Legitimacy and Blurry Lines

For discussion of general issues pertaining to asexuality.
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Lehcar
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Legitimacy and Blurry Lines

Postby Lehcar » 28 Mar 2008, 22:14

My AVEN birthday was on March 7th (I discovered asexuality a few months before, but it took me awhile to get up the courage to join) and it’s been a whirlwind of a year in terms of my growth in how I see myself. As I’m sure most of you can relate to, I was in a sense of euphoria for weeks after having discovered asexuality. There’s that fantastic feeling of legitimacy, that glee that ‘I’m not just weird!’ or ‘I’m not insane!’ and that there’s a whole community of people out there who know what you’re talking about when you say ‘I’m just not interested in sex’. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to some amazing individuals, exchange ideas with people that have some really neat concepts about everything from sex to ice-cream (no, not together :P), and make friends whom I feel comfortable talking to in a way that I’ve never had before. That was then.

While I’m still meeting and exchanging ideas with some truly incredible people, I’ve also encountered more and more people within the asexual community that have forced me to ask serious questions about asexuality in general. Social awkwardness to the point being oblivious to social indicators, various forms of autism, history of sexual abuse/trauma, clinical depression, body image issues, low self-confidence or a feeling of ‘unworthiness’ of love, low sex drive/ ‘hyposexuality’, shyness/introversion to the extent of not being able to function properly in groups of people…I’ve met people who fit into all of these things, and unfortunately it seems lately as if there are more asexuals than not who can be described as such. So my question is this; how many asexuals are ‘normal’, well adjusted individuals?

I would never, ever say that people who might fall under the categories I mentioned are any less valid as asexuals than anyone else, but I have to wonder how many people can claim to be asexual but otherwise entirely within the realm of average social interaction and psychological condition. Would the 1% become 0.5%? 0.25%? The presence of those individuals who are in the blurry lines that the medical community worries about makes the whole thing more complicated.

Sometimes I even question my own validity. My sister was worried when I came out to her, because she knew that our mum thinks that I’ve been affected by our father walking out on us when I was in elementary, and that because I haven’t had an example of a ‘proper working partnership’ it’s affected me negatively, and she didn’t want our mother blaming herself. Likewise, I had a difficult time in elementary and part of junior high fitting in, and I was something of an outcast. Personally, I feel like I’m fairly average in my social interaction now, and I’m very self-confident, but it’s not always been like that. So I myself was maladjusted at one point, even if I don’t feel like I am anymore.

Now, I’m attaching a disclaimer to this. I don’t think there IS such a thing as a ‘cause’ of sexuality, simply because it’s such a complex thing and there are far too many variables to ever take enough into account in order to draw any kind of conclusions from. Neither do I subscribe to the idea that everyone needs to be ‘normal’ – I think variation is one of the greatest strengths about people, and one of the most interesting as well. However, when I speak to someone who was emotionally neglected as a child, or someone who’s had to deal with Asperger’s for their whole life, I wonder how significant those factors are to asexuality, and just how many asexuals are NOT affected by such things?

Just how legitimate IS asexuality?


[Edit] Changed title from 'Is Asexuality Legitimate?' to 'Legitimacy and Blurry Lines' 12/04/2008

Karl
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Re: Is Asexuality Legitimate?

Postby Karl » 29 Mar 2008, 02:42

I personally think that all of those factors you mention are also things that sexual people of all flavours experience or suffer from too. It's just easier for people to look at someone who says they are asexual and explain it away with "You're just shy / emotionally damaged" because, to them, there must be something 'wrong' with us.

For example, there must be hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people whose parents split up when they were young and I expect that 99% of them are happily sexual. Yes, some of them may have difficulty with relationships, but the ability to feel sexually attracted to someone and the ability to form close interpersonal relationships are very different things, IMHO.

Having said that, I believe there are many people who use asexual label as an excuse not to confront real issues in their lives. That's up to them, but eventually they are going to have to face the truth about themselves.

pretzelboy
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Re: Is Asexuality Legitimate?

Postby pretzelboy » 29 Mar 2008, 04:42

I’ve noticed a similar trend with people on AVEN and am not really sure what to make of it. One the one hand, in research cited for removing homosexuality from the DSM and in subsequent attempts to do research to normalize it, work is done showing that gay people are no more likely to have a mental disorder than straight people and stuff like that. I sometimes wonder if that is true of asexuality. Maybe asexuals are more likely to have some sort of mental problem.

On the other hand, I think we can be pretty sure that people who spend lots of time on forums about asexuality are not representative of people who lack sexual attraction in general. A lot of people come just for a bit, and after they feel they’ve figured stuff out, they leave AVEN. And even among them, they can't be assumed to be representative of people who lack sexual attraction in general. I would guess that people who spend a lot of time on internet forums are probably less socially active than the population in general (not that this is true of each person, but just as a matter of probability). Until someone is able to do research on asexuals to see if they are more likely to have certain sorts of problems than the general population we won’t know, and I think this will be a while because it would require that recruiting subject be done in a fairly random way (i.e. not recruiting online), and that’s going to be difficult.

Another problem with finding the answer to this question is how to determine if someone is asexual (to include them in the study). I would imagine that if you just gave people a multiple choice for sexual orientation of 1)heterosexual 2)homosexual 3)bisexual 4)asexual 5)unsure, since most people have never heard of asexual, they are going to be using their own definition for it, so that a lot of the people answering "asexual" might do so to mean celibacy, or that they are afraid of having sex because of personal issues (though they have "normal" levels of sexual attraction.) And some would use the term to mean it as we tend to. And some asexuals might identify according to their romantic orientation, not having learned that this is different from sexual orientation.

But even if it was found that asexuals are more likely to have some kind of mental disorder than the general population, I don't think that makes it less legitimate. It is perfectly possible that asexuals are more likely to have certain problems than most people, but that there are still plenty of physically and mentally healthy asexuals, in which case asexuality cannot be assumed to be an indication of some other problem.

Suppose that sexual orientation is linked to social development in childhood (with the child developing in response to social things through their own personality) and that being an outcast in elementary and middle school, not fitting in, not have many friends is linked to asexuality. We're not supposing that this is the cause of asexuality but that it is a part of the cause of some people's asexuality. I don't think this invalidates asexuality. In my own case, I was a very socially isolated child, and I my social and emotional development seemed to have lagged behind many of my peers. It could be possible that people who don't fit in in elementary school may be more likely to become asexual and are more likely to not fit in as adults, although it may just be a matter of delayed development of certain social skills rather than a failure to develop them at all.
In this situation, the person remains asexual. There doesn't seem to be any reason to think that they can be turned into a nice heterosexual adult as the time for setting sexual orientation has passed, and I don't see any reason why they need to be turned into a nice heterosexual adult. Furthermore, while being asexual, the person is perfectly capable of living a happy, fulfilling, socially responsible life.

