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Thursday, February 3, 2011

SL Letter of the Day: A Sexual Reflects On Nearly Asexual Ex

Posted by on Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Thank you, Dan, for your advice to Not Sexual, Not Asexual.

Minimally sexual people—particularly minimally sexual het men—need to own up about who they are. To the right person, being minimally sexual is an asset. But to the rest of us, it's a nightmare. I think het men are especially reluctant to accept and not be ashamed of their minimally sexual desires because of stereotypes about men wanting it all time. I was personally stuck with this type of a guy—a minimal who refused to acknowledge his lower sex drive—for two years. Thank God I took the advice you give to all couples who are sexually incomparable and finally dumped the motherfucker! He had a history of a low sex drive, and I think if he had shared that information in the first place he could have save us both a lot of time and heartache. I hope "Not Sexual, Not Asexual" takes your advice!

J In Portland

My response after the jump...

··············

Thanks for sharing, JIP, but I don't advise all couples who are sexually incompatible—those sexually incomparable couples typically don't seek my advice—to split up.

If a minimally-sexual person is partnered with a normally-to-maximally sexual person and the couple has an otherwise rewarding relationship—they love each other and everything works except sex (the minimal feels pressured and guilted, the maximal feels deprived and resentful)—I first encourage the couple to consider crafting a realistic and workable compromise. If they can agree on a mutually acceptable degree of openness, the normal-to-maximally-sexual partner will be able to live in hope of getting his/her needs met elsewhere and the asexual-to-minimally-sexual partner will feel less pressure and less guilt.

But if a compromise can't be crafted—if the minimal isn't interested in sex but is outraged at the thought of his/her partner doing this uninteresting thing with someone else; if the maximal doesn't want to be in an open relationship; if sex outside the relationship, even if allowed, would be very nearly impossible—then, yes, best to DTMFA.

And now, for balance, a minimal's perspective:

Oh, Dan, I'm so sorry to call you out on this one. Having my own "minimal" tendencies, I was eagerly reading the column and waiting for your helpful response, but instead you act as if NSNA is actually a closeted, manipulative minimally sexual person passing himself off a "normal," or a man who hasn't figured out how to enjoy sex yet, and furthermore, just might enjoy depriving others of sex. I've noticed this in your other responses to people who feel normal in their minimal/asexualism—your words subtly imply that there is a big, wonderful, world of sex out there if one could only figure out how to enjoy it. I feel a bit this way around a friend of mine who doesn't eat meat because she just never enjoyed the taste. Not even bacon, for heaven's sake! But if she goes to her grave without ever salivating over a nice, crispy piece of bacon (and I do think she's nuts, but whatever) it's no business of mine. So I keep my mouth shut. If this is the best response you can give to people like NSNA, then I'd thank you to keep your mouth shut as well, Dan.—K.

Shut up? Sorry, K, but I'm minimally capable of that. And I was maximally hard on NSNA because, frankly, his letter annoyed me. Like all the bisexuals who write in to complain about how badly they're treated by straights and gays but never seem to entertain the possibility of dating other bisexuals (which would spare them the grief of dating all those awful, terrible, no good monosexuals), this self-identified minimal hadn't entertained the possibility of dating other people like him, i.e. other minimals, which would spare him the grief of dating a normal and spare normals the grief of dating him. He said he was a regular reader of my column—and, well, the problems of mix-matched libidos come up in my column all the time. So NSNA's failure to realize that he could avoid the normal problem entirely by dating someone like him seemed like a bit a willful obtuseness that required slapping out.

And, finally, an asexual offers his perspective on my response to NSNA here. Grab a tissue before you click through.

 

Comments (122) RSS

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1
"Philadelphia Asexual Examiner" is the best job title ever.
Posted by gloomy gus on February 3, 2011 at 4:50 PM · Report this
emma's bee 2
Why a tissue, Dan? Was there a spider on that website?

(Seriously, if this is the kind of junk your Google alert kicks up, why torture yourself?)
Posted by emma's bee on February 3, 2011 at 4:52 PM · Report this
smade 3
By the second date the question "how often do you masturbate?" should be asked and answered honestly by any prospective couple. Sure would save a lot of hurt feelings down the road.
Posted by smade on February 3, 2011 at 5:00 PM · Report this
4
I don't understand why asexuals (or like the initial letter-writer, minimally sexual) people are offended by your advice. I'd think they would WANT to stay out of a relationship with someone who is going to want a lot more sex than they do, and is likely to feel resentful and hard-done-by when they don't get it. And yet, they get annoyed when you point out the very, very obvious: you're going to make a regularly-sexed person miserable if you date them, and they are probably going to return the favor. Recipe for disaster; stay away.
Posted by FLgirl on February 3, 2011 at 5:06 PM · Report this
5
Dan, Not really about this letter but I have been thinking this for a while.
The phase DTMFA makes perfect sense a great deal of the time...but to use it when it is best to part ways with a partner who is awesome in every way except for the "deal breaker" seems totally unfair. A good example would be, you want kids- your partner doesn't. Your partner is not a motherfucker for telling you the truth. On the contrary, that makes them an pretty upstanding individual for not pretending or lying about what is important to them in a relationship. Can someone come up with a better phrase that emphasizes the need let it go already with out blaming two individuals that just don't belong together?
Posted by kataan on February 3, 2011 at 5:08 PM · Report this
Enjua 6
A tissue for the crying caused by attempting to read such an incoherent post? Please un-link that: you don't usually post emails written to you that incoherently, so why link to something so poorly written?
Posted by Enjua on February 3, 2011 at 5:09 PM · Report this
Canuck 7
Hi gus! Yes, best job title ever, although I'm still partial to Blackberry's Rimjobs...

And why on god's green earth would someone who identifies as asexual want to date someone who likes gettin' it, unless they were also a masochist/passive-aggressive, in which case, it would totally make sense.

A tissue for the tears of laughter, emma's bee...
Posted by Canuck on February 3, 2011 at 5:12 PM · Report this
raawr 8
If you're expecting a puppies and rainbows response when you write to Dan, you obviously haven't been reading Savage Love for very long...

@ K, the person asked for Dan's opinion and he gave it. I'm not saying Dan is always right... I'm just saying asking him to keep his mouth shut would mean him not doing his job.
Posted by raawr on February 3, 2011 at 5:12 PM · Report this
9
So I suppose that black people should only date black people to limit the confusion there too?

Seriously, Dan, I really respect the work you do with youth who are bullied. I was one of those kids, and your project has an important message.

BUT: asexuals are also those kids too. And when you say out of one side of your mouth, "Hey, it gets better kids!" and out of the other side of your mouth, "...but not if you're asexual!" it defeats your point. What about the 16 year old asexual activist leader whose parents literally stripped her of internet last summer for posting some videos on YouTube about asexuality? What about the asexual trans teenager who has two rounds of internalized oppression to deal with, one of gender non-conformity, and the other of sexual non-conformity? What are you saying to those kids with these kinds of comments?

I really want you to understand how important it is to our community, and to me as an activist in the LGBT community, that the asexual community be treated with dignity and respect. You haven't done that here, you've only continued your negativity and making fun, which is just as bad as the bullies you claim it gets better from. I hope it does get better, Dan, starting here on your blog.
Posted by Sara Beth Brooks on February 3, 2011 at 5:13 PM · Report this
10
DSM Axis I diagnosis- 302.71 (see a therapist)
Posted by GaryR on February 3, 2011 at 5:14 PM · Report this
11
A tissue, Dan? Maybe you meant to type, "Grab the world's tiniest violin before you click through."
Posted by random_lez on February 3, 2011 at 5:15 PM · Report this
STS 12
^what FLgirl said in #4. It seems like asexuals seem to not understand that sex is a NEED for someone with a sex drive, and by dating a sexual person they are inherently creating a problem at the outset.
Posted by STS on February 3, 2011 at 5:15 PM · Report this
13
Hey Canuck! You made me laugh with that reminder. I checked just now, and if you google "rimjobs" the top result is still that Blackberry careers page. Followed, of course, by links to every post making fun of it...
Posted by gloomy gus on February 3, 2011 at 5:20 PM · Report this
14
@9: Oh. My. God.

You can't be serious? Telling people to seek out sex partners—or non-sex partners—with whom they will be compatible is akin to telling people to date only within their race?

Go away.
Posted by Dan Savage on February 3, 2011 at 5:20 PM · Report this
Noadi 15
I don't get the offense they take either. When some conservative christian gay men have the same marriage rights as everyone else: they have the right to marry someone of the opposite sex, we rightfully condemn it as ridiculous and cruel. It traps some poor woman into a relationship with a man who may love her but he doesn't want to or really enjoy having sex with her.

This is very analogous to asexuals who think dating and marrying someone who is sexual is okay. Unless they are open and honest and willing to let their partner have sex with other people it's cruel to deprive them of being with someone who wants to have sex with them. I wonder if because asexuals don't understand why sex is so important to those of us who are sexual that they don't understand how much being deprived of it can make someone unhappy and resentful?
Posted by Noadi http://noadi.net on February 3, 2011 at 5:23 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 16
@4

I'm reminded of smokers. Smoking cigarettes numbs the palate, so smokers have difficulty smelling & tasting the things non-smokers do. So they don't understand the stench that shouts from their clothes, their breath, and lingers long after they've left. Even if they didn't smoke in the room itself, it still smells. But they're oblivious, and feel they should smoke wherever they like.

Same for asexuals. They don't understand the drive, the joy, the hunger. So it's nothing to them to demand monogamy out of their spouses. And man, @9, is that blindness ever apparent in your rant.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on February 3, 2011 at 5:30 PM · Report this
I Hate Screen Names 17
Maybe I'm missing something in the asexual responses, but I don't see anyplace where Dan advocates asexuals not having any relationships, ever. He's instead saying that asexuals should have relationships with other asexuals. Then both people can ignore sex and things will be gravy.

In fact, I find it amusing that the possibility of dating other asexuals never enters their heads. Hi-larious.

Also: not getting the tissue reference. Maybe it's sarcasm, but the tone just didn't come across this time.
Posted by I Hate Screen Names on February 3, 2011 at 5:31 PM · Report this
Canuck 18
gus....
"Dissatisfied with advancement opportunities as an Asexual Examiner, Claude put on his best Pegged Boyfriends and went looking for a Rimjob."

(I crack myself up...)
Posted by Canuck on February 3, 2011 at 5:41 PM · Report this
Looking For a Better Read 19
When told to grab a tissue before clicking through, I thought it would indicate that there was good masturbatory material to be found.

Sadly, I thought wrong.
Posted by Looking For a Better Read on February 3, 2011 at 5:45 PM · Report this
20
Dan,

You know, here's the thing: you can be dismissive of me all you want, but it's not going to make asexuality go away, and it's not going to make asexuals go away. The same is true of bisexual people. Your advice that bisexual people should only date bisexual people is a little outdated and certainly misses the mark on inclusivity.

