing that in court and everything went the way that it did, because otherwise, it would have been very – like, it would have been a much longer road to get where we ended up, I think without having that. But yeah, it kind of does end up with a scenario where, unless it’s, like, individual states doing something legislatively, it becomes very difficult to use that framework for queerplatonic marriages or, you know, polyamorous relationships. Because I mean, that is also, like, yet again, the “slippery slope” or whatever. [crotchety tone] “What, are you gonna legalize polygamy?”

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: “What’s next? Marrying cows?” And it’s like, can cows consent? No.

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: Like, there’s an easy answer. Uh, no, they’re not the same because animals are animals that cannot give consent, and people are different, turns out, sometimes. I know some of y’all think women and cows are the same, but they’re actually not, weirdly.

Evie: So, yeah, it’s gonna be interesting to see what ends up kind of happening in the next couple years. I feel like we could either really go down this pathway of paving the way for even more progressive things getting enacted, and maybe there being more room for things like polyamorous marriages or solidifying that, like, no, you don’t have to have kids or have sex in order to have a valid marriage, or we go in the opposite direction and everything kind of spirals out of control and, you know, it does not end up going very well. And I choose to think more about – at least invest more of my emotional energy into thinking about that not happening than it actually happening.

Courtney: Yeah.

Evie: But it’s hard.

Courtney: [wistfully] We can dream. [laughs]

Evie: We can dream. Yes, we can definitely dream.

Courtney: But yeah, with the polyamory thing too, ’cause that’s also another thing I’ve heard people, you know, demonize kink over, like, “Oh, well, polyamory’s just a kink.” [laughs]

Evie: Oh my God, that’s hilarious, yeah.

Courtney: Which is, again, the implication is that kink is bad. But, yeah, there was a court case in New York recently that went favorably that did establish a light level of protection for a polyamorous situation with a housing dispute, that was happening. So that was encouraging to see. But although we haven’t had any sort of Ace or platonic court cases in the US that I’m aware of, there was a recent one in Sweden –

Evie: Mmm!

Courtney: – where there were two women who were living together. And actually, I’ve engaged with Swedish culture a bit. I’ve been learning Swedish for some of my work-related reasons for the last few years, for some research. But Sweden doesn’t have quite the, like, mandatory marriage culture that we have here, which a lot of it comes from, you know, Christianity and conservatism. But in Sweden, it’s a lot more normal to be, like, long-term, live-in partners without formally getting married than it is here, and their word for that is “sambo.” But there was sort of a court case where a woman passed away, and so her sambo was trying to get, you know, rights to, you know, housing, estate kind of a thing. And the reason why this was being argued was, they were kind of saying, like, “Well, is this actually a sambo situation?” Because everyone was saying, “As far as we know, this relationship wasn’t actually sexual.” So they were like, “Well, are they actually, like, live-in life partners, or were they just, you know –”

Evie: “Just friends.”

Courtney: “– more casual roommates, just friends?” And that actually did go in her favor. So that did pass, and that was a wonderful precedence for Sweden. Of course, we don’t have one like that yet, but that’s just another example of how, if you assume that sex is required for any of these legal protections, that can really open the door to some issues.

Evie: That’s so true.

Royce: One thing that occurred to me, on our last topic and earlier in the episode, was that when talking about things like orientation and relationship structure, like monogamy versus polyamory, or just a minute ago, Courtney, you mentioned kink, it kind of seems like people are leaning very heavily on connotation for established words.

Evie: Yeah.

Royce: Like, for the word “orientation,” we have already jumped over the hurdle that orientation is not a choice. And so, for things like your relationship structure that may be something that you are just hardwired into, or for things like kink that can just be a part of how you have engaged in relationships forever, it may be tempting to take those and attach them to a word that has already been proven to not be a choice instead of go through all of the effort to change social connotation.

Evie: Yeah.

Royce: And in reverse, taking something like polyamory and calling it a kink. Well, I think that most people see kink activities as, like, a hobby.

Evie: Yeah, I agree.

Courtney: “Deviant.”

Royce: It’s something that you have learned to go and do and enjoy, and not a part of who you are.

