Asexual Awareness Week 2011 — October 23-29
Disclaimer: I am one individual asexual. My views, experiences, and opinions do not neccessarily represent those of the asexual community at large, nor any other individual asexuals.
Note: the word ‘sexual’ when used as a noun in this context means a person of one of the three intercourse-seeking sexual alignments: heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual; as opposed to people of the fourth sexual alignment: asexual.
Note: the word ‘normal’ when in quotes is used as an abbreviation for mainstream heterosexual norms, with apologies to all.
Q: Are you male or female?
First off, this is not a big secret, though it is sort of a running-joke on Second Life. My answer here is the same: if you give me a legitimate reason why you need to know, I will tell you. Since the main reason is so you know which way to face during sex, and I’m clearly NEVER going to have sex with anyone or anything… that point is moot. :P
Q: Why are you bothering people with this big sexuality thing or anti-sexuality thing or anything? Keep your orientation to yourself and shaddap about it!
1: A great many asexuals do not realize they are asexual, because most people don’t realize asexuality exists. These people tend to be very unhappy, feel alienated, and believe something is terribly wrong with them because they are not “normal.” I want to help these people accept themselves and be happy. Well, happier.
2: The asexual community today is where the GLBT community was 20 or 30 or more years ago. We are either ignored and invisible to the majority of the population, or marginalized at best. We are seen as defective, abnormal, medically or psychologically sick, deviant, and (in one extreme case at least) demonized as being against God’s Natural Order. Do we have to march on the Capitol to be recognized? Hopefully not. But hey, I’m game.
Q: Are you a virgin?
You’re *#$&ed skippy. And this will not change in my lifetime.
Q: HOW can you possibly hate sex? How can you think it’s the most godawful thing in the world? Worse than death? SERIOUSLY??!
Think of it this way…. Is there a particular type of music that makes you barf? It’s not that the music is bad — no, the instruments are not out of tune, the singer is not out of rhythm (unless it’s really grungy drunk garage band, say :X )… you just hate it.
Your sexual preference is like your musical preference. No one knows how it is developed, or why certain people like certain types of music and not others. It certainly isn’t inherited. And there’s nothing you can do, no way to convince anyone who doesn’t like your favorite music that it really is the best music there is.
So… just like your favorite music could make some people barf, your favorite activity could make some people barf. Just sayin’.
Q: How can you possibly know that you hate sex if you’ve never tried it? Eh?
How do you know? Have you tried every combination that exists? Have you tried any children or animals? Wellllll, then how do you know you’re not into bestiality or pedophilia? Seriously.
You just know. Even at a young age, when the concept of what sex is isn’t really clear, you know. You’re just attracted to this or that, and not something else. (Or, in my case, completely repulsed by it all. :P )
Do you like skydiving? If you’ve never tried it, how do you know? How DO you know you want to try something, or have an interest in it at all, before you actually do it? It just appeals to you. Don’t believe me? Don’t tell me you don’t like jumping off a cliff until you actually jump off one. :P
Q: Does being an “aversion” type asexual make you a total prude?
Not a total prude, no. A total prude would want you to cease and desist all your sexual activity now and forever. I personally don’t care what sleazy, tawdry, kinky, gooey, drippy, slimy things you do, as long as I don’t have to see/hear/know about it.
Does it make me prudish? Oh yes, very much so. I don’t want to hear about sex; I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to see pictures and videos of it. I don’t want to hear jokes about it. I don’t want to hear references to it. Therefore, when the conversation turns in that direction, you can bet I’ll be against it.
Q: If you’re really an asexual, how do you write stories and role-play characters with sex scenes, and make videos with gay elves, and all that?
First, they’re not gay. They’re bi. :P
The flippant answer is: “The same way two gay guys wrote the popular book How to Make Love to a Woman.” However, that’s not true, because those guys did research. … You know? Interviewed people? THAT kind of research!
The real answer is, because I understand sexual relationships the same way I understand magic, wizards, dragons, and unicorns. They are fantasy concepts — tropes, if you will — and do not exist in the real world. Nevertheless, I have a complete grasp of them and how they work from the tons of fantasy stories I have read.
In the fantasy stories, a sexual relationship is a deeply moving, nearly spiritual bonding experience for the participants. I believe that two characters can come together, develop deep feelings of love, and experience this. (Remember, I’m asexual, not aromantic.) And no, I don’t believe that exists in the real world. I believe that in the real world, two people just get their rocks off on each other, and there isn’t any mystical soul-binding anything. (Although research indicates that there is a brain chemical released during intercourse that floods a person with a feeling of “love.” Take that for what you will.)
No, I liken it to the real world “unicorns” that the Ringling Bros & Etc circus came out with that one time. They got a couple of goats and grafted their horn-buds into the middle of their forehead, so they grew out as one horn. Called them unicorns. Displayed them on parade. Okay, sure they were white, they had cloven hooves and beards, and a brown horn sticking out of their head. But they were tawdry imitation of the mystical, wise, and graceful creatures with spiralling pearl or golden horns.
Q: Is asexuality something you can develop into as you grow older?
This is difficult to say. On the AVEN site, even the FAQ is a bit confused on this point. On the one hand, people say that your sexual orientation is something ingrained within your being. If you’re gay or A, and you desperately want to be straight… it just won’t happen. Not with drugs, not with therapy.
Yet, on the same page, the AVEN FAQ says that sexuality is fluid and can change and evolve. I suppose there are accounts of younger people going through bisexual or homosexual phases before settling on their orientation. (Profuse apologies to those who hate being told their sexual orientation is “just a phase.” I’m not speaking about you, in this case.)
