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(ASEXUAL) A PERSON WHO DOES NOT EXPERIENCE SEXUAL ATTRACTION THE HUFFINGTON POST MAGAZINE

Asexual in a Sexual World By Dominique Mosbergen

AUGUST 25, 2013


08.25.13 #63 CONTENTS

Enter POINTERS: Introducing Chelsea Manning ... The Obama Clan Expands JASON LINKINS: Looking Forward in Angst DATA: Gluten-Free Food Takes Over America Q&A: Is Hollywood Not Interested in Black Dramas? HEADLINES MOVING IMAGE

Voices

ON THE COVER: NICK DOLDING/GETTY IMAGES; THIS PAGE: SUCHOTA/GETTY IMAGES

RACHEL MACY STAFFORD: The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up’ TRÉ EASTON: Who’s Reviewing The Princeton Review? QUOTED

Exit CULTURE: The Great Amazon Art Experiment STRESS LESS: Beating the Post-Vacation Blues

ASEXUALAWAKENING “Asexual people have been looking for each other for a long time, but it wasn’t until the Internet that we found each other.” BY DOMINIQUE MOSBERGEN

EAT THIS: Don’t Be Afraid, It’s Only Lobster TFU FROM THE EDITOR: Change of Heart


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

ART STREIBER

Change of Heart I

N THIS WEEK’S issue, we’re featuring a post that earlier this month became a phenomenon on The Huffington Post, with well over a million “likes” on Facebook: Rachel Macy Stafford’s “The Day I Stopped saying ‘Hurry Up.’” Rachel, a special education teacher, brings us into her hectic life — a life of early morning appointments, lightning-quick

lunches, and constantly looking ahead to what comes next. “My thoughts and actions were controlled by electronic notifications, ring tones, and jam-packed agendas,” she writes. “And although every fiber of my inner drill sergeant wanted to be on time to every activity on my overcommitted schedule, I wasn’t.” It takes someone special — her daughter — to free Rachel from this vicious cycle of trying and failing to keep up with her overstuffed agenda, while never paus-

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Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

ing to contemplate and appreciate the moment. As Rachel writes about her 6 year-old, she realized with horror that “the two words I most commonly spoke to my little lover of life were: ‘Hurry up.’” It’s a moving reminder to not let our lives pass us by, and a joyful account of how it is possible to change our lives for the better. Elsewhere in the issue, Mallika Rao writes about the recent launch of Amazon Art — the online retail mammoth’s latest venture that has brought together artwork from more than 150 galleries and 4,500 artists, with price-tags ranging from $10 to $4.5 million.  Mallika looks at the alternatives currently available — from Chelsea galleries to competing online websites like Artsy. And though some critics say the vagaries of the art market won’t support Amazon’s experiment, smaller-scale art collectors say they depend entirely on the online art market. Dominique Mosbergen takes a look at what it means to be asexual in America. We meet David Jay, who started the Asexual Visibility

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and Education Network while he was a student at Wesleyan University. Today, AVEN is the largest asexuality organization in the world, with an international membership of almost 70,000. As

As Rachel writes about her 6 year-old, she realized with horror that “the two words I most commonly spoke to my little lover of life were: ‘Hurry up.’” he puts it, “we know that asexual people have been looking for each other for a long time, but it wasn’t until the Internet that we found each other.”  Finally, as part of our ongoing focus on stress, clinical psychologist Robin Haight shares her advice on how to avoid stress after returning to work after a vacation.

ARIANNA


POINTERS

AP PHOTO/JANINE GIBSON, THE GUARDIAN

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‘ T HEY WERE THREATENING 1 ME ALL THE TIME’

Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda (left), is set to take legal action against the British government after he was detained for nine hours at Heathrow Airport on Sunday. He was traveling to Berlin to exchange documents with Laura Poitras, a journalist who has been working with Greenwald (right) on stories based on information from NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Miranda was held under Britain’s Terrorism Act, which allows police to stop, question and search people without proving reasonable suspicion. “They were threatening me all the time and saying I would be put in jail if I didn’t cooperate,” Miranda told the Guardian. The U.S. government has said it knew about the plans.


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POINTERS

MANNING: ‘I AM FEMALE’

Bradley Manning, who was sentenced Wednesday to 35 years in prison for giving more than 700,000 government documents to WikiLeaks, revealed she is transgender and will now live as a woman named Chelsea. “As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me,” she said in a statement.

FROM TOP: AP PHOTO/U.S. ARMY; VINCE BUCCI/GETTY IMAGES; KENA BETANCUR/GETTY IMAGES

3 ‘IF IT SOUNDS LIKE WRITING, I REWRITE IT’

4

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Famed crime novelist Elmore Leonard died Tuesday from complications from a stroke at the age of 87. He wrote 45 books and became a household name with film adaptations like Get Shorty and Out of Sight. He also became widely known for his 10 rules of writing, especially his final rule that sums up the rest: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” Last year, he won the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

N.J. BANS  CONVERSION THERAPY

New Jersey became the second state to ban licensed therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation of minors, a practice that is sometimes called “sexual conversion therapy.” “At the outset of this debate, I expressed my concerns about government limiting parental choice on the care and treatment of their own children,” Gov. Chris Christie said in a signing note. “However, I also believe that on issues of medical treatment for children we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards.”


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POINTERS

MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD DEALT ANOTHER BLOW

Egyptian police arrested the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual leader on Tuesday, just days after a bloody government crackdown in response to people protesting the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi. The arrest of Mohammed Badie, in an apartment near the area of the protests, followed the death of his son Ammar, who was killed Friday in clashes between Morsi supporters and security forces. A Senate aide said on Wednesday that the Obama administration has stopped military aid to Egypt, but it is unclear for how long.

OBAMA CLAN EXPANDS

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FROM TOP: AFP/GETTY IMAGES; PETE SOUZA/WHITE HOUSE VIA GETTY IMAGES

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President Obama’s dog Bo finally has a new playmate! The first family welcomed another Portuguese Water Dog, this one named Sunny, into their family this week. First lady Michelle Obama tweeted the news on Monday: “So excited to introduce the newest member of the Obama family—our puppy, Sunny!” In honor of their new pup, the Obamas are making a contribution to the Washington Humane Society, the White House said.

THAT’S VIRAL BABY PANDA!

A selection of the week’s most talked-about stories. HEADLINES TO VIEW FULL STORIES

HOW LIVING WITH A TODDLER IS LIKE BEING IN PRISON

SWAT TEAM  RAIDS AN ORGANIC FARM

A TRULY DISTURBING LETTER TO THE MOTHER OF AN AUTISTIC CHILD

PEOPLE WHO HAVE SEX  AT LEAST 4 TIMES A WEEK MAKE MORE MONEY


LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

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LOOKING FORWARD IN ANGST

JASON LINKINS

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LET’S CALM DOWN ABOUT TWITTER BEING ABLE TO PREDICT ELECTIONS, GUYS AN TWITTER help predict an election? Please, please, let the answer be “no.” But Fabio Rojas, an associate professor of sociology at Indiana University, argues that it can in a recent Washington Post editorial. “Mod-

C

ern politics happens when somebody comments on Twitter or links to a campaign through Facebook,” he writes, adding, “this new world will undermine the polling industry.” Oh, well, it’s been nice knowing you, polling industry! The editorial reads more like, “Rah, Rah! [INSERT BUZZWORD HERE]” than anything resembling a piece of cogent political science.

A person snaps a shot of Barack Obama’s tweet announcing his re-election as U.S. president.


Enter But Rojas and his coauthors lay out their case in a research paper, in which they describe how they painstakingly analyzed 542,969 tweets about Democratic or Republican candidates who ran in 2010. These were all sorted into specific races, and the percentage of tweets that mentioned each candidate was calculated. When this calculation, termed “tweet share,” was matched up between opponents, the “tweet share” victor matched the winner in “404 out of 406 competitive races,” Rojas writes. This was, he says, “a strong correlation.” Correlation does not imply... what was it again? In Rojas’ mind, what he’s stumbled upon is revolutionary because it’s inexpensive, and polling is not. Furthermore, Rojas asserts that polling “favors the established candidates” and pays “disproportionate attention to ‘big’ races.” Some congressional races are never polled. Social media analysis can be used to systematically gather data on any race at any time. Thus, people in smaller states no longer need to rely on polling organizations for information. A single citizen can harvest social media data and learn about

LOOKING FORWARD IN ANGST

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‘Modern politics happens when somebody comments on Twitter or links to a campaign through Facebook,’ he writes, adding, ‘this new world will undermine the polling industry.’” the election in his or her area. Terrific, I guess? I mean, as near as I can tell, a single citizen can access lots of polling data, too. Besides, one big reason that some congressional races are never polled is that some congressional races aren’t much of a race. Here’s where I pass the mic to political analyst Stuart Rothenberg: Normally, when political scientists or journalists write about “competitive” races they are talking about contests where at least two candidates have at least some chance of victory. Obviously, there weren’t 406 “competitive” House races in 2010 under that definition — at the Rothenberg Political Report, we rated just more than 100 House races as “not safe,” and a far fewer number in the truly competitive categories — so Rojas must be using the term to describe contested races.


Enter Most races aren’t real competitions, of course. Relatively few House challengers run robust campaigns, and voters generally are unfamiliar with challengers. Since House re-election rates have been over 90 percent in 19 of the past 23 elections, you don’t need polls or tweet counts to predict the overwhelming majority of race outcomes. In most cases, all you need to know is incumbency (or the district’s political bent) and the candidates’ parties to predict who will win. Rothenberg reckons that what “tweet share” can measure is name recognition, which is something that we tend to assert as fact without actually quantifying it in any way. (That said, I think that simple horse sense still usually wins out when evaluating name recognition.) “But other than that,” Rothenberg writes, “the idea that the content of tweets is irrelevant, and that it doesn’t matter if the tweets originate from inside a district or from people who cannot even vote in the race, seems to fly in the face of logic and everything that political scientists believe.”