I believe that you fundamentally misunderstand the complaint from the bisexual community, and from the asexual community. Anyone who has a partner who doesn't appreciate their sexual orientation should probably re-evaluate their relational priorities. Your statement of "date each other then" only addresses the part of the problem that has to do with intimate relationships. When the people who are supposed to be our peers in the LGBT community lend their voice to biphobia or acephobia, there's a general need to stand up and re-educate.

If you were to actually examine the asexual community, rather than base your opinion on your assumptions about that community, you would find that asexual people form relationships of all different kinds, with all different kinds of people. You might be able to tell NSNA that the cornerstone to any relationship, whether you're sexual, asexual, or somewhere inbetween, is the communication between the parties involved. You might have been able to tell NSNA that there are instances of both sexual people and asexual people forming long lasting relationships, and of asexual-asexual versions of these relationships as well.
Posted by Sara Beth Brooks on February 3, 2011 at 5:55 PM · Report this
21
I dunno - I just didn't think the guy sounded like an asexual. When you cite lack of confidence or stamina as your reasons... that's a mental/physical health issue. I thought asexuals were just permanently uninterested. Or am I getting this completely wrong?

This guy just sounded like he had a really low sex drive and whether he chose to address the underlying causes of it or not was his business - and he should be up-front about it with potential partners.
Posted by JrzWrld on February 3, 2011 at 5:57 PM · Report this
STS 22
@20: He's not just looking at the asexual partner's needs, but the sexual one's too- unlike you. It isn't fair to expect a sexual partner to not want sex just because you don't. Full Stop.

Now, if the sexual partner is able to get that NEED met elsewhere, then the "realistic and workable compromise" solution has been found that Dan addressed. Being pissed at a sexual person for continuing to have a sex drive whether they are with an asexual or not is just plain silly, though.
Posted by STS on February 3, 2011 at 6:01 PM · Report this
Lilliable 23
That Landis is one angry asexual.
Posted by Lilliable on February 3, 2011 at 6:02 PM · Report this
24
Canuck, that remark earns you a rimshot.
Posted by gloomy gus on February 3, 2011 at 6:04 PM · Report this
25
@22

You incorrectly assume that I'm not looking at things from the sexual perspective. Of course I am looking at it from the sexual perspective as well. No one, least of all me, is saying that any people should be forced to stay together, or that if deceit is involved there shouldn't be an addressing of that deceit.

My point, to Dan, is that without an understanding of how asexuals view relationships (which is wholly different than how most sexuals view relationships), how does he expect to give advice on the topic? And to suggest that we should only date our own, well, yes, I think that's pretty uncalled for. The most intimate relationships in my life are with people who are sexual. The clear communication, honesty, and trust on which these relationships are built is what makes them successful, not our sexual orientations.

>> Being pissed at a sexual person for continuing to have a sex drive whether they are with an asexual or not is just plain silly, though.

It is silly, and I never suggested that anyone be pissed at anyone.
Posted by Sara Beth Brooks on February 3, 2011 at 6:16 PM · Report this
26
@22

You incorrectly assume that I'm not looking at things from the sexual perspective. Of course I am looking at it from the sexual perspective as well. No one, least of all me, is saying that any people should be forced to stay together, or that if deceit is involved there shouldn't be an addressing of that deceit.

My point, to Dan, is that without an understanding of how asexuals view relationships (which is wholly different than how most sexuals view relationships), how does he expect to give advice on the topic? And to suggest that we should only date our own, well, yes, I think that's pretty uncalled for. The most intimate relationships in my life are with people who are sexual. The clear communication, honesty, and trust on which these relationships are built is what makes them successful, not our sexual orientations.

>> Being pissed at a sexual person for continuing to have a sex drive whether they are with an asexual or not is just plain silly, though.

It is silly, and I never suggested that anyone be pissed at anyone.
Posted by Sara Beth Brooks on February 3, 2011 at 6:17 PM · Report this
27
To speak for the asexuals here (and try to come across as sensible), most of us do have the sense to date other Ace folks, or have open relationships, or whatever. For myself, I'm aromantic as well as asexual, which makes things way simpler. Gotta say I count my blessings that way.

As to why asexuals might want to date sexual people: There aren't many of us. Even allowing for all the various ways to be or degrees of asexual, it's a TINY portion of the population. (For very clear reasons, of course. Having a sex drive results in having offspring. Asexuality is going to be rare in any species that's successfully evolved.) While there's beginning to be an asexual community, there aren't a lot of mixers, so to speak. A romantically inclined asexual is very likely to fall for someone sexual. Emotions, love, etc. All that junk. Not much different from the way a gay man might fall for a straight dude. But since society plays down the need for sexual compatibility and asexuals don't usually get how important sex is going to be (it's hard to intellectualize, I must say), there aren't going to be the inherent barriers to the above-referenced gay/straight relationship. So it happens. And it usually ends poorly unless they're the sort of Ace who's not put off by sex, just indifferent, and can fake it. Rare, and not good for anyone, but that's why.

And as to why some (whiny/entitled/selfish/naive) asexuals feel that anyone telling them not to date this way is a big ol' meanypants? It's not something asexuals do, really, it's something people do when they feel offensive. Think of that wince-inducing, militant atheist you know, or the shrill harridan of a Childfree obsessive, or some insufferable Yankees fan. You'll usually find they grew up in some horrid Christianity-steeped small town, were harassed constantly by their mother about grandkids, or... Hell, I don't know what's up with Yankees fans. Bottom line: When society pressures you to be something you're not, you get defensive and angry and difficult. Sometimes that energy manifests in useful ways, like building up the Asexual community. Or at least harmless ways, like soapboxing at every possible opportunity about every possible over-intellectualized term for all the tiny variants on human sexuality ever (ugh). Sometimes, though, you become an evangelical, a self-righteous parody of what once was inflicted on you. It's sad, but it sure as hell happens. And everyone else laughs.

P.S. Commenter 9, it's destructive and negative to characterize asexuals as losers who just can't get laid or morons who don't know what they're missing. It's not destructive and negative to point out that asexuals don't generally want to have sex with people and should take that into account when making decisions. Please stop advocating for me. I wish you all the best.
More...
Posted by Sibby on February 3, 2011 at 6:25 PM · Report this
Canuck 28
Thank you, gus! no one's ever given me a rimshot before...

Hope Dan got out of Ottawa okay and down to his lunch date with the president...
Posted by Canuck on February 3, 2011 at 6:26 PM · Report this
29
Dan was annoyed that a minimally sexual person wasn't dating other like him. I don't think he'd have been writing to Dan if it was *that* easy to find others like him. Not that he shouldn't try. But NSNA's letter was merely asking Dan about the *possibility* of whether a normal would date him... He was merely curious.
Posted by Brie on February 3, 2011 at 6:27 PM · Report this
30
@25 Read again. Dan isn't saying you should only date your own.
Posted by p.burke on February 3, 2011 at 6:27 PM · Report this
31
@20 I'm tripping over your statement: "Anyone who has a partner who doesn't appreciate their sexual orientation should probably reevaluate their relational priorities." From the tone of your posts I'm reading this as "Anyone who has a partner [and] doesn't appreciate the partner's sexual orientation should probably reevaluate [his or her] sexual priorities."

Are you recommending that sexuals who eventually find out that their partners are asexual/minimal delve deep and figure out what is really important in a relationship. WTF? Shouldn't people know their partners' orientations long before the relationship gets serious. That's what Dan has always advocated.

If you poll the men out there, I bet you'll find that frequency of sex is amongst the top three reasons for their getting into serious relationships/marriage. It probably ranks right up there with companionship and emotional support. For women, it's probably amongst their top five (I would estimate...tell me if I'm wrong ladies).

I personally don't see much room for reevaluating a typical man's "relational priorities" around this issue. Or a woman's, for that matter.
Posted by Approaching 40 in LA on February 3, 2011 at 6:29 PM · Report this
32
@31

Thanks for clarifying:

>> Anyone who has a partner [and] doesn't appreciate the partner's sexual orientation should probably reevaluate [his or her] sexual priorities

No, this is not what I meant. What I meant was: Anyone who has a partner [and that partner does not] doesn't appreciate the [first person's] partner's sexual orientation should probably reevaluate [his or her] relational [as in relationships] priorities.

What I intended that to mean was: if you're in a relationship with someone who doesn't respect your orientation [bi, straight, ace, or otherwise], then I hope you're re-evaluating whether or not that person is someone worth continuing to have a relationship with (relational priority).

@27 I never intended to advocate for you individually. This type of commentary makes me very protective of the asexual community and evokes a strong response from me (and, as seen above, occasionally unclear syntax). No one else was speaking up, so I'm glad you're here to provide another asexual perspective.
Posted by Sara Beth Brooks on February 3, 2011 at 6:42 PM · Report this
33
@27, this line of your comment: "And it usually ends poorly unless they're the sort of Ace who's not put off by sex, just indifferent, and can fake it." was jarring. Indifference is so much worse that someone who is put off by sex.

I think one of the things that asexuals fail to take into account is that a healthy sex life isn't just the frequency of sexual activity. A healthy sex life requires desire. Even if I had someone who was willing to endure daily sex with me because he knew it was an important factor in my relationship, it wouldn't satisfy me if I didn't feel that he desired me. Being wanted by your partner is one of the sexiest things about sex.
Posted by Humorless on February 3, 2011 at 6:44 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 34
Maybe the guy was just worn out from his four younger girlfriends.

Speaking of that, did you see Maria Schneider died...and man, did she age badly!

I think if Marlon Brando had seen her at 58 he wouldn't have been crying at that dance hall in Paris.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://www.you-read-it-here-first.com on February 3, 2011 at 7:02 PM · Report this
35
@33: That's been mentioned to me, now that you mention it, and I guess it makes sense. It's rather like learning about a different religion or a language unrelated to one you actually speak, I think. There are all these rules completely obvious to the natives that no one ever feels the need to explain and that seem damned arbitrary if you're not in the loop. That said, my intention was more to point out that there are asexuals who think sex is icky, who think sex is just kinda weird, or who think sex is just fine or even kinda fun, just not a driving force (that last one would be gray asexual or "minimally sexual," as we're going with here). And some people in the latter two categories can work things out with sexual partners that seem to work. Don't ask me how. I've never gone digging for details.
Posted by Sibby on February 3, 2011 at 7:15 PM · Report this
TVDinner 36
@34: Well, at least Marlon Brando aged gracefully.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on February 3, 2011 at 7:20 PM · Report this
37
Asexuals shouldn't be the least offended by Dan's advice to NSNA, since NSNA doesn't consider himself part of the asexual community.

Dan's advice is realistic and honest even if sometimes offered a little more bluntly than sensitive people can handle. If someone has come to terms with the fact that they are asexual, then when they date non-asexuals they have a responsibility to be honest about that fact and should be prepared to offer a reasonable, nonmonogamous compromise -- or else they are setting themselves up to fail, period.