Evie: Yeah, I think that’s very true. Like, it’s difficult to, I don’t know, resist the urge to be like, “Look, we’re valid because we’re also like this other thing that’s valid,” and not do the work to kind of carve out a space for it, especially if you are one of those people for whom, like, you being poly[amorous] does not feel like a choice. It does not feel like you… You have tried monogamy and has failed. It does not work for you. Or people do the same thing with kink, right, where they just are deeply unhappy with vanilla relationships or vanilla sex and they’re like, “I don’t know how else to describe this other than this orientation label.” Even if for other people, it is more of a choice, they could take it or leave it, they’re happy doing one or the other or it’s something they, like, learn to do over time but are maybe not, like, drawn to on, like, an inherent level where, you know, they couldn’t do anything else except for that.

Evie: I think that’s also something that happens to either other people that are queer, other people that are part of the LGBT+ community. Like, you almost have to tell this whole story about like, “Well, I always knew I was really a girl, because when I was three, I tried on my mom’s high heels.” And like, you end up having to, like, kind of turn your whole life into the story about, like, “How my identity is actually valid and how it’s actually, you know, the way I just am, and please don’t hate me.” Like, it’s like, people are not allowed to evolve or change over time. They must always be what they have always been. And if you in any way insinuate that something is a choice, that somehow makes it less valid, which is confusing.

Courtney: Oh, exactly. And I mean, I… And especially in cases where, like, the Trans, you know, gender clinics where you need to go through the questionnaire in order to get your medication, like, a lot of Trans folks I’ve spoken to have said, like, “Yeah, I really felt like I needed to… not necessarily lie, but at least over-exaggerate and overemphasized, like, ‘This has always been an inherent part of me that I’ve known without a shadow of a doubt, no questioning whatsoever.’” No actual, like, natural, organic process of exploration. And, I mean, that is just sort of the way people see things. Like, even “love is love,” like, that was something that I said myself around the time of Obergefell versus Hodges and prior, like, love is love, but, you know, being in the Ace community, I’ve learned that even in other corners of queer culture, people still assume that love means sex or that love means romance, and if your type of love doesn’t sort of line up with their vision of it, then it doesn’t get the same level of championing.

Evie: Yeah. Or even just like, caring about love at all, right? Because you can be Aromantic and just be like, “Well, I still have these very deep important connections, but they are not based on a conception of love or romance, because what the fuck does that even mean in the first place, right?”

Courtney: Right.

Evie: Like, love isn’t even something that we really understood as a species until relatively recently. So, why are we treating this as this, like, marker of true validity, as this concept of love. And that’s sort of the argument that people have about, you know, assimilation versus kind of being a different, separate way of having a community or having a culture as, you know, like, why are we trying to stick ourselves in these boxes of acceptability and trying actively to be just like, “We’re just like everyone else! We’re just like the straights! We do this, that, and the other, and we fall in love, and we want to have kids and a white picket fence and capitalism, and yay!” And it’s like, uhh, maybe we don’t all have to be that way.

Courtney: Yeah, maybe not. [laughs] Well, Evie, while we have you, I’m very curious to get your opinion on this specific thing.

Evie: [intrigued tone] Mmm.

Courtney: Because it’s one that we’ve, in our house, talked about a lot, mostly in terms of, like, what we’ve seen from the discourse. And I know “kink at Pride” is a whole can of worms.

Evie: Mmm, very much.

Courtney: We do not necessarily need to get into the whole history of it, because we’ve covered bits and pieces of the history in past episodes. But this year and the last couple of years, there have been sort of a common refrain we’ve seen people say on social media that say, like, “Well, you know, kink at Pride is just, you know, someone wearing a thong, and no one’s actually breaking out the St. Andrew’s Cross at Pride.” And I’ve seen that said over and over and over again. But at our Pride event, like five years ago, there was a St. Andrew’s Cross, like, right next to the henna tattoos and the shopping section where people are, like, buying t-shirts and buttons and things. And we were like, “Everybody we see in the discourse is saying nobody is doing this at Pride, but we did see that.” And I’m curious what your opinions are of that. Did our Pride mess up? Should our Pride have not done that? [laughs]

Evie: I mean, I just – there’s so many different –

Courtney: Does that happen at more Prides that we don’t know about?