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Shockwave
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Re: Is Asexuality Legitimate?

Postby Shockwave » 29 Mar 2008, 05:44

Even if a correlation between asexuality and certain emotional or mental conditions is found, there is still the question of which came first. Sort of the "chicken or the egg" conundrum. Many people are going to assume that the other condition is the cause of the asexuality, but what if it is the other way around? What if the lack of orientation or drive somehow causes people to feel isolated from society and leads to emotional problems?

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spin
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Re: Is Asexuality Legitimate?

Postby spin » 29 Mar 2008, 06:43

Everyone else has brought up good points.

It bothers me when people vilify Joy Davidson for her appearances in asexual media coverage, because despite the fact she's just there for her own gain, she raises some valid points. While the asexual community creates a safe space for asexual folk to figure themselves out and feel good about themselves, it does also create a space where disliking sex is normalised and people with sexual phobias etc can hide out and feel validated. AVEN didn't used to be the place to go if you weren't willing to discuss sex, but that's no longer the case, so much. The discussion of sex I see there now is mostly circular "sex is disgusting" threads. I joined the asexual community to explore myself further and I have grown a lot as a person and found ways to be comfortable as myself within the mainstream. Unfortunately I see too many people coming to feel justified and close themselves off, trying to live in a bubble.

I also think that an online forum is a horrible representative sample, because 'legitimately' asexual or not, the core community is more representative of people whose social lives revolve around internet messageboards than of people who do not experience sexual attraction. There are a lot of socially awkward, emotionally hurt, psychologically questionable individuals who find havens on any space online. The asexual community, so long as it exists primarily online, is just one such niche.

As for how many would be asexual--who knows, without further research. The 1% number is drawn from Kinsey's "X" and Bogaert's study of the British survey, both of which were looking broadly at sexuality in general and not looking or asexual people. Others like Nurius have come up with 2-10% statistics. Focused research will give us a better picture of asexuality, and I believe it will help to gel and legitimise asexuality as an orientation.

Now, the thing that's most reinforced for me that I am asexual has been getting into a romantic, sexual relationship. I thrive on physical and emotional affection. I can get aroused, I can enjoy sex on physical end emotional levels, and when the stars align I occasionally desire intimacy of a sexual sort. It's not that I have any particular issues with sex, it's just not intuitive to me. When I think about it--even when I'm aroused--it's in a more detached, rational way. We both recognize that I'm approaching sexuality from a different direction. Being sexually intimate together as much an adjustment for him as for me. What it comes down to is that I'm pretty sure my asexuality is not social or emotional and it's certainly not phobic. Is it some hormonal or other health issue? I doubt it, since I'm a healthy woman with no apparent hormonal problems, and I can get physically aroused.

This is where, in some circles, others would swoop in and call me "hyposexual" or "demisexual" or "grey asexual" or whathaveyou, and I would take offense since I don't identify as such. I feel that asexuality describes me, so I embrace the term and feel no need to qualify it.

I don't mean to suggest that all asexual people could or should 'verify' their asexuality in this way or that everyone would have the same experiences (quite the contrary!), but it's been interesting for me and I'm very grateful that I can enjoy it, and that I have a partner who's so understanding.

Karl
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Re: Is Asexuality Legitimate?

Postby Karl » 29 Mar 2008, 09:03

spin wrote:I also think that an online forum is a horrible representative sample, because 'legitimately' asexual or not, the core community is more representative of people whose social lives revolve around internet messageboards than of people who do not experience sexual attraction. There are a lot of socially awkward, emotionally hurt, psychologically questionable individuals who find havens on any space online. The asexual community, so long as it exists primarily online, is just one such niche.


That is a very good point indeed, Spin.

CierraJo
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Re: Is Asexuality Legitimate?

Postby CierraJo » 29 Mar 2008, 14:35

I am one of the people that this post is directed at - since I have sexual trauma in my past. For a long time I thought that was what caused my problems with sex, but after doing a bunch of research and trying to get "better" I realized that there was a big difference between myself and the majority of "survivors"...they all wanted a sex life but had problems enjoying it, or getting through it without panic attacks. I just honestly don't care about sex, I don't see why it interests people. And, looking at my life, I realize that my disinterest predates my trauma. So maybe it's moreso that asexuals with trauma spend a lot of time trying to be "healed" and looking for answers and that is how we end up here and on AVEN. So that could account for the correlation too.

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EGAD!
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Re: Is Asexuality Legitimate?

Postby EGAD! » 29 Mar 2008, 17:10

**I apologize in advance for this being kind of ranty, mostly I apologize for the last section--I am so fed up with the notion that somehow the abscence of a father is responsible for deviance from gender norms and non-heterosexuality**


And just what is it that you are getting at...Lehcar...you seem to me to be implying that people cannot be truly asexual unless they meet some criteria for being socially/emotionally functional. Yet you say: "I don’t think there IS such a thing as a ‘cause’ of sexuality, simply because it’s such a complex thing and there are far too many variables to ever take enough into account in order to draw any kind of conclusions from."

I am in the process of doing a literature review looking at anything relating to autistic spectrum disorders as it applies to sexuality, lack of sexual desire and the various things that could be related to it (sexual abuse/rape, hormones, negative sexual experiences, etc.).

It is likely the case that SOME people may be hiding behind the label of asexuality as a way of not having to deal with other issues. However I do not consider it my place to judge other people and tell them what they are/are not unless there is a open invitation.

In all seriousness who among us asexual, sexual, or those of us still trying to find out where we are HAVE NOT experienced some grief or trauma to explain away everything that is wrong with us (and possibly hold it up as an excuse to justify our actions)!

Given the high percentage of children who are sexually abused, the prevalency of mental illness, the rates of divorce and social anxiety--ha, asexuality could very well possibly be the best secret ever kept if you believe it is correlated with any of these.