If an asexual insists on hiding their asexuality from their romantic partner, or insists on monogamy with their romantic partner even while resenting their partner's normal sexual needs, or not providing for their partner's normal sexual needs, then the asexual should not complain when their partners are deeply unhappy, or when their partners cheat on them, or when their partners dump them, or when their partners write to snarky sex advice columnists for help.

Or they can avoid all the heartbreak and drama by finding partners with compatible sex drives. Like the rest of us have to do.
Posted by Ianto S. on February 3, 2011 at 7:21 PM · Report this
Canuck 38
I'm getting the feeling that trying to explain the importance of sex to someone who identifies as asexual is like trying to describe colour to a blind person. I completely agree with @31 (approaching 40) and @33 (humorless) re: their descriptions of sex within a relationship. And yes, app 40, from the limited sample size of my friends, I'd say that sex is in the top three for men (probably ranking pretty close to #1) and while not typical of the average sex-positive Slogette, I'd say for the average married woman, your "top 5" estimate is probably pretty close (if not a bit generous.) What I'm taking away from the explanation by @32 (Sara Beth Brooks) is that there's more to a relationship than sex, and if your sexual partner doesn't see this, and appreciate you for the asexual person you are, you'd do well to move on. The problem with presenting it that way is that you make the sexual person sound like an unfeeling horndog who is simply too unevolved to appreciate you. I think because you ( the asexual person) don't really "get" this level of importance, you perhaps think, "well, I'm so interesting, and we have all this stuff in common, yet he's letting this minor quirk get in the way of a real relationship." It's not like that. For most people, sex is what separates a relationship from a friendship.

*and I think there's a big difference between people who have been together for a while, and something happens, either over time or suddenly that takes sex out of the relationship, but because you have so much invested, you decide to stay together in a sexless relationship, and this other idea of people who come together as one sexual and one asexual, and then think they'll work it out.
Posted by Canuck on February 3, 2011 at 7:25 PM · Report this
39
Just a comment about the guy who doesn't understand why his friend doesn't like bacon but keeps his mouth shut about it her preferences and thinks Dan should keep his own shut when people ASK him for advice about the relationships they're having with people (not pork products):

If the bacon wrote to Dan and said that he was having this amazing relationship with a vegetarian and everything was great but she didn't want to eat him and said that she never would, I assume Dan would offer similar advice to the bacon as he has to the sexuals dating asexuals: break up with the vegetarian and go find an omnivore who thinks you're delicious and craves your bacony goodness and wants to eat you all the time.
Posted by ignatz ratzkywatzky on February 3, 2011 at 7:35 PM · Report this
40
I don't usually post anonymously but this is a bit personal... One of the reasons I'm single and will always be single is I have issues. Lots & lots of issues that I didn't get a handle on until my mid-forties. It was always my feeling that I shouldn't even try to interact with the 'normal' folks until I got my own shit together. Most people don't want a work in progress & I don't fault them for that. Adulthood is not the time to do the things you should've done as an adolescent.

I used to think I was asexual but I'm not. I was just always afraid of getting close to people. I'm sure some people who claim to be asexual are trying forge an identity for themselves and that's the best they can come up with. "I'm not interested in sex" sounds a lot better than "I'm terrified of sex." I'm not saying asexuals don't exist. I'm just saying that in my personal opinion anyone over the age of 30 who takes pride in being a virgin/asexual is probably just trying to figure out a way to make the best of an unusual situation. I don't tell people about my 'situation'. Ever. On the off chance I ever meet anyone where intimacy is a possibility I'd certainly let them know. I'm only posting to say that Dan is right. If you know what you're like then you have to come clean with anyone you're close to and don't be surprised at what happens if you spring this on them well into the relationship.

I applaud Dan for always being forthright with people. He's helped me immensely in the last few years. My only regret is I didn't discover his advice when I was much younger.
Posted by elizabeth 1960 on February 3, 2011 at 7:38 PM · Report this
Aly 41
Would I want to date a gay man? No. I expect sex out of a relationship because I'm a sexual person. If I went around proclaiming how upset I was because gay men wouldn't date me, everyone would tell me that I was being ridiculous.

How would that be different if I was to date someone who is asexual? If I expect sex out of a relationship, I'd be an asshole to pursue one with a person who did not want to have sex with me.

And sure, some people discover that they're asexual while they're in a relationship. Some people discover that they're gay when they're in a relationship. You know what happens? They break up.

Guess what? Sexuality is an important factor in a relationship.
Posted by Aly on February 3, 2011 at 7:46 PM · Report this
I Hate Screen Names 42
Maybe I'm being overly sensitive as well, but I get the impression that @32 is advocating for "relationship ambush":
if you're in a relationship with someone who doesn't respect your orientation [bi, straight, ace, or otherwise], then I hope you're re-evaluating whether or not that person is someone worth continuing to have a relationship with (relational priority).
Here's the thing: those of us who are sexual would likely categorically refuse to date a known asexual at the inception of the relationship. So we wouldn't end up in that situation in the first place.

So it sounds to me like @32 is knowingly or unknowingly advocating for trickery: date a person for a while, maybe get married, maybe have a couple kids, and then spring the asexuality on them. This strikes me as a complete asshole move. IMO, self-aware asexuals have an obligation to identify as such at the beginning of the relationship, before the other person is too invested.

To see why, @32, consider another relationship characteristic that most people consider really really important: monogamy. Suppose I'm polyamorous, but I don't let me girlfriend know about this aspect of my sexuality. While I don't actively lie, I certainly allow her to believe that I, like most people, aspire to monogamy. I may even refrain from dating anyone else for a while. Maybe we get married, maybe we have a couple kids. And once she's locked down, I spring my polyamory on her, and tell her that henceforth I will be dating and sleeping with the hot 20-something in my office. That would be quite the dick move, right?
Posted by I Hate Screen Names on February 3, 2011 at 7:57 PM · Report this
43
@42:

Boy that really was the most misunderstood comment. No, I don't endorse or condone trickery in any way. Like you, I believe in (and practice) self-disclosure of asexuality at the beginning of any relationship I am in.

Let me try to restate my thought once more: if you are in a relationship with doesn't respect you, it's time re-evaluate that relationship. This exists when asexuals don't respect sexuality in sexuals. This exists when sexuals don't respect asexuality in asexuals. This exists when sexuals don't respect sexuals for reasons other than their orientation. This exists when asexuals don't respect asexuals for reasons other than their orientation.

I hope that makes my thought clear.
Posted by Sara Beth Brooks on February 3, 2011 at 8:17 PM · Report this
Vampireseal 44
I'm asexual, and I'm not sure why anyone is offended by Dan's response either. Granted, I'm an aromantic asexual--the whole lovey-dovey sex thing was never for me in any form. However, I always took it for granted that romantic asexuals just dated other romantic asexuals.

Still, asexuals are a minority and find another asexual could be difficult. I suspect any issues arising between sexuals and asexuals are coming from asexuals in denial of their asexuality. Think of gays that married someone of the opposite sex to prove to themselves and others that they were straight. Asexuals have done the same thing. This is why I believe in increasing visibility for asexuals--all too often we are told growing up that we aren't asexual, we're just late bloomers, and wow surprise surprise when marrying someone doesn't makes us sexual. I think (and hope) that with increased awareness, people can start realizing their orientation and date accordingly (for those asexuals that date, that is--you're not going to see me in the dating pool anytime soon).
Posted by Vampireseal on February 3, 2011 at 8:26 PM · Report this
45
So what, SBB, is the problem? If people should be with other people whose values and expectations line up with their own, as everyone has been advocating all along, what is the point of all your arguing?

What is the purpose of all your advocating? The right to not have sex? Granted. The right to not be defined by your sexuality? Granted. That's the same thing we all want. No one here knows whether I fuck men, women, or both, and no one could care less. I do not care who you fuck or whether you fuck, so stop trying to make us all care. Have meaningful relationships with people of all sexualities, have sex with them, don't have sex with them, who cares.

Maybe your problem is that people aren't excluding you from relationships because you're asexual, they're excluding you because you never shut up about it.
Posted by Humorless on February 3, 2011 at 8:27 PM · Report this
Oh Suzanna 46
I completely agree that a partner who is objects to your sexuality is not worth keeping as a partner.

For that reason (among others) people should be upfront about their sexuality before they partner off so everyone can make an informed decision.

Also (and here is the important part): an asexual who objects to the sexual needs of their sexual partner is not worth staying partnered with! (See first sentence.)

It is all well and good to claim dehumanization and discrimination and plain old meany pantsness, but at least carry the bold statements you make to their logical conclusion Sara Beth Brooks. If someone can't hack staying partnered with and meeting the needs of an asexual or a bisexual than the ace/bi should feel free to dump them. Similarly, if someone can't hack it with a sexual, then they should feel free to find partners more compatible.
Posted by Oh Suzanna on February 3, 2011 at 8:38 PM · Report this
Oh Suzanna 47
@43 - sorry, that comment hadn't posted by the time I started writing mine @46
However, what you say @43 is definitely not what comes across in your earlier posts, especially the first couple. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Posted by Oh Suzanna on February 3, 2011 at 8:41 PM · Report this
Oh Suzanna 48
@47, wait, looking at the timestamps I may have just overlooked the comment @43 because of the whole "unregistered comment" thing. I still stand by what I said in @46 and @47, however.
Posted by Oh Suzanna on February 3, 2011 at 8:43 PM · Report this
49
Thanks, @27, you said it perfectly.

To reiterate one of your points: the reason we asexuals don't date other asexuals is because there are so few of us.

In theory, it's a great idea. In practice, it means we're outta luck.

We should work harder to host mixers and make our own online dating site, etc. We definitely should. But even if I had the online profile of every asexual within 200 miles, the numbers say that I wouldn't find anyone compatible. I'd still be better off trying to find a sexual person who will go on a date with me knowing that I'm asexual. Why would any sexual date an asexual? As we know, sometimes when two people are in love, there's some big obstacle. Sometimes it's a deal-breaker, and sometimes they work out a compromise. My odds are better going this route. Remember, when you imagine an asexual, you're probably imagining an unappealing stranger. Instead, picture someone you love, and imagine how you would feel if they were "minimal". It changes the equation when it's someone you care about.

(And yes, of course it's never okay for an asexual/"minimal"/anyone to trick someone else into dating them by withholding the fact that they have a low or no sex drive. That's clearly wrong and completely unacceptable)

(And, yes, this is the same reason bisexuals don't date other bisexuals.)
Posted by crater on February 3, 2011 at 8:54 PM · Report this
Flying Monkey of Froth 50
Since being "minimally sexual" seems to be more common among women than among men, I'd think that a "minimally sexual" man would be a good catch if he found a way to market himself to the right community. There's probably a dating website for them somewhere. My point being -- DISCLOSE!
Posted by Flying Monkey of Froth on February 3, 2011 at 9:03 PM · Report this
51
Asexuals shouldn't inflict themselves on on normals. Simple, sane practical advice; why do so many people these days have trouble hearing the truth?

