Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Savage Love Letter of the Day

Posted by on Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 3:09 PM

Love the column. I'm a gay male in my late 20's. I've noticed more and more references to asexuals in your column lately, and after this last one where the reader questioned whether or not her partner's younger brother was a "maladjusted shit" finally compelled me to write. I admit that every time I hear about asexuals, I tend to think they probably are maladjusted. Why? Because I used to identify as an asexual when I was a teenager.

I believed I was asexual because the idea of having the kind of sex I had been taught was normal held no interest for me. Although I believed I was "romantically" interested in other people, I didn't feel sexually aroused by the idea of vanilla sex, or any kind of sex I was aware of. I never masturbated, occassionally I would have wet dreams that I felt disgusted by afterwards and that never involved sex per se, or if they did it would involve something that I could only describe as rape. I assumed that was an expression of my dislike of sex combined with my body needing to perform a biological function. Outside of the occassional dream, sexual interest was essentially absent from my life. I believed very strongly that I was an asexual. The idea of having sex with someone I was involved with was boring at best, disgusting at worst....

The rest of the letter from a self-described "ex-asexual"... after the jump.

During my first year in college, I became involved with another man (my previous relationship attempts had been of the straight variety), but still tried to avoid sex. When my partner tried to learn more about this, I let it slip that I had never felt turned on by the idea of sex and identified as an asexual. Thankfully he was supportive and helped me get to the bottom of this, and what I realized was that I was actually an extreme submissive with a fear fetish. What I've come to learn since then is that I am actually extremely sexual and extremely kinky. Because I didn't really know what turned me on when I was younger (I was pretty much ignorant that something like that could exist and was a real sexual option), and I knew damn well that "normal" sex did nothing for me, I believed very strongly that I was asexual.

The moral of the story is that I WAS a maladjusted little shit. I'm not saying that every person who identifies as asexual must be in the same position I was, not at all, but based on my personal experience I do find it very likely that many asexuals are actually "turned off" towards their sexuality for some other, unhealthy reason. Obviously I turned out far from what most people would consider "normal." In a society that discourages alternative expressions of sexuality, I think it's very likely that some people would just shut off or deny their sex drive because what appeals to them is so far outside of what is accepted—hell, what actually turns them on might not even be something they are aware exists.

I'm sure that many asexuals would counter this by saying that asexuality isn't accepted as normal either—it's not, but because we live in a culture still influenced by puritanical values, it's much easier to take the moral high ground of denying sexuality rather than admitting to yourself and others that you are, say, a diaper fetishist who just can't get off without a pair of huggies. It's easier to simply avoid sex than to face up to the idea that you might be uncomfortable with it because you were molested as a kid. Even coming out as gay is more socially difficult than being an asexual, especially since so many asexuals engage in what is presented as fairly normal dating up until the point that their partner expects sex to come up. And even if you do "come out" as asexual to everyone in your life, while you're likely to be laughed at by your friends, you probably won't be disowned, beaten or killed.

Many of the things that asexuals say to explain themselves fit this idea pretty well. Many asexuals talk about sex as if it is dirty or base, rather than simply being disinterested in it, implying that they may have hang ups that are influencing their view. Asexuals often admit to masturbating, and asexuality.org supports people identifying as asexual when they have fetishes that don't involve human beings (see their FAQ). None of that is truly non-sexual, instead it speaks to me of having desires that aren't easy or possible to fulfill. If someone masturbates to a fantasy about centaurs, they ARE still sexual, even if they'll never be able to find a real centaur and can't feel aroused unless a centaur is involved. While it is peoples' right to use whatever terminology they want to refer to themselves, it might be healthier for people to try to address their desires for what they are rather than hide behind a repressed identity.

Last but not least, I've had asexuals counter my experience by insisting that I must not have been as committed an asexual as "real" asexuals are. That "real" asexuals are so uninterested in sex that nothing would ever arouse their interest, unlike with my story. The problem with that is that during the heyday of my asexual identity, I would have insisted the same thing—and I did when people tried to argue with me that no healthy person could really be non-sexual by nature. If someone had suggested to me back then that I was really just denying my true sexual indentity, or completely unaware of it, I would have felt highly insulted, persecuted and misunderstood, but I would have still been wrong.

