What is A+ Ships?
A+ Ships is a bi-weekly feature here on my blog, celebrating relationships in fiction between characters who fall on the asexual spectrum.
What’s the asexual spectrum?
Asexuality is a sexual orientation; a person who is asexual does not feel sexual attraction to others. Those on the asexual spectrum experience attraction in a variety of forms, at a variety of levels. For more information, visit asexuality.org.
Don’t you just mean friendships, then?
No. Asexuality does not preclude a person from falling in love or forming romantic attachments in addition to platonic ones. Many aces (asexual people) also use romantic orientation identifiers, from panromantic to aromantic, to more accurately describe their orientation. Romantic and sexual identifiers may be used in any combination.
Why did you start this feature?
The ace community to which I belong is one of the most invisible in the larger MOGAI community. Aces frequently experience the erasure of their orientation as not having found the right person, or just being prudish, etc. When our orientation is acknowledged, it’s often assumed to be the result of sexual trauma, and for those of us in relationships with sexual partners, many non-ace people get stuck on whether our partner’s needs are being met with little consideration for ours. And these are just some of the micro-aggressions we face, nevermind the macro-aggressions.
Like many aces, I pretended to experience sexual desire and attraction for most of my life because the prevalence of it in media, in conversation, sent the message that there was something wrong with me for not feeling this all-important driving force. My sexually active relationships suffered–that’s putting it mildly–from my inability to convey the truth of my disinterest. But once I learned that I wasn’t alone, that there was a word for how I was, it was so freeing.
I’m an author and a fangirl, and characters and their relationships have always been the biggest draw for me to any fandom, as well as the reason I write. While writing a guest post for the Ace Book Club, I reflected on how in mainstream media, sexual desire is always an assumed part of romantic relationships and love triangles, when it seems like the least compelling part of the equation–kisses, sex, they’re just actions that have only as much weight as our emotions give them. And I thought that perhaps, by highlighting compelling relationships between ace-spectrum characters, we can not only celebrate what aces know to be true–that our capacity for connection has nothing to do with our libido–but share it with those unfamiliar with asexuality.
What counts as an A+ ship?
Canonically speaking, an A+ ship features one or more characters who a) state that they don’t experience sexual attraction, via modern terminology or, as may happen in historical fiction/SFF, simply describe their orientation as such, or b) have been identified by their authors as asexual.
As a fangirl I attach a lot of importance to a fandom’s headcanon, or “elements or interpretations […] accepted by an individual fan,” especially in terms of representation. So, headcanon ace ships, or ships featuring one or more characters you interpret as being on the asexual spectrum, will also be featured (for example, my current favorite is a poly ship among asexual Rey and gay Finn and Poe).
How can I submit my ship?
Email me at caitspiveyauthor [at] gmail [dot] com with “A+ Ship” in the subject line. You can either tell me about your favorite ship, in which case I will certainly investigate, or write your own guest post on it.
Does manga count?
Yes! Books, TV, film, graphic novels, fictional stories of any kind absolutely count.
Can we repeat ships?
I would definitely love to get multiple perspectives on some of these ships, yes. Someone wrote a guest post on Hannigram already but you have a different take? An ace character featured in one relationship but you ship them with someone else? Write it up and send it my way!