Evie: I’m sure it has. But I think, also, like, I think people want to conceptualize Pride as being this, like, single, unified thing where all Prides are the same, and they’re ran by the same people, and they all have these same universal values, and they really don’t. Like, you are going to see Prides that are, like, family-friendly, animal balloons and face painting, like, the whole Pride is very, like, centered around the, like, you know, Gay family unit of, like, the Lesbians that have like two kids, and, like, you know, like, it’s very family-centric, right? And you have other Pride events that are, like, break out the glitter thong and the St. Andrew’s Cross and the, you know, and the leathers and everything else.

Evie: And I think for me, that whole argument is like, I think the main thing is, if it is in the terms of the event that this thing is allowed, that this thing will be here and be part of it, you can’t really punish the people for following the rules, right? It’s one thing if somebody goes against the rules and they’re doing something where they’re running. Like, the example everyone uses is the gimp suit, right? “If somebody was running around in a gimp suit at Pride…” And it’s like, first of all, kids aren’t really gonna know what that means, and there’s gimp suit jokes in kids’ media like SpongeBob already.

Courtney: [laughs] Yeah.

Evie: So, like, I don’t know what to say about that, exactly. But, you know, people are like, “Oh my God, somebody in a gimp suite running around my family-friendly Pride event!” And it’s like, well, I don’t think that exactly is happening. But I think there should be kink spaces where everyone gets to feel welcome, right? We have the kids’ Pride, we have the more adult-centered Pride or the more sex-focused Pride. Because, like, I haven’t been to a lot of Pride events, but I feel like sexuality tends to be very forefront regardless. Like, at the Pride in Seattle, there is, like, people doing all kinds of pole dancing, and there’s people doing, like, all kinds of stuff that’s, like, not kink related, but it’s very much sexual, and people don’t ever talk about that being an issue for a family-friendly Pride – unless they’re maybe an outside Christian organization that’s like, “Look at the deviant Gays and all of their hedonism they’re exposing the children to.” But if it’s somebody else that’s queer that’s taking an issue with something, it’s not with the, you know, all the men in, you know, booty shorts and jock straps, or the pole dancing, or topless women with their boobs out. Like, none of that’s ever the problem. It’s specifically kink. And I’m like, “Well I don’t know.” Like, if we’re using kink as a place to regulate – because people think of BDSM is being inherently sexual.

Courtney: Yeah.

Evie: If we’re using Pride as a way to regulate somebody’s expression of their sexual orientation, like, why are we doing it with this thing and not this other thing? So.

Courtney: That makes sense.

Evie: I mean, it would depend. Like, was it a family event where there were, like, kids wandering around in front of the St. Andrew’s Cross? Or was it more, like –

Courtney: Yeah! [laughs]

Evie: Mmm, interesting.

Royce: This was kind of where we landed on when we were talking about this, was…

Courtney: Expectations need to be set better.

Evie: Yes. Yes.

Royce: Hey, if you’re gonna have, like, public flogging, give us a heads-up first. But that was about it. And it was just, like, a leather stand that had the St. Andrew’s Cross, and occasionally someone would come up and, fully clothed, would just –

Courtney: Like, “Okay, hook me up.” [laughs] “Let’s give it a whirl.”

Royce: – get into position, and there’d be a bit of flogging, and it would attract a crowd. And, you know, people were watching and taking pictures and things like that. But it was in the shopping tent. Like, no visibility-obscuring –

Courtney: That’s where people were getting their Pride flags, their merchandise. There was, like, face-painting happening right there. [laughs]

Royce: This was a Pride event where there were two distinct times. There was a family-friendly hours, and then like, after, you know, sunset, then it was adults-only –

Evie: Mmm.

Royce: – where you’re going to get carded at entry. And this was during the day, during the family section.

Evie: Interesting.

Courtney: Yeah. And so, we were like, “That’s a little weird,” no?

Evie: I mean, it is, because that’s like… I cannot say that I’ve ever seen or heard of anything like that before. I totally believe that it happens. It sounds to me like an organizer flub, that, like, they should have done a better job of either checking out what that booth was going to be about before they gave them a daytime spot or things need to be setup, you need to know what it is you’re going to be walking into and the sorts of things that you might see when you’re there. And I don’t have any problem with, like, giving people a heads up of like – especially because it wasn’t like, I don’t know, flogging people over clothing does not sound like the most risque thing that could possibly happen at a Pride event –

Courtney: No.