Believe me, I've been there. Dating an Asexual is hell. Being constantly rejected by somebody who claims to love you is pure torture and destroys your self-esteem.

Does Asexual = Sadist? That's what you become when you trick a normal person into dating you. Stick with partners who share your particular sex drive if you really want to find happiness instead of spreading misery.

Posted by RayRand on February 3, 2011 at 9:45 PM · Report this
Neptune 52
First, I can't help but think - in regard to this post and the original column - that minimally sexual individuals could try dating extremely pious catholics. Right? I mean, a very good friend of mine is a crazy, traditional catholic. So catholic, she believes in waiting until marriage for sex, and that, to quote her, "the POINT of having sex is to create children." I can't even imagine how impressed and delighted she'd have been if she'd met and dated a minimally sexual guy while she was still on the market (she recently married a normal guy who is apparently capable of putting up with her crazy). He'd have said things like, "I'm fine with waiting until marriage. Let's just kiss for now," and "Well, of course the point of sex is to make children. That's why I don't want to do it very much until I'm ready to be a dad," and OMG, she would've fallen head-over-heels for that guy. But like I said, she's a little crazy, and I realize most catholics aren't that traditional these days. Still, I think at least hypothetically, a minimally sexual dude could land a traditional catholic girlfriend and keep her happy whilst impressing her with his "godly" morals. Or maybe that's just the satirical version of the situation..?

Second, I am a meat eater, and I think bacon is somewhat gross and mostly boring. However, I feel the same way about steak, so I'm obviously not a mainstream meat eater.
Posted by Neptune on February 3, 2011 at 9:54 PM · Report this
seandr 53
@43: What you are saying now is exactly what Dan said.

You seem to think that "asexuals" are some kind of oppressed minority. Bullshit. Victorian prudes are plenty empowered in our society. Look at all the abstinence education programs our government funds. Look at all the clergy preaching that sex is for baby making only, not pleasure. And when your partners inevitably cheat on your sexually frigid ass, our culture condemns them, not you.

You are not oppressed. You are not misunderstood. It's the people who like the sex that need to fight for their rights, not you.

Get a clue, or as Dan advised, go away.
Posted by seandr on February 3, 2011 at 10:09 PM · Report this
54
I think the issue is that there are no good spaces for asexual people to find each other. Sure, there are a few meetup groups... in the world. But have you ever heard of an asexual bar? And if you want something like a borderline-asexual bar, you should just give up now.

Gray-asexuals like me have only a few options: 1. Using an asexual dating site, getting extremely lucky, and being satisfied with a sexless relationship, 2. Pursuing friendships instead, or 3. Dating in normal spaces and finding a partner with whom compromise is possible.

I prefer the last option. If you think that sounds impossible, then obviously you are not the kind of person who would be compatible, and you're also projecting your experiences onto everyone else.

@52: WTF makes you think I would be okay with dating a pious Catholic? I am pretty sure that would be a much bigger problem than anything sex-related.
Posted by Siggy m on February 3, 2011 at 11:11 PM · Report this
55
I think the issue is that there are no good spaces for asexual people to find each other. Sure, there are a few meetup groups... in the world. But have you ever heard of an asexual bar? And if you want something like a borderline-asexual bar, you should just give up now.

Gray-asexuals like me have only a few options: 1. Using an asexual dating site, getting extremely lucky, and being satisfied with a sexless relationship, 2. Pursuing friendships instead, or 3. Dating in normal spaces and finding a partner with whom compromise is possible.

I prefer the last option. If you think that sounds impossible, then obviously you are not the kind of person who would be compatible, and you're also projecting your experiences onto everyone else.

@52: WTF makes you think I would be okay with dating a pious Catholic? I am pretty sure that would be a much bigger problem than anything sex-related.
Posted by Siggy m on February 3, 2011 at 11:13 PM · Report this
56
@49 I can't picture being in love with an asexual person, because that would never happen. One of three things would happen. a) The asexual person discloses their asexuality when they should, after a few dates, and then the relationship would end, disqualifying them from being someone I would fall in love with. OR b) The asexual person either lies to me, or is still uncertain about their asexuality. We have sex and I can tell that they aren't into it. The relationship would end.
Posted by display name on February 3, 2011 at 11:14 PM · Report this
CharlesF 57
@40, well said, I agree 100%.

In particular I think that the line in NSNA's letter where he strongly implied that one of his reasons for not desiring sex was a "lack of confidence" proved that his reaching for "asexuality" was really, in truth, a defense mechanism against his internalized idea that if he had wanted sex, and not been able to get it, that was somehow far worse than not wanting it and not getting it. I agree with dan. If you really are into asexuality, you should come clean from the get-go so your partner knows what they're signing up for. (Yeah, Sara Beth Brooks, you obviously don't think sex is a big part of a relationship, and that's your rightful opinion, but most men would not agree). And if anyone is just saying that "I guess I'm asexual" because they are intimidated by the intimacy of sex, don't. If you're like most people, just try sex, you'll screw it up the first few times, but you'll get better at it and enjoy it more as you practice. I am not denying that there are real, honest and honorable asexuals out there who really think that sex is boring as all hell and don't want anything to do with it--those people deserve respect and dignity--but I'm sure that there may also be some young, inexperienced people out there who are reaching a little too eagerly for a label to put on themselves so they can shoehorn into a community.
Posted by CharlesF on February 3, 2011 at 11:29 PM · Report this
sirkowski 58
She should totally eat bacon or at least feel bad about it.
Posted by sirkowski http://www.missdynamite.com on February 3, 2011 at 11:31 PM · Report this
59
Sibby, thanks for your comments.

And, it sounded to me like NSNA may be suffering from physical and/or mental issues unrelated to his sex drive itself. A lack of confidence or stamina aren't necessarily reasons to give up on sex. I'd advise him to get in touch with his body through exercise, and to get evaluated for depression. Not to pathologize people who are actually asexual or minimally sexual, but I'm not sure NSNA truly belongs to that group.
Posted by planned barrenhood on February 3, 2011 at 11:45 PM · Report this
60
@57
I'm pretty sure most self-identified asexuals tell their partners about it. I don't know why Dan Savage makes it out like we're trying to hide or trick people. On the contrary, I tell partners before we even date, and then they tend to forget it or not take it seriously enough.

The asexuals who don't tell are the ones who are in denial about it, because they're told that they just "lack confidence" or something like that. You are part of the problem.
Posted by Siggy m on February 3, 2011 at 11:50 PM · Report this
Bonefish 61
Well, if she seeks your advice on bacon, then you no longer have an obligation to keep your mouth shut, do you?

Geniuses, these people with their analogies.
Posted by Bonefish http://5bmisc.blogspot.com/ on February 4, 2011 at 12:05 AM · Report this
62
Leaving aside the specific case of NSNA, it seems to me to be true that (a) Dan is right in suggesting asexual people should try to date only similarly asexual people, and (b) that the Philadelphia Asexual Examiner is also right in saying that people make mistakes, that realizing one's sexuality is different from the models one sees and reads about in the media is a difficult and lengthy process, and that being afraid that they'll be abandoned by people they love if they reveal their asexuality is also a human, albeit wrong, feeling. I'll bet many asexuals (like gays in the past, or many kinds of kinksters in the present) first get the impression they're the only person in the world who feels that way in the beginning, and are thus afraid that if they reveal their asexuality that'll mean never having any meaningful romantic relations ever in their lives.

I mean, asexuals don't HAVE to ALWAYS be just manipulative jerks who love to torture sexuals. They may simply be misguided people who don't really understand the situation -- just like most of us.

Maybe what's necessary is that Sex Ed at school becomes a topic in which all those various forms of sexuality are acknowledged and discussed -- so that people could start figuring out how they feel and how strongly they feel about sex as soon as possible and thereby avoid some of the most obvious -- and most tragic -- mistakes.
Posted by ankylosaur on February 4, 2011 at 12:08 AM · Report this
63
Siggy_m, that's my point above. But don't make the opposite mistake, i.e. don't imagine that sexuals who criticize asexuals are just trying to oppress/persecute/throw stones at them. No -- sexuals can also be confused about asexuals and their reasons for doing things (because, after all, asexuals, just like sexuals, have all kinds of personalities with all kinds of other potential problems and issues as well; nobody is really simple).

The big problem here is not whether X or Y is "part of the problem", but a lack of information about what's out there and how you should react. People who assume we all should be sexual -- be they sexual or asexual (and you and I know there are both kinds in this population) -- are the ones more likely to judge asexuals as either "lacking in confidence" or "traumatized", or as "manipulative jerks."

What should happen is people should get to know more about that. And people should learn to be more sincere about their sexual tendencies, as soon as whatever relationship they're involved in starts moving towards the sexual area. At most after the few first dates.
Posted by ankylosaur on February 4, 2011 at 12:12 AM · Report this
64
@53 asexuals are as much Victorian prudes as gay men are eternally damned sodomites. Go fuck yourself. I'm asexual. I don't disagree with the advice given to this guy. It's spot on. Date people whose sex drives are compatible with yours that's about it. Duh. I mean he obviously has contempt for asexuals because his only real exposure to them is a bunch of whining assholes who get themselves into these fucked up relationships and then complain about when their sexual partner wants to find greener pastures. It's annoying. Even I'm annoyed by them. Go meet potential dates at amine conventions and stop bothering people who need a little forking before their spooning. BUT if a sexual knowingly gets wrapped up in a relationship like this then they are as much to blame for the mess. All people need to do is be up front and communicate honestly with potential partners. Not even sure why this guy had to ask his advice in the first place. I wish Dan could resist his apparently strong impulse to marginalize all asexuals as sadistic people who lure unwitting sexuals into relationships for the purpose denying them sex. I know perfectly sexual people who entertain themselves in this sick fashion. I also wish some asexuals weren't on the warpath all the time. People are going to say offensive shit. That is life. At least we aren't getting beat up for it.
Posted by Asexual and annoyed on February 4, 2011 at 12:28 AM · Report this
65
This is why I believe in increasing visibility for asexuals--all too often we are told growing up that we aren't asexual, we're just late bloomers, and wow surprise surprise when marrying someone doesn't makes us sexual.


To complexify the issue, @44, there ARE people who really are late bloomers -- if you told them they're simply asexual and they identified as such, what would happen when their sexual impulse started growing? Would they feel like they're "betraying" the asexual community? Would they also, in turn, jump to the conclusion that all asexuals are "late bloomers" too?

People should stop paying attention to labels and start paying attention to people. Including themselves.
Posted by ankylosaur on February 4, 2011 at 12:54 AM · Report this
66
We should work harder to host mixers and make our own online dating site, etc. We definitely should. But even if I had the online profile of every asexual within 200 miles, the numbers say that I wouldn't find anyone compatible. I'd still be better off trying to find a sexual person who will go on a date with me knowing that I'm asexual.