Just thought I would share my point of view as an ex-asexual, and encourage other asexuals to consider engaging in some potentially uncomfortable introspection. It might be worth it.

No Clever Acronym

Thanks for sharing, NCA.

 

Comments (54) RSS

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Fifty-Two-Eighty 1
Oh God, here we go again.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on September 9, 2009 at 3:24 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 2
5280 is right.

That said, we all see everyone else in our own self-image. I'm sure asexual people see gays as just asexuals trying to fit in.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on September 9, 2009 at 3:28 PM · Report this
attitude devant 3
Bingo, NCA!
Posted by attitude devant on September 9, 2009 at 3:29 PM · Report this
4
I think that the vast majority of asexuals probably fit that description. I am willing to bet that there are some people out there who just have masturbation fetishes or the like - that's not asexual, but as far as relationships go it is. I am also willing to bet that there are the (very very very) rare individuals who are just not wired to want any part of anything sexual. I am pretty sure that if you can imagine it, it exists.
Posted by allie ballie on September 9, 2009 at 3:42 PM · Report this
5
You know what's really interesting? My navel. There's all kindsa stuff in there!
Posted by Atonal on September 9, 2009 at 3:44 PM · Report this
kim in portland 6
Let's allow people to identify how they see fit. Perhaps, some are certain, and others need introspection, but it really doesn't matter, because we don't walk in their shoes. Acceptance goes two ways, and there is no agreement required to achieve it.

Points for trolling me.
Posted by kim in portland http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/11/fast-paced_video_provides_a_fu.html on September 9, 2009 at 3:47 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 7
@6 for the MYOB win.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on September 9, 2009 at 3:53 PM · Report this
Erow 8
All the logic mistakes aside, say the LW's argument is true, and his experience proves that asexuals are just confused about their true sexual destinies. How does that change how we should treat people who identify as asexual? Give up acceptance in favor of force-feeding them until they gain an appetite?

I'm so glad Dan posted this. I really feel we're getting closer to resolving this issue.
Posted by Erow on September 9, 2009 at 4:15 PM · Report this
9
FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT fight fight. fight.
Posted by matt! on September 9, 2009 at 4:18 PM · Report this
10
Far be it for me or anyone else to tell others how to identify based on their sexual preference. That said, I think NCA presents a very believable possibility--that someone might deny their sexual feelings, based on shame about their proclivities or sex in general. Certainly, there are probably some people whose biochemistry doesn't include sexual arousal. Given the wide range of diversity among humans, this makes sense. Given all the guilt and shame surrounding sex here in the U.S. (yeah, it's everywhere but I can only speak from experience about the U.S.) and the prevalence of sexual abuse,it also makes sense that some people would shut down sexually, and repress their feelings enough to consider themselves disinterested.
Posted by know-it-all on September 9, 2009 at 4:20 PM · Report this
Tingleyfeeln 11
I dated a woman who I suspect was asexual. Or maybe she was just the worst lay ever who didn't know how to suck cock, had severe image and other personality issues, and only liked missionary. May be I could have put up with her personality flaws, chubbiness, and oral incompetence if she had at least been a good lay.

Thank you plastic jesus for making her a bad lay!!!
Posted by Tingleyfeeln on September 9, 2009 at 4:23 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 12
"Let's allow people to identify how they see fit. Perhaps, some are certain, and others need introspection, but it really doesn't matter, because we don't walk in their shoes."

Well, self-ascription is an important part of understanding the perspective of others, that doesn't mean that it's easier to accept or justify when you have to deal with the end-result.
Posted by undead ayn rand on September 9, 2009 at 4:25 PM · Report this
13
@11, you stayed with someone you found physically unattractive and boring long enough to have sex with her? Sounds like your thick skull and apparent desperation would have been a perfect fit with her fat ass and lack of social skills, if you ask me...
Posted by samiaint on September 9, 2009 at 4:29 PM · Report this
14
So, based on an experience of one person, himself, the writer concludes that asexuals in general "probably are maladjusted". All because he identified as an asexual before changing his mind.