Evie: – so I can’t get, like, too mad at it, but I could see how, at the very least, that would be a bad optics scenario, where it’s like, somebody takes a photo of that and goes, “Look, there are – their deviancy is right there in front of the children.” And like, I don’t want to in any way poke at that or, like, give them more reason to, you know… I don’t know. Just anything that results in something going viral on the internet amongst the far right as being proof of, like, the deviancy of the left or queer people or whatever, I’m like, I don’t know if I really want to cause more of that and cause, like, you know, people have to be fearful at Pride parades of, you know, some kind of, I don’t know, outside group coming in to be like, “We’re here to make sure that the Gays are in exposing the children to inappropriate things.”

Courtney: Right.

Evie: You know. Oh God. I just don’t want that to happen.

Courtney: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, that’s kind of where we’ve landed on all of it. Just because what we have seen and what we’ve experienced is just not even necessarily what’s reflected in the “Pride at kink” discourse, because we do see people saying, like, “No one’s breaking out the St. Andrew’s Cross.” It’s like, that’s a very specific example that we did very specifically see.[laughs] And it’s just setting expectations, because we also, like, went onto the website, and it’s like, a lot of Pride websites don’t really mention kink at all, like, is this kink-friendly. And well, what does “kink-friendly” even mean? [laughs] “Friendly,” like, it’s all so vague, you know? And when people say “family-friendly” – I’ve had the same criticism with “family-friendly.” Like, what is family-friendly? What does that mean? Who’s setting that metric?

Evie: Exactly.

Royce: Whose family are you talking about?

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: Yeah! That’s like… Because, like, a leatherman’s family, where they’re like second-generation kinkster, is like, that might just be like a totally average thing to see in public and they’re not going to be fazed by it. And I think a lot of the discourse kind of comes down to, like, how much… ’Cause all that got so wild, where it got to be like, “If you knowingly wear sandals in public around somebody with a foot fetish, you’re, like, doing kink in public and that’s inappropriate to do around children.” And it’s like, “Okay, note to self. I can’t…” Like, okay, then women can’t wear low-cut tops because, like, they know that men are going to look at… Like, at what point do you stop with that logic? It just got really off the rails.

Evie: And the examples I saw were not necessarily a St. Andrew’s Cross, but it was stuff like, you know, having sex in public, or doing things like that, that people sort of associate as being, like, kinky acts. And I think that Pride organizations could do generally a better job of telling people what to expect at their events and the sort of things you might see. ’Cause, you know, I do want places to feel safe. But this is my problem with that discourse, is it became about, “We gotta protect the Asexuals from seeing the kinky things. We gotta protect the children and the Asexuals.” And it’s like, first of fucking all, I have almost never felt welcome at any queer organization, unless it was specifically ran by somebody who is Ace. And like, why are we only ever brought up in comparison to, like, children and infantilizing us and our ability to like process certain things, because we’re not a monolith about that.

Courtney: Yeah. Like you’re not coming to bat for us on our conversion therapy.

Evie: Yeah.

Courtney: You’re not coming to bat for us for platonic marriages. You’re not coming to bat for us when, you know, we get hate-crimed and it doesn’t get reported as such. Like, that is very much, like, odd when you decide to become an ally to the Aces. [laughs]

Evie: Yeah, only when it’s convenient to keep other people from doing their stuff at your event, you go, “Wait, what about this other group that we definitely always make sure to include and we definitely want to feel welcomed?” But I will say, on that note of, like, the intersection between kink and Asexuality, I do feel like the history of Pride events and kink are very much, like, interwoven in a lot of ways. Like, in terms of – and we don’t have to get into the whole history of it, but I do think that there has kind of been this more recent sanitization of Pride events to make them more family-friendly and make them more accessible for the general public who just wants to go to a fun parade in the summer. And that is not necessarily reflective of the original intent of Pride or the original groups of people that were supporting it and part of it. And sort of, like, should we keep sanitizing to make people feel comfortable? Or is it like, “Hey, I’m here, I’m queer, Fuck you. Look, we’re going to do this stuff.”