This sounds like a gay man saying he's better off trying to date girls, because there are oh so few gay men within a 200-mile radius of his little town. Right?

Yet Dan's advice to such people -- and I believe, also to you -- is: internet, and move. You don't have to limit yourself to a 200-mile radius: if you're interested in looking for long-term happiness, you have to invest time and effort. (And even within the 200-mile radius... have you really looked? People get married in small villages too, where the number of options is small enough that even sexuals would statistically in principle have a hard time finding a compatible match; yet they do...). The internet helps with that, as it has help so many other kinksters (and asexuality is, after all, no different from other kinks, in terms of numbers at least). Secondly, if you move to a larger city, you'll have a larger number of asexuals within that 200-mile radius of yours -- which should make things easier.

Bottom line is: if you marry someone whose sex drive is very different from yours, you'll have a big problem. It doesn't follow that you'll necessarily fail -- but you'll have to tackle that problem, and this may be difficult. Maybe more difficult than looking for another asexual, even if it means more than 200 miles.
Posted by ankylosaur on February 4, 2011 at 1:00 AM · Report this
67
There seems to be some confusion in the letters about who is oppressing whom, asexuals or sexuals. Or if there is any oppression at all.

Let's leave aside the world "oppression" (in many cases it's a misnomer anyway). Do sexuals and asexuals suffer because of their orientations? I think the answer is yes.

For sexuals, about asexuals: of course you should see that asexuals suffer in a society in which the idea of love and sex is becoming more and more intertwined. So much is said about sex these days that it's probably hard to grow up as an asexual being told all the time that "sex is terribly important." Let's say it probably feels like growing up as a closet atheist in the middle of a religious community. And since you don't know everything while you're growing up, you can internalize all kinds of low-self-esteem bullshit because of that; or force yourself to do things you don't want to do just because you're told you're supposed to like them, "like everybody else." That can create confusing thoughts and beliefs about where your self-worth comes from, and if anybody is ever going to like or love you.

For asxeuals, about sexuals: despite the current omnipresence of sex in the media, still sex is one of the most misunderstood aspects of a sexual's life. We hear conflicting information on sex: it's good but it's bad, it's healthy but you should hide it, it's beautiful but it's icky, etc. etc. etc. If you like it, while growing up, you can become confused by these images and end up feeling like you're strange, attracted to something icky, like a person who has an embarrassing, shameful addiction. Especially for boys, who supposedly have a higher sex drive: a girl who refuses them may simply be asexual -- in which case it's not the boy's fault -- but it's sometimes sooo easy to fall into the trap of believing that you're just an animal who keeps obsessing about icky ugly things while the woman you love is this angel of kindness who is free of this icky obsession so you must be the wrong guy, and why can't you be as good as she is, etc. etc. etc -- can you imagine how bad this can be for his self-esteem? And if the woman is simply asexual, it's all unnecessary suffering, because there are sexual women who would be delighted to do the icky ugly thing with him.

Ergo, there's suffering on both sides, in both cases coming from lack of sufficient information and from stereotypes about what sex is or isn't. Our society clearly needs to evolve.
More...
Posted by ankylosaur on February 4, 2011 at 1:13 AM · Report this
Canuck 68
siggy @60, I think you're missing what CharlesF @57 is saying. He's not saying that all asexuals are simply inexperienced and nervous and should give sex a try, he's saying that some of the people who are young and identify as asexual may be doing so out of insecurity rather than true asexuality.

The other part, where you are dating people who are not asexual, because it's hard to find other asexuals, seems understandable on your part--who wouldn't want a bigger dating pool?--but so unfair to sexual people. It's one thing to consider opening a years-long relationship when one of the partners becomes asexual, but why would a sexual person be willing to do that from the get go? You say that for some sexual people (presumably the ones you would date) when they fall in love, they are willing to compromise. That seems like a pretty huge thing to expect a sexual person to compromise on. Partners who are both sexual have enough trouble sorting out slightly different sex drives, I can't imagine beginning a relationship with that sort of stumbling block. I think if asexual people truly understood how important sex is in a relationship (for sexual people), they wouldn't ask sexual people to compromise on it.
Posted by Canuck on February 4, 2011 at 6:14 AM · Report this
69
I'm SHOCKED to find out that there are a huge number of people out there who make absolutely no effort to understand how others experience their lives. Black is not white, gay is not straight, sexual is not asexual, and on and on. Deal with it already!
Posted by jenesasquatch on February 4, 2011 at 6:45 AM · Report this
70
Wow, #9 is one of the most misfiring brains you will meet here.

Talk about totally misconstruing the issues.
Posted by no funny name, too annoyed on February 4, 2011 at 7:25 AM · Report this
seandr 71
@64: While not all asexuals go on to become Victorian prudes or clergy, quite a few of you have. History is abundant with powerful and self-righteous asexuals who have vigorously imposed their distaste for sex on the rest of us, using religion and other moral frameworks to bully and persecute "sexual deviants" and restrict sexual freedoms.

Given this history, it's ridiculous for Sarah Beth Brooks to play the victim card. Maybe she was bullied, but I'm guessing she was targeted because she's a social misfit, not because she is disinterested in sex. (And of course, that doesn't justify the bullying.)
Posted by seandr on February 4, 2011 at 7:52 AM · Report this
72
What I took the much maligned Sara Beth to be trying to say was that a gentle tone towards asexuals - who might, like many young gay youth be struggling with their identity and grieving the loss of having a perceived "normal" relationship - might have been more kind and helpful. I thought she was saying that asexuals could benefit from the same support demonstrated in the it gets better project.
Posted by coda on February 4, 2011 at 9:16 AM · Report this
73
It was unfortunate, however, that she started her first post with the race reference because that undermined what followed.
Posted by coda on February 4, 2011 at 9:21 AM · Report this
yookah 74
When are people going to stop expecting Dan to be 'compassionate'?
Posted by yookah on February 4, 2011 at 9:58 AM · Report this
75
Sure it's tough to find other asexuals (I guess, I've never gone looking for any) but guess what? No one has an inalienable right to have a partner in life. There are plenty of sexual folks out there who'd like to be in a relationship but for one reason or another, aren't.

If you can't find someone you're compatible with, you don't get to be in a relationship. You certainly don't get the right to mislead people so they'll make decisions they'd never make if they were fully informed.
Posted by RealityBites on February 4, 2011 at 10:05 AM · Report this
76
@3 masturbation does not equal sex drive, I don't find solo sex very entertaining at all but I have a very high sex drive with my partner.

Second, I just want to reiterate that it is not always the man who has a greater sex drive, though the predominance of that has certainly led many a woman with a high sex drive to feel like she was the one with the problem when she was with a man with a lower sex drive. The fact still remains that regardless of the gender of the participants, closely matched sex drives make for happier relationships.

Also, what seems to keep recurring is this idea that asexuals should go ahead and date whomever and as long as they soon after they start dating, disclose their asexuality, it will be ok. Well, if they disclose and the person they are dating is willing to work with that, find some sort of compromise, then congratulations! They just found a minimally sexual person to date. Because a very sexual person will probably call that a deal breaker.

I think the thing here is that for most of us more sexual people the thing that makes something "a relationship" and not a friendship, is that added element of sexual desire. Most of us don't have the experience of uncoupling romantic love from sexual desire, and that is fouling up our communication on this subject. Us sexuals don't get it when an asexual says they want to date someone and not have sex, and the asexuals don't get it when we say but it's just a friendship without the sex. I think its valuable for us to try to listen to each other and better understand each other's viewpoints, but I'd still back Dan on saying that even within the ranges of moderately sexual to very sexual, we're all going to do better in relationships with people who closely match our sex drive.
More...
Posted by jubjubbird on February 4, 2011 at 10:28 AM · Report this
77
great! now all the timid men are going to be branded nonsexuals or whatever. the typical male thinks with his dick. the hell with guys who dont?
Posted by heybabywannafuck on February 4, 2011 at 10:28 AM · Report this
78
I'm minimally sexual, my wife has a sex drive like no other. We've found that my watching her masturbate daily and saying a few pre-determined phrases (yeah, I like that, you dirty girl, you love ****ing yourself don't you, ect) sates her desires and also arouses me more than avoiding sex in all forms, as I would if left to my own devices. I don't understand people who feel the need to leave someone who is minimally sexual instead of trying to find a happy middle. If I had my way 100% we'd have sex maybe 3 times a year. If my wife had her way we'd have it at least 3 times a day. With our agreement she gets sexual pleasure daily, and I feel more sexually aroused and am likely to initiate sex a few times a month. It's not exactly what she wants, but many days it's not what I want either. I'd rather sleep in then get up and watch her in the shower every morning. But it's something I do for her because I love her, and it's something she doesn't do for me because she loves me. Life and love are about finding happiness for yourself and for your partner, not perfection. If I wasn't willing to bend her way she shouldn't be expected to bend my way however. Compromise means both parties give a little to gain a lot. She's given me a much higher sex drive and appreciation for lust and desire, and I've given her an appreciation for non sexual intimacy, like holding each other and doing favors to show love.
Posted by Painy on February 4, 2011 at 10:35 AM · Report this
79
@65 (ankylosaur): "People should stop paying attention to labels and start paying attention to people. Including themselves."

Yes.
Posted by EricaP on February 4, 2011 at 10:36 AM · Report this
80
Point taken, yoohah.
Posted by coda on February 4, 2011 at 10:40 AM · Report this
shw3nn 81
@27
"Think of that wince-inducing, militant atheist you know...sometimes, though, you become an evangelical, a self-righteous parody of what once was inflicted on you. It's sad, but it sure as hell happens. And everyone else laughs."

This is such a pet peeve of mine.

We are called anti-theists. We believe that religion is bad for the human race. It is an opinion we have arrived at through reason and logic, not some childhood wounds you imagine we are nursing. We consider it a cause that we are fighting.

If we annoy you, it is in the way animal rights activists annoy you, or environmental activists annoy you. It is because we loudly and passionately oppose what we perceive to be evil and we do it often.

Fervor is not bad in a vacuum. Fervor is why we don't have slavery any more. It's why women get to vote in this country. Fervor is only bad if it serves something that is ultimately bad for society and the human race. Religious fervor is bad because it's religious, not because it is fervor.

Our spokesmen are four of the most intelligent, coherent, funny/entertaining people on the planet who have a seemingly endless wealth of patience to explain our philosophy over and over and over and have been doing it for more than a decade. One of them is currently dying of cancer, bald from chemo and continues....to.....explain......it.

Just from your characterization of us, you have no idea where we are coming from and have clearly never bothered to find out as this information is readily and widely available.