One might think about declining libidoes as a person ages. Is that turning asexual? It doesn’t sound like it. Or, as someone suggested, perhaps a person has forced themselves into a heterosexual model all their lives and as they become more mature and self-confident, and more self-aware, they realize that is not their true selves.
Also, there are Grey-A’s, who only feel fleeting or rare instances of sexual attraction. And Demi-sexuals who do not feel sexual attraction until after forming a close emotional bond with someone.
The bottom line is, and always is, no one can decide for you if you are asexual or not. You decide for yourself.
Q: Are asexuals trying to avoid psychological/emotional closeness, or merely physical closeness? Or both?
This would depend on the asexual in question. Asexuals are capable of forming close emotional bonds, and of falling in love. Many asexuals have romantic attractions (these can be hetero, homo, or bi), they just don’t have a sexual component.
There are also aromantic asexuals. Not only do they not want/need sexual intercourse, they don’t want or need romantic relationships. They may have good friendships, but nothing “closer” than that. Or, hey, they could be total misanthropes and just hate everyone.
As for the physical component… again, it depends on the individual. Some asexuals love hugging and cuddling, maybe even kissing. Some find that not to their taste. Some find it repulsive.
Q: Why do you hate hugging so much? Why do you get mad when people try to give you harmless virtual hugs in forums and in virtual worlds and stuff? Hugs aren’t sexual! Virtual hugs don’t even touch you for real!
Now this is a very deep question. Or, at least the answer is. I don’t like people touching me in real life. The main reason is twofold. First, because I’m a completely aversive type asexual, I’m dead set against any type of sexual contact. AND, because I don’t understand sexuals from their point of view, I have to work on them from my point of view. And in my point of view, sexuals will do anything to have sex with someone, and that most anything, especially physical contact, they think of as foreplay.
So, blown out of proportion or not, you hugging me translates into my brain as you trying to rape me.
Hence, I ask people not to virtually hug me, either. And I think I do so in a non-threatening, humorous sort of way. But if you persist? If your attitude is, “Ha-ha, you hate being hugged, so I’m going to force myself bodily on you and do it to you,” well then… you have what I call a “rapist mentality.” I don’t care what Woody Woodpecker does in his cartoons, or how cute or funny you think it is. You’re acting like a rapist, and I don’t want to have anything to do with you. Yes, I WILL mute you, and leave the conversation or venue.
If you think that is all blown out of proportion as a response to a harmless and non-threatening, non-sexual hug… substitute the word “hump” for the word “hug” in the example sentence above and try it again. Still sound cute and harmless? No? Then you’re getting closer to my end of the spectrum of understanding.
Q: What if a guy is sexually attracted to women, and likes to have sex with women, but he is more closely attracted to a male partner, though not sexually? What do you call that?
(Yes, the guy asking this one is a nutcase, but it IS an interesting question! Check it out.)
Well, firstly, it’s not asexual, because of his sexual attraction, desire, and interest in women. We weren’t really coming up with what, exactly, attracted him to a male, though. But I finally figured it out! He’s a homo-romantic heterosexual.
I’d never thought of applying the *-romantic labels to sexuals before. Mainly because their sexual and romantic attractions are usually one in the same. But it should be theoretically possible.
Q: If a guy says he’s asexual, but he masterbates; does that count?
Yes. There are asexuals who have what they call libidoes. And sometimes their bits annoy the heck out of them. Now my opinion is this (and remember, I’m NOT an authority):
If your bits “itch” and you need to rub them to get them to shut up, that’s within the realm of asexuality.
If your bits don’t “itch,” but you tickle them until they do, just so you can rub them and get them to shut up… I consider that a sexual behavior.
It is my understanding that sexuals seek out sexual stimulation and fulfillment, whereas asexuals do not. Again, this may be a point of contention and debate. However, masturbation is not. Asexuals have all the bits and parts that everybody else has, and they are all functional. Hormones, pheremones, and whatever else can contribute to those bits flaring up and demanding attention.
Q: So… asexuals can masterbate, but they don’t get any pleasure out of it?
This is beyond the realm of things I know or understand, sorry. What I think I know is… sexuals and asexuals experience or conceive of sexual stimulation in different ways. Where a sexual might be happy ga-ga over some genital stimulation, an asexual may be
indifferent, or repulsed, or happy but not to as-great an extent, or just annoyed. Honestly, I don’t know.
Let’s end on a fun one!
Q: Being asexual seems to make you feel alone (1-8% of the population is not that much!), and alienated, and really confused by the world and all human cultures. Are there any advantages to being asexual?
You mean like not worrying about STDs and unwanted pregnancies, and spending billions on porn every year? :X
Let me tell you this story I wasn’t able to work into any of the other posts… :)
One day, when I was a teen, my Dad suddenly pops out this question: “So how’s your sex life?”
Now, my Dad is a real card; he often pops out with these things, like “What colour underwear are you wearing?” (Answer: I don’t know! I get dressed in the dark!) But what I think he was aiming at here… was maybe a little possible in-road to discussing teen things. (As a shy and introverted child, I didn’t communicate much in any case.) Maybe he could offer some advice on… changing my appearance to attract potential mates? Or how to talk to the opposite sex? The best places to go to find available sexual partners??
I don’t know, and we’ll never know, because I paused a minute to contemplate the question seriously. How was my sex life? Hmm… don’t want any… don’t got any… well, there’s a full 100% match-up right there! So I answered, “Perfect.”
Um… Dad didn’t seem to have any comeback or response for that. :X LOL! Poor Dad :)
But hey, how many sexuals can say their sex life is 100% perfect? I dunno, there are so many little factors that can make things just a little off. Headaches, bad breath, body odor, asynchronous biorhythms… hardware that doesn’t unhook or unsnap properly… hey, I dunno! But when you don’t want any sex, and you don’t get any, you have 100% bliss. Hah! :)