Evie: And I think there’s sort of a middle ground in between those two points, where it’s like, we don’t have to make people purposely uncomfortable and put people in the dark about what they’re going to expect to be there, but we also don’t have to, like, bend over backwards to make sure every random straight people that wants to go ogle at the men in short-shorts – like, they get to feel comfortable too. Like, there’s a middle ground between all of that. And I think we’re sort of, you know… every year, this… Like, I have a – I don’t have it near me – I have a book that was published in, like, the ’80s that is talking about kink at Pride.

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: And this has been an ongoing conversation for over 30 years –

Courtney: Yup.

Evie: – of whether or not certain organizations should be allowed at Pride, if certain activities have been allowed at Pride. And I feel like we haven’t – if we got through the AIDS crisis and we didn’t come up with a fucking answer to that question, we’re probably not gonna, like, find the answer to that question.

Courtney: [laughs] No, we’re just gonna keep talking about this in circles.

Evie: We’re just gonna keep complaining. No matter what happens, somebody’s going to complain about it, but.

Courtney: It’s true.

Evie: Yeah. I will say, for Ace inclusivity and awareness, I really feel like the kink community has been the place that I have felt the most welcomed in and the most accepted in. Like, there was recently – I was at a convention, and one of the speeches that was given during the event, there was somebody who was talking about another event that they’re hosting, it’s going to be in Texas. And I went to their website afterwards to check it out because I’ve never traveled to Texas for a BDSM event, maybe I want to check it out, and I saw on their diversity and inclusivity statement, they specifically called out Asexual people. And I’ve never seen that before. Like, I’m sure I’ve seen, like, individual people talk about it, but, like, an organization saying –

Courtney: [agreeing] No.

Evie: – in their diversity and inclusion statement that they, like, it’s not just about, you know, straight people, Lesbians, Gay men, you know, Trans people, but also, you know, Pan, Bisexual, Genderqueer, Asexual people, like, we were all on there.

Courtney: That’s amazing. That is amazing. Especially, I mean, well, at any event, but at a kink event, I have had conversations with other Aces who are like, “You know, I’m a little curious about kink, I want to explore it a little bit,” but also just the very fear that it will be a very, you know, sex- and sexuality-focused area and wondering, like, “Will I be able to find a place there? And will I feel comfortable here? And will people accept me here?” is a very, you know, valid fear, because Aces are very often gatekept out of a lot of places.

Evie: Yeah. And it’s something you have to be very attentive to. Like, I always tell people, regardless of who they are, what their concerns are, like, read the event rules. Like, if they have photos of previous events, like, go check those out. Message the event organizers.

Evie: Because where I live now, in Portland, like, almost all of the spaces that are public, that you can easily find online for BDSM events, they’re all swingers spaces or they’re owned by swingers, and so they have that particular culture to them where even if it’s not, like, about sex, like, there was one kind of near to me that I’ve been to a few times before, where it’s primarily a bar, and that’s how they make money. And unlike in Seattle, where there’s lots of rules that prevent that kind of thing from happening – and I don’t really believe in mixing, you know, intoxicating substances, a public event, and BDSM all together. It kind of, uh… leads to consent issues, I think, more often than not, but that’s my own opinion there.

Evie: And they played, like, pornography the whole time. They had, like, multiple – they had, like, four or five screens that were playing pornography. Given, it was like, kind of weird, like, I’m gonna say anime porn, but I literally mean, like, anime characters. Like, it was like, Dragon Ball Z, and like, it was… and I understand kind of why they did it a little bit, but, like, it was so weird. Like, it made me uncomfortable, because, like, if I wanted to look at something that wasn’t another person’s face, the only alternative I had was this, like, bizarre anime pornography. And like, even if people aren’t having sex there, the energy is still very sex-focused.

Evie: So any case, I tell people to really check out the events they’re going to. But I’ve been to other ones where, like, there’s no sex. There are people that, you know, maybe onesies and twosies there are people that are having sex or doing something obviously sexual. But there are other events, like, for example, munches, which are like social meetups at, usually, a bar, restaurant, coffee shop, where you just go and talk. And it’s not about sex, it’s not about – you don’t get naked or anything, it’s just like, you go. And oftentimes, there’s such a huge overlap in nerd culture, in BDSM spaces, that usually end up talking about like, hey, “What’s that thing on your T-shirt from?” And you’re get in a conversation about you know, The Witcher Netflix series or, you know, whatever video game is coming out, and you can really relate to people outside of just talking about sex and kink, but.

