AAW: And More!

It’s Asexual Awareness Week! To celebrate, this week I featured four asexual Sims from stories on this blog. Then I started thinking about all of the other asexual Sims that have been in my games and my stories, so I thought today,as my last AAW post, I’d share brief profiles of some of them.

If you’d like to learn more about asexuality, please visit the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network, AVEN.

Our Sim games are often mirrors. Through conversations with other Simmers, I’ve noticed that our games tend to generate Sims with traits that resonate with us. I get a lot of Sims with “Loves Outdoors” trait, and quite a few cheerful artists or musicians, too. Other Simmers may get Sims with traits that pick up on themes or personalities relevant to them.

Because my game-play style lets Sims make their own important decisions in life, especially those involving romantic relationships, I started noticing early on, months before I came across the term “asexual” to denote an orientation, that many of my Sims were not sexually attracted to other Sims.

When playing the legacy, I felt a little nervous with asexual Sims who didn’t roll whims to “try for baby” because legacies are somewhat dependent upon procreation! I decided that if the legacy heirs didn’t roll the whim to “try for baby” they could adopt. Luckily for the continuation of Cedar Bough’s genes, each heir, eventually if not sooner, did want to have a baby.

One of the first asexual Sims in the Bough family was Willow, the gen 4 spare.

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I loved Willow possibly more than any other Sim. I identified with her. She has a quality of self-containment and wholeness that I admire and aspire to. She had plenty of Sims interested in her, including one musician that I really liked, but she chose to remain single throughout her life. She was one of the happiest, most serene Sims I’ve known.

Willow’s niece Poplar was a different story. While Willow never struggled against who she was, Poplar’s life was forged from struggle. She may have been asexual, but she had a high libido and a mile-wide mean streak. She had really great fashion, too.

Poplar

Two generations later, onezero’s half-brother, Doug Fir, was also an asexual.

Doug Fir

Doug Fir lived his life at Cradle Rock. When he rolled the snob trait to complement his materialistic trait, I planned to move him across the street to Manzanita’s Mansion. But Doug’s third trait was lazy, and he let me know that he was happy to be the bachelor uncle. Like Willow, Doug Fir was happy and whole throughout his life. He was an amazing artist, in addition to being a true Renaissance Sim.

Doug Fir and onezero’s nephew, Alder, carried on the tradition of bachelor uncle. Including Alder, we’d now had asexuals in the family in generations 4, 5, 7, and 8. By this time, I’d come across the term and had begun to think about it and what it means as an individual’s orientation. Alder always chose variety and experience. Unlike his twin sister, he chose not to drink youth potions: he chose to grow old and he kept his appointment with Grim. He carried on the family tradition of artist, expressing his passion and deep understanding of life through the brush.

Alder

In addition to the Sims in Goofy Love, Dr. Jasmine from Dr. Jasmine’s CasebookDr. Jasmine’s Casebook, Emma Bennet from Harrington’s Wonder Child and Houseful of Hippies (as well as possibly many others of the hippies), Henrietta Davida Thoreau from Walden Once More and Emerson Institute, and Silduun Siltuunde from Where I’m From are all asexuals. (I’m starting to notice a pattern!) It’s possible that even Jack Bivuoac from Drifter is; though I write him as a Sim who’s attracted to women, he has yet to demonstrate this interest in the game.

I guess in exploring what life and living means to me through playing this game and writing about it, it isn’t surprising that so many asexuals would appear here in these posts. And, given my own romantic nature, perhaps it’s also not surprising that my SimSelf would find herself experiencing epic loves in many of the games I play and stories I write.

I’ve noticed in writing the stories on this blog and playing the games behind them that they’ve all led me to discoveries. I heard someone once refer to The Sims as being like tarot cards, and when I play the game, I sometimes feel that it responds magnetically to my thoughts, interests, and questions. This is how my life themes come to present themselves to me through the game. A less esoteric explanation would be that as I make countless choices through playing the game, the game responds, and in this way, without consciously realizing it, I shape the games, stories, and Sims that are generated. We’re meaning makers, too, all of us people, and especially storytellers, so as I look through the events that happen and the Sims that populate the games, my mind fashions what I see into a story, a story that means something to me.

It’s curious to me that my understanding of myself as an asexual has largely come about through my involvement with the SimLit community and through Simming. In fact, when I think of all the significant growth and discoveries I’ve experienced since September 2014, when The Sims 4 came out, it is all interconnected with, and often generated from, my involvement with The Sims and SimLit. I guess it’s fitting, then, that my public “coming out” has been through sharing my ace Sims with you. Thanks for reading and, in that way, being a part of this!

