Monday, July 2, 2012

Frequently Blurted Statements

"You can't be Asexual, you're too sexual."

Talking about sex, having sex, enjoying sex, and possessing an urge to have sex are totally different things.  And if you do not have sexual attraction, you are Asexual.  That is the base definition.  It's pretty simple, however, it seems difficult for many to grasp.

"That's so sad!"

There's nothing sad about it.  It's simply a difference.  Really, this attitude is ableist(/sexist?).  If I had been born blind, I would not consider it sad, because I would know nothing else.  I might, however, find it disheartening if the people around me treated me as if I were broken or faulty. If I was born with sight and then lost my vision, I might consider it sad, but I wouldn't try to wallow in my own piteous filth.  It'd be a loss to me because of my perspective, but it wouldn't be the end of the world.  
So, if I was born Asexual, or came to realize I was, or felt most comfortable identifying as such, and I do not feel as though I am missing anything, why should others tell me I am? I am not upset by my sexuality in the least.  
What I do get upset about is people trying to pity me for something that isn't sad at all and trying to 'fix' me when there's nothing wrong. 

"So you never like anyone?"

I like people.  I experience many types of attraction, just not sexual attraction.  I am fully capable of love and affection.  Some Asexuals do not want to have sex at all, since they have no initial desire for it, and some are repulsed by the idea of intercourse.  Some Asexuals masturbate, some have sex, and some enjoy sex.  This is true of people who aren't Asexuals-- so it shouldn't be that hard to imagine.  Those who are celibate choose not to have sex.  The difference between celibacy and Asexuality is that Asexuality is not having sexual attraction, while celibacy is the choice to abstain from sex regardless of sexual attraction.  An Asexual may choose to be celibate.  Get it?  
Now, when you are not interested in romantic relationships whatsoever, you are Aromantic.  But that requires a post of its own.

"Oh, it'll be all right, you'll meet someone."

While well-intended, this is one the most underhanded and disgusting forms of invalidation out there.  I understand that the speaker is merely expressing a wish that I find happiness, and expressing it in a way that they can relate to.  But in doing so, they assume that I do not want to be Asexual.  And they assume also that sexuality is a choice or a temporary state of being.  I think that sexuality is fluid and can change as you change, and that there are always exceptions to the rule, so to speak.  But my being Asexual has nothing to do with the person I am or am not currently dating.  There isn't a cure-all romantic partner or sex position that can 'save me' from the imaginary depths of Asexual despair.  
I like being Asexual.  And if I didn't like it, I wouldn't be able to change it.  I would have to learn to like what I could of it and appreciate it for what it was. 
Also, what are people trying to say exactly here?  It always astounded me.  Do they mean that in the relationships they are in (or, even, all the relationships they have ever had), they are with their soul-mate?  Because that's what many make it sound like.  Like I just haven't met my soul-mate.  And when I do, everything will change and I'll have sexual attraction all of a sudden.  Like 'that person' is out there.  Which would also have to mean that most people in romantic relationships had met their soul mate. Or something.  Anyway, the statement doesn't make logical sense.
It'd be nice to meet someone I liked.  That's always nice.  But I'm still not going to be sexually attracted to them because I just don't do that.  

"How do you know you're Asexual if you've never had sex?"

While some "how do you know if you've never tried it?" scenarios work (I'm thinking of trying new foods), it isn't a blanket statement that always applies.  First of all, Asexuals can and do have sex when they want to.  There are some things that people simply don't want to try.  And that is fine.  If someone hates the idea of dessert and doesn't want to have any, well, hell, more for me.  And I understand wanting to share something you enjoy with others, so that they may also derive pleasure from it.  But if the person just doesn't want to do it, they don't have to.  
And it isn't the job of the rest of the world to tell Asexuals they must have sex to know if they like it or not.  Asexuality defines sexuality- a lack of sexual attraction, not whether or not you find pleasure in having sex.  To say you can't know your sexuality unless you've had intercourse would be the same as saying no one who is a virgin can know who they are attracted to until they've had sex to figure that out.  
You can know something or know about something without directly experiencing it.  

"I thought only plants were Asexual.  Do you asexually reproduce or something?"

I am not aware of plants having a sexuality.  The human body, while containing all the ingredients necessary, is not capable of asexual reproduction.  
Asexual means without sexual attraction, as Heterosexual means sexual attraction to the opposite sex, Homosexual means sexual attraction to the same sex, and Pansexual means sexual attraction to any/all genders.  Asexual reproduction is a phrase that means able to reproduce without fertilization. 

"So you never want to have sex."

I'm not opposed to the idea, just more or less completely disinterested in it.  If I cared for someone and they were interested in sex, I would consider it and evaluate my feelings on the subject.  If I was comfortable with having sex, found the idea agreeable, and desired it in some way, I'd have sex.  
If I did not want to I would not.

"You just haven't had good sex."

I imagine this statement is meant to imply that I have not yet experienced the wondrous throngs of a really good orgasm and that once I do I will no longer be Asexual.  Well, I have.  And I am.  So, no, sexual pleasure has nothing to do with sexuality.  
On a related note, Asexuality has begun to be studied, and Asexuals have the same biological responses to sexual stimuli as those of other sexualities.  So nothing's biologically different with someone who is Asexual.   

"I'm tired of relationships!  I'm just going to be Asexual!"

Sorry, that's not what the word means.  
Asexuality:sexual attraction::Aromantic:romantic interest
Sexual attraction=/=sex
Seuxal attraction=/=romantic interest
Either you are Asexual or you aren't.  It isn't some sort of we're-not-letting-you-in-our-club thing, that's simply not the word to describe what you are trying to say.  And when you say things like that, you perpetuate the idea that sexuality is a phase and a choice of convenience.  So don't do that.  Those are bad things.  
I don't know of a word that would describe the idea of "I want to take a break from relationships for a while." 
"I'm going to take a break from sex for a while" would be abstinent or celibate.
But there isn't a "I'm going to take a break from sexuality for a while" option of any sort.  

"So what do you call yourself?  Straight?  Queer?  Asexual?"

To each their own.  Some people take queer to mean any sort of sexuality deviating from the perpetuated idea of the norm, in which case, it would apply here.  An Asexual person attracted to the same sex might call themselves gay or queer.  An Asexual person attracted to the opposite sex might call themselves straight or queer.  An Asexual person attracted to any gender, all genders, or people rather than gender may call themselves queer, or pansromantic.  The words change specifically to the person-- whatever they feel best describes their sexual identity.  Asexuals are sometimes called Aces or A, and one may call themselves an Ace, or Asexy.  
There's also Grey-A and Demisexuals, but I won't get into that now.  
I will occasionally have intense bouts of Asexy-awareness-mode where I talk about it a lot and explain it to people.  Usually, though, I don't mention it unless it comes up in conversation or someone asks me, and then I say "I'm Asexual-- (that) I don't experience primary sexual attraction.  I still like people sometimes, I'm just not sexually interested in them."  

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