And for therapists/religious authorities/and people who espouse the importance of having a father--what is so damn important about having a father!!! Explain that to me! I had a father and he was physically around but could hardly be bothered to do anything. How is it possible I could be asexual if I had a father who PHYSICALLY present? Does the father have to have a healthy relationship with his wife? Do they have to stay married for heterosexuality to be transmitted to their offspring? Does the dad have to reinforce traditional gender roles for their son or daughter?

Why is there no public discourse or outcry about mothers who divorce and do not want custody or by default because the mother is unfit custody of the children is given to the fathers. Why is there no discourse about this given the sentiment of people to blame gender/sexual deviation on people going away from "traditional gender norms."

Why is so much emphasis placed on the father when it is the mother who does much of the actual work involved in raising kids?

*sigh*

Lamentably this debate seems to be a bit pointless since none of us can definitively prove one way or the other what is or is not associated with asexuality. It also is worth keeping in mind that a lot of AVEN's registered members do not seem to post all that often and mostly seem to post when they are experiencing a problem.

**Additions**

Things worthy of consideration:

Less than a century ago many children would be orphaned because of disease or end up losing one parent early in life.

The most common type of family structure for a long time was polygamy.

If being homo/bi/pan/a ~sexual is linked to not having a father around how can it be accounted for that children raised by a lesbian couple or gay couple don't seem to be any more or less likely to be heterosexual?

Because sex/sexuality has been such a taboo topic, at least in Western culture shouldn't heterosexuality/heterosexual behavior be becoming more common (and to an extent sex is still is a very taboo topic that is seldom discussed at any length. Even talking with your parents about sex education and how to protect yourself is something that is not necessarily openly discussed much less sex [the act] and sexuality)?

Given these things why doesn't non-heterosexuality seem to be more prevalent if having a father is so important.

To my knowledge having a father or a father figure around gives a family a second income (in the debate over divorce, father-ing, and raising kids there seldom seems to be any distinction made between what a married couples combined income/single parents income contributes to a child's well being/development and time spent with the children: bonding with them, teaching them makes. My impression of things falls along the lines that money can go a long toward a kid's development can. This is however just how I see things).
Having a father figure around is beneficial for boys because they have someone they can rough and tumble with and play sports, something mom's can't really do with their sons; which: provides an outlet for boys and I think for boys sports often is the medium through which they learn to manage their emotions.
And something about having the physical presence of a father is suppose to help keep daughters from running around sleeping with guys and getting pregnant.

And why can't a male-role-model, someone a kid looks up to, who is around, who does care (or a step-father) take the place of a biological father? Granted in a lot cases there is only so far male-role-models can go as far as offering advice, help, support than a father is expected to offer, not to say it isn't possible for a male figure to become like a father to kids.

And since many people seem to be fond of making a biological/evolutionary argument lets look at nature. You watch a nature show and what do you see: guy and girl meet, they have quick sex and more often than not the male leaves, the female does most of the work raising the offspring (assuming it is required) and supposing the offspring survive long enough to reproduce it seems a lot of them...reproduce. And in a lot of cases the males and females do not form long-term relationships.

And just to what depth biologists have gone to study homosexuality I am, however unsure of. And assigning animals a sexual orientation based on observable behavior is very problematic.

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spin
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Re: Is Asexuality Legitimate?

Postby spin » 31 Mar 2008, 04:59

As for the parenting stuff--my father raised me.

Witch of Wapping
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Re: Is Asexuality Legitimate?

Postby Witch of Wapping » 31 Mar 2008, 08:20

EGAD, I'm sorry you are so angry and don't think I understand all the reasons. As for your research, I have read all sorts of surreal professional "explanations" for deviations from the norm including attempts to blame either parent - I wasn't aware of fathers coming off worse, and was closer to mine than my mother - but agree with Lehcar and others that "I don’t think there IS such a thing as a ‘cause’ of sexuality, simply because it’s such a complex thing and there are far too many variables to ever take enough into account in order to draw any kind of conclusions from."

I do think Lehcar and the others raise some really important points, not as a way of judging other people and their right to identify as asexual - nobody wants to do that. It's more a case of looking at ourselves and our community, as part of working out who we are claiming to be.

(Deleted some autobiographical ramblings because that's actually all I want to say for now!)

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Dargon
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Re: Is Asexuality Legitimate?

Postby Dargon » 31 Mar 2008, 12:41

Well, is seems all points I would have raised have already risen.

I will say, concerning AVEN, if today I went there for the first time ever and looked through the forum, I would say that perhaps a lot of self-proclamed "asexuals" are just people with problems hiding behind a label. Spin addresses why I would think this fairly well. At risk of sounding cruel, mean, or even elitist, there have been times in my recent lurkings at AVEN where I have read an "am I asexual" post and couldn't help but think "no, you just have no self-confidence and fail at social awareness."

However, knowing what I feel, having seen what AVEN was three years ago, and having met numerous asexuals in real life, I am quite sure of it's legitimacy. Many of the asexuals I have met exhibit some of the characteristics Lehcar has mentioned, but within the bounds that any "normal" person may exhibit. The most socially awkward of the asexuals I have met was perhaps a bit uncomfortable around people, but perfectly capable of being socially normal.

Admittedly, most asexuals I have met did have their social problems in high school and whatnot, but that's moreso because they (myself included) were nerds in some form or fashion. None the less, unless they told you, you'd think them no different than any other person you met.

I think I've done nothing but say more of the same as everyone else, but that's what I have to say

-Dargon, the self-confident, mostly sane, socially able asexual

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Olivier
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Re: Is Asexuality Legitimate?

Postby Olivier » 31 Mar 2008, 18:48

Dargon wrote:I will say, concerning AVEN, if today I went there for the first time ever and looked through the forum, I would say that perhaps a lot of self-proclamed "asexuals" are just people with problems hiding behind a label. Spin addresses why I would think this fairly well. At risk of sounding cruel, mean, or even elitist, there have been times in my recent lurkings at AVEN where I have read an "am I asexual" post and couldn't help but think "no, you just have no self-confidence and fail at social awareness."

I'm glad it's not just me, then. As a sexual in an asexual community I feel it's not really my place to say anything (nor do I think that it would do any good - for them, or me). There are times when some of them get right up my nose ... [and I was going to be specific, but I'll treat it as "patience and tolerance practice" here, as I do there ;)].

I think that's an unavoidable issue if (for other, perfectly valid reasons) you pursue a policy of self-identification. Some people who self-identify will be wrong, and it will be mostly those who are the least self-aware, or the most actively in denial or self-repression.