LOOKING FORWARD IN ANGST

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Lots of people who write tweets about candidates are writing negative things about those candidates. Surely that makes raw ‘tweet share’ completely useless as a measurement, right?” Oh, yeah, that’s an important reminder: lots of people who write tweets about candidates are writing negative things about those candidates. Surely that makes raw “tweet share” completely useless as a measurement, right? But Rojas says that it doesn’t matter if the message is positive or negative. We believe that Twitter and other social media reflect the underlying trend in a political race that goes beyond a district’s fundamental geographic and demographic composition. If people must talk about you, even in negative ways, it is a signal that a candidate is on the verge of victory. The attention given to winners creates a situation in which all publicity is good publicity. Well, then, congratulations to the next Mayor of New York City, Anthony Weiner!


DATA

Enter

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Gluten-Free Food Takes Over America

SOURCES: THE MAYO CLINIC, GRUBHUB, AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SPORTS MEDICINE, TIME MAGAZINE. ILLUSTRATIONS BY TROY DUNHAM

Though an estimated 1 in 141 Americans have celiac disease (the medical condition that requires a gluten-free diet), food without the protien continues to grow in popularity. Most experts agree that going gluten-free won’t benefit those who dont have a sensitivity or intolerance, but a recent study found

that 29 percent of American adults are trying to cut back or eliminate their gluten. The latest figures from the food delivery website GrubHub showed that not only are gluten-free orders on the rise, restaurants are increasingly offering them to meet demand. — Meredith Melnick

TOP 10 GRUBHUB CITIES FOR GLUTEN-FREE ORDERS

SWIPE TO SCROLL

TOP 10 GRUBHUB CITIES WITH THE MOST GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS

SWIPE TO SCROLL

29

Percent of American adults who are trying to cut back or elimate their gluten

60

Percent increase of gluten-free takeout orders from GrubHub since April 2012

MOST ORDERED GLUTEN-FREE ITEMS PIZZA SALAD BURGER WRAP SANDWICH


Q&A

FROM TOP: GAIL OSKIN/GETTY IMAGES FOR THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY; © 2013 THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY

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Lee Daniels & Daniel Strong on Hollywood’s Interest in Black Dramas “All of these studios are run by corporations, and there’s a certain dollar/cents element to everyone just scared of losing their jobs.”

Above: Writer Danny Strong (left) and director Lee Daniels (right) at a screening of The Butler. Below: Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker star in Daniels’ film, now in theaters.

FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW, VISIT HUFFPOST LIVE


HEADLINES

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The Week That Was

ABC NEWS (EVOLVING?); U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (QUID PRO NO); SAUL LOEB/AFP/ GETTY IMAGES (35 YEARS); AP PHOTO/KHALIL HAMRA (EGYPT ON THE EDGE)

TAP IMAGE TO ENLARGE, TAP EACH DATE FOR FULL ARTICLE ON THE HUFFINGTON POST

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La Libertad, El Salvador 08.17.2013 An Olive Ridley sea turtle makes its way to the sea after being released on San Diego beach in La Libertad. The turtle was part of a conservation effort to breed turtles for eventual return to the sea. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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Courchevel, France 08.14.2013 Julia Clair competes in the FIS Ski Jumping Grand Prix Ladies Training Session. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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Jakarta, Indonesia 08.17.2013 A man participates in panjat pinang, a game traditionally played during Indonesia Independence Day. Panjat pinang involves climbing a greased bamboo pole to win prizes such as bicycles and kitchen appliances. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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Prague, Czech Rep. 08.17.2013 Participants prepare for the third annual Prague Pride March. The festivities include a parade through city center in support of LGBT rights. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan 08.17.2013 Students from a religious school play volleyball in the yard in Afghanistan. The country is currently fighting to promote economic development before 100,000 international combat troops are scheduled to leave next year. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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Jalalabad, Afghanistan 08.18.2013 An Afghan worker tends to cotton in a traditional factory. Economic development in Afghanistan is considered a key component in staving off threats of civil war and Islamic extremism. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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Manassas, Virginia 08.17.2013 Mee-ha, a pit bull mix, performs in the Marvelous Mutts traveling show at the Prince William County Fair in Virginia. The show currently features rescue dogs that perform throughout the United States. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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Wilster, Germany 08.18.2013 With impeccable timing, a passenger captures an image of a rainbow forming over a field of wind machines as his train winds through the northern German countryside. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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East Java, Indonesia 08.16.2013 A miner extracts sulphur from a crater of the Kawan Ijen volcano in East Java. The sulphur is sold to factories that refine sugar and manufacture matches and medicines. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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Lisbon, Portugal 08.18.2013 Members of Portugal’s National Guard mounted brass band participate in the Changing of the Guard ceremony at National Guard Cavalry Regiment headquarters. The cavalry’s band, formed in 1942, features trumpets, flugelhorn and kettledrum. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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Beijing, China 08.13.2013 Women gather in a Chinese shopping mall to look at festival decorations and messages of love during the Chinese festival of Qixi. Celebrated on Aug. 13, Qixi is the Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Day. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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Moscow, Russia 08.12.2013 Photographers capture David Oliver (right) after he won the men’s 110-meter hurdles final for the United States at the World Athletics Championships at Luzhniki Stadium. Tap here for a more extensive look at the week on The Huffington Post. PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK

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Voices

RACHEL MACY STAFFORD

GETTY IMAGES/FLICKR RF

The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up’ WHEN YOU’RE LIVING a distracted life, every minute must be accounted for. You feel like you must be checking something off the list, staring at a screen, or rushing off to the next destination. And no matter how many ways you divide your time and attention, no matter how many duties you try and multi-task, there’s never enough

time in a day to ever catch up. That was my life for two frantic years. My thoughts and actions were controlled by electronic notifications, ringtones and jampacked agendas. And although every fiber of my inner drill sergeant wanted to be on time to every activity on my overcommitted schedule, I wasn’t. You see, six years ago I was blessed with a laid-back, carefree, stop-and-smell-the roses

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Voices type of child. When I needed to be out the door, she was taking her sweet time picking out a purse and a glittery crown. When I needed to be somewhere five minutes ago, she insisted on buckling her stuffed animal into a car seat. When I needed to grab a quick lunch at Subway, she’d stop to speak to the elderly woman who looked like her grandma. When I had 30 minutes to get in a run, she wanted me to stop the stroller and pet every dog we passed. When I had a full agenda that started at 6:00 a.m., she asked to crack the eggs and stir them ever so gently. My carefree child was a gift to my Type A, task-driven nature — but I didn’t see it. Oh no, when you live life distracted, you have tunnel vision — only looking ahead to what’s next on the agenda. And anything that cannot be checked off the list is a waste of time. Whenever my child caused me to deviate from my master schedule, I thought to myself, “We don’t have time for this.” Consequently, the two words I most commonly spoke to my little lover of life

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were: “Hurry up.” I started my sentences with it. Hurry up, we’re gonna be late. I ended sentences with it. We’re going to miss everything if you don’t hurry up. I started my day with it. Hurry up and eat your breakfast. I ended my day with it. Hurry up and brush your teeth. And although the words “hurry up” did little if nothing to increase my child’s speed, I said them anyway. Maybe even more than the words, “I love you.”

I looked into my small child’s eyes and said, ‘I am so sorry I have been making you hurry. I love that you take your time, and I want to be more like you.’” The truth hurts, but the truth heals... and brings me closer to the parent I want to be. Then one fateful day, things changed. We’d just picked my older daughter up from kindergarten and were getting out of the car. Not going fast enough for her liking, my older daughter said to her little sister, “You are so slow.” And when she crossed her arms


Voices and let out an exasperated sigh, I saw myself — and it was a gutwrenching sight. I was a bully who pushed and pressured and hurried a small child who simply wanted to enjoy life. My eyes were opened; I saw with clarity the damage my hurried existence was doing to both of my children. Although my voice trembled, I looked into my small child’s eyes and said, “I am so sorry I have been making you hurry. I love that you take your time, and I want to be more like you.” Both my daughters looked equally surprised by my painful admission, but my younger daughter’s face held the unmistakable glow of validation and acceptance. “I promise to be more patient from now on,” I said as I hugged my curly-haired child who was now beaming at her mother’s newfound promise. It was pretty easy to banish “hurry up” from my vocabulary. What was not so easy was acquiring the patience to wait on my leisurely child. To help us both, I began giving her a little more time to prepare if we had to go somewhere. And sometimes, even then, we were still late. Those were

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the times I assured myself that I will be late only for a few years, if that, while she is young. When my daughter and I took walks or went to the store, I allowed her to set the pace. And when she stopped to admire something, I would push thoughts of my agenda out of my head and simply observe her. I witnessed expressions on her face that I’d never seen before. I studied dimples on her hands and the way her

She was a Noticer, and I quickly learned that The Noticers of the world are rare and beautiful gifts.” eyes crinkled up when she smiled. I saw the way other people responded to her stopping to take time to talk to them. I saw the way she spotted the interesting bugs and pretty flowers. She was a Noticer, and I quickly learned that The Noticers of the world are rare and beautiful gifts. That’s when I finally realized she was a gift to my frenzied soul. My promise to slow down was made almost three years ago, at the same time I began my journey to