Courtney: Right! Yeah.

Evie: There’s a lot of inclusivity in kink spaces I’ve seen. Like, there’s lots of people that regularly teach classes on, like, demystifying Asexuality in BDSM spaces, and I think there’s just more and more representation – from education, from leadership, and from genuinely, like, wanting people to feel inclusive. Like, honestly, the most inclusivity work I’ve seen has not been in the LGBT community. It’s been in the kink community. Like, in terms of – like, for example, we have conventions and conferences where you have, like, a usually a long weekend, like three days where you have education during the daytime and like social events, and then in the evening, you have, like, a big party. And now, there are conventions where they have, like, a whole track of classes that are focused on, like, diversity, inclusion, and, like, BIPOC spaces, or like, they have a dungeon set up where there’s like a big main dungeon and then there’s a space for women and a space for men and a space for Trans and queer people and then also a space for BIPOC people. Like, there’s a lot of work that’s being done to… Like, and scholarship funds as well. So if you are in need or if you’re in certain groups of people, like, you can access those spaces more easily. And that’s, like, way more than I’ve seen a lot of, for example, Pride organizations do. It’s, you know…

Courtney: Oh, very much so. Yeah. I don’t hear about efforts about that very much.

Evie: We’re not getting bought out by Gillette or whatever.

Courtney: [laughs] That’s fantastic.

Royce: Advertisers haven’t found kink as a meaningful investment yet.

Evie: Mhm. Yeah. No. The most we get is, like, Adam and Eve sponsorships on YouTube videos.

Courtney: Ahh. [laughs]

Evie: That’s really – I mean, I’m not even sure they would really go for that demographic for advertising, but like, I feel like there’s sort of this, like, almost anarchist streak in a lot of BDSM spaces where, like, yes, there is, like, an organization but almost all of them are, at least where I live, in my experience, they tend to be nonprofits, and they tend to be – like, they will advertise each other in each other’s spaces, but they are not interested in mainstream advertisers. They don’t really want that. They just want to be able to do their thing, and again, not be beholden to the Apples and the Gillettes and the Microsofts of the world and having to appease their standards or what they want to see at an event. I think that’s really wonderful.

Courtney: Absolutely. That’s so wonderful to hear. Well, this was absolutely a pleasure. This was a wonderful conversation. Do you have any last thoughts you want to get out before we wrap up here?

Evie: Um, the only thing I think I would say is, if you’re listening to this and you’re an Ace person and you think that you might be interested in kink, I would definitely check it out. Maybe don’t make a FetLife account immediately.

[Courtney laughs]

Evie: Because of the aforementioned reasons, we talked about. But definitely, like, there is a space for you here. Like, there used to be meetups where I used to live, before I moved to Portland, where we would have, like, an Ace discussion group and an Ace meetup for kinky Ace people. So, there’s very much room for you. You’re allowed to be here. There’s a lot of us out there, so don’t feel like you’re alone, because you’re definitely not.

Courtney: And where can all of our lovely listeners find you around the internet and more of your content?

Evie: Yeah! So I am Evie Lupine pretty much everywhere. I’m on YouTube. I’m on Twitter for as long as the server’s keep running.

Courtney: [laughs] If it still exists by the time this episode drops.

Evie: Yeah, I’m on Twitter. @Evie.Lupine on Instagram. And then I also have a Patreon where I do livestreams, bonus content, extra videos, all of that other stuff. Like, Patreon is what keeps me doing all this wonderful educational content. But most of my stuff is on YouTube. That’s my primary platform.

Courtney: Outstanding. Well, thank you so much for taking the time. I think our listeners will really appreciate it. And we appreciated talking to you, too. This was absolutely fantastic.

Evie: Awesome! Well, thank you so much for having me on. If anyone has any questions, they can reach out to me on those platforms. And thank you again so much for having me. And I’m excited to see what the people have to say about this episode!

Courtney: Yeah, absolutely. So thank you, listeners, for being here. We will see you again this time next week.

Evie and Courtney: Goodbye.