One of the things that is interesting, if annoying, is that a lot of those who I think are really repressed sexuals in denial often spout the most offensive antisexual garbage. It reminds me of those hellfire preachers who denounce homosexuality from the pulpit, then duck out the back after the sermon and sodomise the altarboys. And impresses me about as much. I guess self-hate can do that to a person.

Dargon wrote:However, knowing what I feel, having seen what AVEN was three years ago, and having met numerous asexuals in real life, I am quite sure of it's legitimacy.

And having been the partner of an asexual for 18 years, I'm convinced it's real too. None of the theories about abuse, or social ineptness, or unattractiveness, or lack of confidence apply to my wife. Nothing explains her behaviour, the manner in which she's explored her sexuality, or the dynamics or our relationship a tenth as well as the simple fact that she feels no sexual attraction, and never has. I should add that she's pretty convinced her lack of sexual attraction is real, too, and not just a product of circumstance.

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Re: Is Asexuality Legitimate?

Postby Placebo » 06 Apr 2008, 08:00

spin wrote:I also think that an online forum is a horrible representative sample, because 'legitimately' asexual or not, the core community is more representative of people whose social lives revolve around internet messageboards than of people who do not experience sexual attraction. There are a lot of socially awkward, emotionally hurt, psychologically questionable individuals who find havens on any space online. The asexual community, so long as it exists primarily online, is just one such niche.


Olivier wrote:One of the things that is interesting, if annoying, is that a lot of those who I think are really repressed sexuals in denial often spout the most offensive antisexual garbage.

And having been the partner of an asexual for 18 years, I'm convinced it's real too. None of the theories about abuse, or social ineptness, or unattractiveness, or lack of confidence apply to my wife. Nothing explains her behaviour, the manner in which she's explored her sexuality, or the dynamics or our relationship a tenth as well as the simple fact that she feels no sexual attraction, and never has. I should add that she's pretty convinced her lack of sexual attraction is real, too, and not just a product of circumstance.


I agree with the above--as spin points out, there are a lot of people that use the internet as an escape hatchway for various reasons. Lehcar wondered if this would drop the number of asexuals within "normal" social ranges--however, I would suggest that if anything, the number is probably the same or higher. However, even if some of the people that are . . . shall we say, socially disadvantaged. . . end up eventually deciding in the end that they're sexual and leaving the "asexual" umbrella (or not, doesn't matter), I think that there are probably many many many more people that are in sexual relationships (or not), are perfectly healthy, neither love or hate sex and accept themselves as they are and don't really question it.

They will probably never show up on AVEN or Apositive or anywhere else and that is perfectly fine. They will probably never even check "asexual" in a box, if it even was an option, because they would not think of themselves as being asexual. Particularly if they happen to be in a relationship. If you think about the definition of "sexual attraction,"--seriously, in a "trying to define this without using the words 'sex' or 'attraction' way," . . . it's impossible. What does it mean, objectively? Look at the wikipedia definition: "In a species that reproduces sexually, sexual attraction is an attraction, usually, to other members of the same species for sexual or erotic activity." Wow. That is really helpful. So basically there is no definition.

So if I am (asexual, but unaware of such a concept) in a sexual relationship with a partner and I love my partner (and am non-sexually attracted to them) AND WE HAVE SEX. . . if I am not the sort of person that actively mentally dissects such things, I am going to probably assume I'm sexually attracted to them, I'm just not "as into sex" as they are. And that's great. For those people that do want to think about such things, the internet and AVEN and Apositive are here, and for some people, it's actually almost necessary to understand yourself and yourself-as-an-asexual to be able to engage in sexual activity. I include myself in that category. And that's great too. But I think that the number of people that would fit under the "asexual" definition, if anything, is at least 1% or higher--it's likely underrepresented.

spin wrote:Now, the thing that's most reinforced for me that I am asexual has been getting into a romantic, sexual relationship. I thrive on physical and emotional affection. I can get aroused, I can enjoy sex on physical end emotional levels, and when the stars align I occasionally desire intimacy of a sexual sort. It's not that I have any particular issues with sex, it's just not intuitive to me. When I think about it--even when I'm aroused--it's in a more detached, rational way. We both recognize that I'm approaching sexuality from a different direction. Being sexually intimate together as much an adjustment for him as for me. What it comes down to is that I'm pretty sure my asexuality is not social or emotional and it's certainly not phobic. Is it some hormonal or other health issue? I doubt it, since I'm a healthy woman with no apparent hormonal problems, and I can get physically aroused.

This is where, in some circles, others would swoop in and call me "hyposexual" or "demisexual" or "grey asexual" or whathaveyou, and I would take offense since I don't identify as such. I feel that asexuality describes me, so I embrace the term and feel no need to qualify it.

I don't mean to suggest that all asexual people could or should 'verify' their asexuality in this way or that everyone would have the same experiences (quite the contrary!), but it's been interesting for me and I'm very grateful that I can enjoy it, and that I have a partner who's so understanding.


Spin, sometimes when you say things like this, I feel like you're in my brain.

In all honesty, it's pretty unlikely that I'd be in the relationship that I'm in if it weren't for AVEN and exploring the various themes of sexuality/asexuality as I have for the last year or so. For me, I was so confused by the way that semi-boyfriends treated me and thought relative to the way that I thought, that it was absolutely necessary for me to understand 1) myself as an asexual and 2) other people as sexuals before I was even capable to starting a relationship. Too many miscommunications, both physical and verbal, resulted otherwise.

But since a relationship is developing, and it is sexual, that is OK. I understand myself, and where we both are coming from, and it is much easier to understand the potential pitfalls from watching and talking to other people--asexual and not--and also to communicate. Is it a bad thing that I'm asexual? No. Does it hurt my partner? As long as we communicate, no. It's just different, but it's much better for me that I can explain how I'm different to myself and to him, because I have an explaining turn of mind. If I didn't feel the need to think it all out, that would be OK too--and there are probably people like that.
"Now it's right for me to be me."

Phil Halvorsen, from "The [Widget], the [Wadget], and Boff" (Theodore Sturgeon)

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Olivier
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Re: Is Asexuality Legitimate?

