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View Diary: Asexuality 101: The invisible orientation (177 comments)

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  •  There's problems with heteronormative expectations (12+ / 0-)

    For example, asexual women have received unwanted sexual advances from jerkwad guys. These women have told said guys they are asexual, and therefore not interested, only to be subjected to bullying, sexual harassment, and even threats or "corrective" rape.

    As an asexual man, like I said in the diary, I've received some bad reactions when I'm not seen to be "sufficiently heterosexual". For example, when guys I've known have seen attractive women, made comments saying so, and made advances, they suddenly wonder why I'm not joining them, or being "sufficiently enthusiastic" in pursuing the opposite sex. Before long, if I'm not asserting my boundaries, or pretending to be heteronormative, some jerkwads are calling me homophobic slurs.

    So yeah, I think asexuality needs to be recognized, if only so more people would respect our boundaries.

    •  Why Is An Explanation Needed? (1+ / 0-)
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      AmericanAnt

      If someone asks someone out and that person is not interested isn't simply saying "not interested" enough? How would asexuality even come into the discussion?

      The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

      by The Lone Apple on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 09:04:58 AM PDT

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      •  I wonder if age plays a difference? (5+ / 0-)

        I am a hetero ciswoman, so I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer, but my outside-looking-in perspective is that it may depend on age.  When my daughter was in that hormonal hotbed called "college," saying "not interested" was viewed as either a challenge to be overcome, or a source of confusion ("how could you NOT want to be with me?").  She is now beyond the college years and finds that saying "not interested" now rarely results in much more than a shrug of the shoulders.

        "Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little." Plutarch

        by DoReMI on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 09:26:08 AM PDT

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        •  Age might (1+ / 0-)
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          codeman38

          Also that people on social networks feel the need to reveal everything about themselves. I pick and choose. On Facebook, I'm very guarded. On another site catering to BDSM, I use an alias so therefore speak more freely about my sexuality. On yet another site, that persona lets it all hang out (and is NOT a nice person).

          I guess I don't feel the need to say anything but "no" to someone and expect that to be enough.

          The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

          by The Lone Apple on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 10:22:57 AM PDT

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      •  I mean (11+ / 0-)

        It should be.  Nobody owes anyone an explanation.  But that's not the end of things.  I'm not ace, and I don't want to speak on anyone's behalf here, but having a cogent, familiar identity helps in a lot of circumstances.

        On one level, it helps you say no.  You may have to reject a lot of jerks, but you also might find yourself rejecting people who you honestly like.  You might want to spare their feelings, and you might want to stay friends, and it'll soften your rejection by making it less personal.  Obviously, nobody ever has to do this, but sometimes, you might want to.  It also might dissuade the overly-persistent person.

        Second, it might help you say yes.  "I do like you, but I'm asexual.  This is the kind of relationship we're going to have, if you want that."  It's a lot easier than having to explain the entire history of asexuality.  So awareness helps.  "I'd like to go dinner, but I'm kosher" is easier than "i'd like to go to dinner, but I don't eat X, Y, and Z because X, Y, and Z."

        Third, you're not just saying yes or no to romantic partners.  Relationships are public in a lot of ways - moms, dads, friends, cousins, coworkers.  "Mom, stop calling dates, I'm asexual" gets a point across differently.  Etc.  People stop trying to fix you, start accepting you.  It's easier this when acceptance is out there.

        Fourth, I like being an individual, and having this whole bunch of traits wrapped up in a unique way.  But it's also really nice to have it shared and recognized.  Especially for something that's easily medicalized by an unaccepting society, acceptance means that you don't have to be treated as broken.

        •  Yes, I am 58 and now say (3+ / 0-)

          I'm asexual when a man automatically considers me eligible for the "next step."  It is so easy for me, and now people after initially wondering what I am up to, accept it and I just keep consistent with who I am, and it just becomes natural after a while.  But I did not do this when I was younger, and it caused all sorts of problems, and I thought I was just a miserable failure.  I had no clue that I was dissing men with my disinterest, and it was making them angry.  I just naively believed I would find that special man who loved me, myself.

      •  Not everyone is that tolerant (3+ / 0-)

        While some are quick to go "oh, ok" and then move on, there are still many people in the society who can't comprehend the lack of interest in sex.  For me personally, it feels harder to tell someone that you're asexual than to tell them that you're gay.

        You don't need to spend a few hours just to explain what homosexuality is, because most people know what it is (even if they don't accept it), but for asexuality, you usually do.

    •  This ^ (6+ / 0-)

      My daughter, who is also a radical feminist, has been accused of "hating men" not just because of her feminism but because of her orientation.  She has been told more than once, by men and women, that she "just needs somebody to bang her, and she'll changer her 'mind.'"  She's been called a prude, no fun, and a conservative (that one really offended her!), because she doesn't seek out a sexual partner.  She doesn't do the bar scene, because the concept of cruising a room and looking for a hook-up is so alien to her that it is virtually inconceivable.  Even some of her close friends, aware of her demisexuality, have expressed concern that if they become too close, she will suddenly view them as potential prey to be taken down...as if friendship=depraved sexual response from her, and she would necessarily be indifferent to their feelings in some way.  It is no surprise to me that, as a result, some of her deepest friendships are with online friends whom she has never met IRL.

      "Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little." Plutarch

      by DoReMI on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 09:16:05 AM PDT

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