Yes, we are zealous. Just from this post you can see that I am incredibly zealous about this. You could even prevaricate and call me "evangelical". But please stop talking about why we're so passionate. It's inaccurate, dismissive, and indolent.
More...
Posted by shw3nn on February 4, 2011 at 10:43 AM · Report this
82
@ 71 How can I put this... No. Asexuals have not been responsible for any fucked up repression of sexuality. You sexual folk did all that yourself. How many crazy sex-negative preachers of all stripes are one day found with a mistress or rent boy or whatever poison they most railed against? There are, I reiterate, really, really few asexuals. And most asexuals aren't revolted by sex, just bored and confused. That's usually what happens when you're at odds with your own sexuality or desperate to control everyone else's or both.

@ 81 Sorry to rain on your painfully self-congratulatory parade, but I'm anti-theist. I read lots of Richard Dawkins (though, admittedly, most because of his biology, because I am a nerd), I enjoyed Religulous (even if Bill Mahr is damned annoying sometimes), and so on. You'll notice my qualifications of "wince-inducing" and "militant." I am not attacking people who hold anti-religious views. You'll notice I'm, uh, reading Dan Savage's blog, for instance. I'm attacking the one's who turn every conversation that touches remotely on religion into a rant, that act offended if someone in the room dares be religious, and otherwise behaves exactly like the most insufferable Christian nutjob. Holding views-that I happen to share, thanks-and being passionate about them does not excuse the "Everyone's mean to me and I'm a martyr and now your conversation is mine to fill with blathering rants" school of social interaction, whatever your reason. I'm also childfree, and I'm still aware of the rude, boring, short-fused, dim-witted, and entitled among us. Way to go telling me off, though. I definitely don't think you're any of those things now.

Not a Yankees fan, though. Bleh.
Posted by Sibby on February 4, 2011 at 11:08 AM · Report this
83
@78: I think your solution is brilliant! I especially like how you point out that this arrangement leads to you actually wanting sex more, which is a win-win! Your post illustrates my problem with this "asexual" or "minisexual" label. People are being branded "asexual" when it is really just a matter of not having the right turn-ons or situational comfort. This is not the same as lack of attraction! and it can -- theoretically -- be resolved without drastic knee-jerk solutions like open relationship or DTMFA (which are Dan's #2 and #1 "solutions", it seems).
Posted by mork on February 4, 2011 at 12:32 PM · Report this
84
As another person who identifies as asexual, I wanted to say I appreciated what Dan said about the dating partners working together to try to find a workable solution or compromise--and that if a solution couldn't be found then that's when he advocated ending the dating relationship.

I know there is a previous article that is getting brought up, and maybe past hurt feelings are spilling over from that into some of the comments here?
I did notice Dan posted a comment explaining why he had handled his previous response differently than his response he gave here... )
Which I guess means that I can say thank you, Dan, for how you handled THIS specific response.

Posted by asexual in portland on February 4, 2011 at 12:56 PM · Report this
pastaefagoli 85
@78 thinks people who like to fuck don't engage in non-sexual physical intimacy. While, in reality, the reason why you'd likely come across a lack of non-sexual physical intimacy in a sexless relationship between a sexual and an asexual is because the sexual feels rejected by their asexual partner. I wouldn't hold your hand either.

Additionally, I am in a wonderful, sexually compatible relationship with a man who's sex drive is as high (and sometimes higher, I'll always "lend a hand") as mine. If he was to turn around tomorrow and tell me he was asexual, I'd drop him like a hot rock. Life is too short to not be having all the sex that I want. Sorry asexuals.
Posted by pastaefagoli on February 4, 2011 at 1:48 PM · Report this
86
@5: You're absolutely right, we need an alternative to "DTMFA", it's being overused.

@49: You write:

"Remember, when you imagine an asexual, you're probably imagining an unappealing stranger. Instead, picture someone you love, and imagine how you would feel if they were "minimal". It changes the equation when it's someone you care about."

No it fucking doesn't - it doesn't matter how much I care about someone or how appealing they are, if they're asexual, that is a dealbreaker. There are very few sexual, non-desperate people who would disagree with that. I don't give a shit how sexual my friends are. I very much DO give a shit how sexual potential partners are. That's because I'm a sexual person - if someone else isn't, we're not compatible, period.

And yes, asexuals need to work harder to build connections with each other. That's not the problem of sexual people, though.

@82: I keep hearing about these "tiresome militant atheists", but I've never, ever met one. The atheists I know (myself and pretty much all of my friends) would rather not talk about religion at all. Same goes for the childfree - don't want kids, don't want to talk about kids either.
Posted by Chase on February 4, 2011 at 3:34 PM · Report this
87
@65
The asexual community, generally speaking, tries to cultivate a safe space where people feel free to explore without feeling like they're betraying anyone if they leave. For example, I used to identify as asexual, now I consider myself borderline asexual. It's a different culture from the gay community, which often pressures bisexual men to hide themselves. Is it perfect? Of course not. But it's not nearly as bad as you think.

@68
I know what people say about asexuals, that some of them are just insecure, or that they're late bloomers, or that they have hormone problems, or they're prudes, or they can't get laid, or that it's really because of their gender, their disability, etc etc etc. I've heard it all a million times. Every self-identified asexual has. Seriously, you don't even need to say it. Asexuals are not allowed to even consider the possibility that they are asexual until they have eliminated absolutely everything else. Is it any wonder that asexuals often discover themselves in the middle of a relationship? Some people are always going to be wrong, so why is it so much worse when people wrongly believe they are asexual?

Also, I was talking about compromises between sexuals and gray-asexual/minimally-sexual people, not compromises between sexuals and completely asexual people. If an asexual wants a completely sexless relationship, that is obviously a major obstacle. But for a "minimally-sexual" person, it could be a smaller difference than you might think, depending on the person. And some people are more willing to compromise than others; obviously those who write to Savage are the kind of people who don't deal well with compromise.
Posted by Siggy m on February 4, 2011 at 3:54 PM · Report this
88
@5, 86 - I have used SYNAM (Sorry, You're Not A Match) on occasion - I toyed with Just or Well being in there somewhere, but YJNAM or YJNWM both just looked too weird, and I liked Sorry for emphasis that there is no MF involved. And it can be pronounced in two syllables, an advantage over DTMFA.
Posted by vennominon on February 4, 2011 at 5:49 PM · Report this
89
I don't see why an asexual/grey-a and sexual relationship is doomed to fail. It's all a matter of personal preference and ability to compromise. For some relationships, a person under the asexual umbrella and a sexual person won't work. In some, it would. To generalize and say "An ace/sexual relationship will NEVER work and is doomed to fail," is a)inaccurate and b)insulting. I definitely think that an asexual, or even somebody who is sexual but has a low libido, should be very honest with their partner about their sex life from the get-go. If somebody is accepting of that and willing to compromise, then great, they might even get married and stay married. If the person doesn't seem accepting or doesn't think the relationship can work, it's best that the people stay friends or something.

Also, I can't help but ask why a sexual person's sexual needs always have to trump an asexual person's romantic needs? Seriously. Technically, neither are needs because you CAN, believe it or not, live without romance or sex, but both fill voids in peoples' lives that many people can't live without. To tell an asexual to STFU about their needs just because of their orientation is just plain effed-up. People aren't like ferrets. They don't die if they don't copulate while in heat. You never really hear of people killing themselves because they couldn't get laid. However, people do suffer immense grief, psychological trauma, or are even driven into mania because of (often unrequited, purely romantic) love. That's not to say that romantic needs are /more/ important than sexual ones. I'm just saying that romantic needs are needs too, and they need to be met, and they should be viewed as being just as important and valid as sexual ones.
Posted by deltameequalszero on February 4, 2011 at 8:53 PM · Report this
90
I don't see why an asexual/grey-a and sexual relationship is doomed to fail. It's all a matter of personal preference and ability to compromise. For some relationships, a person under the asexual umbrella and a sexual person won't work. In some, it would. To generalize and say "An ace/sexual relationship will NEVER work and is doomed to fail," is a)inaccurate and b)insulting. I definitely think that an asexual, or even somebody who is sexual but has a low libido, should be very honest with their partner about their sex life from the get-go. If somebody is accepting of that and willing to compromise, then great, they might even get married and stay married. If the person doesn't seem accepting or doesn't think the relationship can work, it's best that the people stay friends or something.

Also, I can't help but ask why a sexual person's sexual needs always have to trump an asexual person's romantic needs? Seriously. Technically, neither are needs because you CAN, believe it or not, live without romance or sex, but both fill voids in peoples' lives that many people can't live without. To tell an asexual to STFU about their needs just because of their orientation is just plain effed-up. People aren't like ferrets. They don't die if they don't copulate while in heat. You never really hear of people killing themselves because they couldn't get laid. However, people do suffer immense grief, psychological trauma, or are even driven into mania because of (often unrequited, purely romantic) love. That's not to say that romantic needs are /more/ important than sexual ones. I'm just saying that romantic needs are needs too, and they need to be met, and they should be viewed as being just as important and valid as sexual ones.
Posted by deltameequalszero on February 4, 2011 at 8:56 PM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 91
@90: "I'm just saying that romantic needs are needs too, and they need to be met, and they should be viewed as being just as important and valid as sexual ones."

Yes, but... if an asexual and a sexual are in a romantic relationship, then the asexual is getting his romantic needs met 100% of the time, while the sexual is getting her sexual needs met... what, 10% of the time? 40%? Whatever the number is, it is less than 100%.

The fact that I have sexual needs does not mean that I do not also have romantic needs. I agree entirely that they are as important and valid as my sexual needs. But if I were in a relationship where only my romantic needs were being met, I would not be satisified.

Incompatible sex drives are a relationship killer. That's okay - lots of other things are. (Incompatible politics, incompatible diets, incompatible pets...) A sexual isn't a bad person for not wanting to be in a relationship with someone who considers their sexual needs to be unimportant.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on February 4, 2011 at 9:32 PM · Report this
92
Why is dan 'so mean' to A-sexuals?
Cos he gets letters like this from sexual people who are fucked up from dating an asexual and trying to make it work.
It's like cruising for dates at Julliard and then telling your Opera singer girlfriend that you actually hate music, and she can't listen to music anymore, ever again. "But she gave up music and says she's happy with me!!" Congratulations, you've given her a heart wrenching decision and killed something beautiful within her. Don't expect any of us to clap.

When you're a sexual person, and you're dating an a-sexual person, that constant rejection can be soul destroying. Sure it may be harder to find a minimally sexual person/asexual person to date, but isn't it better than this emotional violence you could inflict on someone you've essentially tricked into dating you?

It happens to a lot of people. I'm on a forum, on which there is a a-sexual thread, where the a-sexual women congratulate each other on having browbeaten their sexual husbands into not asking for sex anymore. Ever. I think that is a terrible thing to do to someone. It happens a lot, and it's abusive. Cut that shit out.
Posted by Caralain on February 4, 2011 at 9:56 PM · Report this
93
90: Oo, my romantic needs are just as important as your sexual needs!