Voices let go of daily distraction and grasp what matters in life. And living at a slower pace still takes a concerted effort. My younger daughter is my living reminder of why I must keep trying. In fact, the other day, she reminded me once again. The two of us had taken a bike ride to a sno-cone shack while on vacation. After purchasing a cool treat for my daughter, she sat down at a picnic table delightedly admiring the icy tower she held in her hand. Suddenly a look of worry came across her face. “Do I have to rush, Mama?” I could have cried. Perhaps the scars of a hurried life don’t ever completely disappear, I thought sadly. As my child looked up at me waiting to know if she could take her time, I knew I had a choice. I could sit there in sorrow thinking about the number of times I rushed my child through life... or I could celebrate the fact that today I’m trying to do thing differently. I chose to live in today. “You don’t have to rush. Just take your time,” I said gently. Her whole face instantly brightened and her shoulders relaxed. And so we sat side-by-side

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talking about things that ukuleleplaying-6-year-olds talk about. There were even moments when we sat in silence just smiling at each other and admiring the sights and sounds around us. I thought my child was going to eat the whole darn thing — but when she got to the last bite, she held out a spoonful of ice crystals

I was a bully who pushed and pressured and hurried a small child who simply wanted to enjoy life.” and sweet juice for me. “I saved the last bite for you, Mama,” my daughter said proudly. As I let the icy goodness quench my thirst, I realized I just got the deal of a lifetime. I gave my child a little time... and in return, she gave me her last bite and reminded me that things taste sweeter and love comes easier when you stop rushing through life. (Trust me, I learned from the world’s leading expert on joyful living.) Rachel Macy Stafford is a certified special education teacher and author.


TRÉ EASTON

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DON KLUMPP/GETTY IMAGES

Who’s Reviewing The Princeton Review?

F

OR SOME REASON there are entities that we blindly trust. They can be found everywhere, across a host of spectra and media. They seem to exist to perpetuate a state of comfort for hungry consumers of information. For some, this comes in the shape of blind faith. For others, it means trusting the advice of elders. For many individuals seeking information about one of the more important decisions of their lives, the choice of a college, this trust gets placed in The Princeton Review. I take serious issue with that. ¶ Earlier this month, The Princeton Review released its latest ranking of the allegedly least LGBT-friendly colleges in America.

Wake Forest University ranks seventh in The Princeton Review’s ranking of least LGBTfriendly colleges.


Voices The list includes my alma mater, Wake Forest University, which comes in at number 7 this year. We rose in the ranking! Huzzah! Go Deacs! But here’s the thing: This ranking is crap. Let me explain. In recent years Wake Forest has established and grown an LGTBQ center and hired a phenomenal director to run it, all in response to a movement ignited by students. It has extended tax equity benefits to same-sex partners of university employees. And in the midst of the uproar over Chick-fil-A’s questionable donations to anti-gay organizations, Wake Forest conducted a year-long dialogue on the issue with well-attended discussions and panel presentations. Oh, yeah: For the 2012-13 school year I, an openly and vehemently homosexual man, served as the popularly elected president of the Wake Forest student body. Let me be abundantly clear: I do not believe that my election was some panacea for a school steeped in conservative traditions and still rife with narrow-minded individuals. Just as President Obama›s election did not signal the end of racism in America (shocker, I know), my election did not herald a new era of equality and tran-

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quility on Wake Forest’s campus. However, I would assert that my election and subsequent tenure were proof positive of something that’s becoming more and more apparent: My generation doesn’t care whom you sleep with. Back to The Princeton Review. If I were a 17-year-old high school junior and soon-to-bereborn gay baby, I would shutter at the thought of even consider-

What is the method behind The Princeton Review’s rankings? Who participated in the survey? What was the sample size? The world may never know.” ing one of the schools on this list, let alone actually attending one. What is the method behind The Princeton Review’s rankings? Who participated in the survey? What was the sample size? The world may never know. But as illgotten as the information within this survey is, its power cannot be underestimated. It’s hard to challenge the claims of an organization with the considerable heft that, for whatever reason, The


COURTESY OF WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY LGBTQ CENTER

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Princeton Review carries. Given the immense deluge of information that we consume on a regular basis, a sensationalized “least LGBT-friendly colleges in America” list is just waiting to be digested. This list offends me. It purports to be a helpful guide for prospective college students and their parents, but I believe that a more fitting title for this list would be, “Are You LGBT? Don›t Even Consider Going To These Colleges.” It amounts to self-segregation. As a gay man living in a world where LGBT rights are being fought for and earned literally on a day-to-day basis, I believe that poisonous and misguided

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It’s hard to challenge the claims of an organization with the considerable heft that, for whatever reason, The Princeton Review carries.” information like this ranking sets back the movement for equality even more than a ballot measure or asinine court ruling. Its very premise — assigning schools the moniker of “LGBT-unfriendly,” which only functions to ensure that LGBT students will never venture to these places — is offensive. The movement won’t be finished until every sector of every part of this country is “friendly” to each and every citizen of this country. We should be asking whether

Students from WFU’s Gay-Straight Student Alliance and ZSR Library celebrate Pride 2012.


Voices every institution of higher learning can readily cope with any number of diverse aspects of potential students’ lives. Does a robust counseling department exist? Are there faculty members who are equipped both in their disciplines and in sensitivity training? Are there support organizations on campus? These questions don’t even need to be limited to the LGBT experience. These are questions and qualifications that should be put to every institution that is committed to educating the populace. We’re a diverse country. Let›s try acting like it. Wake Forest isn’t perfect. No school is. Based on my personal experience, I’d say that more certainly can be done at Wake Forest and elsewhere. But rankings in general should always be taken with a grain of salt and an immense amount of scrutiny. Here’s what I believe to be true: LGBT students should feel free to go to college anywhere. LGBT people are everywhere, so they shouldn’t feel that any ranking prohibits them from going where they feel most comfortable. We need to stop ranking things and instead focus on making progress occur wherever it is

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necessary. Lest we forget, Prop 8 passed in the progressive utopia that is California. Where’s the ranking that explains that? The Princeton Review needs some serious reviewing when it comes to LGBT issues on campus. Perhaps they should look to the good people at Campus Pride for some guidance. Or maybe they should end this particular ranking altogether. Just a thought.

Assigning schools the moniker of ‘LGBT-unfriendly,’ which only functions to ensure that LGBT students will never venture to these places… is offensive.” Whatever The Princeton Review does, they need to think twice before perpetuating more of this nonsense in the public arena. I’d much rather be called “faggot” every day for the rest of my life than live with this misinformation being bandied about. Do better, Princeton Review. Do so much better. Tré Easton is a writer and political activist living in Washington, D.C.


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: AP PHOTO/SUNDANCE INSTITUTE, GLEN WILSON; KIYOSHI OTA/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES; AP PHOTO/SUE OGROCKI; PETER DAZELEY/ GETTY IMAGES; JULIA SCHMALZ/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES

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QUOTED

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“You want lies with that?”

“I suspect a lot of what was wrong with the film came from Ashton’s own image of Jobs.”

��� HuffPost commenter Nick_Vanocur, on “GOP Rep. Markwayne Mullin: $10 Minimum Wage Would Quadruple Fast Food Prices”

—Steve Wozniak

on Jobs, the new film about Steve Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher

“For us to sit by and watch this happen is a violation of everything that we stood for.”

—Senator John McCain, on why U.S. aid to Egypt should be suspended

“Anyone who says, ‘The Bible is pretty clear’ does not understand the Bible.”

—HuffPost commenter ManuOB1, on “Gastonguay Family That Left US In Sailboat Over Religious Freedom Was Lost At Sea For Months”


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: ANDREW BURTON/GETTY IMAGES; AP PHOTO/STEVE HELBER; BOJAN FATUR/ GETTY IMAGES; MIKE STOBE/GETTY IMAGES; AP PHOTO/MICHAEL DWYER

Voices

QUOTED

HUFFINGTON 08.25.13

“If I had a son who was stopped, I might feel differently about it, but nevertheless.” —New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the New Yorker’s Ken Auletta, on his stance on the stop-and-frisk policy

“MLK: ‘I have a dream.’ Obama: ‘I have a drone.’”

—HuffPost commenter Riverhippy, on “Yemen Drone Strikes Bring New Round Of Terror To Embattled Country”

“How is he still playing?” —Boston Red Sox pitcher John Lackey,

on A-Rod remaining eligible to play until his appeal is heard, despite being banned for using performance-enhancing drugs

“If God had wanted women to breastfeed, he would have given them breasts and then filled them with milk after they gave birth.” —HuffPost commenter MonkeyDaddy,

on “Lucy Eades, Breastfeeding Mom, Puts Woman Who Asked Her To ‘Cover Up’ In Her Place”


PHOTOILLUSTRATION BY MARTIN GEE; GETTY IMAGES/IMAGE SOURCE, GETTY IMAGES/STOCK4B CREATIVE; MICHAEL HITOSHI/GETTY IMAGES, SUCHOTA/GETTY IMAGES (BODIES)

ASEXUAL IN A SEXUAL WORLD By DOMINIQUE MOSBERGEN

PART I:

A COMMUNITY IS BORN

PART II:

LOVE, RELATIONSHIPS AND MASTURBATION

PART III:

THE ASEXUAL SPECTRUM

08.25.13 #63

PART IV:

WAITING TO BE RECOGNIZED

PART V:

FIGHTING THE ‘CURE’


A COMMUNITY IS BORN ASEXUAL IN A SEXUAL WORLD

PART I:

A COMMUNITY IS BORN

PART II:

LOVE, RELATIONSHIPS AND MASTURBATION

PART III:

THE ASEXUAL SPECTRUM

PART IV:

WAITING TO BE RECOGNIZED

PART V:

FIGHTING THE ‘CURE’


I

LAURA JAY/COURTESY OF DAVID JAY

T WAS 2002. David Jay was a freshman at Wesleyan University. Confused and alone, he had long grappled with questions about his sexuality and sexual identity.