I'm sure the "ex-gays" would approve very strongly of this argument.
Posted by michaeld on September 9, 2009 at 4:32 PM · Report this
w7ngman 15
Get it? He was only maladjusted BEFORE he realized he had a rape fetish.
Posted by w7ngman http://userscripts.org/users/89370 on September 9, 2009 at 4:39 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 16
@14,

Indeed. Next Dan should run a letter from a woman who experimented with lesbianism in college. Now that she knows she's not a dyke, she's convinced that lesbians don't actually exist.
Posted by keshmeshi on September 9, 2009 at 4:40 PM · Report this
17
I'm not surprised that some people claiming to be asexual aren't really. Its an easy camp for the maladjusteds to hide out in, I get it. That's not really the asexual community's problem though. After an asexual has done all their soul searching and realized they're not maladjusted but really actually asexual, then what are they supposed to do? Get an official stamped certification by an accredited therapist confirming that they're a real asexual that they have to show you? What is this supposed to mean?
Posted by Karey on September 9, 2009 at 4:40 PM · Report this
Aly 18
The person never said that there's no such thing as being asexual, but that a lot of the people who say that they are asexual may not actually be asexual.

As for asexuals, stop dating people who are sexual (Especially if you don't want them to have sex with other people). Most people want sex. You don't, but be considerate of others. It's a poor analogy, but it's sort of like being vegetarian and spending all of your time in some intense steak/meat filled restaurant. If you want vegetarian food, you go somewhere that they serve it. Date other asexuals. How do you do that? Well, I'm sure you could meet them online, but telling others that you're asexual right away is the best way. That way, you don't end up committing to a relationship for a long period of time and end up upset or something similar.
Posted by Aly on September 9, 2009 at 5:05 PM · Report this
Vince 19
We are naturally sexual beings. Sex is as much a part of our person as speaking or eating or walking upright. Religion is unatural. It imposes a perverse view of the world and reality and ourselves. It would be a shame if people couldn't enjoy their lives because they had been led to believe falsehoods about themselves and their sexuality. Can you imagine a religion that taught people they would go to an imaginary hell if they spoke or ate or walked upright. There would be people too weak to think for themselves who would crawl everywhere. That's how powerful the religion perversion is.
Posted by Vince on September 9, 2009 at 5:11 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 20
@16 is right. They tend to be really really good in bed, too.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on September 9, 2009 at 5:27 PM · Report this
21
To all the people who are ranting, "Oh, so just because this guy wasn't an asexual, he gets to conclude that asexuals don't exist? That's stupid!":

Did you actually read the letter? Seriously. You're attacking an argument that NCA didn't actually make. And I quote:

"I'm not saying that every person who identifies as asexual must be in the same position I was, not at all, but based on my personal experience I do find it very likely that many asexuals are actually "turned off" towards their sexuality for some other, unhealthy reason."

Nowhere did NCA say that all asexuals are just maladjusted and sexually confused. Nowhere did NCA say that asexuality wasn't real. Nowhere did he say asexuals should be persecuted or treated poorly. All he said is that he thinks that many people who identify as asexual aren't really asexual. If you want to attack THAT argument, go for it. But for heaven's sake, please try to refute something NCA actually stated and not some argument that doesn't appear anywhere in his letter.
Posted by Lorran on September 9, 2009 at 5:35 PM · Report this
22
@16, i have a friend like that... sucked cock a bit in college and now he's married, convinced that it's a choice for everyone because it seemed to be for him. when i pointed out to him that he might be different or have had a more unique experience, he got highly offended and wanted to know what the big deal was about not giving 'them' his stamp of approval.

people mindfuck themselves in interesting ways...

i still think asexuality is pretty mental. not quite as mental as having gender reassignment surgery but what can you do? it's their life to fuck up however they see fit.
Posted by cubby on September 9, 2009 at 5:40 PM · Report this
23
#21 - yes I did read it and in particular I read that the writer admits "that every time I hear about asexuals, I tend to think they probably are maladjusted".