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Aimless: AAW – Shannon Arkers

It’s Asexual Awareness Week! In celebration of this, I’m featuring four asexual Sims from stories on this blog. Our last individual profile features Shannon Arkers, who, in my game, is an aromantic asexual. She appears in the story Whisper.

If you’d like to learn more about asexuality, please visit the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network, AVEN.

Author’s Note: In this post, I talk about playing and writing Whisper, so readers will find some spoilers if they haven’t yet read chapters 2.10 to 2.28.

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Shannon, being one of the most private Sims I’ve known, declined an interview. She said that I could write about her from my perspective, and she was happy to spend some time talking with me. Shannon’s always been a favorite Sim of mine at TS3 University. I love her rebel style.

She’s unflirty, a fitting trait for an aromantic Sim. As Shannon is currently an elder in my game, I think of her as being half a generation older than me, which means that she also came of age before asexuality was recognized as a sexual orientation. For Shannon, this wasn’t an issue.

“I need to be different,” she told me, “so every way that I don’t fit in with consumerism, capitalism, sexism, genderism, ageism, and any other ism you want to throw at me, the better.”

As a girl, Shannon wanted to join Boy Scouts, until she read the Boy Scout oath, law, and motto. “Since Boy Scouts would’ve required me to uphold values I don’t share” she said, “I decided to join Hells’ Angels instead. Then I learned about the way they use women.” At this point, still in her youth, Shannon embraced the practice of nonconformity as an individual. Rather than joining a group as a way of being different, she was different alone. “I mean, if I’m not fitting in with a group of others who aren’t fitting in, that that sort of means I’m fitting in with the misfits.”

A woman whose dharma followed individual nonconformity, personal liberation, and authenticity, Shannon relished every opportunity to do things her own way. Aromantic asexuality was simply one other aspect of this.

“Plus,” she told me, “I seriously don’t care what others think. It’s my life. Get over it.”

Observing and writing about the interactions between Marigold and Shannon fascinated me and helped me learn more about ways to express love beyond the traditional and the romantic.

Shannon is the only Sim that Marigold has rolled romantic whims for, even though they don’t have the TS3 attraction moodlet between them. Marigold is attracted to plenty of other Sims–but, so far in the game, she’s only interested in Shannon. And Shannon, while remaining asexual, has been receptive. She says that she wants to experience everything in life, and a romance was one thing she hadn’t yet experienced. “At my time of life,” she said, “I’d better do it now if I’m gonna do it at all.” Shannon also shows us that some asexuals enjoy sex.

And besides, Marigold Tea is awesome.

To me, a lot of the ways I wrote Shannon felt true: The conversation that she and Marigold had while sitting in the snow watching the stars reverberates with conversations my boyfriend has had with me. He doesn’t feel a need to say goodbye, either, especially when his affection extends beyond time.

There are so many different ways to love: some of the qualities of love that aren’t dependent on sexual attraction or romance include thoughtfulness, affection, caring, and a type of faithfulness which rests on putting the other person’s well-being and self-realization first.

That’s how Shannon’s love for Marigold felt to me.  I can’t say that I’ve ever written a more genuine-feeling love, in terms of my own experience of what deep love feels like.

Shannon would say we’re all people, each of us individuals. Treat others well. Live true to yourself. Be free.

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Aimless: AAW – Charlie

It’s Asexual Awareness Week! In celebration of this, I’m featuring four asexual Sims from stories on this blog. Today, we’ll talk with Charlie Rocca Cups, who is an aromantic asexual from the story Wonder.

If you’d like to learn more about asexuality, please visit the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network, AVEN.

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CT: Charlie, thanks for talking with us during Asexual Awareness Week.

Charlie: You’re welcome! I’m happy to chat. As a doctor of holistic medicine, I’m excited to talk about how asexuality fits into our understanding of well-being. In my perspective as a naturopath, it’s living authentically, in harmony with who one is, that brings health, happiness, and well-being.

CT: Has it always been easy for you to live authentically?

Charlie: I wouldn’t say it’s been easy. I mean, living authentically is a process, isn’t it? The world doesn’t automatically adjust to accommodate oneself–there’s always some tension. But then, living within that tension, finding one’s peace and one’s way within it, that’s where authenticity lies–for all of us, in the ways in which our uniqueness rubs up against the heels of societal norms.

CT: How did you come to identify yourself as asexual?

Charlie: I think minha mãe–I mean, my mother–recognized my orientation before I did. I grew up with an asexual aunt, the sister to minha mãe, and so my mother was familiar with and accepting of asexuality.