Postby Olivier » 06 Apr 2008, 09:13

Placebo wrote:Lehcar wondered if this would drop the number of asexuals within "normal" social ranges--however, I would suggest that if anything, the number is probably the same or higher. However, even if some of the people that are . . . shall we say, socially disadvantaged. . . end up eventually deciding in the end that they're sexual and leaving the "asexual" umbrella (or not, doesn't matter), I think that there are probably many many many more people that are in sexual relationships (or not), are perfectly healthy, neither love or hate sex and accept themselves as they are and don't really question it.

They will probably never show up on AVEN or Apositive or anywhere else and that is perfectly fine. They will probably never even check "asexual" in a box, if it even was an option, because they would not think of themselves as being asexual. Particularly if they happen to be in a relationship.

Placebo, I'm very convinced of this, also. I suspect that there are many, many people who identify as sexual, and who enjoy sex, who would also not miss it if it disappeared from their lives, other than for its romantic connotations, and that many of those, if they thought about enough, might identify as asexual.

I think that most people who seek sexual activity will generally be happy if the amount they have is within an acceptable range. For me that's between "once every 3 weeks" and "about 3 times a week". Less than monthly, and I'm almost unbearably frustrated. But if I was having sex daily, I'd probably be looking for ways to drop that back a little. In reality, while I'd tend to something in the middle, I'm happy anywhere in my range.

Why I point that out it that I think that for many people, "never" is within their range of desired sexual frequency. Perhaps it's not their preferred level, but it's within the range they can be happy with. Are these people asexual in any sense? Maybe - certainly not everyone feels comfortable with no sex in a relationship. But also they'd make great partners for asexuals, regardless of whether the relationship was sexual. I reckon there are plenty of people like this out there, even if most of them are partnered with sexuals and have sexual relationships.

Placebo wrote:If you think about the definition of "sexual attraction,"--seriously, in a "trying to define this without using the words 'sex' or 'attraction' way," . . . it's impossible. What does it mean, objectively? Look at the wikipedia definition: "In a species that reproduces sexually, sexual attraction is an attraction, usually, to other members of the same species for sexual or erotic activity." Wow. That is really helpful. So basically there is no definition.

Your asexual perspective may be responsible for that. I read that definition and think "In that case, I definitely feel sexual attraction".

Placebo wrote:So if I am (asexual, but unaware of such a concept) in a sexual relationship with a partner and I love my partner (and am non-sexually attracted to them) AND WE HAVE SEX. . . if I am not the sort of person that actively mentally dissects such things, I am going to probably assume I'm sexually attracted to them, I'm just not "as into sex" as they are. And that's great.

Yep. We lived that life for YEARS. And even when we had the occasional problem, there was always an explanation: Six months without sex? Just the stress of my wife's new job. Who knows - it could have been - there was certainly plenty of stress. Now when I'm stressed I want sex, as an escape, but everyone's different, right? Not enjoying it? Must be crappy technique. Don't get me wrong, we had some damn fine times, and some damn fine sex, and under the circumstances questioning my wife's orientation was a long way off the radar, for me anyway.

But, apart from just knowing that my drive was higher, there was always a qualitative difference in the way we each experienced sex that we knew about but couldn't name. Until we had some real problems, giving that difference a name didn't seem important. Once we had a reason to explore that difference, though, it was obvious that asexuality it was, and the experiences of other asexuals, especially those in sexual relationships, were very useful in dealing with things. But without the right (or wrong?) trigger, we could easily have gone our entire lifetimes without being aware of asexuality's existence. So for fifteen years, my wife was one of those people you talked about: asexual, but having no reason at all not to identify as heterosexual, right down to believing she felt sexual attraction because she was attracted to me (and previous partners), and we had sex. I'd bet there are plenty of others.

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Re: Is Asexuality Legitimate?

Postby Placebo » 06 Apr 2008, 09:40

Olivier wrote:
Placebo wrote:If you think about the definition of "sexual attraction,"--seriously, in a "trying to define this without using the words 'sex' or 'attraction' way," . . . it's impossible. What does it mean, objectively? Look at the wikipedia definition: "In a species that reproduces sexually, sexual attraction is an attraction, usually, to other members of the same species for sexual or erotic activity." Wow. That is really helpful. So basically there is no definition.

Your asexual perspective may be responsible for that. I read that definition and think "In that case, I definitely feel sexual attraction".


Ha ha ha, I bet you are 100% right. I love those, "you know you're asexual when. . . " moments. Doi! *face smack*


Olivier wrote:Why I point that out it that I think that for many people, "never" is within their range of desired sexual frequency. Perhaps it's not their preferred level, but it's within the range they can be happy with. Are these people asexual in any sense? Maybe - certainly not everyone feels comfortable with no sex in a relationship. But also they'd make great partners for asexuals, regardless of whether the relationship was sexual. I reckon there are plenty of people like this out there, even if most of them are partnered with sexuals and have sexual relationships.

. . .

Once we had a reason to explore that difference, though, it was obvious that asexuality it was, and the experiences of other asexuals, especially those in sexual relationships, were very useful in dealing with things. But without the right (or wrong?) trigger, we could easily have gone our entire lifetimes without being aware of asexuality's existence. So for fifteen years, my wife was one of those people you talked about: asexual, but having no reason at all not to identify as heterosexual, right down to believing she felt sexual attraction because she was attracted to me (and previous partners), and we had sex. I'd bet there are plenty of others.


Yes! That was sort of what I was thinking of, based on your post. For so many people sexuality is so personal that it's really almost impossible to explain it in terms that translate well into other peoples' heads, like the old debate about whether everyone sees the same color as "red" or something. For me, I really would never have thought of myself as asexual, except that I was on an internet messageboard and someone was explicitly explaining it (relative to other's experiences about sexuality. . . I think they were talking about sexual thoughts/actions as children/early teens or something and an asexual dropped in with a counter group of thoughts) and I thought, "well, of course. Isn't everyone like that?" and that was what led me to investigate it more.

Otherwise I may never have fully verbalized--to myself or others--what it was that I felt. Even now, I can't do it perfectly; only through analogy. But so much of sexuality--like the words "sexual attraction" in the first place is assumed to be universal and yet is so personal that it's not well verbalized. It is DEFINITELY not well verbalized as an emotion or set of emotions, to me anyway. Therefore, if you are "missing" that, you may never notice it explicitly. I'm not talking about not having sex, I'm talking about (for me) not having a sexuality. It's like not noticing something that isn't there and never has been. If I walk into a room and see that someone's stolen a sofa, I'll say, "where's the sofa?!" But if the room has never had a sofa, will I say that? Of course not! I won't even notice!--particularly if there are chairs and other things to sit on. For an asexual like me, who essentially has no attraction or drive, it's like that, just a cipher; a not-thing. You'll never think to examine it unless something drastic happens, and then it will be examined expressly as a juxtaposition--like with you and your wife, Olivier. . . or like me with other people on the internet or with my partner.