“I started using the word ‘asexual’ when I was about 13 or 14... Everyone around me was experiencing things that I wasn’t, and it was scary and disorienting,” said Jay, now 31, as he sipped coffee at a Brooklyn cafe on a rainy afternoon.

“I assumed there was something wrong with me. Something broken.” At the time, asexuality, beyond a purely biological definition, was almost completely unheard of — not just to Jay, but to most of the world. Without an asexual community to draw support from, adolescent Jay had to discover his asexuality on his own terms.

David Jay, the founder of Asexual Visibility and Education Network.


A COMMUNITY IS BORN During his first year of college, Jay happened upon an article online that would change the course of his life — and the lives of thousands around the world. It was an article about asexuality, the first he’d ever seen. He was stunned. “The comments section was filled with people like me who were looking for a community,” he recalled. That year, Jay founded the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, arguably the first group of its kind. AVEN started small but quickly ballooned, creating what would become a tight-knit online community and kickstarting a conversation about asexuality and its implications for the wider world. A catch-all definition found on the AVEN website characterizes an asexual as “someone who does not experience sexual attraction.” The AVEN definition continues: Unlike celibacy, which people choose, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who we are. Asexuality does not make our lives any worse or any better, we just face a different set of challenges than most sexual people. There is considerable diversity among the asexual community; each asexual person

HUFFINGTON 08.25.13

experiences things like relationships, attraction and arousal somewhat differently. Creating such a broad definition was an important part in the establishment of the AVEN community, says Jay, whose eyes still light up with excitement when he talks about the birth and growth of the asexual community so many years later. “I knew the word ‘asexual’ was really powerful and validating, but [I wanted] to avoid creating

“Everyone around me was experiencing things that I wasn’t, and it was scary and disorienting.” a culture of telling people who they needed to be to be part of this community. I started talking about how identity is a tool and not a label — an idea that you should be able pick it up if it’s useful to you and put it down if it’s not, and one that you can redefine for yourself,” he said. Today, AVEN, with an international membership of almost 70,000, is the largest asexuality organization in the world. Described by its members as a safe space for asexuals to discuss their experiences with others, as well


DAVID JAY

A COMMUNITY IS BORN

as an organization that works to raise public awareness of asexuality, AVEN has been a crucial resource and online gathering place for the asexual community. “We know that asexual people have been looking for each other for a long time, but it wasn’t until the Internet that we found each other,” Jay said. For many, the asexual coming-ofage narrative is a shared one with common themes, one that begins with isolation and leads to the unexpected discovery of an identity

HUFFINGTON 08.25.13

and a much-needed community. We spoke with numerous asexuals (or “aces,” as they colloquially refer to themselves) who said they felt confusion and frustration in their early teen years, when their friends, as one asexual put it, began to go “gaga over sex.” Some said this confusion was coupled with shame and self-doubt. Almost none had ever heard of asexuality before their late teens, and almost all remember asking themselves whether something was fundamentally wrong with them. Eric P., a 22-year-old line cook who lives in Florida, compared his discovery of the asexual commu-

Members of AVEN march at San Francisco Pride 2013.


A COMMUNITY IS BORN nity online at the end of 2011 to hearing a “chorus of angels.” “There was so much relief,” said Eric, who did not want his full name revealed because he fears discrimination from his peers. “For me, sexual attraction has simply never been there. I see no reason nor have I desire to have sex. And I say that having been in four relationships — two guys, two girls — having sex and falling apart wondering what was wrong with me.” Discovering the word “asexuality” and the asexual community was a lucky fluke for many aces. For some, it was a friend in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community who offered the term; while for others, it involved a random search online for a word that had long felt right, though they couldn’t understand why. From that initial discovery, it was AVEN or, more recently, an asexuality sub-section on Reddit that opened their eyes to a whole other world — and a growing ace community that is now starting to find its feet. Today, Jay says, AVEN welcomes about 35 new members daily. “I had used the term ‘asexuality’ jokingly for years to describe

HUFFINGTON 08.25.13

myself,” said Micah R., a 26-yearold transgender blogger and advocate for Gender and Sexual Minorities, who also identifies as asexual. “But one day when I was 18, I decided by chance to Google it, and I found AVEN. It was like, ‘This is me. Oh my god, I’m not the only one.’ I never questioned my sexuality again. It was the answer I had been looking for.” As the asexual community continues to forge a shared identity, Jay says he’s hopeful that future

“We know that asexual people have been looking for each other for a long time, but it wasn’t until the Internet that we found each other.” generations will not have to wander blindly and unaided through the murky realm of (a)sexual discovery. “The community has really grown around this experience of realizing that you’re not alone,” he said. “It seems like things are moving forward much more quickly than in the past. I’m very hopeful that we’ll soon get to a place where a majority of people know about asexuality, and aces can grow in it together.”


LOVE, RELATIONSHIPS AND MASTURBATION ASEXUAL IN A SEXUAL WORLD

PART I:

A COMMUNITY IS BORN

PART II:

LOVE, RELATIONSHIPS AND MASTURBATION

PART III:

THE ASEXUAL SPECTRUM

PART IV:

WAITING TO BE RECOGNIZED

PART V:

FIGHTING THE ‘CURE’


M

COURTESY OF LUKE BOVARD

ASTURBATION DOESN’T make you sexual, says sex expert Lori Brotto. She estimates that half of all asexuals stimulate themselves on a fairly regular basis.

“People may ask, ‘How can they be asexual if they masturbate?’ I admit the finding did surprise me, too,” said Brotto, the director of the

University of British Columbia’s Sexual Health Laboratory. “When you talk about masturbation, you may think of it as a sexual activity, but actually masturbation is not inherently sexual. [Asexuals cite] boredom, stress reduction, helping

Finding the asexual community was a “relief” for 23-yearold graduate student Luke Bovard.


LOVE, RELATIONSHIPS AND MASTURBATION them to get to sleep, etc., as reasons behind masturbation.” Several male asexuals told us they masturbate frequently, some every day, and most used the phrase “cleaning the plumbing” to explain why they do it. One female asexual said that while she masturbates about once a month, she has no idea why she does it; it just feels like something she’s biologically compelled to do. “It’s like an itch that you have to scratch,” Luke Bovard, a 23-year-old graduate student at Canada’s University of Waterloo, explained matter-of-factly, leaning back on a Brooklyn park bench during a recent visit to New York City. “There’s nothing more to it.” Though asexuals (or “aces”) are often seen as individuals who are devoid of sexual desire, incapable of sexual arousal and averse to interpersonal intimacy, both researchers and asexuals alike say these are largely misconceptions. In a 2010 study, Brotto says she found evidence that asexual women have a similar genital response to stimuli as sexual women — in other words, a comparable sexual arousal response. Still, despite evidence that sexual desire and arousal are not

HUFFINGTON 08.25.13

usually absent in asexuals, current research indicates that aces do have significantly lower sexual desire and arousal than sexual individuals. Orgasmic function also tends to be lower. Several aces even said that while they can experience orgasm (a reflexive response), it is almost always — and this is a direct quote — “meh.”

“[Asexuals cite] boredom, stress reduction, helping them to get to sleep, etc., as reasons behind masturbation.” Brotto’s study indicates, however, that these lower levels are not caused by an “impaired psychophysiological sexual arousal response.” As one asexual put it, “everything works, we just don’t want to get somebody else involved.” Tellingly, most asexuals who masturbate say they rarely think about another person during the act, and even when they do, it’s in a non-sexual context. Many aces say they think of nothing when they masturbate, while a handful indicated that certain fetishes, like BDSM, come to mind. Brotto estimates that about 10 percent of masturbating asexuals


LOVE, RELATIONSHIPS AND MASTURBATION masturbate to non-human images. One woman Brotto studied said she masturbates to mythical fairies. Still, though most aces neither want nor fantasize about sex with other people, that doesn’t always mean they are opposed to intimacy of a different variety: Romance is very much alive in the asexual community. Aces say that asexuality, just like sexuality, exists on a spectrum. Most asexuals, when asked, will identify two orientations: a sexual one and a romantic one. For example, while some aces identify themselves as both aromantic and asexual (meaning they generally do not feel romantic or sexual attraction toward other people), others say they do have the capacity to feel romantically toward others. “[The ace lifestyle] allows you to see how sex and romance can be decoupled,” said Anthony Bogaert, a professor at Canada’s Brock University and an authority on asexual research. “It allows you to see that when we automatically couple up romance and sex, as if they’re naturally together, that’s not true.” Mark McClemont, who identifies as a homoromantic asexual,

HUFFINGTON 08.25.13

explains how romance and sex are delineated in his mind. “I find men aesthetically attractive and emotionally alluring. I’m capable of having strong emotional feelings, and I’m also capable of falling in love, but sex and love for me are completely separate,” the 49-year-old said. “I enjoy physical contact, and I don’t find sex offensive. I just don’t want to interfere with someone else’s bits and pieces or have them interfere with mine.” There are also members of the

“When you talk about masturbation, you may think of it as a sexual activity, but actually masturbation is not inherently sexual.” ace community who identify as demisexual or Gray-A, which are identities that sit along the spectrum between sexuality and asexuality. Demisexuals, explained Gwendolyn M., a 25-year-old designer who lives in Honolulu, are people who do not experience sexual attraction toward others unless and until they forge a very strong emotional — and usually romantic — connection. Gwendolyn, who identifies as a panromantic demisexual, has been


