I remember when, the week before I left for college, my parents sat me down to tell me about the facts of life.

"I joined the site to find like-minded individuals who understood my love of Asian men," says Elizabeth.

"In the process, I feel like I've grown a lot as a person — I've learned from many people's experiences in travel and relationships, I've learned more about different cultures.

And that, to some, speaks volumes about the sexual desirability and social status of Asian men in America.

As blogger Dialectic wrote on the popular Asian American online forum The Fighting44s (where four out of the top five most popular posts relate to interracial relationships): "If heterosexual white male patriarchy and what it did in the world were not so powerful, I think it would be fair to say that Asian American women and men would be 'out-dating' or 'out-marrying' at similar rates, and that we wouldn't elevate whites, denigrate ourselves, or worry about whether we're sexually and personally worthy of others to nearly the same extent that we do now." Lover of another color That's what makes it so intriguing that a small but thriving subculture has emerged (where else?

"Society still makes women feel self-conscious about saying they like Asian features, or particularly, Asian guys, so even if they do, they won't let their attraction out in public.

At Azn Lover, we all know why we're there — we share a common bond, in that one group has the qualities, physical and otherwise, that the other appreciates." The politics of desire Appreciation can be a double-edged sword, of course.

The "pick of women" generally has its own racial dimension.

As Alicia Powell, a 24-year-old, black female Azn Lover member says, "I think Asian men are brainwashed to want white women.

And interracial couples with Asian partners are increasingly depicted in movies, TV and other popular entertainment, to the point where their racial differences are often not even germane to their characters' storylines.

What many commentators have pointed out, of course, is that both the numbers and popular culture reflect a reality in which only half the Asian American community — the female half — are players.

Being rejected is problematic, but so is being objectified.