For me, when I watch(ed) movies or read books, I understood the act, but the ACTS of sexuality are not really sexuality (which I why I can have sex and be asexual) it's the whole mindset, and how do you explain that in a TV show? Or even in a book? You can get closer in a book, but it's still difficult to grasp, I think. Unless you already understand it, you might not notice that you don't understand it.

And just as for sexuals, I would say that asexuals can also have a range of desired sexual frequency. Probably our center-point is going to be resting near or on zero, but we can still range up the scale, although our individual standard deviations (i.e., how far we're willing to range) may different for each of us. So in that regard based on the acts of sexuality, we "look" like sexuals to society, just maybe low-level ones. And the only way that we would have reason to say differently or describe it differently is if we are comparing our thoughts--not our actions--to other people, like sexuals. Then, as you point out, we see a pretty drastic qualitative difference in our mindsets, but it's not obvious either to us or to sexuals right off the bat. However, I think that probably some other asexuals are different; for me sexuality was such a non-issue that there was no thought required, but I think that for asexuals with perhaps a higher level of romantic interest, sexual drive, or arousal, the issue may come up more explicity.
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Re: Legitimacy and Blurry Lines

Postby Lehcar » 13 Apr 2008, 10:38

Thanks to everyone who posted such great responses - I love how almost everyone here is so erudite and thoughtful in their posts. :D I realized that my original title wasn't really what I was getting at, so I changed it - sorry if I put up the dander for anyone. What I wanted to ask about were the numbers of otherwise completely average asexuals - I wasn't trying to suggest that asexuality doesn't really exist or that it's just a disorder, so I apologize if that's what it seemed at first.

I'll admit AVEN and Apositive are the only online forums I frequent, so it didn't occur to me straight away that the social awkwardness could be more about life online than asexuality. Also, the idea that some people could be asexual without it actually impacting them is another great concept I hadn't really thought of. Those are both awesome points to make, and I thank you guys for mentioning them.

As for the whole ‘causes’/father figure thing, personally I have memories from as early as kindergarten about thinking that dating is silly, so I'm fairly confident that I wasn't affected by my parents separation. However, I DID put some serious thought into it when I was first exploring this side of me. My concern is that people who ARE affected by traumatic experiences might find the asexual community and take everything at face value without exploring all the different aspects of their life - the people who don't realize or deny the impact of other factors such as trauma or medical conditions.

As some of you have mentioned, AVEN has gathered a sizable number of members who probably aren't asexual but choose to claim to be, maybe in order to avoid staring their problems in the face. That said, I wonder if there's anything that can actually be done to encourage people to really take a good look inside before deciding on a label?

I’m not a big fan of labels – I think they should be used as guidelines, or tools to think about things, not as absolute definitions. So many people adhere to the label of asexuality asthough it’s the answer to everything and that SCARES me. It’s frightening to me that they’re not constantly questioning themselves and opening to new possibilities/concepts. Um…but that’s kinda off topic, so I’ll leave that for now. :P (hmm, new topic?....:D)

Anyway, I just wanted to thank everyone for the helpful posts!

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Re: Legitimacy and Blurry Lines

Postby Karl » 13 Apr 2008, 11:50

Thanks for provoking some debate, Lehcar. That's what we're all about here. :)

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Re: Legitimacy and Blurry Lines

Postby Emmarainbow » 14 Apr 2008, 14:45

I think the little nagging doubt that you so often have (well, I have it) is good for you. Keeps you on your toes. If we never re-thought how we felt about things, where would we be?

I really need to get back on AVEN and try and balance things out a bit. :? I wish I had the time!

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Re: Legitimacy and Blurry Lines

Postby pretzelboy » 14 Apr 2008, 17:56

I have a lot of doubts about my own asexuality. I'll tell myself about this one thing I felt this one time or this other thing I felt another time that didn't seem very asexual, and I wonder if I'm just fooling myself thinking I'm asexual. On the other hand, if I can count all of the times that I've had feelings toward people that were remotely sexual and find the list is really, really short, I'd just be fooling myself if I thought that I'm sexual like the large majority of the population. But I also know that the line between sexual and asexual is a fuzzy one and I think I fall a lot closer on the asexual side of thing--I certain feel that I can identify with the experiences of asexuals. Doubts are annoying, but they can help keep us honest if used correctly.

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Re: Legitimacy and Blurry Lines

Postby Witch of Wapping » 14 Apr 2008, 22:38

I think this discussion, and acknowledgement of “fuzziness” is so important, and I keep drafting replies about myself and deleting them (I’m so awkward on forums that I write half my replies in Word first, does it show?). I agree with spin that we should at least be open to paying attention to what the sex therapists say about some of the more vulnerable people we attract, and with pretzelboy that we should be open to our own confusions.

Part of it is that some of us are affected by “queer” thinking where there is no such thing as a sexual orientation fixed in stone for anyone at all, only sexual identity formed by all kinds of factors including specific experiences, and which can change over time. In that part of my brain there is no such thing as being a “real” lesbian or a “real” asexual, but we live with the tension that it doesn’t actually feel like that! And as I’ve said in other places, I have certainly had past traumatic experiences (both childhood abuse and extreme bereavement) in my “mix”, but don’t feel entirely formed by them.

On the whole, after two years, thinking about asexuality is still hard, confusing work for me, and I’m not always sure it is a good idea. I already had my alternative community where I felt like myself and that got me through the difficult years; they were called lesbians and feminists. That place is still more like home, and lately I've been churned up by an article by Erica Jong bemoaning the "death" of feminism, or a documentary film about the early days of gay Pride marches, shown in the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and "starring" one of my old friends. Googling the A word and shuffling into Aven was only an attempt to be even more truthful about myself, and particularly to explore what was complicated about the few sexual relationships in my past without feeling "unloveable". (My past, because I’ve become even less likely to attempt relationships post-menopause.)

Because I’m not naturally a forum person it almost drove me away even then that so few people seemed to come from a similar or a thoughtful place – I know how to be myself without confirmation from others, but when you’re the one trying out a new identity, it certainly helps or hinders. That is why, on the few occasions of (sometimes oblique) homophobia on Aven I tend to jump in wildly, fists flying and overreacting, but that is another story.