LOVE, RELATIONSHIPS AND MASTURBATION in a relationship with a sexual man for the past seven years. She says the bond generally takes a very long time to form, and even when it does, sex is possible, but it still remains relatively peripheral. “I do have regular sex, and it is pretty nice,” she said. “And I do feel some sexual desire under special circumstances … but I enjoy a lot of the sex with him only very partially from my own sexual desire, which is minimal. It’s really from this secondary sexual desire, this desire to make him happy, that makes it enjoyable. That desire is a powerful force that stems from the head, rather than my libido. I don’t hunger for sex the way other people might.” Gray-A’s, on the other hand, are people who identify more generally in the gray zone between asexuality and sexuality. These include individuals who don’t typically experience sexual attraction, as well as people who can desire and enjoy sex but only under very specific circumstances. “Sexuality is so fluid, and GrayA presents more of a possibility to be unsure. I don’t understand all the intricacies of myself yet, so this is the closest approximation I’ve come up with,” said Chris

HUFFINGTON 08.25.13

Maleney, an 18-year-old Pennsylvania high school student who identifies as Gray-A. The specific language that has developed among asexuals has not just been useful in helping aces define themselves, but it’s also worked to bring the community together. “It’s one of the coolest parts of our community,” said David Jay, founder of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN). “It’s like a microcosm of the way in which everyone is experienc-

Several aces even said that while they can experience orgasm (a reflexive response), it is almost always — and this is a direct quote — “meh.” ing intimacy that they don’t have words to describe. Words like ‘girlfriend’ and ‘boyfriend’ and ‘it’s complicated’ on Facebook aren’t sufficient in describing intimacy. That’s why [this language] developed. It acknowledges that we’re experiencing a lot of different kinds of connections that we don’t have words for.” Mark Carrigan, a Ph.D. student at the University of Warwick who has been studying asexuality for


LOVE, RELATIONSHIPS AND MASTURBATION the past five years, agrees. He said this language could also be useful in a broader context. “We as a society are very inarticulate about the quality and quantity of attraction. We have a very homogenizing, uniform language in which we talk about attraction and love,” said Carrigan, who recently published a number of articles about asexuality in the journal Psychology and Sexuality. “This distinction made in the asexual community between sexual and romantic attraction just blew my mind when I heard about it. It’s a conceptually rich language that could be very valuable to even people who are not asexual.” Still, even with this powerful vocabulary, aces say navigating the world of relationships has not been made much easier. Though some asexuals, like Gwendolyn, have managed to forge successful, healthy and lasting partnerships with sexual people, these relationships appear to be the exception, not the rule. Many aces who have romantic inclinations say they would be open to finding romantic partners; some say they would even like to get married. But the idea of being in a relationship with a sexual

person is often daunting and, some say, impossible. “Relationships are the biggest hurdle in my life,” said Brittainy Jones, a 21-year-old recent graduate who lives in Austin, Tx. “I can’t just tell them that I’m asexual, I’m demisexual. It can make dating very, very difficult.” While most aces say that dating a sexual person is perhaps plausible (“communication, communication, communication,” was the mantra recited by several aces who have pursued relationships with sexual people in the past), many say that a relationship with another asexual is the most appealing option. “Finding an asexual partner would be ideal. We could have a great life together, but I’m not expecting that to happen anytime soon,” said Luke Bovard, a heteroromantic asexual who has dated sexual women in the past, shrugging his shoulders in resignation.

ISAAC & KATIE Isaac Paavola and Katie Mathias look like any other young couple in love. Fresh-faced and brighteyed, they sit just a little too close to each other on the sofa, all giggles and stolen glances. But the pair, both 20, are a rare sort of couple. Both asexual, they represent the very small percent-

HUFFINGTON 08.25.13


COURTESY OF ISAAC PAAVOLA

Katie Mathias (left) and Isaac Paavola, both panromantic asexuals, have been dating since January.

“I feel so much more comfortable with Isaac. I trust him. I know there’s not the same pressure, I know he’s not thinking about [sex].”


LOVE, RELATIONSHIPS AND MASTURBATION age of the ace community who have managed to connect with other aces offline. Even more magically, they’ve also found love. Speaking via video chat from Paavola’s Chicago living room on a Sunday afternoon, the couple happily described their relationship and what a positive experience it has been for both of them. “This is the best relationship I’ve ever had,” said Mathias, a panromantic asexual who dated a number of sexual men before meeting Paavola. “I feel so much more comfortable with Isaac. I trust him. I know there’s not the same pressure, I know he’s not thinking about [sex].” Paavola and Mathias, who both grew up in small towns, met last year on Acebook, a dating and social networking site for asexuals. Finding a lot in common, they decided to meet in person at an AVEN event in January. They’ve been dating since then and recently decided to move in together. “People often ask us, ‘How is your relationship different from a friendship?’” said Paavola, also a panromantic asexual. “A lot of it is commitment, a lot of it is internal, emotional attraction. We don’t have this physical ritual, sex, that defines

HUFFINGTON 08.25.13

this relationship, but we share a physical intimacy outside of sex.” “It amazes me when people assume that because we’re not sexual, that we’re not romantic, and that we don’t touch or share affection,” he went on to say. “There’s a lot of things outside of sex that people do with their significant others that

“... when we automatically couple up romance and sex, as if they’re naturally together, that’s not true.” they wouldn’t do with most of their friends. Our relationship involves the same two-person commitment and emotional connection sexual couples share.” Mathias and Paavola admit that before they met each other, they thought they might go through life without a romantic partner. But they say that’s no longer the case. “[Asexuals] just need to put themselves out there and organize. They need to attend meet-ups in their cities, try to meet other aces in person,” said Paavola. “Now with Katie, I’ve never felt better about a connection with anybody, it’s pretty promising. ... It’s obviously possible.”


THE ASEXUAL SPECTRUM

ASEXUAL IN A SEXUAL WORLD

PART I:

A COMMUNITY IS BORN

PART II:

LOVE, RELATIONSHIPS AND MASTURBATION

PART III:

THE ASEXUAL SPECTRUM

PART IV:

WAITING TO BE RECOGNIZED

PART V:

FIGHTING THE ‘CURE’


MANY ASEXUALS IDENTIFY with two orientations: a romantic and a sexual one. According to the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), an asexual’s romantic orientation determines “which gender(s), if any, they are inclined to form romantic relationships with.” There are also individuals in the asexual community who identify in the grey area between asexuality and sexuality.* SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS

Panromantic

Biromantic

xua Ase

Homoromantic

Sexual A person who experiences sexual attraction.

Heteroromantic

G  ray-A A person who identifies in the gray area between asexuality and sexuality. Other terms that have been used to describe this area include “semisexual,” “asexual-ish” and “sexual-ish.” D  emisexual A person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone. It’s more commonly seen in — but is not connected to — romantic relationships. Demisexuality differs from Gray-A in that demisexuality is a specific sexual orientation n beween “sexual” and “asexual,” whereas “gray-A” is a highly unspecific catch-all used for anything between sexual and asexual that does not fit.

Aromantic

A  sexual A person who does not experience sexual attraction.

l

& y-A al a r G exu is Dem

Sex

ual

ROMANTIC ORIENTATIONS H  eteroromantic A person who is romatically attracted to a member of the opposite sex or gender.

 omoromantic H A person who is romatically attracted to a member of the same sex or gender.

*Note that this infographic is a limited and not definitive model of the sexual spectrum. Not all asexuals will identify or agree with the definitions. SOURCE: AVENWIKI (ASEXUALITY.ORG/WIKI/)

B  iromantic A person who is romatically attracted to two sexes or genders.

P  anromantic A person who is romatically attracted to others, but is not limited by the other’s sex or gender. Panromantics tend to feel that their partner’s gender does little to define their relationship.

A  romantic A person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others. Aromatics are often satisfied wtih friendships and other non-romantic relationships.


WAITING TO BE RECOGNIZED ASEXUAL IN A SEXUAL WORLD

PART I:

A COMMUNITY IS BORN

PART II:

LOVE, RELATIONSHIPS AND MASTURBATION

PART III:

THE ASEXUAL SPECTRUM

PART IV:

WAITING TO BE RECOGNIZED

PART V:

FIGHTING THE ‘CURE’


LEA VITTORIA UVA

W

HY AM I ASEXUAL? I was born this way,” said Mark McClemont from his office in Reading, England.

“It’s not a phase I’m growing out of, and it’s not a choice,” the 49-year-old continued, his voice pinched with agitation. “For people who say we choose to be asexual, why would anyone choose to do that? Why wouldn’t you choose to be bisexual? Then you get the best of both worlds. It doesn’t work that way.” As asexuals (or “aces”) like McClemont begin to stake a claim for a more visible place in society, the question of why asexuals are asexual is starting to form on people’s lips. There have yet to be any definitive answers, but there hasn’t been a shortage of theories posited by researchers, medical professionals and aces themselves. Sexologist and professor Anthony Bogaert, considered by many to be the father of asexuality research, says that current data point to “some intriguing clues that there may be a biological disposition that pushes [aces] to an asexual orientation.” However, he admits “it’s still very much an open question.”

When we posted a message on an asexuality subreddit and asked self-identified aces to explain the reasons behind their asexuality, some agreed there may be a biological explanation, but most offered more nebulous responses. “I’m asexual for the same reason that straight people are straight,” one Reddit user wrote in reply. Other asexuals said that perhaps a sex “switch” wasn’t clicked on in their brain, while some argued that their asexuality is just another part of an already complicated spectrum. Although most aces insist that asexuality is merely an aspect of their identity, the conversation about why asexuals are asexual

“It’s not a phase I’m growing
out of, and it’s not a choice,” says 49-year-old asexual Mark McClemont (center).