Imagine an "ex-gay" wrote that every time he hears about gays he thinks they are probably maladjusted because he used to be gay himself and now is not. Do you really think this would be adequately mitigated by later writing "now don't get me wrong - I'm sure some people really are gay, but based on my experience I find it likely that many gays are actually "turned off" from their heterosexuality for some unhealthy reason"?
Posted by michaeld on September 9, 2009 at 7:37 PM · Report this
24
Would you print a letter like this from an ex-gay?
Posted by I bet not. on September 9, 2009 at 7:38 PM · Report this
Theo Magyar 25
# 22:

Did you just attack trans people in the process of attacking asexuals? I have an idealistic notion that life would be much better if we all accepted folks as they define themselves - and didn't attack them because they don't match the criteria in OUR heads.

Call me crazy, though ....

Posted by Theo Magyar http://connexionsandcontradictions.blogspot.com/ on September 9, 2009 at 7:41 PM · Report this
26
Yadda yadda. Here I come to clear the nonsense, which this comment will probably get ignored with streams of the same ignorant assumptions.

- 1. I'm currently living with my boyfriend. He is sexual, I am asexual. I sexually please him whenever he wants it. He is not 'deprived' and I shouldn't be hunting out 1% of the population to date, especially when most people don't even know what an asexual is.

- 2. I have had my thyroid checked. My hormones are intact. I'm old enough to have had any sensation at all if my parts were touched. Some asexuals do masturbate and enjoy it, just have no urge to be in sexual contact with another person, I am one of the ones who don't masturbate, nor do I ever have an urge to have sex. When I do have sex, I take advantage of the fact that I'm pretty much not experiencing anything at all by bettering myself at pleasing him and focusing on him.

- 3. I am not a prude, clearly. I have no problem pleasing him sexually. I also know what Tubgirl, Goatse, and Lemonparty are, those who are versed in internets.

- 4. I am not unhealthy as a result of it to my knowledge. I have yet to have some issue resulting from lack of masturbation, though I am female so I'm not really risking prostate cancer here. I do not have any physical deformity that could be effecting this, it's not comparable to being blind or deaf, in other words.

- 5. To restate the obvious, yes, I've tried it, with multiple people, multiple ways, etc. I am not having "bad sex"

- 6. I am not sexually repressed. I had no sexual abuse problems or anything to that nature as a young child, both of my siblings are sexual and were both raised in the same household. I haven't had any sexual feeling my entire life.

- 7. I am a romantic, meaning just as people seek out meaningful, long-term relationships, someone to sleep next to, something to hold, something to cuddle with, I do too. I love to hold them close and spend days on end with them, go places with them. Not all asexuals are romantic, there are many who do not wish to seek out a life partner at all.

- 8. Even if you took the sex out of the relationship with my boyfriend and I, we are far from "close friends". How many close friends do you know that sleep on the same twin-sized bed each night, or cuddle up together on a couch to sleep routinely? Take showers together? Go on dates? Babytalk to each other, fuck c'mon people! If your friendships and relationships are simply separated by sex, there's probably a lot of drama in your lives, and you probably need a pretty big bed to fit all those friends of yours in.
More...
Posted by lloorren on September 9, 2009 at 8:29 PM · Report this
27
Yes, its a really beautifull and good ideal to accecpt all folks as they define themselves... its also a really good ideal to not assume an attack.

To say that being asexual is not as "mental" as gender reasssignment is just another way of saying its not as far out of the "norm." And its not.

We all have our mental issues... we all have our own shit thats f-ed up.

How far outside the curve of averages that shit falls pretty much defines the severity of a "mental" issue.

Information is useful. This person's experience might help other people. Its especially helpful as the author of the letter was careful to use language that did not assume that his story was the story of all asexuals.

And when someone confesses that they tend to have a judgement while also saying that they KNOW its not always true... How about cutting that person some slack. At least they are self aware enough to know their own predjudices.
Posted by shelldavis4 on September 9, 2009 at 8:36 PM · Report this
28
We are naturally sexual beings. Sex is as much a part of our person as speaking or eating or walking upright.


Until we get older, and decide we'd rather just have a cup of hot chocolate and a foot rub.