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Re: Legitimacy and Blurry Lines

Postby Olivier » 15 Apr 2008, 00:07

Witch of Wapping wrote:Part of it is that some of us are affected by “queer” thinking where there is no such thing as a sexual orientation fixed in stone for anyone at all, only sexual identity formed by all kinds of factors including specific experiences, and which can change over time.

As much as I'm 100% straight (according to a recent net quiz I did :roll:), I agree with this wholeheartedly. I'm a bit over the whole concept of orientation, and wish we could just see every relationship in terms of the people involved, and all their wants, needs, fears, and peculiarities, without wanting to take the shortcut of thinking that by knowing the genders of the people involved we could pre-judge the bulk of what their relationship was like. No matter how hard or impractical that would be, we surely have time to do it, even if just means watching less TV. Sorry to rant, but not having a TV myself also means there's more time to drink :silence: :)

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Re: Legitimacy and Blurry Lines

Postby Dargon » 15 Apr 2008, 12:52

This talk on "fuzzyness" got me thinking. I agree that it is important to talk about and realise there is fuzzyness in the definition of asexuality, and perhaps in sexual orientation as a whole. I feel like I am just repeating what others have said, but there are so many tiny yet significant aspects to sexuality that no single label can cover much at all, and by questioning that fuzzy line we can further explore those aspects and learn more about ourselves.

Perhaps that fuzzyness is what makes this forum great. [begin bitter part about AVEN] I recall when the AVEN logo switched from having a solid area at the bottom of the triangle to being a gradient, acknowledging this "fuzzyness." I think that was more important that most realised, since by acknowledging that fuzzyness, it encouraged exploration of that grey area, and thus further exploration of sexuality as a whole. Sadly, it seems that the newer members of AVEN are striving to replace that gradient with the old line and seal themselves within their little closed definitioned and closed minded safe-haven of same-mindedness.[/end bitter part about AVEN]

Going off topic a bit, while Witch of Wapping's post was quite well said, and I cannot respond without merely repeating what she has already said (and better than I could have said), there was one line that struck me as peculiar.

Witch of Wapping wrote:... but when you’re the one trying out a new identity...


Perhaps it is just me, but there is something about "trying out a new identity" that I do not understand. Ok, by that I mean everything. Now I apologize if I sound rude or judgmental, I am merely trying to understand something, that if I am reading correctly, I have absolutely no grasp on. When I joined AVEN, similar to when I joined here, I joined not to try something new, but to question and explore a part of myself (and of others) that I had little knowledge or understanding about. It was a gradual process of seeing how asexuality fit into my identity. Perhaps we both mean the same thing, but the wording used makes it sound instantaneous rather than gradual. Again, not looking to offend, just trying to gain an understanding.

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Re: Legitimacy and Blurry Lines

Postby Witch of Wapping » 16 Apr 2008, 10:11

Yes, just language I think! I meant exploring something about myself that hadn't occurred to me before, because in the 35-ish years since I first came out as a 19 year old lesbian, there had been too much else going on.

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Re: Legitimacy and Blurry Lines

Postby Heligan » 03 May 2008, 01:41

This is something that concerns me, in terms of my own diagnosis.

I used to be sexual and had some traumatic life experiences followed by a period of celibacy (it was supposed to be a year of time-out but turned into five without me really paying attention). Then I tried to start dating again and noticed that there was no sexual attraction to anyone. I tried to force it, and had this almost phobic reaction; this reaction has occured since that episode with people I like (maybe romantic like - although I have trouble being 100% sure of that - Im fairly aromantic - always was though)

Anyway its now ten years since I last had sex (nearly - July), and I definately dont miss it or want it. I do feel isolated by the seeming impossibility of buying into the 'there is no life outside this family' delusion... that does appear to be as rampant as sexuality in society. If you arent having sex you dont get to be anything but isolated- just watch those friends pair of and 'bubblize' (Argh I made up a word- thats a sign of madness you know!) themselves. So you are isolated and the tic-tok thing drives you nuts...if you are that way inclined. Sex seems the answer, to every problem, but you dont want it... if its a choice you choose isolation anyway- but its not even really a choice when your reaction is almost phobic.

A part of me thinks if I was really asexual, I could have sex - I know that sounds nuts, but I could just do it. Believe me I have looked to see what else it could be, nothing seems to fit as I still have libido.

The thing I dont like about AVEN, is the anti-sex superiority stuff... it does make me wonder how old some of these people are. That said I do think if young people are driven to claim asexuality to ward off sex that they arent ready for... that its really sad that they feel they cant just say 'NO'. I never had trouble saying 'No' when I was a tennager...
That said I do think self-identifying is the most important thing, next to the not experiencing sexual attraction- because it is the sexual attraction bit that is the real bit as far as I can see. Thats the bit that freeks me out I think, where has it gone, it should be right there after the laughing and getting to know you stuff- so where is it?
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‘Life has no meaning a priori … It is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning that you choose.’ Jean-Paul Sartre

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Re: Legitimacy and Blurry Lines

Postby Dame du Lac » 22 May 2008, 10:50

I think this issue of people having other issues that they are using the label of asexuality to hide behind is one that needs addressing. There are certainly people on AVEN who have issues that dwarf their lack of sexual attraction and I've noticed a few people who almost certainly do experience sexual attraction but for whatever reason do not want or cannot deal with their sexuality. For asexuality to be taken seriously there needs to be acknowledgement that some people will be drawn to such an online community and that the community will need to address this at some point.

Of course, the fuzziness of the definition, which I think most of us here accept, makes it difficult to be vocal about this point on AVEN (and risks bringing down anti-sexual wrath upon our heads!). Perhaps one of the problems is that people who are more relaxed about the boundaries and less concerned with finding a sex-free community leave once they find their answers and have moved on personally? I suspect though that is an issue that will only go away when asexuality is well known and open enough for the people Placebo and Olivier mentioned (those who we would define as asexual but who have sex and don't think about it) to become visible.

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Re: Legitimacy and Blurry Lines

Postby Emmarainbow » 23 May 2008, 02:39

Dame du Lac wrote:Perhaps one of the problems is that people who are more relaxed about the boundaries and less concerned with finding a sex-free community leave once they find their answers and have moved on personally?

That's why I left. I came back cos I was interested in sexuality - but most people aren't that intrigued by it, so it'll stay being more the first group.