COURTESY OF ANTHONY BOGAERT

WAITING TO BE RECOGNIZED has been fraught with controversy, particularly in the medical world. “In the medical community, many people have just assumed that all asexuals can be diagnosed with a sexual disorder, most commonly Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder,” said Bogaert, who teaches at Canada’s Brock University. “It’s very problematic.” Asexual activists say the conflation of asexuality and HSDD stems from a broad and vague definition of the disorder found in the 1994 fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the so-called “psychiatry bible,” which provides standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. The DSM-4 definition describes HSDD as causing “marked distress or interpersonal difficulties” due to a lack or absence of “sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity.” Considered a “sexual dysfunction,” HSDD has commonly been treated with therapy and medication. David Jay, founder of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), says that red flags were raised after “regular reports” of HSDD misdiagnoses began cropping up in the ace community.

HUFFINGTON 08.25.13

“In the medical community, many people have just assumed that all asexuals can be diagnosed with a sexual disorder … It’s very problematic.” “We needed to prevent that from happening,” he said. In 2008, Jay and his AVEN team began organizing a task force to work on revising the HSDD definition to allow exception for asexuality. Jay says that some members of the medical and scientific community — including Bogaert, who has been a central figure in the debate — have been important allies in this fight.

Sexologist and professor Anthony Bogaert has been a vocal champion for asexuals throughout the past decade.


LEA VITTORIA UVA

WAITING TO BE RECOGNIZED Often credited with giving asexuality validity in the world of academia, Bogaert, who last year published the book Understanding Asexuality, has been a vocal champion for asexuals throughout the past decade. “Though there have been models out there that put asexuality theoretically as a possibility, none had really addressed it,” said Bogaert. “I was the one who put it on a map from a research perspective.” Bogaert says that one of the first mentions of asexuality in scientific literature was made in the late 1940s by famed sexologist Alfred Kinsey, who created a sexuality scale from zero to six, in which zero was exclusive heterosexuality and six was exclusive homosexuality. At the time, Kinsey created a separate “X” category for individuals who did not fit within the scale. Some academicians now think that Kinsey may have been referring to asexuals. Despite Kinsey’s recognition of this possible alternative orientation, there was virtually no further discussion of it in the medical and scientific world until Bogaert published a landmark paper about asexuality in 2004. Using data from a national

HUFFINGTON 08.25.13

British survey, Bogaert concluded at the time that 1 percent (about 580,000 people) of Britain’s population could be defined as asexual. That figure has since been used to give an estimate of the number of aces among the global population. Though Bogaert’s first paper on asexuality had its flaws, and researchers have since been at odds over whether 1 percent is an overestimate or an underestimate, it was nonetheless critical for the launch of a new field of study and worked to give validity to the newly formed ace community. Two years later, Bogaert made

AVEN Founder David Jay (right) poses at the first Asexual WorldPride Conference in London, England, in July 2012.


PHOTOQUEST/GETTY IMAGES

WAITING TO BE RECOGNIZED waves again, this time with a follow-up paper that not only debunked the idea that asexuality is a medical condition like HSDD, but that also positioned asexuality as a sexual orientation in its own right. Bogaert challenged society’s “essentialist” position on sexual orientation, casting doubt on the idea that everyone is biologically determined to feel sexually toward others. Human sexuality is extremely complex, he argued, and with the limited knowledge we have about sexual orientation development, how do we know there isn’t a biological predisposition to a lack of sexual attraction? Other researchers have since corroborated Bogaert’s arguments with studies of their own. However, not all medical professionals have been quite so supportive of the asexual community’s calls for recognition. Jay says there were some who reacted with downright hostility when the DSM campaign was first underway. “We clashed with physicians who thought that what we were doing is dangerous,” he recalled. “They said that we were advocating that it was OK to not be sexual. There was this really strong ethos that sex is a vital part of the

HUFFINGTON 08.25.13

human experience and without it, there’s something wrong.” In 2005 Leonard Derogatis, director of the Maryland Center for Sexual Health at Johns Hopkins University, told The New York Times it was hard for him to see asexuals as “normal” human beings. “It’s a bit like people saying they never have an appetite for food,” Derogatis said at the time. A major challenge ace activists faced in working to redefine HSDD, says Jay, was working to

Dr. Alfred Kinsey, founder of the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University, is thought to be one of the first scientists to classify asexuality.


WAITING TO BE RECOGNIZED overturn attitudes like this one, while still being careful to not invalidate individuals who really do suffer from sexual disorders. In May, when the fifth edition of the DSM was published (almost 20 years after the previous edition), the asexual community celebrated what they say is a symbolic, albeit small, victory. The DSM-5 reclassified HSDD under the umbrella of Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorders. This new definition makes a distinction between a lifelong, generalized lack of sexual desire and other forms of the disorder, such as a temporary or a specific lack of desire. Bogaert believes that most people who fall under the “lifelong” category will be asexuals, and though this means that asexuality could continue to be considered a treatable medical condition, ace activists say the distinction made in the new definition is an important step in the right direction. “Eventually the goal is for asexuality to not be considered a disorder at all,” Jay said. “But this is still a victory. It’ll provide us with the ammunition that we need to engage with mental health professionals and to change the experience that [asexuals] have in a

HUFFINGTON 08.25.13

clinical setting.” In another small win, Jay also says that the medical community at large is becoming more accepting of asexuality. Bogaert is now no longer one of the few people in the scientific world interested in asexuality. His research has opened doors to many other studies throughout the last decade. Even Derogatis — though still skeptical and of the opinion that asexuality may in some cases be ex-

“There was this really strong ethos that sex is a vital part of the human experience and without it, there’s something wrong.” plained away by disorders like hypogonadism and depression — now expresses more openness to the idea that asexuality may exist in the “normal” spectrum of sexuality. “I suppose they can,” Derogatis said over the phone in May when asked if aces could be asexual without suffering from any underlying conditions. “The bottom line is, how do we know? If folks say, ‘I’ve always been that way, and I’m happy with it,’ then that’s great.”


FIGHTING THE ‘CURE’ ASEXUAL IN A SEXUAL WORLD

PART I:

A COMMUNITY IS BORN

PART II:

LOVE, RELATIONSHIPS AND MASTURBATION

PART III:

THE ASEXUAL SPECTRUM

PART IV:

WAITING TO BE RECOGNIZED

PART V:

FIGHTING THE ‘CURE’


COURTESY OF JULIE DECKER

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HEN JULIE DECKER was 19, a male friend tried to “fix” her by sexually assaulting her.

“It had been a good night,” said Decker, now 35 and a prominent asexual activist and blogger. “I had spoken extensively about my asexuality, and I thought he was listening to me, but I later realized that he had just been letting me talk.” As she said goodbye to him that night, the man tried to kiss her. When she rejected his advance, he started to lick her face “like a dog,” she said. “‘I just want to help you,’ he called out to me as I walked away from his car,” she explained. “He

was basically saying that I was somehow broken and that he could repair me with his tongue and, theoretically, with his penis. It was totally frustrating and quite scary.” Sexual harassment and violence, including so-called “corrective” rape, is disturbingly common in the ace community, says Decker, who has received death threats and has been told by several online commenters that she just needs a “good raping.” “When people hear that you’re asexual, some take that as a challenge,” said Decker, who is currently working on a book about asexuality. “We are perceived as

“When people hear that you’re asexual, some take that as a challenge,” says activist and blogger Julie Decker, who fights against “corrective rape” for the asexual community.


FIGHTING THE ‘CURE’ not being fully human because sexual attraction and sexual relationships are seen as something alive, healthy people do. They think that you really want sex but just don’t know it yet. For people who perform corrective rape, they believe that they’re just waking us up and that we’ll thank them for it later.” In April, a heated debate sparked online when an asexual Tumblr blogger wrote about corrective rape. “There is a real fear even among the asexual community that people who identify as anything other than heterosexual will be harassed and assaulted,” wrote “Angela,” a self-identified aromantic ace. “They have a reason to be upset and a reason to be afraid, it has happened to many people before.” In response to the post, an anonymous user wrote, “[A]sexuality is not a thing. You are just ugly and no one wanted to date you, so you made up a thing to cuddle your lonely self as you cry into your pillow. Also, I hope you get raped. It has a dual benefit, you’ll get laid finally AND put you into your place as well.” The comment triggered a firestorm, with some asexuals speaking

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out and sharing their own experiences involving sexual violence. Asexuals and ace activists say the conversation about sexual assault in the asexual community is part of the wider societal discussion about rape culture generally and about corrective rape in the queer community specifically. They also say it speaks to a bias and an invisibility that asexuals face in everyday life.

“For people who perform corrective rape, they believe that they’re just waking us up and that we’ll thank them for it later.” Indeed, aces have in the past been characterized by members of the mainstream and religious media as abnormal, unhappy and repressed. In a 2012 Fox News segment about sexologist Anthony Bogaert’s book Understanding Asexuality, host Greg Gutfeld and a panel of guests mocked the asexual identity, treating it as something invalid or exaggerated. “[T]hey have a lack of ... sexuality, so they’ll be kind of treated as lepers — asexual lepers, if you will,” Gutfeld said in the segment.