My mother and aunt raised me to be very much myself–to be the individual that I wanted to be. And so, of course, sexual orientation was part of that. I was never expected to be anything other than completely who I was. There was a time when I was a teen, though, when I’d catch Mãe looking at my friend Miranda and me with a certain gaze of expectation, as if she were imagining grandchildren! But she seemed to get over that.

Now with meu pai–my father–it was very different! Pai had two hobbies: working out and recreational sex! In fact, he was in two clubs all his life, one for each hobby! That’s how I came to be, actually. When minha mãe first moved to Windenburg, she joined the club of Pai, and after a club game in the closet, I was conceived! Pai asked me to join the club when I became a teen, but once I realized that the main activity wasn’t dancing, I gave up my club membership.

I think that Pai was puzzled by me at first, but Mãe must have helped him to understand, for by the end of his life, Pai was very accepting and supportive.

I adopted my son, Tanner, and I think that’s all that Pai really wanted–for me to have a son so that he could be the grandfather.

I don’t really think I answered your question.

CT: That’s OK. And please feel free to skip any questions that feel intrusive.

Charlie: Oh, that’s fine! I am happy to share who I am with the world!

CT: What has been the most liberating aspect for you in recognizing your asexuality?

Charlie: I grew up in a very free home environment. So, I don’t think I have ever felt a need to be liberated. I feel grateful for that. It seems that men, especially, have so much pressure put on them to be “studs.” Really, even the use of that word to describe a man shows how our culture expects and values sexuality in a man. So having been raised by two nonconformist women who encouraged me to nonconform in any way that felt right, that allowed me to notice and question some of the unspoken expectations that society places on men and to think twice before trying to change myself to fit into them.

CT: How do your friends and colleagues respond to your asexuality?

Charlie: Oh, you know, I haven’t really come out back at home. I mean, minha mãe and Pai knew, of course, but I haven’t told my friends. Maybe I should. It’s just never come up.

CT: Do you think your friends would care?

Charlie: Oh, no! Or rather. Maybe? One or two. Gosh, I’m not really sure. Most of my closest friends are women. You know, my best friend from childhood, Miranda, is a lesbian. I think one of the reasons we’ve stayed so close is that there’s no sexual tension between us. In fact, that’s probably the reason that I’m able to have so many close women friends.

CT: Have you experienced miscommunication with your women friends, such as missing their flirts, or not noticing if they were coming on to you?

Charlie: Oh, no! We go out all the time, or they drop by. We just hang out, talk, laugh a lot. None of them ever makes advances. I would know, wouldn’t I? Or–do you think not? I guess I have no way of knowing. I could ask them. Think I should?

CT: Oh! I have no idea! That might be awkward. Maybe just. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter, does it? Let’s just pretend I didn’t ask.

Onto more solid ground: What message would you like to share with asexuals during Asexual Awareness Week?

Charlie: It’s the same message I share with everyone: Exactly how you are, that’s how you’re meant to be. Live in accordance with that, and you’re well on your way to a healthy and happy life.

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Aimless: AAW – Honey

It’s Asexual Awareness Week, and I’m featuring four asexual Sims from stories on this blog. Today, I talk with Honey Walker, recent graduate from Skill U. Honey is an aromantic asexual.

If you’d like to learn more about asexuality, please visit the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network, AVEN.

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CT: Honey, first, congratulations on graduating summa cum laude. What’s next for you?

Honey: I’ve just accepted a position as a violinist with the San Myshuno Symphony orchestra, so in a few weeks, I’ll be moving there. I’m excited, nervous, and more than a little scared.

I do think it will be neat to live someplace with lots of diversity! I’m hoping that it gives me more room to be me!

CT: When did you first identify yourself as an asexual?

Honey: I was really lucky. One of my roommates during freshman year, Emma Bennet–she’s a wonder child, actually!–identified herself as an asexual. So when talking with her, I realized that there were others like me, and that I wasn’t as weird as all my friends and my parents thought. Then, in the human sexuality course I took sophomore year, it was actually presented as the fourth sexual orientation–like it was official. And so then,  I just sort of relaxed into it. I was really glad not to have my identity as an issue or source of confusion during my college years. There was so much else to do!

CT: It sounds like your friends and other students were really accepting. Has everyone been?

Honey: Oh, no! I haven’t even come out to my parents. I’m afraid to, really. My mom–well, I’m not sure how to come out to her. You see, my parents are both very romantic and highly sexual. My home growing up–it was electric! Anyway, my mom’s always asking me about every single guy I know. She says things like, “Wouldn’t you like to try a little make-up?” or “You know, with your figure, every eye’s on you when you walk into the room. You should work it, Honey! Go ahead and put a little swing into your walk!”