Fine. Go meet your romantic needs with someone who doesn't have my sexual needs, then. Your whole "just-as-important" formulation totally glosses over that you are asking your partner to go without, for the sake of your Just As Important Needs. Deciding the two of you are incompatible and breaking up is not asking you to go without. Breaking up means both of you get your needs met, albeit each with someone else. Staying in the relationship means at least one of you isn't getting their needs met.
Posted by avast2006 on February 5, 2011 at 2:16 AM · Report this
94
92: "When you're a sexual person, and you're dating an a-sexual person, that constant rejection can be soul destroying."

Yes, this. And the asexual person is never going to understand this. As far as they can tell, it doesn't feel like rejection. To take your metaphor a little farther, it's like a deaf person cruising for dates at Julliard, and then demanding the opera-singer-significant-other gives up singing.
Posted by avast2006 on February 5, 2011 at 2:37 AM · Report this
95
Regarding the response from the "minimal" in the posting, the bacon analogy is pretty half-bac'd.

You personally don't say anything about the bacon to your vegan friend because her distaste for meat doesn't affect anybody else but herself. To be analogous to this situation, there would have to be a carnivore boyfriend who was being made miserable by the vegan's refusal to ever have meat in the house, and refusal to allow him to so much as stop at McD's for a burger. In that case, Dan's advice wouldn't be "C'mon, try the bacon, you don't know what you are missing." It would be "Stupid vegan, don't date carnivores."
Posted by avast2006 on February 5, 2011 at 2:49 AM · Report this
96
@91 and 93: Did you ever think that for some people, satisfying somebody's sexual needs might make somebody feel less romantic, ie they get turned off or feel awkward? Their romantic needs may not be met at 100%, but they might be okay with that because they're open to compromise, as is their partner. You might not be personally open to a relationship that requires that much compromise. Some people are. To assume that NOBODY is open to such a relationship is pretty damn closed-minded. If you don't want to date an asexual, then don't. But don't tell other sexuals that they can't, especially if they /are/ willing to try and make it work. Dan flat-out assumes that just because /he/ isn't willing to compromise and won't feel at all satisfied in such a relationship, nobody is. That is incorrect. Some people, believe-it-or-not, would be willing to date an asexual if they were willing to have some sex or participate in some sort of sexual activity. Some people would not mind being in an open relationship with an asexual. Some people (few, but some) actually could go without sex from their partner, even though they're sexual. Like I said, if you don't want to date an asexual, don't do it. Everyone has their preferences and limits. But don't tell other people that they're being sadistic/cruel/whatever because they're looking for a type of relationship that you would not want to be part of.
Posted by deltameequalszero on February 5, 2011 at 8:34 AM · Report this
shw3nn 97
@81
If you agree with my position, I would ask that you be more clear that you are talking about a minority of passionate, vocal atheists when you deride us in the future.

Just consider doing this favor and, in the future, when you talk about wincing at vocal atheists, just give it a mention that you only really mean those who are obsessed to the point of being almost mentally deranged. Maybe toss it in there that you support vocal, passionate atheism when not taken to the most ludicrous extreme your imagination can provide.

That was an unfair dig. I'm leaving it because I think it's funny but I do think it's possible that you know a person like the one you describe. Though I sort of think you're getting that idea somewhere else.

See, the way you characterize the atheists you meant in your post is exactly how many, many Christians endlessly characterize any and all vocal atheists. Again, I'm not sure how you managed to not know that.

Like, Christians are constantly describing Dawkins the way you described atheists in your post. When Christians want to insult atheists, they say the stuff you said in your post.

It is weird to me that you are so unaware of that. However, now that I have called your attention to that fact, I'm sure you will be more careful about using that sort of characterization yourself.
Posted by shw3nn on February 5, 2011 at 11:10 AM · Report this
98
In reading these comments it seems the big problem here is that when most people mention compromise it comes at the expense of the more sexual partner. As someone who has A LOT of issues I've worked through over the years I have to say that I think it's unfair to expect other people to accommodate me all the time. Being uncomfortable isn't the end of the world. It's a bit presumptuous to put the entire burden of my comfort on another person. Certainly some people are more willing than others to work with me but I have had to be willing to work with them as well. It's only fair.

I like Dan's 'price of admission' idea http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ObrFwjes….
Posted by capricorn44 on February 5, 2011 at 11:57 AM · Report this
99
From the last dozen posts, I am wondering what asexuals mean when they use the term "romantic needs". To me, romantic needs include my human needs for intimacy, sexually suggestive contact, foreplay and sex.

Do asexuals mean companionship, emotional support, physical stress relief (massage), etc. when they use the term "romantic needs"? I can get all of that from my friends, associates and masseuse.
Posted by Approaching 40 in LA on February 5, 2011 at 12:30 PM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 100
@96: "Did you ever think that for some people, satisfying somebody's sexual needs might make somebody feel less romantic, ie they get turned off or feel awkward?"

To be perfectly honest, no, I never thought that. And to be frank, I cannot imagine that this would be the case for a sexual person. If a person is romantically and sexually attracted to someone, having sex would not mean they felt less romantic. Typically it would be the exact opposite.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on February 5, 2011 at 2:52 PM · Report this
101
@99: Many romantic asexuals like to kiss, touch, cuddle, be close to in a way that usually is too close for just friendship, spend a lot of alone time, with their partner(s). You can have intimacy without having sex.

@100: It wouldn't be the case for a sexual person, but for an asexual, it can be very true, and Dan doesn't take that into consideration. An asexual will sometimes be willing to sacrifice some of their comfort and intimacy to have sex, something they might find awkward or even gross, and makes them feel less romantically connected to their partner(s).
Posted by deltameequalszero on February 5, 2011 at 3:46 PM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 102
@101: "An asexual will sometimes be willing to sacrifice some of their comfort and intimacy to have sex, something they might find awkward or even gross, and makes them feel less romantically connected to their partner(s)."

What if this sentence were tweaked to read " A [gay man] will sometimes be willing to sacrifice some of their comfort and intimacy to have sex [with a woman], something they might find awkward or even gross, and makes them feel less romantically connected." Wouldn't that seem ridiculous?

Asexuals want to have their innate sexual orientation to be respected as such. I am happy to grant that. But in return, asexuals need to realize that those with a different orientation, i.e. sexuals, may not want to be in a romantic relationship with them. That doesn't make the sexuals shallow, or incapable of "real" intimacy or romance. It just means that sexuals want to be in relationships with people who have the same orientation.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on February 5, 2011 at 4:25 PM · Report this
103
As an asexual who married a sexual person, we both knew going into our relationship about each others sexual drive and needs. I told him an open relationship was alright with me if he needed it even a poly arrangement was fine with me, but for him it wasn't an issue.

He takes care of his own needs when I'm unable to do so and well its not hurt our marriage any way that I've been made aware of from him, we have open communication between each other as possible and well, just because one party is asexual doesn't mean that a relationship with someone who is sexual can't or will not work. It can and will depending on what both are willing to do within the relationship to make it work.
Posted by KinkyA on February 5, 2011 at 9:46 PM · Report this
104
I keep seeing the word "accommodate" being used as the necessary way to satisfy one's more sexual partner. How sexy is that? I've been a once-or-twice-a-day woman for several decades, and I was married to a twice-a-year guy. He "accommodated my needs" every once in awhile, and I'm telling you, that's exactly what it felt like. I was supposed to feel grateful. And now that I'm all done with him, I'm ready to jump the bones of the first man I encounter. I hope he's maximally sexual.
Posted by Sarah in Olympia on February 5, 2011 at 10:46 PM · Report this
105
@103 KinkyA: You rock. I personally could never live in a relationship under such conditions, but my hat is off to you that you would offer to open up your marriage (apparently not needed, though).

As to your handle...KinkyA...well, there's always tomorrow.
Posted by Approaching 40 in LA on February 6, 2011 at 12:06 AM · Report this
106
@102:"But in return, asexuals need to realize that those with a different orientation, i.e. sexuals, may not want to be in a romantic relationship with them. That doesn't make the sexuals shallow, or incapable of "real" intimacy or romance. It just means that sexuals want to be in relationships with people who have the same orientation."
I think you mean /some/ or /most/ sexuals may not want to be in a romantic relationship with them. On an asexuality forum that I frequent, there are some sexuals who are dating/married to asexuals, and asexuals who are dating/married to sexuals, and their relationships seem to be working. Obviously, such a relationship isn't for everyone. If you have a hetero- or bi/panromantic homosexual (it does happen, guys! Romantic and sexual orientation aren't always the same!) and woman who is sexually attracted to men, their relationship is in no way ridiculous or impossible. Of course, it all is highly dependent on the individuals, and is, as I've stated before, not for everyone.
In no way do I think sexuals are shallow and I have no clue where the hell you got that idea. I know that sexuals are perfectly capable of intimacy and romance. They just want sex as well.

@104: If you don't want to be in a relationship with somebody who is less sexual than you are, then by all means, don't enter into one! I don't think it's shallow or stupid, and even if I did, it shouldn't matter what I think about your relationships. It's all a matter of preference and what the exact needs on both sides are.
Posted by deltameequalszero on February 6, 2011 at 9:01 AM · Report this
107
thanks, avast2006. Glad my metaphor made sense to someone!

deltameequalszero, you make some good points. Yes, a relationship can work between a sexual person and a-sexual person. But it should only work between two honest people.

The problem most people have is the situation where the asexual person doesn't inform their new partner about their asexuality. There are a lot of relationships that start off with the asexual person grudgingly engaging in sex, or give bs reasons as to why they can't have sex (I don't feel well as opposed to I never have any sexual desire, sorry). After they 'secure' the relationship, they choke off sex altogether, and make the other person feel guilty about it. This type of relationship is the one people get upset about not two people happily, honestly figuring out how to reconcile different sex drives. Tricking someone into being in a relationship with you, and not informing them that you have vastly atypical expectations about said relationship would consist of...that is kinda evil.
Posted by Caralain on February 6, 2011 at 10:37 PM · Report this
108
@107: Any good relationship can only work between two honest people. Lying about/leaving out important information of any type in a relationship means the relationship isn't going to work, or at least won't work well.
Posted by deltameequalszero on February 6, 2011 at 11:45 PM · Report this
109
@108, yes, but the point is that there are many asexuals here arguing that they have to deceive sexual people into a relationship because it's so hard to find another asexual person, and that sex doesn't really matter anyway, so they shouldn't be mad. That's effed up.