COURTESY OF SARA BETH BROOKS

FIGHTING THE ‘CURE’ Yet few outsiders appear to know much, if anything, about the community. In the beginning of filmmaker Angela Tucker’s 2011 documentary (A)sexual, members of the general public try — and fail — to grasp or explain asexuality. While many quickly connect asexuals with organisms like mosses and amoebas, one man asserts with conviction that there’s “no such thing” as asexual human beings. Last year, the apparent bias against aces was corroborated by a landmark study conducted by Brock University researchers Gordon Hodson and Cara McInnis. The study found that people of all sexual stripes are more likely to discriminate against asexuals, compared to other sexual minorities. “Most disturbingly, asexuals are viewed as less human, especially lacking in terms of human nature,” the study authors wrote. “This confirms that sexual desire is considered a key component of human nature and those lacking it are viewed as relatively deficient, less human and disliked.” The study’s results raised alarm bells for many asexual activists. “It was really scary for us to read about,” said David Jay, found-

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er of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), who has himself been publicly lampooned for his asexuality. “Sure, we’ve seen anecdotal evidence of asexuals being seen as incomplete, as mechanistic, inhuman, but here we have disturbing evidence that indicates that there may be widespread discrimination as more asexuals come out and the ace community gets more of a voice.” In the last few years, asexual activists have been working hard to address these concerns of violence, discrimination and invisibility, bringing asexuality to the fore, one small step at a time. “A few years ago, there was

28-yearold Sara Beth Brooks started Asexual Awareness Week — an online public education campaign — three years ago.


FIGHTING THE ‘CURE’ nothing. There was a deafening silence about asexuality,” said Sara Beth Brooks, an activist who has been advocating for asexuality awareness since 2010. “I didn’t even know about the asexual community until I was 23. I had visited psychiatrists, doctors, I had even been on hormones. But you know how I heard about it? I discovered it on Google.” Confused about where she fit on the sexual spectrum, Brooks, now 28, said she began identifying as bisexual in her early teens. As she grew older, however, she said she knew instinctively that there was a puzzle piece missing from her life. She thought, at the time, there was “something wrong” with her. Still, as she discovered more about herself, Brooks found a safe and familiar home in the LGBT community. Finding a passion for activism, she became a vocal and active advocate for marriage equality, organizing and attending rallies and conferences to fight for the cause. But after discovering AVEN and the asexual community in 2008 (a revelation Brooks describes as “very powerful”), she said she was stunned and unnerved by the lack of asexual visibility from

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both inside and outside the LGBT community, and by the skepticism and criticism she faced as a newly identified ace. “I was getting a lot of pushback from the LGBT community,” she said, her voice rising. “I was told that asexuals can’t exist, that asexuals should stop trying to pretend that we’re special. Some people in the LGBT community even told me that asexuals are trying to ‘co-opt the movement.’” Dissatisfied with what was and

Aces have in the past been characterized by members of the mainstream and religious media as abnormal, unhappy and repressed. wasn’t being said, Brooks, currently a student at California State University, Fullerton, became an activist for the emerging asexual movement. Three years ago, with the help of other ace activists, she started Asexual Awareness Week, an annual online public education campaign that kicks off in September or October. She also started organizing workshops with other asexuals and began doing outreach on college campuses to encourage


FIGHTING THE ‘CURE’ the organization of ace-inclusive groups and events. Today, Brooks is active in the asexual community on Tumblr and is one of the leaders of the Partnership for Asexuality Visibility and Education, an asexuality political advocacy group that launched this summer. Brooks says she hopes PAVE will bring more visibility to asexuality, while also building partnerships with other like-minded groups, organizing around asexual policy issues and nurturing future asexual activists. Brooks added that many other similar projects, including activist blogs and ace-positive groups on spaces like college campuses, are beginning to crop up in the United States and elsewhere. AVEN founder David Jay points out that in recent years, asexuals have finally begun to assert their presence at Pride events around the world. “We take part in least one or two big events every year,” he said. “Usually, there’ll be one in Europe and one in North America.” Last July, for example, AVEN held a conference in London as a complement to WorldPride 2012, an international LGBT awareness celebration. More than 120 people

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from 13 countries attended, and the AVEN group also took part in the larger festivities, walking in the parade and giving out educational pamphlets. Filmmaker Rodney Uhler even created a short documentary, Not Broken, Not Alone, about the aces who participated in last year’s event. All this activism, Brooks said, has been vital for the health and

“... sexual desire is considered a key component of human nature and those lacking it are viewed as relatively deficient, less human and disliked.” progress of the ace community. “Many asexuals describe the experience of feeling alone. It was — and still is — a very isolating experience to talk about asexuality when no one else around you understands it, not even a little bit,” she admitted. “This has been a way of breaking down this feeling of severe isolation. It may only be a whisper right now, but there’s no longer silence.” Dominique Mosbergen is an associate editor at The Huffington Post.


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Can the Great Amazon Art Experiment Pay Off? BY MALLIKA RAO

ITHIN MINUTES OF its launch, internet sleuths dug up the priciest item in Amazon’s fine art collection: an oil painting by Norman Rockwell, for $4.85 million. And so began the life of Amazon Art. The website’s latest venture brings together works from more

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than 150 galleries and 4,500 artists — some priced in the millions, and at least one at $10. Participating dealers handle shipping, insurance and storage of the stock; even return policies are their own. Amazon offers only the sixth most viewed platform on the web. In return, the site charges a commission of between 5 and 20 percent of every sale (standard terms for Amazon sellers, according to The New York Times).

Adirondacks (1992), by Helen Frankenthaler, was one of the featured items on Amazon Art. It recently sold for $975,000.


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Exit So why should we care about the world’s biggest middleman getting bigger? Because Amazon — the highest trafficked, and arguably least glamorous, site to sell original art — stands to reset our conception of art creation, collection and valuation to a dramatic degree. Slick competitors like Artsy can seem as intimidating as a Chelsea gallery. Amazon, meanwhile, has a “Diapering” section. Critics say the vagaries of the art market won’t support the experiment. But that argument ignores a crucial slice of the market: the growing ranks of short-term collectors — or buyers who don’t care about the value of their art. Collectors like Maya Wiest. A mother of four, Wiest lives in Wenatchee, Wash., where art is sparse. The few galleries nearby sell “mainly cowboys on the hill stuff. Lots of fruit and sunsets.” Consequently, Wiest is a serial online art shopper. Her market of choice is UGallery, one of the participants in Amazon Art. The site specializes in contemporary work by artists who generally aren’t household names. Unlike Artsy, which liaises with galleries, UGallery posts the work of artists who apply for a spot. Such pieces may

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Norman Rockwell’s Willie Gillis: Package from Home (1941) is currently the most expensive piece on Amazon Art. The painting is selling for $4.85 million.

Slick competitors like Artsy can seem as intimidating as a Chelsea gallery. Amazon, meanwhile, has a ‘Diapering’ section.” not increase in value over time, but Wiest says she doesn’t buy to invest. She compares the process to adoption. “You watch them from afar, and it’s really expensive, and they finally get here and you’re like, ‘oh, you’re part of the family.’” Amazon’s naysayers tend to overlook buyers like Wiest, who wouldn’t have existed before the internet. One of the more compelling critiques comes from economist Tyler Cowen, who posted an obituary for Amazon Art on his site the day


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Exit after its launch. Cowen points out that art valuation is temperamental. Simply appearing on Amazon could theoretically devalue a work. He imagines a painting sold at $10,000 in “the right NYC gallery” not going for more than $2,000 on eBay. Amazon, he predicts, will cast a similar pall, making its best bet simulacra: “posters, lower quality lithographs, and screen prints, not fine art per se.” But that scenario accounts only for wealthy buyers with access. What about someone like Wiest, a short-term collector who can’t get to that brick-and-mortar gallery? She says she isn’t bothered by an Amazon tag devaluing a piece, provided she loves it. And ultimately, it may not make a difference to Amazon’s model whether or not millionaires click Add To Cart, so long as Wiest and her cohorts do. Lori Paige, vice president of marketing at M.S. Rau Antiques, the New Orleans-based proprietor of the $4.85 million Rockwell, told HuffPost that her shop actually expects its painting won’t sell on Amazon. It’s more of a “branding tool,” Paige explains. “Amazon was really excited about saying they had a Rockwell on their site. But it’s obvi-

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Andy Warhol’s Hamburger Michel. Price: $1.45 million.

[It’s more of a] branding tool. Amazon was really excited about saying they had a Rockwell on their site. But it’s obviously not an impulse purchase.” ously not an impulse purchase.” Think of the Rockwell as window dressing, rather than a genuine product. Even if it were to sell, Paige says the buyer would likely contact M.S. Rau to transact directly and avoid paying a lump sum online. Even millionaires have credit card limits, she points out. Of course, Paige is quick to add, “Amazon probably wouldn’t like that.” If a buyer were to bypass the middleman and go directly to the source, Amazon


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Exit would lose its revenue. The sweet spot on this pricing scale then is in the middle: price points that are payable by credit card, but still yield a healthy commission. Wiest is arguably Amazon’s dream shopper. Her most expensive UGallery purchase — a psychedelic painting of sheep, by artist Russ Noto — cost her $4,000. For three months, she says, she “kept coming back, and waiting until I had enough money to pay for it.” She expects she’ll keep it forever, or if for some strange reason she needs to sell it, “I wouldn’t expect to make much back.” That buying philosophy, so antithetical to the rules of cloistered art dealing, is standard on the outside. As a whole, UGallery customers don’t purchase with valuation in mind. Within a few days of its launch, one of the site’s most popular artists wasn’t an up-andcomer generating buzz; he’s Robert Hofherr, a director at a Baltimore advertising firm. According to UGallery cofounder Stephen Tanenbaum, the amount of works sold by the gallery’s cast of low-profile artists, like Hofherr, has increased by double digits each year since the site’s launch in 2009. Tanenbaum says he can’t see a

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Collector Maya Wiest recently purchased Russ Noto’s Process Grouping 1.1 from Amazon Art for $4,000.