I like to have sex. I like to speak and to walk upright, too. But I recognize the everyday, normal existence of people who are mute and people who are paraplegic. Is is so hard to imagine people who quite naturally have no sex drive?
Posted by BABH on September 9, 2009 at 8:38 PM · Report this
29
very cool post by 26... I probably wouldn't have responded to all the drama if that had been the last thing I read.

Good information... thank you for helping me understand what asexual can mean to folks like yourself.
Posted by shelldavis4 on September 9, 2009 at 8:43 PM · Report this
yucca flower 30
Personally, 'asexuality' is either repression as NCA has demonstrated or a health issue. If you're repressed due to shame, you aren't truly asexual. I think a true asexual is someone who has no sex drive due to a health issue like an endocrine disorder or long term usage of anti-depressants. Mental illness is stigmatized in this country. So is sex. Somebody on anti-depressants may not want to admit they have mental illness (and take medication) to a sex partner.
Posted by yucca flower on September 9, 2009 at 8:54 PM · Report this
31
@30: You are entitled to your opinion, of course, just as creationists and global-warming deniers are entitled to theirs. Yours has no more basis in reality.

You are saying that the millions of people who identify as asexual are either sick or lying. But they are in a much better position than you are to judge whether or not they are healthy. And while some of them might be lying or self-deluded, it's usually safer to take people at their word.
Posted by BABH on September 9, 2009 at 9:29 PM · Report this
32
Okay, another asexual checking in.

I have nothing but support for people like NCA who used to believe they were asexual but have since decided they were mistaken. It happens. It is my hope that identifying as asexual assisted his eventual self-realization rather than slowing it down. I hope that all self-identified asexuals realize that there is nothing wrong with them if it turns out they're gay or kinky or whatever. I won't think any less of you. For the asexuals who find sex disgusting (similar to how some straight guys find the idea of gay sex disgusting), I hope they realize that even if they personally find it gross, that does not mean there is anything wrong with it. That's the best way I can think of to differentiate between disgusted asexuals and maladjusted sexuals.

If I may ramble a bit about myself, I'm one of those asexuals who feels indifferent towards sex. I'm also one of those who doesn't fall in love. I've never had so much as a crush. But asexuality is unique in that it can always be proven wrong. There's a small but nonzero chance that I'll get my first crush at 25. I'm not closed to the possibility, I just think it's unlikely. Even if it did happen, it would probably be something much weaker and more infrequent than what other people experience. In the meantime, I will call myself asexual. After all, as Dan has been harping on for a while, if I tried dating someone and didn't tell them I'm asexual, that would be pretty unfair to my date!
Posted by Siggy on September 9, 2009 at 10:06 PM · Report this
33
One point I think people are missing is that NCA talks about being a TEENAGER. The original letter writer didn't specify age, just "younger", but I think it's pretty likely that a teenager doesn't know what his/her/its sexuality is! How many LGB people said they were straight in high school? Yeah, now be honest, let's see some more hands up. Teenagers say they're lots of things, sometimes changing their minds moment to moment! I don't want to say we should all always assume it's a "phase"--certainly for the openly LGB teens we don't want that--but for something as common as asexuality, it seems more likely that he *is* just a scared/confused teenager.

*I've left out "T" because this is about sexuality specifically, and admitting to being trans is an entirely different and complex issue (my girlfriend is trans, I have no problem with trans people, but for this discussion it seems like an unnecessary layer to add).
Posted by Abby Spice on September 9, 2009 at 11:06 PM · Report this
34
If someone masturbates to a fantasy about centaurs, they ARE still sexual, even if they'll never be able to find a real centaur and can't feel aroused unless a centaur is involved.

I'll grant that this is true, and that a lot of asexuals (but not all) probably fall into this category. But it seems like a distinction without a difference. They're effectively asexual from a social perspective, even if they have an active fantasy sex life. A relationship where there's a social expectation that they'll have sex with another human being is highly unlikely to be appealing to them.
Posted by Orv on September 9, 2009 at 11:12 PM · Report this
35
i banged my share, but now that i'm in my 50's, i just don't care.
Posted by mmbb_c on September 10, 2009 at 1:18 AM · Report this
36
"If someone masturbates to a fantasy about centaurs, they ARE still sexual, even if they'll never be able to find a real centaur and can't feel aroused unless a centaur is involved."