I also think that asking someone to give up their sexuality is a terrible thing to do to someone, and that asexual people should NOT date people with regular to high libidos, out of compassion for that person, and that they SHOULD stick to minimally sexual people, and be open about their sexuality from the beginning. Does it suck? Probably, but you know what it sucks less than? Being sexually frustrated for the rest of your life.
Posted by Caralain on February 7, 2011 at 1:17 AM · Report this
110
@109: I didn't see any comments where an ace was trying to deceive a sexual into a relationship, but I admit that I haven't read the whole page completely. I think that if the sexual person is okay with giving up some sex, it's their call, and that everyone else should just step back and not criticize. There is no thing that anyone should or shouldn't do. IT'S ALL PERSONAL PREFERENCE. NOBODY SHOULD CRITICIZE THAT EITHER WAY. How many times do I have to say it? Nobody's forcing a highly sexual person to give up sex, as far as I know. If they realize such a relationship isn't for them, they can leave, simple as that. It's like saying that a Christian and a Jew should never date or that an Aussie and a Canadian should never date. It's obnoxiously nosy. Why should you care? If two people are in love and they can make their relationship work and they're both happy, why the hell should it matter what they are?!?!?!?? Seriously. You stick to your relationships and let other people stick to theirs.
Posted by deltameequalszero on February 7, 2011 at 2:35 AM · Report this
111
110: "@109: I didn't see any comments where an ace was trying to deceive a sexual into a relationship, "

That was actually the implication of a few comments, IIRC. The asexual apologists were saying, in essence, "Yes, we do have lower sex drives, and we understand that may frustrate more highly sexed people if we get into relationships (or marriages) without being 100% honest about that, but (1) we want love to and (2) our asexual dating pool is not large enough to provide us all the choices we want regarding love."

The unspoken implication is that in order to have the widest selection of loving partners, the asexuals would essentially not disclose how they were not really into that 2 times a week sex life until the more highly-sexed person was fully into the relationship, or possibly the marriage.

The knowledge that a person do not like sex twice a week, but in fact may prefer it only 2-3 times a year, is something a partner has every goddam right to know before getting into a relationship or marriage with an person with such a low sex drive.

If you think otherwise, you are really wrong. The person who only wants sex 2-3 times a year should be upfront about that. If they fail to be, then yeah, they deserve a little finger wagging in their direction, and the party who was not told gets the greater share of sympathy for the failing relationship going where such things go: the shitter.
Posted by just the way it is on February 7, 2011 at 5:00 AM · Report this
112
@110: It isn't as simple as that. There are a number of dynamics at work beyond simply minding your own business if you aren't involved.

First, there is the simple fact that for many people being sexual carries a great deal of emotional bonding. If you are being sexual with someone other than your life partner, you run a risk of bonding with that person, and leaving the partner. The partner at risk may not like that prospect, and not want to have an open relationship.

Second there are societal expectations against both sleeping around and against leaving a partner who is less sexual than you. The person doing either of these is often regarded as selfish. It is unfair to rope someone into a relationship and then make them deal with either of these. (Or for that matter, getting sex elsewhere, falling in love with that person, and then having to deal with breaking up with the asexual.)

The only appropriate thing to do is to disclose frankly and early, before anyone has invested a lot of themselves into a relationship that is going to proceed to turn sour. And yes, that necessarily means that the asexual person may get dumped a lot earlier and more often, unless they make an effort to date asexuals, rather than trying to date into a pool of people with whom they are fundamentally incompatible.
Posted by avast2006 on February 7, 2011 at 2:33 PM · Report this
113
I brought a tissue, but I didn't even get hard.
Posted by James Hutchings on February 7, 2011 at 5:32 PM · Report this
Vampireseal 114
I'm not sure why a few people seem to equate asexuals with prudery or hyper-religious people. Hell, the only people who have given me grief for being asexual were the fundies I had the misfortune to grow up around. My observation has been that the people most obsessed with sex were the religious types trying to get others to stop having sex--which is an antisexual attitude, not an asexual one. Granted, I've met a minority of asexuals online who were antisexual. But by and large we tend to be indifferent towards sex.

As far as "betrayal by late bloomers", #65, you make a good point. In fact, a few people on AVEN have realized that they were gay or straight. Hopefully, they did not fill as if they were betraying other asexuals--certainly I felt no ill will towards them, nor any sense of betrayal. People change, and it should be embraced and celebrated.

In a perfect world, I would personally rather dump any and all orientation labels. However, society seems hell-bent on ascribing one to everyone. I identify as asexual for lack of a better word, but I don't think of it a permanent forever and ever. I could be asexual forever it. However, I can't predict the future, and who the hell knows I could be a late bloomer in my 80s. But for now, if anyone asks, the term "asexual" will have to do.
Posted by Vampireseal on February 7, 2011 at 8:46 PM · Report this
115
@112: Like I said, if you don't want to deal with it, don't get involved in that kind of situation.
You=/=everyone. Some people don't bond emotionally over sex. Some people are okay with their partners bonding with multiple people. You seriously need to understand that. The relationship is not "going to turn sour". The people aren't "fundamentally incompatible". I hope you realize one day how offensive statements like that are. Just because many times, an asexual/sexual relationship won't work, it doesn't mean it's impossible or requires that somebody will get hurt or will be unhappy. It's like saying that just because some white people would have racial/ethnic issues if they tried to date a black person, interracial couples as a whole can never work. You can't generalize when it comes to relationships, because romance and sexuality are super complex, and generalizations can be really hurtful, especially when they're directed towards groups that are already oppressed and marginalized.

At one point in time there were societal expectations that looked down upon people having sex before marriage or dating people of other races or ethnicities. Should those things have been continued just because society said they were good? If people don't break the bonds of societal expectations, social change will never happen. If somebody didn't stand up for their love and date outside of what society found acceptable, homosexuality would never be accepted, and neither would interracial relationships. Like I said, it's all up to the individual's preferences and comfort levels, and I definitely support being up front with any potential partners about sexuality, but to say it can't ever work and that people shouldn't even attempt it is pretty damn closed-minded and offensive.
More...
Posted by deltameequalszero on February 7, 2011 at 9:30 PM · Report this
116
115: Where did I say it can't ever work? What I did say is that the only reasonable way to expect it to work is to communicate early. Otherwise you are hoping that the unspoken expectations of both parties will just line up. Given that one of you loves sex and one of you thinks "meh," that's a pretty stupid thing to hope for.

The relationship IS going to turn sour IF you just go in with eyes and mouth clamped firmly shut, and wait for one partner, typically the maximally sexual one, to start wondering what the hell is going on and get incrementally more dissatisfied. To prevent that, communicate. As far as I can tell, you and I agree on this. I'm just pointing out the context in which I used the phrase "go sour."

I also said that even with communicating early, asexuals can expect to get dumped a lot by sexuals, because sexuals, ya know, kind of...like sex. There is indeed a fundamental disconnect there, and a lot of people aren't going to want to deal with it, when there are easier alternatives out there. Some will. A lot won't.

Stop putting words like "impossible" and "everyone" in my mouth. I didn't use either of them. I used words like "for many people" and "may" and "often." Not "everyone." Keep that up and I will start questioning your reading comprehension.
Posted by avast2006 on February 8, 2011 at 1:27 PM · Report this
117
116:
"a relationship that is going to proceed to turn sour."
"rather than trying to date into a pool of people with whom they are fundamentally incompatible."

You seem to imply that all ace/sexual relationships /will/ turn sour, and that asexuals and sexuals are always going to be incompatible. You may not have used the words "Everyone" or "impossible", but there are places where you left out important words like "most" or "many". In that last paragraph of yours in #112 you spoke generally without making any sort of exemptions or using terms that imply that it's all just a trend and not in any way absolute law or constant.
Posted by deltameequalszero on February 8, 2011 at 4:45 PM · Report this
118
@ Deltameequalszero
Let me give you my example. So these asexual women get into a relationship with their sexual husbands, reluctantly have sex with them until they have children, and during their marriage have successfully browbeat their husbands into 'not bothering them for sex'. Now they're on this board congratualating each other for not having to 'put up with that' anymore, and isn't it sooo annoying how much they used to bother them?

Doesn't that husband have the right to feel betrayed, tricked, and cheated? Their wives put up with sex at first, pretended to enjoy it until they secured their husbands, and then cut all sex off. The husbands loved them, and tried to compromise, but ended up compromising and compromising untl they no longer get sex at all. What do you say to them? Leave your wife of several years and your children? Great solution. These women are fucking evil if you ask me.
Posted by Caralain on February 8, 2011 at 8:50 PM · Report this
119
118: If the husband knew that the relationship would be that way from the beginning and was okay with it, then no, he doesn't have the right to feel betrayed, tricked, or cheated. If the wife never told him and the not having sex started to become more and more common as the relationship progressed, he should feel cheated and tricked. I don't support not being honest with your partner, end of story. In no way do I support women (or men or people of other genders) who get into relationships with people without telling their partners that they really are asexual/of a sexual orientation that doesn't make them sexually attracted to their partner. If you read my posts, you'd see that.
I'm talking about the relationships out there in which two people are open and honest with each other about everything, including sexual attraction, one person is asexual and one is sexual and they're both aware of this, they're both okay with it, and they find a solution to the difference in sexual orientations that both of them are happy with. That's not cruel. That's what makes two people happy. That can work. It's not for everyone, but it's definitely not impossible.
Posted by deltameequalszero on February 9, 2011 at 10:38 AM · Report this
120
117: So, I specifically didn't use the intensifiers/maximals that you are inferring and therefore accusing me of, and I did specifically use the qualifiers,, just not often enough or in the right places to satisfy you.

I "may" think you are an idiot.
Posted by avast2006 on February 9, 2011 at 1:35 PM · Report this
121
119 The people in healthy open relationships with lots of communication don't write to Dan.
Yes, your hypothetical situation sounds great. I'm talking about all the real ones I know that don't, and I think that moral asexuals should distance themselves from these awful people asap.
Posted by Caralain on February 9, 2011 at 8:24 PM · Report this
122
It's definitely conceivable, a priori, that an unscrupulous asexual might deceive a sexual person into a relationship in order to meet their own selfish needs.

But that said, why are we centering ALL of our debate on the subject around that particular scenario? It's like the "ticking time-bomb" argument in favour of torture - it's almost never actually happened and is not something reasonable on which to base our general policy towards torture.

Likewise, I'd like to know how many of you actually KNOW OF an asexual person; a friend of a friend for example. How many of you have actually MET one? SEEN one? Had one deceive you into a relationship? When does this actually happen? My guess is that it's probably about as likely as getting struck by f***ing lightning.

It's unfair to hinge this entire debate around the hypothetical deceptive asexual, because it's not a realistic expectation to have of any asexual. As it's been pointed out here before, asexuals are EXTREMELY rare, and unless you're trying to suggest that sociopathic or sadistic behaviour is somehow dramatically overrepresented within the asexual community, than the problem has to be rare; much rarer, in fact, than an asexual person, which is EXREMELY rare.

Yes, an asexual should disclose their orientation before or during the first or second date. To argue against that would be absurd. But, having skimmed almost this entire page, it seems no one EVER made that particular argument. So what I'm suggesting here, in the end, is that the obsession with this particular scenario which has dominated the debate here betrays an underlying, visceral desire to berate or discredit asexuality itself, by use of this straw man argument.
Posted by SpudCrowley on February 13, 2011 at 10:00 PM · Report this

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