Cowen points out that art valuation is temperamental. Simply appearing on Amazon could theoretically devalue a work.” downside to posting stock on Amazon. While he was initially worried artists might not like to sell their work at a one-stop shop, “the response from our artist base was actually overwhelmingly positive.” “They’re excited to get their artwork out there to millions of potential customers,” Tanenbaum says. “Everybody shops on Amazon.”


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Beating the PostVacation Blues BY SARAH KLEIN

ITH A VACATION on the horizon, life can seem a little bit brighter. Looming deadlines don’t seem so hard to meet, to-do lists become nearly fun and daily annoyances are brushed aside. The problem with a great vacation is that, like all good things, it eventually must come to an end. And when vacation ends, the brightness of everyday life seems, for many, to dull.

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Exit Research shows it takes a really superior break to instill lasting happiness. In a 2010 study, researchers found that only vacationers who deemed their breaks “very relaxing” felt notably happier upon returning to everyday life. Vacationers who reflected on their time off as “relaxing,” “neutral” or at all stressful noted no change in happiness after re-entry. For those who had “very relaxing” holidays, that post-vacation glow lasted eight weeks(!) after returning to work, Rodale reported. So how do you capitalize on those weeks of potential bliss? “It is to be expected that you would feel a little let down [after vacation],” says Robin Haight, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, “but it’s not inevitable. If you’ve really given yourself a good vacation, coming back to your routine doesn’t have to feel bad.” One way to do that? “Make sure you are on vacation when you’re on vacation,” Haight says. Taking some time to prepare can ensure that you have that key “very relaxing” time away. And a few easy steps can help you avoid the irritability, anxiety, lack of

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Researchers found that only vacationers who deemed their breaks ‘very relaxing’ felt notably happier upon returning to everyday life.” motivation and problems focusing that all together add up to the dreaded post-vacation syndrome upon your return. (Note: Should your funk persist, the problem may not be simply post-vacation letdown. Consider consulting a mental healthcare provider, says Haight.)


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1. SET BOUNDARIES. The “tyranny” of email or social media is a real stressor for many people, says Haight, and vacation often offers a little more wiggleroom when it comes to going off the grid. It’s a lesson that’s easily applied once back in the real world, she says. “I like the idea of being more mindful about the ways you’re going to be plugged in during the day.” Maybe that means no work email after dinner or turning the phone off a couple of hours before bed. Setting aside a few of times a day to check in rather than checking in constantly can help you feel more in control, she says. 2. RELIVE THE EXPERIENCE. If you really loved your vacation, take some time to share what was so special about it with close family and friends. Relish looking over your photos from the trip. Reliving the time you spent away can keep that relaxation response going, says Haight. While you’ll have to acknowledge that you are indeed back to the daily grind, you now have a new and memorable experience to carry with you. Don’t do anything just because you have to. Sure, you’re obligated to re-

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“Make sure you are on vacation when you’re on vacation.” turn to work. But during the first few days back at your desk, allow yourself to slack on chores or cancel dinner plans that just weren’t exciting you, Cambria Bold wrote for Apartment Therapy. “Ask yourself this question,” she wrote: Do I feel happiest doing this thing right now, or am I doing it out of a sense of obligation? Is there something else I would rather be doing? You may find that this is a particularly hard thing to do: It feels selfish to focus purely on what you want to be doing. But for one day, it’s the key to feeling reinvigorated, rather than rundown. 3. SCHEDULE IN SOME FUN. Plan an activity during your first few days back that’s a little out

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of your ordinary routine, like a nice dinner out during the middle of the week, says Teri Bourdeau, Ph.D., clinical associate professor at Oklahoma State University’s Center for Health Sciences. That way, you get to spend some time focusing on pleasure (just like when you’re on vacation) rather than going about your week with an “all work and no play” attitude. 4. CONSIDER A NEW JOB (REALLY!). “Vacation is an escape from our routines, our responsibilities and our roles,” says Haight. And when we come back, we have to re-confront what we left behind. Many people feel refreshed after a vacation and ready to tackle the day-today, she says. For others, re-entry isn’t so easy. “I think vacation gives people some perspective and reminds them of areas of life they’re not satisfied with,” she says. “If it has felt like a wake-up call, it’s time to start reevaluating things in your life,” she says. If you absolutely dread going back to the office, it could be more than the post-vacation blues and time for a real change, The Wall Street Journal reported. Just don’t mistake missing your beach chair for a sure sign, and give yourself more

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Start thinking about what you want your life to look like, how you want your life to unfold.” than a couple of days to mull over any big decisions. START PLANNING THE NEXT ONE. You don’t have to harbor that sense of “I need another vacation” dread if you’re already getting started organizing your next trip. This time away may have made you realize how much you truly love to travel or how nourishing it was to spend time with your chosen travel companions. Ask yourself how you can make that happen more, says Haight. “Start thinking about what you want your life to look like, how you want your life to unfold,” she says. “Now is a perfect time to reflect and even make plans to take steps to make this possible again.”


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Don’t Be Afraid, It’s Only Lobster

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BY JULIE R. THOMSON

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Exit HEN IT COMES to cooking, there is nothing more intimidating than making fresh lobster. No amount of folding butter into puff pastry or making your first sourdough starter even comes close to what it’s like to cook live lobsters at home. Many of those other challenging recipes are scary mainly for the amount of time they require, but when it comes to lobster it’s all about what you’re actually doing — dropping a live creature with moving limbs and sharp claws into a pot of boiling water — that makes it so terrifying. We’re the first to admit that it’s not easy. Clearly, we’re not trying to sugar coat things here. We want you to have all the facts before you embark on this new cooking milestone. But, since we all know that lobster is nothing short of amazing, and since making lobster at home means you can eat a lot more of it (because it’s way more affordable), we’re here to encourage — no, demand — that you give this experience a try. We promise, it only gets easier. All you really need to make lobster at home is a little bit of courage, a lot of confidence, the ability

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When it comes to lobster it’s all about what you’re actually doing — dropping a live creature with moving limbs and sharp claws into a pot of boiling water — that makes it so terrifying.” to steer clear of their fierce claws and a pot of boiling water. Once you can handle that, you can make fresh lobster anytime. And it will totally improve your summer dinners.


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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

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1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt, lemon and fresh herbs. 2. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, clip the rubber bands off the lobster claws, pick up the lobster (with a dish cloth or kitchen gloves) and drop head first into the pot. Don’t hesitate — just do it. 3. Cover the pot and allow to cook until the lobster shell is bright red and the tail has curled up underneath. It takes roughly 12-15 minutes to cook a one-pound lobster.

SERVE WITH NOTHING MORE THAN BUTTER OR USE IN ONE OF THESE RECIPES:

Lobster Roll

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: GETTY IMAGES/FLICKR RF; GETTY IMAGES/STOCKFOOD; GREG NICHOLAS/GETTY IMAGES

Roasted Lobster Tails with Coconut Curry Dipping Sauce Lobster Ravioli, Pea Shoots and Smoked Paprika Sauce Lobster Risotto Broiled Lobster Tails with Manila Clams And Corn

Lobster Bisque Tagliatelle with Lobster Tail Sauce Grilled Lobster with Miso Butter Buttered Lobster Tail with Truffle Oil Popcorn


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ANDREW HARRER/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES (OBAMA); DAVID PAUL MORRIS/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES (CVS); FLOORTJE/ GETTY IMAGES (YAR); THEIMPULSIVEBUY.COM (CHEETOS); JOSE ANTONIO SANTISO FERNA!NDEZ/GETTY IMAGES (DEBT)

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Rodeo Clown Dresses As Obama at State Fair, GOP Rep Invites Him to Make Encore

CVS Requiring Customers to Show ID to Buy Nail Polish Remover

REPUBLICAN TO FEMALE SCHOOLS CHIEF: STICK TO KNITTING

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Pepsi-Flavored Cheetos — They Exist

Most Americans Would Rather Keep Their Debt Than Gain 25 Pounds


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TUNART/GETTY IMAGES (FISH); GRANT FAINT/ GETTY IMAGES (GUN SAFETY INSTRUCTOR); SHUTTERSTOCK / SERGEY PETERMAN (ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL); GOLDMUND LUKIC/ GETTY IMAGES (ACADEMIC MERITOCRACY); AUTUMN LUCIANO/WWW.DECADENCEDOLLS.COM

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These Fish Are Mailed to Pet Stores in Cramped Bags

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Gun Safety Instructor Shoots Student

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WOMAN FALLS ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL, DRIVES FOR HUNDREDS OF MILES

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Whites Only Support Academic Meritocracy When It Benefits Them, Study Says

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Professional Cat-Fighting Is Now a Thing


Editor-in-Chief:

Arianna Huffington Editor: John Montorio Managing Editor: Gazelle Emami Senior Editor: Adam J. Rose Editor-at-Large: Katy Hall Senior Politics Editor: Sasha Belenky Senior Food Editor: Kristen Aiken Senior Voices Editor: Stuart Whatley Pointers Editor: Marla Friedman Quoted Editor: Gina Ryder Viral Editor: Dean Praetorius Creative Director: Josh Klenert Design Director: Andrea Nasca Photography Director: Anna Dickson Associate Photo Editor: Wendy George Senior Designer: Martin Gee Infographics Art Director: Troy Dunham Production Director: Peter Niceberg AOL MagCore Head of UX and Design: Jeremy LaCroix Product Manager: Gabriel Giordani Architect: Scott Tury Developers: Mike Levine, Sudheer Agrawal QA: Joyce Wang, Amy Golliver Sales: Mandar Shinde AOL, Inc. Chairman & CEO:

Tim Armstrong

PHOTO OR ILLUSTRATION CREDIT TK


Huffington (Issue #63)