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spin
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Re: Legitimacy and Blurry Lines

Postby spin » 29 May 2008, 17:39

Ookay, this took me a while to put together.
Thing is, there are (at least) two blurry edges to consider.

One is the repulsed/traumatized/sex-phobic/antisexual set, who can get denounced as simply having issues whether or not they're asexual underneath that. I think that's who we're mostly talking about in this thread, and I agree it gets weird.

Then there's also the indifferent/able-to-enjoy-sex/sex-positive set--and a lot of us here fall into that category, and we should realize that we're considered the blurry edge to the other side. Sex-positive people get called out as "not asexual enough" and relabelled as whatever the flavor of the week is. Grey asexual, demisexual, semisexual, even hyposexual (medically, shorthand for hypoactive sexual desire disorder). Some people accept these terms, some don't. I'm one who doesn't, and I don't care what they say 'cause I ain't budging. My behavior does not necessarily reflect my orientation. This is not to say I'm stronger or better than those who can't get over their aversion to sex. Nor does it suggest I'm weaker to give in to my partner's desires. I am simply doing what works best for me in my own comfort zones, and it does say something about how very fond I am of my partner.

I do feel that the rabidly sex-phobic antisexual people delegitimise asexuality by making it appear pathological and/or bigoted. I compare it to heterosexual people who are vocally disgusted by the thought of homosexual sex. Being vocal about how disgusting they think homosexual sex is does not establish someone as being any straighter, in fact it can begin to cast doubts.

I also understand that the sex-positive, and particularly sexually active, people can also confuse the issue. Some of us would not make good poster children for asexuality, simply because our situations are complex and you can't get into the complexities in brief interviews or blurbs.

I can imagine how people who don't experience sexual attraction but never really thought about it would have trouble seeing asexuality applying to themselves even if they encountered the concept. In terms of those people who are out there living their lives, not realizing there's a definition for how they feel and a community for similar people, I think we need to be able to present a face of asexuality that's anti-antisexual. I had so much trouble identifying as asexual at first because of all the fear and avoidance I saw within the asexual community, and I was young and hadn't had any sexual or romantic experiences to draw from.

I'm also a bit concerned with how young some people come into the community. I became aware of the identity and community at 18, and held it in my back pocket until I was 20 when I decided to stop waiting to change and joined AVEN. Three years and a bit of experience on, and I'm finally pretty secure in my identity and that it's not likely to change. Granted some young people (some I know!) have a good sense of themselves from a young age and it's perfectly lovely to have them in the community, but some of the most violently antisexual are also the younger crowd, which makes me suspect there's other stuff going on.

These are all reasons I think Apositive is so important.

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Re: Legitimacy and Blurry Lines

Postby Emmarainbow » 29 May 2008, 20:18

Oooh, Spin, *very* well said.

*applause*

:P I joined aven at 15 though... and although never antisexual, I do reread some of my early posts and cringe a little - I was very uptight about the whole sex thing, mainly because it was pushed at me so much at school. I agree with you on that point too. Luckily though, younger bigots tend to be easier to educate than old ones.

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Re: Legitimacy and Blurry Lines

Postby pretzelboy » 30 May 2008, 12:34

I know that when I was a teenager, I had rather antisexual views, and I think it was related to my asexuality—I wasn’t interested in sex, so I couldn’t figure out what everybody else’s problem was or why they were so obsessed with it. So I imagine that a good number of the younger people at AVEN could be like that. Also, there is the fact that younger people use the internet more than older generations, so I guess it is kind of unavoidable that the majority of people on AVEN will be 15-30ish, with a good part of that being the younger part of that group. I guess that makes the anti-sexuality unavoidable. I wouldn't be surprised if antisexuality is more common among asexual youth than sexual youth.
On the other hand, I’m not sure teenagers mislabeling themselves as asexual when they’re really just too immature to deal with their sexuality is a problem—if they aren’t really asexual, presumably they will figure this out a few years down the road when they are more mature and in the mean time, it means that they put off having sex until they’re able to make better decisions about the matter, which may not be a bad thing.
I am a bit worried that if someone wanting to know more about asexuality and the experiences of asexuals were to go to AVEN, they would run into a lot of people weren’t asexual, but really were just calling themselves asexual because of (insert favorite reason that claims of asexuality must be covers for here.)
On the other hand, I’m not really comfortable with lumping “repulsed/traumatized/sex-phobic/antisexual” together into one category. Some have made a distinction between repulsed asexuals and indifferent asexuals (ignoring the fact that some asexual can enjoy sex even without sexual attraction). As I understand things, some heterosexual males are willing to try gay sex and some find the idea repulsive. Likewise, some gay men find the very idea of having sex with women repulsive, and others find it less repulsive, though certainly not what they prefer. (I don’t know as much about women.) Anyway, if it is the case that some people find the idea of having sex cross-sexual orientation repulsive and some don’t then this could account for this different among asexuals—for us, everyone is cross-sexual orientation. Also, I think of anti-sexual as being “sex is bad” rather than “sex is not something I want to do.” I think of the “sex is bad” people as being the source of delegitimization for asexuality. Since the evidence for asexuality is the reported experience of asexuals themselves, the only serious way to reasonably reject it is if there was good reason to believe that the people describing their experiences are not reliable sources of information about themselves. For example, if there is reason other than claims of asexuality to believe that they are in a state of denial about things or something like that.

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Re: Legitimacy and Blurry Lines

Postby Dargon » 03 Jun 2008, 16:10

Funny, I once again seem to be an exception to the common trend. I never really held antisexual views. However, I did assume that I just had more self control than others, not realizing others actually felt both sexual and romantic attraction. This is something I have come to realise during my time at AVEN (which I discovered at age 20 I think it was).

Pretzelboy says a lot that I agree with, concerning the repulsed vs indifferent and how it relates in both asexuality and sexuality. I do feel the same about the hardcore antisexuals ("sex is bad" antisexuals) delegitimizing asexuality. Perhaps they may indeed fit the definition, but their rather bigoted ideas are rather harmful to the asexual community. This trend can be seen in other places. Religious fanatics often harm the image of their religion. Racists and sexists hiding behind the guise of racial and cultural pride or feminism or masculism (sp?) harm the image of their race and sex. The antisexuals are harming asexuality in this way.

Not sure I have much else to add. Spin really said a lot that I can not put any better.


(just an aside, I would make a crappy posterchild for asexuality)


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