The term "asexual" is used to describe a person's orientation NOT their entire sexuality.

Some asexuals masturbate / fantasize and so consider themselves sexual, others don't. The common link is the lack of sexual attraction to other people.

Posted by sootmouth on September 10, 2009 at 2:45 AM · Report this
37
NCA wrote "I'm not saying that every person who identifies as asexual must be in the same position I was, not at all, but based on my personal experience I do find it very likely that many asexuals are actually "turned off" towards their sexuality for some other, unhealthy reason."

Lorran @21 wrote "Nowhere did NCA say that all asexuals are just maladjusted and sexually confused."

The word I find difficult in NCA's quote is "many". Based on his own personal experience (the experience of a single person) he concludes that many asexuals are turned off their sexuality.

His experience of identifying, and then not identifying, as asexual is not unique. However my own observation, after meeting / interacting with other asexuals over the past 5 years, is that this particular experience is rare.

"Some" would have been a better word to use.
Posted by sootmouth on September 10, 2009 at 2:57 AM · Report this
38
NCA hit the nail for many "asexual"s. Asexuals claim they're 3% of the population. That's easily within the number of self-closeted gays not to mention all the other sexualities and fetishes and painful histories that might make asexuality a more comfortable self-identity. And, like NCA, I'm not saying there aren't people who are truly asexual. But that a lot of them are likely, more fundamentally, a different sexuality.

Dealing with lots of mixed-orentation marriages, I see the spouse who comes out late in life sometimes claimed asexuality or a low libido or "just not interested in sex much", until they met the right GF or BF or had some mid-life crisis that caused their coming out. Then they are anything but asexual.

Like being gay, the asexual should be able to closeted as long as they like (accepting that their breathern suffer incrementally from fewer un-closeted peers). And, like being gay, bisexual, het, whatever, should be able to self-identify as whatever seems most true or least scarey in the moment.

But, like being gay, bi, or het, the asexual needs to fess up early on while dating and absolutely before committing to anyone else. If you're not you present yourself as, and by default, you present yourself as sexual hetrosexual in most settings, you're lying by omission if you don't come out to a romantic partner. Just like if I (a straight male) were in a gay bar. It is incumbant on me to clear up the obvious misconceptions that could arise.
Posted by DavidinaMOM on September 10, 2009 at 1:52 PM · Report this
39
@38 "Asexuals claim they're 3% of the population."

The figure that is usually quoted is 1% - it comes from the analysis of a large (18,876 participants) sex survey in the UK.

You can read the full journal article at:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2…
Posted by sootmouth on September 10, 2009 at 3:03 PM · Report this
40
@ 38 "That's easily within the number of self-closeted gays not to mention all the other sexualities and fetishes and painful histories that might make asexuality a more comfortable self-identity."

Of course the figure will also be influenced by the self-closeted asexuals who find hetero, bi and homo sexualities a more comfortable self identity.
Posted by sootmouth on September 10, 2009 at 3:58 PM · Report this
Vampireseal 41
#36 Thank you for clarifying what a lot of people seem to not understand about asexuality. Because asexuality can be interpreted as meaning "not sexual", many people mistakenly think that when a person identifies as asexual that they are saying they have either a low sex drive or no sexuality.

I'll repeat this again: the term "asexual" is not being used to mean "without a sexuality", but is being used to mean "a sexuality that is not stimulated by people". On the last survey I've seen on AVEN, roughly 1/3 of asexuals had fetishes. Most masturbate. Some have sex if their partner wants it. It's just that we are not sexually *attracted* to people.

Also, I'm not surprised to see "ex-asexual" story, considering that when one is a teen one is still learning about one's identity and sexuality.

Of course, I've seen "ex-bi", and "ex-gay", and "ex-straight" stories as well. Make of them what one will, I see no reason that they should be considered some sort of proof that the orientations that they are "ex" for are nonexistent because one individual decided he or she was not that orientation.