I mean, I love her, but she’s been pushing me to get a boyfriend since I was twelve. Lately, she’s been hinting that maybe I want a girlfriend, instead. And I really haven’t yet figured out a way to tell her that she just doesn’t get it.

My dad’s a different story: he’s pretty accepting of me. He wants me to have intensity in life: to live fully and to feel things strongly. But he seems to settle for musical and even transcendental intensity. Like, aesthetic intensity. You know, maybe I’ll come out to him first, and then let him explain it to Mom.

CT: That sounds like a plan.

Honey: My mom just doesn’t want me to miss out. She knows how happy being with my dad makes her, and, of course, she thinks that since I’m her daughter, I’m exactly like her. But I’m really not. I’m me.

CT: Yeah. For me, that’s the beauty of finding labels that fit us. When I think of all the labels that help me feel comfortable with who I am (the Myers-Briggs INFP, the sociological term “cultural creative,” and asexual), they all help to create space so I can be who I am in the ways that don’t fit with the mainstream–and to help me realize I don’t need to try to fit in.

Honey: That’s a great way to put it!

CT: What message would you like to share with others during Asexual Awareness Week?

Honey: Oh, I’m so not good at summing up things in a pithy statement! I always think in terms of music. You know how some people describe Bach’s music as being dry, as if it’s all logic and no feeling? But for those of us who play it and love it and live it, we find it so rich, so full, as if it contains all of life and all that the universe has to share. I guess that’s what I’d want to get at. My life, as an aromantic asexual, isn’t dry or boring or missing something. For me, it’s full of passion and feeling and the energy of life! I wouldn’t want to be any other way. And I really hope that everyone, in every orientation, can feel that way about who they are.

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Aimless: Asexual Awareness Week 2016

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Imagine that the Chairman of the High Committee on Conformity sends you a letter that says, “In this area, you have carte blanche.” That’s how I felt when I discovered asexuality as an identity.

I only came across the term in this usage about eighteen months ago after reading a post by a blogging friend of mine in which she identified herself as an asexual. Wanting to understand what this means, I googled “What is asexuality?” and found the website for Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN).

As I began to look through the website, what I read felt familiar. More googling brought me to an article in the Asexuality Archive titled “Possible Signs of Asexuality.” I identified with nearly all of points. Suddenly, much of my social awkwardness and many of my feelings of being out of step with the mainstream–of somehow not understanding the unspoken language that nearly everyone I knew seemed fluent in–made sense.

Having come to this term in the second half of my life, and having been very fluid in terms of my identity throughout my life, I still sometimes wonder, Am I really asexual? But the term as an identity means simply that one doesn’t feel sexual attraction for other people. I don’t think I’ve ever known what sexual attraction is. This makes it hard for me to know if I’ve felt it, for I’ve felt all sorts of other attractions. I’ve discovered, though, that it is quite common for asexuals not know what sexual attraction feels like or means.

I’m a romantic. Nearly every day, I fall in love, in an Aimless Love sort of way: with a leaf, a cloud, a hummingbird, maybe another person. The other day, I fell in love with a palo verde tree. A few nights ago, I fell in love with a small toad. Today, I fell in love with a breeze and with my boyfriend’s jokes.

I feel attracted to people: spiritually, personally, emotionally, intellectually, and aesthetically. But sexual attraction isn’t something that registers with me.

Living in a society which pushes sex, especially through the media, but also through all sorts of experts–experts in physical health and well-being, experts in happiness and mental health, experts in self-expression and personal freedom, and experts in how to live life to the full–and having been a child during the sexual revolution, I’ve sometimes felt that I should try to fit in with the whole thing better. That’s why learning about asexuality feels liberating. I’m healthy as I am, expressing myself and my energies the way I want to.

As a Simmer, I find that who I am informs the way I play the game and the way the game responds to me. One of the aspects of the Sims that I most love is that it functions through adaptive intelligence–this means that the game is shaped by the way the player plays it. So it’s little wonder that many of my Sims are asexual. Getting to know these Sims and their ways of responding to their interests and to others has helped me learn more about myself.

This week, as part of Asexual Awareness Week, I’ll feature four asexual Sims that appear in the stories on this blog. I hope you enjoy learning more about them!

Profile 1: Honey Walker | Profile 2: onezero Adams | Profile 3: Charlie Rocca Cups | Profile 4: Shannon Arkers
And More!

If you’d like to learn more about asexuality, please visit the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network, AVEN.