Curiously, I've seen many "ex-gays" and "ex-straights" on AVEN, so it works both ways, I guess. People are dynamic and ever-evolving. As for myself, though I thought it seemed curious that I was neither straight nor a lesbian as a teen, I just reckoned myself a late bloomer. Now I'm about 30, and I still don't feel any attraction towards the same or other sex! I'm not bothered by it, and it's puzzled me that other people were.
Posted by Vampireseal on September 10, 2009 at 11:22 PM · Report this
42
Thanks for posting this Dan.

NCA is a very smart person for allowing himself time to really face what he is.

Just for discussion's sake, as far as asexuality goes, I'm only seeing young people claim this, and that troubles me.

I'd be more likely to take this Asexual "movement" serious if the person heading it was in their 40's or 50's, and has had the chance to live different types of sexual experiences, and then based on their general non-interest of sex through all of that determined that they were Asexual. As I got older, I was able to successfully identify with being gay based on what I saw in older people whose struggles seemed to match mine.

Sexually, it's not about being ex-anything - it's about allowing yourself time to accept all of what you are. Society can and will scare you into thinking that if you don't like straight missionary sex like everyone else does, you're a complete weirdo who isn't fit to be breathing. That alone, not even adding on our own personal insecurities, is enough to make anyone a closet case who finds a way to live without truly admitting who they are to themselves. I mean, for instance, it IS possible to be a functional drug addict who goes to work everyday and finds solace in going home to get high.

I didn't come out to anyone as gay until this year, and I've had the thoughts and urges since 16. I'm 34 now. I don't call myself "ex-straight", but, I found a way to live with who I really am - even if I do hide somewhat because of how I feel society will view my life. It's my business, and I'm cool with only opening that up to those who I feel NEED to know.
Posted by MT3 on September 11, 2009 at 6:47 AM · Report this
43
Why should it matter how old the person *heading* the movement is? The fact of the matter is there are lots of older asexuals - they even have their own section on AVEN. It really isn't hard to check these things out y'know.
Posted by michaeld on September 11, 2009 at 8:04 AM · Report this
44
In Re the age issue, http://www.asexuality.org/en/index.php?s… is the AVEN forum for older asexuals.
Posted by bygvvir on September 11, 2009 at 11:59 AM · Report this
45
MT3 @42 wrote "I'd be more likely to take this Asexual "movement" serious if the person heading it was in their 40's or 50's, and has had the chance to live different types of sexual experiences, and then based on their general non-interest of sex through all of that determined that they were Asexual."

Isn't this just a variation of "it's just a phase" / "you just haven't met the right person" that is frequently aimed at ALL sexual minorities?

Is it right to dismiss or doubt a person's chosen identity because you don't think they've "had the chance to live different types of sexual experiences?" If so, then it follows that everyone - hetero-, bi-, homo- and a-sexual - should try out a certain number of experiences before deciding on their identity. What exactly should these experiences be?

I'm 43 years old (is this old enough for you MT3?) and have known I was A since I was 13. I know that it can take time for young people to work out which labels (if any) suit them best but to call into question a person's sexual identity just because of their age is patronizing and short sighted.
Posted by sootmouth on September 11, 2009 at 2:55 PM · Report this
46
@45 - I mean no disrespect to you or your sexuality.

Because of my own experience, time has truly taught me that dismissing one's sexuality because of their experience is ignorant, however, I don't think having a low sex drive doesn't make you asexual. You STILL have sex - it's just less of it.

The term "asexual" implies NO sex - not a little, or a smidgeon, but NONE. I mean, pardon me for taking words at their face value.
Posted by MT3 on September 11, 2009 at 8:51 PM · Report this
47
I don't think having a low sex drive doesn't make you asexual. You STILL have sex - it's just less of it.

Sorry but double negatives often confuse me. Are you saying that having a low sex drive does or doesn't make you asexual?

The term "asexual" implies NO sex - not a little, or a smidgeon, but NONE. I mean, pardon me for taking words at their face value.

You can't take the term asexual as it's used in this context at its "face value" (by which I think you mean by its biological definition). In the context of human sexual orientation - which is the subject that is under discussion - it refers to someone who doesn't experience sexual attraction.

There are a heap of people out there - asexuals included - how aren't that struck on the term "asexual", just like the people I know that don't like the terms "gay" or "queer". Unfortunately for all these folks the terms have become entrenched and it looks like they're just going to have to run with them.
Posted by sootmouth on September 12, 2009 at 10:23 AM · Report this
Michael of the Green 48
I don't get how it's useful to argue about the existence or non-existence of asexuals, or the definition of one, or whether they are "mal-adjusted shits". Why is the lack of sexual interest of some people of so much interest to others? I remember hearing homophobes theorize that homosexuals were mal-adjusted, or otherwise mentally ill.

I've always been the type (gullible?) to just accept whatever people told me about their sexuality. If they're lying and closeted, that's really not my business. I know one person who says he's asexual. Everyone around him has theories, or claims he's closeted -- even gets angry at his claim. This is so puzzling to me. Who cares? if he's mal-adjusted, that's his business. Or maybe he really is asexual. That's what he tells me, and I don't see any reason to argue. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that he's a seriously sexy man, and (he's an artist) he addresses the subject of sexuality so prominently in his art, that people object to the idea of NOT seeing him as a sexual being. Maybe people are envious.
Posted by Michael of the Green on September 12, 2009 at 12:41 PM · Report this
49
I used to think I was asexual. Then I realised that I just wasn't into girls, and I was really just a late bloomer.
Posted by kebdrgn on September 12, 2009 at 6:46 PM · Report this
50
@ vince #19 Just needed to clarify there is absolutely nothing religious about asexuality. In fact most aces identify as atheists. Sexual repression and shame should be totally unrelated to asexuality which is an orientation. I agree that disclosure is important, but seriously people what ace would want to come out, when they're gonna be faced with accusations of being maladjusted little shits? Very simple people: asexuality- not feeling sexual attraction. Full stop. Go on your way with over analysis, of course there is diversity among asexuality as there is diversity in all sexualities. Asexuality isn't about being a prude. Asexuality is Queer. Deal with it.
Posted by tomatl on September 19, 2009 at 3:24 PM · Report this
51
And to No Clever Acronym, thanks for sharing your story. It is beautiful, I'm so glad you found someone who was able to help through the confusing college/teenage years, and you raise some very valid points about society and introspection.

But for people who have analyzed the hell out of themselves, have looked deep, and explored sexuality I hope you will accept that perhaps some people are asexual. AVEN is known to be very inclusive, they want to be a safe place where people can figure their shit out, so of course there will be young people there trying to work things out.

But there are a lot of asexuals with a good grasp of queer theory, sex-positive attitudes, and a shared desire to topple heteronormativity.
Posted by tomatl on September 20, 2009 at 8:25 AM · Report this
52
@47 - Please pardon me. The word "doesn't" should NOT have been in that sentence. Sorry for the confusion.

Also @47 - "In the context of human sexual orientation - which is the subject that is under discussion - it refers to someone who doesn't experience sexual attraction."

How can somebody experience sex without sexual attraction? Sexual attraction is the force that brings differing (or similar in the case of us homos) sex organs together.

@49 - Thanks for validifying my statement, and being honest with yourself. I wish you all the best in life.
Posted by MT3 on September 22, 2009 at 3:16 PM · Report this
53
How can somebody experience sex without sexual attraction? Sexual attraction is the force that brings differing (or similar in the case of us homos) sex organs together.

Hi! Asexual here, and though I'm not an expert on sexual attraction I hope I can clear this up a little bit. Sexual attraction is a desire/urge to engage in sexual acts with someone. You can have sex without wanting to; it happens.
Posted by Lois on September 22, 2009 at 8:03 PM · Report this
54
First of all, anyone should ask himself if he really feels comfortable with his life-position. I think, at least for the 30% of all the people considering themselves asexual (and especially for those who are still hesitating about their sexuality) would be reasonable to follow your experience. No doubt, there is a great chance they would discover the sexuality deeply hided inside, like you did.
So, start trying different fetishes ( from gentle sex toys to light bdsm) and just listen to your body.
Posted by sex toy on November 24, 2009 at 3:55 AM · Report this

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